Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coffee XO Sauce

dried shrimp
ancho chilies
espresso with sugar (colada)
fish sauce
oyster sauce
raw cocoa
sesame oil
chili oil
olive oil
black pepper
black shrimp paste (blacan)

Clearly, a last minute XO sauce (hence the already made colada). This is an idea that's been in my notebook for quite some time and finally decided to make it happen with whatever was around. It was delicious, don't get me wrong, but I do love how open something like an XO sauce is to a myriad of flavor combinations.

The basis for XO is generally: dried seafood, garlic, oil, smoked meat and chilies. Think about how many ways that can go.

I cooked the mixture until almost dry and rehydrated it with more espresso and the water used to originally hydrate the dried shrimp and chilies. The espresso and cocoa rounded it out nicely, lending bitter-ish tones for a more complete thought.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Broccoli & Honeydew

Broccoli stems marinating in honeydew brine

Separated, peeled & trimmed broccoli stems.
They are currently marinating in a mixture of honeydew juice, salt, brown sugar, coriander & vinegar. (This could be great with kohlrabi) I used the leftover trimmings to cover and keep the stems submerged in the brine.

Marinating vegetables in fruit juice is an open door to countless possibilities. Revealing a surprising sweetness from something as vegetal as say, a broccoli stem.

Pickling can change the character of a vegetable. Incorporating fruit juice gives it nuance.

Other ideas off the top can be:
Bamboo shoots in pear
Beet stem in rhubarb
Daikon in plum
Carrots in orange/apricot

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Equal Treatment

Crispy Pig's Foot
Five Spice Broccoli Floret
Boiled Stem

In most dishes there is a main focus. A protein, if you will. This is the star of the dish to which all supporting elements bow down by sacrificing their best qualities and lift the focal protein to new heights. Something to look forward to could be the equal treatment of ingredients. What if a juicy ribeye sat underneath the humble potato or roast chicken was the underlying flavor to a plate of root vegetables? What I've done here is given pig's feet and broccoli a chance to work together in creating an overall flavor and allowing their distinct textures to bounce off of one another.

Please don't think I simply sprinkled some five spice powder on broccoli. I toasted and ground sichuan peppercorns, star anise, ginger, cinnamon, cloves & brown sugar. Sifted into a pan, brought to heat and added oyster sauce, chili oil, fish sauce & sesame oil. Added some of the broccoli cooking liquid to loosen it up and tossed the charred broccoli florets in the sauce.

The pig's foot was simmered in vegetables, kaffir lime leaves, thyme, chicken stock & Leffe Blonde Ale until tender (5+ hours) removed from the bone, layed flat on a dry pan and weighed down. Heated the pan on low heat until crispy then glazed with reduction of strained cooking stock.

The broccoli stem was simply boiled in salted water (though pickling in cucumber & apple juice might be the better next step).

Together it brings forth the flavor of Char Siu Pork.
Equal treatment to both ingredients.
Turf & Turf.