Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kimchi Fried Quinoa

So, I love kimchi fried rice. Though recently I've almost totally replaced it with quinoa. And so, I decided to try kimchi fried quinoa (instead of the otherwise amazingly delicious kimchi fried rice).

I cruised around, combined a bunch of recipes, looked at what I had in the fridge and made the following:
1 tub kimchi (I feel like it's a pound, but not really based on any real knowledge)
1 lb ground pork
1.5 onions
3 cloves of garlic
Chili sauce
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
  1. Sautee 1 onion and garlic. Add pork and cook. Add chili sauce and soy sauce to taste.
  2. In a separate pan sautee second onion and garlic. Add kimchi and cook.
  3. Add quinoa to kimchi pan and cook (the idea is to make it a bit crispy, but I've never really been able to make it very crispy). Add a bit of sesame oil (I probably added 1/2 tablespoon, but maybe a little more)
  4. Mix the two pans together.

Simple and delicious!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just a Random Tuesday Night

Tonight we had another of our random Tuesday night dinners. I learned that if I tilt my table across my 'dining area', I can comfortably seat 8 (rather than (as had been my modus operandi) just having the skinniest person sit at the far end)).

We started out with a pudding recipe I had seen on epicurious, plus L was reading the Momofuku cookbook and our continuing search for a pork recipe and ended up with what was a great menu.


Things to note

  • Both L&I noticed the NYTimes recipe on the cauliflower. And it was really good. Better than it should have been.
  • The onion tart is so very, very easy (though a bit time consuming). It really doesn't deserve to be as good as it is.
  • I firmly believe that the best brussel sprouts ever are at Momofuku, so when L said she had the recipe, I was sold. And they were amazing!! (The requisite "I don't like brussel spouts, but I'd eat the whole bowl of these")
  • The Date Pudding looks very much like what Les Etats Unis - a restaurant on the Upper East side serves. And that is one amazing dessert. I agree with the other reviewers (on epicurious) though and should have cooked it longer.

Pork Tenderloin with Green Curry Cream Sauce

We used the recipe for the Beef Tenderloin with Green Curry Cream Sauce as a jumping off point. We used the Herb Roasted Pork Loin recipe for pork cooking time. And subbed in green curry (I used 1 Tablespoon, but should probably have done 1/2 (I actually added a little extra cream)).

Momofuku Brussel Sprouts
Serves 8

4 lbs sprouts

1/2 cup Fish Sauce
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup sugar
1 garlic clove minced
2 red chilies

Cilantro - 2 Tbsp sliced stems and 1/2 cup leaves

  1. Cut sprouts. in half
  2. Heat 2tbs oil in oven safe skillet. Add sprouts cut side down
  3. When they begin to brown, transfer to oven for abt 15 mins at 400
  4. While cooking, combine the vinaigrette ingredients
  5. Toss the sprouts with the vinaigrette
  6. Fry cilantro and sprinkle over sprouts

You Can Go Home Again - Pizza Bread

Tonight I had 13 people over for a discussion group kind of thing. With that many people, I couldn't easily do a full dinner (and I'm feeling lazy), so I did what my mom did when she had people to feed and didn't want to do the table thing. I made Pizza Bread. I should also note that this is one of my absolute favorite foods on the planet. But I don't eat it very often. And I'm not sure why. Because it is delicious. And easy. Very easy.


Pizza Bread
Serves about 6 people (I made 2 for 13 people and wish I had made a third, though most of it would have been left-over (but this is really, really good left-over))

2 ½ cups unsifted flour
1 ½ tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
1 cup hot tap water
2T oil
16 oz (4 cups) of grated mozzarella cheese
3 oz thinly sliced pepperoni
1 ½ onions (diced)

1. Mix 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast together
2. Add water and oil
3. Beat 1 minute on low (I just mixed by hand)
4. Stir in flour for a soft dough
5. Knead 8-10 minutes (I usually do about 5)
6. Place in a greased bowl (I just use the one that I was mixing in, without cleaning it out), Cover and let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes)
7. Punch down, roll out to a rectangle (maybe 20 inches by 8 inches)
8. Cover with the cheese, add the layer of onions, and season with oregano, salt and pepper
9. Place the pepperonis one at a time across the dough
10. Jelly roll it and put it seam side down on a cookie sheet
11. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (until nicely browned)
12. Let sit for 15-20 minutes (you can eat sooner, but the cheese ends up everywhere)

One thing to note - I'm not at all sure where this recipe/idea came from, but I was struck by the Pepperoni rolls that the NY Times discovered in West Virginia recently.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let the Games Begin - Pizzeria Veloce

Working off a combination of S's matrix and Opentable (I can't handle a 'no reservation' option on a Friday), we chose Veloce Pizzeria as our first official pizzeria (we're looking at comparing 5 'new' places (opened in the last 18 months) and 5 'originals' (opened before 1924)). We were supposed to be 6, but between the rain and the flu, we were down to 3 by the time we sat down. But S, A and I are troopers, we were committed to carrying on.

The ambiance is great and the host and waitress were fabulous. We chose an arugula salad (improving the green balance over last time) and then got into the pizza decision. The margarita was easy (nothing like a requirement to simplify life), the mushroom was an obvious choice and then both the sausage and the onion looked great. We knew that 4 was a bit excessive, but we figured why make a decision if you don't have to. The waitress convinced us that that was probably too much - she recommended 1 pie for 2 people, so we dropped the sausage and onion options (and ended up with just one piece extra, so it was perfect). She was really great.

The pizza is sicilian, so very different from Co. It's a thicker, richer crust (as well as more square - which potentially does not affect the flavor, but does affect the experience (at least for me as I kept thinking, 'hmm this is square')) than non-sicilian. The margarita was good. S & A enjoyed it a bit more than I did. I liked the almost buttery crust and the strength of the cheese, but it just didn't quite make my mouth sing. Maybe the sauce? They liked the balance.

I loved the mushroom - the other two also liked it, though were potentially slightly less lyrically enthused than I was. I felt a little like I was outside in the fall, wearing weather appropriate boots, hunting around in damp leaves for mushrooms. The crust was a perfect balance for the strong woodsy-ness of the mushrooms and the cheese just made it really pop. I wanted to close my eyes and savor (though I didn't because the whole square-ness thing sort of made me feel like I had to keep an eye on where I would take my next bite). I had an extra half a piece of the mushroom while A had half of the last margarita slice (which she said lost a little in cooling off/coming after the mushroom).

We tried to go to Chick-alicious for dessert, but good conversation disrupted our timeline and they were already closed by the time we arrived. It didn't matter. The pizza was good.

The Last Word on New York Pizza

So, a group of us decided that it would be fun to finalize once and for all what the best pizza is in New York (using the opinions of the thousands that have gone before us as input - allowing our answer to be the absolute and final word on the subject). Having shouldered this mantle of responsibility, we're going about it in a very structured way (S compiled an incredibly impressive fact-base on the subject which he then transformed into an easy to use matrix - no one could accuse of us taking our responsibility lightly). There will be no room for dissention on our decision.

As with all things of great import, we decided a dry run would be a good idea. S and I met at Company for a leisurely lunch. We decided that a shared salad would provide a bit of balance to the hedonism of the pizza - but chose the beet salad (which was great), but (with beets generally tasting remarkably like candy) may not have truly balanced the vegetable content of our meal.

We started with a pizza bianca - just a simple crust flavored with olive oil, rosemary and salt. It was light and crispy, but still with enough to the crust that it wasn't like eating air. It was a nice beginning (though we realized later that the 'ricotta' dip option would have been a good idea).

For the main event, we selected the margarita and the popeye. Following in the tradition of some of the best food reviewers, we will be ordering a margarita everywhere we go. Then, depending on the people with us/the size of the pie/etc. we will chose other topping options.

The margarita was fine. The crust was not quite as good as the bianca - slightly chewy/damp in places; the sauce was nice, but not overly distinctive; the cheese was good.

The popeye was amazing. I eyed it a bit askance when it arrived as it looked less like a spinach pizza than a pizza crust that someone had upended a salad on. However, I am nothing if not determined and I stepped up to the plate (metaphorically speaking of course) and took a bite. It was the most amazing balance of green and decadence I've had (maybe ever, but definitely recently). The crust was perfect (the whole way through both pieces), the spinach was fresh and perfect with some parts a little crisp from baking and some a little more raw, and the whole thing was tied together with a rich mixture of olive oil, cheese and garlic (maybe other stuff, but that was the major). Both S and I agreed that this was a great pizza (we even recommended it to the couple next to us, who seemed oddly discomfited to be addressed by strangers at a communal table). With one (dry run) pizzeria down, we had a pizza to beat. And having tried both pizzas, but with a little more room, both S and I had a second slice of the popeye, letting our second slices of the margarita go to waste.

We did also have dessert (the chocolate thing), but in retrospect, I might have preferred a second popeye.