November to December is Chicken (Breast) Month

November 19, 2008

Finally and for a limited time only, the chicken breasts at Ralph’s is $2 per pound again. Oh, how I have waited for this glorious day!

About $30's worth of chicken breasts

About $30's worth of chicken breasts... plus Justin's TV dinners

As a certain idiot I know is fond of saying, “Oh! You are definitely the Chicken Monster!”

Since I have all of this lovely breast at my disposal now, I am declaring the time from now until I go on Winter Break National Chicken (Breast) Month. I’ve had this idea to do themed months for a while now. Basically, I’ll pick one ingredient, or form of food (such as sammeches), as the theme, and for one month I will play out all its variations. During this month I will make, amongst other things, Chicken Marsala, Chicken Kiev, Chicken Parmasan, Chicken Cutlet Curry… You get the idea.

I play with the ingredients I have, so today, I made this… I guess if it had a name it would be something like Tea Fried Chicken… with Mushroom. This is something I noticed on my trip to the motherland, that they would use tea in their dishes as herbs, like we would use basil. I tried looking up the recipe online, but couldn’t find it. All the tea chicken recipes I found would use tea, the beverage, for the sauce. The dish I had in mind is very dry, and uses the tea leaves as herb.

So, I winged it (I have got to remember this one for National Wing Month). It was kind of scary going solo, but it worked out okay, I think.

chicken, oil for frying, (green) tea leaves, and mushroom

Ingredients: chicken, oil for frying, (green) tea leaves, and mushroom


These are apparently mushrooms that grow on tea trees? I am not sure.

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Rinse & soak in warm water. I think I should have cut the mushrooms in half; they’re kind of long.

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Cut the chicken into bite size cubes, dry, and rub with some salt. Fry.

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When chicken is done, add–dried chili, tea leaves, and I used a bit of garlic. I have long learned that if you put the spices in first, they will get burnt because it takes so much longer to cook the meat. So what I do is fry the meat spiceless until it’s basically done, then push the meat to the side of the wok so that the bottom can heat up to sufficient frying temperature, then add the spices. Or you can take the meat out if you’re making a sauce.

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Add mushroom and sauces (I used a dash of soy sauce–chicken broth might also be good, or the water from soaking the mushroom); salt again.

Moneyshot

Moneyshot


Scallops with Bacon & Kale

October 27, 2008


(Click for large.)

I finally got some time last night to cook, after a busy (but lucrative) week. I decide to do something out of

(Thanks, Plebbie! XD)

Usually when I buy bacon it’s whatever brand is on sale at Ralph’s, but this time I decided to splurge on Whole Foods bacon (because that’s where I went to get the scallops). This is like, double the usual price of bacon!


That is… about 30$ of scallops… Bacon (obviously–very important), coconut milk (optional), black sesame, sesame oil, chicken stock, yellow pepper (forgot to picture the onion), kale, cilantro, and ginger.


I departed from the recipe in several ways. The recipe doesn’t call for marinating the scallops, but I did it anyway. Usually I do it with cornstarch and olive oil, but the recipe wants me to fry the bacon with some sesame oil. I figured that would be too much oil, so I marinated with the sesame oil and just fried the bacon by itself.


Having never worked with kale before, I actually had to look up how you’re supposed to cut it. I’m pretty sure this part I did right (removing the stems) but after that, I couldn’t figure out what “crosswise” meant (just use longitudinal and transversal, people!), so I just said whatever and rolled everything up.


I also added some garlic even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, because what doesn’t taste more delicious with more garlic?


The recipe calls for frying the bacon and searing the scallops in a wok, but that would have made for terrible clean up as everything would have stuck to the wok, so I just fried with my non-stick pan. Which, actually, I think the non-stick coating has mostly come off…


I also think the directions call for searing the scallops with the bacon. However, the bacon need to be stirred to prevent charring/burning, whereas the scallops need to just sit there and be seared, so I just took the bacon out. There is also not enough room for everything, a dozen jumbo sized scallops barely fits on this… well I guess it’s a medium sized skillet.


After some time. Mmm, delicious seared scallops!


At this point I poured the bacon grease into the wok and fried the vegetables. Unfortunately, this… hurts. But then, genius struck. I am designating this glove as my special frying glove. You have no idea, being able to stir without being attacked by flying bits of burning oil is an amazing feeling.


Add back the bacon. (The technical term is return… The more you know!) Then I pushed everything to the side and let the bottom of the wok heat up so that i can fry the ginger+garlic for a bit (not pictured).


Add the wet (soy sauce, chicken stock). Interestingly, my coconut milk is solid from being in the fridge… It looks like sour cream or something from the picture.

After that I had no more time to take pictures. Return the scallops, add the kale, then at the end add the cilantro, and sprinkle some sesame seeds on there.

More porn:

Protip: if you’re going to fry in bacon grease, there is no need to add salt.


Shrimp… with Cluuuub Tomato Sauce

October 18, 2008

终於又开始烧菜了YEAH!

I had shrimp, and I had a can of tomatos, so… Shrimp with Tomato Sauce it is. I was missing some of the ingredients (and forgot to add sugar…), but this came out pretty well anyway.

I was lamenting my lack of ginger and chili bean paste. But then I remembered I had a chili. Why do I have a chili? It went something like this.

At Ralph’s.
Justin: Oh man! Whadaheck! What is this “yellow chili”! That’s crazy! This chili is all yellow!
Me: I’m gonna get one.
Justin: Yeah, do it. Yeah, fuck you.

I cut off a small piece to taste. It wasn’t spicy at all. Then I ate one seed. It attempted to be spicy but is too much of a pansy. Like Justin.


Fry aromatics.


Reduce the sauce.


Fry the shrimp.

Add the shrimp back to the sauce, garnish with green onions (busting out the fancy place), and…

I wasn’t sure if this was going to be delicious. But then I sat down and took a bite and thought to myself, man, why am I so awesome. Mmm mmm mmm.


Seared Tuna with Avocado

May 25, 2008

Hey, I have a question for you.

Am I awesome, or am I really awesome? Because I’m having trouble decide. XD


Unfortunately I am not as awesome a photographer as I am awesome in general. Apparently this is the best picture I can get.


I was going to do yesterday, but I started grilling late in the afternoon and did not have the appetite for a second meal. So, I kept my tuna on ice overnight, like so. At $23/pound (it has to be sushi grade) I wasn’t going to take any chances.


The ingredients: Olive oil, sesame oil, salt, pepper, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, Jalapeno, ginger, lime. Oh, and my beautiful Tuna, of course. ❤ The recipe doesn’t actually call for vinegar, but it does call for a full lime, and I only had half left. (I forgot the avocado in this picture.)


Mix, mix!


Mix, mix!


The recipe wants you to just salt & pepper the fish and sear it like that. I figured it would be good to toss in the sauce, so I did. What the hell do I know, though. I also cut my block in half (2 5oz pieces).


It sears! I seared for probably less than a minute per side. It is easy to tell when you should stop, since you can see on the side how much of it has been cooked. It’s like a progress bar, really. The aim is to just sear the surface, while leaving the middle raw. If you don’t have sushi grade fish then you should probably cook it all the way through. After it was about done I tossed the sauce in there.


If you’re awesome like me, you can take out the flesh of an avocado from the skin in one piece.

Then slice it up and plate! This is actually really simple. Takes maybe half an hour to do. The only difficult thing about this recipe is being able to afford sushi grade fish, haha.

Welp, it was really good, but the soy sauce was a bit overpowering. Must remember 3T is too much next time.


Lamb Ribs; or, The Tears and Suffering of Innocent Baby Animals ^____^

May 11, 2008

Tears and Suffering taste good, real good. Very tender.

This was actually an impulse buy (I don’t usually eat lamb), but I am very happy with it.

By the way, the entry I made in moon language just expresses my resolution to practice moon language (and French) more often, so that they don’t deteriorate. I will try to keep English language posts at a majority, though, as that is a language common to almost all my readers, even ones that understand moon language or French. Actually, I think wordpress.com may be blocked in China.


It looks more charred than it actually is. In fact, the thicker pieces were still rare.


Ingredients: Rosemary, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, and 4 pieces of Tears and Suffering. I went and bought the most expensive bottle of balsamic vinegar I could find, but it was still only $12. It’s hard to be gourmet when you do all your shopping at Ralph’s… This now brings my vinegar collection to 6 bottles (I also have some rice vinegar which I’ve been experimenting with to get a peanut salad dressing)…


Chop garlic and rosemary finely.


Combine.


Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I used 2T and 4T. This balsamic vinegar is a lot thicker than the other bottle I have, probably on account of all that fig paste they put in there. Oh yeah, in case you can’t read the bottle, it says “Autumn Fig”.


Seal lamb chops with marinade in a plastic bag.

It is very important that you arrange the lamb chops in a 69 position.

翌日…

Oh my what a fine day it is to be grilling on my BALCONY!

Since I’ll be moving out soon, I want to make as much use of my balcony as possible. I own a grill and I’ve probably used it no more than 5 times. This must change!


Form a pyramid with the charcoal.


Oooooooooo.

While the fire burnt, I washed the grill, which had lain dirtily in a corner since the Yosemite trip last fall. Washing a grill is one of the worst things in existence, right up there with hernias and local truncation error analysis. Because, you know, it’s not a surface. You can’t just scrub it as you would a dirty plate. You have to get into each bar. It’s awful.


After the fire goes out, push the stack over to let the charcoal sit uniformly over the surface. The charcoals are not all grey but that is okay. They will continue to burn.


This is pretty fun, I have to say. I could do this every weekend. I could even have friends over. But they have to bring the beer.


Close up. I have placed the meatier part of the ribs in the centre where it is hotter. Don’t mind the other pieces of meat sitting on the grill. I am just testing out my kalbi recipe. There will be another entire post about that.


I also grilled some vegetables after this was over. I like this picture a lot for some reason. It’s like… art… or something.

Conclusion: lamb is very tender. We should all increase our consumption of baby animals.


Tea Eggs

April 10, 2008


Looks like marble.

Anise is the least common ingredient in making tea eggs, so since I have it, I decided to make some.

But, I do not drink tea! Not to worry, I managed to swipe some from the weekly departmental tea last week.

I ended up using all those teabags except for the Lemon flavored one. Lemon has no place in tea eggs >=(


I bought 18 eggs from Ralph’s, but could only fit 14 in the pot. Add unknown amounts of soy sauce, salt, sugar, honey, ginger, and anise. Some recipes will tell you to boil the egg first, then simmer in the sauce. But, the lazy man’s approach is to just boil it in the sauce.


I made a huge mistake: I let the string of the tea bags dangle over the side of the pot. The thing that you’re supposed to hold on to is made of paper, and the heat of the metal in the pot was enough to set it aflame. I did not know it got that hot!


I made a second huge mistake: then the burnt parts fell into the pot.

Then, after the eggs are cooked (be sure of this), hit them repeatedly with something blunt, such as your intellect, so as the break the shell.

I was hoping these would last me a while, but… they are just so morey!


Scallops & Snow Peas

April 1, 2008

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Whirl!

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One pound of scallops. Doesn’t look like very much, does it?

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They are sliced and marinaded in salt, olive oil, and corn starch. Looks like chicken… For truly, scallops are the chicken of the sea. Actually, I think we decided that oysters were the chicken of the sea. Because chicken is wont to carry all kinds of diseases if not cooked thoroughly. Oysters, too, when consumed raw, can make for some fun trips to the ER. That’s why they’re worth paying $1.5 a pop for at Sushi Mura.

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They are fried like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately, this part, like the frying part in the Kung Pao chicken episode, hurts. I dried the scallops before marinading but… still popping all over the place.

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The snow peas are also fried, with garlic and ginger. But they are not fried like there is no tomorrow; they are fried like they will wilt and lose texture if left in the wok too long.

I was supposed to used chicken broth for the sauce. But, I prematurely did my shopping before I looked at the recipe, so I mixed my usual Asian sauce. Fish sauce + cooking wine + soy sauce + sugar + corn starch + love.

Aerial moneyshot:
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What do you know, it’s pretty good!