Monday, September 6, 2010

Shanghai Soup Dumplings

Recently I discovered that "mandu" is the Korean word for dumpling.  In Japanese perhaps you would say I am a "gyoza otaku" or liberally translated: "dumpling eating fiend."  Perhaps my last name means the same thing in Korean?  These are my first attempt at making the greatest type of dumplings I have yet to encounter, the xiao long bao or Shanghai Soup Dumpling.  Inside is a delicious pork filling and piping hot soup - you bite into these over a spoon just in case you spill some soup.  This picture is of one on my better ones... ignore the one in the background that burst while steaming and spilled its precious broth everywhere.  What a shame!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cold Brunch

The menu for this brunch was a response to a particular challenge.  One guest had a a doctor's warning against eating hot foods.  So instead of postponing brunch, we set out to make an equally scrumptious brunch with only cold components.  For the salad, the blackberry-walnut salad was a reprise.  We had two soups, a gazpacho and a cantaloupe chilled fruit soup for the fruit component.  Deviled eggs, homemade wheat bread, and a selection of cold cuts (smoked turkey, prosciutto, a taste of the boccalone orange fennel sausage, and smoked gouda).  The blueberry muffins did not even make the picture.  Needless to say, we were stuffed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blackberry Walnut Feta Salad

I love that blackberries are wild and pop up around the DC area.  There are a few bushes not far from our apartment... though there are usually only enough for a passing snack and not to pick and take home.  These are big ones from a pick your own farm and they are delicious.  Candied walnuts are great - I remember the smell of them in Downtown Crossing in the freezing Boston winter, but they do almost as well in a summer setting and give a satisfying sweet crunch.  The recipe is a strange one, but good for light summer dinners and eating up your delicious blackberries in a way that is not pie.  That is not to say I could ever have enough blackberry pie, but one must have consideration for others who must dine in the same household.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tapioca Pudding

Look no further than the back of the box for this recipe, and if you have the time do the one that uses the beaten egg whites. The strawberries and Trader Joe's waffle cookies are good complements to the vanilla-y awesomeness that this king of puddings manifests.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ralphie's Special Tacos

This recipe comes from Saveur Magazine - a magazine I wholeheartedly recommend for pictures and inspiration, but decidedly not for the recipes.  On occasion, though, I do try them out.  I tried these tacos to try a chicken-cooking technique I had not tried before.  Basically you boil a whole chicken, shred it, and then fry it to get the crispy edges.  Unfortunately I didn't get the required heat in the pan, and all the juices that are saved through boiling the chicken cooked right out of the meat when it went in the pan.  I think with more heat and hotter oil I could do a much better job next time.  They were still tasty.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sweetgreen Bondi at Home

Hot summer days are great for making a meal out of a tasty salad, but unfortunately all my salads start to look the same after a while.  Enter some creative inspiration from local salad joint menus like Chop't and Sweetgreen.  Sweetgreen especially has some really interesting combination ideas.  This is the Bondi from their menu, you can find it here.  The killer ingredient here are the wasabi peas with a crunchiness that does not wilt and a bit of a cleansing spicy kick!

Baby Spinach and Mesclun.
Hearts of Palm.  (Trader Joe's good for these.)
Wasabi peas.
Add chicken if you want.
Whip up some dressing with sesame oil base.  I would have loved to try the miso but we didn't have any on hand.  You could experiment with tahini or peanut butter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Sandwich

Fresh tomatoes.
Fresh green beans lightly sauteed in olive oil.
Scrambled eggs.
Crusty toast.
A taste of cured orange fennel salami.

Equals open-faced summer sandwiches.

Summertime is when you can look around your kitchen and make something simple in a few minutes out of what you have foraged from the grocery store or farm stands.  The salami is amazing and came from our foraging expedition to San Francisco.  you can order online from Boccalone's online store.  We tried this one and the Nduja, which are both incredible.  If you sample any others, let me know.