27 April 2009

a simple salad.

This salad was somewhat inspired by the marinated kale salad at Urban Forage in SF; I've made one that seemed close tho theirs: kale marinated in vinegar and oil until it loses a bit of its crunch. This one here has no oil during the marination process and uses little vinegar. I cut red mustard greens and kale in chiffonade and julienned carrots. That was tossed with salt and a bit of ume vinegar (brown rice or cider or a good red wine one would work as well). That was pressed in the tsukemono ki for three hours (any container with a weight would do). N.b.: this moved along well as it's 75º out. I then squeezed out any excess moisture and drizzed the salad with sesame oil and garnished it with pressed bean curd and roasted black sesame seeds. The mustard greens have so much flavor that the salad needs nothing else.

spring is here

Fiddleheads feel like definitive proof that Spring has sprung. (75º weather, on the other hand, suggests it may have already passed us by). These hail from the same spot off the bike path where I found them last year.

20 April 2009


A spread entirely of tsukemono. This recipe inspired the daikon pickles (turnips being out of season). I sliced a medium daikon into thin sliced and layered it with salt, strips of kelp soaked in brown rice ad ume vinegars and topped it with Japanese chili powder. I drizled some of the kelp soaking vinegar on top and pressed it in a tsukemono ki for about four hours. I then cut it into squares and held them together with skewers. Really quite wonderful: spicy from the chili as well as the daikon and just a bit salty. There was also the carrot-burdock pickle, a quick cucumber pickle (cucumber tossed with salt and dulse and pressed for four hours) and a lotus root-and-carrot pickle from Quick and Easy Tsukemono. This was my first time working with lotus root. It's like water chestnuts but nuttier and with a smoother texture. Wonderful.

« housewarming »

This weekend my roommate and I had a seven-month belated "housewarming" and quite a spread of food. Highlights included a vegan cucumber dip with a base of cashews ground with cucumber water from the shredded cucumber that were added at the end, a walnut-cremini pâté (also vegan), rillettes, gougères (Tartine's recipe), baked leeks wrapped in bacon (those disappeared in minutes) and a three-mushroom puff-pastry tart (the puff pastry came out wonderfully, much better than last time I made it. Rolling it thicker and baking hot helped).

haricots verts & almonds / leeks & bacon

rillettes de porc

Made rillettes de porc in the same style as the duck rillettes I made a few weeks back. I was very happy with how they came out. Marinated 1½ pounds of pork belly with allspice, one star anise, lemon peel, coriander seeds, a small stick of cinnamon, peppercorns and some read wine. I seared it, cooked it at 275º for 3 hours and I had a cup of slow-roasted pork belly ready to be shredded and packed into pots.

15 April 2009


Nothing is quite so satisfying than making a stock so rich it gels.

And then freezing it in ice cube trays for easy access.

06 April 2009

5-minute dinner

A very satisfying five-minute dinner. First step, had leftover brown rice. Second, sautéed green beans (the skinny haricots verts), with cashews and black sesame seeds (for three minutes at most, on high). Third, added tamari and mirin. Done. Delicious.


Made two types of pickles recently, a brined burdock-and-carrot pickle and a tsukemono-style eggplant.

The burdock (gobō) and carrot pickle was a basic brined vegetable pickle with about two teaspoons of salt in a cup of water. (I usually refer to Wild Fermentation for basic brining techniques). I had about a quart of thinly sliced burdock and carrot with some shredded ginger and Korean chili pepper flakes. After 5 days it was tart but still very crunchy. The earthiness of the burdock permeates the carrots and the ginger brightens everything up.

Meanwhile, the eggplants were pressed in my tsukemono ki. I tossed a very long Chinese eggplants that was cut into one-inch lengths with a teaspoon-and-a-half of salt and then tossed them with dulse flakes, a type of seaweed that is relatively sweet. I pressed the eggplants for a good day, tossing them a few times throughout. They lose some moisture, obviously, and remain a little spongy but lose the bitterness of raw eggplants. I ate most of them snacking after dinner. Perfect for warm evenings and pilsener.