Monthly Archives: June 2014

Have Your Dessert…And Eat It Too

Baby, this might, sound rude / I’m taken, but I want you / And I don’t want to play by the book, no rules / You say you can’t have cake and eat it too / But ain’t that what you supposed to do? / Ain’t you supposed to eat it too? / Ain’t that what you supposed to do? / Ain’t I supposed to eat it too? / If cake’s on the menu

-Trey Songz / Trigga, “Cake”

How is finding the perfect girl like finding the perfect dessert? It’s probably not, but it’s provocative? It’s all about the ingredients/traits, cold or hot, how much time/effort you put in, mix it up or not, and most importantly – who you are sharing it with?

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Sexy Cooking Baking Mixing Time with M (part )
Summer Time Desserts (aka “what I can do with strawberries”)

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Step 1: Start with a blank canvas (blind date?). But not just any blank canvas – heavy whipping cream (not that type of whipping) – this is a canvas that looks better and better as you mix it up. Sometimes you turn the blender on high and you don’t know if it’s working correctly – but with patience, you will make creamy deliciousness.

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Step 2: Okay, skipping a few steps, but here’s the point of derisking: look at all the goodness you put in – there’s no chance this wouldn’t taste good. We added some chocolate-chip muffin pieces, kit kats, reese’s pieces baked into the crust, “fresh” berries, and whipped cream with condensed milk + vanilla pudding.

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Step 3: Never let anything go to waste – good ingredients are hard to find – so we made made strawberry jello with slices floating inside. Some prefer the straight-laced, I prefer a little slant.

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Step 4: Sometimes you turn up the heat, sometimes you chill out and see what happens. Sometimes you mix the hard and the soft, sometimes you let them rest in separate, albeit, connected spaces.

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Step 5: Share

Teach a Boy to Fish…

My favorite hot pot restaurant in the entire world is in Shanghai and their concept couldn’t be any simpler. You pick a fish from a tank and they cut & cook everything – bones & head for soup and the meat for fish balls.

So, adding to the list of things I don’t understand – where’s the rest of the fish when you order a “red snapper” from a fancy restaurant? To find out – I bought one from the fish market and grilled it myself.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Grilled red snapper with random seasoning

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The guy from the store cut his hand cleaning this bad boy. Hopefully that’s not why its so red…

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My philosophy on seasoning is about depth over breadth and traditional over complicated – some salt & peppa & garlic and since I’m too hungry to wait for the lemon to set (I throw some slices on top). I like to do 1-2 minutes in the microwave because the meat is so thick…

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Can you cook non-meat on a George Foreman grill? Why not (aka, that’s why I microwaved it before). Lemon inside in case it dries out…

IMG_1492Which it didn’t. Brown on the outside, white and tender on the inside, with a dollop of tartar sauce on the side –> safe to say fancy restaurant sauces != better tasting fish…

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And more pieces to make more stuff with! I accidentally Oberyn Martell’d the head but whatever, I just threw in a pot and it on low-medium heat…

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And I get steaming hot fish soup. Or ‘fridge it and get some fish jelly….

More Home Cooking

There are probably only two things in the world that I think I’m truly good at. First is sleeping. Second is eating. But you can’t just always eat out or else you’ll go broke and/or get super rotund. Thus, I frequently cook my own meals and here are just a couple dishes that I’ve made recently! DSC04270 String beans with bacon stripsDSC04282DSC04311 A real man’s salad – chicken breast on a bed of arugulaDSC04319 Crabby Patties! Nah just normal beef patties from Trader Joe’sDSC04322DSC04341Probably one of my favorite dishes to cook – braised chicken wings. Pretty simple steps: 1. Heat up olive oil in pan and brown both sides of wings 2. Pour 1/4 cup soy sauce and flip the wings to make sure both sides get coated 3. Add 2 cups water 4. Add sriracha sauce to add a little kick to the wings 5. Put on light boil for 40 minutesDSC04345DSC04330 Homemade mochi! Just kidding, these were store bought but they’re so beautiful aren’t they? Green tea mochi with red bean pasteDSC04340White peach mochi so good

Sunday Morning Crepe

I may not own many possessions in this cold, hard world, but one thing I don’t have a shortage of is theories that I pulled from my a**. Why are Asian men hairless? I’ve got a bastardized evolution theory for that. Don’t know how to prioritize? Let me tell you about my pick-2-out-of-3 theory. And, why are there no repeat customers to your magic crib? I’ve got an answer and trust me, it’s not your morning dragon breath.

So here’s my Sunday Morning Theory: Saturday morning girls just want to go home and change and Sunday morning girls usually have brunch plans. So if you want to keep a girl, you just have to convince her that your eggs are better than Penelope’s eggs.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Mushroom Crepe Stuffed with Beef/Veggie/Thai Sauce

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The finished product. Yes, it looks delicious when you are done, so sit tight. Yes, I ate half of it while I was cooking it…because once you hand it over, you’re not getting any back. (Impress-factor: eating like a man)

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Skipping to the fun part – probably unnecessary, but hey if you’re not having fun cooking, you’re not doing it right. (Impress-factor: evenness)

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Alright, so first you beat those eggs into yellow oblivion. You do lift, right, bro? And add some color with finely chopped up scallions and mushrooms. (Impress-factor: arm muscles)

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Like last night, don’t go too fast in the beginning – turn the heat on medium and let the gooey liquids chill first before turning up the heat to sear the bottom. (Impress-factor: patience)

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Flip that over and work the other side too. (Impress-factor: multifaceted-ness)

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You didn’t forget to cook each part separately before the inside is just as important as the outside. So stir fry the veggies before inserting into your egg-crepe cocoon. (Impress-factor: the feels? all the feels)

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Add some flavor. I used Thai pad thai sauce but you can choose whatever adds to the flavor without taking away from the individuality. (Impress-factor: not bland)

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Wrap it, present it, smile it. (Impress-factor: finishing strong)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner – Amy Ruth’s

Actually it was lunch. But seriously, this has to have been one of my favorite meals of all time. Highly recommend it anyone who wants a nice meal for a completely reasonable price. (Huge portions too). And extremely easy to get to. You can either take the 2,3 to 116th St. which takes you directly outside the restaurant or the 6 to 116th and walk 5 minutes.

Amy Ruth’s
113 W 116th Street (on Lenox Ave)
New York, NY 10026

Click here for the menu!

DSC04263 DSC04266 Some nice warm cornbread to kickstart our appetiteDSC04268 The waffles and chicken were more moist than your date after promDSC04269
Peach cobbler was pretty amazing too but by this time we were full out of our minds

 

 

 

Hell Ya, Jinya (Ramen)!

Because I live on an island, questions like, “if you are stuck on a deserted island, and you had to pick one ramen place to sustain you for the rest of time…” becomes maybe 1% more relevant. So, similar to my search for the perfect girl, I have wandered the streets of Manhattan (and recently veered into Brooklyn) in search of the perfect ramen joint – hoping that someone will say, “of all the ramen joints in this town, you walk into mine” … or something like that.

Anyways, emo-side-rant-aside, my leader for the last two years has been Totto’s chicken broth ramen. But yesterday I found an usurper to the crown in the form of Jinya Ramen.

Address: 24 Greenwich Ave, between Charles St & 10th St in West Village
Price: $11-14 for ramen, $4-9 for appetizers, and you’re not allowed to order the rice bowls at a ramen joint
Hours:
Takes a break between lunch and dinner – til 11pm on weekdays, 12am on Friday-Saturdays
Wait / Reservations: They take reservations but I got in Saturday night without a wait – YMMV

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I was feeling down, so I ordered the fruitiest glass of sake. Hmm look at the wood decor. This place is pretty classy compared to Totto or Menkui.

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There are moments that you hear five words about a girl dish and you just know you have to see her try it. Here, that was the homemade organic tofu, made fresh…at your table! So it’s like booking at Circle, where they bring the delicious “fruit” to you! Jk. But so needless to say, I didn’t need much convincing to know that I wanted to bring the waiter over to pour out some for me.

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They give you some toppings and you wait about 5 minutes for the tofu to chill and thicken. Really freaking good…

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For the main, I got the Tonkotsu Black, with about 5 toppings included and you can ask for extra fresh garlic (pressed by yours truly). Like the perfect Asian girl, I probably wished there was more meat in the soup, but it was secretly fun to have her make me do some work for my meal.

Next Time
Like the girl who keeps you wanting for more, I’d go back for the shrimp toast and crispy rice with spicy tuna, and “umami-flavored” sake, and the rest of the ramen choices. With spicy chicken ramen and fried crispy chicken options on the menu, is this the mythical best of both worlds that could overtake both Totto and Mad4??

And don’t worry, you can test drive and take this model home with you, it’s a mere $350k initial investment.

Then I can cook my tears into my very own ramen:

New Lens, New Perspective

Just got a macro lens for my camera (30mm f3.5) just so I can take better pictures of food. I am such a loser so passionate about what I do.

I made steak & brussels sprouts tonight and decided to try out the new lens. Special shoutout to Eric who showed me this recipe for cooking brussels sprouts. Before him, I was confined to the salt/pepper/olive oil combination. His way is actually surprisingly easy too.

1. Heat up pan on high heat (with no oil)
2. Place 3-4 strips of bacon on pan and let it cook til the fat melts off.
3. Take out bacon strips, put in brussels sprouts and cook for ~10 minutes or until they’re nice and brown.

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(Pork) Belly In My Belly

There’s some things I won’t ever understand. I don’t get people who roll toilet paper under, Asians who refuse to pronounce Shanghai correctly, girls who don’t wear heels (jk!), boys who complain instead of following their dreams, and eaters who take pictures of their food. But most of all, I don’t understand people who don’t like to cook.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like lighting my money on fire and I don’t like paying other people to wipe my butt. In unrelated news, I don’t like overpaying for what I can cook at home.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Red Braised Pork Bellies – Hong Shao Rou
This is a Shanghainese specialty. We men cook in Shanghai, among other things. Requires some tenderness, some patience, but most of all, requires lots of soy sauce.

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Yes, I cooked that. Yes, you can stay the night.

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Step 1:
Get some raw pork belly, but not the thin kind – you might have to brave the smell and go to Chinatown for this. Wash it and chop it up into cubes (better than I did) big enough that they can stand up on their own and still fit in your mouth individual. Save the jokes. Leave the fat. Yes, I know. Just trust.

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Step 2: I hope you bought some soy sauce in C-town, the dark kind. Douse your cubes until it gets covered 2/3 of the way up. Shanghainese people eat everything sweet, so make it authentic, mix in some sugar. To make it unauthentic, I prefer brown sugar.

How much? That’s the other beauty of Chinese cooking – there are no standard measurements, you do it by taste and experience. So just put enough to see it melt.

Let it sit for a few hours on one side with the fat and then overnight on the side with the meat. At the minimum, do 30 minutes each side.

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Step 3: Get your trusty wok and heat it up dry. If you want to be non-Asian you can add some oil, garlic, cloves if you want. But to do it right, just throw in the cubes in and toss around for a few minutes on high – the fat that you didn’t cut off should help here. Then turn it all the way down and pour in a new soy sauce, sugar mixture, cover maybe 1/2 of the way up. Cover the top and go do something else.

I’m not sure how long to cook it, I just check up on it every 10 minutes. Basically, the lower the heat, the longer you can cook it, the better it is. This is the time for your dining companion to contribute some concoctions of her own and you can add in some bamboo, tofu, eggs. Anything that tastes good when salty goes.

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Step 4: How do you know it’s done? It’s brown on the outside, it’s tender on the inside, your kitchen smells amazeballs, and it tastes like real meat but not too salty. Again, I kept it simple, but feel free to add embellishments – just add it a bit later in the process so it won’t soak up all the soy sauce-ness.

Finale: Look, like all things in life, there’s a short way to do this (just throw in more soy sauce to get taste salty) and a long way to do this (soak overnight). There’s a fancy way (pressure cooker?) and a cheap way (any frying pan will do). But either way, it’s relatively easy to prepare and clean up. You can pair it with veggies or with wine. Customize to your heart’s content. Best of all, there’s way too much meat for one person to eat, so invite someone over to eat your meat deliciousness with you.

And finally, if it’s good enough for Eddie Huang, it’s good enough for me: