30 March 2010

My New Favourite Leftovers

Leftover ramen

This is my new favourite leftover dish. Boil some fresh noodles from your favourite Asian grocer until soft. Put them in some reheated ramen broth. Add some leftover basil leaves. A chopped celery stick. A few pea shoots. And some leftover tandoori chicken. Beauty.

Every bowl is different, based on what leftover you have. I love it. A beautiful homemade dinner, served 15 minutes after getting home from work.

25 March 2010

Grilled tandoori chicken

I have been remiss in my blogging duties. Primarily, I have been unhappy with my photographic adventures, but now, with the recent time shift, I can often prepare dinner when it is still light out and I can use outdoor light to photograph dinner. I hope I'll have more posts in the future.

Here's a quick dinner you can prepare. It's a delicious dinner for the weekend that can be prepared with a tiny bit of prep time, and about an hour of marination time. I start it towards the end of Bbq Jr's naptime, and we can eat it as a lovely Sunday night dinner.

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 chickens, quartered
Run the cilantro, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, lime juice and olive oil through a food processor to make a lovely, smelly paste.

Food processor

Pour that lovely paste into a deep pan (I use a pyrex baking pan).


Then gently blend in the yogurt. (Don't blend the yogurt in in the food processor or you'll end up with tandoori butter. Blech).

Marinade + yogurt

Mix into a lovely marinade.

Full marinade

Marinate the chicken in this lovely paste. For one lovely hour. In the lovely fridge. (Cause really, you don't want to incubate Salmonella in this paste. So keep it in the fridge.).

Marinating chicken

Get a medium fire going on your grill. I like to let it burn down a bit for this dish. The dripping yogurt grease is just begging for a flareup, so really, medium fires are your friend. Or charred chicken is your friend. Your call, really. But I prefer medium heat.

Grilling chicken

Turn the chicken frequently. I find this is a dish I can't really leave the grill. Flaring yogurt explosions are too likely (at least in the first 15 minutes).

Grilling chicken 2

Continue moving and flipping the chicken gently. You don't want to tear the skin, so be gentle. But keep moving it, so you don't char it. You want the chicken browned, cooked and untorn. No pressure. No delicious pressure.

Grilled chicken

Continue cooking, roughly 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and nicely browned.

Final grilled chicken

Serve. And love that tandoori flavour. Fresh spice, grease, moist chicken and loveliness. Yum.

16 March 2010

No knead bread

I was reminded today of our mortality, our frailty. What matters in life. Family. Time on the beach. A nice dinner with friends.

Here's an easy loaf of bread to accompany a meal, adapted from the book, My Bread. It requires almost no effort, just a little forethought, and a scale:
400 g bread flour
8 g salt
¼ tsp active dry yeast
300 g water
additional flour for dusting
Mix everything together until the flour is wet.

Unrisen dough

Let rise in a warm place, 12-24 hours.

Risen dough

Coat your fingers with dry flour, then scoop the dough out of the bowl and fold it into a loaf in as few motions as possible. Dust the loaf with flour.


Take a smooth, cotton tea towel (has to be smooth, terry cloth sticks), and dust heavily with flour. Lay the loaf smooth side up on the towel, dust the other side, and cover lightly with the towel. Let rise 2 more hours.

Half an hour from being done rising, heat an enamel pot in the oven (like this one) at 475°F. After half an hour, remove the pot from the oven, and gently drop the loaf into the hot pot (careful, you don't want to burn yourself here). Close the pot, and place back in the oven.

Bake 30 minutes, lid on, and another 10 minutes, lid off to bronze the loaf. The closed lid acts to keep steam in the pot, giving the effect of a humidified oven. Then opening the pot helps to darken the loaf. To give you this:


The extra long rising gives it a nice fermented flavour that I haven't found in other breads. Delicious.

Cool loaf 1 hour, then serve to loved ones.

06 March 2010

A Temple of Meat

So we find ourselves in Los Angeles this weekend to go to the Anaheim/Montréal hockey game on Sunday. And it's raining, so outdoor activities are out. (Who said it never rains in southern California - it's been raining for 2 months straight). And what are we to do, but find some delicious eats while we're here? Well, find them we did, at the Temple of Meat (Korean meat, that is): Park's BBQ. (By the way, I'm still not that guy. No pictures, sorry - though I confess I wished several times that I had brought my camera).

Korean BBQ is something pretty special, if you've never had it. They start by setting a fire in the middle of your table. (Every table has it's own ventilation system, to vent out the smoke). And then they bring out meat for you to cook at your table. We ordered the Kobe-style beef and the Seasoned Prime Short Rib. The Kobe style beef was sliced thin and well marbled. It sizzled into delicious caramelized wonderfulness. The waitress brought us a dipping sauce that was sweet and hot (fish sauce based, perhaps?) and a seasoning salt of kosher salt, ground pepper and sesame seeds. We could dredge a tiny bit of that salt on the meat to add to the flavour. She rubbed the hot grill with a cube of beef fat, and threw down the thin slices of Kobe-style beef. Once it was caramelized on both sides, we removed it, and dredged it in the salt-mix. Mein gott, the flavour. Deliciousness. Smokey, just enough fat.

They also serve what they call Wagyu beef, which is the same meat, cut thicker. I think the meat they call Kobe is also Wagyu beef, sliced thin. And meanwhile, as we ate, they piled numerous delicious sides around us. Kimchi. Sesame-seasoned greens. A cabbage salad. Some spicy seasoned crab bits (complete with crab shell). Cubes of flavoured gelatin. A rice noodle mix. And a mild broth. All of this stuff was fantastic, though the crab was a little surprising. I thought it was kimchi until I bit into a crab shell. Yowza.

We finished the meal on the thicker cut Seasoned Prime Short Rib. This stuff we wrapped in small rice sheets, much thicker than the rice sheets I've encountered in Vietnamese cuisine. Teeny, tiny little burritos were folded, and deliciousness ensued. This meat was fantastic. And given that there was charcoal in the grill, there was a nice smoky flavour in this. Really, really nice. And kinda fun for a barbecue enthusiast such as myself to tend the meat. (The waitress kept coming over to turn the meat, but I was more than happy to take over).

I really loved that sesame seasoning salt. Pure genius.

Finally, I didn't know which Korean beverage to order, so I asked my waitress for help. She set me up with some Saan-soju. This is a distilled beverage, and at 20% alcohol, packs a bit of a punch. The flavour was quite mild, and the alcohol was nearly unnoticeable. This stuff could sneak up on you. It reminded me of sake, though the flavour was quite clearly different, it was mild in that way that sake is.

All in all, a lovely evening at a lovely restaurant. We'll be back.