So the other day, I saw some beautiful duck breasts at the store and decided to have that for dinner. I’ve been fermenting lettuce at home… and if you’ve been reading some of the previous posts, lettuce has been featured as well. So with the leftovers, I decided to make a batch of “kimchi”, I also had leftover parsley so I used it as well, and I’ll get to the ingredient list and preparation in a bit, but wanted to mention that lettuce ferments beautifully and retains a lot of its bite and brightness. In any case, my dinner that day was so delicious that I decided to make it again tonight and post it here to share it with you. I’ve been cooking quick dinners lately, this is one of them. Takes about 30 minutes to make given that you have a batch of fermented lettuce at hand, but if don’t, just grab kimchi or sauerkraut (cornichons or pickles could be another alternative) at the store and it will slightly different but equally delicious. Pan seared Duck breast with lettuce “kimchi” and fresh pea shoots: Continue reading
Let me sound like a late night infomercial for a second here. If you ever wanted to eat like royalty but still had to cook it yourself because you aren’t royalty (maybe you are, I’m not), this dinner, if you like pork, might be the answer and it takes about 15 minutes to make. When it comes to cooking efficiency and flavor intensity, asian cuisine always comes to the rescue… italian cuisine could also come to the rescue and perhaps many others but let’s stay focused, we can talk about other cuisines in another post.
Pork of great quality at the local store. Not frozen, just beautiful and fresh looking. I’ve talked about mushrooms in the past and how great they are here in Vancouver, so I will repeat myself and say, these mushrooms are incredible, so delicious. Beautiful iceberg lettuce and green onions. Organic everything. I couldn’t resist to put together a quick weekday dinner, take some photos and hit the publish button, specially since I’ve been MIA (again) for a few days.
I’ve been working on another recipe that involves trout, and I ran into a couple of problems (ok, I burned the thing) so I decided to postpone that post until I find another beautiful trout. I went looking for one today, and no luck. They have the most amazing rainbow trouts at the store, I just have to be patient. I could use another fish, but there’s something beautiful about these trouts (I’m literally hypnotized by them) and you can buy them whole, so I’ve been practicing deboning and filleting them. I’m a little less destructive now. Anyway, back to the pork loin. Take that umami factor, then add sweetness, saltiness, garlickiness(?) sourness, and what do you end up with? a 20 minute royal dinner. I told you. And here’s how: Continue reading
I don’t know how to speak or read french but I want to learn it. I know poulet means chicken. I also know that I adapted this recipe form The Modernist Cuisine books. Probably one of the few full recipes in the whole series that didn’t require special equipment like a laser cutter… (ok, an immersion circulator is needed, but a sous vide bath can be improvised at home with a few things too) and didn’t require any less common ingredients. No fancy starches or hydrocolloids. It was very straight forward and when I was done, quite possibly the best chicken breast I’ve had at home or at a restaurant really (maybe I don’t get out much). This recipe in the book is an adaptation of a recipe by Fernand Point. “Fernand Point was a French restaurateur and is considered to be the father of modern French cuisine” I copied this last bit form wikipedia :)
Some restaurants have the tendency to serve dry chicken breast. Why? probably because it is better to err on the overcooked side specially when dealing with poultry just for safety reason. It is also very easy to overcook chicken. I overcook chicken at home sometimes, specially if pan frying it. Lean meat dries out fast at high temperature, muscle fibers compress and all the moisture escapes leaving behind a sad and flaky dry piece of meat. Cooking chicken breasts at high-end restaurants for example, is done carefully, by skilled cooks that know how to use a good combination of stove and oven cooking, others probably rely on thermometers or/and immersions circulating water baths to achieve a perfectly cooked chicken breast that is safe to eat and extremely moist and tender. And all of the above can be done at home. Perhaps not for every casual weekly dinner (because gentle cooking means longer cooking times) but for a special occasion? I don’t see why not! Cooking sous vide is one of the gentlest ways of cooking that I know of. Continue reading
I’m been MIA for 30 days. Long story short, I moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver. And that involved selling my condo and my car, not to mention packing some and storing the rest of all of my stuff. I realized while packing that cooking has been a big deal around here for a few years. Not counting furniture (which I didn’t pack and instead included it with the sale of the apartment) 50% of all my crap was kitchen gear. I own a few guitars which would probably account for 35% of the total volume of my stuff. The rest was photography gear which happens to be a lot smaller and fit snuggly in my camera bag, solid and very valuable 15% of the total of my things. Ah , yes, I do own some clothes too, and they were scattered throughout my bags being used as padding for my kitchen equipment.
Notice the bubble wrap printing on my scale…. so, I tried returning to my blog earlier, but it has been crazy lately. In a previous attempt, I prepared steak and eggs with a chorizo potato hash. Though delicious if I may say so myself, the presentation was a disaster, my sunny side up eggs broke when I transferred them to the plate (I only have stainless steel pots and pans here, I couldn’t find a nonstick pan for my eggs), then the plate I served it on was too small and everything together just looked overcrowded, like a pile of food on a plate out of one of those all-you-can-eat buffets in Las Vegas or I guess any all-you-can-eat place.., you know what I mean, an unappealing pile of food which I devoured immediately and regardless. I should mention that I’m temporarily living in a hotel room which has a kitchen and some gear. I’m still getting familiar with this malicious electric stove too.
Vancouver is beautiful (with it’s rough patches of modernity like any big city). Vancouver markets and kitchen supplies stores are pretty awesome. I will be posting photos of some of these places in the future. The produce and ingredients are great, really good quality stuff. The fish, all of the seafood looks incredibly fresh and beautiful. I will be cooking more seafood in the upcoming weeks. Anyways, so last night was “blog” night and I decided to try something new/different after having been gone all this time. Here in Vancouver you can buy rabbit at the butcher shop. I’ve looked for rabbit in LA. Good luck (at farmers markets sometimes they can be found… again, good luck). I snatched the little guy an ran “home”. I was also looking forward to making fresh pasta, specially in a hotel/condo room with foreign equipment and also some of mine. This rustic pasta recipe contains a few Spanish ingredients that complimented Mr. rabbit really well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Here we go:
First. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Second. Hope you all had plenty of your favorite Christmas delights. Third. We’re here to talk about Hallacas. I’ve posted about this dish a couple of times in the past. We venezuelans eat hallacas only around christmas and new years time. It’s a very popular dish of indigenous origins and spanish influences. It’s also similar to the even more popular mexican tamale or the puerto rican pastel. We usually make them in large batches. 30, 70, 200 hallacas, depends on how many people are willing to serve time in the kitchen for an entire day wrapping portions of masa dough and stewed meat in green plantain leaves. Takes forever and has to be done under the influence of alcohol to make the task bearable. I’m talking 3, 4 sometimes 5 hours, just to wrap the little suckers, back breaking work. Bigger families are better off during this ritual.
I made mine with the help of my sister. We made about 30. Took about 13 hours of work. Ok, under normal circumstances, it would have taken about 10 (I’ll talk about what went wrong and how the mistake was corrected). As horrifying as this all sounds, it’s worth the human sacrifices involved. I don’t know what my favorite thing to eat is, because it changes depending on the time of the year, but I could eat hallacas any time, any day, all day, for days, forever. Maybe this is my favorite thing to eat in the world. People share hallaca recipes, they’re given as presents, you give a family 10 hallacas, but you get 15 of theirs back…… hallacas everywhere, you eat them 3 times a day sometimes, it’s like madness, they freeze extremely well, and after a long night of heavy drinking and partying, a warm hallaca in the morning (or mid afternoon) can mean the difference between feeling like a zombie in no celebratory mood or being ready to rock all over again. Continue reading
I will probably not be blogging in the next few days (hopefully I can sneak one more post before this year is over). In any case, I wanted to say hello to my friends and wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year and thank you all for supporting this cooking blog (that cooking blog I guess) and with whom I’ve had a blast interacting with, exchanging ideas with, talking about cooking and photography with, and learning lots and lots from.
I took this photo the other day and I’ve been wanting to use a pomegranate in some recipe just so I can share it because I really like it, but I give up (since, I’ve learned how to properly seed a pomegranate, not this “silence of the lambs” homage). The holiday colors are all in there, right? maybe not the holiday theme with reindeers and happy snowmen with carrot noses, because it does look like a crime scene instead, or maybe, just maybe it is an explosion of nostalgia over this crazy year that’s ending, and the anticipation over a new one which hopefully will be better than the last. I prefer this cheesy version. It really was just me making a mess in the kitchen though.