~ Totally Undeserving of the James Beard Award

~ Completely Undeserving of the James Beard Award ~

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Salmon-chanted Evening...

...you may see a stranger...you may see a strangerrrrrrrr....across a crowded room...and some...

Oh!...hello there...welcome to by humble blog!

It's so nice to have visitors. Do you like to have visitors?

I bet you do. Visitors are nice.

Since you are here...why don't you stay for dinner? I'm having salmon.

Do you like salmon? Me too. Salmon is nice.

And I bet that salmon are nice. If I were a fish, I would like to have a salmon as a visitor like you!

So let's start cooking, shall we? OK.

Here I have a few simple ingredients to enhance the salon. Oops!...I wrote "salon", silly me...of course I meant SALMON!

Clockwise, I have fresh thyme. I wonder why "thyme" is spelled with a "H". Seems rather silly doesn't it?
Then a little freshly cracked black pepper, some dill and finally some salt. 

Yep! That's salt It looks different, huh? Kind of a pink color isn't it? That's because it is "Alaea" Hawaiian salt...all the way from the islands of Hawaii. The color comes from the red volcanic clay found in Hawaii. It doesn't change the flavor, but it is a bit less salty than regular table salt.

Have you been to Hawaii? I bet you have. Hawaii is nice.

So, here's my salmon (notice I didn't write "salon" this time?).

This is Alaskan King salmon...all the way from...that's right!...Alaska!

Have you been to Alaska? I have. Alaska is nice.

Because this salmon is so fresh, I did not want to do much to it..and you know what? I don't NEED to do much to it. I tastes wonderful with just a bit of flavoring, no need to cover up and hide the fresh taste of it. So I lightly sprinkled on the salt, pepper, dill and thyme and added a few slices of lemon.

I am sad for some people. Some people spend a lot of time to catch a fish, and it is so fresh...or some people spend a lot of money for good quality fish, only to hide it with sticky sauces or pastes or whatever and they cover up the fresh flavor of the fish.

I am sad in another way. Some people buy farmed salmon. Can you believe it? They have salmon farms! And they feed them pellets of food of who knows what. Then those ingredients get into the meat, then we eat those pellet ingredients. It's terrible.

Don't buy farmed fish. Farmed fish is not nice.

The salmon went onto (into?) my Traeger smoker grill at about 350º F. Check it often to make sure you don't over cook it.

Do you like over cooked fish? I don't. Over cooked fish is not nice.

To go with my salmon, I cut up some red potatoes and did little fancy thing. Can you see what I did?

That's right! I peeled some skin off. Just for fun.

For the potatoes, I have some salt, also from Hawaii but it is regular sea salt. Also, some fresh rosemary and black peppercorns.

I wanted a very course grind on the pepper, so I crushed them under a small pan until I got the size I wanted.

Like this.

I tossed the potatoes with some olive oil and the spices and baked them for 25 minutes or so at around 350º F. They were small in size, so they didn't take too long.

Now for the veggies...grenn beens. Oh, for heaven's sake! "Grenn Beens"???...that's crazy!


I blanched the beans is salted boiling water for about 1 minute until tender and shocked them in an ice bath. Sautéed a few strips of red and yellow bell peppers in a pan with butter..

...then added in the drained beans and tossed them around to heat them through. 

Doesn't it look yummy? Did you know we eat with our eyes?...so if it looks appealing to eat, we will want it more...that's why I added the colorful bell peppers so it wasn't just a bowl of green veggies!

And here it is all plated up. Dig in...won't you!?

Thanks for visiting! I hope you come back another day and we can cook something else!

Bye now!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Trip To Asia...

Off to the Far East today folks...Asia...the Orient...Indochina...

Ah, the food...complex yet simple...noodles, rice, sauces...and batteries???

First up...potstickers.

These pan fried dumplings can hold a wide range of fillings...the sky is the limit. Veggie, meat...whatever.

For mine, I had some left over smoked pork.

Here's the pork which has been chopped fine. 
It already has plenty of flavor from what was used when it was smoked, so I felt nothing else is needed. 
They are typically dipped in a sauce when served...so that can be used as the additional extra flavor.

Here's the wraps...store bought "gyoza" wraps

A small portion of the meat in the center...and with an egg wash, coat the edges...that's the glue...

...fold in half...and press to seal...

...and crimp the edges. I won't show you this technique...because I can't do it well, but you get the idea.

For a detailed look on how...see this video:

...place them in a pan with hot oil and fry until golden...add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan...cover to steam 1 or 2 minutes and that's it. Depending on your fillings, you may need to steam longer to cook the ingredients as my pork was already cooked through.

The dipping sauce is of course whatever you like, just soy sauce or soy sauce with a bit of wasabi or sriracha or sweet chili sauce.

Okay, next up...fried rice. As with most cooking, having your "mis en place" ready is very important when cooking Asian food as things happen fast due to the high heat with the wok.

You will need:
cooking oil, I suggest peanut
3 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Soy sauce
1 tablespoon of grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup diced carrot (same size as a pea)
1/2 cup chopped ham (same size as a pea)
green part of 2 spring onions, cut on the bias (for garnish)
chopped cilantro (for garnish)
Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

The cilantro is in the small bowl on the left in cold water to help keep it fresh.

This happens fast which is why you need everything set up...so be ready.
First lightly beat the eggs and cook on high heat in 1 tbl oil to a soft scramble and transfer to a bowl 
(I forgot to take a picture of that, but I trust we all know how!)...

...add 1 tbl oil and add the grated ginger, cook 30 seconds (if using powdered ginger, add it later)...add the carrots...cook another 30 seconds...add the ham and cook about 1 minute...each ingredient you add you ned to be constantly stirring and flipping...

...now simply toss in the peas, rice and white pepper. Add the powdered ginger at this step if using. Add 1 or 2 tbl soy sauce...toss and heat....finish with a drizzle of sesame oil...

 ...plate it and sprinkle on the green onions, cilantro and sesame seeds.

For the main course, we have Kalbi (or galbi) ribs, also known as flanken beef ribs or simply beef short ribs. These are beef ribs cut across the bones, usually 3 to 4 bones per piece and about 1'2 inch thick.

 Here I have a rub for some of my ribs, consisting of salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders, chinese five spice and a bit of powdered rosemary.

For the rest of my ribs, I used a combination of bottled teriyaki sauce and some szechuan peppercorns, which I toasted to bring up their flavor more and then crushed in a pestle.

Szechuan peppercorns is not a pepper at all...the reddish-brown berries come from the prickly ash tree. Besides being peppery, it has the unique aspect of a numbing sensation or tingling. Some say it reminds them a 9-volt battery on your tongue! Hey kids...let's cook with batteries today!

The ribs were simply grilled up and served.