Sunday, November 26, 2017

Ham-Bushi or David Chang's Pork Katsuobushi Revisited

So while in Japan discovering katsuobushi, I thought, why don't people do this with pork. Of course David Chang beat me to it. But then I went and read the article (easily found online) and thought, why did they start the mold immediately? And why use koji mold? I thought it would work much better with a kind of ham. So I got two pork loins, cured with salt. sugar, instacure #1, sage and pepper, for a week in the fridge. Then cold smoked about 3 hours over oak. Then dehydrated a full week in an electric dehydrator. Shaved on the kezuriki and dropped into water at the boiling point, removed from the heat, for 5 minutes, with kombu. The result is amazingly like dashi, with the same huge mouthfeel and aftertaste. Smoky, but beautifully clear. I may just have to write a paper about this one! Maybe serve with pulled noodles, greens and a pork meatball I think.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Homemade Katsuobushi

4 Pieces from each fish

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pulled Cuttlefish Ink Noodle

I don't think I've ever heard of anyone making a pulled noodle with cuttlefish ink, but it worked nicely. Bread flour, one egg, two small packets of cuttlefish ink and water to make a stiff dough. Kneaded half an hour or so, rolled out, oiled and cut into thick strips, rested for 5 hours. Then pulled and as you can see stuck to the counter top on the ends so they didn't spring back. Normally I throw them right in the water, but I wanted to dry these. I think they're stunning.

So how to cook them? I think in a roasting pan, they're about 6 feet long! Then maybe serve in dashi stock with mentaiko. We'll see.

Monday, July 17, 2017


Since the end of April I have been walking. With a sippy cup of wine. Sometimes to work, sometimes on the treadmill, and sometimes in exciting places. This was last week on the Pacific Coast. The idea is to get some exercise without destroying my knees, and without cutting into my prime drinking time. The wine should match the walk of course. So the Russian River provided wines for this walk. Today around the park was some Concannon Rose I got in Livermore on Friday. Sometimes it will have to be a negroni or G@T. I'm not strict about the beverage. The time is usually divided among a morning walk to work, another walk back, then late afternoon walking with wine. I think I could get a book out of this. What do you think? Some places recently have included Oxford, Topanga Canyon in L.A., Valpolicella and Umbria. It sure is fun. And hopefully losing some of the pounds I put on eating noodles every morning for breakfast for three years! I'm today at 800 miles, which is about 10 miles a day. At 3-3.5 mph that's about 3 hours. I wont be able to keep that up once school starts again, but we'll try.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Grass Fed Beef Heart or Involtini di Cuore

This beautiful grass fed beef heart was split and butterflied, all the external fat and internal sinews removed, seasoned with smoked salt, aleppo pepper, oregano, tangerine peel and juice and then tied tightly. Then seared in olive oil, braised for 3 hours in pinot noir.

Thanks to my friends at Hester Ranch, for whom I'm developing a full recipe now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

You have to try this dish! It's a cup of 00 Flour and an egg, kneaded for about half an hour, rested for 2 hours, rolled out and cut on a chitarra. Boiled a minute, then gently sauteed in Irish Butter, Red Boat Fish Sauce, 1/2 lime, Cilantro, Sriracha and some Urfa Chili. Perfect chewy, salty, spicy and unctuous. I could eat this every day.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Peep Noodle Soup

With a pair of scissors, cut 8 Peeps into small pieces and dehydrate for 3 days on high power until the pieces are hard and dry. Alternately leave in a dry place for about a year. Then grind the peeps in a coffee grinder into a fine yellow powder. Add an equal volume of flour and an egg and mix into a firm dough. Add more flour if necessary. Roll this out into a thin sheet and cut into ribbons. Boil the noodles for about one minute and rinse with cold water, set aside.

Melt two peeps into a slightly sweet sugar/water solution. Add a drop of maraschino cherry syrup. Keep warm.

Arrange the noodles in a bowl with a fresh peep or two on top. Pour the syrup over the peep so he looks hot and sweaty. Add colored sprinkles. Or whatever decorative candy you like.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry, but not a good one, like Amarena, Luxardo, Fabbri.

P.S. This is NOT in the forthcoming book!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Asparagus Noodles

It might as well be spring! The asparagus were cut and dehydrated then ground and mixed with egg and flour. Quite delicious, especially paired with sweet corn noodles made the same way. It is served in a concentrated fish/dashi stock with some home dried cod, or stockfish really, a barely cooked egg, blanched asparagus and tomato.

Just  note the noodle soup book is done, so nothing that appears here will be in the book. I guess I could have gone on writing it forever, but glad I'm not!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession

After months of haggling, I finally have a title! I like it. Simple, to the point, and no misleading obscurities such as you often find in academic titles. "She Slurps Forth: The Poststructural Hermeneutics of Lacanian Noodling In Situ" or how about "Under the Broth: A Prolegomenon the Future Metaphysics of Noodle Hegemony"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hand Made Hybrid Noodles for Newbies

People are often dissuaded from making noodles by hand, assuming that it's too much work, that you need a gadget of some kind like a crank roller, or that you need a precise recipe and a lot of practice rolling dough. It's just not true. In the past I've just said, throw some flour and water together and roll it out! But here's a trick that makes it VERY easy to roll, and even easier to cut with a knife.

Mix a cup of bread flour with a cup of rice starch (available at any Asian grocery or online, and it will be labelled rice flour - feel it, you can tell it's starchy. It will cost about a dollar for a small bag.) Add an egg, 1/2 tsp salt and slowly work in the egg by hand. Then add water a dribble at a time and knead about 5 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary, until you have a smooth dough. Oil the dough lightly. Then roll it out. Yes, immediately. It will take just a minute. (Don't add flour, only a little more oil if you need it.) Then take a knife and cut into long strips. It will take just a little patience, but it is very easy. (Don't try to roll the dough up into a tube and cut it, or it will squish.) Then boil the noodles for about 2 minutes. Here I've just added some soy, rice wine and sesame oil. They're very much like great udon. And of course I'd put them in soup. This will feed two.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Aztec Food Lecture

Dear Friends, Here's a lecture by me about Aztec Food which you can hear free from Audible: 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nettle Noodles, Almond Milk, Enoki Mushrooms, Chicken Balls, Finger Limes and Sumac

It was partly finding these ingredients at the Palo Alto Farmer's Market, but also because I've had almond milk on the mind since doing some medieval recipes with a class at Stanford the other day. You have to use raw almonds of course, soak them over night, remove the skins and then pound with boiling water and strain out the solids. It's so good. The nettles were blanched in boiling water, dehydrated, ground and then mixed with flour and egg into a noodle. The finger limes were left over from the Fancy Food Show last week. They all came together so nicely, with a nod to the Tria Genovese recipe in the Anomimo Toscano (late 14th c.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Italian Food History and Cooking Workshop

May 16-21, 2017  At the Villa Serenella, San Pietro in Cariano just outside Verona
Set in a magnificent Palladian Villa a few kilometers outside Verona, this workshop covers the food and culture of Italy from ancient times to the 20th century with lectures, readings, hands on cooking, single or double occupancy rooms, and historic meals at the villa, all included. Lessons will focus on Italian cookbooks such as Apicus, Platina, Scappi, Corrado, Artusi, and Marinetti, from which we will cook directly, all in translation.

The workshop will be run by Ken Albala and Demet Guzey. Ken is professor of history and chair of food studies at the University of the Pacific, with 24 books in print, and his food history course on DVD from the Great Courses company. Demet is a writer and lecturer of food and culture holding a PhD in Food Science and a Level 2 WSET wine and spirit certificate. She lives in Verona.
This villa suburbana dates from the 17th century and we will be cooking in its historic kitchen and eating meals in the dining room and working in the living room. It is situated between the ancient city of Verona with its splendid Roman amphitheater, Juliet’s balcony, brick Renaissance castle and the Lake Garda region. Fly into Milan or Venice and take the train into Verona, we are about 12 km to the northwest.
We will also visit local wineries and Demet will lead us on formal wine tastings.
Cost for the workshop is €1,638 ($1,719) for shared occupancy and €1,950 ($2,048) for single occupancy. This includes all workshop sessions, all accommodations for 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, 5 dinners including two at traditional local restaurants, 5 lunches, wine tasting fees and Verona card which allows you access to all museums and churches of Verona.
Workshop cost will not include airfare or transportation to or from the venue or insurance. The fees will be charged at the time of signing up. Cancellations will be fully refunded until 60 days before the workshop and 50% after 30 days before the start date. After this date no refund will be possible.
To sign up, email us at kalbala@PACIFIC.EDU and