Friday, June 25, 2021

Lobster and Noodles


 There's a first for everything in life: Leftover Lobster. It called to me from the fridge all night. So I gave in, made some fresh egg noodles, tossed with butter, parm and a little lobster stock. OH my goodness! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Chawanmushi Improvs

 

This is a kind of Japanese custard which people think requires some remarkably complex technique. It’s actually easier to make than a poached egg. Its appeal lies primarily in the soft creamy texture, especially when contrasted with crunchy or chewy garnishes. In flavor it can be as delicate or as intense as you like in the morning, and is entirely dependent on the strength of the stock you use. The key to success, I discovered after much travail, is adhering to a simple formula and precise timing and after that you can use any ingredients you like. Here is a relatively classic version, though garnished according to my personal whim.

½ c dashi stock
1 jumbo egg
½ tsp mirin
½ tsp soy sauce
2 small pieces of lightly salted salmon

A few whisps of dill, Thin wedge of tomato, 1 shiitake mushroom, 1 tsp neutral oil

 If you can make dashi stock, by all means do. It is a handful of skipjack mackerel shavings and a piece of kombu steeped in hot water and strained. You can also find powdered dashi stock, just try to avoid the jarred instant hondashi powder. Put 3 inches of water in a small pot and bring to the boil. Break the egg gently into the room temperature stock, and stir with your finger. On no account should you beat this mixture, or you’ll have spongy scrambled eggs. Add the mirin and soy. With a small fine meshed sieve set over a small teacup, press the mixture through. This takes a few minutes, so be patient. Cover it with tin foil tightly. Lower the heat of the water as low as it will go, and place the tea cup in the pot and cover. Steam for exactly 12 minutes. If the water is over 170 degrees, the liquid stock will be pressed out of suspension and you’ll have wet scrambled eggs. Do don’t be tempted to turn the heat up or even peek at it.

Meanwhile cook your mushroom in oil, and char the tomato too, then set aside.

Remove the teacup from the pot and let rest 3 minutes. Remove the tin foil and arrange the garnishes on top. Serve at once with a spoon while still warm.

Now here’s the best part, you can use absolutely any kind of stock and any garnishes you like. An intense mushroom stock was remarkable with sour cream and chives and a few sliced of truffle for extravagance. Chicken stock was incredible in custard form, especially contrasted with crunchy sweet corn fried in butter, with a few chewy chicken meatballs to garnish. A shellfish stock with shrimp would be so delightful too. I leave this to your imagination. 




Friday, January 15, 2021

Amaranth Sushi with Smoked Trout

 

Amaranth Sushi 1/15/2021

Some grains simply don’t stick together well enough to hold together in a rolled sushi, but amaranth is an exception. The nutty flavor also goes so nicely with the fish that it doesn’t need any further embellishment.

¾ c water

1/8 tsp salt

½ c amaranth

1 smoked trout filet

1 tbs mayonnaise

2 sheets of nori

 

Bring the water to the boil in a small pot with the salt. Add the amaranth and lower the heat. Simmer very gently for 20 minutes covered. Remove the lid and let the steam rise in the hot pot, stirring now and then, until the amaranth is completely dry and cool. Mix the trout and mayonnaise. Briefly pass the sheets of seaweed over an open flame for just a second so they are toasty and crisp. Divide the amaranth between the two sheets and make a thin layer. Place the trout in a thin line along the middle. Then place the whole thing in a sushi rolling mat, and roll up tightly, pressing it in with the edge of the mat rolled around it. Remove the whole roll, cut into 4 parts with a serrated bread knife, very gently so you don’t squish out the contents. Repeat with the other sheet. Makes 8 small pieces.