Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Updates/ Recent Eats

I've been lucky to get a bit of traveling in this summer, which is why I've been so mia -- I'm leaving for a quick road trip/ camping trip this upcoming weekend even but I wanted to post something before then (I have so many pending posts gahh). Some eats from this past month:

Macarons from Laduree in New York. I've wanted to get my hands on these for awhile since they're know to be the best macarons in the world, but I didn't see how they're substantially better than many other macarons that I've tried but they're still delicious. My homemade macarons weren't as perfect as these but they're...not so inferior I'm proud to say ^_^.

Green tea mille crepe cake from Lady M, also in New York. I was impressed by this because check out dem layers. I wouldn't want to make this at home. The pastry cream between the layers was delicious.

Mangosteen from a street fruit vendor cart in Toronto. It's such an interesting fruit that reminds me of a pomelo in flavor but the texture has no equivalent. They were also selling lychee the size of golf balls... so crazy good.

Subsequent posts are from Columbus...

Hot Chicken Takeover! I wanted to try this popup for so long since they currently have a 5-star average (!) on Yelp with 60+ reviews. There's three flavors: cold, hot, and holy. The hot is very spicy but very flavorful, so it's my fave and it's the flavor pictured here. The cold is regular fried chicken. The holy is nonsense.

Jazz and Ribs Festival. I waited two hours in line for these mediocre dudes (I know I should've left, but I was committed already). My homemade ones are better. 

Skyline Chili Yelp event! This was my first time at Skyline and the only way to describe it is oddly delicious. Also, I won a raffle basket with lots of Skyline swag... most random awesome raffle prizes ever.

Steamed cod from Khoi. This was wonderful because the more ginger and scallions the better. 

I got this souvenir dude during my New York/ Canada trip, and I can't stop giggling a bit when I see him (how scandalous). There'll be more posts to come with trip food photos so stay tuned!

Monday, July 14, 2014

M at Miranova

I'm a big fan of Cameron Mitchell restaurants (Marcella's and The Pearl in particular), and M is essentially Cameron Mitchell's flagship restaurant. I enjoy fancy things, and M is one of the fanciest restaurants in the city, so I've been looking forward to giving this place a try for the longest time. I finally had the opportunity to dine here for a special occasion and was not disappointed. The decor is so cool --  the tall ceiling and sheer drapes made it feel as if I had stepped into a swanky restaurant in Vegas. I wish I had taken pics of the restaurant but I didn't, so here's food pics instead to appease you.

Black Orchid - my drank. Belvedere Black Raspberry, St. Germain Elderflower, white cranberry, fresh lemon juice. This is one of the coolest cocktails that I've had recently. The cocktail has an ice sphere sitting in the center, with an orchid frozen into the ice, and the drink tasted like lychee which is one of my favorite flavors. Wonderful.

Sourdough bread with butter and Hawaiian sea salt. Such a big bread dude they gave us... really good but I ate much more carbs than I should've >.<

Three Cones appetizer with lobster salad, roe, and caviar. This was decent, although it was really strange how the cones were sweet like waffle cones. It didn't pair too well with the other savory components of the dish.

Salmon gravlax accompanying the Three Cones app. This is essentially sashimi salmon and scrambled egg. The cones weren't completely filled with lobster salad (it was only a scoop on top), so I put some of this stuff into the empty cone to eat when the lobster salad was done. I wish they just gave us more lobster salad instead of this guy... 

Khoi's veal mignon - veal tenderloin, braised veal cheek, asiago crepe, shiitake mushroom sauce. So good! The veal cheeks especially was amazingly tender. This dish was very well executed.

My sea scallops with spring vegetables, corn fritter, and popcorn. I would say this was the most unique dish of the night (when not considering presentation, since Three Cones wins in this category). The menu said this dish would have popcorn in it, and I was confused and somewhat expected the popcorn to be a metaphor for something. Turns out, it was actually popcorn and it went surprisingly well with the other components of the dish.

Mac and cheese with Tillamook cheddar and black truffles. So darn cheesy. I can never make it this creamy myself at home for some reason. I have some truffle salt around the house though so maybe I'll attempt to recreate this sometime (and dress it up with crab meat/ breadcrumbs/ other magical things).

Coffee and donuts - espresso semifreddo, warm banana beignets, chocolate and strawberry dip. This was not as unique as the earlier courses but it was solid. Beignets were piping fresh, and espresso ice cream is always welcome to enter my mouth at any time.

I think where M shines is in their main courses -- I loved the veal dish, and I woke up wanting scallops for breakfast the next morning. The other dishes were a tad weaker but all around there were no duds. I was so stuffed after the meal that Khoi had to roll me out of the restaurant and into Bicentennial Park next door where there was live music going on. Great day :)

2 Miranova Pl
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 629-0000

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pressure Cooker Ribs

I've been getting sick of ribs because I've been eating it too much (ultimate first world problem I know...). Ever since a friend introduced me to this method of making ribs, it's just so darn easy to whip up so I've been making them too much.

Here's what you do:
  1. Cut up ribs into sections that can fit into a pressure cooker.
  2. Put rib sections into pressure cooker, cover with water (don't overfill!) and salt generously, and bring to a boil
  3. Skim off the gross stuff that rises to the top when you boil meat, then cover and pressure cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F. When the ribs are done in the pressure cooker, transfer to an oven-safe pan, smother with your sauce of choice, and bake for 20-30 minutes (turning occasionally and brushing on more sauce as necessary). Alternatively, you can use a grill for this too.
So easy. Boiling ribs sounded like an odd concept initially, but I became a convert after I tried it and the meat is so moist and tender. Better yet, you have ribs that are ready to eat in under an hour - no annoying three hour roasting time like with traditional baked ribs. And you get a big thing of delicious pork broth for soups and stews (I like drinking it as a soup with bok choi and ginger). 

Pictured here are honey hoisin sticky ribs -- I prepped them using my directions above, using the sauce from this recipe by simply mixing together the following ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
Give it a try and lemme know what you think!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bobby Flay's Chorizo and Goat Cheese Quiche

I adore quiches if that wasn't obvious to you already (as mentioned here and here), and the more unique the recipe the better. So this quiche is pretty crazy. Who knew that goat cheese and chorizo would be the most incredible combination...ah but it is. Really give this a try. I've eaten a crapload of quiches and I've never had anything quite like this guy here. Bobby Flay is a genius.

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

Ingredients for Jalapeño Pesto - it gives the quiche a great kick but it's also optional since the flavors in the quiche are unique enough already that it doesn't need this
  • 6 jalapeño peppers
  • 1.5 cups packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts (I subbed pecans because I has no pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Quiche - note that when I pre-baked my pie crust, it shrank in the pan so I ended up halving the eggs/milk/cream, but the original measurements are listed here:
  • 1 pre-baked pie crust, I just used store-bought because it's so easy
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, freeze for 10 min before using
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 lb Mexican chorizo, casing removed and cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, I used Kraft's Mexican mix
  • 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For the pesto, roast jalapeños with your broiler until charred (my oven's boiler is weaksauce so it only cooked my jalapeños, no charring happened). Remove stems/seeds. Add everything to a blender and blend, adding a little more oil if necessary to help smooth things out.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of your pre-baked pie crust with shredded cheese, cover with cooked chorizo, and top with scallions and thyme.

In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs and then stir in milk/ cream. Pour mixture into crust.

Slice your chilled goat cheese and arrange evenly on top of the quiche. 

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, checking occasionally. The edges should be set while the center may still jiggle slightly. Let cool before serving with jalapeño pesto on the side.

Yumms but forgot the pesto in the picture :( I shared a piece of this guy, but polished off the rest on my own within a day.

Chinese Takeout at Home

I grew up eating Chinese food at home every day. Yet I've barely learned any recipes from my parents, aside from simple stuff like fried rice or tomatoes with egg. My mom just throws a bunch of stuff together and it comes out tasting great, but while she advises that I do the same, it's just not quite there when I do it. Because of this, I've had to learn on my own from blogs. Here's yesterday's dinner:

The spread - I love having time in the summer to cook big meals

Shanghainese lion's head meatballs - not too shabby but I wouldn't add this to my repertoire

West lake soup - this is one of my favorite soups and the recipe is surprisingly close to the real deal, win

Stir-fried green beans in Old Dry Grandma sauce

Khoi's tamarind shrimp - okay not Chinese, more of a Malaysian dish? Great combo of sweet, sour, and savory :)

Bonus from earlier this week - dry-fried chicken, using zucchini and mushrooms instead of celery

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thit Kho - Vietnamese Caramelized Pork

I made a version of this dish for Valentine's Day earlier this year, but I've been dwelling on attempting this dish again ever since. While that attempt was decent, the dish just wasn't quite what I was going for. I kept looking around for an alternate recipe and stumbled on this guy. This version definitely hit the spot. My mom makes a Chinese version of this using soy sauce and sugar, but the umami of the fish sauce in the Vietnamese rendition really makes this dish sing. 

Recipe from A Little Bit Burnt

  • 1.5 - 2 lbs. boneless shoulder
  • 6 eggs, hard boiled for 7 minutes, and peeled
  • 1 can coconut juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar and a bit of water
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, more to taste

Cut meat into large chunks.

Add sugar to a large pot, and add just enough water to wet it. Heat on medium-high until it bubbles steadily and begins to brown.

Once the sugar has caramelized to a medium-dark brown color (be careful not to burn it!), turn off heat and add coconut juice. Be sure to protect yourself from any splashes, because it will bubble violently and it's very hot.

Add fish sauce, pepper, and pork. Turn the heat back on and stir well. Let everything simmer for an hour (stirring intermittently), then add eggs and simmer for an additional 30 minutes until the meat is very tender.

Yums, the pic alone makes my mouth water. Garnish with green onions for prettiness.

We ate the pork and eggs in the form of lettuce wraps, with kale chips on the side. Moderately healthy, or so I tell myself :)