January 28, 2014

Home Cooking: Pho

I made my first attempt at making pho last weekend. It was good. Not great, but decent. I think I'd make ramen if I was craving noodles before making pho again, but it was a decent bowl of soup nonetheless. I followed Kenji's recipe for his take on traditional beef pho.
The stock was primarily eight pounds of assorted beef bones and parts: shin and neck bones, oxtails, and brisket. Simmered for around five hours, though, in hindsight, I should have let it simmer longer for a bit more flavor.
Also flavoring the stock: charred onions and ginger. Not pictured are the assorted spices like star anise, coriander, fennel, and clove.
Noodles from BHFM.
The good stuff. Mint, cilantro, and basil, bean sprouts, hot Thai chiles, and raw flank steak.

January 20, 2014

St. Cecilia, Home Cooking, and More

Been a crazy start to 2014 for me. Surreal, actually, so not much time for food and wine stuff. I did get to lunch last week at St. Cecilia, Ford Fry's newest addition to his growing culinary empire.
Lunch was solid, but not cheap, and not too unlike the lunch offerings at Fry's No. 246 in Decatur.
The standout was the agnolotti with red wine-braised short rib, creamy mushrooms, and Parmesan. An excellent dish; it was rich, earthy, and satisfying on a cold afternoon.
Tartines also anchor the lunch menu, but to be honest, the two we tried were just okay, including the hunk of porchetta above that was a bit fatty and lacked seasoning.
The fried shrimp and calamari tartine with chickpeas was also a bit of a miss. The shrimp and calamari were overcooked and tough, and to make matters worse, there was a total lack of salt or other seasoning in the batter. St. Cecilia is an impressive space with an eye-catching, expansive bar that seems to stretch to the cavernous ceiling. The restaurant was packed for lunch during what was the first week of service. I can't see how it won't do well.

Some recent home cooking exploits: NFL playoffs mean chicken wings at my house, so I cooked these up following Kenji's Foob Lab recipe for oven-fried wings. Anymore these days I just turn to Kenji when I need new recipe ideas. These wings were killer.
I also made Kenji's recipe for crispy chicken legs with white beans and chili verde. Excellent dish. One of the more satisfying meals I've made at home lately. Delicious, and not terribly difficult to execute.
I'm still having fun with craft beer, too. Hey, its cheaper than wine, and is never premoxed or corked. Another new fave is the stuff from Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego. The Sculpin below is a real-deal IPA for fans of the hoppy stuff.