November 17, 2014

HomeCooking: November Edition

It's cold out. That's a good thing. Fall is my favorite time of the year for getting busy in the kitchen. I started getting serious about making ramen and pho last year and I now feel pretty confident that I make damn good renditions of each for a home cook. Pictured above, a riff on Ed Lee's recipe for chicken and country ham pho. Lee's recipe calls for a super clean and delicate broth that is made simply from chicken, blackened onions and ginger, peppercorns, and a little star anise. This stuff will make your kitchen smell awesome on a cold Saturday afternoon with football on in the background.
I also tried my hand again at Ivan Orkin's shio ramen. Orkin's broth is dashi-based-there's a good bit of dried fish used to make this stock. Yes, one does get well-acquainted with the frozen dried fish aisle at Buford Highway Farmer's Market when shopping for this dish. It is definitely different than the rich pork flavor of a traditional Tonkotsu ramen.There are seven separate components to this bowl of ramen, preparation is best spread out over a couple of days as you have to make an overnight dashi, a soffrito,  pork belly that cures overnight, etc. I'm not sure it's always worth it, and I was certainly  more enthusiastic about the effort it took when I first made this ramen last winter. That being said, for ramen at home on a Sunday night, it pretty much kicks ass.
I also made a few dishes from Sean Brock's first book, Heritage. I'm a fan of Brock's Charleston eateries and he certainly has cemented his place as a force in new Southern cooking over the last decade. His cookbook is massive, and beautifully laid out, though I can't say I felt the urge to make many of the recipes at first glance. Anyway, I took a shot on a couple of dishes including the hearty farrotto with kale pictured above that uses farro in a risotto-like preparation. A nice vegetarian meal option for cooler weather and farro is quickly becoming one of my new favorite grains.
Another one from the Brock book: grilled and smoked chicken wings with a burnt scallion bbq sauce. These were addictive. Grilled for a few minutes on each side, and then smoked over the same coals for about 10 minutes. The burnt scallion bbq sauce is going to be a mainstay in my house now.
Honey glaze roast duck. Another Ed Lee jam. Lee recommends scoring the skin of the raw duck and ladling boiling water over it prior to roasting. The boiling water bath releases a good bit of fat and allows you to get a nice crisp skin during the roasting process. Winner!

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