Deep Fried Jalapeños

by Tobias on September 25, 2011

Deep fried (not breaded) sliced pickled jalapeños.

I wanted crunchy jalapeños a few nights ago for one of my Royally Awesome Sausage on a Bun™ which usually includes things like thyme aioli, sauerkraut, caramelized onions with garlic, hot Russian mustard, and other delicious garnishes.

The experiment turned out very well.

To make them I used your standard jarred jalapeños, patted them down very well with paper towels to get them as dry as possible, and pan fried them in hot canola oil. When I took them out I gave them just a small pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper to stick to them.

Next time I am going to try frying them more to actually make jalapeño chips.

I saved the now bright green oil presumably jalapeño flavored, but have yet to use it.


Local Seattle Feast

by Tobias on April 19, 2011

Truffle Gnocchi

I had some friends in from out of town which I find to be the perfect excuse to make a delicious dinner using all of the wondrous ingredients that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

I started with Kale stew I made last week; stews get so much better with a little rest. Full of red kale, red greens, black eye peas, celery root cubes, turnip cubes, tomato paste, mirepoix, veg stock, some mushrooms, and…well, probably other stuff I’m forgetting.

Then, insalata caprese. I used fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, both from my favourite produce stand in Pike Market (Sosio’s), fresh mozzarella (made that morning) and some good french olive oil mixed with a nip of lemon juice.

The main corse was a fresh morel mushroom (again, from Sosio’s) gnocchi in a white vermouth cream sauce with black truffles served with baked purple baby carrots with ramps (I have never cooked ramps, but now I’m hooked!).

For desert I made a glass cub of coconut sorbet with shaved mexican chocolate and ginger syrup on top of fresh blueberries and cream.

To finish, I served up the stinkiest cheese I could find. A wonderful, gooey, and creamy cheese with an orange tinted rind who’s stink was met with a spicy bite and lingered for near 15 minutes after a nibble. (I made sure to end with the cheese due to the linger on the palate.)


White Truffle Cannoli with Saffron

by Tobias on September 5, 2010

White Truffle Cannoli with Saffron

While in the DC area a friend of mine provided me with a stunning gift: the oppertunity to have my way with a 3.85 oz Piedmontese white truffle.  I, of course, made white truffle linguini, true white truffle olive oil (most white truffle oils do not actually use real truffles as described in this wonderful NY Times article on the subject) , and other assorted goodies that you must do when you are presented with such an astonishing opportunity.

Truffle 3.85 ounces white Piedmontese

I was trying, as the Japanese Iron Chefs of yesteryear, to design a desert that would highlight the white truffle.  I only had what was on hand at my friends’ house, so I had to get creative. (No, I did not use the ice cream machine, but I was very tempted!)

The children at the house love to make their own cannoli.  My friends would buy the cheap kits at Costco that comes with the pastry tube and the filling allready in a bag so that the kids can quickly make their own cannoli.  I snuck out to the back fridge, stole the cannoli kit and got to work.

First, I used the truffle shaver to slice off a good stack of paper thin marbled white truffle.  I then julienned it, took the small strips and sliced them again to make the smallest little squares of white truffle I could.  I then emptied the pouch of pre-mixed filling, whipped in the white truffle, and then wrapped it up to let it stand in the fridge for a few hours.

The reason I decided to do this was because the essence of truffle is best exuded through oils.  What is the filling of cannoli? Mostly riccota cheese.  What is cheese?  Milk fat!

Once the mixture had time to settle, thus letting all of the beautiful aromas of truffle amazement flutter through the “canned” filling, I took a taste.  I was absolutely amazed.  This was a clear winner, and I only used the low end cannoli kit.  Just think what you can do if you started from scratch!

I pipped in the filling just before serving to the guests.  I then had another idea: Cannoli usually have cherry halves on each end.  We didn’t have any cherries, for one, and I wanted to change things up a bit.  I wanted something red to accent the visual taste of the dish, but I also wanted something subtle and savory to accent and heighten the truffle in the cannoli.  Saffron!

The end result was, dare I say, stunning.  It was clear and away the best dish of the night.  Who would have thought that white truffle cannoli would beat out another dish with slices of white truffle littering your plate?

NOTE: I took the picture at the top when Dawn Newton and I made the same dish from scratch.


Red Peppers

Artwork Anywhere

by Tobias on June 7, 2010

L'Enfant Station: Washington DC Metro
A picture I took with my iPhone (unedited) of L’Enfant Station (Washington DC Metro)

With the right kind of eyes, you can almost always find artwork surrounding you.

The artwork of photography is knowing when the happenstance of beauty is upon you so you can put your eye in the right place at the right time, taking scissors to reality and grabbing a moment.

I posted the image of L’Enfant Plaza I took at the DC Metro stop for multiple reasons.  For one, I took it with my iPhone’s camera.  It wasn’t taken with an exceptional camera. I really wish I had a DSLR at the time, but I was still able to take a picture that I still find to encapsulate the beauty I saw at that moment.  Is it a bit noisy? Sure thing! In the end what matters is that I have an image I’m still proud of, encapsulates a moment, and I find beauty in. The artwork of photography is knowing when the happenstance of beauty is upon you so you can put your eye in the right place at the right time, taking scissors to reality and grabbing a moment.

Do your best to look at the world around you through alien eyes; pretend that everything around you is new and you may see something that should become a photograph.

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54 37th Ave
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 358-0298
[Yelp] [Map] [Flickr]

I have not had better sushi, I have only had different sushi.

I have a dedicated Flickr set for Yuzu.  Check it out here (and I hope to update it every time I attend.).

They know what they are doing.  When I need to be perked up there are two words that can change my mood in a heartbeat:

1) “Yuzu” & 2) “Omakase”

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Grace Garden
1690 Annapolis Road
Odenton, MD 21113-1061
(410) 672-3581
[website] [map] [yelp]

Sichuan Triple Treasure

Sichuan Triple Treasure

I was very excited to have my friends take me to this wonderful place.  The married team that runs it are enthusiastic about their food and energetic to, when the climate is quiet, discuss their menu in detail with you.

I had so many wonderful dishes that it is hard to pin point all of them…except one.

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Hunan Taste
718 N. Rolling Rd.
Catonsville, MD 21228
[map] [more info online] [on Yelp]

Mao's Braised Pork

We arrived late and were stunned that the selection of food was as high as the quality of the food. Before we even saw the menu, we were delighted; the tea was a light and tasty jasmine. From there, three of us ordered enough for five.

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Instant Noodles: Bowl_01

by Tobias on March 21, 2010

Post image for Instant Noodles: Bowl_01

Instant Noodles: Item #1

I have decided to post a review of every bowl of instant noodles I eat.  I went to the local pan-Asian market and randomly grabbed a big stack of instant noodles that were self contained and did not require refrigeration.

The first brand I tried is called King Cup Kimchi.

It includes a bowl, egg noodles, powdered soup mix, and dried vegetable mix. [More pictures here on Flickr.]

Notes of interest:

-“open lid to this place”
Instant Noodles: Item #1

-Energy is given in kilojoules (kJ) instead of calories.
Instant Noodles: Item #1

The package lists it as spicy kimchi soup.  It tasted mildly spicy, had small chunks of what appeared to be kimchi, had the umami of MSG in the subtle way a nail penetrates your scrotum, and did in fact taste like soup.

It remarkably tasted entirely like instant noodles.


Truffle 3.85 ounces white Piedmontese

My dear friend, who shall rename nameless unless he waves me down to place him name here, acquired something of pure foodie beauty: A 4oz. white Piedmont truffle the size of a small fist.

The look of fried chicken is only captured on pseudo film. In person it looks more like a round knobby bit of ginger. Before you can see the nodule of fungus, you can smell it.

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