eleven madison park granola

Granola

it’s the point in the
season/life/year where i spend less time
in front of the computer,
even less time behind the camera,
and practically no time in the kitchen.
initially i fight it,
because what else is there to do,
and most importantly,
what will we eat??

simultaneously though,
i can’t force it,
if i’m not feeling it,
i’m not feeling it.
anything more than that
rings kinda like a farce,
and if there is one thing
i sound vaguely very pretentious about,
it’s the authenticity of whatever.

today’s recipe requires minimal kitchen time,
and it’s perfect to have for breakfast with milk,
or smother in kefir for dinner.
cus sometimes you just gotta go with it.

Granola

eleven madison park granola
adapted from eleven madison park

*note: dw & i dined at eleven madison park for his birthday a few months ago and they gave us their granola as a parting gift. short of going back there to dine, i had to make it at home. their version is sweeter, and initially i would halve the sugar amount, and now i just nix it completely. i think the key is the olive oil and low temp. it is so good, it’s well worth forcing myself into the kitchen to put together. my office sidekick cj swears by it, tells me i need to quit my day job and become a crunchy granola hustler. don’t tempt me.

**note: this recipe is for 1 batch, but we typically double it.

***note: depending on what we have available and what we buy, we’ve bought nuts and coconut chips already roasted (or salted) and we would adjust the seasoning accordingly, or omit the stuff that wasn’t raw until the end. use your best judgement

2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup shelled pistachios (ideally, raw and unsalted)
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips (ideally untoasted)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, raw
sprinkle of kosher salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dried sour cherries or raisins

preheat oven to 300F.

in a large bowl, mix together the raw ingredients.

in a small saucepan, warm the maple syrup and olive oil on low.

pour the warmed liquid on the raw ingredients and mix through, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated well.

on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, dump the granola on it and spread it out. bake until dry, about 40 minutes. be sure at the half way mark to stir granola around.

when the time is up, stir the granola one last time and allow to cool in the oven with the door open.

when it’s at room temp add in the cherries or raisins and whatever remaining ingredients that were not raw and mix through.

store in air tight containers, will keep for a week or two. we’ve managed to consume within that time frame, so i’m unsure if it’ll keep freshness beyond that.

BAM!

4 years ago: dutch oven bread
3 years ago: miso ramen
2 years ago: grass jelly with chia seeds
1 year ago: chia tea

cháo cá kho

Chao Ca Kho

today marks 3 years since
my beloved gpa passed away.
we are currently in CA,
in celebration of his life,
visiting gma,
and taking a much needed breather.

today’s recipe is one of my childhood faves,
which i have gone & bastardized.
normally it’s eaten with rice,
but gpa would make it with
rice porridge
and we’d have it for breakfast.
gpa always ate it with chopsticks,
which is weird,
this is stew-soup-porridge,
but the man was deft with them sticks.
he is dearly missed.

Chao Ca Kho

cháo cá kho
cháo amount makes 4 small servings, or 2 hefty servings (which is the norm)
cá kho amount makes 6 servings

*note: in feb, dw & i visited charleston, sc, and one of the places we dined at, Xiao Bao Biscuit had a special: fishball congee that was fresh and completely different from any congee experience i’ve ever had, at home or at a restaurant. i only like vietnamese style congee, which is called chao, every other version is not good to me, no offense to all other congees out there. their version, the balls were deep fried and proportion of balls to congee is the exact opposite of what i’m used to. chao is supposed be a quick filling and warming meal, bland with a few bites of salty. their version tipped it to the opposite side of the scale and my version attempts to even it out. the presentation is a little on the precious side for me, but it was a special occasion.

*note: the consistency of this chao is on the thick side, which is my preference, almost to the point where you could stick your chopsticks upright in the bowl and it won’t topple (don’t do that though, especially in japan).

Chao Ca Kho

fishballs
1 1/2 lb catfish filets, skinned and de-boned
knob of ginger, skinned and thin sliced
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions, rough chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
oil, for frying

in a food processor add all the ingredients except the filets. pulse until all the ingredients are rough chopped and mixed together. with a spatula, push down the mixture and clean the sides of the bowl.

chop the fish filets into bite sizes and add to the processor. pulse until all the ingredients are chopped and mixed through. you don’t want it to be mush but you do want it to get incorporated.

using a tablespoon or if you’re fancy, a ice cream scooper, scoop up about 1.5 tablespoons worth into your hand and roll it around until it’s ball. place on plate or parchment lined cookie sheet. do this for the entire mixture.

in a pan, heat up a splash of oil. fry the balls until they’re all browned on the outside. don’t worry if they’re not fully cooked on the inside (though they probably are). set on paper towel lined plate and set aside.

braising/caramel sauce
1 generous tsp sugar
1/2 cup – 1 cup coconut juice (water if you end up sipping all the coconut juice waiting for the sugar to caramelize)(no judgement)
half onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
a knob of ginger, thin sliced
1-2 TBL fish sauce

you’re working simultaneously here:
in a pot heat up some oil. saute the onions until they are richly browned, add in the garlic and ginger, all the while stirring to prevent burning.

meanwhile, in a small sauce pan heat up the sugar. it’s going to melt, it’s going to harden and you might smell some burning. don’t freak out like dw did, add the liquid (coconut juice or water) and mix it all together and the liquid starts to simmer. at that point, add it to the pot of onions/garlic/ginger.

mix it all through and then carefully, nestle the fried fishballs into the pot. allow the pot to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. turn the balls to allow for even coatage, add more liquid if the pots gets too dry.

while that’s doing its thing, make the chao.

cháo
1/2 cup rice, rinsed and drained (any kind, whatever your preference)
3 cup water

in a medium pot, add the water and rinsed rice. heat on high until boiling, stir, and then lower heat to medium low, until just a simmer. semi-cover and ignore for 20 minutes. check on it, stir and check consistency. you’re aiming for a thick porridge, if you prefer looser, add more water. take off heat. as it cools, it will thicken, just add water to loosen.

toppings/garnishes
pickled red onions (paper thin sliced red onions in a sweetened vinegar mix)
fried onions
fried garlic
green scallions
sliced red chilis

to assemble
in a bowl add the chao then top with fishballs. drizzle with the caramel/braising sauce. add the garnishments to your heart’s content.

BAM!

Chao Ca Kho

previous gpa posts:
citrus curd mille feuilles
salt & pepper shrimp
guinea hen liver pate

balsamic berry + ginger cereal bars

balsamic berry + ginger cereal bars

oh it’s been a week.
things that happened:

how the temps were simultaneously
warm but the winds cool,
or, how i had the chance to eat poorly,
but instead ate salad and guacamole and rice cakes.
how i joined the Y and bought myself
a black 1 piece bathing suit so that i could
do water aerobics.
how i did F O U R photo shoots
for these breakfast bars,
in 2 different spots around the abode.
it’s a wonder there were any
left to photograph.

balsamic berry + ginger cereal bars

balsamic berry + ginger cereal bars

*note: these are a little on the cloying side, i would cut back the sugar by half, though the hit of balsamic does cut through, lending a rounder taste to it overall.

1 cup softened butter, i use green valley organics
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups plus 2Tbl spelt flour, divided
2 cups dried berries (my local mom’s has blueberries, cranberries & cherries. take your pick)
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
6 oz container of plain yogurt, i use green valley organics
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, i use Hare Hollow’s Blackberry Ginger

preheat oven 350F.

in large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.

to the creamed mixture, add the oats and 1 1/2 cup of spelt flour, until just blended.

set aside about 1 1/2 cups for topping.

with the rest, pressing into greased 12×9 pan.

bake for 10 minutes.

meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the dried berries and candied ginger, and mix it with the yogurt, egg, and balsamic vinegar. add in the remaining 2 TBL spelt flour to soak up some of the moisture.

spread wet mixture of partially baked crust.

dot the top with remaining crumb mixture.

bake 20-25 minutes.

cool on rack., cut into squares.

fridge leftovers.

BAM!

balsamic berry + ginger cereal bars

this post was sponsored by Hare Hollow. all opinions are my own.

mint chocolate chip cookies – NY Times style

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chips

similar to banana bread,
we all have our go-to favorite recipe,
(this is mine, in case you were wondering)
chocolate chip cookies have different iterations,
most of which i’m willing to try,
(tahini based, with soy sauce, with ginger & molasses, & gluten free.)
but i always fall back to the famous NY Times one.
dw requested it this year for his birthday,
and because i always add mint to his bday treats,
i made the chocolate chips minty.

his birthday is early in the month,
but i am incapable of not celebrating him everyday.
happy birthday sweet dw,
i am your Ride or Die,
forevermore.

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

mint chocolate chip cookies – NY Times style
adapted from the NY Times

refer to the link for the method of the cookies themselves, i didn’t alter that part. my changes are that i used bread flour & spelt flour, as well green valley’s lactose free butter.

for the minty chocolate chips:

1 1/4 lb chocolate, if in bar form rough chop, or use chips
1 very generous TBL mint extract

using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate over boiling water. stir continuously, you’re aiming for a glossy sheen. add in the tablespoon of mint extract, i may have added a little over. mix to incorporate thoroughly.

remove from heat.

at this point, you can either spread the chocolate out on a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool. when completely cooled, break into small pieces.

or you can be fancy and make chips. allow the mixture to cool a little before handling. carefully pour into piping bag. i let it cool in order to be able to handle the piping without burning my hand. when ready, snip the end of the bag and carefully dollop a small chip amount on parchment paper, continuing until you’ve used up all the chocolate or you get annoyed and make the bar form.

allow to cool through before handling.

use as you would any other chips.

BAM!

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

previous dw chocolate + mint confections:
minty milano cookies – 2016
peppermint kisses – 2015 (not officially blogged  but use this recipe for reference)
coconut peppermint patties – 2014
homemade thin mints – 2013
mint chocolate cake – 2012

hot pot + condiments

Randoms

a few things have shifted
in the last few years:
i don’t wear make up much anymore,
like my cakes,
my face is naked,
and it’s all the better for it.
i’ve also leaned twds repeat recipes,
meals that stand the test of time,
but mainly,
dishes that i know are pleasing
and full-filling.
hot pot makes an appearance
when the weather turns
for the cold,
and then to the ebbing winter,
bookends in autumn and spring,
it is best shared with friends,
though it’s just as lovely for two.

Randoms

there are plenty of versions,
though i am partial to the viet style
(surprise surprise).
differences are in the dipping sauces
and the broth.
the recipe i’ve featured is the most commonly
found in my family home,
though one of the sauces is japanese in origin.
there was the one time i made a stinky anchovy-pineapple sauce
that i absolutely adore,
but would hesitate to serve to friends.
these pictures are from past hot pot gatherings,
as the most recent shared meal did not
garner any publishable pix.
we’ve been hit with a wave of freezing temps,
and this has kept us afloat until spring makes her appearance.

Randoms

hot pot dinner + condiments
serves 2 – 8 people

*note: when i make this, i don’t really measure anything. it is all based on what is available in the pantry, and how things taste that day. but these are the general list of ingredients, but i recommend tasting as you go. like, i’m freaking out right now trying to think up how i made the sauces because i do not have exact amounts, and it never comes out the same every time. it still tastes good though…

the meal itself:
mushrooms – any variety
tofu – cubed to bite size
variety of sliced meats – wegmans and asian markets now have them available, already cut and packaged
meat and fish balls – can be found in frozen section of asian markets, i gravitate twds the shrimp, fish, beef and pork balls
glass noodles
baby bok choy, and whatever else greens you fancy to eat

hot pot stock:
1-2 bottles of beer, usually Heineken
2-4 cups of bland chicken stock, no sodium or as little as possible
2-3 bruised lemongrass stocks
2″ knob of ginger, smashed
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed

add all together in pot, bring to a boil and simmer, with lid on, for about 30 minutes.

dipping sauce #1 – spicy soy sauce:
1 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 TBL maple syrup or honey
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2″ knob of ginger, grated
1/2 cup of water, give or take
juice of half a lime
1 tsp sesame oil
garlic-chili sambal, optional, to taste

in a jar with lid, mix everything together. taste it. add more of something if needed. you’re aiming for hits of sweet, sour, and salty.

dipping sauce #2 – goma dare/tahini miso sauce
3 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL mirin
1 heaping TBL miso
1/3 cup tahini
1 TBL soy sauce or tamari
2 TBL maple syrup or honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2″ knob of ginger, grated
1 tsp sesame oil
water to thin

in a jar with lid, mix everything together. add water to thin, you’re aiming for almost a dressing-like consistency, season to taste.

to assemble the entire thing:
put the electric hot plate in the middle of the table. simmer the hot pot stock. remove the lemongrass stalks, ginger pieces and garlic cloves.

while that is doing its thing, display the plates of sliced meats and veggies around.

assemble all your friends and go to town with the cooking of everything.

when i’m hosting, i usually play facilitator… i leave it to each person to cook their meats according to preference. i usually throw in the glass noodles, handful of bok choy/greens, meatballs, tofu and mushroom… then everyone else can choose sliced meats to cook at their leisure.

as the meal goes on, the broth gets deeply flavored from all the added meats, seafood, and vegs. you can sip the soup if you want. add more stock or beer as needed.

BAM!

hot pot

3 years ago: quinoa chocolate cake (gluten free)
2 years ago: seaweed sushi bites
1 year ago: ginger tumeric latte