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

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

butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

it’s Sunday morning,
10:00am,
i’m under a thick blanket
my friend Nuria knitted for me,
a parting gift made up of
old, random strands of yarn i had laying around.
the sun is full on bright out,
but the day lies,
because it’s below freezing.
i’m watching The Mind of a Chef,
season 4, episode 3,
trying to be motivated
and inspired to make something in the kitchen,
instead, all i can think about is
sipping a negroni.
first, i don’t even like gin,
the shit tastes like shit.
second, it’s taken about 4 watches of
Gabrielle Hamilton for me to even like her.
third, it’s now going on 10:30 in the A M.
BUT!
the way she describes
how the gin ebbs the edges of a hard day,
how the campari’s bitterness coaxes an appetite,
the combination leaves you warm, hungry,
and then the vermouth brings it all together.
damn, an aperitivo for breakfast, please!

and, should you find yourself,
later in the day, still awake,
breakfast for dinner it is…

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage
makes 4 servings

note: this dish came about because we had a butternut squash on our counter since autumn. for a hard veggie, it doesn’t really take that long to cook, especially when it’s chopped small. cooking two ingredients that take a fair amount of time to be done, together, seemed to make sense. and then to bring it all together, i topped with breakfast stuff. i’ve always viewed breakfast for dinner meals to be fun, somehow whimsical, but always satisfying and warming.

1 cup of polenta
a cup, give or take, of cubed butternut squash
1 bay leaf
4-5 cups of homemade veggie stock, or water

veggie breakfast sausage patties, chopped
1/2 onion sliced
olive oil
1 glove garlic minced

medium-hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
chopped chives, dried or fresh, optional, for garnish

in a large pot, heat up the veggie stock or water, along with the bay leave. bring it to a boil and slowly stir in the polenta and squash. reduce heat to medium and simmer. stir every so often, when you think of it, but think of it often. you’re aiming for a soft creamy mixture, anywhere from 20-30 minutes. you might have to add more liquid if it gets too thick. salt/pepper to taste. if you’re fancy, mix in a pat of butter.

between stirrings, in a skillet, heat up a splash of olive oil. add in the sliced onions and a sprinkle of salt. mix until well coated and then add in the minced garlic. you’re aiming for soft and tender and browned caramel-y onions. don’t burn the garlic.

push the onion/garlic mixture to side, and heat up the chopped veggie sausage.

to assemble, ladle in a scoop or two of the polenta. top with sauteed onions and chopped veggie sausage. finally, add on half an egg and garnish with chopped chives.

BAM!

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

another polenta option: creamy polenta and roasted mushrooms
3 years ago: ultimate white cake
2 years ago: overnight steel cut oats
1 year ago: ny style cheesecake

orange & olive oil cake

Orange & Olive Oil Cake

it’s somehow well into february
2017 has been the slowest & quickest passing of time.

today,
6 years ago,
i met 2 incredible humans.
just over a month ago
we lost an incredible human.

everything else aside,
we have much to celebrate,
and so we will.

Orange & Olive Oil Cake

orange & olive oil cake
adapted from the splendid table

*note: the recipe calls for the use of a 9″ springfoam pan and a bake for up to 42 min. i grabbed our 8″ pan from the pantry & our oven runs hot so we took it out early and it was just right. a crust forms and it creates a perfect contrast with the soft interior. this is a great accompaniment to morning coffee, 3pm tea or after dinner nosh.

**note: cover well & will keep in fridge for a week.

1 1/2 cups spelt flour
scant 1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
zest of 2 oranges
2/3 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel
powdered sugar, optional, for dusting

preheat oven to 375°F. line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper. set aside.

in mixing bowl add alllllll the ingredients, except for the powdered sugar, and mix through. (that’s what i did) however, if you want to be correct: dry ingredients first, then add the wet stuff one at a time. mix with a spatula until all the dry streaks are gone.

pour into prepared pan. bake for 38 minutes.

cool for 20 minutes, then flip out of pan onto wire rack to cool completely.

sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, slice and serve.

BAM!

Orange & Olive Oil Cake

3 years ago: 2 flavors of pull apart bread
2 years ago: savory sticky rice
1 year ago: red wine poached pears