Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Tuesday
May122015

Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles (Chen Shifu Hong You Su Mian)

I’m trying again to get my act together and share some recipes. After a couple months of chaos (we sold our house and bought a new one, moved, took three weeks of vacation, and have been back in the new house for two weeks today) we’re finally starting to get unpacked, settle in and get back to a more normal routine. As normal as it can be in our lives.

As I’ve unpacked infinite boxes of kitchenware, struggled to find everything I’m looking for, and coordinated the events moving has involved I’ve had little time for real cooking. While I’m not typically the “Dinner in 30 minutes or less” guy on the weekends, during the week it’s imperative. To be honest, we eat out far too much when we’re together because by the time we get home we’re fried and don’t feel like hassling with anything. On the nights David works, I’m ALL about simple. Like my single days, I don’t want to mess with cooking for one so my go-tos tend to be making a vat of chili, tacos, puttanesca, burritos, or a bigassed salad. Occasionally I’ll throw together some type of Asian noodle dish if I feel like I can justify the lack of nutritionally redeeming gorging I know I’ll do in a slithery, fatty plate of carbs. Last night was one of those nights.

I doubt I need to tell anyone who knows me what a Fuchsia Dunlop fan I am. I’ve posted some of her recipes in the past, and her books are the reason I went to the Sichuan Culinary Institute a few years back. I stumbled across her Spicy Sesame Noodles recipe when I was looking through Every Grain of Rice recently, and knew I had to make it. Start to finish, it took 10 minutes.

The only adaptations I made were based upon all the noodles I’ve inhaled in various trips to china, and the barrage of questions I asked the chefs and noodle shop owners during my culinary trip. You don’t need to modify this—it’s all to taste. I just added what I like, including a sprinkling of msg, about ½ tsp of sugar, 3 Tbsp chopped ya cai (Chinese pickled vegetables), the amount of garlic called for in the recipe--doubled, and I used both ground Sichuan pepper and a tiny drizzle of the oil.

 Enjoy this. If you have the ingredients on hand, it’s effortless.

Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles (Chen Shifu Hong You Su Mian)

From: Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop

"This is a recipe taught by chef Chen Dailu of the wonderful Chengdu snack restaurant Long Chao Shou," she says. "I was interviewing him for a feature for Saveur magazine and I asked him to tell me about his favorite food. To my surprise, he came up with this scrumptious but blindingly simple vegetarian recipe."

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons sesame paste

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

½ teaspoon dark soy sauce

½ teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Good pinch of ground, roasted Sichuan pepper, or a dash of Sichuan pepper oil

1 ½ tablespoons chilli oil with sediment

7 ounces (200g) Chinese wheat or buckwheat noodles

Handful of pea shoots, green bok choy or choy sum leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion greens

Preparation:

1. Combine all the ingredients - except for the noodles, greens, if using, and spring onions -- in a serving bowl and mix well.

2. Cook the noodles. If you are using the greens, toss them into the cooking water for the last minute to blanch them. Drain the noodles and greens and add to the serving bowl. Scatter with spring onions, mix well, and serve.

Monday
Feb022015

Kalbi Chunked Tots with Gochujang Cheese Sauce

Football is my life.

Ok, that’s a big, fat lie but I have fun pretending it is and providing nonstop commentary during Seahawks’ games on Facebook. Some of my friends, knowing how full of shit I am, find it hilarious. Others just want me to put a cork in it. Regardless, it entertains me and if you crack YOURSELF up, what more do you need?

These tater tots. THAT’S what you need. For me, the superbowl is typically a bunch of background noise leading up to (this year) The Katy Perry concert, natch. I have to admit, this year I was into the game more than I ever have been and tortured our friends with nonstop questions, some of which were reallllly dumb given the looks I received in response. I absented myself during the game to make these, and while they are extremely spicy (in a good way), they’re sooooooooo going on my summer barbecue rotation. Even the non-spice freaks loved them.

I’ve adapted the original recipe below, and I’m very happy with the results. I hope you are too, and if you make em, drop me a line and let me know how it went for you. Some notes: If spicy isn't your deal, you may want to cut down on the 1:1 cheese:Gochujang (korean chile paste) ratio and add extra mirin instead to smooth out the sauce. You can also bake the tots instead of frying them if you want to cut down fat, but honestly--if you're watching fat intake you shouldn't make this recipe in the first place.

Sakaya Kitchen’s Kalbi Chunk’d Tots Recipe

Recipe adapted from Richard Hales’ Sakaya Kitchen

KALBI SHORT RIB MARINADE:

Mix all ingredients with short rib meat, cover and marinate overnight.

  • 1 pound short ribs, thick cut in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced

CHEESE SAUCE:

Combine ingredients in food processor until smooth.

  • 1 cup fresh white melting cheese (I used a softer, mid-range taleggio)
  • 1 cup Korean red pepper paste (Gochujang)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 scallion
  • Mirin, if necessary to blend

KALBI CHUNK’D TOTS:

  • 1 pound potato nuggets
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 cups cheese sauce (see above)
  • 1 pound short ribs (see above)
  • scallions, chopped
  • hot sauce, if desired (With this recipe, adding more hot sauce would be redundant, IMHO)

Directions:

Makes approximately 4 servings

1.     Set grill to high heat. Grill short ribs on high heat until well done. Set aside. (You can also cook them on the stovetop in a lightly oiled grill pan or skillet, as the small pieces are a pain in the ass unless you have a small-grate basket or attachment for the grill, given how these are cut into smaller pieces for the marinade. Next time I may marinate the entire short rib pieces and then slice at the time of serving so I can use the grill.)

2.     Deep fry potato nuggets at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown. At the same time, cook the cheese sauce slightly over medium-low heat to make it more pliable and melty. It doesn't take long--maybe 5 minutes.

3.     Remove potato nuggets from oil to a mixing bowl. Toss with a pinch of sea salt and cheese sauce until coated.

4.     Slice short rib meat into bite size pieces.

5.     Place tater tot mixture in serving bowl, top with short rib meat and garnish with chopped scallions and hot sauce.

Monday
Jan262015

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup from Lorna Yee's Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook

I don’t typically love soup. To me, soup is good but having it as an evening meal usually leaves me dissatisfied and cranky unless I’m sick and ALREADY dissatisfied and cranky.

Then it feels restorative.

Usually.

Right now, we’re trying to eat more at home and make healthier choices in the new year (so we look good for our vacation photos in April. (The Gays are a shallow and vain people---Well, at least THESE gays are). This soup is one of a handful of exceptions to my “Soup is unsatisfying” bias. It’s truly my favorite soup in the world. My good friend Lorna Lee made this for us years ago when she was writing her Newlywed Kitchen cookbook and we were absolutely blown away. Every time it’s cold, blustery and gray in Seattle, I want this soup. I typically make a double batch and freeze it. It reheats really well.

The adaptation I make to this recipe is that after I remove and shred the meat, I run the soup through a cheesecloth-lined chinois a couple of times to help clarify the broth and remove the impurities. I also add both fresh and dried chiles to the initial braise because I like soul-searing heat in this soup. If you can’t get bok choy, Chinese broccoli or broccolini work well.

Taiwanese beef noodle soup

Serves 2, with leftovers for the next day

In Taiwan, beef noodle soup is a vital part of the food culture, much like the hamburger is to America. Taiwanese foodies gather to seek out the best bowl of beef noodle soup in town, much like how Americans enjoy searching for the best burger in their city. Once you try this savory broth, flavored with star anise, five spice, and the addictive, slightly numbing heat of the Szechuan peppercorns, you’ll know why this dish has become an obsession for the Chinese. 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil

3 lbs. bone-in beef shank or short rib, cut into four equal pieces

3 star anise (or ½ tsp ground star anise powder)

¾ tsp. Chinese five spice powder

1 ½ tsp. whole Szechuan peppercorns

8 cloves garlic, lightly smashed with the heel of your knife

5 slices of ginger, cut 1/4” thick

5 green onions, cut into 4” pieces

3 tbsp Chinese chili black bean sauce

¼ cup Chinese rice wine (Shao Tsing wine, or dry sherry)

1 small piece (about 2 tbsp worth) Chinese rock sugar, or substitute brown sugar

1/3 cup light soy sauce

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

6 cups low sodium beef broth

2 cups water

2-4 fresh, small red chilis, seeded (use 4 chilis if you like things spicy!)

For serving:

Your favorite Asian noodles, cooked and drained

Baby bok choy

2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Chinese chili oil (optional)

Instructions

In a cheesecloth, combine the star anise, peppercorns, and red chilis.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil until smoking on high heat. Brown the pieces of meat on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions to the oil and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, including the spices bundled in the cheesecloth. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 3 ½-4 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Remove the meat from the pot, and discard the bones. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Strain the broth and discard the cheesecloth, ginger, scallions, and garlic.

To serve:

Cook the bok choy directly in the hot broth for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Place a portion of the cooked noodles in each bowl, and ladle the soup over top. Add some of beef shank and bok choy to the bowl, and garnish with a bit of cilantro and a bit of hot chili oil.

Enjoy, and check out lorna’s books.

   

 

Monday
Jan122015

A Cookbook Review - Tyler Florence: Inside the Test Kitchen

Ok, I admit it. I've been a big time slacker.  It isn't that I haven't been cooking...the past few months I've been cooking a lot of new things, putting recipes aside, and telling myself I'd get to sharing the recipes. But then something else would distract me, I'd be in a mood, whatever. I didn't get to blogging. I WILL post some recipes for some new favorites soon, I promise.

In the mean time, there was Cookbooktober. I've been gleefully up to my neck in new cookbooks. Many good, a few flops, and all of them pissing off my husband when they arrive at the front door. 

He'll get over it.

One of the books I found intriguing was Tyler Florence's new Inside the Test Kitchen book. I don't usually watch Food TV, and most of the celebrity chefs on there just don't interest me. Beginner cookbooks also hold little interest becuase I've sone my time in culinary school and don't often find a lot in those books I find interesting or challenging. Some still make it to the shelves, however, because I like the content, they've done something new, the photography is inspiring....something. This is one of those books. 

I like that instead of teaching you some bullshit Rachel Ray lowest common denominator recipe it actually shows you how to cook with step by step pictures and techniques. I also think it's really cool that the chapters are divided into things like Barbecue, Burgers, Eggs and Souffles, Pasta, etc. It's not the standard breakdown with slight variations on the recipes your mom made. Instead, it's step-by-step technique to make something you'd be proud to serve your friends whether you know how to cook or not. Yes, it teaches you how to make waffles--but they're orange waffles, bacon waffles, pumpkin waffles and banana waffles. Want to loearn how to roast a chicken? Cool! Everyone should know how to roast a chicken. And when you have leftovers, it will also tell you how to make a Thai chicken salad with those. Everyone likes grilled cheese....here's how to do it using an isi CO2 siphon for a modern take. THAT'S COOL!

There are a few recipes in here that make me cringe: Spaghetti carbonara with scrambled eggs. THAT'S A FUCKING ABOMINATION!!! But his bolognese is decent, the pomodoro passes muster, and he makes everything approachable. That combined with the creativity makes this a book worth having, IMHO.

To sum it up:

On a 1-5 Scale:

Content: 3.5

Photography: 2.5

Ease of Understanding / Use: 5

Overall: 3.5

Full disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

Tuesday
Nov042014

A Cookbook Review: The Pizza Bible

Cookbooktober is the best month of the year for cookbook hoarders like me, and this year has offered a HUGE bounty of quality books. Once all of the new releases are in I’ll be doing a blog post on my personal favorites from the season.

One of the books I’m really enjoying right now is Tony Gemignani’s, “The Pizza Bible”. This book is a comprehensive how-to tome on pizza making including a wide range of international and regional US variations, including Neopolitan, Deep-dish, Wood-Fired, Calzones and Focaccia, New York, Chicago and Detroit style pies. I love the detailed “how to” component of this book as well.

As someone who is most inspired by the old school authentic dishes of Italy, this isn’t my favorite specialty pizza book. There are some other quality contenders if you want to go deep into a particular style of pizza, such as Pizza Alba Pezone for Neopolitan pizza. It is, however, a great instructional guide to help you master the basics and then make changes based upon the style you prefer. If you only buy one pizza book, this is a good choice. If you’re a hoarder like me, it’s a good start so you can go deeper with other books. The photography isn’t the most inspiring I’ve seen in a book of this genre, but again—to help you master the basics the step by step photographs map nicely to the instruction set.

This one is worth having in your collection, regardless of the style you prefer. Give it a go. You won’t regret it.

On a 1-5 Scale:

Content: 4

Photography: 3.5

Ease of Understanding / Use: 5

Overall: 4

Full disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.