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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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.

 

Sunday
Aug312014

Food & Life, a Cookbook Preview and Meatball Recipe

I love meatballs. Lamb, pork, chicken, shrimp – you name it. LOVE meatballs. Like everyone, I have a couple of prized recipes I consider to be my favorites. As a matter of fact, my Poodle Becky Selengut and I constantly argue about who has the BEST lamb meatball recipe in the world. Mine is garlicky, minty and served in a fiery tomato sauce. Hers is amazing – Indian-influenced in a creamy tomato sauce, full of depth and heat -- it’s the second best lamb meatball ever ;) All of this said, I'm always on the hunt for new and interesting variations. Well, I found one. But first, some background…

I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Joel Robuchon’s new book last week, Food & Life. Like all of the books published by Assouline, it combines appealing recipes with some stunning photography. This book divides Robuchion’s magic into five main areas, focusing on not only the recipes but how they impact the wellness of your body and spirit. Normally such an approach would make me roll my eyes, assuming it was some new age woo-woo pass-the-quinoa-and-kale-salad-while-we-sit-around-the-drum-circle hippie book. It’s not that—it’s Robuchon. He was one of the chefs whose recipes formed the foundation of my French cuisine education when I was in culinary school. Here, combining his creativity and recipe development skills with Dr. Nadia Volf’s focus on the body, they’ve come up with an engrossing, vibrant book full of things I can’t wait to make. Oh, and lest you think it’s all healthy food, there are recipes for things like foie gras, pastas and tarts, seafood and meats. The book and accompanying recipes are grouped into The Magic Of Foods,  Foods that Prevent and Foods That Cure, The Virtuosity of the Magician, Food and Climate, and Celebratory Dishes. Each of the recipes gives detailed instruction and discusses the impact on physical and mental well being. 

The first recipe that caught my eye was the Meatballs with Tomato Sauce, and I vowed to make the dish the same night I received the book. It didn’t take long to throw this dish together, and I was intrigued by some of the Mediterranean spices he included in the recipe. The resulting dish was interesting, had great depth, and by adding the optional eggs to the pan, we had a delicious dinner. This recipe is definitely going into my repertoire for future repeats.

You can find more information on Food & Life directly on the Assouline site, linked here, or pre-order the book on Amazon.

And you should really try Becky's meatballs sometime. They're almost as good as mine.