Archive for March, 2010

Ginger Scallion Noodles

I make this dish on a regular basis.  So often, in fact, that posting the dish has been overlooked repeatedly.

There are usually scallions and ginger lying around and the rest of the ingredients are in the pantry.  This is a great lunchtime meal, especially if I’m planning a longer run that evening.    It will get more interesting this summer when there will be a wider variety of pickled vegetables available.  The freshness of minced (or grated) ginger with the bite of the scallions brighten up the noodles.

The photos here are from Bo Ssäm night, about five weeks ago.  I’ll make this again for Bo Ssäm 2: Jersey Edition, when I make it for the parents, siblings and a few other rugrats over Easter weekend, the non fish day, of course.

Knife work courtesy of Jessica, she did most of the prep work for Bo SSäm.

Notice the beer during the prep…  Reminds me of the great line “there’s no reason this can’t be fun” by Philip Seymuor Hoffman playing Gus Avrakotos in Charlie Wilson’s War.  After all, isn’ this the reason we all cook?  Good food and friends, couple of drinks.

A little vinegar…

Ginger and scallions, of course

Some usukuchi (Korean light soy sauce).  I’m beginning to like this stuff more than the Panda brand premium soy sauce I normally use.

Voila!  We had to transfer to a slightly larger bowl to mix it up, but you get the idea.

I use it for noodles all the time now, at least once a week.

I’m contemplating pairing this with lamb or pork meatballs and spaghetti for a  fusion take on this.  It’s no surprise Momofuku uses this as a mother sauce, the applications are limitless.

The timing is perfect as well.  Fist, make the ginger scallion sauce, it needs to sit for 15-20 minutes.  Second, boil some water, feel free to check email or whatever while that’s going on.  Third, cook the ramen noodles.  You’re eating in 30 minutes with a break in between.

As instructed in the Momofuku Cookbook, serve with some pickled vegetables.  That’s part of the next post.  Spoiler Alert: Pickled Fennel is phenomenal!


Radish Kimchi

The Bo Ssäm was such as hit, there will be a repeat performance for the family over Easter weekend, on Saturday, between fish days.  Another batch of kimchi, so while I was at it, I thought it best to kill two birds and make some radish kimchi as well.

The daikon radish,  a root vegetable, resembles a large white carrot.  The name comes from the Japanese dai,  meaning large, and kon meaning root.  Very clever, huh? A little research shows daikon is rich in vitamin C and enzymes that aide in digestion.  Additionally, daikon is very low in calories, around 10-18 per serving, I may have burned that many typing this sentence…

The photos in the raw state and peeling over the garbage can are not acceptable to be used here, for both quality and maturity reasons.  A quick peal and these daikon were ready for a 1/2 inch chop.

Since this recipe isn’t that exciting, I’d like to point out one of my most prized possessions: the butcher block.  Pretty, isn’t it.  But it’s just a butcher block, you say?  This is the DeNoia Special end grain butcher block made from oak and Brazilian purple heart hardwood complete with salad bowl finish (insert Home Improvement har har har).  The salad bowl finish compliments the wood and ensures a longer lasting board.

The value in the butcher block lay with its origin, I made it with my father and nephew.  Actually, we made two of them, one for me and the other one for my sister.  I got the funky design while she took home the one and a half inch checkerboard.  Here are some photos of the process along with some incriminating evidence where we violated some child labor laws.

By making your own butcher block and varying the pattern for the design, you can actually create useful ruler guides on the butcher block itself.  The smallest width on the board is an inch.  When you’re not sure how much to cut for 1/2 inch slices, it’s fairly simple, as shown below.

After a few slices, you get the hang of it.

There was no reason to post all the photos for the kimchi mix, the process can be seen in a prior post for Napa Cabbage kimchi.

The final product before fermentation.

There you have it.  Hard to believe making kimchi at home without a recipe would be so easy.  It’s time to start mixing it up with some serrano or jalepeno peppers.

Bo Ssäm

I’ve recently been introduced to this new website Animoto.

Here’s a quick sample from Bo Ssäm night.  Thought this was a little more interesting than writing for once…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Bo Ssäm“, posted with vodpod

Pickled Mustard Seeds/Mustard Seed Sauce

The mustard seed sauce is an accompaniment for the Pork Belly Ssäm which, not uncommon for a Momofuku recipe, requires two additional recipes, pickled mustard seeds and quick-pickled cucumbers.

I’ll jump right into the pickled mustard seeds.  We pickled the mustards seeds a day early  during the prep for the ssäm night.  This was another item that was largely done by Jessica and I took photos.  It’s a pretty simple process, throw all the ingredients into a pot and cook until done.

Mise en place:

Everything into the pot and on to the stove it goes:

Forty five minutes later, the mustard seeds are nice and plump, ready for a night in the fridge.

Mustard Seed Sauce (pg. 173)

This was put together just prior to dinner.  Start with the pickled mustard seeds in a bowl and combine the other ingredients.

There are a couple of interesting ingredients in the sauce.  It includes diced quick-pickled cucumbers, the kirby’s require a pass through the mandoline and a fifteen minute quick-pickle (more salt and sugar from Mr. Chang).  I’ve posted that recipe earlier for the Momofuku pork buns.

The other interesting ingredient is Kewpie, a Japanese mayonnaise.  It’s the one in the tube with the red top, no photos of the brand because I left it in the hosts apartment.  It has a slightly different flavor to regular mayonnaise, perhaps due to the use of a different vinegar than regular mayonnaise.

We used a powdered Asian mustard but you could use the leftover packets from Chinese takeout if they are handy.

Also, notice the quick dice skills by the cook.  An experienced cook with a sharp knife is too fast for the camera…  Jessica also has a better knife, an easily recognizable brand.

Guess the brand of the knife… A quick mix and the sauce is ready.

One note for anyone who may cook with me in the future, or help out with anyone on a cooking blog in general.  The challenge working together in the kitchen for a blog post is remembering to slow down and take pictures.  Posing for the measuring cups, knife skills, and mise en place interrupts the flow in the kitchen.  Jessica was a good sport and very patient.

The mustard seed sauce is ready for the pork belly ssäm

Short Grain Rice (pg. 279)

A real quick post.  This is fairly simple as well, but a few steps are critical.  It is extremely important to rinse the rice ahead of time.  I’ve spoken to sushi chefs that insist three times is the correct amount, and others who recommend repeating until the water is no longer cloudy.  Either way, the rinse is very important.

Five easy steps for rice

  1. Rinse
  2. Drain
  3. Put in a pot equal parts rice and water
  4. Cook.  (Either in rice cooker or bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes.
  5. Fluff when completed

The rice comes out nice and sticky.  I do like the texture of the rice when it comes out this way.  It helps tremendously in presentation as well making it easy to put in a ramekin and tipped over in the center of the plate.

I’ve been inspired to try some sushi out home in the near future.  Maybe one project at a time.

Marinated Hanger Steak Ssäm (pg 169)

I’ll just come right out with the challenge of this dish.  At what point during the meal should you tell your guests the steak was cooked in the kitchen sink?

It’s a good idea to get the “ghetto sous vide” out of the way before your guests arrive and all they witness is the searing of the outside.  But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

Mise en place:

It’s a fairly straightforward marinade.  It might be worth substituting something other than apple juice for the next go around, but for now, everything into the bag.

Give it a good mix.

Rule #1 of marinades, make sure the zip lock bag is tightly sealed tightly before shaking things up.  Otherwise, things can get out of control…


When your really cooking, sometimes accidents happen.  We had a good laugh.  Very entertaining that the hanger steak never hit the floor.  What are the chances that would happen again?  It took a while, but eventually, we assumed full control of the situation again.

It’s also more fun cooking with a friend.  You could imagine the fumbler trying to stop you from taking this photo with soy sauce and apple juice dripping from her hands.  Had i been the culprit, acting solo, I’m sure some colorful words would precede an immediate cleanup.  Who would want to clean up their hands to photograph a mess and finish cleaning up?

This went into the fridge overnight was pulled out around 4 p.m. the next afternoon.  Not the full 24 hour recommended, but a good 21 or so.

“Ghetto Sous Vide”

For a quick primer on sous vide cooking, check out Cooking Issues by David Arnold.  The basic idea premise behind sous vide is a low temperature cooking technique (under water) that allows greater control of the temperature.  A cook has the ability to cook meat under a gentle bath of water to a perfect target temperature, such as 125º for a perfect medium rare, and it is impossible to overcook, although it is possible to ruin the food with poor technique.

Restaurants use a very expensive immersion circulator, David Chang recommends a slightly less expensive hot running tap.  The first home machine, the Sous Vide Supreme, entered the market a few months ago around $449, and my landlord pays the water bill.  One day, when the startup goes public.

The marinade gets split up into four separate bags for the cooking method.  Note:  I should have put put them in separate bags for the marinade and left overnight.  This would require you to just pop the bags in the water bath without having to transfer the steaks from one bag to another.

This is one hot tap.  At a bare trickle the water comes out at an almost perfect 128º.

I just let the tap run for forty-five minutes, checking the temperature regularly, and poking the bags every so often to make sure the water is flowing completely around the bags.

After the cooking, the bags get shocked in an ice bath and cooked immediately.  They can be stored for a while like this, and seared on the outside when your ready to serve.  To be honest, they don’t look that appetizing before they are seared.

A quick sear adds texture and reheats them.

This side of the hanger steak shown above is prior to the sear.  You can see the beautiful grill marks on the the first photo.  The meat looks redder and undercooked compared to a typical medium rare.  I’ve read that this is not uncommon for anything cooked sous vide.  The gentle technique does not shock or “damage” the cells as much.  As we’ll see in a later Momofuku Ko recipe, short ribs cooked for days using sous vide are red and juicy.

As for the final product, the meat was extremely tender and delicious.  By itself, it most certainly would have been a success and well received, however, served with the bo ssäm and pork belly ssäm, it didn’t win the night.  I believe it received one vote for best of the night.  It was very good, but, at the end of the day, it’s extremely difficult to compete with pork belly…


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