Wednesday, April 23, 2008

But I'm a fun-gi....

Went to Jasmart on 23rd & Lex hoping to get fish sauce without having to go down to Chinatown (I'm averaging 1 bottle a year--by myself!! :P). Did NOT find fish sauce--instead found mushrooms, chrysanthemum leaves, and (baby bok choy...sold by...THE PACKET?!?!).
beech mushroom
Do not know what I'm gonna make with them--probably a steam packet with fish sauce (maybe soy or MISOOOOO), lemon, at Typhoon on St. Marks & 1st ave (fanplasmic japanese 'tapas' and they're open super late. Cow tongue was good--so's other shiz but that's for another post).
So I bought enoki mushrooms too but I couldn't find a suitable idea for how to shoot them (as in pictures, not...pistols). Plus...why bother with ordinary enoki when you can feast your eyes on BEECH MUSHROOM!!!! ^_^ They're much bigger than enoki, but they're like enoki crossed with the Super Mario mushrooms :)
I also got "maitake" which just reminds me of shitake but less fun to say, maybe like SHIKAKA! (anybody for what movie that's from? it's a little tran-sian. :)) Anyway, according to Wiki:
Grifola frondosa, referring to a mythical griffin, commonly known as Sheep’s Head, Ram’s Head and Hen of the Woods or Maitake, is an edible polypore mushroom. It grows in clusters at the foot of trees, especially oak. The Japanese call it "maitake" (pronounced [maitake]), literally meaning "dancing mushroom." Hen of the woods should not be confused with the similarly named edible bracket fungi, chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), also known as "sulphur shelf".
But anyway...I really do love mushrooms (the Princess Toadstool kind, not the druggie kind). When I was about 10 or 11, I used to just sautee mushrooms in a wee pot with onions and soy sauce and eat it. by itself. when I was 16 I ate rice and bbq sauce. by itself. The other day I ate leftover Southern fried chicken with basil marinara tossed in, with rice, and tabasco sauce. IT WAS FRICKIN" DELISH. *shrug*.
maitake mushroom + chyrsanthemum leaves
The chyrsanthemum leaves tho...I know in Vietnamese cooking it's used in "canh"/soupy soup or tossed in with meats. I don't even really know what they're called in Vietnamese--I didn't even know what the hell they were with the label from Jasmart, I had to google it from the Japanese phrasing on my receipt. BY GOLLY I WILL MAKE SOMETHING OF IT!! Think spinach meets arugula with a less citrus/bitter flavor. Look u can see the little chrysanthemum bud in the middle rightmos area :)
chyrsanthemum leavesDSC_0150.JPG
I like cold honey chrysanthemum tea from Cha for Tea (in Ca, a little too sweet) and Lee's Sandwiches (also in CA, not as sweet, way too much ice). I honestly bought all this stuff from Jasmart just so I could take pictures with them--but maybe 2% to experiment with various mushroom flavors, possibly making fancypants mac & cheese with fancypants mushroom for my "roast on the roof". EH. we'll see.

All right, one more shot of the shroomies--but the little beechies nestled in the big beech shroomies! :P
beech mushroom

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bbq in the 'Burg + Chocolate Zucchini cake!

BBQ in williamsburgh--felt like I was in the backwoods of...Appalachia. There was a pit in the backyard (and damn i twas a roomy backyard) and the fire raaaaged within a circle of concrete slabs and hipsters (ha!)'s the pasta salad I made:
pasta w/ tomatoes, red onions, capers, and seasoned feta cheese
Here's also the chocolate & zucchini cake Claudia made--this was from the Chocolate & Zucchini foodblog (which we just looooveetthhhh sooooo). It was nummy--had bittersweet chocolate in it. Claudz & I will be presenting an encore @ my own rooftop BBQ this coming Sunday.
There was also fish. it was uneventful. There were saussages and whatnot too but my frickin' camera was acting up--they would've been quite pretty pics tho. :P
bbq in williamsburg
And...there's the pic of the fun-ness...except less hipsters visible here and oddly disproportionate number of males. They climbed the tree and broke off branches for kindling--and those watching threw volleyballs etc at them. There was a little bit of rowdiness at the festivities. :)

See entry below for recipe for bastardized pasta salad!...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bastardized Pasta Salad recipe...

Everyone's been asking me about my recipes for stuff like the Bastardized Pasta Salad (again I can never seem to fully separate my palate & affinity for Mediteranean meets Southeast Asia). SO...since I don't really measure and kind of gamble with portions & ingredients, here's what I used:
pasta w/ tomatoes, red onions, capers, and seasoned feta cheese
Bizzastardized Pasta Recipe!
  • GIANT corkscrew pasta (fusilloni)
  • heaps of basil, one entire bulb of garlic (~10 bulbs? hahaaah)
  • sliced half a red onion
  • seasoned Athenos feta cheese (garlic & herb says ze packaging)
  • non pareile capers (which I guess means having no equal--but just means it's from the South of France)
  • halved cherry tomatoes (1 basket)
  • half a lemon (maybe a little more)
  • ....and here's the good stuffs--> FISH SAUCE!!! ^_^ OH YEAAAAAH.
Fizzzziiiish. Sizzzzaaauce. THAT's RIGHT--you don't even KNOW ese! ;) ...btw, I really prefer using Phu Quoc fish sauce over the other brands--the crab one is good, i can't remember others. MEH. I'll ask Mama Ly.

Start out sauteeing the giant-ness of minced garlic bulb in a relatively thick layer of oil (just like making the garlic & oil pasta except put on low heat after the garlic gets a little color, throw in the tomatoes, squirt in the lemon juice & fish sauce (i pretty much eyeball it all since I use lemon juice, fish sauce, and garlic a lot so I just...have an intrinsic gauge for what it'll be like I can't describe =/). I also like the tomatoes a little raw still in most the crap I cook but I like to bleed it a little (per se) cuz I guess the glycopene in the tomato makes the sauce congeal a little, and thicken the "sauce" and coat better.
Mix it all around a little, and if you want, throw in the cooked pasta (straight from the pot with a little of the water from boiling too it's still yummy) and mix around. OR, u can saute the red onions before throwing in the pasta but I like it with a little kick and purity in its own flavor in being a little uncooked and whatnot.
If you need to, add in a little more olive oil to coat the pasta, salt & season as u will (i only used pepper, the fish sauce adds a diff kind of salty flavor), and more fish sauce! but not too much b/c you'll get the savory & bite from the capers and cheese too so keep it on the bland side. I also don't add the sliced/shredded basil until the end but I add a little in the beginning to let it wilt and add some flavor. Mix in the other half of the shredded basil, mix mix mix!

Plate, break the feta over the pasta, scatter some capers over, stick some sprigs of fresh basil in it and call it a day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Lazy Soba/Salad...

What happens when you have excess of dry goods and ingredients? YOU MAKE A SALAD! :) [I don't make casseroles, I'm not THAT white.]
I dunno, I don't COOK-cook lately...I just assemble. So, just had some leftover arugula from my sammich-ing, pickled daikon from my unagi-don days (not THAT long ago). That's also some deli-shaved (whatever u call it) chicken that I shredded hehehhehee :) Talk about leftovers. (You'll have to click for the larger image--the resolution and general shiny factor is de-lovely.)
Also had some soba noodles (bought a pack of the green soba noodles so I wanted to finish this buckwheat one off quick). At Sunrise, they had whatever frickin' greens in their "soba salad" sans meats so I figure the soba sauce makes for good salad dressing. (and that nuoc mam pha, a.k.a. diluted/seasoned fish sauce--or dipping sauce according to the blasphemy/lies the "Vietnamese" restaurants here label it.) Anyway--supposedly it's also called "cha-soba", I'm assuming as in maccha soba. MEH! Pretty no? (pic taken from
That arugula--sure is frickin' bitter w/ the soba sauce. Maybe the liquidy goodness brings out the flavors of arugula (which by the way is a little citrusy if u ask me...citrusy and bitter.) UTTERLY CONFOUNDING!! :)

A while ago I wrote about that ginger salad dressing--I'll take pics of it eventually. Asians--we sauce propahly.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Whitefish + Arugula!...

"Fresh" whitefish salad from Murray's Bagel across the street with Pepperidge Farm's Dark German Wheat (with grain balls & whatnot!) with some baby arugula. nomnommmnomnomnomnomnom..
Whitefish + Arugula sammich...

That's a tran-size bite no? hehehe. u can't tell but i'm making that face! *chomp chomp chomp!*

Uploading it made the image a little dull but the original resolution just shows how frickin' AWESOME the whitefish salad is, glistening, a tinge of gold...just...perfection. A bunch of people @ my office got laid off today, this was comforting--the pictures i mean. Food photography makes me a little zen and alleviates me from the ulcer I've got from stalkerazzi I've been experiencing. I'm sorry there's no bite marks on this one, but I really wanted to capture the flakiness of the fish on its own.

ANYWAY, I like the combination of flavors--the dark german wheat has a real heartiness to it, a little bitter, but diff from the bitterness of the arugula (which I wouldn't really say is bitter) coupled with the slightly clean but a little fatty taste to the salted whitefish. You'll see, it complements well :) [and don't bother checking, that's the *correct* usage of complement!]
Right before we went to the Murakami Pre-Opening viewing/party on Friday, I made Kaoru a turkey breast sammich on Honey Flaxseed wheat bread (Pepperidge Farm) with some mushrroom/truffle pate, and a garlic and lime marinade as seasoning plus arugula. It was weird and tangy but it oddly went well with the pate as an aftertaste. *shrug* who knew. That and the bread was a little SWEET!! so confusing, but tasty :P

Sunday, April 06, 2008


went to ippudo post volleyball match. all the j-folks were psyched and a half for the 2ish wks leading up to the opening. all attempts to sneak in for the soft opening failed miserably (except for traitorous/defector Kino's). We were all taken back by how shi-shi/hip the place looked given the nature of EV japanese joints around st marks--great ambience tho, good looking sake bar and booths--i'd say u'd get laid takin' yo lady friend here. or ur lady man friend. whatever floats yo boat. just get the shochu or sake + hard liquor drinks instead of the courvoissier, even Leon Phelps would concur.
I didn't bring my D80 so none of the artsy fartsy food porn pics (borrowed Kaoru's camera--and it had been so long since I touched an SD500 that i just couldn't remember settings. that and it takes too much thinking and i wanted to eat so WHATEBBS!). Just lots and lots of fatty rich ramen colors :) Here is a picture of Lei's, the shiromaru moto (regular ramen pork brothness).
We also got the glazed chicken or whatever it was with lotus chips. Lotus--big thing I'm sensing...this was also at Typhoon. (<--love love love asian tapas there, and the 50% off sushi which by ny standards is awesome in terms of taste, not just the pricing.) Me, Kaoru, Muju Charlotte all got the Akamaru modern (like the shiro maru but with Ippudo's secret sauce: red miso + garlic oil etc). ME LIKES. the broth is def thicker, the noodles are made on site--the Berkshire pork pieces just fall apart b/c they're so tender. But--it's 15 bucks.
All the online reviews and previews (like Gothamist's) all note that the key to it being of thicker consistency and general all around ab-fabulousity is owed to the pork bones stewing for 15-18 hours and reducing the broth 3 times in all. I LIKE REDUCTIONS. mmmMmmmMMMmm. they always pack a punch (i like intense flavors and salty foods--but that's okay b/c I have low blood pressure so then I won't black out or have heart palpitations w/ my savory tooth :P)

Why, honestly, would u pay 15 bucks (2+ for extra portion of ramen) when u could go to Sapporo or Ramen Setegaya for 8 bucks? Quite frankly, I've seen horribly shi-shi-frou-frou attempts at making certain asian comfort foods (and cuisine altogether) go high class w/ wagyu beef and whatever whatever that completely delineate from the original flavors and comfort that the "poorer" dishes imbue *coughshittycafevietnamintribeca* and it's not that Ippudo tries to fancy-pants up the's just that u can tell the difference with whatever forethought and attention goes into making the ramen on site, the broth with the triple reductions, and how the consistency and texture of the ramen(s) here are markedly different in a more interestingly complex way than at other places--for such a simple dish anyway. And on that note I will continue eating my cheapie ramen :)
I was really hoping that after the soft opening they'd feature the gelatinous cube of something or other that changes the broth flavors as it dissolves, according to that Gothamist article. Oh well. I'm sure they'll get around to it.