it’s been a year

And what a year it was. Maybe I’ll try to post more frequently here on the Foodnerd in 2017. I do still cook things. Hugs to all of you that still have me in your feed even though I’ve not given you squat for content in basically five years. That’s what building a local dance scene does to your food bloggery, apparently. Love to all, and let’s fight the good fight!

Chinese cold-dish celery

I’ve never managed to properly replicate the deliciousness of celery salad as found in Chinese restaurants. So I posed the question to the available authorities, and I have a new recipe to try out.

From a friend of my mother-in-law: De-string and cut celery into pieces. Blanch pieces in boiling water for 1 minute (leave heat on high for rolling boil) until bright green then shock in cold/ice water. Drain, then dress with salt mixed with sesame oil. Let sit a long while to absorb flavor. Drain off dressing and serve cold.

Keepin’ On

One of my most loyal readers, my dear friend’s father Mr. N, passed away recently. It makes me sad whenever I think of my silly little blog now, but I am glad we were able to connect in that way. And it reminds me that whenever we think that no one cares, that our work is inadequate, that our efforts are pointless, we are almost certainly wrong on all counts. Keep on doing what you do, people.

Jonathan Gold’s hoppin’ John recipe

From LA Times:

1 smoked ham hock
5-6 cups water
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 tbsp sambal oelek or sriracha
1 chopped onion
1 chopped stalk celery
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup long-grain rice

In large saucepan, put hock and water and bring to boil. Skim foam, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 min. Wash and sort peas, then add to saucepan, and discard any that float. Add sambal oelek, onion, celery, bay, and thyme; simmer uncovered until tender but not mushy, 1-1.5 hrs. There should be 2 cups liquid remaining; make up any lack with water. Remove hock, shred meat, and stir meat back into beans with the rice. Cover and simmer without lifting lid, over low heat, 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside still covered for 10 mins more, so rice steams. Remove cover, fluff, and serve. Ideally with collard greens.

Girasole’s orange cake

From LA Times:

2 cups (8oz) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp softened butter
3 egg yolks
juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 heaping tbsp orange marmalade
1 tbsp vanilla

garnishes: mascarpone and heavy cream whipped together, candied orange peel

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9″ Bundt pan. In bowl of stand mixer, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add butter and mix using paddle attachment, until butter fully incorporated.

In separate bowl, beat yolks, juice and zest, marmalade, and vanilla. With mixer running, slowly beat in half the egg mixture until incorporated, then beat in the second half.

Spoon batter into pan and bake till puffed and lightly browned, and toothpick in center comes out clean (50-60min). Rotate halfway through for even coloring. Cool on a rack.

everyday recipes from tallasiandude’s mom

Things I learned by lurking and watching:

Spinach-Pressed Tofu (cold)
Cook spinach, squeeze and chop. Finely dice pressed tofu. Mix, dress with salt and sesame oil.

Shrimps (hot)
Clean shrimps but don’t peel. Stir fry till pink on both sides with a couple disks of ginger and a scallion or two cut up into 2″ sticks. Add splashes of wine and soy sauce (and dark soy sauce), and let cook much longer than you’d think.

Pork and Pressed Tofu (hot)
Shred pork, mix with soy sauce and baking soda. Matchstick the pressed tofu. Stirfry pork with a teaspoon or two of salted black beans, chopped up, plus some red chilies or flakes, then add the tofu and stirfry until things start to brown.

Eggplant (hot/cold)
Cut slim (Japanese) eggplant into 2″ wedges about 1/2″ wide. Put into bowl, drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil and a bit of sugar, and microwave until soft and not white, stopping to turn and toss occasionally.

1000-year Egg Loaf (cold)
Scramble eggs with quite a bit of chicken broth and presumably a bit of salt and/or sugar (I didn’t see that step). Pour into an oiled loaf pan with some cut-up 1000-year eggs, then steam. Cool, then slice into approx 1.5″ squares about 1/2″ thick.

Tea-Smoked Chicken (cold)
Steam the chopped up chicken with some peppercorns. Do not be alarmed at the weird red dots the peppercorns leave on the chicken skin. Put the chicken on a rack in a wok which contains black tea, raw rice, and sugar; cover and let it smoke until the chicken is brown and glossy.

two recipes for date-nut truffle thingies – holiday cheer, yo

Tasty, easy, easier on dietary restrictions than the chocolate-and-heavy-cream sort.

ONE: mac nuts, pepitas, dates, walnuts
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup macadamias
1.25 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups pitted dates
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Buzz walnuts, pepitas, mac nuts and 1 cup coconut until finely crumbled. Add dates, oil, salt and vanilla, and buzz till it looks like wet sand. Roll into tbsp balls. Roll in cocoa and last coconut. Lay on a parchment lined tray and freeze at least 30 mins. Serve room temp. Makes 20.

TWO: figs, apricots, almonds, spices
6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
4 ounces dried plums
4 ounces dried apricots
4 ounces dried figs
Whizz all this into bits but not paste in the processor. Then mix in
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
Make into wee balls (makes 80 he claims, i got more like 40), lay out on parchment, and roll in:
1 cup coarse sugar

Plus bonus recipe for booze (Rudolph’s Nose):
2.5 cups Ransom Old Tom
1/3 cup velvet falernum
1.25 cup cranberry shrub
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz Angostura

mix, strain into a pitcher, serve rocks. Makes 10. To make shrub: heat 2 cups apple cider vinegar and 2 cups sugar, stirring till dissolved. Add 2 cups cranberries or 1 cup unsweetened juice, 2 oz clove and 4 crushed star anise (seems like a lot of spice), and reduce by 1/3.

KO Pies

Finally made it to KO Pies in Eastie this weekend — the outdoor dance was a couple blocks away! Had a classic beef and a jerk chicken (special), both tasty. Fries are the dreaded wedge, but fried to a golden fucking delight, so WINNING. Lots of beers, a few Aussie desserts, and picnic tables in the shipyard parking lot. My kinda joint. Want to try the beef stew flavor next time.