I’ve had this recipe bookmarked in Deb Perelman’s book since last summer. And then I forgot about it. While cleaning out our bookshelves, I stumbled upon this recipe again and realized it would be perfect for Sunday dinner. The leftovers could be used for weekday lunch! I used a mix of jarred kalamata olives but had to supplement with fancy black and castelvetrano olives from the Whole Foods olive bar. Next time, I would stick to kalamatas because they’re cheaper and saltier. The other olives were also tasty, but I want more of the brininess. I like this method of roasting chicken. It is faster and requires less cleanup!
May 14, 2013 marked four years since my mom’s passing. Every year since, my extended family gathers in her memory. In Vietnamese, we call it a gio. I asked my dad how long we are traditionally obligated to have a gio and he said you can continue to do this as long as you want to honor and remember the person. So I guess this is happening every year. Really, we just say a few prayers, eat and laugh.
Growing up, family gatherings happened every Sunday. As we’ve gotten older, started our own families and, honestly, lost key family members that were our glue, big family gatherings with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins happen significantly less often. I see my cousins that live nearby weekly; I hope that my nieces and nephews remember these gatherings as fondly as I look back on the family meals of my youth. These days, opportunity for the families of all seven of my grandma’s kids to gather is so rare.
I can’t remember whether it was my mom’s 70th or 71st (her last birthday) but she sent me out to pick up tacos because she secretly confessed that she was tired of having Vietnamese food at every gathering. That was a revelation to me!!! We only ordered Vietnamese food because we thought that’s what she preferred! In honor of her request, my cousin, brother and I have hosted a different themed meal every year. The first year I think we ordered a roast pig because I still lived in Chicago and could only fly home for the weekend. The second year, we made Mexican. Last year, I roasted a ridiculous 32 pounds of Korean pork (bo ssam). This year, we did Hawaiian food. I made a more reasonable 9 pounds of kalua pork and cabbage and 3 pounds of macaroni salad. My cousin made cole slaw. We ordered spam musubi, egg rolls, grilled chicken and pork katsu from Phil’s Kitchen in Menlo Park. (Note to self for next year ~3 small trays of meat is good enough. Don’t panic order!)
I really like Middle Eastern food though my experience is quite limited. Sure, hummus, falafel, chicken rice cart, Ali Baba (South SF) and Kabul Afghan Cuisine (San Carlos & Burlingame) are familiar to me but I imagine this is similar to Americans who are familiar with “Chinese” food. You know, chow mien and General Tso’s chicken. I have the Jerusalem cookbook, but I want to learn more, eat more and cook more. At some point, I want to make a field trip to Little Kabul in Fremont, too. Turkey has also been high on the destination list for a while, but the timing hasn’t worked out quite yet.
In search of a recipe for my favorite Afghan eggplant and lamb dish, I found a recipe for lawang, an Afghan dish of braised chicken in a turmeric and yogurt sauce. Joel almost always orders the lawang when we go to Kabul Afghan Cuisine and since we had Greek yogurt (it is now a permanent fixture in our fridge and a permanent substitute for sour cream unless we have guests) and extra chicken legs I didn’t use for the chicken adobo I figured this would be the perfect time to try the recipe. It is so easy and delicious–just takes a bit of patience as the onions and chicken slowly simmer into a velvety sauce. Don’t stir the yogurt in until you are ready to eat it–otherwise the yogurt will curdle. It’ll still taste good but it’ll look a little gross (I learned this when reheating later). Read more…
Growing up, my mom and grandma cooked mostly Vietnamese food. We never ate out because we didn’t have the money. On special occasions (or more likely when grandma didn’t feel like cooking), she would hand one of my older cousins a $20 bill and send us out for a bucket of KFC. Those were always special days.
I haven’t had KFC in a really long time but fried chicken is still a special treat. All week, I’d planned on making fried chicken from the ad hoc at home cookbook. While I was researching methods, I read a post by Michael Ruhlman (who co-wrote all of Thomas Keller’s cookbooks) in which he proclaimed his fried chicken better than TK’s. The recipes are fairly similar though the seasonings are different. Ruhlman isn’t a cocky guy, so I decided to believe it and go with his recipe instead. I also reviewed the batter seasoning and Ruhlman’s sounded better.
Now, if I’m going to spend 3 days prepping fried chicken (1 day each to brine, air dry and cook), I’m going to make a bunch, invite my family over to share, and make sure I have enough for leftovers during the week (2 whole chickens for 6 adults). The result was a unanimous thumbs up. I had never deep-fried anything before (invest in a candy thermometer to maintain your temps) but it wasn’t that difficult. The meat was juicy but not greasy at all (like KFC usually is). The skin was crispy and flavorful and the leftovers made for great salads during the week. We served it with asiago/chive buttermilk biscuits (need to find a better recipe), fresh corn, and for dessert–apricot/peach pie. I strained the leftover oil and have it stored in a canning jar for future use. Supposedly the oil gets better after a few fries.
Fried chicken isn’t something I can eat every Sunday, but we’ve agreed every 3-4 months it will be good for the soul…assuming we keep running on all of the other days. Read more…
The weekend he proposed, we cooked a lot. On Friday, he made lobster rolls and discovered his abilities in the kitchen. He had originally planned on serving meatballs from the ad hoc at home cookbook on Friday night as an appetizer but ran out of time. So on Saturday, we made the meatballs together with oven-roasted tomato sauce and homemade pappardelle. On Sunday, I had coincidentally planned on making the ad hoc fried chicken (before I even knew he planned on attacking the cookbook himself) but ended up making Ruhlman’s fried chicken instead.
Thomas Keller’s recipes are pretty fussy but these meatballs were surprisingly simple. We ground the meat ourselves, stuffed each ball with some mozzarella and roasted them in the oven until they were done. The most time-consuming items were the oven-roasted tomato sauce, which I found a little sweet and won’t make again, and the homemade pappardelle. I didn’t use Keller’s recipe for the pasta but I probably should have. I found a random food processor-friendly version online which didn’t have enough egg for my tastes. I will definitely make the meatballs again but next time I’ll simplify significantly with a simple marinara and pre-made pasta. Read more…
This is where the pictures get even more incomplete! Above are some sliders I made with a mix of leftover porchetta, roast pork and caramelized onions the next day for hangover lunch. If I had arugula, I would have added that too.
If you’ve never had a Roli Roti sandwich before, get yourself to San Francisco’s Ferry Building on a Saturday for one–yummy roast pork belly wrapped around pork tenderloin and spices with arugula and caramelized onions on a crusty roll. They published their recipe for porchetta a few months ago, but at 7 lbs of meat, it was definitely something I needed guests to help me finish. Through some miscommunication with the butcher at the Asian market who didn’t speak the same language as me, my 5 lb piece of pork belly came in two pieces and my 2 lbs of pork tenderloin also came in two pieces, which resulted in a bit of a franken-pork roast. Compounded by the fact that I’ve never tied meat before, it was a bit messy (but it was fine): Read more…
My first three years out of college, I lived in the East Bay. The dot-com boom had yet to bust and living in San Francisco was an unaffordable dream. During that time, I ate out a lot and fell in love with a little Shanghainese restaurant that is sadly now closed–Claypot Seafood House. Until I started eating here, my exposure to Chinese food was limited to dim sum (which I love) and your American Chinese staples (which I really dislike).
At this restaurant, I discovered xiao long bao–juicy, broth-filled dumplings that are so good I can easily inhale an entire serving on my own (and believe me, I have). I discovered that I liked Chinese food–I just didn’t like the greasy, fried, brown-gravy sort that I ate growing up. And I discovered Lion’s Head Meatball Soup–tender braised meatballs with sweet, melt-in-your-mouth napa cabbage in a meaty, mushroomy broth.
It had been years since I’d had this lovely soup. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a long time but never got around to making it. After a friend posted a picture of her lion’s heads, I knew I had to make it for myself. Read more…