Posts from November 2013

What's With the Bird, Choosing Sides for Thanksgiving, Browned Brussels Sprouts

Having shared Persimmon, Pomegranate and Pistachio Salad from Choosing Sides (Andrews McMeel- September 10, 2013) by Crumbs on My Keyboard Tara Mataraza Desmond, i thought i should reopen the book in final 'sprint' before Thanksgiving 2013.

Here's a 'what's with the bird' slice of inspiration, good for vegetarians at the table too.

Browned Brussels Sprouts with Maple Butter 

Serves 4 to 6

Some people are evangelical about their favorite foods, determined to sway skeptics to their way of thinking and tasting. I’m this way about Brussels sprouts. If any preparation of these cruciferous bulbs is going to spur converts, it’s this one. The maple butter is reminiscent of caramel, creating a sweet cloak over savory sprouts that become deeply browned and crisp wherever their surfaces meet the hot pan. The maple butter can be made a day ahead, cooled completely, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature while the sprouts roast and then scrape it into the hot sprouts to melt it.

1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed, outer leaves peeled, and halved (quartered if large)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a baking sheet and transfer it to the hot oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, toss the sprouts with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the salt and pepper. Pour the sprouts out onto the hot baking sheet and spread into a single layer. (Take the time to place each sprout cut side down for especially crisped and browned sprouts.)

Roast the Brussels sprouts for 15 to 20 minutes, until fork-tender and a dark brown crust forms on the sides exposed to the baking sheet.

While the sprouts roast, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling it around as it becomes liquid. Keep a close eye on the butter as it starts to foam. If you look closely at the liquid butter as it cooks, you can see tiny specks of brown appear (which are the browning milk solids). Continue heating it until it starts to smell nutty and turns from off-white to golden to light brown. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup. Stir briskly as the mixture sizzles and spurts. Set aside in the saucepan until the Brussels finish roasting.

Remove the Brussels from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle the maple butter all over, tossing to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

(* Recipe from 'Choosing Sides, From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal' by Tara Mataraza DesmondAndrews McMeel, September 10- Photography by Ben Pieper- all rights reserved)

Frederique de Lamothe with 5 of her 260 Bordeaux Children from Crus Bourgeois

After Bordeaux under 1 Roof tasting at 4 World Trade Center yesterday, I went back midtown to meet Frederique de Lamothe near Macy's catching the tail end of a Broadway tune performance and fake snow blowing on the way.

Frederique de Lamothe is the directrice (director) of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Medoc whose 2010 selection numbered 260.


Here's Frederique above with 5 of her 260 Bordeaux children.

I will share my conversation with Frederique and some wines I tasted in a few days.

Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts with Thai Street Cred, Phat Khanaeng from Pok Pok by Andy Ricker

Here's a dish with street cred from the pages of Pok PokFood and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand (Ten Speed Press, Fall 2013) by Andy Ricker of Pok Pok restaurant with J.J. Goode.

Phat Khanaeng
Stir-fried Brussels sprouts

• A Thai granite mortar and pestle
• A wok and wok spatula

A visit to a Thai market will always remind you how much you don’t know. At Chiang Mai’s vast wholesale emporium Talaat Meuang Mai, for instance, you’ll pass vendor after vendor exhibiting piles of green things—feathery flora and serpentine stalks, wide blades of what looks like grass, and pudgy-stemmed Chinese-broccoli doppelgangers. There are sundry leaves—some spindly and bitter, some succulent and tart, some strangely sweet—and other plants, plucked from overgrown patches by the side of the road, foraged from forests, or harvested from farm fields.
Some day I’m going to stop inquiring about them. For years, I’ve asked friends, restaurant owners, and vendors at local markets to identify every novelty I’ve come across. And instead of a simple name, I get one of three answers. “That?” I’ll hear in Thai. “You eat it raw along with laap,” the minced meat, blood-spiked Northern staple (page 106). Or you eat it steamed along with naam phrik, the diverse category of chile-based relishes. Or you eat it stirfried with oyster sauce. So I still don’t know the names of most of these alien vegetables. I’m not sure they even have names.
Once in a while, though, you’ll be surprised by what you do recognize. During a trip to Phrae, an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai, I went to a restaurant and asked what vegetables they offered for a simple stir-fry. “Very local vegetable,” said my waiter. “Then that’s what I want,” I said. Minutes later,
out came a plate of fiddlehead ferns. Turns out that the furled young ferns that overflow crates in springtime markets in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere throughout the US, also pop up in Northern Thailand.
Another favorite vegetable common in stir-fries is khanaeng, which looks like a cross between a Brussels sprout and bok choy. You can’t find it in the US, so at Pok Pok I sub regular old Brussels sprouts, which turn out great, and I call for them here. Of course, as my fruitless inquiries suggest, you can apply this method of cooking and saucing (a Chinese-Thai merging of oyster sauce and fish sauce) to almost any vegetable to delicious effect. Briefly blanched (I subscribe to the theory of deep-water blanching, so use a pasta pot full of water for a pound of vegetables), broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, or a mix of several types all work well.

Serves 2 to 6 as part of a meal

10 ounces Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed, outer leaves removed, halved lengthwise (about 2 cups)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Thai oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon Thai thin soy sauce
Small pinch ground white pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
11 grams peeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise and lightly crushed into small pieces in a mortar (about 1 tablespoon)
6 grams fresh Thai chiles (about 4), preferably red, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Sup Kraduuk Muu (Pork stock), page 268, or water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Phat Khanaeng (brussels sprouts) (1)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add enough salt to make it taste slightly salty. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook just until they’re no longer raw but still crunchy, 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on their size. Drain them well. If you’re not stir-frying them right away, shock them in ice water.

Combine the oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and white pepper in a small bowl and stir well. Heat a wok over very high heat, add the oil, and swirl it in the wok to coat the sides. When it begins to smoke lightly, add the garlic, take the wok off the heat, and let the garlic sizzle, stirring often, until it’s fragrant but not colored, about 15 seconds.

Put the wok back on the heat, and add the Brussels sprouts and chiles. Stir-fry (constantly stirring, scooping, and flipping the ingredients) for 30 seconds to infuse the sprouts with the garlic flavor. Add the oyster sauce mixture (plus a splash of water, if necessary, to make sure nothing’s left behind in the bowl), and stir-fry until the Brussels sprouts are tender but still crunchy and the liquid in the pan has almost completely evaporated, about 45 seconds. Add the stock, then add the sugar and stir-fry until the Brussels sprouts are tender with a slight crunch and the sauce has thickened slightly but is still very liquidy, about 30 seconds. Transfer the vegetables and sauce to a plate in a low mound, and serve. 

Sup Kraduuk Muu (Pork stock)

A cooking staple in Thailand, stock fortifies the flavor of many dishes, from soups to stir-fries. Pork stock is, in my experience, the most common version, though you do certainly see it made from beef, chicken, a mixture of pork or chicken, and of course, bouillon powder. If you want to cook from this book, I suggest making a batch straight away and freezing the stock in small portions.
You’ll use no more than 1/2 cup for stir-fries and steamed fish dishes.
You’ll use about 11/2 cups per portion for soups. I like to store some of the stock in ice cube molds and once the cubes are fully frozen, dump them into a freezer bag.
Like a good Westerner, I prefer my stock cooked a little more gently than the boiled stocks common in Thailand. A little cloudiness, however, certainly won’t kill you. The first time you make it, use all the aromatics listed below so you understand how they play off each other to create a balanced stock. Soon,
though, you’ll be able to recreate a great stock with whatever scraps you have lying around from your other Thai cooking endeavors.

Makes 4 to 5 quarts

5 pounds meaty pork neck bones, cut by the butcher, if necessary, so they can fit in your pot
1 whole unpeeled head garlic
1 (approximately 1-ounce) piece unpeeled ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, outer layer removed, halved crosswise
About 6 ounces peeled daikon radish, cut crosswise into approximately 1-inch slices (about 2 cups)
3 or so green onions
3 or so cilantro sprigs (preferably leaves, stems, and well-washed roots)
3 or so leafy Chinese celery sprigs
1 teaspoon black or white peppercorns

Put the bones in a large pot, fill it with cold tap water, stir with your hands, and pour off the water. Add enough water to cover the bones by an inch or so, cover, and set the pot over high heat. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Skim any scum from the surface, then drain the bones and rinse them under running water. All this is to get any blood off the bones, which will give you a cleaner-tasting, clearer stock.

Clean the pot, return the bones to the pot, and add enough water to cover the bones by 2 inches or so. Cover the pot, set it over high heat and bring the water to a bare simmer (do not let it boil), lightly stirring once and skimming off any surface scum. Uncover the pot, decrease the heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook, skimming occasionally, until all the flavor has been cooked out of the meat on the bones, about 3 hours.

Working one at a time, use a pestle or heavy pan to lightly whack the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass a few times to bruise them. Add them to the pot along with the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer gently for 30 minutes more. Strain the stock into a large bowl or pot (don’t press the solids), discarding what’s left behind. Let the stock cool and skim off any fat from the surface. (This is even easier when the stock is chilled and the fat solidifies.) The stock keeps in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

(* Reprinted with permission from Pok Pok by Andy Ricker with J.J. Goode, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc, Photography: Austin Bush © 2013)

2700 Illustrations of History of Coffeemaking, Coffee Makers, Macchine da Caffe by Enrico Maltoni

Italians are passionate about coffee with taste variations depending on what part of the country people live. 

A recent book or should we say encyclopedia, Coffee Makers , Macchine da Caffe (Collezione Enrico Maltoni - Fall 2013 - Italian/English...€ 100.00) by Enrico Maltoni and Mauro Carli features '2000 antique coffee makers photographed in the homes of the most important collectors in the world' from 9th century (Turkey, Syria) to more recent ones.


"A number of events throughout Europe have been organised to present Coffee Makers, during which temporary exhibitions will be set up providing an extensive overview of the antique coffee makers depicted in the book. Many rare models will be on show at these events, ranging from Turkish coffee pots to Toselli’s locomotive, from the lever machines produced by Faema to Bialetti’s Moka, and the authors will be revealing other curiosities, too. Coffee tasting sessions will follow the presentations, the coffee prepared using the valuable coffee makers and different extraction systems."

One of these events will take place at MUMAC ('Coffee Machine Museum') in Binasco (Province of Milan) on December 1st, 2013 at 3:30 PM.

1870coffee maker

One of the many coffee makers featured in the book is "Idrofiammifuga" 1870, vacuum" (on page 198) pictured above.

(* Images above from Coffee Makers Facebook page)

Chateau La Tour Blanche 'Sauternes' 2009, White and Decantered

Especially with older vintages, red wines frequently get decantered.

Not everyone agrees with the practice.

It is more unusual to see white wines get decanter treatment.

One of the rare or maybe only time I witnessed that was at a Bordeaux tasting about 2 years ago.


Wine in question was Chateau La Tour Blanche 'Sauternes' 1er Cru 2009

Dusseldorf is Cheapest August 2014 European Gateway from Newark at $1000 RT

As I started thinking of a summer 2014 European getaway, i have been putting Google Flights to work to search for best airfares for the month of August.

On my last trip (late August 2012- early September 2012) I flew round-trip from Newark to Berlin for $650.

Cheapest gateway I can find at this time (mid-November 2013) from Newark is Dusseldorf for $1002 Non-Stop Round Trip on Lufthansa , for example leaving on Tuesday, August 5 and returning August 19, flight leaving at 4:25 pm and arriving in Dusseldorf next morning at 6:10 am (8 hours flight). 


When you do a search on same dates with Cologne (33 miles from Dusseldorf) as your destination, best fare is $1557 on Delta-Air France.

For someone like me who plans to spend most of their summer trip in France, budget newcomer Hop! (Air France subsidiary) offers entry fares around $75 one way. Note that these entry fares allow you only 1 carry on bag and you need to pay 15 Euros per checked in bag-luggage if you register your luggage online.

Those going to Brittany from Dusseldorf can fly non-stop to Nantes (morning flights) on Hop! for $75 one way.

For a number of European capitals (Paris, London, Amsterdam), Icelandair offers August fares RT with one stop in Reykjavík for around $1050. Note that return flights to U.S on Icelandair involve an overnight stay in Reykjavík so you have to add cost of hotel room to your travel costs.

(* Illustration from Dusseldorf Tourist Office Facebook page )

1899 Soul Warmer, Nagasaki Champon from Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono - Harris Salat

"Move over sushi, it's time for gyoza, curry, tonkatsu and furai' are first words greeting us when we open Japanese Soul Cooking (Ten Speed Press, November 2013) by Tadashi Ono who recently opened Maison O in New York and  Harris Salat of comfort food restaurant Ganso in Brooklyn and The Japanese Food Report...

Today's recipe comes from the Ramen chapter.


Nagasaki, located on the southwestern main island of Kyushu, is an old trading port that attracted Chinese students in the nineteenth century. Naturally, restaurants popped up to serve their home-style chow. In 1899, at one of these places, a Fujianese chef named Hejun Chin invented a dish based on his native Fujian-style noodles—a dish that evolved into today’s Nagasaki champon, which soon became popular across the country. The word champon refers to something mixed, and indeed these noodles are a satisfying combination of seafood, pork, and vegetables, all served in a mouthwatering soup. In restaurants, slow-cooked pork bones (like with tonkotsu ramen, page 7) give this soup a milky appearance; we use actual milk to create this effect, plus to add body and flavor. Traditional champon noodles are thicker and wider than regular ramen noodles, but the ramen version is fine to use. If you like heat, add a dab of tobanjan (spicy fermented bean paste, see page 236) to spice things up.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 ounces thinly sliced pork (available at Asian markets), cut into bite-size pieces

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

4 ounces squid, cleaned and sliced into rings

4 ounces scallops, cut into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices

4 ounces small shrimp (51/60 size), peeled

1 small carrot (about 3 ounces), peeled and sliced into 2-inch-long pieces

1⁄2 onion (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

4 ounces cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces

1⁄2 cup sake

2 quarts ramen soup (page 9), hot

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

2 cups milk

4 scallions, trimmed and sliced on an angle into 1-inch pieces

4 packages (about 6 ounces each) fresh-frozen ramen noodles

1 tablespoon ground sesame


To prepare the champon soup, heat the sesame oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the pork and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the squid, scallops, and shrimp, and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds more. Add the carrot and onion, and cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms and napa cabbage, cooking and stirring for 1 minute. Add the sake and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ramen soup, salt, soy sauce, and mirin. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the milk and scallions. Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.

To prepare the ramen, fill a large stockpot with water and place over high heat. Ready 4 large bowls on a work surface. When the water boils, add the noodles. Stir the noodles for about 10 seconds, so they separate and cook evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the noodles are cooked through and toothsome. Drain the noodles into a colander and divide them among the 4 bowls. Pour one-fourth of the champon soup into each bowl, over the ramen. Make sure the pork, seafood, and vegetables are divided evenly. Garnish with ground sesame and serve piping hot.

Authors are doing an on stage Demo of Japanese Home Curry, today November 14 at Japan Society in New York. Starts at 6:30 PM

Ramen with 1899 roots for Tokyo Thursdays # 272

Previously: Japan, Land of Immigrants? Through the Camera Lenses of Camille Millerand

(*Reprinted with permission from Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono &  Harris Salat, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food Photography: Todd Coleman © 2013")