Monday, January 30, 2012

Citrus Week: Pummelo Candy

Check out this pummelo candy that my sister gave me.

It was pretty good. Sweet and tart, it was a piece of preserved pummelo skin with sugar. Nice citrus shout-out.

Also, check out this spot, Aji Ichiban, on Mott st. in Chinatown. Where you can get candies like these and many more. This place is also known as munchies paradise, living up to its name with samples of almost every item they carry.  Try different dried fruits of various flavors, include several citrus candies.

Plus it's right down the block from Joe's Shanghai, where you can grab some delicious soup dumplings and a crispy spring roll before tucking into your gummy coke bottles on the train ride home.

Citrus Week Day Three :Blood Orange

Blood oranges are definitely one seasonal citrus variety that people get behind and buy when available. They are the ingredient in countless drinks and cocktails, used for their juice and color.

The blood oranges that I've had so far this season have been okay. No life changing red-hued navel going to show up on my doorstep. I'm enjoying my low acid treats, and decided to do a little more with these.

Blood orange drinks are popular in Italy.  Often in blood orange season I come across blood orange juice. It's good. Not as sweet and acidic as regular orange juice, blood orange juice lets subtler flavors come into play.

After work, I wanted to use some blood oranges up.

I made some puff pastry fold-overs.

Blood orange simple syrup with cinnamon and clove, stewed golden raisins with blood orange zest and orange juice, and pieces of fresh blood orange, all went into the middle of some puff pastry, folded over on itself to make tiny pockets
I don't bake. This was frozen puff pastry. I didn't really know what was going on. It was still delicious. To be honest, I don't like this picture. It looks like a bunch of chicken wings! (and it's making me hungry) I burned the bottom of the puffs (still good!) and it was all just a little messy.

The plus side is that they were easy and tasty, and I have left over syrup for cocktails.

I started to make the blood orange simple syrup just to have, and the puff pastry in the freezer came to mind. As the simple syrup was bubbling, I stewed big golden raisins in orange juice and water, with the zest of an entire blood orange.

The fat sweet raisins, and the tart fresh orange was a great combination.

It was really easy to make, since the dough was ready-made.
When they came out, I poured more of the cinnamon-y blood orange syrup over the top and let it soak in for a second. My roommates and I ate all of them in no time.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Citrus Week: Infusions

In honor of citrus week, spirits are being infused with zest!

My roommate, Jonah Levy, set out to infuse some vodka, and the copious citrus lying around inspired a citron combination.

He started cutting the rind off a cocktail grapefruit and an heirloom navel orange. I suggested a julienne. It smelled great.

Here are the efforts. In about a month we'll be drinking delicately infused citron vodka.

Looks promising.

Also! Because it is the weekend, I may not make a full day citrus post. There will be several updates and appetizers to get you through. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Citrus Week Day Two: Red Navel Orange

Round Two! Fight!

Red Navels?
That's not a grapefruit?

I was excited for these. I had never come across a "red" navel orange before, so I bought three of these monstrous, dirty oranges at a small store on Fulton St. No where else have I ever spotted these oranges, and here, at a tiny Asian-run grocer, in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, they were on sale like everybody had them. They were heavy, and looked like they had some thick skin. In the first citrus picture the red navel is all the way on the left, in the middle; it's holding up a bunch of fruit.

Got home right away, and I started snacking on my citrus treats. Yeahhh.

This orange has great flavor.
The navels were especially large, and satisfying to eat, as most navels are too small and bitter.
Overall it is pretty fibrous. I like it, and don't mind the extra chewing. It helps you think about what you're eating a little longer.
The color is certainly red. Not blood-red like their cousins, but more red and less orange than any navel I have eaten before. It is also more red than the pink Cara Cara oranges, and I've seen plenty of grapefruit as red as this.

I ate em all!

Stay tuned for more cool citrus week stuff!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Citrus Week Day One: Pummelo

Gun's blazing!

Coming in hot with this first one; pummelo.

This big guy is pretty cool; and the base fruit for many crosses, such as minneolas, tangelos and grapefruits, which makes him a team player as well.

Big right?

I've had some good pummelos. This particular one was a little under-ripe; it wasn't fully fleshed red yet, but it still had a nice flavor. I thought that it would act well in a salad. It was sturdy and pretty tasty, but felt more like an ingredient than just a eat-right-away kind of fruit. Not so much acid,a pleasant tartness, and a tough membrane all-around.


This freaking meal was awesome.

I roasted some sweet potatoes with coconut oil and pummelo zest.
Made some garbanzos with dark greens and coconut milk.
That's right, you are seeing cilantro. It's fantastic.
I used it with a quick pummelo and white onion salad with lime juice.
The pummelo zest was delicious with the sweet potatoes, and the combination with the fresh pummelo was tantalizing as well.

 Extra points for a pummelo bowl. Hollowed out.

I could eat those tubers all day long, but the overall dish had a lot of bright flavors that popped and stood out.
What it really needed was a fat grilled fish. Or a small one. Grilled fish stuffed with ginger would have been amazing with this.

And actually, this whole dish, all three components, created a vegan meal.

The coconut tied the greens and beans, and the potato dishes together, and the pummelo was the bridge between the salad and the potatoes.

The beans and greens, I wasn't crazy about. I wanted to use a more tender greens, but used some really heavy, sturdy dark greens because that's all that was available at the moment. I also thought that overall it need to be tinkered with a little more to coax some more of the flavors and help meld the coconut more. I was still pleased with this dish, and may turn it into a hardy soup.

Recipe time!

Roasted sweet potatoes with zest
40 mins plus prep time
Sweet potato
Pummelo zest, or other citrus zest
Coconut Oil

This one is super easy. (three ingredients!)
Peel and cube as much sweet potatoes poundage as you want to use. I used about a pound, but its a really simple recipe and is easy to double or half.
Preheat the oven to 375
Get your hands on some zest! I suggest limes, grapefruits, pummelos, orange or tangerine.
Julienne about 4 square inches of zest per pound of starch.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil, throw your tubers on top, sprinkle the zest on - nestling it into some crevices and such.
Take a hefty tablespoon of coconut oil for every pound of tuber, and dot the sheet with it.

Throw these bad boys in the oven!

After about twenty minutes, take a look at them, and if they are starting to caramelize, flip them over.
At this point, I turned my foil sheet into a pack, wrapping the ends tight and sealing the flavors. The aromatics from the coconut and pummelo really come through when the packet method is used.
In another twenty minutes, check to see if they are soft, if so, serve!

Quick Pummelo Salad
1/2 a pummelo
1/2 a medium white onion
1 cup cilantro
lime juice

This is another real simple, real delicious component to the meal that can be adapted for many things. This alone would be fantastic on a grilled fish.

I used half a pummelo and half a medium sized white onion, but you can use a whole if you want to make that much.
Peel the pummelo and take the skin off the segments, break the pummelo into bite size pieces.
Julienne your white onion and put it into a bowl with cold water and a splash of vinegar - you want enough liquid to cover every thing. This step takes the bite off the onions and makes them more palatable raw.
Finely dice a seeded and cored jalapeno, and about one cup of cilantro. I LOVE CILANTRO.
After about ten minutes of soaking, dry the onion off in a salad spinner, and mix with the pummelo, cilantro and jalapeno. Add the juice from one lime, and salt to your taste. I used a little over a teaspoon of salt.
Combine and toss! Done!
This is seriously good. Fresh and tropical, an excellent way to escape January!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Citrus Week

I am declaring Citrus Week on Eat The Internet.

That's right.

The glory that is the citrus family shall be spoken of on this blog.

Man, I love citrus.
Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit? I'm all about it.
A great snack, dessert, ingredient and aromatic, citrus and all their hybrids and mix-ups are as delicious as they are varied.
I want to take a week to celebrate this wonderful family of fruit. I will examine different citrus, talk about my favorites, and make suggestions and recipes.

It's going to be glorious.

People start to buzz about citrus when blood oranges become available, but for me the magic happens much earlier.

Nobody buzzes about new limes that are available.
Meyer lemons are cool. Is that it for the lemons?

Navels and grapefruits are available all year round, but I prefer when I can get them from Florida. I also eat a large amount of California citrus, which I love. I don't really like to get navels or grapefruits when they are not in season in the US because I think the fruit grown to be shipped far from other countries doesn't taste as good.

I get excited when tangerines start to appear. They are the first signs that citrus season is coming. It's an early season, and I enjoyed the best parts of it. If you think about the fact that tangerines come in different varieties like Fall-Glo and Sunburst, and some, the really good ones, can taste like pure honey, you'll wait for tangerines to start your citrus season too.

Now, citrus season is upon us, and I plane to celebrate.

Get ready  for a new Citrus.
Get ready, for Citrus Week

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fruit of the Loin

If you know me, you are probably aware of my love for all things pork. It is an intoxicating food. My favorite cuts are the long cooking ones like spare ribs, shoulder, pork belly...  Any true pork lover also loves the other cuts, and celebrates the whole animal, from accessible pork chops to adventurous head cheese. 

Just one thing I have to say when pork is involved.

Gotta make dry rubs!

I always rub my pork down with a nice dry rub; sugar, salt, whatever feels clever.
I wanted to get some pork and rub it down. So I got myself a tenderloin.

This particular tenderloin got a healthy dose of dried toasted chilies and raw sugar.

The chili aspect was an almost even mix of ancho and guajillo, with a generous amount of chili arbol, and some small deep red torpedo-shaped Japanese hot peppers.  The rest was salt, sugar and magic.

What else could I fry these lovely little nuggets in besides the greatest fat in the world; bacon fat.

The chilies in the rub lent a wonderful orange hue to the fat. I also fried some garlic next to these delicious little pork nugs. The combination was awesome. Soft, fried garlic is a great vegetable note that holds serious flavor and doesn't overwhelm with a sharp bite.

Pork in the pan, ladies and gentlemen.

Some quick sauteed onions and a piece of bread, and this meal is complete. Check out the cross section on this tenderloin. It had a wonderful crust and a juicy, soft inside. The chilies added a really nice long burn, that was not as intense as eating a fresh hot pepper, but with a slow burn that really made you salivate. That garlic up front shows how much color and flavor the chilies lent all the ingredients.

It was delicious and easy.
It was fun and porky.

Leftovers will certainly be appreciated.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oil and Fat

I love fat and oil and all things glistening and sumptuous. I have a jar of rendered bacon fat in my fridge right now. It's great for frying eggs or onions, potatoes, meat.... I could get carried away.

I have a lot of different oils in my pantry as well. Three different olive oils, grape seed, sesame, canola, the list goes on. What I do not have, is coconut oil. But after reading these articles, I think that is all going to change, and I'm going to be frying some things in a new fat this coming weeks.

This first article led me to the second one. I guess I'm a little late on this one, as it was published in March of '11.

The Kitchn gives a shout out to Trader Joe's

NY Times shout out to coconuts.

 I made a pork loin recently, and fried it in bacon fat. You'll see some pictures soon. (It was soooo good.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Culinary Mycology

I found more mushrooms. Glorious mushrooms. I went back to Union market after finding Blue Foot Mushrooms which I most thoroughly enjoyed, and found MORE AMAZING MUSHROOMS!

Keep your pants on, because this is going to be one wild ride.

This time, in addition to the Blue Foot mushrooms, I also scored some chanterelles and some black trumpet mushrooms. I knew this was going to be an awesome day.

This was a first for me with the black trumpets. I had never had them before this, and let me tell you, they are amazing.

Here is a little pic of the three mushrooms, safe at home on my cutting board.

 The trumpets had a lot of pine needles and sandy dirt on them, and the chanterelles had a lot of dirt and debris on them too. But after I cleaned everybody up and secured the rest of my ingredients, I was ready to make the most amazing dish.

I pan fried some polenta, seasoned with salt and pepper,and then grated Parmesan cheese over top. The cheese melted onto the polenta disks and added an amazing, nutty, cheesy flavor. Setting the stage for a fantastic trio of mushroom heaven.
After the polenta was done, I wiped the pan clean and added butter and fresh thyme. When the butter was melted and bubbly, but before it browned, I added all the mushrooms.

The smell was incredible. A few minutes and some tossing, and everything had come together very nicely.

Man this was freaking amazing. The blue foot mushrooms stayed relatively firm; they tasted meaty and delicious, just as I remember them from my last encounter. They gave a contrasting texture to the other softer players in the dish.

The black trumpets almost melted they were so soft. The flavor was unlike any mushroom I have ever had, and they had an intense, concentrated mushroom flavor. They tasted naughty; they tasted like sex.

The chanterelles really stole the show. They got super soft and creamy, but held their shape. The texture was otherworldly. Their flavor was phenomenal. Eating these mushrooms was like eating rare filet Mignon they were so meaty. They tasted like where they came from; the forest. Their flavor was in your face and subtle at the same time. Pleasing, relaxing, and exciting.

The marriage of cheesy polenta, fresh thyme, and the holy trio of mushrooms was fantastic to say the least.
It's no wonder people find some foods an aphrodisiac.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wrap Up

I took a lot of pictures in 2011. For many of the months, my camera was broken, but I got a new camera and started snapping away again.

I try to post the very best of my pictures, so you've all probably seen the top notch ones, but here are a couple photos that never made the blog but I think are pretty rad.

Remember, you can click on the photos to enlarge them!

This is a picture of some Bamboo Shoots I saw in a Sunset Park Asian Supermarket. They were all lined up in rows, and reminded me of the Terracotta Army.

This is a big ol' crab! He was standing guard over a lobster. He's big.

This is some crazy green thing I can't remember the name of. It's a member of the Brassica family, and is supposed to taste sweet, and like a mix of cauliflower and broccoli.

I love to take pictures of seafood markets. This is a crab harvest in Chinatown in February.
This is another seafood pic from Chinatown. In the middle are some razor clams, which are freaking delicious; sweet and meaty, these are some of the best clams for eating. On the right are some Goeduck!

This is my bowl, just before I put some soup in! A friend of mine cooks Burmese food, and sometimes when I visit I get to try some new things. This was her take on Mohinga, considered to be the national dish of Burma.

And this crazy thing is a Buddha's hand! A member of the citrus family with no pulp or juice, this pithy monster is extremely aromatic and smells like lemons and roses. Very pleasant as a tea, and as a room freshener.

Happy new year every body!