Archive for the ‘BBQ’ Category

KimchiFriedRice3I think everyone has certain rules or considerations before people can be considered as friends.  There are obvious considerations such as not being a complete tool or tosser in order to be looked upon as a friend… unless you like those qualities in people.  Some people prefer to limit their friendships with folks who have like-minded religious or political beliefs.  Ok, cool.  That’s fine.  I have certain rules and guidelines as well.  I can’t be friends with people who don’t like to suck the brains and guts out of shrimp heads when eating whole shrimp, or are grossed out when I do.  For those of you who don’t do that, you don’t know what you’re missing.  I also can’t be friends with people who refuse to try kimchi.  It’s cool if you don’t like it but as long as you’ve tried it.  But to flat out say that you won’t even taste it… that’s the culinary equivalent of being a narrow-minded bigot if you ask me.

I kid, I kid.

I’m not that serious, but you can see the point I’m getting at.  I often ask people who refuse to eat or try kimchi why they won’t taste it.  I get responses such as, “Isn’t it fermented?  Meaning that it’s rotten cabbage?”  Why yes.  Yes it is.  I often follow that up with counter questions of my own.  “Do you like cheese?  Oh you do?  Well you realize that’s rotten milk, right?”  “Do you like wine?  Oh you do!?  You realize that’s rotten grape juice, right?”  “Do you like beer?  Who am I kidding… of course you do!  You realize that’s rotten barley juice, right?”  And finally, “do you like sauerkraut?  Perhaps with your Rueben sandwich or with your hotdogs and brats?  Oh you do?  Well what do you know… kimchi is pretty much the exact same thing except spicier.”  Free your minds, people.KimchiFriedRice1

I’ve seen kimchi fried rice on menus in Korean restaurants before but I’ve never taken the plunge in ordering it.  I’ve of course had my fair share of kimchi and would be very happy eating it with plain rice.  Cold kimchi and hot rice is a typical lunch in Korea for the working class and it’s more than enough to make me happy.  But I started thinking about other uses for the kimchi I had bought at the local Asian store and decided to scour the internet for a kimchi friend rice recipe. One of my favorite accompaniments for kimchi is barbecue and I recently made a rack of ribs (that’s another post for another time) that went perfect with it.  The sweetness of the barbecue sauce with the richness of the fatty ribs with white rice and a side of cold spicy/sour/acidic kimchi hits a lot of flavor combinations that would make any palette dance.  But I wanted to try something different and dug up a kimchi friend rice recipe that I made some tweaks to form my own

Ingredients

-Previously cooked rice.  Preferably cooked 1-2 days before.  Enough for 3 servings or so.

-1 carrot

-Several shiitake mushrooms

-3-4 green onions (spring onions)

-Several garlic cloves (or less if you prefer)

-1 cup of kimchi

-Vegetable cooking oil

-1 egg per serving

-Salt and pepper

KimchiFriedRice2Start by heating cooking oil in a wok or large pan.  As the oil gets hot, julienne cut the carrot, chop up the shiitake mushrooms, chop up the green onions (save some for garnish), and mince the garlic.  Toss the julienned carrot, chopped up shiitake mushrooms/green onion, and minced garlic and let the flavors combine and soften.

As it’s softening, cut up the kimchi in a bowl using kitchen shears which would be a perfect tool.  The reason you’re cutting kimchi in a bowl is because if you do it on a cutting board, it will stain it and perhaps even leave a lingering smell.

Add the cut up kimchi to the wok and mix it in to incorporate it with the rest of the vegetables.  Add in the rice, and break up the clumps with the back of the spoon so that individual grains can pick up the sauce brought about from the kimchi and vegetable mixture.  It should have a light red tint.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Before plating, fry a sunny side up egg on a separate pan.  Plate the fried rice, sprinkle some of the remaining chopped up green onion, and land the sunny side up fried egg on top.  Enjoy with Korean barbecue, or your own barbecue concoction such as ribs, beef brisket, or even pulled pork.  I’d put this up against any other version of friend rice around Asia as well (Chinese, Filipino, Nasi Goreng from Indonesia, etc.).

Plus for those out there who have yet to try kimchi, this is a great way to get an initial taste before eating it as an accompanying side dish as it is meant to be.

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Steamed dim sum.jpgFirstly, thanks to everyone who gave such great food suggestions for my trip to DC. I would need to stay here a few weeks to make it to all of them but unfortunately I only have 3 nights. I arrived into the city late this afternoon and have already been out to try the first of the 3 places I decided on.

Ping Pong Dim Sum was recommended by FreshDaily 101 We have a weakness for dim sum. I had to go to this place, just so I could send photos of the delicious food back to J. To make him jealous… Oh, and it is so close to the hotel. It is a really nice restaurant, not at all what the name suggests and tonight it was packed and energized for their Wednesday mojito madness. I stayed away from the mojitos but was ready for a good meal after having only a smoothie hours before back in Arizona.

Although the menu isn’t completely traditional, it still offered all of my favorites and Ping pong selection.jpgthen some. After perusing the menu, I decided on the Ping Pong Selection which gave me my favorites and a mix of their more unusual dim sum flavors. To accompany the dim sum I ordered a draft beer I had never seen before, yuengling lager.

The beer came out quickly and it was delicious, a nice accompaniment for dinner. The Ping Pong selection was 10 different dim sum for $20. A little more expensive than other dim sum but I think in the end it was worth the money.

My first plate came out with 3 pieces, a honey roasted chicken puff, a Vietnamese rice paper shrimp roll and a crisp potato cake. Not the most traditional but incredibly delicious. All three were very fresh and crispy. The potato cake was amazing and so crunchy on the outside but creamy inside. A really good start to the meal.

A little different.jpgThe remaining items all came out in a large steamer. I do love being presented food this way. They were all still steaming and looked delicious. I left my favorites until the end… Eating my way through a steamed sea bass dumpling, a chicken, pineapple and lemongrass dumpling, a crabmeat and prawn dumpling and a beef and cumin dumpling. They were definitely fresh and perfectly cooked to my liking. They were unusual flavors but I really liked them. The beef had Indian flavors to me and the sea bass was just amazing.

Finally I came to my 3 favorites and how I measure any dim sum restaurant… Har gua, seafood shu mai and a char sui bun. The first two were good, tasty and well made. The char sui bun was the final test. It was so very good… After years of eating these after nights out in Japan, they are still one of my all time favorite foods. The bun was light and fluffy and pork had such great flavor.

I was so pleased.

This is a different dim sum restaurant. If you are looking for traditional, it isn’t the place for you but I say live a little, try something different! This is a great place to do that… Pineapple, cumin, and potato in dumplings… Who wouldn’t want to try that… Plus some of the best steamed pork buns I have eaten.

Thanks again Fresh Daily 101. This was a wonderful start to my trip. Tomorrow night is St Arnold Mussel Bar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the big advantages of my job is that I get to travel. In the last few months I have been to Las Vegas, Charlotte and Austin… all for work. There will be posts about all the deliciousness I ate on those trips.

In the next couple of months I am going to Washington DC and Dallas for work and then on vacation to Hawaii.

With all this upcoming travel, I have a lot of food planning to do. This is usually J’s responsibility but he isn’t coming to DC with me, so it falls on my shoulders.

Ben's Chili Bowl

I have been to DC before and done all the sightseeing. Last time we were there  was around 3 years ago. We ate some great food on that

Capitol City Brewing Company – I don’t have any photos of the food we had here but it was good quality pub fare. Most importantly they had a large and delicious range of their own beers which were most enjoyable.trip!

Ben's Chili Dog

Ben’s Chili Bowl – From everything I hear, this is an institution in DC! We dragged our friend with the meat phobia here and even convinced   her to try one of the chili dogs. Telling her that President Obama had eaten here convinced her it would be ok. It was fantastic! It was my first chili dog and I probably will never have one anywhere near as delicious as this was. This place is an example of exactly the kind of food and place we love – simple, hole in the wall just doing what they do very well and deliciously!

The Dancing Crab – This was one of J’s discoveries when he was researching our trip. Being huge seafood lovers, it was a must and we weren’t disappointed. Giant trays of spicy crabs were brought Dancing Crabout. Dressed in our plastic bibs, tools in hand, we dug in and ate ourselves silly! Again, this is the perfect kind of place, out of the tourist areas with great service and food. This crab was unlike any I had eaten before – I might have to make a trip back to this place – if I can figure out how to get there!

Oyamel – If you have read any of our posts about Mexican food, you will be familiar with exactly what our thoughts on it are… if you haven’t read J’s entry about this topic. Oyamel is not our usual Mexican fare. It is pricey, fancy and more like a tapas restaurant then the hole in the wall, divey places we usual frequent. However, the Oyamel Tacosfood was good and it was our chance to take a friend out for their first Mexican restaurant experience in the US. We ate tacos, mole, yummy desserts and I can’t remember what else. It is a restaurant with an interesting concept combining Mexican food and tapas, with good service and food. I have to admit though that I still prefer my hole in the walls back here in Arizona.

So that was our first trip to DC! There were other places we ate, including a random Oyamel MoleBBQ place that none of us can remember the name of, but these were by far the best experiences we had.

I would like to have great food experiences on this next trip too. This is where I need your help and advice if  you know of any great places in DC. I will be staying downtown, close to the Convention Center and am limited to public transport and taxis…

Where should I eat? I can’t wait to hear your recommendations!

Valentine's Dinner.jpgWe aren’t really ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day, even in the early days of our relationship we didn’t exchange gifts. The most we would do is wish each other happy Valentine’s Day.

So last night we didn’t do anything special… we headed to the gym because we knew it would be nice and quiet with everyone else celebrating the holiday. J. also got a new BBQ (read grill if American) delivered this week so he decided to cook me dinner and try that out.

He fired up his new Barbie and I sat down and watched… and drank a beer. We had some meaty lamb shoulder chops ready to thrown on. We eat a lot of these and our freezer tends to be well stocked with these chops. It is also one of the cheaper options here when it comes to lamb.

Lamb on the Grill.jpg

Anyway, he cooked the lamb beautifully… the BBQ worked as it is meant to work and most importantly J. thoroughly enjoyed cooking on it.  He had prepared some quinoa earlier in the rice cooker so that was going to be our side dish. He had just sautéed some chillies and garlic and thrown that into the rice cooker with the quinoa. We have been eating a lot of quinoa instead of the mountains of rice we usually consume.

 

It was all very yummy and great that I didn’t have to cook! He even cleaned up. So even though we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day I still got that as a gift…. And really what more could I want besides love & lamb!

BBQ Lamb.jpgA few weeks before we jetted off to Australia, J and I did our own version of marinated grilled lamb. It was delicious, I was pretty happy with it. However, we also requested for our trip home that my Dad make us his herb & garlic barbeque lamb. Even though ours was good it didn’t come close to what his is like.

That first Sunday we were home Dad whipped this up to go with our Wombok Salad.

First thing first. You need to be able to get a de-boned butterflied leg of lamb. If your local supermarket does that for you great! Otherwise you might need to find a specialty butcher shop (not something we have a lot of here in AZ). This recipe uses a 2kg piece of lamb.

In a bowl 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly, 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard, 3/4 cup dry white wine and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary leaves. Mix this together well. Then, in a shallow dish lie the lamb out as flat as you can and pour the marinade over the top. Cover this and then you refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours… I always like to do this overnight.

Dad cooks his on the BBQ, and I think this is why his tasted better than ours, which we cooked inside on a grill pan… The BBQ just makes everything taste better.

After marinating for a few hours/nights, remove the lamb from the marinade. You can use the marinade as a sauce later so put it into a shallow pan and set aside. Place the lamb flat on the pre-heated BBQ over low heat, sprinkle with salt – we use around 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover the top of the lamb with foil if you aren’t cooking it in a covered BBQ.

Cook for 15 minutes and then turn and cook for another 15. You can cook more or less depending on how you like your lamb cooked. This comes out a medium – medium rare. After the 30 minutes cooking time brush the lamb all over with mint jelly. Cook for another 3 minutes on each side. This should get the lamb nice and brown with a thin crust. Remove from the BBQ and rest.

Meanwhile, inside… add ¼ cup of chicken stock to the leftover marinade and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 5 mins. Slice the lamb and then drizzle the sauce over the top.

Now I am sure it is obvious how much we love this. I won’t go on and on and on… I will the photos and the recipe speak for themselves… But you do have to love some Aussie lamb on the BBQ!