Friday, April 22, 2011

pork carnitas baguette

Inspiration from Xoco (Rick Bayless's new takeout Mexican place with wood fired oven):

Ahogada: Golden pork carnitas, black beans, tomato broth, spicy arbol chile sauce, pickled onions. (Dine-in Only) 9.50

My version (horrifying photo):

The name 'ahogada' refers to a really crusty bread served in a spicy vinegar broth. My version is a sweeter/soggier americanized take that is more closer to a Chicago style Italian beef with Mexican flavors and pork. The ahogada bread is traditionally a hard sour dough torta which is great, but I couldn't even find torta's local (well I could but, lazy) and went French bread.

Maybe this is more Asian? I wanted the correct sweet pork/sour vinegar to be more balanced. I took a pork shoulder from the butcher and parboiled it with chicken stock, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, sea salt, bay leaves, paprika, dry tamarind, black pepper and a red pepper vinegar slosh I keep around.

I sauteed the onions and banana peppers in the pork fat broth from the parboil with extra butter (this is the sweet). I also cooked some black beans in the same.
The final sandwich is French baguette with a smear of black beans topped with sour cream and onion/pepper mix on top. Add the chopped up pork shoulder after you cook off extra fat on a baking sheet. This is pretty caramel like on it's own with the pork fat. I took the stock from cooking the pork shoulder and skimmed the oil off and then added tomato paste, oregano, lime squeeze and cayenne pepper to create the broth. Add some fresh cilantro.

I worried mine would be too hot and was conservative on the heat but I think it makes more sense to create a 'hot' cooked down version of the tomato broth on the side to drizzle on your bites.

Conclusion: Nick loved it. This is a hard meal to fuckup.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

ai weiwei

Recent China detainee Artist Ai Weiwei.
Sign the petition for his release here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

neapolitan oven step by step

This is Donatella's in NY. The final result got kinda crapped out in my opinion.

From the oven master via nyt:

Her mentor will be Enzo Coccia, 48, a third-generation pizzaiolo who began working with his father at age 8 and now runs Pizzeria La Notizia on Via Michelangelo da Caravaggio in Naples. Mr. Coccia will soon travel to Manhattan to build the oven.

“Now, only a few families know artisanal oven-making,” Mr. Coccia said in a telephone interview, “brick by brick.” Pizza has been made this way, Mr. Coccia said, “for more than 250 years in Naples, in a way that is very specific to us. Everyone asks about the secret formula, but it’s mostly not about the ingredients. It is the construction of the oven, and a sensibility — a feeling, from years and years of making the dough and understanding the process.”

This will be buffalo-milk-mozzarella pizza, San-Marzano-tomatoes-grown-in-volcanic-soil pizza, pricey-high-protein-Italian-wheat-flour (grade 000) pizza. There is also water, yeast and sea salt: the dough is (lovingly!) hand-slapped, cut, pulled. Verboten: the churn-and-burn pizza — where the yeast rises quickly. The dough requires small amounts of yeast and a long fermentation time — some 10 hours — “which prevents bloating,” he said. “That is why we run out of dough. We can only prepare so much.”

Pizza must cook from 60 to 90 seconds only — “to achieve the proper softness and lighteness,” Mr. Coccia said. The center of the oven must be 869 Fahrenheit (465 centigrade) — “no higher, or it burns,” he said. But the oven must accommodate a different temperature for the center interior, “where the tomatoes are,” a feat that he said required indigenous volcanic-mud bricks.

He declined to answer most questions about how he will build the dome — the right thickness and the correct mixture of “sand from the beach that absorbs the heat,” he said. And he forbids photography of that part of the construction.

He did allow that the oven “coupola” — the dome — will be more compact than most, “since the heat needs to be concentrated,” Mr. Coccia said. There is the relatively small mouth of the oven — a third the diameter of a garden-variety oven — to keep the heat from dissipating. Only the most skilled pizza-makers can push pies (no more than four at a time) in and out of the constricted space.

ovens i like

I like the design of this. More like a bread oven than traditional pizza oven.

Lucali's in NY.

chicken curry soup

I think my version of this can compete.

zucchini bread

My version of Zucchini bread, which is not that different than anyone else's except
the top is a kind of road gravel I make from mixing together and then chopping up pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and lemon peel.

The bottom pic is a 6" loaf and the top is a 3" square (Nick lunch bag size).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

l'atelier des chefs

I've become hooked on these. I did not know what chefs did with a pairing knife until watching these. I also may be slightly taken by the studious French girl in the video.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

party downer

Nothing kills the mood like quite like pneumonia inducing bacteria.

I would need to be extremely loaded and wearing a full wet suit with mask to get in any warm water at that filthy place. Can you imagine if you accidentally swallowed some water? I would have my fingers down my throat so fucking fast and then I would start slamming shots of Everclear.


I stumbled on this old NY Time's article 'We Were Kittens Once, and Young' this morning and got all weepy. It reminded of my old cat Sophie.

I remembered I had written to someone about Sophie and went through my email and dug this up which I'm posting with edits.

We had a cat named Sophie- who was white with a few black spots and had a puckered jowly mouth like Sylvester and hind legs just like pantaloons. She was also sweet and pure like snow.

It was Renee's cat. We went to this woman's house who did rescues and she had rooms of cat's and Renee picked Sophie out because she was the most beautiful. I thought she was indifferent and didn't seem to like humans or being touched. She did have this wonderful grace and beauty and a pride that grave her a princess like quality.
I think that's why Renee gave her such a princess sounding name.

It wasn't long though before Sophie became my cat. Everywhere I've been where other people had cats, the cats eventually gravitate and come to depend on me. It's a Virgo thing. They know we are dependable.

We lived in a duplex and it wasn't until we started letting her out on the second floor screened porch that we discovered what a nature lover she was. The porch was literally in the tree tops and she would mimic the birds that flew around- stealth like. This cat talked!
She had this beautiful bird call she would do with this dead serious look on her face. It always cracked me up. I would be like, Sophie, you aren't fooling any birds with that fake bird call. She did it for hours though. Sophie had a PHD in Ornithology.

Eventually we moved to this ranch house we bought that had this amazing garden in the back and Sophie finally had some ground floor outdoor access. Sophie was never happier. We were initially kind of freaked to be letting this svelte feminine cat out in the big bad wild. We were very close to a river and woods and there was pretty much every kind of animal out there. She immediately took to the garden patio making the patio her new place and keeping it bird free and the garage clear of raccoons.

Then we got Zoe, our Wire Fox Terrier, so our son could have a dog. Zoe was too much for Sophie so, she just hung out in the basement or outside in the garden.
People that came by never knew we had a cat and thought we were making her up because they never saw Sophie. She never had much need for people and hated to be petted. Ironically- when we moved, we discovered her birth records and noticed she had the exact same birthday as me. Sophie was a Virgo.
Which explained a lot...

There was one time when I started a dryer- and like five minutes later I began wondering about the thumping sound the dryer was making. I was positive there were no gym shoes in there or anything else that could make that sound.
I ran downstairs and opened it and a totally freaked out that Sophie was in there. She was dazed and hot and maybe had minutes to live if I hadn't got there. I was devastated but Sophie was tough and a survivor, and after a few hours she came around.
She was sore and bruised for days but, she never blamed me and she never went near a dryer again.

I remember this one time I was sweeping the patio and near the basement window there when I look over and saw Sophie there with her eyes all big. This was one of her hiding places on top of a shelf with a view of the patio and when she saw me she just started yabbering really animated- like hey... how weird is this? She really was frustrated she couldn't talk cause she knew she had a lot to say sometimes.

When our rocky marriage was hitting the end I was working full-time at a shit job I hated and Renee was in her own world.
I would commute downtown and then come home and rehab the house at night so we could sell it on deadline so, my days were a blur of stress.
When Renee said Sophie was sick I really didn't pay any attention and thought she was handling it. Sophie could eat some weird things being outside and it wasn't that unusual for her to have some eating issues. It just happened really fast were she stopped eating and the next thing you know a day later I'm watching her die at 3AM.
I felt so guilty.

She used to wake me up every morning at 7AM by rubbing against my head and making her purring sounds. We had this unspeakable bond. She used to barge in the bathroom whenever you were in there and give you a big 'what's up' yap.
Whenever we sat on the garden- she would forget all her aversion to people and really chat up how happy she was and rub against anyone who was sitting out there. I mean she would really talk it up like she just couldn't express how great this was.
I loved how she talked to you when she was happy and I always respected her indifference at other times. She was sooo like me.

We had a funeral with candles and I buried her in her favorite garden wrapped with an old black silk shirt and some toys and catnip inside a cardboard box. We placed a Buddha statue on top to mark the spot.
Renee and Nick stayed around for the half hour ceremony and then went inside.
I stayed outside for hours and was devastated. It haunted me for weeks. This was my cat and I had let her down and I was crushed.