04-09-10 - Food notes

How to heat tortillas for tacos : Put a stack of 4-5 tortillas dry in a fry pan on medium heat. Sprinkle with salt. Place a tiny dab of butter on the top tortilla (away from the heat). Just chill and let them sit. Randomly swap one of the interior ones to the bottom periodically. I've tried many techniques for this in the past, such as using more oil, using the oven, dry frying, all are much worse.

Salt & Pepper crab : boil crab until just slightly under done. Remove from heat and rinse in cold water. As soon as your hands can stand it, break it into bits, take off the top shell, break crabs in half, break off the legs, pinchers. Make sure to reserve the "tomalley" or tasty guts. Quickly dab all the crab pieces in a light dusting of flour. Heat wok on blazing high. Add oil, tons and gobs of garlic, saute a second, add bunch of green onions, add the crab, toss around to coat, add the tomalley, stir around, tiny dash of sweet soy, then tons of sea salt, just cracked black pepper and szechuan red pepper. Serve crabs and pour the saucey goodness all over them. The crab is in its shell, but you eat with your fingers and get the sauce on your hands which you then lick.

Best pork chops : prep pork chop for sear as usual. (standard sear goes like this : heat dry pan to blazing hot; dry meat thoroughly by patting with paper towels are air drying; brush meat with very very light coat of high-temp tolerant oil; season meat well with salt). Cut pork chop fat every inch so it doesn't curl and the fat crisps better. Put in pan. After one side is done, flip. This is the interesting bit. Right after you flip, apply a smear of room temperature butter to the top side of the chop. Then sprinkle on your "rub" - a bit of brown sugar, a bit of smoked paprika, pepper, thyme, za'atar, whatever you want. The rub and butter should be on the top side away from the heat while the bottom sears. Once it has gotten a good sear, toss the whole thing in the 325 oven. Let bake until the middle is done, about 10 minutes. During this time the rub and butter will drip all over the meat and make a pan sauce.

Lately I'm addicted to this simple salad : avocado slices, grapefruit supremes, mache and arugula. First make the supremes, squeeze out the grapefruit pith to get some juice for the dressing. Finish the dressing with OO, sherry vinegar, honey, salt. Dress the mache and arugula immediately so it has time to sit and soften a bit. Then assemble the salad, top with toasted pecan bits.

Gnocchi are quite easy to make. No need to measure incredients really, just treat it like pie crust and do it by feel; add a tiny bit of flour to initially make the dough (1 cup), then when you work the dough you will add more flour as necessary until it's dry enough to roll. Work minimally and roll gently with hands moving steadily outward and past the edges. One thing to be careful of - they cook very very fast, so do everything else in your dinner first and finish the sauce for the Gnocchi and turn the pan with sauce in it down to minimum temp; when you simmer the gnocchi and they float to the top, toss in the sauce and then plate immediately.

1 comment:

Autodidactic Asphyxiation said...

I just got my g/f a new frying pan (one of those fancy all-clad d5 pans...not sure if it is actually any better than their 3-ply), and pork rib chops sounded like a great way to break it in!

BTW, you can "supreme" a grapefruit by hand. In fact, that's how my g/f preps it, and it is the best, but for a salad maybe it isn't worth trying to retain all the juice.

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