Category Archives: Cooking

Caramelized Onions

Simple to make, but a pain. Really, for one hour. Caramelize while cooking other things.

Caramelized Onions

  • In nonstick skillet, heat 2-5 onions over very low heat with ~1/2 tbsp butter per onion, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, for 1 hour, until dark brown and reduced.

Chicken Ragu

I feel like this is the one of the only non-dessert non-Asian dishes I’ve done. Recipe based off this.

Chicken Ragu

  • In 2 tbsp olive oil, brown 6 chicken thighs. Reserve chicken.
  • In drippings, saute 1 onion chopped, 2 celery stalks chopped, 4 carrots chopped until soft. Add 5 cloves garlic minced.
  • Chop up chicken, then return to skillet.
  • Add 1 cup dry white or red wine. Deglaze pan. Cook on medium until half has evaporated.
  • Add 28-oz can chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, salt and pepper, pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Simmer covered for 1.5-2 hours. Reduce uncovered until thickened.
  • Serve on pasta.

Pad Thai

The signature taste of pad thai’s pan-fried rice noodles is the tamarind. I got it from the Asian supermarket as this big block that expires in two years. It tasted fine?

Recipe kind of from thaitable.com and cookingclassy.com.


Pad Thai

  • Fry 1/3 cup extra firm tofu cut into matchsticks. Set aside.
  • Cut 1 lb chicken breast into thin strips. Julienne 1 carrot, 1/2 red bell pepper.
  • Prepare 8 oz Thai rice noodles: soak in lukewarm water until flexible but not expanded, about 10 minutes. When in doubt, undersoak.
  • Saute 1 shallot minced, 3 cloves garlic minced, white part of 2 scallions minced until fragrant. Mix in 1 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp tamarind paste, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, juice of half lime.
  • Saute chicken until almost done. Add carrot and bell pepper. Add 2 cups bean sprouts, (1 cup chinese chives).
  • Crack 2 eggs into center of wok. When almost set, scramble in noodles, and chicken.
  • Serve topped with tofu, green part of 2 scallions sliced, 1/3 cup cilantro chopped, 2 tbsp crushed toasted peanuts, lime wedges.

 

 

Pork

Here are some pork recipes.


I was looking for a stable recipe that I could cook basically anytime without worrying about fresh herbs and spices. This worked well. 

Chinese-style Braised Pork

  • Brown 3-lb pork shoulder. Transfer to baking dish.
  • Saute 4 cloves garlic sliced, 2” ginger sliced, 3 small chilis sliced.
  • Mix 1 tsp five spice, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup water. Pour over.
  • Bake covered at 300 F for 1.5-2 hours until very tender. Turn once. Serve with juices.

As written back in February: I saw a pork loin roast for $3.99/lb at TJ’s and thought it’d be a good idea to buy it. Then, when attempting to cook it, I realized I needed spices, so I went back to TJ’s for some fresh rosemary.

Pork Loin Roast

  • Combine 3 cloves garlic crushed, 1 tbsp (dried) rosemary, a good amount of salt, some pepper. Mix in 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • Take a 2.5-lb pork loin, poke holes with a knife. Brush with marinade.
  • Roast at 350 F for about an hour in 1/2 cup white wine. Start fat side down, occasionally basting in juices, Add some water, and flip.
  • Served sliced, with juices poured over.

Carnitas

See carnitas post.


 Cha Siu

See cha siu post.

Banana Pudding

Made using this recipe from Alton Brown. I made the pudding and whipped the cream, but it occurs to me that as I’m on a cookie making spree I could’ve made the vanilla wafers too.


Banana Pudding

  • In small pot, whisk 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk into 3/4 cup sugar, 3 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Whisk in 2 cups whole milk.
  • Stir over med-low heat for 5-10 minutes, until it thickens and bubbles around edges.
  • Whisk in 3 tbsp butter in pieces. Whisk in 1/2 tsp vanilla. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Layer pudding with 3 ripe bananas sliced, ~40 nilla wafers (about half box).
  • Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tbsp sugar with frozen bowl and whisk until stiff peaks. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with crushed wafers.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The world loves its chocolate chip cookies, and that makes them immensely difficult to bake. By buying from bakeries built on the backbones of their basics, we consume so many magnificent cookies. Our palates and preferences become particular. Prickly. 

Consider the precise chemical nature of baking. This is why, more than any other baked good, you can find endless variations of CC cookies with fractional ingredients and precise timings. People recommend specific brands of ingredients, and bakeries sometimes get their chocolate chips custom made specifically for their cookies.

I’ve read lots of articles about the science of chocolate chip cookies, like by the Times/Jacques Torres and Serious Eats/Kenji Lopez-Alt and NPR, but I just started with  the Times’s recipe. It’s good. My roommate has snapchats to prove it.

This is the smallest batch that I can bake as it calls for one large egg (I can’t switch egg sizes lest it ruin my other recipes). All ingredients were from Trader Joe’s except for Domino’s sugar and Diamond Crystal salt.

NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Cream 1.25 stick room-temp butter, 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar, 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar until very light.
  • Add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla. Mix well.
  • Add 1.75 cup AP flour, 5/8 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp kosher salt. Mix until just combined. Stir in 1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate disks.
  • Spoon into ~18 golf-sized balls. Cover with plastic, refrigerate for 24-72 hours. No less.
  • Place onto parchment-lined baking tray. Sprinkle lightly with flaked sea salt.
  • Bake at 350 F for 17-20 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes, until it solidifies enough to eat warm.

By the way, this makes new recipe #52 for the year. Primary mission accomplished!!


 

Edit: 5/15 another version, this time from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of the Food Lab.

Kenji Chocolate Chip Cookies

    • Brown 1 stick butter by swirling constantly over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp cold water. Chill in fridge for about 20 minutes.
    • Cream 1 egg, 3/8 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla until very light.
    • Add cooled brown butter and 3/8 cup dark brown sugar. Mix to just combine.
    • Combine 1 cup AP flour, 3/8 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp kosher salt, then add. Mix until almost combined.
    • Chop up 4 oz chocolate into half- to quarter-inch chunks. Add. Mix until just combined.
    • Refrigerate dough for 12-72 hours. Divide into ~16 1 tbsp roughly torn balls.
    • Bake at 325 F until edges are golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Let cool for 2 minutes.

Edit 5/27 yet another cookie, this time inspired by the massive scone-like cookies that Levain Bakery on West 74th sells. Recipe from modernhoney.com. Not for the faint of heart.

Levain-like Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Beat 1 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes (scone-style), into 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  • Add 1 egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla and mix fairly well.
  • Combine 1.5 cups AP flour (or sub half with cake flour), 1/2 tsp cornstarch, 3/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda. Add. Mix until almost combined.
  • Add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup walnut quarters/pieces.
  • Divide into 6 giant balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.
  • Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until light brown. Don’t overbake. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Edit 6/4: working off this recipe, although the Nutella did not melt as expected. I think I was using an old jar where the top half with disproportionate palm oil had already been scooped off. Still yummy though.

Nutella-stuffed CC Cookies.

  • Beforehand, spoon out ~16 1 tsp dollops of refrigerated Nutella onto a sheet. Freeze.
  • Brown 1 stick butter by swirling constantly over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp cold water. Chill in fridge for about 20 minutes.
  • Cream 1 egg, 3/8 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp vanilla until very light.
  • Add cooled brown butter and 3/8 cup dark brown sugar. Mix to just combine.
  • Combine 1 cup + 2 tbsp AP flour, 3/8 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, then add. Mix until almost combined.
  • Mix in 1 cup chocolate chips until just combined. Refrigerate for 2-72 hours.
  • Spoon out about 1.5 tbsp dough. Roll into a ball. Flatten very thinly. Wrap around frozen nutella balls. Make sure nutella is not protruding. Gently flatten, edges of dough up, with palm onto cookie sheet. Chill again if needed.
  • Bake at 350 F until edges are golden brown, about 10 to 13 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Let cool.

San Bei Ji

San Bei Ji translates to “three cups chicken,” hinting at a simple elemental recipe of 1 cup each of soy sauce, cooking wine, and sesame oil. Please don’t actually use that recipe. That would be 1) a lot of chicken; 2) really oily and stinky-fragrant considering how strong modern sesame oil is. Recipe from thewoksoflife.

San Bei Ji (Three cup chicken)

  • In wok, infuse 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 inch ginger sliced into rounds, 3 cloves garlic sliced.
  • Sear 1 lb chicken thighs cut to strips or pieces.
  • Transfer to small pot. Add 1/4 cup shaoxing wine, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp light soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  • Uncover to reduce sauce. Add 2 sprigs thai basil leaves, 2 scallions sliced.

Burger

After returning from America’s heartland (I was in Minnesota for an extended weekend), I figured it was time to try a quintessential American dish. 

It’s something where if chefs want to make it “simple, they spend lots of money on the best beef, cheese, and bun. To be reasonably tasty while using cheap ingredients (like what I’m using), you should spice it up a little. This is when I learn that Worcestershire sauce is kind of magic.


Burger

  • Combine 1 lb 80:20 ground beef, (2 strips cooked bacon finely chopped,) 1 small onion finely diced, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.
  • Optionally: salad dressing, sun-dried tomato, sour cream/yogurt, lemon zest, ginger, ketchup, bbq sauce, curry powder, dried oregano/thyme/rosemary, cajun seasoning, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, jalapenos.
  • Shape into 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick.In a skillet on medium heat with little to no oil, cook 3-4 minutes, until browning creeps up side, without moving or pressing. Flip. Top with cheese. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Cover briefly to steam cheese.
  • Serve with burger things.

Edit 6/4: my friend and I made an Asian-inspired burger. It basically took the ingredients I’d usually put in a ground beef stir fry of sorts and shaped them into patties.

Asian-Inspired Burger

  • Combine 1.5 lb 80:20 ground beef, 1/4 cup panko, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 egg, 4 cloves garlic minced, 1/4 onion minced, 1” ginger minced, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp white pepper.
  • Shape into 6 patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Cook on skillet on medium heat with no oil for 4-6 minutes on each side.
  • Serve on ciabatta rolls with shredded cabbage slaw, cilantro, and 1:3 Sriracha:mayo.