Hand Pulled Noodles Pt. 1

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 1:13 PM

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I was so excited to try hand pulled noodles for the very first time!!! I never made noodles before and I have always wanted to.  Hand pulled noodles have a great bite and chew to it that can only be achieved by making them by hand.  So I used a recipe by this guy.  Yep, it's the same recipe adapted by Tiny Urban Kitchen

I thought I had followed the recipe perfectly. I weighed all the ingredients, mixed them together and started kneading.

The kneading process by hand took me almost 2 hours worth to even get it somewhat stretchy I had to keep adding little bits of water so I could get it to stretch right.  It kept drying out but the dough looked good.  When I tried to make the noodles, it always would break and there would be some fat parts to my noodle.

So I made them into little noodles one strand at a time and decided to boil them.  They  did not come out good at all.  It's hard to describe the texture since at this time I was crying in the corner at my countless hours wasted working my forearm muscles.  Needless to say, my first attempt at hand pulled noodles was an EPIC FAIL!   I was such a sad panda =(

It's a good thing I had made a Dragon Fruit Sorbet on Monday.  I went to the freezer with my best pouty face and scooped myself a large helping of Sorbet.  You can't feel bad if you have a frozen treat in front of you.

So, I leave you with this recipe:

Dragon Fruit Sorbet:
3 Ripe Dragon Fruit (halved)
3/4 Cup of Water
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Meyer Lemon Juice (about 1 lemon)

Take a spoon and scoop out the inside of the Dragon Fruit.  Reserve the skin by placing in a bag and freezing it to use as bowls.  Put everything inside a blender or a food processor.  Blend till smooth and  place the mixture in an ice cream maker.  Mix for up to 30 minutes till you get a slushy consistency and put it inside the freezer to let it set.

Should take about 4 hours to set fully.


Let me go cry in a corner now!
-Jimmy

Asian Pulled Pork Sandwich

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 12:35 PM

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This past weekend I decided to try  my hand at smoking.  Let me start off by saying this is my first time smoking anything AND my first time making this dish from scratch with no real recipe to pull from.  I searched and searched for an Asian pulled pork sandwich recipe and I didn't find anyone that suited what i was looking for.

I have, however, watched countless hours of food shows about smoking and I might have even pulled the coleslaw recipe from a show I've seen but I can't be too sure.  I made so many mistakes this first time around but the result was actually pretty tasty as a few people can attest to.  So, without further adieu, here are my adventures!

I got myself 5lbs of pork.  This was a mistake!  I went to Smart and Final (think a smaller version of Costco) and all they had was Sirloin.  So I figured I'd give it a try.  The Sirloin is way too lean and requires a REALLY long time to get to a decent consistency for food.  Definitely get a butt if you want to smoke.

I got some Hickory wood chips from Home Depot and soaked it for 30 minutes before getting them started.

I then started with a dry rub.   I don't have ratios (super top secret recipe) but here are my ingredients:
Garlic powder
Onion Powder
Paprika
Cayenne Pepper
Chinese Five Spice
Salt
Pepper


Rub the mix onto pork 1 hour before smoking.   I have a Charbroil Red grill.  It's a gas grill that uses a U Shaped bin to amplify the heat.  It was a perfect place to put the wood chips for smoking.  It has 3 Gas controls so you can shut them off and on f your smoke is too hot or too cold.


I placed a water bath underneath my pork and placed the pork on the top rack and smoked for 2 hours trying to keep the temperature as close to 225 as possible at all times.  One small bag of chips was only enough for 2 hours of smoking.   One thing about the grill I chose is, the hole has vents to let the smoke out.  So, I had to cover the holes with Aluminum foil and duct tape.  

Since I had such a lean cut of meat, the 2 hours of smoking wasn't nearly enough.  I stuck the pork in the oven with Coke as the braising liquid.  Filled the pan up 2 inches of coke, Seal Tightly and braise at 225 degrees in the oven.  After two hours I took it out and it was shred-able but not tender enough to eat as a pulled pork sandwich.  

The picture on the left you can see the pink ring on the outside of the pork.  That's the smoke ring that serious BBQ'ers love to see.  After shredding I stuck it back in the oven with the braising liquid covering the meat for another 2 hours.  6 hours of cooking total and the meat came out perfect!  The cola gave the meat a nice amount of sweetness to it.  

I then mixed the pork with an Asian BBQ sauce that I concocted and topped with a honey-wasabi coleslaw.  My first variation of the coleslaw had wayyyy too much wasabi.  But wow! does it clear your sinuses.  

Here is the recipes I ended up with - 
Asian BBQ Sauce:                        Honey-Wasabi Dressing:
1/4 Cup Ketchup                           1/2 Cup Mayo
1/2 Cup Hoisin Sauce                     1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar                      1 Tsp Wasabi Powder
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar                       2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
                                                  1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

Mix the ingrediants of the BBQ sauce together and set aside.   For the honey-wasabi dressing mix the wasabi powder and the yellow mustard and let it sit and bloom for a few minutes.  Then mix together the rest of the ingredients and set aside till you're ready to mix it into the slaw mix. 

Layer the slaw on the bottom of the bun, add about 4oz of meat on top and top with toasted sesame seeds and sriracha if you like it spicy.  

Hope you give smoking a try or make an Asian Pulled Pork Sandwich.  It was very tasty even with all the speed bumps.  

-Jimmy


"In Napoli where love is king...

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 12:36 PM

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... When boy meets girl here's what they say, When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, That's amore!"

I've always loved Italian culture.  Sometimes I dream that I'm part of the Godfather movies or on the Sopranos.  Not one of the gangsters, especially not one that gets killed, but at the table where everyone is feasting! 

I have these insane cravings for Italian food.  Pastas, pizzas or whatever!  Being a New Yorker in the middle of California Land, I find it real hard to find a good thin crust pizza out here.  There are some good pizza places but a lot of them are $15 for a 12" pie (BTW they don't call it a pie out here.  It's just "pizza". MADNESS!) So, I decided to make my own.

I scoured the Internet for a good pizza dough and sauce recipe and here's are my results!

First, I started with the Pizza dough. The dough took me a few tries to get right.  The recipe that I found wasn't quite right so I had to tweak it. Adapted from here.

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup of warm water
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Add the water (about 90-105 degrees Fahrenheit), sugar and yeast together in a large mixing bowl and stir.  Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate.  (if you use instant yeast you can skip this step but you still need the same amount of water)  The mixture may start to foam, don't panic!  And if it doesn't, Don't panic either! As long as your yeast is fresh, it will work.  If your yeast is over 2 years old, buy new yeast.

After 10 minutes, mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir with a heavy spoon.  As the dough comes together, you'll see that you can start to work it with your hands.  If the dough sticks to your hands add more flour.  The dough should be soft and easy to work with.  Knead the dough for 10-12 minutes.   Split the dough into 3 small balls and place them in oiled bowls and cover.  Refrigerate if using the dough the next day or leave it at room temperature for 2 hours to bloom.  Your dough should double in size.  If it doesn't your yeast wasn't activated properly or you need new yeast.   This recipe makes enough for 3 12" pizzas.

Next, I made the sauce.  The sauce I found was very easy and didn't need much tweaking.  Recipe I found here.

Ingredients:
1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomato
3 large sprigs of basil
2 cloves of garlic
pinch of red pepper flake
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion peeled and quartered
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Start by burr mixing your tomatoes into a sauce.  You can leave it chunky depending on how you like it.  Add the oil and butter in a pot and start over medium high heat.  When the butter is melted add your garlic, onion and spices and cook for 3 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the tomatoes, basil salt and pepper.  When the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it reduce.  Cook for 30 minutes to an hour. Afterwards burr mix the whole thing.  Add more salt, pepper or sugar to taste.  If you don't have a hand mixer you can use a blender.  Be careful when blending hot liquids as it can splatter and explode on you if you don't let the steam out.

Time to build!!!

Form your dough to as thin as you can get it.   Flour a pizza peel or cutting board and place the dough. Spoon sauce over the top of the pizza and add your toppings.  I kept it simple with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.  You can add extra spices if you wish, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder or whatever you like.

To cook, I preheated the oven for 500 degrees for 30 minutes to get my pizza stone nice and hot. If you don't  have a pizza stone you need to get one.  You CANNOT make good pizza without it. You can get one from pampered chef.  Here is a link.

Carefully slide your pizza onto the stone and lower the heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes.Viola!  You'll have a deliciously crispy thin crust pizza.


Make this on your first date and I guarantee you, love will be in the air!

Buon appetito! -Jimmy



6 Minute Perfection!

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 8:42 PM

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I've been going on about cooking eggs and what's the proper way to cook them.  I stated about how the 6 minute egg is my favorite way to eat a boiled egg.  It is absolutely delicious when cooked right.  The yolk is runny and the white is firm. 

I've had a few people come up to me and say that their eggs cracked when they put the egg in the boiling water.  I normally start off with room temperature eggs but if you're like any normal person, you keep your eggs in the refrigerator and that can cause cracking in the egg when you drop it into boiling water.  The egg shell can't take the differences in pressure that's going on inside the egg.

So, I searched for a solution to the problem and a few people had mentioned that you can poke a hole in the shell on the larger end of the egg (normally where there's an egg pocket).  Keep in mind you do not want to poke a hole in the egg and start with cold water.  Your egg white will run out into the water.   
               

I took a hammer and a nail and proceeded to poke holes in the eggs using the egg carton as a holder.  I was trying not to poke a hole in the membrane so the egg white wouldn't run out but as it turns out it didn't matter too much .

Once the holes were punched I put them into boiling water.  You can't really see it in the picture but one of the eggs had egg white running out.  When you use boiling water the egg white will cook fast enough so not alot of egg white will leak out. 

As soon as you put the egg in the water, start your timer for 6 minutes.   Once your 6 minutes is up immediately take the eggs out of the water and put them in an ice bath.  This will allow that pesky white membrane to seize up and make the eggs easier to peel. 

The final product is a perfectly cooked egg.  Below is the one egg that ran out and you can see that the egg white running out didn't make much of a difference.  Try a 6 minute egg tonight and eat it with some butter toast and jam or straight into your mouth with a little bit of sea salt!  Delicious!


Liang Mian (Taiwanese Cold Noodles)

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 9:55 PM

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Today, I decided to dig down into my Taiwanese roots and cook a Liang Mian.  Liang Mian is a noodle dish served cold.  Since it's a cold dish, it's great for picnics on a warm summer day. 

If you love sesame and peanut butter, you'll love this deliciously refreshing dish that walks the line of sweet and salty while giving you the crunch of fresh vegetables.





Here's what I used:
1/4 cup Sesame Paste
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
2 Tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 Cloves of Crushed Garlic
2 Tbsp Sugar

1 16 oz package of fresh Shanghai noodles 
1 Cucumber
1 Carrot
Toasted Sesame Seeds for Garnish

Combine the first 8 ingredients and mix well for the sauce. 

Cook the fresh noodles for about 6 minutes and immediately shock in ice water to stop cooking.

I then took my julienne peeler that I got from Pampered Chef and began working on the cucumber and carrots.  The peeler worked beautifully as I got cucumber and carrot "noodles".  
Mix 4 tablespoons of sauce with 4 oz of noodles and pile on a plate.  Top with the cucumber and carrot "noodles" and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

One thing I love about Liang Mian is that it serves as a great main dish or a side dish.  Pair it with Grilled shrimp, chicken or steak.  You can even scramble an egg to top it with.

I really hope you try this recipe.  Especially  if you love Asian flavors and want something quick and simple.  The Sesame and Peanut flavors with the chew of the Al Dente Noodle and the crunch of the fresh veggies really is delicious. -Jimmy