Sunday, May 24, 2009


Right, I'm on the ground in Seattle. But Bar prep starts shortly and the move is still in progress...

Let's just say updates will be spotty for a bit longer.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Youtube Stardom - The Vertical Epic

Haha, never expected to have my name up on a youtube video. (All my painful hijinks as a youth were not recorded, and thus not up for viral fame. Though there's a great video of my family tying a younger version of me's loose tooth to a door, and slamming it shut, around somewhere...) Cheer's to Chris for the fine photography and his awesome girlfriend with video skills.

But yeah, I didn't feel like going through the hassle of moving the beer collection across the country, under refrigeration, guarded by Cossacks. So I invited a bunch of our serious beer friends over and we staged some awesome verticals.

On the docket was:
Things also began with some nice single bottles, a Russian River Pliny the Elder, a Bell's Hopslam, Dogfish Burton Baton, some of my homebrews, and many more.

Great friends, great food, great beer, great party!

That's it for my carefully cherished and hoarded Vertical Epics, but fortunately Stone posts a more or less instructive "recipe" for each one. So next year's brew project will be to brew a batch of each of the last eight years' brews. One a month. The Homebrew Horizontal-Vertical Epic.

And just for posterity, there were about 15 people around the table, so pours were about an ounce each. Otherwise, were you to go looking for me today "you'd find me a grave man..."
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Monday, May 04, 2009

The Bacon Explosion

Sweet Jesus, the Bacon Explosion...

So my friend John passed the Florida Bar and we decided to have a party for him. Some weeks prior we had discussed the possibility of making a Bacon Explosion. This seemed like the perfect occasion. So a couple weeks back he came over and helped create this abomination unto the Lord of Dieting.

We followed the recipe fairly exactly, but with some minor modifications. Here you can see the bacon woven into the bacon-mat. We placed it on a rack and stuck it into the oven to par-cook at about 400 for 10 minutes. Enough that it shrunk a bit and hopefully would be dry and crunchy when the whole thing was done. On the right is the mat fresh out of the oven.

Next the sausage was spread on and the BBQ sauce applied. We used a mild Italian sausage. I don't know why the recipe uses Italian sausage. Seems a weird flavor choice... Wouldn't maple work better? Or some fresh chorizo? Oh well. Next time.

In the middle went about a pound of chopped, fried up bacon. About half was the same bacon as the bacon-net. The rest was homemade guanciale. Delicious!

The Passion of the Newly Admitted Lawyer

Here it is all rolled up. You can feel your arteries hardening just looking at it. It's like the Medusa. But with bacon snakes.

It went onto my smoker, where it lived at 250 degrees in a maple smoke for about 3 hours. When it was 160 inside we gave it a brushing with more sauce then pulled it about 5 minutes later.

It sliced nicely, giving little pinwheels of saucy-sausagey-bacony goodness. Overall, it was fun do, but I doubt I'll do it again. Nothing earth-shatteringly amazing about it. That said, the bacon-mat is awesome and I'll definitely be using it for something else in the future. Roasts? Meatloaf? A smoked ham? The possibilities are numerous.

Then again, there's always the Bacon Explosion Wellington...

See also: This Is Why You're Fat
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"You will have a delicious steamed buns"

Inspired by a post over at Tinkering With Dinner I found myself in the mood to make some bao, steamed buns filled with various tasty things. I was all set to make the dough when I remembered that I had a packet of pre-mixed bao flour in the cabinet, which guaranteed me I would have "a delicious steamed buns". Score! I also had some Lap Chong (Chinese Sausages) and Lap Yuk (Chinese Bacon). Double Score!

The challenges began immediately. Though the flour said 'Product of the USA' it was obviously intended for places abroad, as it had Vietnamese, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Engrish on it. So I tried to decipher Babel-fish's hideous translation and ended up just shooting from the hip. Mixed and kneaded dough, check. Rest, check. Oil then more kneading, check.

Meanwhile I made the fillings. The bag had a general recipe with no units, so again, shoot from the hip. Two bowls. Chop two sausages, into one bowl. About 4 inches of the bacon, minced, into another bowl. Minced clove of garlic each. The last of my CSA green onions. Couple tablespoons frozen peas. 1/4 cup Boca "Meat" crumbles my vegetarian sister-in-law had left in the freezer per bowl. One chopped up hard boiled egg, split between them. Bit of salt, bit of sugar. Few glugs of oyster sauce in each (the bag said "oyster oil", so I'm guessing this is what they meant...) Stir till it looks ok. It's more of a Vietnamese style bao than Chinese but whatever.

Divided the dough into 12 little balls, and rolled out to about 1/4" thick circles. Placed a heaping tablespoon of filling in each, then pinched them closed. I know there's a fancy way to do this but I am not anybody's Vietnamese grandmother so mine were, well, they were closed.

The instructions said to fire up my "autoclave", which I was not sure you could realistically cook in, so I used my bamboo steamer instead. (Funny story: for years I honestly thought an autoclave was some kind of laser scalpel. That's why Meredith is the scientist.) I put the bao on lettuce and cabbage leaves and steamed 10 minutes lid on, 10 off. A couple Ts of vinegar to the water kept them nice and white.

How were they? Awesome. We had a delicious steamed buns. And we had 12 of them so there were plenty for future lunches.
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CSA Wrapup - Kasuzuke Pompano

So between finals and a visit from the Sisters In Law I've been busy. But here's a couple things that became of the last of our CSA veggies. Or were just tasty.

The corn was grilled, along with some Poblano Sausages, bell peppers, poblanos, and spring onions. Topped with cherry tomatoes and cilantro. Corn was served with some roasted garlic compound butter. Served in some leftover whole wheat pitas. Good but not great, the spring onions were still a bit gritty. :(

We had a big Japanese dinner when the sisters were in town. Unfortunately no really good photos but here's the spread. On the left are some amazing quick pickles, using CSA cucumber and neon red cabbage. They are great sides, and only take a couple hours! On the top is some of the last of our bok choi, steamed and dressed with garlic oil and soy sauce. Bottom is a large plate of rice with kokumotsu. It's a collection of other grains and seeds used to spice up plain ol' rice. Here we used 10 koku, which has, duh, 10 various grains and seeds. You can get packets of it at Lucky Mart. To cook you just throw it in the rice cooker along with the rice.

The real star of the meal was Kasuzuke Pompano on the right there. Three pompano fillets went into a marinade based around sake kazu for two days. Kasu is the lees leftover from making sake, the spent rice goo that is pressed at the end. It has a really cool taste, like yeasty sake. Youhei brought some back from Japan on his last trip, but you might be able to find it around if you looked hard enough. It's used as a popular marinade for fish, and works well with salmon and black cod, neither of which are local enough for our tastes here in Miami. So we tried pompano, and it was GREAT! Sweet, sake-ey, a bit salty, great texture on the fish. The broiled sweet crispy skin is the best part! Served with an amazing dai-ginjo sake.

The recipe was from Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, and is basically the recipe that Uwajimaya uses for their awesome Black Cod Kasuzuke. Which is:
Black Cod/Salmon Kasuzuke

4 (6 oz.) slices of fish fillet (Choose from: Black Cod, Salmon, Snapper, or Chilean Sea Bass)

  • 1/2 cup Kasuzuke (Sake Kasu, a by-product of the Sake making process)
  • 2 Tablespoon sake
  • 3 Tablespoon mirin, sweet cooking rice wine
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 3 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon miso (optional)

Salt fish, refrigerate overnight, and wipe dry. Prepare marinade, add water as needed to make a paste. Coat fish with marinade, cover, refrigerate 3 days (or may be frozen at this point). Scrape off marinade & broil both sides until nicely browned (approximately 4-5 minutes each side). Save marinade to use again.
You can save the marinade and use again a few times. I'm going to try snapper sometime soon I think.
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