Sunday, March 29, 2009

CSA Week 17: Crispy Daikon Cake / Turnip Stalks with Black Bean Sauce

So I didn't use all my daikon yesterday. The bulk went into tonight's dinner:

  • Golden Crisp Daikon Cake with Spicy Herb Soy Sauce
Yesterday I began this recipe from Epicurious for Golden Crisp Daikon Cake. The results are there up in the top of the photo, though I only cooked about half the daikon cake. The little crunchy/squishy/sweet daikon pieces were really tasty. The dipping sauce is next to it, it was also very good. A nice salty to the cake's sweet.

Some advice:

1) My bamboo strainer wouldn't fit with my cake pan under the wok's lid, so I used a ramekin. Worked fine. Here's a photo of the cake just about to be steamed in the wok.

2) It says steam until "firm to the touch". But you'll find it's still a bit moist and squishy, on account of being glutinous and in a steamer. It sets up more when it cools.

3) It says to fry for about 5 minutes a side, but has you cut the cake into little batons. I interpreted that as fry each of the four sides...not just two like in the photo. They got a bit more Golden Crisp than they should have been... Still tasty though.

4) Don't skip the lop chong, it gives it a certain somethin somethin that can't be replicated. Unless you're vegetarian or something, then add a bit of five spice. The sausage is easy to find at Asian markets, they're small and red, and usually labeled Sweet Pork Sausage. Also don't skip the dried shrimp. (But you probably could and no one would notice.)

5) I substituted the Spring Onion we got this week for the green onions. Worked great.

Also, if you did skip the sausage and shrimp this would be an awesome vegan use of daikon, if that's more your thing.
  • Turnip Stalks, Hakurei Turnips, Mizuna, and Summer Squash with Black Bean Garlic Sauce
So I saved all the stalks from the daikons and from the Hakurei turnips, broke them into 3 inch lengths, washed the bejesus out of them, and stirfried them with the Hakurei turnips, the last of my wilting mizuna, last summer squash, some dried shitakes, a bit of garlic, thai basil, and ginger, and a bottle of Black Bean Garlic Sauce. Serious umami-bomb but still really good. Would be better over rice, but didn't make any due to the daikon cake. Plenty of leftovers for that though.

Finally the leftover Kalbi Spareribs were finished off too.
  • Field Trip: Lucky Mart
These recipes all necessitated a run to Lucky Mart to get various odd Asian sundries. We do a major run about every two or three months to stock up. I always try to pick up some good snacks while I'm at it.

This time it was Jackfruit Chips, and they were excellent. The bag's from Vietnam, and it's basically jackfruit hulls that are fried. That's it. Crunchy and tastes just like jackfruit. They'd be awesome in trail mix. We ate about half the bag on the way home. (Not recommended, major dried fruit stomach expansion.) There didn't appear to be any preservatives in them, which was confirmed by this excellent Engrish endorsement.

I'm not sure exactly what the chemical substance is, but I too am glad it was not used in the process of production.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

CSA Week 17

Here's this week! Only three weeks left, down to the home stretch.

  • Red Potatoes
  • Daikons with Tops (3)
  • Bok Choi
  • Romaine Heart
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Spring Onion
  • Valencia Oranges (3)
  • Strawberries
Wow more daikon. Also my Bok Choi here are all so big they're starting to flower, so bok choi was certainly on the menu this weekend. And then I got another one! :)

Thinking the daikon tops, dandelion greens and one of my bok choi will be stirfried with some Black Bean Garlic sauce.

Potatoes will keep. Strawberries are dessert. Daikons were all dealt with today.

Here's how!

Leftover Wrapup and The Week So Far
  • Korean Spareribs; Daikon Slaw with Szechuan Peppercorns and Red Chile; Grilled Kimchi Bok Choi
So for tonight's dinner I finally got around to my Korean Spareribs. Picked up about two pounds worth of "Flanken" cut beef ribs. Thinner would have been better, these were pretty thick. But hey, what're you gonna do. Marinade was:
  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Mirin
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/8 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/8 Cup Sesame Oil
  • 1/8 Cup chopped garlic
  • a couple tablespoons of chopped chives because I didn't have any green onions around
Left it overnight. The next day, onto the grill until delicious. (And they were delicious!)

The Daikon Slaw was basically this recipe from Epicurious. It was good, but nothing to write home about. I would have liked more szechuan peppercorns. Also I grated the daikon, in the future I would recommend a julienne.

Finally, in my book there is no better way to cook bok choi than by grilling it. So I split the head, washed it out, and placed it in a baking dish. I took my remaining half-jar of daikon and bok choi kimchi from last week and blitzed it in the miniprep with a couple T's of sesame oil. Pour over the bok choi halves and work it in a bit. Onto the grill for about 3-4 minutes a side. Amazing. Just the right amount of burn, great intense flavor. Nice texture on the bok choi. And this meal used both daikon and bok choi in two different ways!
  • Paella!
I had a whole chicken, a bunch of veggies, it was a nice night, and I got the paella itch. And so it was. There are as many paella recipes as there are people with large shallow pans so I won't really get into the recipe too much, other than to say that I put in a whole jointed chicken with gizzards, some guanciale, a half pound of mussels, some Miami chorizo, a CSA zucchini and squash, some red bell peppers and a tomato from the yard, assorted CSA herbs and house herbs. And the last of my proper Calasparra rice.

Don't Do This

What I will mention is this: a tale of woe and tragedy that almost ruined my ricey dreams. It is a chronicle of hubris and punishment of ignorance. It concerns a nearly incinerated paellera and an overzealous grill-master.

Prior to this episode I always made paella inside, switching between the stove and oven. Keeps good control and the pan serves 8, not 30, so I don't need the big burner. But it was a nice night, so I decided to go outside and use the grill like a real man. Sadly, I was simultaneously overzealous with the charcoal and impatient in letting the fire die down. So the pan went on, oil went in, infrared thermometer said 375, chicken bits went in and were all cooked well, then they were removed and the guanciale went in. At this point things went horribly, horribly wrong.

Keeping the lid off the BBQ was really heating up the coals. Soon the thermometer was off the chart, the guanciale was beginning to burn, grease fires imminent. So I rescued the guanciale, took the pan off, ran across the deck with my lame pot mitts doing an insufficient job on the searing handles, dumped the now blackened oil, and spent about half an hour spraying the now blackened pan and trying to scrape the burned on crud off.

Took the noticeably still charred pan back inside and finished on the stove. The paella was still really, really good. Haven't been able to get my incinerated pan back to rights though...lesson learned.
  • Caldo Verde
Had to use last week's kale. Didn't want to make kale chips again. So the national soup of Portugal it is!

I set off from this recipe and it was good, but kinda bland, thin and lifeless. So I added some more paprika. Then I was pondering what else to do when it hit me: Trotter Gear! So I dug one of the jars out of the fridge and added a couple big spoonfuls. Suddenly the soup had body, and some nice unctuous goodness. Great with some fresh bread, and it used the leftover chorizo from the Paella, all the kale, and all my old red potatoes. To do again I would say use a good stock and some more garlic and it would be really good.
  • Tzatziki
I used last week's cucumbers to make some tzatziki. I'm fortunate enough to live near Miami's Oriental Bakery, so I was able to procure some fresh pitas and the secret ingredient to awesome tzatziki: labaneh.

To make watery, lame tzatziki you need non-fat plain yogurt.
To make ok, but still meh tzatziki you need plain yogurt.
To make good tzatziki you need strained yogurt.

You can take plain yogurt, hang it in some cheesecloth over the sink for a couple hours, and it will be good.

Or you can go for the gusto and skip straight to the thick-yogurt-cheese-universe-expanding-awesomeness of good labaneh. You can find it by the pint or quart at most middle eastern markets. There's a brand called Romi's out of New Jersey that's pretty good.

Here's the tzatziki recipe. Take two cucumbers. Top and tail them, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Grate the cucumbers into a bowl and sprinkle with some salt. Let them sit for an hour or two, stirring occasionally, then strain them and wring them out in a paper towel. Mix the cucumbers with a pint of labaneh, two crushed cloves of garlic, a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and some minced mint or dill if you're feeling like it. Adjust for salt and serve with pitas, or on souvlaki or falafel, or with lamb. It's amazing.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CSA Week 16

Ok here's this week.

  • Callaloo
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Kale
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Herbs
The Callaloo went into a fish curry dish. (Below). The Zucchini's will split between the BBQ and some great Zucchini bread by Meredith. The squash will be roasted with a chicken and some other veggies and most of the herbs. The Kale will probably go in the roast dinner too. The Hakurei Turnips? I'm thinking a side dish maybe? With the leftover kimchi?

This week and last week wrapup
The Bahn Mi were delicious. After the viet-baguettes were gone the rest of the chicken and pickled veggies went into a big asian salad.

The cherry tomatoes went into a sortof Caprice Salad with some basil and mozzarella.

I used about half a quart jar of the kimchi in a soup, with some stew-beef, and one of the squashes. It was nuclear, but pretty good.

Pompano with Callaloo and Coconut Curry

This weekend Meredith came home from the store with a 1/3lb Pompano fillet. So it became Iron Chef time to figure out what to do with it, while still using as many CSA veggies as possible. Pompano is an excellent Florida fish, just delicious. This recipe is loosely based on one for Coconut Curried Wahoo from Steven Raichlen's excellent Miami Spice.

Fish and Marinade
  • Pompano Fillet, about 1 per person. But we split ours because we only had one.
  • lime juice, maybe one lime per fillet.
  • minced garlic, maybe a clove or so per fillet.
  • salt/pepper
Coat the fillet in lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper and let sit for 20 minutes while you do the rest. When sauce, greens and rice are ready, saute in non-stick pan with some olive oil until done.

West Indian Coconut Curry Sauce
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 red ripe Serrano chile, minced (from our backyard garden)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, cored seeded finely chopped. (garden)
  • 1 T West Indian Curry Powder (see Callaloo and Goat Curry from week 4)
  • 1 can peeled whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small green tomato from the garden, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup combined chopped cilantro (garden) and Italian parsley (CSA)
  • 1 can coconut milk plus about 1/4 can water
  • 1 t Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Stock
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Cook the onion, garlic, Serrano, bell pepper, and scallions till soft, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, cook a minute. Add the tomatoes, up the heat, cook a minute. Add the bay leaf, half the parsley/cilantro, the can of coconut milk and the bouillon. Simmer till thick and delicious. Just before serving stir in all but about a tablespoon of the remaining cilantro and parsley.

  • 1 bunch Callaloo, stemmed, washed, dried, leaves rolled and sliced about 1/8" thick. Collards, kale or spinach would probably work too. Ditch the stems, they're too much trouble.
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt to taste
Heat the oil in a wok to about 325 (I've really gotten into my infra-red thermometer!), add the garlic, saute 30 seconds then in with the greens. Cook them for about 3 minutes until very wilted.

To serve. Mound rice on plate. Pile some greens on top. Pour some curry around the outer edges of the rice. Place pompano fillet on top. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and parsley.

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Times are tough? Make your own whisky!

No, we're not talking making moonshine here. (That would be illegal and immoral and if you do it you are ridiculous and everyone hates you.)

But there's nothing wrong with adding wood chips to alcohol. This week's Drunk of the Week in Seattle's The Stranger contains just such a recipe. I'd like to try it, and I have oak chips and Jack Daniels barrels, but alas I don't have the time. I have heard of people oak aging cheap tequila, and filtering cheap vodka, so I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Except for horrible, horrible memories of the time some years back that I tried to make my own absinthe. Don't do that.
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Don't Do This: Bubble Tea Beer

So I'll get the CSA post for the week up soon, I've been strapped for time and all the pictures are still on the camera.

Quick word of advice though: don't use gelatin to fine your beer while it's in a keg.

Bubble Tea Beer

There is a form of sugary-tea-like-beverage originating in Taiwan, now popular throughout East Asia and the West Coast of the US known as Bubble Tea. It's a saccharine sweet milk tea coupled with little round balls of tapioca or cubes of jelly, served on ice in a big cup with a huge straw for sucking up the chewy tapioca balls.

I hate it like poison.

Sorry, but it's just a texture thing. And the major bubble-tea-stomach afterwards. The tea itself is tasty enough though, so I'd often order just that. If I wanted make sure I could still produce insulin, that is. I've only seen one place that makes it in Miami *I admit not looking too hard for it* but I watched as it spread like an itchy rash through my old neighborhood in Seattle, replacing every third store with a brightly colored cafe featuring posters of huge-eyed anime characters exhorting me to give in to chewy deliciousness.

Anyway, back to beer.

In a flash of idiocy I forgot to add whirlfloc tablets when I made the latest Cream Ale a couple months back. It ended up pretty hazy, but was supposed to be crystal clear lawnmower beer. So I figured I would just hit it with some gelatin in the keg. The idea was: gelatin works best if the beer is cold. The beer in the keg is cold. Therefore it will work in the keg. All the proteins and chill-haze will sink to the bottom. I'll pull off a couple pints of crud and voila! Clear yellow beer.

Here's what actually happened.

One packet of gelatin was proofed in about a cup of boiling water. Then it went into the keg. I waited a couple days and pulled off a pint of fairly turbid beer. So far so good. The next day I went to pull off another pint and I only got a slow trickle out of the tap! I check the CO2, fittings, etc. Couldn't figure it out. Then I had an idea. I cranked the reg up to 30 PSI, pulled the tap, and shot a solid plug of gelatin out at high velocity. Gross!

Since then I've been pulling off pints that are increasingly clear, but with occasional chewy floaters. Ewwwwwwwwwww. I have made bubble tea beer. The gelatin is not settling or racking like I'd hoped. At all.

So if you're going to use gelatin to fine (which is just fine, har har) do it in a carboy and rack it off.

Also, if anyone adds tapioca pearls to actual beer, let me know how horrible it turns out to be.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Dunkelweizen - Update

Ugh. The packet of Danstar Munich Wheat yeast failed to take off in 24 hours, which is my "Oh Crap" limit, after which I pitch another yeast. Fortunately I had a packet of Safale-06 wheat beer yeast, which went in last night and is bubbling away this morning.

I'm not sure what went wrong. The thermowell told me the wort was cooled to 71, and I aerated it through the airstone for about 10 minutes. The yeast packet wasn't expired. Only thing I can think of is some kind of pH problem, but I don't have any test strips around. Oh well.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden Life - Update

Yeah, so just as I was all happy about the critters in my garden I chanced to walk out back tonight and find this fat little guy munching away at one of the tomato plants.

We took a look around and couldn't find any more Tomato Worms but damn, apparently eating half my tomato plant's leaves creates one huge caterpillar.

Fortunately it left our first ripe giant tomato alone! Time to be on the lookout though. Apparently it's a "Tobacco Horn Worm" according to The Biologist. Also, you can get parasitic wasps to eat them. Nature is horrible.

I know what this one is thinking though.

"Sweet Jesus it does not fear the eye-spots!"
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Garden Life

I've been really happy with how our little backyard container garden has been attracting various critters. Here's a large green anole that was sitting hanging out on one of the bell peppers.

A moment later he ran off and ate a bug. Then tried to run up Meredith's leg with it.
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CSA: Daikon Kimchi / Bahn Mi pickles

So what did I do this weekend? I made kimchi. A lot of kimchi.

It began with a giant daikon in this week's CSA box. Then watering the garden I noticed that one of the bok choi's had flowered. And we also had a bunch of chard this week. The solution: monster batch of kimchi. More, in fact, that I had ever planned for. Ok so not super traditional, no Napa cabbage, etc., but I figure it will work out just fine. I also didn't feel like running out to Lucky Mart (closest decent Asian grocer), so I grabbed a small bottle of (crap) fish sauce at the local supermarket and decided to use my own copious stockpile of dry chile powder rather than use authentic Korean chiles. The recipe is roughly based on this one from the New York Times.

The veggies were as follows. I washed the stalks of the bok choi, then using a v-cut removed the stems from the leaves. Then I halved lengthwise and chopped the bok choi stalks and put in a large glass bowl. The leaves were saved for later. Then about 3/4 of the daikon was peeled and chopped. Then the chard was again v-cut, slicing the stalks and keeping the leaves separate. At this point I realized I had about 4 quarts of veggies when I'd planned on about 2. Time to double the recipe... So the stems were mixed with 4 T kosher salt and 4 T sugar, and left for two hours, stirred occasionally.

While they were soaking I made the chile paste. Into the Cuisinart went:
  • about 20 coins of ginger. (All I had).
  • about 25 cloves of garlic. (Got tired of peeling garlic.)
  • a cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground New Mexico Red chile
  • 1/2 cup ground Nambe Pueblo Heirloom chile
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 t dried shrimp
  • 1/4 cup water
Blitzed until it was a nuclear red paste. Smelled great.

After two hours I drained off the stalks. The leaves were rolled up and chopped into a chiffonade. I chopped two green onions and a fist sized shallot. Everything was mixed together and was placed into jars. I rubber-banded some paper towels on top to let them breathe for a day or two, then they're getting their lids back.

Looks like we'll be eating a lot of Korean in the near future... and I was all set on Kalbi Beef Short-Ribs when I made a serious mistake at the butcher today. Without thinking I asked him to cut me some short ribs, not realizing that while in Seattle 1) there certainly would have been Korean cut short-ribs in the case already and 2) "short ribs" would have at least caused the follow up question: "Thick or thin?". Around here they're often called "Flanken" and I just spaced on it and the guy cut me some monster 4" x 4" short ribs.


So alternate plan B is to use the stew meat that was going to be Guinness stew for St. Patty's in something closer to a Korean noodle dish and I'll braise the short ribs in Guinness instead. Take the bone out and serve the rib meat in a boxty, should be awesome.

Bahn Mi Pickles

I also made a jar of picked daikon and carrots for this week's Bahn Mi's. The rest of the daikon was shredded, as were three carrots, and placed in a quart jar. Mixed three cups of water, 3 T of rice wine vinegar, 2 T of sugar and 2 T of salt. Into the jar. Into the fridge. They're ready in an hour and get more sour as the week goes by. Chicken is marinating and I'm going to go light the grill in a minute. One breast will go toward a Vietnamese themed salad tonight, the rest will be sandwiches this week.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wild Boar Baby Food

Last week's post about the Thanksgiving Stuffing Babyfood reminded me of this. Check out these videos of Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain hanging out and shooting the breeze about random topics. This one is hilarious, my hypothetical future progeny are totally getting Horse baby food.

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CSA Week 15

Here's this week:

  • The Biggest Daikon Evar!
Ok I'm sure there have been bigger ones. But it did remind me of the freaky Radish God from Spirited Away. I like his little rice-bowl hat.

The plan for this one is to grate some and make pickled daikon and carrots for Bahn Mi's this week. Meredith has already made a batch of rice-flour baguettes. (nom nom nom) The rest will go into Daikon Kimchi with the chard.
  • Mizuna
Into a salad most likely. Or maybe on the side with some kimchi and korean spare-ribs if we go that route.
  • Chard
  • Grapefruits
I hate grapefruit. But Meredith doesn't.
  • Lettuce
Salads that I should be eating more of anyway.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
Salads probably.
  • Yellow Squash
Who knows. Something. Maybe grilled or sauteed.

Leftover Wrapup
  • Pasta Verde "CSA"
This was an attempt to accomplish several things with one go. I wanted to use a lot of last week's veggies at once, I wanted to try some of the guanciale, I wanted several meals, and I didn't want to go to the store. Thus, Pasta Verde CSA was born.

It began with a pesto. The remaining half of the arugula leaves were blanched for 15 seconds in the water that would later boil my pasta. Then it went into the food processor with three cloves of garlic, some Italian and Thai basil from the yard, some walnuts from the freezer, some grated parmesan, and some salt and pepper. I whizzed it up and then drizzled olive oil in until it became pesto. Set aside.

Into a large skillet went some chopped guanciale (about 6 oz) and some chopped pancetta (maybe 3 oz? I just used what I had left). You can see on the right that though recipes often use them interchangeably they are quite different (mmmm cured fat...). The guanciale is on the left and the pancetta on the right. Some good friends made the guanciale using a Berkshire pig jowl that they then cured, while I cured the pancetta a month or so ago. Both are delicious but taste different both in flavor and texture. Anyway, these were cooked on medium to render out some fat until they were golden brown and crispy delicious. Removed and drained.

Poured off the fat into a coffee cup, then put about a tablespoon and a half back in. In went two cloves of garlic, minced, and the lower bulbs of the three spring onions, chopped. Also one chopped green bell pepper was added. Cooked until the onions started to brown a little, added some red pepper flakes and some mexican oregano. Added the spring onion tops, chopped at this point and cooked till wilted. Then in went the kale, stems and veins removed, leaves rolled up and thinly sliced. Added a glug of white wine vinegar to sharpen the greens then wilted the kale for about 3 minutes.

Three minutes was long enough to cook the pasta, some fettuccine (about 12 oz.). Drained the noodles, added the greens to the pot, then the noodles, then the pesto. Mixed it all up, garnished with guanciale and pancetta and some more Parmesan. It was delicious, and used up a lot of my CSA veggies at once. I was really happy with how the kale came out, but more pleased with how crispy, salty and delicious the guanciale was!
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Brewday: Dunkelweizen

Brewday today. Had a bunch of wheat, and wanted to try out the dry German Hefeweizen yeast from Danstar. So I brewed a Dunkelweizen.

Here's the recipe. You'll note it's a double decoction (i.e. infusion to a protein rest, then two decoctions for alpha and beta amylase rests, then infusion for knock-out.)

I hate doing decoction mashes, they are messy, unpredictable, and time consuming. But there are two times when it's worth it: Pilsners and Hefe's. Here's a photo of one of the decoctions in progress. Decoctions are great for upping the maltiness of lagers and for building body and color. They're also a pain in the butt. But sometimes you just can't get that true German taste without them. Here's some tips. Watch your burner, don't go too hot, just bring it to a boil gradually. Stir Stir Stir. Don't stop. In the time it took to snap this photo the decoction got a little scorched.

Some purists would say that a Dunkelweizen should just be wheat and munich malt, with color coming from a triple decoction. Well I didn't have a lot of munich and hey, I didn't get into this to do it the traditional way... But I must admit I have a bit of concern that I made the recipe too complicated. We'll find out soon enough.

I'm going to try fermenting at 66 degrees, we'll see what banana and clove notes the yeast produces. Some people are all about doing their hefe's at high temps (mid-70's+) but I find that you lose the banana and get a heavy lemon-citrus out of the yeast.


Type: All Grain
Date: 3/14/2008

Batch Size: 5.25 gal
Brewer: Russell Everett
Boil Size: 7.11 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00


Amount, Item, Type, % or IBU
  • 2.0 oz Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 1.28 %
  • 5 lbs Wheat Malt, Pale (Weyermann) (2.0 SRM) Grain 51.28 %
  • 2 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 20.24%
  • 1 lbs 8.0 oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 15.18 %
  • 8.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 5.13 %
  • 4.0 oz Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 2.56 %
  • 4.0 oz Crystal 120 (120.0 SRM) Grain 2.53 %
  • 2.0 oz Carafa II (412 SRM) Grain 1.32 %
  • 2.0 oz Chocolate (Briess) (350.0 SRM) Grain 1.28 %
  • 0.75 oz Tettenang [4.50 %] (90 min) Hops 12.4 IBU
  • 0.25 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (15 min) Hops 2 IBU
  • 1 Pkgs Bavarian Wheat (Danstar Munich) Yeast
Beer Profile
  • Est Original Gravity: 1.051 SG
  • Measured Original Gravity: 1.048 SG
  • Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
  • Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.94 %
  • Est Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 %
  • Bitterness: 14.4 IBU Calories: 212 cal/pint
  • Est Color: 17.2 SRM
Mash Profile
  • Double Decoction Mash
  • Total Grain Weight: 9.75 lb
  • Sparge Water: 4.14 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
  • Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
  • Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
35 min Protein Rest Add 2.47 gal of water at 133.8 F 122.0 F
20 min Saccharification Decoct 0.87 gal of mash and boil it 145.0 F
20 min Saccharification Decoct 0.66 gal of mash and boil it 158.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 2.47 gal of water at 180.8 F 168.0 F

Mash Notes: Used for some authentic German styles. Attempt to draw decoction from the thickest portion of the mash. Profiles vary. Some traditional German mashes use a long acid rest at 40 deg C. Also some sources recommend the decoction amount be given a 15 minute saccharification rest at 158 F (70 C) before boiling it.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alton Brown and Noodles

Here's a video about noodles. Apparently connected to Kung Fu Panda somehow.

I don't see it as the craziest way to make noodles though, seems pretty reasonable to me.
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Watch Sita Sings The Blues Online!

So Nina Paley makes a movie. And it's great. It's downright amazing. And she wants to share it with the world. But some of the songs that are integral, indeed inseparable, to the movie are in a serious copyright grey-zone. They were recorded in the 1920's, but some are still under copyright and their various respective owners want their due. Here's a list give you a taste of the IP complexity here. But after a lot of money, a lot of involvement by committed internet copyfighters, and a lot of struggle on behalf of her art, Paley has released Sita Sings The Blues for free to the waiting public!

The story is an animated retelling of the Ramayana set to 1920's jazz and blues. NYC PBS described the film thusly:
Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by e-mail. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”
It's also the most amazing movie I've seen in a long, long time. Here's a list of places you can see it online, including artist posted torrents of the whole film.

The slightly confused and forgetful narrator shadow-puppets are my favorite part.
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CSA Week 14

So the laptop has received some much needed TLC and we're back in business.

What did we get this week?

  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Spring Onions
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Parsley
Looks like it will be a lot of salads this week. Maybe some peppers into a stirfry? We had a party on Sunday and I have a fair amount of random leftovers (though the Cuban roast pork, ribs, and Smoked Pork Chile Verde were all ravenously devoured. So much for those plans!) Meredith has it in mind to do some kind of soba noodle soup with the spring onions and kale. I do have some leftover canistels that are ripe, I'll try take two on Canistel Pie. Some (very) good friends brought us a whole guanciale that they'd cured, so I'm thinking of doing a pasta dish with some of that and the kale or arugula, maybe some roasted green peppers. Probably a play on Bucatini all'Amatriciana, but with more veggies.

Anyhow, here's what we have done so far, as well as last week's wrapup.

Goat Cheese and Arugula Chile Rellenos

Last night I looked in the fridge and began to plan. I've been trying really hard to use things that we have in the fridge or backyard, minimizing trips to the store for items that can be substituted for or left out entirely. In this spirit I saw that we had some goat cheese leftover from the party (thanks again to those same friends!). We had some salsa that Meredith had made for breakfast tacos. We had some Mexican crema, a ripe CSA avocado, CSA arugula and a whole bunch of ripening poblano chiles in the why not Goat Cheese Rellenos? Like a spinach ravioli but with goat cheese and arugula and in a relleno? So for two people:
  • 4 good sized poblano chiles. Roasted, peeled. Make a slit down one side and carefully remove the seeds and any pesky central veins. Rubbing them and then filling the cavity with water does a good job. Be careful not to tear the flesh, it helps if you can roast the chiles as hot and quickly as possible so the skin blisters but the flesh doesn't cook. I turn my electric stove on high and set them right on the coil (with the hood on high and the window open, you'll be releasing pepper spray!) At hot grill works well too. Put them in a paper bag for 20 minutes to sweat the skins off before peeling.
  • Filling. Into a bowl put 1/3 lb goat cheese, a pinch of mexican oregano, thyme, and marjoram, a chopped serrano chile, about 2 T of chopped shallot, a chopped sun dried tomato, and some salt and pepper. Get a pot of water simmering and blanch a clove of garlic for 5 minutes, meanwhile clean and pick the leaves from half the CSA arugula bunch. When the garlic clove is done take it out and put the arugula in for 30 seconds, then remove and shock with cold water. Chop all this and add to the filling mixture. Mix well and divide into four portions.
  • Prepping the chiles: stuff with 1/4 of the mixture. Use a toothpick or skewer to close the chile. Meanwhile heat a pan of oil to 375. While it's heating mix an egg and 2 T of cream in a separate bowl, and put some blue cornmeal in another dish for dredging.
  • Dip a chile in the egg-mixture, then dredge in the blue cornmeal and fry 2-3 minutes until slightly brown. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven.
  • Serve on a plate with a fan of avocado and some salsa served in a kale leaf. Drizzle a little Mexican crema over it. Serve with a couple tortillas.
It was pretty tasty. It looks like a lot of work but it only took about an hour. Also it turned out that the goat cheese had lavender and fennel pollen in it, so it really became this weird Italian/Southwest fusion thing. All in all I was pretty happy, though I would have liked some more heat. Apparently I'm not tormenting my chile plants enough. You could probably add some quinoa or rice to build up the body of the stuffing as well. If I had any Jack cheese I would probably have added some to the filling as well.

Carrot Top Soup (or Thanksgiving Stuffing Babyfood)

I set out to make the Carrot Top soup from last week's newsletter but it turned out that I was missing some ingredients so I improvised...

No veggie stock = frozen homemade duck stock
No fresh dill and various other herbs = dried thyme and some herbs de provence
I added a celery stalk because I had one and I could.

I didn't really like the texture of it when it was done, so I hit it with the hand-blender a bit, but then I liked it even less. So I added a tablespoon of heavy cream and a some inside bits of a baguette that'd been hollowed out for a sandwich earlier that day. Then pureed the bejesus out of it. This resulted in a seriously thick and creamy carrot soup, that thanks to the herbs de provence made it taste "like Thanksgiving stuffing baby food", in the words of Meredith. Thanks love.

But she was right. It did taste like Thanksgiving Stuffing Babyfood. And it was delicious, a hypothetical future baby would love it. Served it with some leftover croutons from the Panzanella and a greek salad.
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

CSA Week 13 - Pad Thai, Panzanella, Kale Chips, Ceviche, Edible Collards 2, and King of Snake!

Here's this week. Sorry it's delayed, had to get the new site up and working. (Mostly...)

  • Yukon Savoy
Tonight it's going into a pasta dish with orecchiette, peas, the spring onion, some dill and pancetta, and a lemon cream sauce.
  • Carrots w/ Tops
I think I'm going to make the soup from the back of the newsletter. Let you know how it turns out.
  • Spring Onion
Pasta tonight.
  • Collards
I made collards edible again! See below.
  • Avocado
Probably salsa or guac when it's ripe.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
These went into a roasted veggie panzanella. See below.
  • Red Potatoes
Boiled, served with butter and dill as a side for a grilled rib eye and collards.
  • Cilantro
Most of it went into the ceviche. The rest will probably go into salsas. See below.
  • Mint
Mojitos! Also a bit went into ceviche pasta salad. See below.


  • Pad Thai / Bok Choi with Shiitake Mushrooms
A lot of the leftover veggies from last week went into a catch-all Pad Thai, especially the last half of the green beans. Next to it is a great use for our Bok Choi out in the garden, based on this recipe. It's easy and uses dried shiitakes, so we can make it pretty much any time. Except we ran out of fish sauce. Off to Lucky Mart...

Here's some advice on Pad Thai:
  1. Hot wok! Very very hot wok! I use my infrared thermometer to get it up to 450 or so before I start. It would go higher if it wasn't teflon and we had a decent fume hood. Then it's on full hot for the whole cooking. Also chop your garlic pretty big or it will be incinerated.
  2. Soak your noodles in cold water for at least two hours. You can cheat and pour boiling water over and wait 15 minutes, but they tend to both be a bit crunchy and yet somehow mushy at the same time, and they stick together something fierce.
  3. Ketchup. The Thai love it, and so should you. Sometime we'll make our friend Om's Ketchup Chicken and post it. Give your noodles a quick squirt when you add the fish sauce, etc.
  4. Palm sugar. Use palm sugar, or at the very least light brown sugar, not white sugar. Palm sugar has an almost maple flavor that is irreplaceable.
  5. Prep everything in advance. Preferably in little bowls by order of addition. Total cooking time will only be a few minutes.
  • Kale Chips
The kale went into Kale Chips. Snapped a photo this time. Here they are cooling. Very easy. Set the oven to 250. Clean and stem the kale. Lay it out on two cookie sheets. Spray with olive oil. Not too much. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Flip them, repeat. Into the oven for 20-25 minutes or so, or until they're crunchy and delicious. Took these to a party: devoured. Side effect: happy vegetarians.
  • Roasted Veggie Panzanella
Meredith had baked two loaves of bread for the week and for various reasons we had about 3/4 of a loaf leftover and rapidly getting stale. So this weekend the Cherry Tomatoes went into a roasted veggie panzanella using this recipe as a starting point. Included were a small bok choi, a green bell pepper and a poblano pepper from the garden (roasted and peeled, then chopped), as well as both Italian and Thai basil. Some feta and kalamatas completed it. Outstanding.
  • The Ceviche Saga
So we got the cilantro on Saturday, and I have a lot of chiles in the garden and we had two huge bags of lemons and limes. So I thought: ceviche! Thus began our hunt for fish. Sunday morning's fishing expedition went...poorly. I caught a small 'cuda but was not about to eat it. Everything else either got away or was tiny. So we went to the store.

Normally we are pretty picky about fish, very ardent about both locality and freshness. Doubly so if it's going to be eaten raw or cooked in citrus juice. So we were hoping to find some local mahi. No dice. So it was a choice between red snappers from Panama (big no-no), Chilean Sea Bass (are you kidding me?), Wild Salmon from the NW (a possibility) or Wild Cod from the U.S. We decided, after much debate, that cod was the safe choice and picked up a fillet, as well as some farmed U.S. bay scallops.

I got to juicing limes while Meredith set to making some refreshing beverages.

Side note: King of Snake!

The background to this is that some months ago we put a single dried Bhut Jolokia chile into a bottle vodka and let it hang out ever since. Bhut Jolokias, or 'Ghost Chiles', are the hottest in the world, and can weigh in at a million scoville, nearly twice a habanero. Apart from hilarity at parties we hadn't found a use for this napalm, until we saw this recipe in last month's Bon Appetit:

King of Snake Cocktail - Bon Appétit | March 2009

From Indochine in Christchurch, New Zealand
Yield: Makes 2
1 1/3-inch slice peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 cups ice cubes
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chile-pepper-flavored vodka (such as Absolut Peppar or Stolichnaya Pepper)
2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
Crushed ice

Muddle ginger and sugar in cocktail shaker until paste forms. Add all remaining ingredients except crushed ice; cover and shake 15 seconds. Fill 2 old-fashioned glasses with crushed ice. Strain cocktail into glasses and serve.

Put on Underworld's King of Snake really loud and drink up! This was actually really quite refreshing, the ginger helped balance the jaw dropping burn, keeping me just at the point of hiccups and leaving a lingering burn. Not something you want to shoot. But it was nice to sip while cooking. Moving on.

So the ceviche consisted of:
  • 2/3 cup lime juice, 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 8oz can of crab meat, not fancy lump or anything. You'll see why.
  • 1/4 cup or so of chopped celery
  • couple tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 t chopped, peeled ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled.
  • half cup of leftover jerked Grouper, picked off the head and spine. Mmm leftovers!
  • 4 T chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 t salt
Whizzz this all up in the blender until smooth. Then press through a sieve into a non-reactive bowl. Then add:
  • 1 lb or so 1/2" cubed white fish (mahi, tilapia, cod, snapper, grouper)
  • 1/2 lb bay scallops, cut in half if they are bigger than 1/2"
  • 2 T cilantro
  • 1/2 t salt
  • chiles to taste, minced. I used a jalapeno and a serrano, but use Peruvian Aji's if you can.
  • 1 cup red onion, julienned
Mix, cover, and let hang out for an hour and a half to two hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with chips, or spoon. Should serve four. Not the best CSA recipe I know, but it did use 6 T of the cilantro.

Side note: because we used the crab (you could use clam juice instead) we had a vibrant green paste leftover in the sieve. Thinking about it, I realized nothing that went in was raw and nothing was bad to eat as it was. So we mixed in some bread crumbs, formed it into patties and coated them in panko. Fried till crispy golden brown and delicious we had a badass Scooby-Snack for the chefs while we waited for the ceviche to 'cook'. Served with a quick sauce of ketchup, soy sauce and chile oil. Not bad, very limey.

So naturally there was leftovers. And leftover ceviche...goes bad fast. So the next day I decided to make a sortof pasta salad with it. The remaining ceviche was combined with:
  • half a pound bowtie pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
  • some capers, red onion, feta, kalamatas (pitted and chopped), mint, olive oil, sherry vinegar, half a big tomato and some frozen corn, thrown in with the pasta for the last 30 seconds or so of the boil to thaw
It was really good, and I ate it for lunch for two days! Today it was pretty fishy though, so I'm glad it's gone.

Edible Collards (2)

Part two in my ongoing struggle to make collard green edible. And I did find a second way. Apparently it's the way they do it in Brazil, and it is very quick and easy.

Cut the stems and larger veins out of the leaves. Discard the stems, they are more trouble than they're worth. Roll a stack of the leaves up like a cigar, then slice thinly (like 1/8" to 1/16"). Heat large pan to 350 or so. Throw in three chopped cloves of garlic, cook 30 seconds, then the greens. Stirfry them for about 3-4 minutes until they seem tender. Sprinkle with salt to taste, about a teaspoon and a half maybe. Serve.

That's it. Done. And it took like 10 minutes to make. None of this cooking them for hours until gray and lifeless. Or loading them up with pork. (Not that that is all bad...) In the future I may try adding some sesame oil and seeds...

Served this as a side with a grilled rib-eye topped with melted Stilton, and some of the red potatoes with butter and dill.
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