Posts filed under ‘food’

when life gives you basil…

…make a cocktail!

this cocktail is a combination of a bee’s knees and a gin basil smash. i’m not sure what to call it. smashed bees? gin basil knees?

nyum nyum nyum nyum

3 parts gin
2 parts honey syrup (equal mix of honey and water)
1 part lemon juice
2 sprigs of basil (i used red basil because i had  8 pounds leftover after cooking with it. why does basil come in 10 pound bunches?)

anyway, muddle your basil in the gin. mash it up real good. your gin will turn green and that is a good thing. pour green gin and basil in an old fashioned glass filled with ice and add the remaining ingredients. stir until cold (like…1 full minute) and enjoy!


October 20, 2011 at 2:03 am 1 comment


i’ve been meaning to check out char-grill for a while and today, i finally drove past it and decided to go in with a friend. when i say go in, i actually mean say outside since there is no indoor eating area. you just sort of walk up to the window and order using an order slip.

the burgers are easy to order because there aren’t many options to select from. you can have cheese, catsup, mustard, or onions. i liked the simplicity actually; burgers these days are overwrought with aioli, bone barrow, and other strange ingredients that restaurants use as an excuse to charge you $20 for a burger, which was intended as a simple food. its also fun to see your patty being cooked over huge flames:

the burger itself reminded me of a good burger that one might eat at a friend’s bar-b-q:

the bun was soft but firm and the meat itself was well seasoned. however, the patty was a little on a overcooked side. for $2 though, it was pretty good! the next time i go, i will definitely ask for a less well-done burger.

May 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

missing the miso

miso soup is easy to make, high in protein, and high in naturally occuring msg. this means it is fast, nutritious, and delicious. you will need, from left to right, katsobushi, miso paste (any color you like), kombu, tofu (silken or soft), and green scallions (not shown).

first things first, the dashi. place a few strips of the kombu in 2 quarts of cold water in a large pot to rehydrate it. after 30 min, turn the heat up until you start to see bubbles. kombu gives up most of its flavor at lower temperatures so you don’t want to boil it. extract the kombu but hold onto it because you can make another batch of dashi using it. before:


next, add the katsobushi to the warm water and raise the heat until the liquid boils. turn off the heat and let the flakes steep for 10 minutes.

strain out the katsobushi and you have dashi!

next take 8 tablespoons of miso paste and whisk into your 2 quart of dashi. keep the heat up and put in the cubed tofu. let the tofu sit in the soup for 10-20 minutes so it soakes up flavors. serve with some thiny sliced scallions and enjoy!

January 19, 2011 at 12:44 am 1 comment

swiss steak

beef bottom round was on sale so i bought a 2 pounds and decided to make some swiss steak (recipe adapted from my hero). cut your meat into 1/2 inch thick slices and tenderize using a meat hammer tenderizer thing. i didnt have one so i used a can of soup to bash my meat covered in plastic wrap. after you tenderize, rub both side with salt and pepper and dredge with flour. set the meat aside for a little while to allow the flour to absorb some moisture from the meat.

in the meantime, slice up a sweet onion, mince 4 gloves of garlic, and dice two stalks of celery. heat up some vegetable oil in a large pot and fry your beef a few minutes on each side until it browns. don’t overcrowd your pot or else you’ll drop the oil temperature and have a sucky fry.

doesn’t this look good?

well, its not because bottom round is a pretty tough cut of meat to chew. that’s why its pretty cheap! we’ll need to braise the meat for a few hours before eating. while the oil is still hot, add in your celery, onion, and garlic. saute for a few minutes and then add a can of diced tomatoes, a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, one teaspoon of dried oregano, one teaspoon of paprika, and one teaspoon of worcestershire sauce. stir it all up and then add 1 1/2 cups of some sort of stock. beef stock should work the best, but i used the duck broth i made a few months ago. bring to almost a boil and submerge all your meat in your braising liquid.

braise for 2 hours or until the meat can be cut with your fork. i had it over rice with some broccoli and a nice glass of wine. enjoy!

December 20, 2010 at 1:52 am Leave a comment

red bean buns, autolysed!

i last made red bean buns in philadelphia and since i found this at the chinese grocery store in raleigh yesterday, i decided to give it another go using new techniques that i’ve learned recently.

recipe (makes 7-10 buns):
2 cups flour
2.5 teaspoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.
0.5 cup warmed water
0.5 cup whole milk, warmed
2 eggs, beaten
1 pack of yeast

new technique: AUTOLYSE! combine flour and warmed water and let sit for 20 minutes. according to wikipedia, “This rest period allows for better absorption of water and helps the gluten and starches to align. Breads made with autolysed dough are easier to form into shapes and have more volume and improved structure.”

after autolysing, add the other ingredients except the butter and start to knead. the fat in the butter can prevent good gluten formation so add that in last after kneading for 3-5 minutes. it is going to be hard to get the butter to incorporate, but with enough work, the starch gluten matrix should absorb the fats happily. expect to get your hands pretty messy though.

after the dough starts to feel nice and smooth, put it in a bowl and cover with a moist cloth in a warm place (ideally 75-85F) for the first rise.

during the first rise, i toasted sesame seeds:

there we go:

after the dough doubles in size, deflate the dough and divide the dough into little balls. flatten the balls into small pancake shapes and add the red bean paste to the center. form the buns as such:

5 knife slit method! allows for quicker air expansion during baking and prevents any gas bubbles from bursting the dough:

finish for the rest of the buns and let sit covered (somehow) for 30 minutes or so. the 2nd rise goes faster because the yeast have doubled in population by now. i like to cover the buns with a cup because plastic wrap always sticks to the buns and ruins the surface when i remove it.

after the buns double in size, wash with the egg glaze, sprinkle the sesame seeds on top, and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

and then enjoy with friends!

September 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm 1 comment

pasta bake

i usually get home from work at around 7 or 7:30pm so if i do decide to cook dinner, it is usually something that i can whip up quickly. for some reason unknown to me, i decided that i wanted to make a pasta bake for dinner. i even stopped by the shop on my way home to pick up mushrooms and green peppers. somehow, it didnt register in my brain that pasta bakes take forever to pasta. i mean bake. i made a pasta bake with kielbasa, peppers, mushrooms, garlic and cheese. lots of cheese. when i ate it, i was terribly ravenous so my face was probably contorting into the sort of face you only see on pornographic films. too much info?

sue waited patiently for it to finish:

look at it! the majesty!

October 16, 2007 at 12:53 am Leave a comment

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