I’m still in New Orleans eating my way through town, but I’m looking forward to getting back tomorrow so I can start playing with some of the new flavours I’ve discovered. For those of you that are new to the site, these semi-weekly roundups are where I post all the things I made that didn’t get their own post. It’s not that they were bad, they just didn’t make the cut because they were either too simple or too similar to things I’ve posted before.
Sanuki Udon – This is one of my favourite quick lunches and is very simple yet so satisfying. The key is in the quality of the dashi and noodles. Sanuki is the old name for the Kagawa prefecture in Japan where Udon noodles are thought to have originated. While there are many regional variations in thickness and texture, modern day Sanuki Udon is unique in its girth and extremely chewy texture. It’s almost mochi-like in its chewiness and is cooked for considerably longer than most noodles.
As a dish, it really embodies what Japanese food is all about. In its traditional form, it’s served with no more than a little broth, scallions and occasionally an egg. Because of its simplicity, the quality of each of the 4 components is paramount. In this case, I made my own dashi using katsuo , niboshi and kombu . These noodles were made in the Sanuki region, and I made slow cooked Jidori Chicken eggs to go with them.
Gai Lan with Garlic Chips – This is one of those simple sides that can be made with very little effort, using almost any green vegetable. Just heat up a generous splash of oil in a deep pan and fry the garlic until brown and crisp. Drain the garlic chips on a paper towel, then use the garlic infused oil to stir fry the veggies. Add a pinch of sugar and season with oyster sauce to taste, stirring to coat. Plate it and garnish with the garlic chips. That’s it!
English Pork Pie – I was treated to this pork feast by the lovely Claire from Colloquial Cooking last week at her hip Billyburg loft. We were joined by Stephane from Chefs Gone Wild and Giff from The Constables’ Larder and had a great evening with wonderful food and awesome company.
On a slightly unrelated note, Stephane and I are pairing up to audition for a new show that the Food Network is producing. We had some fun the other day putting together our audition tape. I’m debating whether to post it here or not. Anyone want to see it?
Sausage with Wine Braised Sauerkraut – This is one of those weeknight meals that’s nourishing for the soul, if not for your heart. I like to braise the sauerkraut in white wine and chicken stock with honey, caraway seeds and marjoram for about 40 minutes. It softens the cabbage up both in texture and flavour with the honey and heat teaming up to cut through some of the acidity and the spices covering up any funk from the fermented cabbage.
For the sausages, I just put them in a pot and cover with water to boil for a few minutes. When they’ve puffed up, I drain off the water and add just a bit of oil to fry them. This 2 stage cooking method gets them nice and plump while giving the sausages a crisp skin that bursts with juices as you cut into them.
Maitake and Uni Chawanmushi – Chawanmushi is a savoury Japanese egg custard. It sounds a bit odd at first, but think of it as a silky smooth soup. The custard is made with a mixture of eggs and dashi that’s poured over some meats/veggies and steamed. The finished custard doesn’t photograph particularly well, so this photo is of the ingredients before I added the egg mixture. For this version I used maitake mushrooms, edamame and uni .