Thursday, January 17, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprouts a la David Chang

I remember hearing about David Chang's Brussel Sprouts on an episode of No Reservations...
The heralded chef of Momofuku fame took the sprouts of the menu because....they became too popular. I'll try not to butcher this, but it was something along the lines of not wanting his creativity to be driven by what the masses wanted, but rather his passion to cook, create and be creative. Which is kind of awesome...and probably only something you can do if you're David Chang.

Well if you're like me and didn't get to try them before they were pulled from the menu, the chef was kind and generous to share the recipe with the world.

I merged two recipes that I found (here and here), and the results were pure 'delciousness' as D. Chang would say. The key is to get a good char on the outside leaves, leaving them crispy and a dark brown or black color. I prefer to cook them on the stove top, but they can also be done in the oven. (Both methods are below). And if you've never cooked with fish sauce, take heed: keep your nose out of the fish sauce bottle.

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

To make the dressing, combine the ingredients below till sugar is dissolved:
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (preferably Tiparos brand)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1 1/2-inch) fresh red or green Thai chile, thinly sliced crosswise, including seeds
Juice of 1 lime

To make the puffed rice topping:
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal (e.g.: Rice Krispies)
1/4 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend, available at Asian markets)

Garnish: cilantro sprigs; torn mint leaves; chopped scallions

1) Heat 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Get the pan to be super crazy hot and almost smoking, then cook the brussel sprouts, cut side down (careful for splatter!). Turn the heat to medium and sear till browned, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the brussel sprouts over and cook for another 3-5 minutes, till the outsides are nice and crisp. 

For oven cooking, preheat to 450°F with rack in upper third.
Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, then arrange, cut sides down, in a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan. Roast, without turning, until outer leaves are tender and very dark brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. (Check midway that the bottoms are not burning). Add butter and toss to coat.

2) Make the topping by cooking the cereal, oil and shichimi togarashi in a small skillet over medium heat, until rice is coated and begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent cereal from burning. Transfer topping to a bowl and let cool. 

3) To plate, place sprouts in a serving bowl, then toss with just enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with puffed rice. Garnish and serve the remaining dressing on the side.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

milk bar cakes

I picked up this post card during my visit to Milk Bar when I visited NYC back in is now displayed above my desk...hanging on by a small, blue robot magnet. I have heard rumors of their infamous crack pie and cookie selection, but never of their made to order wedding cakes. Isn't this one beautiful?
My first layer cake attempt was...interesting, but after all was said and done and done, frosted and garnished...building a cake like that from scratch was so gratifying. (I know, I get my kicks in weird ways okay).
I think if I ever get the courage to try and build something this one, I might cry after.
One day...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vegas Eats

This post is dedicated completely to eats in Vegas.

Whenever we make trips, friends and I rely heavily on Yelp to help find great places to grub. There never seems to be shortage of new places to try. 
Here are just a few of recommendations, from my non-definitive and ever evolving list of good Vegas grubbin. 

Grimaldi's  Pizzeria
I've said it once, I'll say it again--best New York style pizza this side of the coast. I've tried their different combinations, but my favorite is still the marinara pizza with pepperoni, onion, and garlic. Pizzas are cooked in a coal brick oven; they come out fresh and hot, never overly greasy or heavy. I especially like the fresh mozzarella cheese they's all about the stretchy cheese.

If you're on their mailing list, and happen to be celebrating your birthday in Vegas, stop by and they'll give you a free pizza.

Lotus of Siam
Located off the Strip
953 E. Sahara Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89104
P: 702.735.3033

Have I heard correctly that the Owner/head chef used to cook for the Thai King? I love that she still cooks at her restaurant and pops out to greet guests and make sure everything is tasting delicious. 
My two recommendations special to this restaurant are Garlic Prawns and Soft Shell Crab Drunken Noodles. Oh, and I heart Papaya Salad. (no dried shrimp, please.)

Burger Bar
Located inside Mandalay Bay
P: 702.632.9364
Choose a burger built by Hubert Keller, or build your own. Add on options are extensive--you can even get truffle mushrooms if you're willing to shell out the dough for it. I'm not as crafty with my choice; I usually get the sliders with sweet potato fries. Nom, NOm, NOM.
Salads and Veggie Options available.

Jean Phillipe Patisserie
Go here for indulgent desserts and a curious looking chocolate fountain. Crepes, French pastries (which I've yet to try), gelato and sorbets. They also have expensive packaged candies and chocolates if you need to pick up a gift.

Hot day + Frozen Hot Chocolate = Magical
This drink in particular comes out in a huge glass, topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings. The perfect indulgence for a hot day, that leaves me swinging my feet as I drink it. Note: it can get packed inside the restaurant, but they have a to-go window just outside that serves a limited menu, but most importantly serves their frozen hot chocolate.  

Located inside Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
P: 702.414.6203
I've yet to eat at the restaurant, although I've heard it's great. I make the trek wherever I'm staying to get a pistachio macaron everytime.

Hash House A Go Go
Something very Vegas about the place...nothing spectacular about the decor, but probably because the food is decadent, flashy and over the top. I had read good things about Andy's Sage Fried Chicken and Bacon Waffles (yup, none of this bacon bit business; those are huge strips of bacon in the waffles) so I shared that with Abe--I have no recollection of finishing it. It's presentation is impressive--it's served more like a towering sculpture, more than morning breakfast. It was tasty and rich, maybe too rich for my blood, but definitely worth a try.
Deals available via 

5030 Spring Mountain Rd, Suite 2 
Las Vegas, NV 89146 
P: 702.367.3511
This place came highly recommended by my friend, Brian (a sushi snob in his own right). The dishes are the opposite of Hash House--refined, clean, light. After many failed attempts, we finally scored a reservation and got to see what all the hype was about. They have a really unique menu that serves a combination of yakitori, fresh fish, and mixed specialities (things like poached egg with Uni and Salmon Roe, Kobe beef with garlic, a house-made agedashi tofu). It's worth the visit if you can get a table. Make sure to call early (they start taking reservations at 2pm), otherwise you could be eating late (they're open till 3a.m.), but hey, you're in Vegas afterall.

What are your favorite eateries/must haves in Vegas? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

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P.S. Speaking of Yelp, check out these videos via Cup of Jo. So awesome.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kentro Greek Kitchen

Genre: Greek| Location: Fullerton, CA
Yelp page

I'm always inspired to cook after eating at places like Kentro--places that introduce me to dishes and ingredients that I've never tried (not just a different variation of something I get all the time). I expected the usual Mediterranean menu walking into Kentro, but was confronted with a chalkboard menu full of things I've never heard of--Melitzanosalata, Saganaki, Tiropites? Am I the only one that thought hummus and kebabs were considered Greek food?
In short: Kentro serves strictly Greek food, strictly yummy Greek food...
There are so many little things I adored about this place. From the casual style dining, high top tables, chilled water served out of Italian glass bottles into little cups, to an ambiance that encouraged a relaxed, long, drawn out dinner. You order your food at the front counter and take a number (a la Panera Bread or Corner Bakery), which could suggest fast dining-esque food, but everything we had proved otherwise. Here's a few things I've tried...

Octopus {charbroiled with pickled vegetables, latholemono (Greek oil + lemon sauce)}
 Calamari Saganaki {with tomato, garlic, feta}
Brizola {rib-eye 8oz., cooked medium, briami, tzatziki}
Mousaka {bolognese, eggplant, potatoes, bechamel} **Favorite
Roasted & Pulled Chicken Pita {w/red onions, tomatoes, arugula, dijon aioli served with Kentro fries} **Favorite

{Manouri flatbread} **Favorite
This was my favorite plate (along with the mousaka and chicken pita), and the only one I might try to re-create at home. Baked crisp flatbread, topped with manouri cheese (a Greek cheese similar to feta, but creamier and less salty), dried oregano, dried mission figs, arugula and drizzled with honey and extra virgin olive oil. Overall, great service, food, ambience. Highly recommend it!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

green grape + lime frosty

It's been hawwwt these past few days. And though sweating straight out of the shower may not always the most pleasant feeling, I love how amazing a cold drink or slice of watermelon is when the temperatures get high. Can't beat it. Here's a simple, incredibly refreshing concoction I learned from the wonderful catering folks at Whole Foods to help you cool off.
Just blend:

1 cup of green grapes
1/2 lime (rind and all)
1 cup of ice
To make it a frozen cocktail, blend with tequila. Serve with coordinating green straws and stay cool friends.

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