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Miso Soup and Ginger Pork

14 Jan

asian feast


miso soup

Miso soup- turns out- takes about 5 minutes to make. Who knew? A lot of people probably. Entire nations. First you have to make the dashi or fish stock. Then you add the miso and whatever other fixings you want. The fun thing is- this involves a trip to your local Japanese grocery- and if you look out for them- there is probably one not too far from you. [Porter Square, Williamsburg, near NYU- just to name a few]

These recipes come from Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking. The book I bought when I got back from my trip to Japan- 2 years ago- thinking I would use all the time. And I just now- finally made the soup.


5 cups water

3 1/3 tablespoons dried fish flakes (bonito) [i bought the kind that is separated into tiny packets which is great- because this stuff is Stank!]

Heat the water and just before it comes to a boil, add the dried fish flakes and simmer for 1-2 mins over low heat. Turn off the heat and leave the fish flakes to sink to the bottom of the pan, then strain. Can freeze extra dashi.

Miso soup

3 ½ cup dashi stock

4 tablespoons awase miso paste

8 inch piece dried wakame seaweed [I used this kind that’s already in little pieces]

5 ounces soft/silken tofu

finely chopped spring onion/scallion to garnish

Heat dashi stock in saucepan. Just before it comes to a boil, add the miso and stir until completely dissolved.

Soak the seaweed in water until soft. Drain and cut into bite size pieces. Cut tofu into ½ in square pieces. Add tofu then seaweed to the soup. Heat thoroughly, taking care not to let it boil. Garnish with spring onions.


Ginger Pork  (top left of first image)

3 ½ cups bean sprouts (mung)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

½-1 tablespoon grated ginger- to taste

2/3 lb. finely sliced pork [I cut these little chops in thin slices- horizontally- if that makes sense. And just a note- easier to slice when very cold/near frozen]

sunflower or vegetable oil for stir-frying the pork [I used grapeseed oil]

1 tablespoon oil for cooking the sprouts

¾ tablespoon sliced garlic (1 clove)

salt and pepper

Trim end off sprouts [Harumi makes a note, that yes, you might think this is not worth doing- but they look nicer and taste better so do it. Unfortunately, laziness got the best of me and I ignored her]

Mix together soy sauce, mirin and grated ginger and dip the pork into this marinade briefly just before cooking

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over med heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and add to the pan, making sure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick together or curl up. Turn over after a couple of mins and cook until both sides are browned. Don’t leave pork for too long as it cooks surprisingly quickly- but make sure it’s cooked through

In a separate frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add sliced garlic. When aroma is released, add bean sprouts and stir-fry. Season w. salt and pepper.

Put bean sprouts onto a serving dish and lay the slices of pork on top. Pour any remaining juices from the frying pan over the pork.



Trinidad-Style Stewed Oxtail

26 Dec

trini stew

I am so excited  for this GUEST POST from DOLORES. We worked at the BM together for years- and I have been begging her to post. One time she brought me in some of this stew- I was dying, it was so good.


Tessa: Wow, Dolores, this is mighty impressive. And i know, from a glorious sample, it is absurdly tasty. How did you learn how to do this?

Dolores: Although I am an Italian/Finnish-American girl and not in the least bit West Indian, my husband is from Trinidad and after six years together I have picked up a thing or two in the kitchen.  We both love to cook and we cook together often.  Mostly, I leave the Trinidadian dishes to him, but I have this one down, so I usually make it for us.  You can do the same cooking method with any meat, most often chicken.  My stewed chicken just doesn’t come out as well as his, so he has that assignment.  I guess the oxtail is more forgiving with all the braising time.  You really can’t mess it up, I swear.

Tessa: So let’s say I can’t find oxtail. Or it freaks me out. (not to eat but to buy). Could I use beef? any particular kind? would it change the cooking or cooking time or anything else? Do you think something would really be lost in this- and i should just sack up and look for the oxtail? Do i need a cleaver to hack it up- or does it come in those pieces?

Dolores: Oxtail is not really from an ox.  What you’re buying these days is a cow tail, but I guess the name is a holdover from olden times.  Aren’t the kids these days into snout to tail butchery and all of that?  You should be able to get it at any butcher shop, even if they don’t have it out on display.  Ask them.  It used to be a super cheap–my dad worked in an Italian butcher shop in Brooklyn when he was a teenager and he says they used to give it away.  Then American people discovered world cuisine and fast-forward to 2012 and I pay about $5 a pound for it.  It may be cheaper in a place where it isn’t used as widely as in my neighborhood.  If you find it, you should not have to cut it up yourself.  I can’t imagine how you would cut through it without a bandsaw, like they have in the butcher shop.  If it’s not already cut up, ask them to cut it into rings.  If you REALLY really can’t find it, the closest thing would probably be a beef shank.  You can probably use any kind of beef, but the marrow in the middle of the bone makes for ultimate yumminess, like in osso buco.

Tessa: mmm, not going to lie, this looks a little complicated. how do you feel about fed-exing some to boston? 🙂

Dolores: Anytime, my dear.  But I swear it’s not hard at all.  After you add the water, it’s just time.  After you make it for yourself and realize how easy it is, I will lose my kitchen cred.

Trinidadian Style Stewed Oxtail

2-3 lbs(?) oxtail, cut cross-wise into about 2 inch circles–[there are a lot of bones, so you will probably need more than you think you will]

a few heaping Tbsp of green seasoning*
4-5 Tbsp of sugar–white or raw

a large onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, cut into biggish circles

a piece of squash–in my neighborhood they call it pumpkin, and it is similar to the halloween-type pumpkin, but not quite. Any orange-y squash like butternut or kabocha or whatever you like will work, peeled and cut into fairly small cubes. [i used maybe kabocha, i think, though perhaps it was a little on the small side]
A scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (optional) [i pussied out and used a whole jalepeno, and really, the end product was missing that heat. i should have at least chopped it up and put it in- instead leaving in whole and taking out later like D. does w. the REAL peppers]
A can of red kidney beans

salt, pepper, adobo, parsley, bay leaf, oregano, crushed red pepper [use a generous pinch of each- i didn’t have adobo seasoning so used mix of cumin, onion and garlic powder and tumeric]

If there’s a lot of extra fat around the pieces of oxtail, cut it off. Rinse it with lime juice (you can totally skip that, but it’s what the West Indians do). Season with green seasoning, salt and black pepper. Let it marinate for at least a couple of hours; overnight is ideal. Heat a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven over high heat with a enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Let the oil get very hot but not smoking. Sprinkle in the sugar. You will want to have the meat ready and next to the stove. Heat the sugar until it gets very brown, almost but not quite black. Use a slotted spoon to pull the meat out of any accumulated liquid and add it to the pot immediately. Stir to coat with the caramelized sugar and lower the heat to medium. Cover the pot and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking. When the meat has taken on a dark brown color, add the onions and pumpkin and stir a couple of times. Add enough water to just cover the meat and veggies. Season with salt, pepper, adobo, parsley, bay leaf, oregano, crushed red pepper, and add the scotch bonnet if you’re adding it. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Cover the pot at a tilt to allow steam to escape. Cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.  After it’s been cooking for a while, you may notice some fat pooling on the surface. If so, skim it off.  As soon as the pepper gets soft, pull it out. If it bursts open, your stew will be ridiculously hot. This will happen way before the oxtail cooks, so keep an eye on it as you’re stirring. Also, the pumpkin should totally disintegrate and thicken the stew. If it needs a little help, smash it against the side of the pot to break it up. After about 2 hrs, check the meat with a fork. Sometimes it will seem like it will never break down, but don’t freak out as I promise it will happen, and it may take more like 3 or even 4 hours.   When the meat is soft-ish, add the carrots and the beans and cook for another 20 or so minutes, until the carrots are cooked. Serve over rice. It’s really good with a piece of avocado and/or a little potato salad, too.

* Green seasoning: [this keeps]
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
a couple of inches of ginger, peeled

a bunch of cilantro
a few leaves of chadon beni (also known as culantro)-if you can’t find it, it’s fine without
a bunch of scallion
juice of a lime, or half depending on the lime
Cut everything into smallish pieces.  Put all in a blender or food processor and blend.  Add a little water if you need to loosen it up, but it should be a loose paste-like consistency. Don’t pulverize to nothing.  Ideally, there should be little flecks of green.  You can use this to season up any meat for stewing or roasting.  I also use it to season my fried chicken before flouring and it is the bomb.

QuickPost: All You Need to Know is Written on the Fridge

16 Dec

photo (6) Since I can’t give you these- because they are on my fridge, I think you should print out and hang on yours. all you need to know. i’d love to steal Jess P. measurement conversion magnet too. The first tells you how to store all your fruits and vegs– courtesy of Boston Organics- my faux-CSA. The second is actually just a postcard- but it tells you the right- and simplest way to cook any meat. It came from a Park Slope butcher. Grass fed. Organic. Local. Bla Bla Bla.

But let also tell you how I cook almost every single piece of meat. Like my lamb chops last night, holy cow. And the duck the night before that. Seriously. Everything. And i think i wrote this somewhere else on my site- but let me reiterate so that you start to do it too. After bringing the meat to room temp if possible. and salting ahead of time (as above). After searing meat on very hot pan. And putting in oven if so required. Take meat out and rest it (very important). In pan, pour out some of the fat if there is a ridiculous amount, but leave some in there. Take off heat. Pour in some healthy glugs of that old wine you keep in the fridge- the bottles gone bad. I always keep. Turn heat back up until high. It will start to bubble and thicken. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of pan. You want to keep on heat until it is thick enough that when you run the spoon down it, it leaves a path. Finally, add the dripping in that accumulated from the rested meat. Heat for like another 10 seconds to go all together and blend around. That’s it. If you were feeling crazy you could add some butter in, but the amount of fat I leave in the bottom of the pan, it is never necessary. Pour over meat. You are going to die of surprise how good this is.

Cider Glazed Pork Chop

31 Oct

Somehow I have fallen out of the habit of creating a quick weeknight dinner– but this is just that. Not counting the 30 mins it took to defrost the pork chops in my freezer [remember the defrost trick- put meat in a ziplock and submerge in hot water]- this whole recipe takes maybe 15 minutes. And I always love meals that can be made from things laying around the cupboard. Now perhaps it is the frozen peas/rice/bacon accompaniment I served it with- or the silver US Airways dinner trays I have- but this really reminded me of a retro TV dinner- in the best way possible. Had I had them though- I think some roast brussel sprouts would have been a perfect side dish. And maybe some… dare I say, mashed sweet potatoes? Talk about a fall meal.

Speaking of great seasonal recipes— my deepest apologies for a snafu– i mistype on the measurements for the ginger molasses cookies. it is 1/4 cup of molasses- not 1/2. thanks so much to Jess P. for finding that!

An America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated recipe


½ cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup apple cider or juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

pinch cayenne pepper

4 boneless, center-cut pork loin chops, 5 to 7 oz each, ½ to ¾ in thick

1 tablespoon vegetable oil [I used grapeseed, same difference]

1. Combine all glaze ingredients in medium bowl [or measuring cup]; mix thoroughly and set aside.

Trim the chops by slashing through the fat and silver skin with sharp knife, making 2 cuts about 2 inches apart in each chop (do not cut into meat of chops). Pat chops dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. [i just lightly scraped them with a knife]

2. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add pork to skillet and cook until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes.

Turn chops and cook 1 minute longer; transfer chops to plate and pour off any oil in skillet.

NOTE: If your chops are on the thinner side, check their internal temperature after the initial sear. If they are already at the 140-degree mark, remove them from the skillet and allow them to rest, tented with foil, for 5 minutes, then add the platter juices and glaze ingredients to the skillet and proceed with step. [i didn’t thermometer measure mine- but they were quite thin- so I did only 4 minutes. 1 minute other side. rested for 5. I would say they were perhaps a minute overdone]

3. When chops have rested, add any accumulated juices to skillet and set over medium heat. Add glaze mixture.

Simmer, whisking constantly, until glaze is thick and color of dark caramel (heatproof spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 2 to 6 minutes. [surprisingly didn’t take long at all]

Return chops to skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze. Transfer chops back to platter, browned side up, and spread remaining glaze over chops. Serve immediately.

Brisket w. Tzimmes, Braised Kale, and Rutabaga Kraut

30 Sep

Have been on the hunt for a good Brisket recipe and finally found one that I’d be happy to make year after year. This recipe comes from Pierce’s mom. It is all about the Tzimmes- which is like this sweet potato and prune mixture. And while I LOVE the taste of the chili sauce/can of coke brisket- I do like knowing exactly what’s in this one. And while it’s not shy on the sugar- there is essentially a caramel sauce for peet’s sake- I still feel like it’s probably less than in the coke/chili. Had some friends over for dinner and I served it w. some red wine braised kale, a quick rutabaga kraut and some cornichons to much on w. wine. I have to say- very well fitting accompaniments. See further down for recipes. Finished w. a refreshing watermelon sorbet- post to come.

3 pounds brisket of beef [feel free to go bigger- as much as your pan fits- this was a ton of food though. i’d say maybe enough meat for 6 easy, but enough vegetables for way more. If having a big holiday meal can usually go up to 5 pounds? Briskets do shrink as they cook- but still heavy meal)

1 pound carrots

1 large  onion (2 small)

3 sweet potatoes, pared

4 white potatoes, pared

½ pound dried prunes

1 cup water

2½ tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup fresh or canned tomato juice (i used the organic bottled juice kind)

½ cup brown sugar (used light brown)

step 2:

3 tablespoons granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons water

1½ cups cold water

1. Trim most of the fat from the meat. Slice the carrots crosswise. Slice onions thinly. Cut potatoes into medium-sized chunks. [cut my carrots big- like size of my potato chunks).

2. Place meat in the bottom of the large pot, arrange layers of white potatoes, prunes, sweet, onion and carrots.

3. Mix water, honey, salt, tomato juice and brown sugar, pour over meat/veg; simmer for 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. [if planning to cook for many extra hours- see below- can go down to 325 or i think even 300]

5. Heat 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water over high heat until the sugar caramelizes (wait until it turns that amber caramel color), then pour cold water over the caramelized sugar. Add liquid to the tzimmes.

6. Place tzimmes in the oven and bake for 1 hour. [I baked for 2 hours at 325, i think , and let it cool in the oven. That might be overkill but you really just can’t over cook it. My butcher says he does his for like 7 or 8 hours. That’s right. I have a butcher. How stoked am I. Cook until the texture you want- mine ended up like the pull apart. Mrs. Weiner also told me that the stovetop cooking which is a bit strange for brisket- might also contribute to that pull apart effect]

As always brisket is good- some say best- the next day. I put the whole pot in fridge, left over night. Skimmed off some fat. and reheated in the oven at 300. Every time it just cooks more and gets better and better.



Mark Bittman’s Red Wine Braised Kale (Collards or other greens)

1 bunch regular curly kale. Can also use 1 ½ pounds other greens- like collards, washed and trimmed.

¼ cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, mined

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup chicken stock (I subbed of the fat/stock of the brisket mixed w. water)

½ cup dry red wine

i also added a pinch of red chili flakes. I did towards the end- but if I thought of it sooner, would have added w. garlic

1.tear or chop greens into small pieces. Put oil in large skillet, heat on med-high. Add garlic, and when it colors (just barely and gets fragrant), the green. Toss frequently- cooking 3 or 4 minutes.

2. reduce heat to med, add stock, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 mins.

3. remove cover, add wine. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, about 5 mins, until almost all liquid has evaporated and greens tender.


Rutabaga Quick-Kraut

I got some Rutabaga from a CSA pick up- and this recipe was exactly what I was looking for. Something fresh and vinegary to cut the density of the brisket. Found through a long-winded google search. Eventually landed on this at

My rutabaga was a bit big so I tampered w. the measurements slightly

2 heaping cups of rutabaga (less than 1 whole big rutabaga)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard [looks like a lot but actually not that strong tasting]

salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat honey, apple-cider vinegar and mustard in skillet to combine (on med heat).

2. Add grated rutabaga to pan.

3. Saute on med-high heat until rutabaga is tender and lightly browned [just a few minutes]

4. Add in small amounts of oil as needed to keep rutabaga from sticking to the pan. [I used grapeseed oil but I’m sure olive or whatever you have is fine. I think it is good for taste- not just sticking issue.]

Tastes great room temp.

BBQ sauce

11 May

Believe me when I tell you that homemade bbq sauce is worth the effort.  I take that back, it is not so much effort as a list of ingredients you might have to buy. I remember buying them all the first time I made it– and it seeming absurd to spend so much more on ingredients than just buying a bottle of sauce.But it turned out so damn good- and they all super useful things to have around- and I have made this recipe again and again. Makes a nice summer time bbq gift. The sauce is an America’s Test Kitchen Recipe. It is both sweet and spicy. Pare down on cayenne if you don’t like heat.

1 cup ketchup
1 medium onion- w. 1/4 water juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons molasses [can use 5 tablespoons of molasses and no maple syrup- as per written in original recipe]
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 garlic- pressed through
1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional) [i used 3/4 tsp last time- this stuff is strong]

Process onion with the water in a food processor, until it looks like slush. Put in a fine mesh strainer and push down with a rubber spatula, reserving 1/2 cup of onion liquid. Discard solids.
Whisk onion juice, ketchup, molasses, syrup, mustard, hot sauce, black pepper and liquid smoke (if using) in a medium bowl.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add garlic, chili powder and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in ketchup mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer gently, uncovered until flavors meld and sauce is thickened, about 25 mins. Cool bbq sauce to room temperature before using- (you will notice it thickens quite a bit more as it cools). Sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.

To cook the easy way in the oven:
I took 2 chicken breasts (bone in, skin on) and smothered in about 1/3 of the sauce. Left in a covered tupperware overnight (I am sure a couple hours would have worked fine). The next day, set the oven to 350. Line baking sheet with foil. Put chicken on the sheet and top with sauce collected on bottom of tupperware. Baked for 35 mins or until juices run clear… and temperature (if using a thermometer reads 150 or above). Can brush with extra bbq sauce the last 2 minutes before chicken is done cooking. Also can serve with extra sauce.

Duck Breast w. Pomegranate/Date Molasses

30 Apr

My favorite no-fuss totally satisfying meal is duck breast. It requires barely any ingredients and turns out reliably great every time. I have played with the toppings (like pomegranate seeds, port reduction and crispy shallots, pictured here), but I think the best is with just a schmear of pomegranate or date molasses (these are molasses are made from the refined fruit sugar and are not regular molasses that are flavored with fruit). I used to cook duck breast on higher heat for 10 mins, but an episode of Anne Burrell, convinced me to try it low and slow. So much better! Cooked fast on high heat, the fat cap is chewy and not appealing to eat. When cooked on lower heat, more fat renders out, it becomes crispy and the molasses makes it like this awesome piece of candied bacon on your duck. Amazing. Also– useful for you to know– if you haven’t made duck before, duck is cooked like a red meat- medium-rare– and not all the way through like chicken.

Duck breasts (1 or 2)
Pomegranate or Date molasses
salt & pepper

Take duck breasts. Wash and pat dry. There is a big fat cap on top of breasts. Take a knife, and score (deeply, but not all the way down to the flesh) a cross-hatch pattern. Salt generously (I like kosher salt and big flaky maldon). Place duck fat side down in stainless steel skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for about 20-25 minutes (i do 20 mins) and fat will render out. Ladle out fat if a lot collects– and save it! This shit is pure gold. Flip over to brown on bottom (2-3) mins, while this is happening, take about a tablespoon of molasses and pour on fat cap side. Smear with a pastry brush or back of a spoon. Flip back over, skin side down for another minute or so for molasses to crystallize. Remove from heat, put on a plate and tent with tin foil. Let rest (necessary!) for 10 minutes. Cut on a diagonal and serve. Pour duck juices from plate back over top. [this makes medium-rare. if you like more cooked, take more time, but it tastes best this way]

Optional port/red wine reduction

red wine or port
pomegranate seeds (optional)

Pour out fat and save. You still have all this goodness stuck to the bottom of your pan.  Away from heat, add a cup of red wine or port. And cook for a few minutes over med. heat for it to thicken a bit like syrup.  Be careful, it can soon turn to hard/sticky like candy- this happened last night- so I just ditched it and ate w. out the reduction. Add duck juices from plate back in. Off heat, add pomegranate seeds if using. Even if not eating/mess up the reduction, wine is great because it deglazes the pan- which helps with clean up. I always  keep unfinished bottles in the fridge, even when past drinkable, for this purpose.

Crispy Fried Shallots
vegetable/grapeseed/canola oil

Delicious for topping a piece of duck, lamb, steak. Anne Burrell also using as a butternut squash soup topping.
At first, I attempted to fry in duck fat but didn’t have quite enough so ended up doing it the traditional way.

Very thinly slice the shallots into rings. Separate all the rings out from each other. Using a small saucepan, fill about half an inch of oil. Heat on high.  You know it is hot enough, when you drop one shallot in and it sizzles away.  Put a little bit of flour into a bowl. Quickly douse a handful of shallots in the flour, shake off, and throw into oil.  You don’t want to let it sit in the flour- so flour as you go and be quick. Add floured shallots into hot oil. Cook until brown and crispy- floating to the top. Remove with slotted spoon- and place on paper towels to cool.

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