Archive for the ‘*Yamahomo’ Category

Monday Night Feast

April 8, 2008

Monday is not a good day as you know. After a weekend full of fun and relaxation, you have to bring your mind to work-mode, which sucks. Annoying boss, stupid colleagues, toilet-paper-missing-toilets, too much construction noise, pressing reply-to-alls when you are bitching about the sender. Nothing works on Mondays.

Because of that, it is more important to have a delicious meal on Monday nights. Who cares about Monday night football (is this the season? Gay People don’t know anything about football). We should all cook a nice meal on Monday nights.

Last night, I was craving for mussels that I love at Markt, but didn’t feel like going to the restaurant. Also we are trying to eat healthier, hence no carb was the theme of last night. I am totally ballooning and need to cut food/booze intake in order to have a decent shape before bathing suit season starts… Alas… How can I lose weight while not cutting food or booze nor working out? Breaking up definitely is the way to go, but I am happily in a relationship…

Anyhow, my favorite mussels recipe at Markt is tomato and basil. I cooked up onion and garlic in olive oil, dump tomato and basil then added half a bottle of white wine.
I got these beautiful mussels at Lobster House in Chelsea Market, which is always a reliable fish monger. $3.25 a pound is also a sweet deal. Once I cooked up vegetables, the smell was so sweet and wonderful, I forgot to take pictures from here on. Hence all i have here is shells…. It’s kind of cute, and almost look like a dish, doesn’t it?

I was requested to make a scallop dish. My colleague Tomoko told me she had this wonderful scallop wrapped in seaweed in France. Japanese food ingredients’ power is so great that even french chefs use nori nowadays!
I didn’t have any recipe, other than the way Tomoko described how it was done. So I wrapped seaweed around a beautiful scallop, sprinkled with sea salt, put a dab of butter, then broiled it for 3 minutes.

I thought I needed some sauce, so I cooked down soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar and ginger and squeezed some lime juice at the end to make south asian style teriyaki sauce. Seaweed was crisp when it was done, and scallops were medium rare, almost melting in my mouth. Yum yum. It kind of looks like sushi, too.


After I saw Kayoko’s post on blood oranges, I was thinking about using it for something as well. So I made mesculin salad, with juice from blood orange, champagne vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and oilve oil, then arranged orange on top. It was very springy and good.

Healthy diet costs too much money, though. Not that I need to cook scallops and mussels everyday, carb is so much more filling and cheap… I already had a rebound, had donburi and udon for lunch at Seo today….

Advertisements

Fridgin’ Out: Gay People

April 4, 2008

Editor’s Note: This post was conceived and written by Yamahomo in response to Fridgin’ Out: Married People. It’s an exclusive sneak peak into the fridge of Gay People. Enjoy!

Yamahomo lives in West Chelsea, on Super Starchitect row (19th St). Cameron Diaz might buy one of the penthouses in my building. Lucky me. Although there was a shooting right outside the apartment last week, it is becoming a VERY hot neighborhood. We don’t have Central Park to walk the dog, or go for a jog, but we have the gallery district right on 10th Avenue, plus soon, there will be the High Line, the fake park that is perfect for fake people like us Gay People.

Gay People are usually highly style-oriented, and appearance counts the most as you can see from the 8th avenue (b/w 14th and 23rd Street) crowd. They might not have any brains, but they put themselves together very nicely.

Having said that, Gay People’s fridges usually doesn’t look like one. It’s all blended in as part of the kitchen. Or the kitchen doesn’t even look like a kitchen. In my case, the kitchen is part of living room. Even if Gay People don’t use their fridge other than to store water and booze, it must be a Sub Zero or Wolf, with custom panels on front to make the blending effect perfect.


Gay People might wear $400 cashmere sweaters, but with a $5 torn T-shirt from K-Mart underneath. This fridge looks like this. This was taken right after a party, hence not much real food inside and filled with left over liquid items. Unlike Married People in Upper West Side, Gay People in West Chelsea have great shopping places, such as Fruit Exchange, Buon Italia, and other various bakeries at the Chelsea Market, where I stop by on my way home from work. Stocking up doesn’t usually happen. Vegetables and meats are purchased and used on the same day.
Unlike other Gay People’s fridge, mine is filled with stuff. From Hoison sauce, low fat mayo, to various Asian ingredients reflecting Yamahomo’s heritage.
Gay People drink the best vodka. Belvedere is the best. Unlike non-cooking Gay People, I have cooking sake, vinegar and other homey items next to the gay vodka. This makes a huge difference in Gay People’s fridges.
Aside from vodka, Gay People never lack chilled wines in the fridge. After happy hour at one of the bars in the neighborhood, Gay People keep on partying, where people can enjoy chilled wine, fruity cocktails or martinis. Discard Skyy vodka on the left. Someone brought it to a party. Low class vodka… Gay People don’t drink beer since it’s too fatty, hence there aren’t any chilled beer glasses either.
Gay people often times use non-“made from scratch” items, such as this chicken tikka masala sauce (on the left). However, creative Yamahomo marinated chicken wings with the sauce, mixed with yogurt, and baked until done. Healthy chicken wings for Gay People. Side note: I cannot live without diet coke. I know it’s unhealthy, and un-gay-like, but I need it when I wake up in the morning. I like coffee too, but it takes too long to wait for coffee and diet coke is my wake up drink.
Yamahomo keeps some weird jars in the fridge. This is stem gingers in sugar syrup. Instead of crystal ginger, it gives a sweeter and more moist texture to cake bakings. This was given to me from a friend who is from London. She is moving back and I went to her apartment and collected items I wanted. She knows I am the only one who would appreciate weird food items, so she gave me Goji berries, disposable paper cups to bake muffins, half used olive oil among others. Yamahomo can be a frugal gay.

Gay People keep their eggs in Sub Zero branded egg container.

Gay People’s freezer is a bit messy. It’s the same concept as wearing an expensive coat out, but their inner self is a mess full of issues, from depression to psycosis. I know you spot Friday’s artichoke dip, and I have to admit I bought this drunk, and had a last minute get together and didn’t have enough time to prepare everything. I like drawer freezers. It’s so much easier to look for items, especially things that have been frozen for who knows how long.
Us puffs like puffy pastries. I always keep puff pastry, as well as filo dough in freezer. You can make easy appetizers that looks and taste like “wow”.

Gay people only drink expensive coffee, hence Kona is stored in the freezer. Like tea, someone told me it keeps fresh being stored in the freezer, and I follow it… Any scientific proof for this?
Gay people usually don’t eat dessert because it’s too fatty. We have to watch our figures to be able to fit into skin tight T-shirts and jeans. However, when we do eat dessert, we buy the good shit. This is pistachio gelato from Buon Italia. It is freakin $14 a container, yet, this is the best shit. They have various flavors, and my fav is this and green apple sorbet. Sorbet, since there is no milk in it, is only $8 something, and all are made in Italy. Gay people are suckers for “Made in Italy”.

Gay people MUST have plenty of ice cubes for martinis, mix drinks, and other fruity drinks. Automatic ice maker definitely makes our lives better.

Gay people usually throw out ripened bananas, but Yamahomo is domesticated enough to keep it for emergency banana nut bread baking when we get invited to a cocktail party at the last minute.

Gay Jap keeps inari sushi (tofu skin cooked in sweet soy sauce) skins for Asian-flavored parties.
Final note: Gay People’s fridges are just as normal as straight ones.

*What’s in your fridge? Send pics to umamimart@gmail.com. Check out all the Fridgin’ Out posts here. Come back every Friday to see all the scary shit we find in these dungeons of moldy condiments.

Advertisement for Sake Tasting

March 19, 2008

It’s pretty cool this year. You will get to taste sake that you will never be able to in this country. Brewers will bring sakes that are submitted to this year’s National Sake Appraisal to be held in May this year. New Sake is very intense, and is truly a rare opportunity. Hurry and buy your ticket before it’s gone!!

Annual Sake Tasting & Lecture:
The 100-Year History of Sake Appraisal
Thursday, April 3 at 6:30 pm

For 100 years, Japan’s National Sake Appraisal has pushed brewers in a spirit of friendly competition toward continuous improvement in the art of sake making, as manifested in its flavors and aromas. Unlike industries that change as a result of new technologies, sake making still depends largely on the subtle quality of rice and water, unpredictable weather, and the skill and artistry of brew masters that allows both established products and lesser known new entrants with high quality sake to win medals in the competition. In this program, John Gauntner, renowned sake expert and a founding member of Sake Export Association, discusses how 100 years of history of sake appraisal has changed the sake industry and aided in the development of new flavors, aromas and styles. Participants will have the opportunity to taste many of the sakes that will be presented at Japan’s National Sake Appraisal in spring 2008. Co-sponsored by the Sake Export Association.

Tickets: $35/$30 Japan Society members & seniors

Must be 21 years of age.

For tickets, order online at www.japansociety.org or call Box Office at 212-715-1258.

Held at Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

Healthy Cake – Too Innovative

February 26, 2008

I am in Tokyo. Day 2, and still waking up way too early in the morning. This morning I was watching a morning TV program, which was full of information from concerts to new restaurants, and bakeries.

This one shop caught my eyes and ears. It was a “healthy pastry shop”. Japanese turn things into some unbelievable ways. Beans become sweets, tofu turns into milkshake, miso becomes ice cream, etc. But this was the most extreme way I’ve ever heard of and had to try it.

People on TV were a bit skeptical in the beginning, but when they tasted it, they were like “OMG, these are light, not too sweet and great!”. So I went to the shop.

This looks just like a pastry shop shelf, right?

Of course, they pack it so nicely, and put some extra cardboard so that cakes won’t move. Plus they put a tiny ice pack, so that cakes will be kept cool. How Japanese!

This looks like strawberry mouse, right? No, think again. It was red pepper mouse and jelly.
As a summer appetizer at an Italian restaurant, it makes sense. It was subtly sweet, but very red pepperish. Mousse was very light, but definitely red pepper. I like the shape, but had very hard time believing this as a dessert.

Strawberry short cake? But it’s not a strawberry on top! Yep, it was tomato short cake, with some green vegetable in the sponge. I don’t know how to describe this. It was tomato and whipped cream, and a bit greenish sponge. Definitely odd, definitely tomato. For some reason, however, it kind of tasted interesting. I heard this shop only uses items in season, and once strawberry season was over, the chef tried out different types of seasonal vegetables and tomato apparently matched the best.

Cherry tomato looks like a cherry, but it IS TOMATO ON TOP OF A FUCKING CAKE! WTF! Slices of tomato in layers? I admire their daringness to put things like tomato in cake, but I must say, this is something you want to try once, but I don’t think I will go back to this shop craving for tomato short cake…

This chocolate dome thing was of course chocolate mouse outside, but inside was daikon radish mouse. Hello, people, no matter how you try to turn things into something else, radish is radish, and it is weird. Chocolate mousse was very subtly sweet and nice, but mixing chocolate with daikon? I don’t know, I am pretty daring when it comes to food, but this wasn’t my favorite.

This is mille feuille with corn… Um, well, I mean, it was very crisp puff pastry, but cream tasted like corn chowder. There is no egg in this, and just mushed up corn and milk… At least it was very smooth, not corny. Description of this cake says “natural sweetness”, but it was NOT SWEET. It tastes like a very bad creamed corn layered between puff pastry.. Of course the yellow dot on the cream is pieces of corn..

This was chocolate layered cake with pureed chrysanthemum leaves. It’s not literally chrysanthemum. We eat this leaf in hot pot and is pretty popular. This puree was actually the most subtle flavor and kind of good with chocolate.

Chocolate cake with burdock. Burdock is used for Japanese home cooking often. Kinpira gobo is one of the most popular dishes in Japanese home kitchen. This was sauteed with butter, sprinkled on top of chocolate cake, baked together. Definitely burdock flavor was strong, and it takes some time to get used to it, but it kind of tasted good after a while..

This was definitely one of the weirdest food experiences I have had in my life, and I think once is enough. No matter how you say it, vegetables should be used as vegetables, and I think there is a limit for it to be used in some cooking, such as cake..

Patisserie Potager
2-44-9, Kamimeguro
Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0051
Tel: 03-6279-7753

Weekend Relaxation – Baking a Challah Bread

February 20, 2008

Something about bread baking makes me feel very calm. It takes all day, kneading, resting, kneading, resting, which is almost zen kind of experience. Not that I am religious or anything, so I wouldn’t know the real zen relaxation, but I feel good when baking bread.

I just saw a recipe on Food Network, and thought it would be a good weekend pastime.

Recipe is as follows:

-1 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
-1 teaspoon sugar
– 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
– 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1 cup for kneading
– 1⁄3 cup honey
– 2 whole large eggs
– 3 large egg yolks
– 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 tablespoon kosher salt
– 3/4 cup to 1 cup currants
– 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Dissolve sugar and yeast in water, let it bubble up for about 8 minutes. Mix it with honey, 1 whole egg, egg yolks, olive oil. Make a well on flour and salt mixture, pour in the wet ingredients, and currants. Once it’s mixed, knead it for about 10 minutes.

To mix the ingredients, I used a stand mixer, but you should definitely knead it manually. It definitely makes a difference. Dough hook doesn’t do what our hands can do…

Once it’s smooth, put it in a greased bowl, and let it rise until the size doubles. (Fortunately I have a bread rising mechanism on my oven, so it was easy).

When the size doubles, punch it down and knead it for just a minute, then put it back and let it rise again until the size doubles.

Once it’s done, you cut the dough into three equal pieces (some people do 6, but I took the easy way). Braid the dough nicely, as if you are braiding a girl’s hair. Let is rise AGAIN until the size doubles.

Brush it with egg, bake it for about 30 minutes on 375 oven or until it sounds hollow. I didn’t sprinkle it with poppy seeds, since I don’t have such a drug in my household. hehe.

I should have taken pictures of each step, but of course, when I realized this would be a perfect one, it was already done.

Doesn’t this look GORGEOUS? I should work for Amy’s Bread. Too bad, I don’t eat too much bread, and I have NO IDEA about good bread vs. bad bread. But I brought it to work, and many “bread connoisseurs” said it was fabulous. So I guess it was a success in both appearance and taste.

BLT Steak’s Popover

February 19, 2008

I told you that I would blog about BLT’s famous popover (I miss sunny Puerto Rico). Well, images from the restaurant weren’t good enough, also they gave a recipe card with it, so I decided to make it myself. I have had popovers at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, and they were crispy on the outside, and hollow inside, and good stuff. BLT’s version was huge, and so crisp outside, and the Gruyere cheese definitely added some indescribable joy to it.

Since I bought a 6 popover pan, I reduced the recipe into half.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • A bit less than 1 table spoon of salt
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 4 eggs
  • gruyere cheese

Warm the milk, beat eggs until they are frothy, add milk slowly (so that it doesn’t cook the eggs). Sift flour and salt, and mix them together well. Make sure you don’t chill the batter. Keep it a bit warm of room temp.

Meanwhile, stick popover pan into 350 degree oven. Once it’s hot, take it out, and spray it with non stick spray, pour the batter (I filled it basically to the top to make the largest possible popovers). Sprinkle cheese on top, and put into the oven for 50 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, it will deflate it!

Wow, it started to rise!!
Soon enough, it looks like erected dog penis.
It’s getting bigger and by this time, the smell of burning cheese was so delicious!
Don’t they look fabulous?
As long as you don’t chill the batter, and not open the oven door, this is almost fail proof. For your next dinner party, instead of regular bread, try this. This is definitely the “Did you really make this? Holy shit!” kind of stuff. Similar recipe is yorkshire pudding, but it uses beef jus, but this one doesn’t use any additional grease (other than cooking spray), so it’s vegetarian friendly too.

It’s Not All Fried in Puerto Rico!

February 15, 2008
All I heard about Puerto Rican was that the food was fried, fried and fried. There was a “Puerto Rico Sample Basket” at my hotel beach bar, consisting of fried yuca, fried corn meal, fried empanada, and fried conch. Tasted good, but it was very fried…

It was my first trip to San Juan, and I absolutely LOVED the weather, especially Monday when it was 13F in New York, while 85 and sunny in San Juan. Yep, hate me, but I am the one who is nicely tanned!

I had no idea about the food there, though. To my surprise, my hotel had BLT steak (which I will blog about some other time), as well as Il Mulino, and next door hotel had Ruth Chris’, etc. Unfortunately Pinkberry hasn’t gotten to that south yet, although the weather was perfect for it….

One night, we went out to Old San Juan to try to have some good local cuisine. The concierge at the hotel recommended a couple of places, and we picked a seafood restaurant called Aguaviva.

Old San Juan itself was interesting. It was right next to a cruise ship dock, hence a lot of jewelry shops (who really needs to buy expensive jewelry or watch while on a cruise?). The restaurant scene was definitely Miami-esque. Aguaviva looked like it used to be a diner, and turned into a fancy seafood restaurant. For some weird reason, they asked for our names, though it wasn’t full whatsoever. So we said Donald.

Since we were in beach island, we wanted to get good seafood dishes. So we ordered 3 ceviches for appetizer. From right to left is octopus, snapper in lime juice, and fluke with avocado. I like carpaccio over ceviche, soy based sauce over citrus based sauce, but it was pretty good.


Here is one fried item. Fried tortilla, to scoop up the ceviches.


I ordered Tuna. I don’t know what it was called, but I remember it had some “empanada” referrence. It was basically seared tuna and some kind of empanada side (which tasted more like a spring roll). It was fresh and the sauce was good… To be quite honest, by this time, I had 2 martinis and don’t have a clear memory….


Donald had paella. Yeah, this is unusual paella, with pearl cous cous. I don’t think it had much seafood, just shell fish, scallops and mussels. Saffron was very subtle, but definitely there.


For desert, we shared a passion fruit sorbet. It was VERY refreshing, and yummy. I need to recreate this in the summer.


Finally the bill came, and look how cute this is. For Donald, it was Donald Duck!

Aguaviva
364 Calle Fortaleza
San Juan, 00901
Puerto Rico
787.722.0665

12 Layer Chocolate Heavenly Cake

February 14, 2008

My friend turned 30. My gift for him was a cake. I was going to make some weird shaped cake, such as dick, ass, etc. etc. But I hate working with fondant since I still haven’t gotten a knack for it yet. So I decided to make Wolfgang Puck’s 16 layer cake, but of course my version.

Somewhere, somehow, it didn’t turn out the way it should when I was spreading the batter into the sheet pans. It was way too thin, and I thought it would make it very tough, almost a cookie-like sponge, so I doubled the amount. It turned out to be ok. A lot thicker layer than Wolfgang’s, though. Also I was supposed to make 4 sheet pans of sponges, cut in half, but instead, I could only make 3 sheets. Oh well, 12 layers, instead of 16, the same difference, right?

The best part about this recipe was chocolate moose to be in between cakes, which makes one layer as well.

After assembling it into 12 layers, then chilling it for like 2 hours, I cut all the edges, and it became such a good looking cake.

Don’t think this is it. At the end, I made a ganace, and poured it onto the cake. Check out how good this looks. Although I used 15 eggs, almost a quart of heavy cream, ton of chocolate, the result was definitely impressive. Happy Birthday Nick!

Tuna Mercury Bullshit

January 30, 2008
WTF! I can’t live without tuna. Recent articles on NYT about mercury might be worrisome, and some people might never eat tuna ever, but I like tuna. If you are eating shit load of fried or junk food, and refusing seafood, that is such an oxymoron.

I am hoping this trend will cause reduction of tuna price, and I will have more of them. Everyone, listen up, moderation is the virtue, both in eating and drinking.

I would rather die from mercury consumption, than not eating tuna forever… So I made tuna tartar.

I am trying to be better about remembering what ingredients I use when cooking.
Recipe for this version is (which won’t be repeated since next time I’ll make it, I will use something completely different):

1/2 lb fresh tuna, cut into small cubes
1/2 of avocado, cut into small cubes
1/2 of mango, cut into small cubes
1/4 onion, minced and rinsed (to cut strong onion flavor out)
1 lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
dash of soy sauce
dash of ginger dressing
Mix everything together, and chill for about 1 hour to marinate.

I sliced up the rest of the avocado and spread it on the plate, scoop tartar with ice cream scoop, put extra ginger dressing et voila, cute and tasty tuna tartar is ready to be served.

Reporting from Craft Bar

January 23, 2008

Damn, Kayoko, you went to the real one? Well, I went to the cheapo version of Craft for lunch today. Yep, I took 2 hour lunch break, and felt great!

Out of many restaurants that participates in RW, we thought this place had the most varieties of choices. They had 10 appetizers to choose from, 7 or so main course, and 5 dessert, including cheese course.

I haven’t done this for like ever. Last time I went to Brasserie, and stupid me, ordered too many drinks, ended up spending about $70 or so, which totally lost the point of going to RW…

This time, I successfully resisted the urge to order wine, just stuck with 3 course meal for $24.07. By the way, I thought it used to be $20.01 in 2001, and should be $20.08 for this year? What happened to the pricing? But it was still cheap enough.

This was Christy’s Pecorino fondue with honey, hazelnut and pepperoncini. Cheesy, sweet, and spicy mixture was quite interesting. It was more like melted cheese than fondue, though.

Molly ordered home cured smoked salmon with creme freche. Smoked salmon was very lightly smoked, so tasted almost fresh. Or was it even smoked? Maybe it was just home cured salmon…

I ordered speck, cheese, collard green crostini. All the appetizers had SO MUCH bread underneath, and I was a bit skeptical about the main course. Maybe they are trying to fill us up before main course, since the portions are super small?

I was wrong. Main course portions were just right. Maybe be even too generous for $24.07…

Christy ordered salmon with brussel sprouts and apples. There was some jelly type thing, which looked similar to salmon itself in color, but tasted like apple jelly. Inside was pink and outside was crispy. Cooked to perfection.

My main course was beef short rib with beets, and shallots. It was very flaky, all the beets were cut the exact same size, and the sauce was red wine and red wine vinegar base. Very yummy.

Molly ordered duck prosciutto and mushroom panini (though they call it a sandwich). A bit strong too mushroomy, and not enough taste of duck, but good.

After the main course, we were already full, but we couldn’t pass dessert.

I ordered brown sugar cake with roasted pear and eggnog ice cream. Ice cream tasted more like pumpkin spiced ice cream than eggnog, but very refreshing. Cake wasn’t too sweet thanks to the brown sugar.

Christy ordered butterscotch pudding with ginger snaps (I think). It was good.

Molly ordered the cheese course, which disgusted me so much. I mean, who the hell orders CHEESE for dessert?! It was also all the VERY stinky kind. Goat cheese tasted like soap, the others were filled with molds. I know people love blue, bree, romano, pecorino, etc., but I HATE CHEESE.

Overall experience was very excellent. Service was a bit slow, but nice. I will go back there.