Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kimchi 3

Third time is the charm, right.  My first Kimchi was way too hot, and garlicy.  The second Kimchi I took care not to put too many chiles and garlic in it, and it was better, but still way too hot and garlicy.  I had also overlooked the use of Ginger in the first two attempts.  So, now, I have been contemplating a new batch for a while, and I decided to use a lot more Chile, but a mild Chile.  There are four components to the Kimchi sauce, Chile, Garlic, Ginger, and Fish Sauce.  They should all be in proper proportion so that you can taste all the components, without one of them overpowering the others.
First I prepared the Napa Cabbage by rough cutting up a whole head, and then brined it in five percent salinity solution.  In the Brine is where the fermentation process begins.  I let the Cabbage brine at room temperature for three days.  During this time you will see evidence of the fermentation process as Carbon Dioxide bubbles will form amongst the Cabbage leaves.  If you compress the mass of Cabbage in the Brine you will see these bubbles fizz up around the Cabbage.  Now the Cabbage is ready and we'll start the Kimchi sauce.
The Brine for the Kimchi contains three tablespoons of Sea Salt, in a quart of Vitalized Water, to form a five percent salinity solution.  We will use some of this Brine in the sauce making.  We will also use four ounces of mild New Mexico Chiles, fresh Garlic, half a white Onion, a quarter cup of Fish Sauce, and about a cup of the Brine.
I'm going to steam the Chiles for about 30 minutes to make them more pliable, and to bring out the flavor.
While the Chilies are steaming I'll peel the Ginger, Garlic, and Onion.
Next we'll drain the Brine out of the Cabbage, reserving it for later.  The Chiles are done steaming.
I grated a couple nubs of the Ginger, and its a about three tablespoons.  The Garlic is rough chopped because it will be going into the food processor with the Chiles.  The white Onion is just sliced, and will go straight into the Cabbage with the Ginger.  The Chiles get their stems and most of the seeds removed.  These are mild Chiles, so you don't really need to worry about removing the heat, I just don't want too many seeds.
The Chiles, and the Garlic go into the Food Processor, along with a quarter cup of Fish Sauce, and a cup of Brine.  I started with a quarter cup of Brine, but needed more liquid until I could get the machine to process correctly.  I processed the mixture until it was mostly smooth, with some small pieces left.
Get the biggest mixing bowl you own for this part.  Add the Cabbage first.
Add the Onion, and the Ginger to the Cabbage and mix it up really good.
Next, add the Chile, Garlic, Fish Sauce mixture, put on some vinyl gloves, and mix well...
At this point the Kimchi is finished, and is edible, but its not going to be right for a few days.  It will take a while for the flavors to meld, and fermentation to start up again.  You can speed up the process by letting the Kimchi sit at room temperature for some time, but not more than 8 hours.  Store the Kimchi in its storage vessel during fermentation.  After the fermentation starts again store the Kimchi in the refrigerator.  It will keep fermenting, but at a slower pace.  Kimchi lasts a long time in the refrigerator, like pickles.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Taco Eggrolls

Tex-Asian fusion strikes again...  LOL!  It was just a matter of time before I did this, and I think they are both the same concept from different hemispheres.  Taco stuff in an Eggroll wrapper.  A Chimichanga is a deep fried Burrito with a flour wrapper, kinda like this.  The Eggroll wrappers have a little different texture.
Really this satisfies my need to deep fry stuff.  At least I'm not deep frying candy bars.  There are some things that do not do well in the deep fryer, iceberg Lettuce is one of them, and fresh Tomatoes, both have a little too much water content.  We want to contents of the Eggroll to be stable in the fryer, and not disintegrate.
So, the salad component of the Taco Eggrolls will be green Cabbage, and white Onion, both sliced thin.
I've set up an assembly station here to bang out a bunch of Eggrolls.  The Taco meat is ground Beef with a Taco mix that was made a couple days ago, and reheated.  I'm also using a mild Cheddar Cheeze.
Add some Taco Beef first, and use a moderate amount, so as not to overstuff the Eggroll.
Then add some of the Cheddar, again moderately so we can close the Eggroll.
Next is a little of the salad mixture, keeping everything in the middle of the Eggroll wrapper.
Roll the corner of the Eggroll wrapper over the filling, apply an eggwash on the edges of the Eggroll wrapper, and fold the side corners into the center.  Apply a little more eggwash to the remaining exposed parts of the Eggroll wrapper, and then roll it up.
The eggwash is a scrambled egg that I apply with a sauce brush.  Repeat the assembly process as required.
I made six, more than I need, because I feel like I'll have some fallout here.  Or potential leftovers.
Fill the Wok about a third of the way with vegetable oil, and bring it up to around 350 F.  I am not measuring the temperature precisely, and am looking for hot, but not smoking hot.  The actual temperature of the oil will vary a lot when you add the relatively cold Eggrolls, as they cook, and the recovery time between batches.
It will only take a couple minutes per side.  The meat in the Eggrolls is already cooked, and we only need to steam the salad mix slightly.  We are really only looking for the Golden, Brown, and Delicious on the outside.
Delicious they are.  I think these qualify for Munchie Food, uh, huhuuhuuhhuuh...  I had made some Chipotle Salsa that will work great with these, and the Yogurt Ranch dip will cool things off when you get too much heat.  I'm gonna have to try this again with a Green Chile Cheeze Eggroll, or a Chile Relleno Eggroll...

Hot and Sour Noodles with Shrimp

Looking to make something else with my homemade noodles I hatched a plan to fuse them with Hot and Sour Soup.  The Hot and Sour Soup in something I make when I am feeling under the weather.  Its been cold and rainy here lately, and this seems to fit right today, with a fire in the fireplace.
We'll start with the soup part here or in the case the sauce for the noodles.  So, the first thing in the pan is Essence of Pork, rendered Bacon fat.  I'm using about one and a half tablespoons.
The spoon in the picture is extra large, like a serving spoon.  Then add sliced Mushrooms and Onions.
This is starting like a lot of other sauces I make.  We'll let these cook a while.
Then add sliced Garlic, red Chile, and black Pepper, this is the Hot part.
Then sprinkle in a tablespoon of Four, and mix it in thoroughly.
Let the Flour cook down a while, and then add the liquid component, in this case Beef stock, it what I had.
The salt component is going to be Fish Sauce, and the sour component is Lemon juice.
When I squeeze the Lemon juice into the sauce I'll use a strainer to keep the seeds out of the sauce.
I'll let this mixture come up to a simmer while I go work on the noodles.
The homemade noodles only take a few minutes to cook.  I've thawed some cooked shrimp as well.
Right at the end of the cooking process I'll add the Shrimp.
Then add the noodles.
Then mix it together and serve.  Hmm, take that, cold rainy day...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Digital Synchronicity

I was meditating on current events, and decided to check the Planetary Liberation Petition Site.  The number is 16,384.  Does that seem like a Synchronicity number to you?  Well, I'm a Computer Geek, and 16,384 is two to the fourteenth power.  I know this because computers use a binary number system, two to the X powers...
So, it's sort of a personal validation of those strange things afoot... 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Homemade Noodles with Orgasmic Mushroom Sauce

Yeah its that good.  I've been working on this Mushroom sauce for a year.  Its simple but nomlishous...
The homemade noodles are also totally simple.  I was looking for a recipe for Wonton wrappers, and was also looking at Pasta recipes and realized that they are the same thing.  Flour, Egg, Water, and Salt, so totally simple.  It is a really hard dough, and it takes a lot of work to knead the noodle dough and roll it out.  I see why they want to use a machine to do it.  So, I made some dough, let it rest a while, and then rolled it out.
Then took a Stainless Steel straight edge and my Santoku and cut it into thin strips.Its kinda like irregular fettuccine.  The recipe said it needs to be rolled extremely thin.  Is 50 mils thin enough?
 If I took the dough and pressed it through an extruder I could get a regular shape like spaghetti, or Rotini.  But the hand cut noodles have more personality.  Granted it takes more time this way, but worth it I think.
 I'll add a little flour to the pile of noodles and let them rest a while, and go start the Mushroom Sauce.
Start with Olive Oil, sliced Mushrooms, diced white Onion, red Chile flakes, and some Sea Salt.
After the Mushrooms cook down a while add three cloves of diced Garlic.
Then add a tablespoon of Flour to form a Roux, and some Black Pepper.
Let the Roux cook a while, and then add a cup of Chicken stock, and that is the Mushroom sauce.
In the meanwhile I have a pot of boiling water to cook the homemade noodles.  They only need to cook for a few minutes.  I noticed that the homemade noodles are a lot softer than the dehydrated Pasta.
The Mushroom sauce is coming up to a boil to thicken.  Noodles are cooking.
At the last moment I'm going to add some rare, Oak smoked Beef strips that are cut across the grain.
Then drain the Noodles, and add them to the sauce.  The Beef is extremely tender.  Totally Nomlishous...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Taquitos and Refrieds

I made a pot of Pinto Beans a couple of days ago, and have some leftovers.  I've been craving some Porky Refried Beans, and now seems like the right time to make them.  Ultimately they wound up on this plate of Beef and Cheeze Taquitos with Lemon Cilantro Rice.
I'm not a fan of canned Refried Beans.  Something about the canning process, or the age of the product, fresh Refrieds are always better.  So I start by frying a pan of Bacon, always a good start.  Maybe seven or eight pieces of Bacon, to get the Essence of Pork, the quintessential element of Refried Beans.  Remove the Bacon and eat it at will.
Drain and reserve the liquid from the Pinto Beans, and add the beans to the pan with the Bacon Fat along with some chopped Onion.  Salt this mixture liberally.  The mashed Pinto Beans crave salt in a big time way.  Let the Pinto Beans and Onions cook for a few minutes.
Then I'm going to add about four cloves of chopped Garlic, and then let that cook for a few more minutes.  At this point the Pinto Beans are starting to grab the Pork Fat, and become extraordinarily nomlishous.
 When the Garlic is cooked we execute the act that turns Pinto Beans into Refried Beans, mashing.  Thoroughly mash the entire mixture to the consistency that you want, anywhere from chunky to smooth.  Then add the reserved bean liquor to the pan to rehydrate the mashed Pinto Bean mixture.  I add all the liquid back into the pan, and then cook them to the right consistency.  In the meantime I have prepared White Rice, and Beef Taco Filling.
Taquito, or small Taco, is also a Flauta which means Flute, or Taco Doobie.  Warm some Corn Tortillas in the microwave, then take a small amount of Beef Taco filling, and some cheeze, and roll the Taco Doobies.  Use a toothpick to hold them together while cooking.  I am going to Oven Fry these Taquitos, so krank the oven up to 450 F.  Spray the pan liner, and the Taquitos with oil to facilitate the oven frying process.
Then bake the Taquitos for 10 to 15 minutes until they are Golden Brown, and Delicious.  In the meantime I prepare a plate with the Refrieds, and some Rice, and heat it simultaneously with the Taquitos.
I also prepared the condiments which are the Yogurt Ranch dipping sauce for the Taquitos, and some Salsa.  I garnished the Rice with Cilantro, and a half a Lemon.  Finally pull the toothpicks out of the Taquitos, and pile them on the plate.  This was a late dinner plate, and was very filling.  I needed a long nap afterwards.