Monday, April 24, 2017

Meatloaf (2)

The first memory I have of meatloaf is from grade 4. I met a girl who wasn't in my class but she rode the same bus. She was only the third Asian girl I'd met from my school and by chance she sat next to me one afternoon on our way home. We chatted about children's things, I'm guessing. Anyway, fast-forward a couple of days: she told her mom about me and her mom invited me over for a playdate and dinner.

Honestly, I do not remember that girl's name. Sorry! I do remember that she lived in an apartment building, she had a younger brother, her mother was Korean and her father was Japanese, and she was really girly. Like, she had such an impressive collection of Barbies and I was envious because my parents liked to buy me things like Legos and puzzles (which I still love, but hey, sometimes a girl wants to dabble in fashion and hairstyles).

The other detail I remember is that for dinner, we had meatloaf. It was my first time having this blob of meat covered in ketchup and I just fell in love. Apparently they had all different sorts of cuisines for dinner all the time, which by contrast to my household where we Korean food 99% of the time and maybe the occasional burger the other 1%, this was really cool to me.

Even though I shared a meatloaf recipe previously, I've since improved on it; it's since gone from something that's just a burger in loaf form to a really tender dish in its own deserved category. I've also improved on my food photography so I thought it was time for a little update.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
loaf
1 lb. ground beef
1 slice white bread, torn into pieces
¼ cup milk
½ onion
4 sprigs parsley
2 oz. mushroom
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 egg

sauce
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons A1

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cornmeal Crusted Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches

Soft shell crab season will be here soon! Actually, I'm flying down to Florida this coming weekend and I'm pretty sure it's already soft shell crab season in the south.

In the northeast, it's traditionally marked by the first full moon in May and the season lasts through early fall. Blue crabs begin to molt their hard shell and then they become 100% delicious, instead of like, 30% delicious, 70% shell. There's a v. short time frame to keep them in their soft shell state; as soon as they molt, there's just a few hours before their shells start to harden again so they have to be removed from the water before that happens.

During our regular visits to Denville Seafood, we see soft shell crabs on offer here and there. Ideally, the crabs should be alive; soft shell crabs don't move much but they should still be moving. If they've already been killed and cleaned by your fishmonger, you should plan on cooking them that v. day (or freezing them immediately) because they will go off rather swiftly.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
cornmeal crusted soft shell crab
2 soft shell crabs, cleaned
¼ cup flour
1 egg
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil

mango & red cabbage slaw
1 mango, julienned
½ cup shredded red cabbage
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar

sandwich
2 buns
1 tablespoon butter

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lambchops with Rosemary & Garlic

With Easter coming up this weekend, I thought I would share an Easter-y dish. I do find it a bit morbid that we call Jesus the "Lamb of God" and then we proceed to eat lamb for Easter. But I suppose it's in the same vein of pretending we're eating eggs when we crack open a Cadbury creme or devouring hollow chocolate bunnies like it's not violent and sick.

Either way, I'm not going to complain about delicious food.

I do tend to find lamb to be a bit gamey so I like to prepare it simply with bold seasonings. I prefer the simple method because I would hate to spend loads of time on something only to have it still taste a bit gamey. On this particular day, I went with lots of garlic, rosemary and lemon zest. I also made a quick gremolata, which I find to be just the most elegant topping for a simply prepared cut of meat, and it hit the spot so well.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
chops
4 to 6 lamb rib chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sprigs rosemary
1 teaspoon lemon zest

gremolata
¼ cup parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Monday, April 3, 2017

Mango Salsa

Every winter, we attempt to cheer ourselves up with food. I turn to flavors like coconut and pineapple in the hopes that the tropical vibes will at least help me imagine it isn't 26F outside. This past winter, we ate spicy baja fish tacos almost every other week as a similar sort of pretend-it's-warm therapy. To amp it up, we'd also been making mango salsa.

I experimented with two different varieties, one with lots of red bell pepper and scallion and a variation with lots of baby cucumber and red onion and I think the latter was different enough and delicious enough to share. Of course my partiality may be due to the fact that the mango I scored at the grocery store that week was super ripe and juicy and sweet, but I do think that the cucumber is great because it soaks up the flavors of the salsa eagerly.
Ingredients:
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 baby cucumber, diced
¼ red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
3 sprigs cilantro, chopped
juice of ½ lime
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
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