It’s A Donut Day
I don’t know about you guys, but I could really use a donut today.
via @erikmelander on Twitter
Pork Pies and Lembas Bread
Tricksy Foodsy hobbitses.
If you’re like me, and I’m going to go ahead and believe that you are, there were few details about Middle Earth that proved as evocative as the foods that Tolkien described. Amid all the jewelry-related shenanigans, there was always time for coney stew, lembas bread, and Bilbo’s famous pork pies.
The truth is that I’ve always wanted one of those pork pies. So finally, a man named Heath Dill is going to help me get one.
There are six days left on the Medium Rare and Back Again Kickstarter. Go forth and pledge.
If you don’t, I’m never listening to your twenty minute diatribe about Peter Jackson versus Tom Bombadil again. Ever.
Via The Passive Voice. Thanks Passive Guy!
Tiny foods are a peculiar kind of Japanese toy, in which a small cardboard box contains a bewildering array of foil packets and plastic trays. If you do it right, you end up with tiny edible replicas that look and taste like the real thing. My daughter introduced me to tiny foods via the YouTube videos of RRCherryPie, a tiny foods afficianado:
She was fascinated by the process, and I think, the quiet, meditative quality of the videos. So, because I love my daughter very much, and also because the things are a kind of candy, I bought some for us to try out.
Truth to tell, the assembly process is a lot of fun, and the candy is tasty, if a little plasticky. We’re doing the sushi one next, because of the clever salmon roe making thing seen here:
Should be fun. Also, I’m a sucker for anything sweet I can cram into my face. If you’re interested in something fun and sugary that you can claim is for your kids, you can find them here.
UPDATE: Tiny Foods Sushi!
One other cool thing, the salmon roe are actually still liquid in the center. You drop the candy liquid into a gelatin catalyst, so that only a skin of gummi candy is formed around the drop. That way, when you bite into it,the ‘roe’ actually burst like the real thing. So very clever.
These are totally better than the sour cream and onion flavor. Just so you know, the next time you’re buying some delicious snacking crickets.
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Somewhere in the dark heart of Brooklyn, the Mast Brothers are making chocolate.
Not just any chocolate, but the intense, vivid chocolate of my most fevered cacao-inspired dreams. Using the powers bestowed upon them by their mighty beards, they personally handle every step of production from beans to sublime final product.
The experience comes in waves once you put a piece in your mouth. The snap and temper is perfect when you pluck a square from the slightly glossy bar, and the melt when it hits your tongue is gradual and smooth. The first taste is that of any excellent dark chocolate, but as the melt progresses, the flavor simply unfolds in your mouth, unpacking itself into something that could not possibly have been contained in that one square. Most bars are blended with aromatics and spices that perfectly complement the sophisticated chocolate choice for the bar, and the finish of the cacao itself is so deep that it actually becomes a berry note at the end.
It’s no exaggeration to say that it will change the way you experience chocolate. Seriously.
I’m down to five bars from the original ten, which is sad. But at the same time, I only eat these with friends, so that’s five amazing shared experiences down, and five to go. And when I run out, well, I know where they come from.
And now, so do you.
Mandu is Love
Have I mentioned lately that my wife is awesome? Sure, she’s hot and she puts up with me, which is in itself some kind of miracle, but more incredibly she understands my complex needs. Like, my need to cram delicious food into my face all the time.
Growing up in a Cajun/Korean household, there are a lot of dishes that I would consider comfort food. But this is one of the more difficult to pull off. Let me explain.
The crispy, golden, and delicious triangles up there are mandu, a traditional Korean dumpling. The filling is a mix of beef or pork, veggies, and spices, and is fairly time consuming to make on its own. Add to that the effort of individually wrapping each one (nearly 40 were made), and you can see how much of a labor of love that platter really is. The glass with the spoon in it contains a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, white vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and flaked red pepper. This is only substance known to man that can actually improve the taste of mandu, which is the kind of thing that used to get you burned as a witch.
In the beige bowl in the back is about a pound and a half of bulgogi, which is shaved rib-eye steak, steeped in a delightful marinade, and seared quickly in a wicked-hot pan. It’s a little sweet, a little tangy, and tender as new love.
One of the best ways to eat it is to take a lettuce leaf, add some rice and gochujang (spicy fermented pepper paste), and then layer on the bulgogi. The combo of cool, crisp lettuce and hot rice and meat is incredible. It starts light and fresh, and ends with a savory, spicy, meaty bite. There’s nothing like it.
Taken all together, the production of the meal you see above was a lengthy, complicated affair, which my wife decided to tackle by herself as a present for me, just because she thought it would make my day.
And it totally did. Of course, I’d count myself lucky just to be able to eat ham sandwiches with her in front of the tv, but this? This was amazing.
But not even close to as amazing as she is.
Bacon Caramel is Love
I know what you’re thinking. “Mike, enough about writing already. WHAT ARE YOU PUTTING IN YOUR FACE RIGHT NOW?”
It’s a fair question. The answer is this:
These little gems are physically about the same dimensions as a ‘fun-size’ candy bar, but taste-wise are about the size of a 1973 Buick Regal. Four words for you: pecan, nougat, caramel, bacon. Yeah. Oh, and the one on the right? Swap out the bacon and replace with bourbon. I know, right?
And, of course, the whole thing is smothered in the finest Ecuadorian dark chocolate.
So tasty. So hard to hide from the spouse and children. So impossible to explain to your doctor.
Seriously, if you have any love for caramel in your heart, get some of these.
Risotto Balls are Best Balls
For game day last week I made some tasty, tasty arancini to snack on. This is where you improve
anything risotto by deep frying it. They’re lightly crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and are kind of like starch heroin. Here’s how to make your own.
Step 1 – The night before, make a nice batch of risotto. You can use the linked recipe, or if you’re lazy like me, use this. It takes about 30 minutes, and is dead easy. At the end, add a nice handful of peccorino romano cheese. Let this cool and then refrigerate overnight. You’ll want it to be cold and easy to work with.
Step 2 – Make some fatboy breadcrumbs. Take any bread you like, preferably something with a stiff crust, and roughly chop it in a food processor. You should end up with pieces the size of snowflakes.
Step 3 – Separate 2 or 3 eggs and put the whites in a bowl. You won’t need the yolks.
Step 4 – Get some cold risotto out of your container and roll it into a ball. Traditionally these are about the size of a baseball, but I was making snacks, so mine are a little larger than a golf ball. Much easier to hold and game at the same time. Also, I like a higher crust to rice ratio, so smaller is better for me.
Step 5 – Dip your risotto ball in the egg white, then dredge in the bread crumbs. Let sit for about 30 seconds so the bread gets a chance to adhere.
Step 6 – Fry! Use 350 degree oil for this. They’ll be light and crispy, and by the time they are golden brown, the insides will be hot.
These are super easy to make, and if you make the risotto and breadcrumbs the night before, you can fry them up half an hour before game time, easy.
Enjoy, and think of me next time you’re clogging up your arteries with fried cheesy rice goodness!
From Foodzie with Love
Every year my family asks me what I want for Christmas. Or more specifically, what kind of weird nerd things that nobody else has ever heard of, that I want. And more often than not, that list turns out to be comprised primarily of stuff I can cram in my face. Eating is my one vice (HAHAHAHA), and if I’m going to get a present, it might as well be delicious.
If you haven’t heard of it, Foodzie is an online retailer that specializes in totally amazing food from small shops and growers around the world. What they offer changes all the time, but it’s always fantastic. It’s also a bit on the spendy side, but the price is commiserate with the quality, I assure you. Still, I tend get things from them as gift items, rather than making it a regular thing.
Here’s one of the things I got this year: the Butter Cup Collection from Ococoa:
This is something I never would have even heard of if not for Foodzie. And yeah, every piece was a magical experience, like eating a fried unicorn rolled in chocolate.
Anyway, I just ate the last piece, so I figured I’d share the love with you. Notice that I offered to share the love, but I ate all the chocolate myself.
Sorry, but that’s how I roll. SELFISHLY.
No Trunk Meats Today, Thanks
A guy just knocked on my door selling meat. Door to door. From a huge ice chest.
The meats were flash frozen in boxes, and were obviously purchased from a wholesaler. I know, I’m probably just some kind of crazy meat snob, but I really do prefer to not to eat things out of a stranger’s trunk.