I took a walk over to Chelsea Market today for a look around. The official Chelsea Market website describes the space as “a one-stop, NYC culinary food shop, a gourmet lover’s wholesale-retail wonder world, and an energetic, industrial-chic hotspot, all meshed into an entire city block of space in the heart of West Chelsea.” In other words, it’s a wet dream for a foodie like me.
At the Thai restaurant-cum-import food market inside Chelsea market, I picked up a bottle of my favorite hot sauce, Huy Fong’s Sriracha HOT Chili Sauce, an all-natural, hot chili and garlic sauce with a Thai name, made by a Vietnamese/Chinese immigrant-owned company in California, and a holder of cult status in my culinary canon since the late 90’s (my late teens). Me and my friends in Arizona have given this sauce the nickname, “cock sauce,” because of the rooster on the label. Huy Fong’s cock sauce has many imitators, but none replace the original’s all-natural, pure ingredients and versatility. Cock sauce has the perfect amount of heat and spice from ripe, red jalapeño peppers and garlic balanced with a bit of sour and sweet notes. Put some cock sauce on your hotdogs, hamburgers, Chinese, Italian, Thai, Mexican, etc.. Cock sauce to go with any ethnicity of cuisine. Cock sauces for the masses! Cock sauce for all. Long live cock sauce! Vive la “cock sauce”!
A Fred and LS original recipe. We made this cold noodle salad for lunch on Friday and enjoyed it al fresco on the terrace.
cooked udon noodles, rinsed in cold water
julienned carrots and cucumber and turkey cold cuts
chunks of avocado
wedges of tomato
chopped green onion
Arrange the vegetables on top of the noodles in a bowl. Garnish with some sesame seeds and season with Wafu Dressing. Mix well before eating. If you can’t find Wafu Dressing, any soy, sesame or miso-based Japanese-style dressing will do. A perfect lunch for a late summer day.
Tonight, I went to a Harvardwood cocktail mixer at a bar/lounge/restaurant just south of SoHo called Sugar. Harvardwood is an alumni association for Harvard graduates working in and interested in the media and entertainment industries. It was nice to meet some new people and to learn a little bit more about the realities of breaking into media and entertainment. I also ran into an old friend, Darya, at the cocktail mixer. We were in the same transfer student orientation at Harvard.
Tomorrow morning, I am off to Montreal for a few days. Back to NYC on Monday night.
My review of Washoku: Recipies From The Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh has just been published online at JapanVisitor.com. Check it out here.
I went to a Malaysian restaurant called Fatty Crab with Michelle, an old family friend from California tonight. The restaurant is located in a New York neighborhood called the Meatpacking District, which I guess was once really where they slaughtered and packaged meat, but it is now full of upscale restaurants and shops full of hipsters.
The restaurant was very small and cozy with exposed brick walls and vintage furnishings and featured some very interesting, spicy, fishy dishes. I have only had Malaysian food about 2 or 3 times before, so I am still expanding my horizons. We ordered the signature dish, the Chili Crab (dungeoness crab, chili sauce, white toast $28) as well as the Skate Panggang (grilled on a banana leaf, sambal udang kering $12) and the Lo Si Fun (short rice noodles, Chinese sausage, shiitake $11).
The Chili Crab was super messy but super fun as well. The crab came in the shell in a bowl full of a sweet and spicy red sauce that came with a few slices of toasted white bread. It was quite an effort to get at the meager amounts of meat inside the crab shell, but well worth the mess and the inconvenience. The skate was cooked perfectly tender and spicy yet fragrant with kaffir lime leaves and creamy with coconut milk. The Lo Si Fun noodles demonstrate the strong Chinese influence in Malaysian cuisine. The noodles themselves resembled Japanese udon noodle, fat with a bit of al dente texture. The sauce was a dark, sexy, salty, fishy concoction with a nice textural and flavor contrast of shiitake mushroom and Chinese pork sausage pieces floating around. We washed it all down with some cold beers. I stuck with my old favorite from Thailand, a Singha.
I’m sure the kind of food served at Fatty Crab would cost a fraction of the price at a street market in Malaysia, but the flavors were very inspiring and the cozy ambience definitely make the place worth checking out. I’m going to have to add some Malaysian dishes to my own personal cooking repertoire now!
This is a recipe for an orange cake that I got from Fred in Québec. He got it from his grandmother who got it from a newspaperway back in the day. The ingredients and the recipe are simple, but the results are delicious. Here is my slighty jazzed-up Anglophone version:
4 large free-range eggs
2 cups of white sugar
2 cups of white flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup of vegetable oil (I used a half cup of neutral safflower oil and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil to give the cake that Mediterranean je ne sais quoi)
2/3 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 and a half oranges)
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
powdered sugar (for topping)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius).
2. Beat together the eggs and the white sugar for 2 minutes
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and beat into the egg and sugar mixture
4. Beat in the rest of the ingredients except for the powdered sugar and transfer batter to a ring-shaped cake pan or a Bundt cake pan
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
6. Allow the cake to cool complete, remove from cake pan, invert onto a serving plate and top with sifted powdered sugar. Et voilà, c’est fini! Très simple et délicieux.
I haven’t posted a recipe in a long time now, but since I have become the de facto, live-in personal chef for my family, I will probably be posting more recipes from now on.
I made this for dinner last night, and like pretty much everything I cook, I improvised with what was in the kitchen without a set recipe or exact measurements.
Balsamic Glazed Lamb Chops
Serves 4 (with side dishes)
Rack of lamb (8 chops, separated into individual chops)
Fresh rosemary (1 bunch) – there is a large patch of it in my parents’ backyard
Fresh garlic (about 6 or 7 cloves)
Balsamic Vinegar (about 3-4 tablespoons)
Dijon Mustard (about 2 tablespoons)
Olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
Prepare the balsamic glaze: Chop up the fresh rosemary and garlic and smash it up into a paste with some sea salt or kosher salt. Transfer into a dish for marinating. Stir in the mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with a bit more salt if needed and some freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, massage the marinade into the lamb chops and let the chops marinate for half an hour to an hour. Grill the chops over a medium-high flame barbecue until they reach the desired doneness (well-done for my parents and medium-rare for me and my sister)
Serve with the side dishes below.
Boiled New Potatoes
Peel and boil a small bag of new potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain and generously top with a large pat of butter, salt and some chopped chives or green onions.
Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
Super simple: Steam broccoli and cauliflower florets in a steamer until cooked, but not mushy. Season with some salt.
Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots
Melt a generous pat of butter in a pan. Add in a bunch of carrots (sliced into quarter-inch diagonal pieces), the juice of one orange, grated fresh ginger (about 1 inch piece) and salt and pepper. Let simmer uncovered until carrots are soft but not mushy (about 10 minutes). You can also spoon some of the ginger orange sauce over the other vegetablesl