Categories
breakfast Filipino kulinarya recipes

Tocino and Blue Potato Hash

This is my first post for the Kulinarya Cooking Club, a collection of Filipino food bloggers that celebrates Filipino cuisine every month. This month’s theme was the “Colors of the Philippine Flag,” which doesn’t sound hard until you consider that there isn’t a lot of blue food from which to choose. The rules did allow for garnishes or dishes to be used to represent the color blue, but I wanted it to be a main component of the dish.

My original idea was to do tocino chilaquiles, but I thought that was a little too easy since I would’ve simply bought a bag of blue tortilla chips. The hash idea evolved naturally from there, and blue potatoes was a natural choice. I wanted to tocino to represent the color red, and I used Jun Belen’s tocino recipe. I’ve been experimenting with tocino recipes for awhile, but I wanted to try Jun’s recipe because I like its simplicity and his use of red beet powder as a coloring agent. I added red bell pepper at the end for a more “pure” red color, since the tocino’s redness would diminish a bit when cooking. To round out the colors, I used a sunny egg for the yellow and white, which also fairly accurately represents the sun on Philippine flag.

For the technique, I pretty much followed the steps for the corned beef hash at Simply Recipes. It’s really straightforward and easily adaptable. Thanks, Elise!

I think I should’ve maybe used some yukon gold or other light-colored potato to maybe help the blue potatoes stand out more, but in the end, it was delicious and that’s all that really matters. :)

Tocino and Blue Potato Hash

(adapted from Simply Recipes.)

1 lb. cooked tocino, finely chopped
1½ cups cooked blue potatoes, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat butter in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes, until translucent.
  2. Mix in the chopped tocino and potatoes. Spread out evenly over the pan. Increase the heat to high or medium high and press down on the mixture with a metal spatula.
  3. Do not stir the potatoes and tocino, but let them brown. If you hear them sizzling, this is good. Use a metal spatula to peak underneath and see if they are browning. If nicely browned, use the spatula to flip sections over in the pan so that they brown on the other side. Press down again with the spatula. If there is too much sticking, you can add a little more butter to the pan. Continue to cook in this manner until the potatoes and the tocino are nicely browned.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in chopped red bell pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Top with fried or poached eggs for breakfast.
Categories
Ad Hoc Foodbuzz fried chicken reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Fried Chicken and Waffles

When the prospect of participating in Foodbuzz’s monthly 24, 24, 24 arose again a couple weeks ago, the first thing that popped into my head was throwing a chicken and waffles party. Fried chicken and waffles is one of my favorite meals in the whole world, and being from Southern California, I was first introduced to this combination at the world-famous Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood. Personally, I think Roscoe’s waffles are much better than their chicken, and the real secret to Roscoe’s greatness is in their amazing syrup.

thigh and waffleRoscoe’s Chicken and Waffles

When I moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area 10 years ago, it was hard to find a decent substitute, and the Roscoe’s that was in Oakland at the time was a substandard knock off of the L.A. original. Over the last few years, chicken and waffle options in the Bay Area have improved, especially when the Home of Chicken and Waffles, which was originally slated to be an official Roscoe’s franchise before the owners decided to do their own thing, opened a few years ago in Oakland’s Jack London Square. It still isn’t Roscoe’s, but it satisfies the craving.

A classic combinationHome of Chicken and Waffles

The most decadent versions of chicken and waffles I’ve had have been at Sunday brunches at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville. Ad Hoc’s fried chicken is so popular that it has developed a cult following and is the featured entree at the restaurant on alternating Mondays. The recipe was first published in Food and Wine magazine a couple years ago and my post about making the fried chicken is one of the most visited pages on this site.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken and WafflesAd Hoc Fried Chicken and Waffles

On a recent trip to Williams Sonoma, I stumbled upon a display featuring the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit, a recent expansion of Thomas Keller’s exclusive line of products for the retail chain…

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit

…that also includes the Bouchon Bakery line of products.

Bouchon Waffles

When I saw the Bouchon Bakery Yeasted Waffle mix, I decided that this 24, 24, 24 event was going to turn into a throwdown: the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit v. Ad Hoc fried chicken from scratch and the Bouchon Bakery Yeasted Waffles mix v. the Best (and Easiest) Yeasted Waffle by Sheryl at Crispy Waffle.

I met Sheryl on Twitter after she started following me, and her blog immediately got my attention because I had been looking for a good waffle recipe since inheriting a Krups Belgian Waffle Maker last year from a friend. Her “Easiest, Crispiest, Yeasted Waffle” recipe really lived up to its name and it’s the recipe I always turn to when I get a waffle craving. (See my Crispy Waffle post from March.)

Chicken Showdown
I deviated from both recipes instructions by cooking the chicken sous vide before dredging and frying. I do this because I’m paranoid about undercooking chicken, and cooking it sous vide for an hour at around 140F/60C ensures that the chicken is cooked and helps keep it juicy. This allows me to focus solely on the color of the fried chicken when it’s frying in the oil.

Water bathVacuum sealed chicken taking an hour-long, 141F/61C(ish) “bath”
Post-Sous Vide chickenIt doesn’t look that appetizing fresh out of the water bath, but after dredging and frying, it’s heaven.

On the surface, both batches of fried chicken I made looked identical, but on flavor, the scratch recipe beat the kit by a mile. The main difference between the scratch recipe and the kit is in the brine. The scratch recipe’s brine calls for fresh herbs and spices, honey and lemons, and these flavors really come through in the final product.

Fried ChickenThe “scratch” batch of fried chicken.

The fried chicken kit relies on a brine packet of dried spices and seasonings instead of fresh, but the most glaring omission was the lack of lemons. As a result, everyone who tried the kit’s fried chicken said it had a strong pepper flavor. I wonder if lemon powder could have made a significant difference, but I think the inclusion of fresh lemon zest and juice into the brining liquid would have been a pretty simple step for most home cooks.

Waffle Throwdown
Although we were dealing with two yeasted waffle recipes, there were a couple differences in how they’re put together. Sheryl’s recipe uses dry instant yeast and calls for a refrigerated overnight rise, while the Bouchon mix uses active dry yeast that is proofed for 10 minutes before mixing the batter and has a rising time of 90 minutes. Sheryl also adds a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract to her batter.

The Bouchon Bakery mix produces waffles that are incredibly light and more delicate than Sheryl’s waffle, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences. Personally, I found them to be a little too airy, but I was still astonished at how light and crispy they were.

Bouchon WaffleBouchon Bakery Waffle

That doesn’t mean Sheryl’s waffle was heavy by an means. It was still light and crispy but had just a little more weight and texture (dare I say gravitas?) than the Bouchon Bakery waffle, as well as a creaminess in the middle that every good Belgian waffle should have.

IMG_0677Sheryl’s Crispy Waffle

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Belgian waffles, preferring the thinner traditional waffles like the ones they serve at Roscoe’s. I even picked up a traditional waffle iron to test out some buttermilk and cornmeal waffle recipes to serve along side the yeasted waffles, but I couldn’t find one that I liked enough to feature alongside the fried chicken. Sourdough waffles are generally served at Ad Hoc, but I didn’t have a sourdough starter on hand (or the time to start one), so I tabled that for another time.

If there’s one thing I learned during my research, it’s that I really like Belgian waffles now, especially the yeasted variety, and I am now in the market for a better Belgian waffle iron, preferably one that flips. I think I’ll save the traditional waffle iron for moffles.

Thanks to Foodbuzz for helping to make this event possible. I had a lot of fun researching and cooking one of my favorite meals for my friends. Plus, we generally have a hard time getting this group of friends to come up to Ad Hoc with us, so this was a way that I could bring a small piece of our favorite restaurant home for them to experience. But most of all, I hope it inspires you to seek out fried chicken and waffles wherever you live, or better yet, make it yourself! :)

Categories
Ad Hoc bakeries breakfast Thomas Keller

Options, Affordability Highlight ‘New’ Ad Hoc Breakfast

If you’re averse to Ad Hoc’s rigid set menus, you might want to give their new Sunday breakfasts a try. I detailed the changes in my previous post, so I’ll just jump straight into the meal.

Shortly after being seated, a basket of Bouchon Bakery pastries arrived at the table…

Bouchon Bakery PastriesBouchon Bakery Pastries

The banana nut muffin was simple and great, and I think Bouchon Bakery’s croissants are as close to perfect as you’ll find. The pastries were accompanied by a spread of blood orange vanilla Jam, blueberry marmalade, honey butter.

Blood Orange Vanilla Jam, Blueberry Marmalade, Honey ButterBlood Orange Vanilla Jam, Blueberry Marmalade, Honey Butter

The first course was a choice of a seasonal fruit salad…

Seasonal Fruit SaladSeasonal Fruit Salad

or pineapple yogurt parfait.

Pineapple Yogurt ParfaitPineapple Yogurt Parfait

The four main course options included stone-cut oatmeal and sourdough waffles, but we opted for the other two. I had the “Classic American,” which was two eggs, any style, Fatted Calf sausage, scallion pancakes, and a couple slices of palladin bread.

Classic American BreakfastClassic American Breakfast

I joked with Ad Hoc general manager Nick Dedier that this could easily evolve into a Thomas Keller “Grand Slam,” and he said Keller would probably love that idea. Keller has said in the past that he’s a fan of In-N-Out burger and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, so an appreciation of Denny’s signature breakfast isn’t too surprising.

My wife had the corned beef hash, which was similar to the hash served at Easter last week except the potatoes were soft and fluffy chunks instead of thin crispy strings. The only thing I would change about this dish would be to crisp up the potatoes before serving since I like them a little crunchy.

Corned Beef Hash and Poached EggsCorned Beef Hash and Poached Eggs

This dish was the “savory” option of the week and is the menu slot that will change the most every week, i.e. don’t expect a hash next Sunday.

The meal ended with some Valrhona Chocolate and Shortbread Cookies that were delivered with the check.

Valhrona Chocolate and Shortbread CookiesValhrona Chocolate and Shortbread Cookies”

The cookies were good, but they were soft and chewy, and my wife and I both prefer cookies that have a little more bite to them.

In addition to Ad Hoc’s standard beverage offerings, a selection of fresh juices was available, as well as a sangria cocktail and mimosas. I think Ad Hoc has found the right price point at $24 (sans drinks), down from the previous price of $39. If you’re looking for a good simple breakfast in Yountville, Ad Hoc is pretty hard to beat.

Categories
Ad Hoc breakfast Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc Debuts New Brunch Format Sunday

Ad Hoc is changing things up for Sunday brunch, offering several options over two courses instead of the previous three-course set menu. It’s also going to be cheaper; the new brunch price is $24, down from $39.

The first course will feature pastries from Bouchon Bakery, as well as a choice of fresh fruit or a yogurt parfait. Next is a choice of an egg dish, sourdough waffles, stone-ground oatmeal, and a special for the day. The oatmeal will be served with a number of jams, syrups, granolas and sugars. There will be no dessert course, but cookies for the table will be delivered with the check.

The impetus for the brunch changes occurred when Thomas Keller came into Ad Hoc one Sunday for brunch with a pancake craving, but that morning’s menu didn’t really feel like breakfast. Keller felt simpler and more traditional breakfast options should be available for brunch and worked with the Ad Hoc team to make it happen.

We’ll be there Sunday to check it out and will report back. The sacrifices I make for my readers…I tell ya! :)

Categories
Ad Hoc breakfast reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – 4/12/09 (Easter in Yountville)

It was another beautiful spring day in California, a perfect backdrop for Easter in Yountville. Of course for us, that means a visit to Bouchon Bakery to pick up some goodies before brunch at Ad Hoc. We really need to explore more of the area, but it’s hard when you can drop into Bouchon Bakery and get an Easter egg-shaped Thomas Keller Oreo.

We were also lucky enough to score one of the last chocolate doughnuts in the shop. It’s a brioche doughnut filled with chocolate custard and then dipped in chocolate frosting laden with crispy chocolate balls. These are usually gone pretty early in the morning, but apparently they did a second batch for Easter.

Ad Hoc is debuting a new brunch format next weekend (I’ll write a separate post about this soon) and Easter was kind of a “soft opening.” It started with a mixed berry yogurt parfait with warm banana bread. The banana bread was great…lightly toasted and topped with a really nice honey butter.

Instead of the whole main entrée being family style, every diner got their own entree, corned beef hash and poached eggs, but the waffles were served family style.

Two poached Alexandre Dairy hen eggs topped a hash made of perfect, crispy potato strands mixed with Snake River Farms corned beef brisket. The eggs were nice and runny and were great when mixed into the hash.

Dessert was a brownie with vanilla ice cream and salted butterscotch sauce.

Overall, it was another fabulous Ad Hoc brunch, and I’m excited to see how the new brunch format works out. We’ll be back in Yountville next weekend to find out. :)

Categories
breakfast recipes waffles

Crispy Waffle’s Crispy Waffle

I inherited a waffle maker from a friend a few months ago, but the romantic notion of making waffles on weekend mornings ran into a few obstacles, namely finding a good reliable waffle recipe and the motivation to cook after rolling out of bed. Last week, I found both.

Sheryl, a Filipino American ex-pat in the Netherlands, runs a food blog called Crispy Waffle, and her “Easiest, Crispiest, Yeasted Waffles” recipe is a great example of truth in advertising. Instead of baking soda and baking powder, she uses yeast as a leavener and lets the batter rise overnight in the fridge. I followed her recipe exactly and cooked the waffles for around 5 minutes. Here’s what I got:

Crispy Waffle's Crispy Waffle
Categories
Ad Hoc breakfast Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – New Year’s Eve Brunch 2008

What more appropriate way to close out the year than by feasting on Ad Hoc’s second annual New Year’s Eve brunch. Last year’s was a glutton’s paradise, but it was also Ad Hoc’s first time offering brunch.

Ad Hoc started regular Sunday brunches on March 23, streamlining the meal into a smaller three-course affair that easily competes with their dinners. I think it’s a great way to introduce people to the restaurant, and if you haven’t had brunch at Ad Hoc, there’s always 2009! Here’s the menu:

NEW YEAR’S EVE BRUNCH

Red Leaf and Radish Salad
red oak lettuce, smoked tuna, red pepper dressing

~

Liberty Farms Duck Confit and Sourdough Waffles
chilled broccolini, crimini mushrooms,
poached hen egg

~

Baked Apples
shortbread cookies, raspberry whipped cream

 

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I forgot my camera, so I had to use my iPhone’s janky camera, but it’s not so bad when there’s a lot of natural light. Still, you can’t go wrong by closing out the year with duck confit and waffles!

Happy New Year and Good Eating in 2009!

Categories
breakfast Chicago reviews

Uncommon Ground on Devon

Uncommon Ground is a restaurant/gallery/music venue/bar/cafe that boasts Chicago’s (and maybe the nation’s) first certified organic rooftop farm, which helps supply the restaurant with seasonal vegetables. The roof also houses two beehives, which helps provide pollination in their community as well as honey for the restaurant. Quite simply, this is urban farming that works. In fact, for every tree-tini (a martini with organic ginger-infused Rain Vodka, Liquor 43, tart apple syrup and apple cider) you order, Uncommon ground will plant a tree. For more information about Uncommon Grounds environmental efforts, check out their Web site.

Of course Uncommon Ground’s environmental commitment deserves to be praised, but what about the food? Well, we went in with empty stomachs for a Saturday brunch and left with full stomachs and smiles on our faces.

I had been planning on checking out Nuevo Leon for some chilaquiles on this trip, but we never got around to it, so I ordered them here. It wasn’t the down-home chilaquiles I was craving, but this more refined version totally hit the spot. The blend of crispy tortillas, chorizo, salsa verde and sour cream was perfect. The home fries were perfectly cooked and a couple dashes of Cholula gave them a nice kick.

Chilaquiles

Of course, I got to sample everyone else’s dishes, which included some really good halibut fish tacos, a ground buffalo corncake skillet and a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, mixed peppers, chihuahua cheese, cumin créme, spinach tortilla and smoked chili sauce. Check them out here:


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We ended the meal with some Black Dog Gelato, which is made locally in Chicago. The flavors we selected were salted peanut, coffee cocoa nibs, and caramel goat cheese. The peanut ended up being our favorite because we liked the salty flavor, the slight sweetness and a nice coarse texture. The caramel goat cheese tasted like cheesecake (always a good thing), and the coffee cocoa nibs was good but still a distant third.

Uncommon Ground is one Chicago restaurant that would be welcomed with open arms in the Bay Area. Their use of fresh, local, organic ingredients, as well as a commitment to running a completely sustainable, green philosophy permeates every aspect of the business, means that Uncommon Ground is doing in Chicago what many Bay Area restaurants only wish they could.

INFORMATION
Uncommon Ground
1401 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660 map
773.465.9801
Web site

Categories
Ad Hoc beef breakfast reviews steak Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 9/7/08

So we went back to Ad Hoc so that my sister in law could try their brunch. As luck would have it, Prime Ribeye with Poached Eggs was the main entree, but check out the Smoked Pork Bruschetta. Here’s the menu and pics:


Smoked Pork Bruschetta
bailey long pork tenderloin, red onion marmalade, living watercress
tfl garden cucumber & fennel salad

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Prime Ribeye and Poached Eggs
heirloom tomatoes, garlic potato cakes
red wine jus

~

Parfait
jacobsen orchard nectarine jelly
housemade granola

 

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As we talked and joked with the staff during the meal, it occurred to me that next Wednesday is not only our wedding anniversary, it’s also fried chicken night. So we’re going back next week, and holding out hope that they might serve fried chicken and waffles for dinner.

Categories
Ad Hoc chicken fried chicken Northern California reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – Mother’s Day Brunch

We weren’t with our mothers this year, but I’m sure they would have loved this brunch… :-)

MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH

Smoked Trout Salad
Romaine spears, celery hearts, toasted walnuts,
fuji apples, creamy pepper dressing

~

Fried Chicken-n-Waffles
wilted spinach, slow cooked hen egg,
hobb’s bacon, vermont maple syrup

~

Strawberries and Cream
strawberries, mascarpone cream, shortbread cookie.

 

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