Categories
Ad Hoc beef recipes Thomas Keller

Cook the Book: Ad Hoc at Home – Blowtorch Prime Rib

When I first saw the Blowtorch Prime Rib recipe in the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook, I knew I was going to make it for Christmas dinner. But this technique is so easy, there is no reason to save it for special occasions.

Blowtorching Prime RibBlowtorching meat is fun!

Of course, the first step is actually buying a blowtorch, and there are several options available. My first choice was the Iwatani Professional Torch Burner because it’s compact and just plain looks cool. The butane cartridges are proprietary, but with all the Asian markets near me, they’re not hard to find. Being the chronic procrastinator that I am, I had to settle for what was available down the street at Lowes. The BernzOmatic TS3000 was cheap (~$26), came with a big can of propane called the “Fat Boy,” and I love the name BernzOmatic. :)

The BernzOmatic TS3000The lovely blue flame produced by the BernzOmatic TS3000.

Roasting the prime rib can be broken down to three steps. I used a 2-bone, 4½-pound standing rib roast that easily fed 6 adults, but you could use this technique with any size roast.

  1. Place the rib roast on a rack in a roasting pan and sear the meat with the blowtorch until it starts turning gray and the fat starts rendering.
  2. Season the rib roast with generous amounts of kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
  3. Roast in 275F oven until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 128F. For our 4½-pound roast, this took about two hours. I use a digital probe thermometer so that I can monitor the temperature of the meat without opening the oven.
Out of the Oven, Bones RemovedThe blowtorch jumpstarts the development of the crust
that’s characteristic of good prime rib.

Roasting the meat at a low temperature ensures a beautiful shade of pink all the way through the meat. Rest the meat for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it.

Perfect Medium RarePerfect medium rare after resting for 40 minutes.

Since everything at Ad Hoc is served family style, the prime rib is cut into thick chunks instead of more traditional individual slices. I think this allows a smaller rib roast to serve more people and cuts down on wasted meat, especially if there are light eaters at the table who can’t finish a whole slice of regular prime rib.

To serve the meat, cut the roast in half down the center and put the meat cut side down on the cutting board. Then cut each half into ½-inch slices. I think serving the meat this way is great because each piece is thick and has a lot of crust. Before bringing the meat to the table drizzle it with a little fleur de sel or kosher salt and some coarsely ground pepper.

Blowtorched Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream Blowtorched prime rib with horseradish cream

The low cooking temperature means that there’s hardly any drippings in the bottom of the pan to make jus, but you don’t need it. The meat’s beefiness comes through loud and clear, and it goes beautifully with this horseradish cream.

Horseradish Cream (adapted from Ad Hoc at Home)
½ cup very cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ cup drained, prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Put the heavy cream and vinegar in a bowl in a medium bowl and whisk until the cream and holds a soft shape (just before soft peaks). Whisk in horseradish, salt, and pepper until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

Categories
cookbooks David Chang Momofuku recipes

Cook the Book: Momofuku – Roasted Rice Cakes

Momofuku Week ends with this recipe for Roasted Rice Cakes, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be posting more recipes from the book very soon.

Roasted Rice CakesRoasted Rice Cakes

I had little interest in Korean food until a few years ago. My experience had been limited to the plethora of grilled meats that most people associate with Korean cuisine, and other standards like bibimbap, soondubu, and even banchan were never on my radar. It wasn’t until I ordered the roasted rice cakes at Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2007 that I started get more interested in non-barbecued Korean dishes.

I remember ordering the roasted rice cakes as an appetizer without having any idea what it was. When they arrived at the table, I marveled at the bright red sauce that coated the crunchy-yet-chewy rice cakes. My friend Soo Jin told me that this dish was called dok boki (dok means rice cake), and it soon became a regular order when I was at Korean restaurants.

Roasted Rice Cakes Roasted Rice Cakes at Noodle Bar circa 2007

Momofuku’s roasted rice cakes deviate from traditional dok boki by pan roasting the rice cakes instead of boiling them so that they’re crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside. According to David Chang, pan roasting is something he only saw in Japan, and to me, the texture contrasts make the dish a lot more delectable.

In the book, Chang says:

“I equate the difference between boiled dok and grilled, griddled or fried rice cakes to the difference between boiled and grilled hot dogs. Each has its place, but that char, that extra bit of flavor and texture you get from the direct heat does a lot for the dok, just as it does for hot dogs.”

Like hot dog carts in New York, dok boki vendors are ubiquitous in Seoul, and this recipe is Chang’s interpretation of classic Korean street food. It features pan-roasted rice cakes tossed in Korean Red Dragon Sauce (recipe below) and garnished with green onions and sesame seeds. The Red Dragon sauce includes roasted onions, which I overcooked slightly but still added a nice smoky flavor. I was able to pick up fresh rice cakes and other ingredients from a great little Korean market near my house.

RECIPE
Roasted Rice Cakes
Note: The recipe calls for ramen broth, but I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted it with bacon dashi. They’re two totally different things, but the end result was still really good.

¼ cup mirin
¼ cup bacon dashi
½ cup Korean Red Dragon Sauce
¼ cup of roasted onions
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 rice cakes (about 3-inch-long pieces.)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (for garnish)
½ cup sliced green onions (greens and whites, for garnish)

Combine mirin and bacon dashi in a saucepan big enough to hold the rice cakes later. Boil to reduce until lightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Korean Red Dragon Sauce, turn the heat down to medium and reduce the sauce to a glossy consistency, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the roasted onions. Cover and keep warm until rice cakes are ready.

While the sauce is reducing, heat a very clean cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the oil to the pan and when it just starts to smoke, add the rice cakes. Sear the rice cakes for about 3 minutes per side until they’re light golden brown.

Bring the sauce back up to a a boil and toss the rice cakes in for a few seconds until they’re evenly coated. Add sesame seeds and toss again. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with green onions.

Korean Red Dragon Sauce
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
¾ cup ssamjang (fermented bean and chile paste)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
(or mix ½ teaspoon rice vinegar and ½ teaspoon sherry wine)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes, then stir in the ssamjang to dissolve it. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Taste the sauce; no one flavor should stand out, but all should be present and accounted for. Adjust as necessary.

Categories
David Chang fried chicken Momofuku recipes

Cook the Book: Momofuku – Fried Chicken

Momofuku Week trudges on with a fried chicken recipe that’s my new favorite because it’s super easy and—as David Chang might say—fucking awesome. :)

Momofuku Fried Chicken

You might assume that this would be a recipe for Korean fried chicken (KFC), especially since Noodle Bar offers a bountiful platter of both Korean and American fried chicken for up to 8 people for $100. (If you think that’s expensive, it breaks down to $12.50 for 8 people, and in our ravenous group of 8, we had leftovers.) The fried chicken recipe from the Momofuku cookbook is quickly becoming an all-time favorite. It’s up there with the Ad Hoc fried chicken, but the two are so different that they live on their own perfect little islands.

Momofuku Fried Chicken PlatterNoodle Bar’s Fried Chicken Platter

The main reason this fried chicken hits home for me is the Octo Vinaigrette that’s used to dress the chicken before serving. The Octo Vin was originally designed as an accompaniment for a grilled octopus dish, but it works wonders on the fried chicken, as well. It’s not an ordinary vinaigrette because the oil/vinegar ratios are reversed, and it’s loaded with fresh garlic and ginger. The smell is enough to get me excited about eating this fried chicken.

Fried Chicken WingsWorks great on chicken wings, too!

Chang employs a three-step process for this fried chicken: brine, steam, and fry. This is similar to my modification of the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe where I brine, sous vide, and fry the bird. The brine is a simple salt, sugar and water mixture and the brining time is anywhere between one and six hours. The chicken is then steamed for 45 minutes for so and then cooled for a couple hours. I took the steamed chicken and let it sit on a cooling rack in the fridge overnight. This helps dry out the chicken skin and helps it crisp up really nicely when it’s in the oil.

Take the chicken out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to cook them. Then fry the chicken in 350F oil for about 6-8 minutes. Since the chicken is already cooked, you really only need to fry until the skin reaches your desired level of crispiness. Remove the chicken from the oil and drain them on a rack or paper towels. Before serving toss the chicken in the Octo Vin and garnish with sliced green onions.

RECIPES

Fried Chicken Brine
Good for 3–3½ pounds of chicken. I prefer legs and thighs, but wings work, too.
4 cups lukewarm water
½ cup sugar
½ cup kosher salt

Octo Vinaigrette
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 small fresh jalapeno seeded and chopped, or 1 tbsp Sriracha
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
2 tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil
¼ tsp Asian sesame oil
1½ tbsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Download PDF excerpts of these recipes (courtesy of Time Out New York):

Tomorrow: Roasted Rice Cakes

Categories
cookbooks David Chang Momofuku recipes

Cook the Book: Momofuku – Ginger Scallion Noodles

Day 3 of Inuyaki’s Momofuku Week lightens things up with a dish that has absolutely no meat in it.

Momofuku Ginger Scallion NoodlesGinger Scallion Noodles

One of the book’s easiest recipes the Ginger Scallion Noodles. David Chang says that ginger scallion sauce is “one of the great sauces or condiments ever,” and it’s one of Momofuku’s mother sauces. The ginger scallion sauce is a simple combination of finely minced ginger, thinly sliced scallions, light soy sauce, oil, kosher salt and sherry vinegar. I couldn’t find any sherry vinegar locally so I substituted it with rice vinegar, which worked nicely.

Chang says you can use this sauce on anything and encourages improvising, but I liked his suggestion of topping ramen noodles with the sauce, quick-pickled cucumbers and pan-roasted cauliflower. There’s a bunch of pickle recipes in the book, but my wife did her own version with sugar, salt, and rice vinegar to taste.

You can eat this on its own or as part of a larger meal. Either way, it’s a delicious and healthy option to offset the book’s meat-centric focus.

GINGER SCALLION SAUCE
Makes about 3 cups

2½ cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
½ cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
¼ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1½ tsp usukuchi (light soy sauce)
¾ tsp sherry vinegar
¾ tsp kosher salt, or more to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for 15-20 minutes before using. It’ll keep in the fridge for about a week…if it lasts that long. :)

Tomorrow: Fried Chicken

Categories
cookbooks David Chang Momofuku

Cook the Book: Momofuku Week

momofuku_coverI’ve had Momofuku on my mind and in my stomach the last couple of weeks, so I’m declaring this week Momofuku Week at Inuyaki. It’s kinda like Shark Week, only tastier (unless you’re really into shark meat).

After getting my feet wet making the bacon dashi that inspired my Bacon Agedashi Tofu post, I went to a book signing with Chef David Chang and author Peter Meehan at Sur La Table in the San Francisco Ferry Building a few days later and got to show them my creation in person. (Chang’s response: Oh, cool!) We also had a brief discussion about the simplicity and goodness of bacon dashi.

Note: The actual signing wasn’t as boring as this sounds. Chang and Meehan had a lot of fun with everyone and engaged in a bit of scrapbooking for every book they signed. Here’s some pictures, including this gem:

Momofuku Book SigningI’m so cheesy. And why do we look so bloody happy?

The recipes in Momofuku range in difficulty from dead simple to fairly complicated. Chang even apologizes for some of the more complicated ones like his chicken wing recipe, which he says “…is the world’s longest recipe for chicken wings. Sorry. But they’re very, very good chicken wings.”

I chose to focus on some of the simpler recipes to start, but as with all cooking, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy and often depends on your whether or not your willing to do some prep work.

That said, Momofuku Week officially starts tomorrow. First up: Momofuku Pork Belly!

Categories
Ad Hoc cookbooks reviews steak The French Laundry Thomas Keller

Cook the Book: Ad Hoc at Home – Asparagus and Steak

Ad Hoc at HomeI’ve never been genuinely excited about a new cookbook release, but Ad Hoc at Home marks the first time I’ve had a real personal connection to the recipes in a single cookbook. Inuyaki readers know that I’m a fan and regular diner at Thomas Keller’s casual dining restaurant, and the Ad Hoc Menu Archive is one of the most popular features of this site. My wife and I have been to Ad Hoc 30 times in the last 2½ years (it’s our favorite restaurant) and have always come away wishing we knew how to make some of our favorite dishes, desserts, and condiments at home. I’m very happy to report that Ad Hoc at Home delivers the goods.

The cookbook’s arrival coincided with my birthday, and to celebrate, I invited some friends over for dinner last weekend so that my wife and I could cook for them. From the book, we chose the grilled asparagus and marinated skirt steak and supplemented the meal with polenta topped with a mushroom ragout and SavorySweetLife’s chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

The grilled asparagus, which includes prosciutto, fried bread, poached egg, and aged balsamic vinegar, is pretty easy to put together. After removing the woody bottoms and peeling the asparagus stalks, simply season a couple bunches of asparagus with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and canola oil and then grill them for a couple minutes per side until tender.

AsparagusGratuitous Asparagus Porn

I had some issues poaching the eggs. I know this sounds silly, but they weren’t coming out as pretty as we wanted, so those eggs became snacks. Inspired by our meal at Commis in Oakland a couple nights before, I decided to have some fun and make 63-degree eggs. How is a 63-degree egg different than a regular poached egg or over-easy egg? The answer: texture.

63 Degree EggA 63-degree Egg

At 63-degrees Celsius, egg whites are just barely set and the yolks have a pudding-like consistency. To achieve this goal, eggs are cooked in a 63C waterbath for about an hour. The precision is important because at 65C, according Harold McGee, the egg whites become “tender solid” as opposed just barely set at 63C. It’s possible to maintain a consistent temperature using a pot on the stovetop, but I have an immersion circulator, which makes things a lot easier. :)

63-degree Eggs
The immersion circulator in action.

The eggs went on the plate last, so my friends got to see these beautiful eggs emerge from a freshly cracked shell. My wife gets credit for the plating of this dish, which is loosely based on the picture in the book.

Grilled Asparagus, Prosciutto, 63-degree Egg and Torn CroutonsThe fried bread croutons are awesome, too.

The marinated skirt steak isn’t a difficult preparation either. I substituted the skirt for flap steak, which is similar to skirt steak and a cut of meat I’ve used before in my Bistek Tagalog. It’s marinated for at least four hours in a mixture of olive oil, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic. The meat is seared in a thin layer of oil for about 90 seconds total, adding thyme and butter to the pan and basting the meat after flipping it halfway through. After searing, the meat is placed in a 350 oven on a roasting rack and cooked for 8-10 minutes until the internal temp of the meat is 125F. Rest the meat and slice it vertically against the grain before serving.

Marinated Skirt Steak

That meat looks perfect doesn’t it? There was just one problem. I forgot to season the meat with salt and pepper before I seared it, so it was underseasoned. There was still flavor from the marinade, but the meat was definitely lacking flavor. I was crestfallen. My wife saved the dish by making an impromptu beef/mushroom gravy, but I was so disappointed with myself.

We paired this with some Fra’Mani polenta (sold exclusively at Costco) topped with a trumpet and baby shiitake mushroom ragout. I know polenta is pretty easy to make, but as fans of Paul Bertolli’s Fra’Mani sausages, we had to give his polenta a try and it’s really good. My wife added some strong English cheddar to the polenta for some extra flavor and topped it with the mushrooms.

Fra'Mani Polenta and Mushroom "Ragout"

Aside from the underseasoned steak, which was totally my fault, this meal was a huge success and a testament to Ad Hoc at Home’s accessibility for home cooks. It’s a tribute to Keller and his love for good, homey food, as well as chef de cuisine Dave Cruz, whose influence is present in every meal in the Ad Hoc kitchen. According to Ad Hoc general manager Nick Dedier, Ad Hoc at Home is projected to surpass the 10-year-old French Laundry cookbook’s total sales in just three years. With food like this, it should surprise no one when it actually happens.

Categories
musings techniques

My First Cookbook

My First CookbookOn my last trip home, my parents made me take a stack of old cookbooks off their hands. Some of them were mine (a couple Martin Yan cookbooks), and some of them were relics from the 70s and 80s. One of these was The Micro-Range Cookbook. Published in 1978, The Micro-Range Cookbook came with the Admiral microwave my parents bought, and it became an easy way for me to learn how to “cook.”

For example, instead of breaking out a frying pan, I could grab some bacon, sandwich it between some paper towels and cook them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on HIGH, and VOILA! A nearly instant and “safe” way to sate a childhood bacon fix.

Or I could make scrambled eggs in a Pyrex measuring cup. Simply microwave on HIGH for 40 seconds, stirring the eggs “outside in” and then cooking on HIGH for another 30 seconds. Let stand for a minute or two to complete cooking.


Micro Pork Roast