Ramen: Eggs for Ramen | Ajitsuke Tamago | 味付け玉子

Every time I invite people to experience ramen for the first time and they pick the toppings, I suggest to include eggs. In the menu, they read “pickled” or “marinated” next to the eggs and say “No.” I smile and order extra eggs for my bowl of ramen, because I know what’s going to happen next — they will see them, ask for a bite, and I’ll have to share. Why didn’t you order them? — I ask. They are simply expected to be similar to American vinegary pickled eggs, which do not have a lot of fans these days. Ajitsuke tamago are completely different. They are soft with runny yolk and seasoned in a savory broth based on soy sauce. They are delicious!

February 15, 2017
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Salo #3 | Cured in Hot Brine and Smoked Pork Belly

As I mentioned earlier, Salo in a Jar (сало в банке) is a highly popular way of wet curing salo at home, and there are recipes with cold and hot brine. But where the idea hot brine comes from? Can I speculate that someone impatient decided to try it hot? The result was somewhat in between cured and cooked salo, which is another widely used cooking method for pork belly in Ukraine. Cured with hot brine salo was so pleasing that the recipe quickly became popular. Using sous vide allows full time and temperature control in this recipe.

February 8, 2017
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Salo #1 | Dry Salted Pork Belly

Even though true salo comes from the back of the pig, a thick pork belly with one or two thin layers of meat is what most of Ukrainians consider a treat as well. In any case, it’s a good start for homemade salo in Texas. There are different ways to make salo: dry and wet salting, using cold and hot brine, making it cold or hot smoked. Adding other ingredients to salt rub or brine changes the recipe from region to region. In Kharkov and Poltava region, I’ve seen salo made with salt and garlic only. In Western regions, black pepper and paprika are added to salt. The recipe below is my first experiment with local pork belly and dry salt rub and covers both variations.

February 5, 2017
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Green Mexican Chorizo

Two years ago a horrible thought came to my mind. What if I have to move from Texas somewhere north, and there is no Mexican chorizo there, and I have no idea how to make it myself. I looked for recipes and discovered that in addition to regular red chorizo there is a specialty of the Toluca region of Mexico, green chorizo. It is colored green because dry red chilies in it are replaced by fresh Poblano and Serrano chilies along with cilantro and other seasonings. In my recipe below, I use only Poblanos. If you like it with more chili peppers heat, replace part of Poblanos with Serranos.

January 17, 2017
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Gourmet Duck Salad | aka Landaise Salad

This salad is about duck. In France, if it is made of duck from Landes region (south of Bordeaux), its name is Landaise. My version features duck gizzards confit, cured and lightly smoked duck breast, and foie gras torchon or duck liver pate (depends on budget) slices on French baguette toasts. For greens I prefer a mix of sweet leafy vegetables and arugula, lightly dressed with classic French vinaigrette (EVOO, honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar). I tried different additional elements like tomatoes, asparagus, and hard-boils eggs, but the only one I really liked was cucumber. This salad is part of my Mosel & Alsace Menu.

November 1, 2016
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Duck Breast: Cured and Smoked at Home

Many people do not realize how easy it is to make cured and smoked duck breasts at home. No special equipment is needed. Just 12 hours of curing in a mix of three basic ingredients, 48 hours for air drying in refrigerator, and you get a gourmet deli product to use for salads or main fancy dishes. Duck breasts taste good cured and air-dried, but if you own a Cameron’s stovetop smoker and slightly smoke them at the end, they’ll be extraordinary good.

October 4, 2016
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My Hawaii: Lomi Lomi

The name of this salad comes from its cooking method. Lomi lomi today is a term for “massage therapist” or “Hawaiian massage.” In Hawaiian, the word lomi traditionally used to describe an action of kneading, rubbing, or soothing, just like happy or content cats do. It is documented that for ages Hawaiians have beed preparing fresh fish salads by mixing diced ingredients — fish, sweet Maui onions, tomatoes, and salt — and gently massaging them with hands, letting fish to get cured by salt and vegetable juices.

June 17, 2016
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In the Search for Perfect Fajita Marinade

every passionate cook insists on developing their own, perfect to their taste recipe. Where all these marinade variations come from? What was at the beginning? Now that we know about basic adobo, let’s compare ingredients, shall we?

April 2, 2016
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The Feast of Seven Fishes: Tequila-Cured Salmon

Miguel Ravago, one of the Fonda San Miguel founders, was served this dish in the Mexico City home of Guadelupe Rivera Marin, the daughter of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Miguel was so impressed with the taste of salmon that he asked Guadelupe’s permission to recreate the recipe for the restaurant in Austin.

January 5, 2015
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The Feast of Seven Fishes: Whiskey-Cured Tuna

In Texas, we are familiar with cured salmon, but don’t see much cured tuna. The taste, texture, and fatness of yellowfin tuna loin steaks differ from salmon, so does the result of curing it, even if you use the same recipe as for gravlax. In this recipe salt dehydrates tuna to a thick marmalade consistency…

January 4, 2015
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