Khashlama

I prefer slowly cooked beef shanks for plain khashlama and leg of lamb for festive version. A slow cooker/crock pot is the most convenient device to make this dish. Otherwise, assemble vegetables and meat layers in an iron pot, start on the stove to bring water to boiling and finish in the 300F oven by slowly cooking for another 3-4 hours. There is also a version when meat is cooked first; then it is layered with vegetables in small ceramic or clay pots and cooked in the oven to serve khashlama individually portioned. In this case, it only takes 1-1.5 hours in the oven — just to cook vegetables.

January 27, 2017
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Pho Bo with Beef Tendon and Tail

It’s raining, it’s gloomy and dark, perfect weather to eat a bowl of steamy hot Pho Bo — to warm your soul, to wake up your tastebuds! Last year, I made my the first and the best Pho at home, because it was 100% to my taste. I also managed to adjust the recipe logistics to a busy lifestyle. In other words, no need to stay hours in the kitchen to enjoy a bowl of good Pho Bo at home.

There are many good Pho recipes available online. My version is based on Andrea Nguyen’s Beef Pho Noodle Soup Recipe (Pho Bo), where you can find a lot of detailed information about Pho.

December 4, 2016
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Rumbledethumps | Potato and Cabbage Casserole

Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders. The main ingredients are potato, cabbage, and onion. Mashed potatoes are mixed with lightly sautéed shredded onions and cabbage, seasoned, topped with grated cheddar, and baked until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

November 27, 2016
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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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American Pie: Pizzeria Lola Sunnyside Pizza

This recipe is part of Pizza Party cooking class and tasting event. If you are a fan of flammkuhen, you won’t have doubts where the idea of this pizza comes from. Just change the dough and add eggs to transform flammkuchen to a perfect breakfast pizza! See the irony of making parallels between flammkuchen/tarte flambée and pizza? (wink-wink)

September 28, 2016
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Grilled Eggplant, Japanese Style | Yaki Nasu

Charring eggplants on grill, open fire, under the broil/salamander, or inside special kitchen devices (e.g., Bulgarian chushkopek) is known and widely used around the world for a reason. Burning and peeling off skin definitely improves the texture of grilled vegetables, but more than anything we crave for that sweet smokiness added to the eggplant flavor. The beginning and the basics are the same — grill, peel, slice/chop/mash. Sauces, spices, herbs, seeds, nuts, and other added vegetables make the difference, turn grilled eggplants into a dish that belongs to a specific cuisine.

August 3, 2016
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Erroneous Terrine

My first mistake was to buy these tomatoes. I keep assuming everything on Farmers Market should taste good. They looked so beautiful, but the taste had nothing to do with their looks — watery and diluted. The only way to make them more or less enjoyable was to concentrate their flavor by partial dehydration, by making something similar to sun-dried tomatoes. Then I’ve made another mistake — left them in the oven for too long, and they turned into completely dry chips. Using plain Noosa yogurt to reconstitute some of their moisture became a brilliant idea! Alternated layers of dry tomatoes and yogurt created an equilibrium of texture and flavors the next day. It could’ve been mistaken for salami with unusually layered “meat” and “fat”… Or could it?

July 5, 2016
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Happy 4th of July! Smoked Wagyu Burgers

I think it was a special game for our instructor chef J to teach us how to turn what school provided into delicious and well presented meals. It became a tradition for many other our shift students and teachers to come and eat at the end of the class what was cooked in our lab. Our burgers were not an exception. Chef J explained every element of successful burger meal, from meat to bun and to everything sandwiched in between. From that point, I could make my own perfect burger, adjusted to my personal taste. That’s what I do every 4th of July.

This recipe is part of Easy Smoked Meals at Home coming cooking class.

July 5, 2016
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Baked Rice with Pineapple — Khao Ob Sapparod

This recipe is part of the Taste of Thai cooking classes (BLOCK 1: Sense of Cuisine. Introduction to Thai flavors, curry pastes, nam phrik kaeng). Pineapple rice is simple to make either for 2-3 people, or for a big crowd. It can be plated or beautifully served in halved pineapple boats. It’s a good way to use cooked long grain rice leftovers, as well as cooked lean meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Personally, I cook all the ingredients for this dish form scratch. There are recipes that use only fish sauce and white pepper for seasoning. They are good for those who can’t tolerate any heat. I prefer variations with Thai green, red, and yellow curry pastes, adding more or less of them depending to my guests requests for the level of heat. I tried many ways to cook and serve this dish — all of them are delicious!

July 4, 2016
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