Once again, Jo at Create A Cook has fueled a blog post. This time she brought me these tiny, lovely crabs - marinaded in chili's, and I'm sure a bunch of other ingredients I'm just not recognizing. She found them near other banchan (the little dishes that accompany Korean meals) which leads me to believe that's what these guys are. I love it when Jo goes to H Mart.
I've got no idea how to eat these little guys, outside of with a nice bowl of rice.
The flavour is spicy and fermented with a undeniable fishiness. Much stronger than the shrimp she got me last time. As always, I love the biting through the crisp shells.
After tasting these little guys I'm reminded that I need to eat more Korean food.
A few months ago I spoke to a culinary class at Newbury College about food blogging with my good buddy Lilly Jan. One of the pieces of advice I gave them was you must post once a week, barring an extremely important life changing event. Having said that, please excuse my absence for the past couple months, it was not without reason.
There has been some excitement in the world of Eating Nose to Tail - I will be shooting my first video for How2Heroes in a week. I'm not sure if I can give away what I'm making or not but a key ingredient is one of my favorite pieces of offal. I'm very excited.
More immediately exciting is the two different types of black pudding sitting in my fridge. Black pudding is a sausage made from blood, oats, bread, fat, meat and a variety of flavorings such as onion, garlic, salt and pepper. My dear friend Tobi has promised to come over and cook a traditional British breakfast (as luck would have it, Tobi is British.) I was put in charge of finding the black pudding, and I was able to find it at Kiki's Kwik-Mart in Brighton. If you have a chance go take a look - it's quite a neat little spot.
These particular black puddings seem to be more Irish than English. Truthfully I don't really know what the difference is, but I'm looking forward to watching Tobi cook them. I'm hoping he can tell me everything I've ever wanted to know about black pudding.
Sitting just below the remarkable assortment of black pudding was also some really good looking back bacon which also made it home and into my fridge. I've been talking about trying to make a peameal bacon at home, hopefully this back bacon will inspire me.
I've been doing this project for almost a year, and I've been thinking about making a few changes.
The first is including standard recipes (ingredient list, followed by step by step instructions), instead of just a narrative about the cooking process. I'm just wondering if anyone would actually cook the recipes...
The second one being maybe doing a video or two - I think I'm going to have to feel my way through that one. Investing the money into a camera may not be realistically in my budget right now.
Looking forward to hearing what you think about these ideas, and if you have anything else you think would be a good addition to this blog.
The weather here has been beautiful all week, which made me crave ribs. The grocery store answered with some big, luscious, fatty, beef ribs. I must confess, I prefer grilled beef ribs but these were oven baked (still haven't gotten a real grill for the new house.) The best part of beef ribs is feeling like a Flintstone chewing on a giant brontosaurus bone.
Ribs always remind me of my Uncle Bunny, so I used some of his secret rub. It's a lovely bright red colour, which makes me think it has paprika in it, maybe cayenne. Either way it's my favorite for ribs.
Beef ribs with Bunny's rub.
The rubbed ribs sat in the fridge overnight, and then went onto a rack, on a tray onto which I poured a can of PBR.
After a night in the fridge.
Covered with foil and then into the oven at 300 degrees for forty minutes, followed by another half hour at 400 degrees basting it with my favorite BBQ sauce of the moment (Fighting Cock) every 10 minutes or so.
Feeling like Fred Flintstone.
Nice tall glass of beer, some rice and peas and dinner is ready. I made way too many ribs. The leftovers (once stripped from the bone) made a really awesome hash with fried eggs for breakfast the next day.
And yes, if you're wondering, that is BBQ sauce on my camera lense.
Got home late from work, and instead of cooking we ordered Chinese. One of my favorite parts of moving is finding new take out places, and I've been lucky enough to find a great (if not pricey) place that delivers Szechaun food. The best part of the menu is that it's full of offal - delicious offal prepared in ways I would never prepare it myself.
The best part of dinner.
The beef tendon was tender and gelatinous, thinly sliced and floating in chili oil with sesame seeds and scallions. The gelatinous tendon and the aggressive spice worked together, and even played off one another in the kind of way that makes me want to cook tendon. Truthfully, the thought of cooking tendon has always intimidated me.
It's awesome to find a delivery place that inspires me to buy more offal.
Having been repeatedly told that one of the biggest barriers to enjoying headcheese is the word headcheese I've decided to make a very similar dish (meat set in gelatin) but use a few different ingredients and call it something a tad more pleasing to the ear - pain de pieds was born.
Playing off of headcheese, I decided on feetbread (I used trotters as my gelatin source.) That name, however, did not sound any more appetizing than headcheese. A light bulb went off, I translated it into french and a much more pleasing (at least in name) dish was born.
Trotters and dried spices soming up to a simmer.
My chopped up trotters (pigs feet) went into a pot of cold water with some dried whole spices; juniper, peppercorns, allspice and whole dried chili.
This pot was on the stove, being occasionally filled up from my kettle, for a few hours. When cooking trotters always skim the foam that appears on the top of the pot. There will be lots of foam.
When the trotters are lovely and tender strain the trotters and keep the liquid. It will be cloudy and full of gelatin (awesome).
Feet and cooking liquid.
When the trotters are cool enough to handle carefully pick all the meat, skin and tendon from the bones. Make very sure you remove all the bones.
Bones on the left, good stuff on the right.
Take all the meat, skin etc that you've lovingly separated from the bones and chop it finely.
Put your pile of meaty skin, and gelatinous stock in the fridge and let the stock set.
Once set its texture should look like this.
Taste your trotter jello - it should taste savory but not too complex. Keep in mind that this will be served cold, so go a little heavy on the seasoning.
Put your jello in a pot to melt. I seasoned mine with salt, siracha, white wine and cider vinegar. I also chopped up the only carrot in my house (which is kinda sad) in a fine brunoise and put it in my simmering stock to cook very slightly.
Line a small, loaf shaped dish with plastic and put your chopped feet in the bottom. Strain the carrots, pour your seasoned liquid over the chopped feet and sprinkle the carrot over the liquid.
Put the whole mess back in the fridge to set, ideally overnight.
I'm too excited to be back, I just couldn't wait to post. I don't have a finished image yet, tomorrow, I promise.
Also - I wanted to say "Hi!" and thanks for stopping by Formaggio yesterday to the nice man from Michigan. I was in the shop later that day, and was really sorry I missed you!
Braised lamb shanks are a favorite comfort food of mine. A well cooked shank is tender and succulent, never tough or dry. Normally when braising I reach for my dried mushrooms and a bottle of red wine, this time I thought I'd try something different.
I had one kinda sad looking eggplant in my fridge, and some fenugreek in my spice cabinet. Eggplant as not something I really wanted to braise, so I gave them a good coating of salt and let them drain, hoping to remove some of the bitterness that's present in eggplants.
Braising a lamb shank is like braising anything else. Give it a good sear followed by some solid cooking liquid and you're guaranteed favorable results.
I seared the shanks, then added some diced onion and cloves of garlic to the pan. Always remember to scrape up the leftover bits of meat after searing. That's the good stuff.
The braising liquid I used was stock, seasoned with fenugreek, black pepper, cinnamon and cayenne. The liquid goes over the shanks and onion/garlic mix, then in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour or two.
After 2 hours in the oven.
When the shanks are fork tender I removed them, then strained and reduced the cooking liquid. By this time the eggplant were looking wilted and wet from the salt - I dried them with paper towel and seared in them in olive oil until golden.
When the cooking liquid looked thick enough the shanks went back in to warm up. Then it was dinner. Lamb shanks on top of rice with toasted almonds. My sauteed eggplant ended up being more of a garnish on top - but were nice and crisp with a little sweetness.
Bones worth sucking on.
My favorite part of lamb shanks is once you've finished the meat, the bones still have little gelatinous bits of tendon clinging to them. Knives and forks don't really work, so you just need to pick it up and knaw on it. Lamb shanks always make me feel like a seriously classy caveman.