Bo Ssam. Had anyone ever heard of Bo Ssam before David Chang? We did the Bo Ssam at Momofuku a few years ago on a Sunday evening. It was a totally omigod evening and we all rolled out of the restaurant.
Couldn't be easier but you have to plan in advance. The pork went into the fridge the night before with the salt/sugar marinade. After that, it is all about just sticking it in the oven for many hours.
8-10 lb. pork shoulder or butt with the bone-in (although mine didn't have a bone and it didn't seem to be a problem)
1 cup + 1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
7 tbsp. light brown sugar
Rub down the pork with 1 cup salt and 1 cup sugar and place it in a roasting pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge over night. Easiest to do this with fat side up.
Next day, preheat the oven to 300. Place the pork in the oven ( no plastic wrap, of course ) and bake for 6 hours. Every hour or so, baste with the juices that are filling in the roasting pan.
After about 6 hours, the pork should literally pull apart like butter. If it isn't pulling apart easily, then let it roast longer in the oven. Once it is done, take the 7 tbsps brown sugar and 1 tbsp of kosher salt and rub it over the pork.
Crank up the heat to 450 and let the pork get crispy. Takes about 10 minutes. But watch it, the sugar can get burnt. Make sure after you rub the brown sugar mixture over the pork, use the juices in the pan to baste before you crank up the heat.
Serve with pieces of Bibb lettuce to wrap the pork in. I also made the Ginger Scallion Sauce for a sauce on the side.
1/2 cup minced fresh ginger
2 bunches of scallions thinly sliced
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 tsp. sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
Mix together and let sit at least 15 minutes before using.
I'm not into the kimchi and oysters ( soo rich ) so I served spicy brussel sprouts and sweet roasted carrots on the side. Absolutely killer. Delicious.
Last night, it was so cold outside, we decided to bunker down in sweat pants and make dinner. Fish was the call. Sliced fennel, sliced lemon, chopped sage, thyme and oregano, olive oil and Branzino. Cover the bottom of the pant with water or broth. Roast for 40 minutes at 350. Serve. Top is before cooking, the bottom is after cooking.
I asked Josh what he wanted for dinner. His response was anything slow cooked or tacos. I combined the concept and went back and pulled out an old recipe. BTW, left overs galore but this can easily stay in the refrigerator for a few days.
2 large flank steaks (4 lbs)
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 onions, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
2 yellow peppers, sliced
10 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 28 ounce can of peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
In a large dutch oven (like a Le Crueset pot), heat up some olive oil and brown the flank steaks (after seasoning them with some salt, pepper and paprika). It will take about 5-10 minutes. Then, after both steaks are done, put them back in the dish and add 8 cups of water. Bring to boil, and then simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The meat should be falling apart when done. Then take it out. When the meat is cooled, literally pull it apart into strings.
Pour out the liquid (reserve this liquid for later).
Put the pot back on the stove, pour in some more olive oil and add the onions and peppers until soft and golden. Saute on a medium/high heat.
Put the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves in a piece of cheese cloth or spice bag. Stir in the tomatoes, capers and 3 cups of the reserved liquid. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce gets thicker. Put the meat back in and serve.
You can make this a day in advance and rewarm.
Served this with black beans, guacamole and salsa. Below is the black beans recipe.
2 cans of black beans
4 shallots, sliced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
In a small sauce pan, saute the shallots until almost crispy. Add the beans and all the other ingredients. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve.
4 ripe avocados
2 italian tomatoes diced
1/2 Vidalia onion diced
1 handful of cilantro chopped
fresh lemon juice (more of less according to taste)
salt and pepper
Mash everything together and serve. Guacamole is one of those dishes that you have to play with. Taste and season. Might need a little bit more tabasco or salt or lemon juice.
I was never a fan of Craft Steak. The food just wasn't that good. Also, the space is so overwhelmingly huge that there was no intimacy at all. The fact that Collichio decided Craft Steak wasn't working and changed the whole concept is pretty smart. He gets high kudos for that. It is now called Colicchio & Sons.
The space has been given some minor changes that definitely create a more intimate feel. The wood log wall around the bar area (called the tap room) with tables makes that area into a small cafe. Smart. My guess is this area is for the walk in customers. We sat in the back, and the changes, although not huge, make a difference. The place is still quite large and unless it is filled, it is quite obvious how many patrons are or aren't there. That is a challenge on to itself particularly now when people are acutely aware of which restaurants are filled and which ones aren't.
From what I understand, the concept is that every morning, based on the ingredients in the house, the menu is created. Sort of sounds like Top Chef. There is no doubt based on the menu that the creativity is there. The issue is that nothing gets to be served night after night. Perfecting a dish is kind of an important feature at a restaurant. I am all for changing the menu seasonally but it is a challenge to change nightly to a restaurant with 100+ seats vs a restaurant with 34 seats.
We split everything. In a small pan came 3 butter-poached oysters with a small mound of celery root shaved into a tagliatelle shape ( pasta ) with a dollop of American caviar on top. The butter dripping in the pan. A total MO (mouth orgasm). Creamy, sublime and a tad decadent. Delicious.
Our other appetizer was braised white beans served with spicy chorizo, roasted pork belly and pieces of octopus. Clever, a great combination, a Spanish edge. Good, well cooked, and good. Not an omigod but good.
For the main course we opted for one fish and one meat. For the fish, pancetta wrapped slices of monkfish over finely chopped braised red cabbage with a little black truffle vinaigrette. The monk fish sliced up like butter. The dish was beautiful in presentation. But, the dish was really salty, the cabbage had way too much bite and the vinaigrette was too vinegary. It looked fantastic but it wasn't. Great for the photos not for the mouth.
Our meat, not that great either. 2 large hunks of duck that were way too thick. The duck was roasted and had a spicy kick. This was served over a sauerkraut with a licorice root and kumquat chutney. The flavors just mushed today. Also, the cabbage wrapped piece on the plate was inedible. It just wasn't that interesting.
We did go for the dessert. A tiny banana-pecan upside down cake infused with a rum caramel and banana sorbet on the side. Nice, tasty. They also gave us a treat of chocolate nut covered square pieces of toffee. Well done.
To sum it up, the constant change is questionable. Nice job on the reconfiguring the space. Service is wonderful. Great wine list. There is a casual elegant feel which I really like. I'd figure out the top dishes and stick with them. The oysters were fabulous but I'd like to come back and see them on the menu. It appears to be a work in progress. I hope that they figure it out because I like it there.
Last night, the group at the Highline, had a small cocktail party at the Flag Art Foundation. As they are slowly rolling out the art installations at the Highline, the concept of this particular show was the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Jim Hodges that calls for public reaction and engagement.
It is always enlightening hearing curators speak so eloquently about artists work. The origins, the thoughts behind the pieces and why they exist. Sometime, actually many times, I feel incredibly pedestrian listening to the intellectual construction and process behind the artists imagination. Perhaps the explanations sometimes sound a tad pretentious at times but it is their life, their interests and I must applaud that. A world onto itself but one that is so important.
Some of the work was truly interesting. There was a platform with small light bulbs placed every few inches around it, think a disco platform. This piece just sat there, in light blue, and every day for 5 minutes, different time every day, a man would come and dance/perform on the stage in a silver lame speedo suit. We didn't get to see that but I can only imagine the reaction of the people in the gallery at that given moment. That is what the artist, Gonzalez-Torres, was looking for.
There were many pieces, more conceptual than anything but I did like this mirrored piece. There were a few of them hanging in one room. The reflection that they caused was clever and drew me in. This was from Hodges.
There were 2 pieces consisting of cut outs. One was tiny butterflies stitched together and the other was a piece of trees with the leaves cut out to create depth. I really liked both of these and have actually seen this work before.
Funny enough, this morning, the piece I keep thinking about, although simple, is Perfect Lovers. 2 clocks, hanging next to each other, with the exact same time. Although looking at the picture, it appears that the second hands are off.
A great space, a nice event that got me excited about seeing the art that they plan to install on the Highline in 2010.
Love the Highline Ballroom. Such a civilized place to see music. Upstairs you can reserve tables or grab one if available for the minimum cover of $10 a drink for each set. You can't beat that. If you want to do the floor scene, that is available too. The sound system isn't stellar but the place works.
We went to see Of Montreal. I have always liked their music. They definitely appeal to a stoner crowd. The sweet smell of reefer took over the place the second they came on.
There was definitely an attempt from the band to show a kind of off the beaten track to their audience. The keyboard guy came out in a lion costume to start and roar at the audience. At the beginning of the show, there were 3 people who were wearing head to toe leotards covering their face holding posts with animals on them that they would wave around the musicians. One of them had a camera and was streaming what he was filming behind the band. One guy walked on his hands. It was supposed to show an edgy weirdness, I guess, but to me, it just seemed manufactured.
For the music, sometimes you go see a concert and you walk away loving the band even more. Live performances can change your entire perception of a band. In this instance, I walked away not really loving Of Montreal. Lots of the songs sounded the same, and the whole contrived show with the leotard guys didn't do it for me.
But, the Highline Ballroom...love that.
Last night we had tickets to see a show at the Highline Ballroom and wanted to eat somewhere near the show. Matsuri is a block away so we were hoping to get a seat at the bar. A seat wasn't a problem. We could have taken over the entire bar by ourselves.
When Matsuri first opened, the place was impossible to get into. They definitely poured a serious amount of cash into the place. The bar rests above the open room that has large Japanese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Even the walls down the hallway to the bathroom are covered with intricate wood patterns. Lots of thought was made into every architectural decision. The sinks in the bathroom are even brilliant. A large deep sink with 3 separate controls completely temperature controlled.
Keep in mind that when Matsuri opened, the food was excellent. The small tasting plates were the key. One was better than the next. The Lotus Root was a definite MO (Mouth orgasm) dish. So, what happened?
We ordered a few small plates to begin starting with a bowl of the lotus root. The lotus root was thick and mealy. Nothing like the good old days. This dish used to consist of thinly sliced lotus root that had been braised in a spicy sauce covered with sesame seeds. It was addictive. I'd usually order another bowl. The good news is that I have the recipe so I can fill my yearning for lotus root at home. We also had crab meat shumai which was anything from light. A heavy duty dumpling that was tasteless more like a small hockey puck. Our other dish was one of my favorites, roasted eggplant with miso. The eggplant had definitely been roasted but the miso paste was so thick that there was absolutely no nuance to the dish. It was like someone had taken the miso out of the refrigerator, brought it to room temperature and just took a knife and slathered it on the eggplant. The other small dish we had was soft shell crab tempura. Not crisp, almost hard to cut because more than likely they had rewarmed the tempera from earlier which made is soft and tasteless. Absolutely disappointing.
Matsuri also does sushi which they still do quite well. The fish is cut right, it is flavorful as well as ridiculously overpriced. Certainly if you have a good place where you are buying the fish, which I am sure hasn't changed since the beginning, it is harder to screw up. No omigods but good.
Although the bar was completely vacant, the restaurant was probably 1/3 filled. It is kind of depressing to see a restaurant take such a dive. If they could have kept up the food, my guess is they would still be humming. Alas. I wonder how much longer Matsuri will last.
I bought The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane on the Kindle for reading over the December holidays. On the Kindle, you don't have page numbers but the % of how much of the book you have finished. I never paid any attention to the size of this particular book but knew it had to be big as it was taking me forever to finish. I finally finished yesterday and went to Amazon to check out the size. 720 pages! Lesson learned. See size before buying.
The book could have probably been a bit smaller but a wonderful story nonetheless. The book is set in Boston, post WWI. There are a variety of characters that are clearly perfect for the time that the book takes place. Historical fiction as the story unfolds through actual events that took place in 1919.
A story surrounding 2 families, one black and one Irish. Murders, lust, politics, power...all the makings of a good novel. Lehane interweaves the tales of these families with historical data such as the unions coming in to play in the Boston police department, the molasses disaster, John Hoover at the FBI, Calvin Coolidge then the Governor of Massachusetts, Babe Ruth and the uprising of the new Italian immigrants.
Wonderful book, great writer. But keep in mind, 720 pages.
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Dave Eggers: The Circle
a crazy book about a company that seems similar to a google or yahoo that is essentially moving towards world domination. a world of complete transparency. makes you really wonder about the 24/7 world we live in. lots of interesting conversation here.
R. J. Palacio: Wonder
Wonderful young adult book about August, a young man with a severe facial deformity. After being home schooled he begins school in NYC in 5th grade. The issues he faces are challenging. The story is written highlighting different characters each chapter and how they see August. The book is about growing up, being brave, being accepting and more than anything about the importance of being kind. A great quick read.
Donna Tartt: The Goldfinch
I can't imagine that this will not be my top book of the year. An insanely well written fantastic book.
Naoki Higashida: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
A beautiful insightful book written by a boy with Autism. He explains what goes on his mind and the way he reacts to the world. A true gift for everyone who has someone with Autism in their life.
Jesmyn Ward: Men We Reaped: A Memoir
A powerful memoir about growing up black in rural Mississippi with poverty, racism, drugs and lack of jobs. Watching more than a handful of Ward's young male friends lose their lives and way before 25 is what prompted her to write this memoir. A stark reminder of how the odds are against young black males in this country and why. A really powerful honest book that will stick with me.
Amanda Lindhout: A House in the Sky: A Memoir
Incredible book Must read.
David Levithan: Two Boys Kissing
Everyone should read this book. It flows like a beautifully written essay. Two gay boys in high school try to break the world record for kissing. The event goes viral. That is the main thread of the book among a few other gay relationships. The hardships of coming of age and coming of age gay. Can't say enough good things. Loved this book.
Mitchell Jackson: The Residue Years
An autobiographical novel that goes back and forth between a young man and his mother in Portland, Oregon. The draw of the drugs on the street continues to bring them both back to something they want to move past. The language and swagger of the characters looking to overcome obstacles that are hard to shed.
Katherine Boo: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
A biography of the desperately poor in Mumbai, India. It is actually a non-fiction book but reads like fiction. I did not finish it. I hope to go back to it but I have read several books on this subject and although this was real I just couldn't get through it.
Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Fun read, well written page turner. The main character describes her life living with a chimp, a father scientist, a mother and a brother who left home. Nature vs nurture.