Monday, March 24, 2008

Pork shoulder!

Take a pork shoulder. Rub a paste made out of an onion, ten cloves of garlic, some red wine vinegar, salt, black pepper (ground and peppercorns), cumin and chili powder onto it, poke some holes, and park it in a bag in the fridge overnight

the next day, pop it on a roasting rack, put a little water in the bottom of the pan, and roast at 300, turning once an hour until it's done. mine took five hours.

it's mostly mark bittman's recipe.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cubano's tasting notes

different dining areas done in different bright colors - red, yellow and lime green.

got a weird look for ordering in Spanish. Order in English - they're assimilated here, even though all waiter-waiter conversations are en Espanol. pricey. top entree eighteen bucks. empanaditas (hardly diminuitive) in either picadillo beef or chicken are 5.95 for two. I ordered one of each, and got strange looks.

They brought us bread anyway. It was delicious inch-thick hunks of French baguette with a nice toast and subtle garlic on one side. One piece of the bowl survived.

After a decent wait for what was supposed to be an appetizer (probably because it's all we ordered) out came two plates of golden brown empanadas. Fried, dusted for some reason with parsley and covered in little bubbles, burst and not, from the frying.

I hate to make the sloppy joe comparison again but the beef has the nubbly texture and mildly tomatoey sauce, as well as a little onion and a nice vinegar tang. My notes read as follows: "beef red pepper chili vinegar yum." The beef empanadita had more of a thick, crunchy snap to the crust especially on the edges, while the chicken didn't hold its crunch through the trip home until the writing of this article.

fried empanadas for the win!

served on doilies. they didn't know what to make of us for just ordering two of the same appetizer. worth it to Metro it. Nicely refined, but now i want the best possible.

crunchy crust that comes only from making your crust with lard and then frying it hard. why the fuck was there parsley on these?

The chicken empanada, filled with shredded poultry, a little more onion, and a yellow (adobo?) tint, was equally as good. Bits of red pepper highlighted the tangled mess of chicken threads.

3 blocks from Silver Spring Metro.

white paper on white tablecloths.

light wood floors in the dining areas, big rustic red tile in the bar. They sat us near the cachaca. You haven't known temptation till you've sat near the cachaca.

The crust tastes like there's pig fat inside (a good thing) and is still crunch after six hours sitting on the counter. as I finish up the leftovers for this post and these notes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Patrick's Day with a Jewish girl who doesn't eat cabbage

so we made a fusion potato pancake. a couple parts boxty, a couple parts latke, and a gigantic mess - of the kitchen, that is. the pancakes turned out great.

Most of a five-pound bag of cheap white potatoes
three pounds corned beef
one large red pepper
two medium purple onions
vegetable oil
extra virgin olive oil
two egg yolks. (no white, goddammit)
four cloves crushed garlic
one squeeze deli mustard
matzoh meal, standing in for breadcrumbs.

The night before, toss the unrinsed corned beef in a crock-pot, add the sesoning packet and extra black peppercorns, cover, and leave on high until simmering, then turn to low, and cover with something heavy to weigh the cover down.

Peel and shred the potatoes in a food processor. Salt and pepper immediately after shredding and spread on a paper towel to drain (or use a colandar - no lo tengo). Moisture is death in this recipe.

Process the veg next, chopping everything as small as possible. Salt it a little (kosher salt, btw, as if you'd use anything else) and set on towels or in another colandar. Salt helps draw out water. The problem is that your corned beef is salty too and you need salt at the very end. Salt to your leisure.

De-fat (relax, it's all on the top) and shred the corned beef and then chop it so it's not stringy. Add to a large bowl with the veggies and potatoes, along with the mustard and garlic. Cover, in a colandar/on paper towels, for half an hour. Go take a nap. Cooking is tiring.

After you wake up, pull the pancake mix and fuck with it a little. Make some balls. Stir it around. Have extra liquid? Add matzoh meal. You'll feel when it comes together.

Get enough oil into the skillet to cover the pancakes most of the way. You're not going for thin and crispy here. Make patties, squeeze out as much liquid as you can over the sink so it doesn't glom up the rest of your mix, and fry. For easy adding to the pan, use a metal spatula with a little oil on it. Slap the patty onto the spatula, and slide it into the oil with something that burns much less than your hand , for which you will be grateful when the oil spits on you. It will. Believe it.

Have paper towels or a drying rack ready. About eight minutes on each side, but keep them going until they're deep golden brown on both sides. You want a molten exterior, and that's harder the thicker they are.

Serve with car bombs. Boom.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Pennsylvania eats list

1 Neato Burrito, likely buffalo with chili.

Chinese food at Ho Wah, who somehow manages to do takeout Chinese just a step above every other takeout Chinese place on earth.

Nosh at the farmer's market in Lemoyne. The amazing sandwich place is so long gone I can't even remember the name, but I still remember the sandwiches - hooray the Nuclear Waste, six kinds of cheese stuffed into a styrofoam go cup and topped with turkey, nuked, then slapped onto a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and a squirt of ranch. It was brutal. It was heaven. There's still really good sausage there and crazy Amish specialties. You haven't lived until you've seen bacon-wrapped chicken livers in a hotel pan.

a bubba's takoeut sub, white bread, mayo, tomato, provolone, turkey. with onion rings. cause no one does it better.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Farking amazing.

The best meals I eat aren't in restaurants, but private homes. Today was one of those days.

I'm nibbling on a Puerto Rican empanada which in most other cuisines is a pocket pie, but in Puerto Rico is the best fucking chicken-fried steak ever. got a rough recipe too.

marinate pounded cube steak in garlic, adobo, and a little cilantro. (Safeway has good cube steaks, my source confided) Bread with...she didn't tell me, but it tastes like bread crumbs, via the method where you put egg on the meat first, and fry in corn oil. an electric skillet is your friend here. you want dark brown.

yum. just fucking yum.

...many thanks to the daughter who breaded and pounded and the mother who fried. double thanks for the leftover unfried one, roughly the size of my calf. it'll feed me three or four times. sometimes life really is awesome.