First Day of 2013!

Since I’ve been working on my cultural presentation this weekend for my test, I’ve actually taken a lot of things that I’ve learned about the King of Thailand in perspective. I don’t know how much it actually applies, but I’ve been thinking that this year, I’d love to have a little more discipline in my life — so I started by going to bed early (well earlier than I have been for a long time) and hope that this can continue the rest of the year. The result was that I woke up feeling pretty ready to go this morning, still slow to rise in general, as is the pattern but I felt alert as I was getting up which was a pretty good feeling.

Got to training early, feeling a little anxious since it’s probably been almost a month since I’ve trained in class outside of test prep, but it was really nice to see some familiar faces (especially Khun Pat!) and just be able to feel and feed off of everyone’s energy. It was really good to be training with Khun Kru and everyone else again – felt like it’s been too long. Taking a lesson from our yoga classes with Bryan, I really tried to focus on my breath before class to put myself in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.

Ab Warm-up

  • 10 1-2-3 Thai sit ups (with twist right / left on full sit up)
  • 10 walk out bob & weave push ups (left / right)
  • Partner Planks

I still struggle a ton with the partner planks, wondering if I should be trying to do these at home with a wall or something. It’s mainly tough on my shoulder more than anything, I don’t think it’s too much of an issue for my core but it puts a ton of pressure on my shoulder.

Len Chuen Drills

  • J CR, switch using Kali triangle footwork, J CR
  • Jab counters – each of us came up with our own:
    – Khun Henry: Pull, into RE LE RUE
    – Khun Steve: Parry, LH CR LU
    – Khun Pat: Parry (step off to outside of jab), SKN LE RDE
    – Khun Thea: Parry (step off to outside of jab), LDW, 2x SDW
    – Khun Clayton: Step off to inside, 2x J, RDW
    – Me: Pull into 2x SKN, LSE
  • 2-2,4-4,6-6
    – One set alternating J CR one-for-one with partner
    – Second set switching, J CR, switch J CR, J CR J CR, switch J CR J CR ..etc…
  • Cross counters – come up with your own counter (at least three)
  • Time sparring! Remember to go slow and make it a cooperative drill (no head gear)

After we finished the len chuen drills, we got into our conditioning which was pretty easy since we only did a little bit: 20 Thai sit ups and 10 body builders. I think what made them easy (or at least feel easy) for me is that I’ve kind of kept up my conditioning over the break. If I can keep this up throughout the rest of my test prep as well I think it can only get better / help me keep working where I’m at.

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Horsie!

Ok, I lied, there’s no horsie, horse or even a pony. So so sad. I would really love to sit here and write a huge apology post about me not writing for..something like 9 months, but I’m not going to. I’m going to write about something worthwhile and something introspective. Yes, it’s about cooking and but there’s no food in it. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Let’s get something straight, I love to cook. Do I do it as often as I should? From a love / passion or even a financial standpoint — no. I don’t work on my knife skills, I don’t refine some of my tools and I don’t read about it as much as I should or could — but then again there are no “should”s when it comes to something you love (and that includes people!). Another thing, I think I’m good at cooking. Only I’m not, I waddle somewhere between mediocre and passable. Before any friend comes to my rescue and tells me I am good in the kitchen and such — I can be better, a lot better. I get that it’s not my day job and I get that there’s only so many hours in the day and I can only do so much, but I can still spend the time to get better at it. Yes! So in the last few days I’ve taken some time to re-examine what exactly I actually know how to do in the kitchen and to be honest it’s not much.

I re-read that admission and I’m not exactly saddened by it. I’m not planning on beating myself up, nor do I think that any of the above qualifies as being down on myself. It’s just an honest assessment. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a long long way from my first cookbook and I think I’m a lot better than the guy who started putting food items over heat just to impress girls. Sadly, that is how it started or not sadly considering that the fastest way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach no? But I digress, I’ve been cooking far more only out of necessity instead of actual desire. I haven’t been making things I really want to make, rather I’ve been making things primarily to subsist on and it’s typically the same rotation of one recipe (with slight alterations). So somewhere along the way I forgot why I was cooking, which is a horrible terrible thing to do when it comes to anything you are doing. You should know why you are doing something and if you have trouble remembering, you should have it written somewhere to remind yourself when you slip. This applies to everything. So why do I cook? Why do I want to learn new skills in the kitchen and improve at what I know?

Easy, cheesy, cliché and super lame: love. I love being able share things with my friends and cooking is probably the best way I can show them my appreciation for having them in my life. It might sound stupid, but hey I’m not necessarily writing it for you, whoever you are. And to any of my friends who read this: if I have not been the best friend as of late (in any regard), I’m sorry, I’m working on it — let’s eat soon ;)

I’ll be getting back on that horse, I promise.

The One Where j Gives In

If you read that wrong, no need to be scared I’m not talking about not writing or stopping this blog at all. Au contraireI actually have somethings to share and somethings to catch you up on since there was a lot of recharging, planning (gasp) and sleeping done this past weekend. If you didn’t have President’s Day off yesterday…I’m sorry, don’t worry though because I made up for it by…celebrating…uh… …

Last week, there was more in the works aside from the caramel cookie bites that I mentioned please see the previous post to see a nice little picture of them. Though they look great and apparently tasted great, the process of getting there was actually quite harrowing. I almost semi-ruined one of my sauce pans by having a caramel failure; I just put butter in there like Gordon Ramsay said and the whole mixture seized up and hardened like [description omitted] and it was a complete mess only salvaged by some timely soaking and scrubbing. I think the near catastrophe was actually more of my own fault as it’s possible there was some residual water in the pan but I don’t know, and being that I was too scared to try that route again in the same night we left the butter out on the second go round and the end product is what you see in the picture. All in all, the ones that I tried were great; but I do have a few notes if you feel like trying that recipe out:

  • the dough seemed a teensy bit dry; don’t let this scare you but if you feel it’s necessary, add a little more butter to moisten it up slightly.
  • we baked our batches on a cookie sheet, didn’t follow the recipe as far as using a muffin / cupcake pan.
  • in our third batch, we rolled the little dough bites in almonds prior to baking and that turned out awesome.
  • caramel is about patience (and it’s incredibly hot, be careful); gonna watch Gordon Ramsay do it again and or may go the glaze route that Smitten Kitchen has written.

Ok, so I did promise you something last week; not a post, but rather that there was food made. And there was! Again thanks to our lovely friends / mentors / man-crushes at Momofuku, we (again Hang and myself) made the Marinated Hanger Steak Ssäm. The actual preparation for this was done in two days since the meat; we used flank, had to be marinated for at least 24 hours. I used to think that marinating meat would tenderize it, but not so according to Alton Brown; the flavors that we infuse the meat with (specifically the salt and acid) causes our saliva glands to produce. Saliva has an enzyme called amylase in it, which begins the process of digestion; so in other words: “Marinades may not actually do much in the way of tenderizing meat, but their use does help us tenderize it.” Interesting!

Anyway, here’s a look:

 

We actually didn’t puree the kimchi prior to dropping it on there; mainly because we didn’t have a blender / food processor available. Outside of that we didn’t shortcut anything as far as getting this done :D It was actually pretty filling (and extremely messy for me, no one else ;_;) and I think I maybe had 3-4 before I was satisfied.

Edit: Ginger Scallion Oil is amazing! Chang is right, you can pretty much put it on anything. Go find the recipe and make it nowwwwwww!

Another fun note of that night was teaching people how to make poached eggs. I would teach you now, but I think we’re getting a little wordy and I’m probably losing most if you if you’re not already gone. Anyway, so you might be wondering about that title since I just completely avoided the topic after 1 sentence in the beginning. What exactly am I giving into? This. I’m not a purist who believes chopping and slicing should only be done with a sharp knife and your wits. I’ve only really been avoiding getting one because I never felt that I needed to slice things that thin or fine. This week’s project however, requires a really fine julienne, which I’m at the moment not really equipped for since my knives are trending on the dull side. :( I promise my lovelies I will have you taken care of when I head off to China next month.

Oh. I was talking to you. Not the knives b-t-dubs.

<3

j

Trolololol

This isn’t really a troll post, but with some plans falling through last week and some laziness intervening there was no post last week. You were probably like, ‘Jay, Y YOU NO POST?!?!?!”, totes right? Anyway, we have a fun dinner night coming up so that will be a big post this week and hopefully a vlog of me ranting and talking about some cooking horror that me and my buddy Hang nearly experienced (among other things), but managed to salvage on Monday. So outside of not cooking frequently enough at home lately, this was what I was up to on Monday; cooking at someone else’s home :)

Before I go, on top of the Caramel Cookie Bites that we made Monday, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I’m normally a boo Valentine’s person; I’m really against corporate holidays and celebrating affection because companies and the retail industry are telling me to. Shouldn’t every day we spend with a special someone be special? Why is Feburary 14th especially….special? Anyway, I did have plans :x and made it out to watch a friend of a friend’s band, Monsters Calling Home @ The Mint in Los Angeles last night. They absolutely rocked and I highly, highly recommend that you check them out due to their really unique sound and great songs. Also check out their bandcamp site to check out a few of their songs and if you like them, please support them!

Like Day[9], don’t buy things to just own them, but buy things to support them!

See you soon…

♥ j

Butcherying (#wat)

This is just a quick addition to today’s post: so I’m a huge nerd. I love playing Starcraft 2 and I love watching Day[9] for a lot of reasons that I won’t get into in this post. But during one of his shows a week or two ago, his train of thought completely imploded. That’s basically how I felt last night when I was trying to write, but I digress.

Jump to 6:47…

Butcherying (sic)

Contrary to the title of this post, none of the following content has anything to do with butchering in the context of meat. This is actually my second attempt to write this week’s post, I wrote one last night and was about to post it and suddenly felt completely appalled at what was written. After giving it a second and third over, I definitely tilted and decided that there was no way in hell that I would go through with posting it on the web. And that leaves us where we are in the here and now. Hooray. *dance*

Moving on, what I really want to talk about is staples. Not necessarily staple items in your kitchen, but staple meals that you can make easily, quickly and are cost efficient. One thing that I really struggled with for a long time was trying to make every meal a home run. It got really draining trying to crank out something big, because after an 8 hour day, sometimes the last thing you want to do is slave in the kitchen hoping that your dinner project will turn out of this world (even if you prep ahead of time). Unless you’re not me top chef of course.

When I was starting out in the kitchen, I didn’t really have any recipes from home so I had no clue where to start; it took me a long time to find out that Rachel Ray was not the answer. Over time, I started figuring out how easy it is to make stuff like fried rice with random things you have in the fridge or even just throwing together a few things for a really simple pasta. Of course, duh, but hey 4 years ago I really had no clue; not that I do now anyway.

Anyway, most of the things that have become staples for me used to be recipes that I made once and then simply obsessed over for weeks. When I say obsessed, I mean I annoyed some of my past roommates with the same food for lunch / dinner on a daily basis. I’m that guy who always orders the same thing at a restaurant, not because I don’t want to expand my horizons, but because if what I order isn’t good I wasted a trip. So that brings us to a dish that I obsessed over, hang on, obsessed over once I made it at home for the first time: Chicken Adobo!

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Leftovers….

I hate to say it, but the name of this blog is somewhat misleading. My fridge is actually stuffed to the seams….err….fringes…ok well it’s just full of leftovers from food made over the last week or so. And I didn’t make anything specifically for the blog this week, most of what I made was a mishmash of scraps from other meals that I slapped together into various monstrosities. The only thing noteworthy right now is the abomination that is sitting on the top shelf from Monday, which will probably have to be eaten today before it becomes unrecognizable. (If you haven’t seen Cowboy Bebop, watch it now, like right now.)

Actually, it’s unfair to call it an abomination. I’ll rewind a bit; so Monday was Chinese New Year as you may or may not know, and my mom and I made hot pot () at home. For those who don’t know, making hot pot is essentially taking some kind of broth, boiling it in a pot and adding ingredients to it to be cooked at the table. At the end of the meal, you arrive at the following dilemma: there is a pot with broth in it filled with various uneaten ingredients, furthermore there are many uncooked ingredients as well, but not enough to cobble together into another recipe. What do you do?

Well if you’re my family, you toss the rest of the uncooked ingredients back into the pot, add some water and re-boil and….voila! Soup, a completely unrecognizable concoction that if a day later someone asked you to identify the contents you’d have no freaking clue. I can at least say that I made the broth myself, from when I made Hainan Chicken Rice last week so at least I’m clear on that. But at this point when I stare at the tupperware that it’s in, I’m a little apprehensive about actually eating it. I’ll leave it to your imaginations, but it isn’t pretty and I’m going to be eating it in less than two hours. *shivers* Continue reading

Momofuku Pork Buns

I promise at some point there will be a non-Momofuku recipe up here, but we like the food and we’re capable of making it at home so why not for now? The pork buns actually were first made way back in October 2010 as part of a pumpkin carving potluck that I hosted at my apartment. That time, I did all the prep and dough-work on my own (save maybe 10 or so buns) and while it wasn’t difficult because the pork belly doesn’t require much touching, it did get kind of tiring and hectic as I was still trying to wrap everything up by the time my guests arrived. When I made the pork belly buns this past week, I had a lot of help which was really awesome as well as giving me a little opportunity to teach some about working with dough so if anything I had a blast. I probably won’t go through the timeline again in this post, but do keep in mind that you will probably need a good 3-4 hours to really get through everything since the dough for the buns will need a lot of resting time.

So before I jump too far ahead, there’s not a lot of prep photos because I have no clue how to operate my camera. The good shots were taken by my good buddy Amy; she’s a much better photographer than me and actually knows how to use a camera. But long story short, the few photos here will be of the completed product. Anyway…

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Momofuku Strawberry Shortcakes + Macerated Strawberries + Whipped Cream

Allison: you need to stop blogging about how you’re behind on blogging

OOOOOOOOH I just got told. No seriously, got told and she’s 100% right. So instead of apologizing (no, really thank you for putting up with my nonsense), I’ll go ahead and jump right into the meat dough of the subject. Two weeks ago, I had a dinner event to attend and wanted to bring something tasty for everyone. Unfortunately that was the week that I was sick, so I was struggling getting into my mode for cooking and almost settled on buying some batter just for red velvet cupcakes. The afternoon of though, I was feeling better and a bit more adventurous so where did I turn? Momofuku, of course. I doubled up on the recipe and ended up making 24 shortcakes, which ended up being way too many for the dinner; as one of my friends put it: Even though there might be 20 people coming, you don’t have to cook for 20 since everyone might not eat a whole serving.

And so it began, the torrent of strawberry shortcake making. I had a lot of fun making the shortcakes and and wanted to make more for a post, to improve upon and dsitribute since it turns out since it’s apparently the favorite dessert of a few friends. Before I started the only image that I had in my head about strawberry shortcake is that sponge cake cup that you see in the super market. You know what I’m talking about, that one where all you have to do put some whip cream into the cup part and drop some strawberries on top and boom, you’re done. Momofuku’s recipe isn’t a two-step process like that and uses actual shortcake, not at all like the one you would find in the store. What you end up is an almost cookie-like piece of shortcake, crackly on the outside and absolutely moist and irresistible on the inside; it’s definitely all the butter & shortening :)

 

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Slight Delay

Hi folk(s)!

So there is a slight delay as the post that is coming (hopefully tonight) is going to be pretty long and contain a ton of content. I know, I know I keep promising all these things to you, but worry not they are actually coming. Especially when my roommate asks me how my blog is going haha.

In the meantime, please take a few minutes and learn about what SOPA/PIPA is and actually does.

If you love sites like Cute Overload (others too of course!) and god forbid, this site; it’s possible that we could be shut down on the whims of some government bureaucracy that has no idea what it is doing based on legislation written by politicians who don’t have the slightest idea how the Internet actually works. No really, if you could get me on the phone with one politician that could coherently explain the what the Internet is without leaving anything to magic, I’d love to hear it.

Eitherway, check back this evening for a bunch of photos and a meaty post with even more stuff upcoming.