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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Galbi (Korean Beef Short Ribs)

This is a classic in my house. I make them often enough and my friends request them almost as much as my crepes. I almost always buy mine at 99 Ranch Market, but occasionally, they have decent ones at Stater Bros...yes, I'm a Stater Bros shopper...laugh all you want, but I'm also from Barstow and the two go hand-in-hand. The fact that you probably wouldn't expect a Stater Bros shopper to eat or make Korean food is also strange, considering the fact that they (SB) only changed their "Oriental" section to "International" in the past couple of years...a little behind the times, don't you think? But that's certainly not me, as you well know.


3 pounds beef short ribs
1 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup sesame oil
8-12 cloves garlic, minced
2 bundles green onion, chopped
1 onion, liquified in a processor
2 Tsp chopped fresh ginger

Mix your marinade, then marinade the ribs for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 or 3. Grill outside, because these suckers will smoke and smell up your house! Top with toasted sesame seeds and eat with Kimchi and rice. Don't be shy.


~ Brock

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

While I was writing this post, I noticed there are many, many different spellings for this dish - Murg, Murgh, Merg, Makhani, Makhni, and others...I'll just go with Murgh Makhani, but sorry if I'm wrong. And, if you think the number of spellings is problematic, think about the number of recipes for this...they're all different. I'm going with simplistic, because if you find something that's good and can be made with fewer ingredients, why not? If it's false, don't do it, but if you can be real, try it once in a while.

Murgh Makhani:

2 pounds boneless chicken (I used frozen chicken breast tenders from Costco or Trader Joes)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tsp garam masala (you can buy this at many International supermarkets or find it online)
2 Tsp fresh cut ginger
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 Serrano chili, diced
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, sliced

Prepare a marinade a few hours before: salt and pepper the chicken, then add 2 Tsp garam masala and 1 cup yogurt. Mix well, and let marinade in the fridge for about 2-3 hours.

Get your sauce going: Fry up the onion in some vegetable oil for about 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and Serrano the last minute or so. Remove to a bowl. Fry up garlic for 30 seconds, then add broth and bring to boil. Add tomato paste. Lower heat to simmer, add cream and spices and 1/2 stick butter. Stir frequently on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Use a hand blender or remove to blender, blend and pour back in the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Get your chicken going the last 7 minutes.

When you're ready, thread the chicken onto skewers and BBQ it 7-9 minutes, turning frequently.

Add chicken to sauce and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat and add 1/2 stick butter or slightly less if you don't like that much butter. Stir to melt, then serve with Basmati rice, some chutney and other sides if you're inclined.

For my side, I experimented with yams, masala and chicken broth. I baked the yams, then skinned and put them in a small pot - mashed them and added hot chicken broth and masala spices to taste and texture.


~ Brock

Monday, September 28, 2009

Artisanal Pizzas

I've seen the pictures; I've tasted the goods. You can't just continue buying CPK and hoping to enjoy your evening. If you really want a good pizza, make it yourself. But yeah, yeah, I know you don't want to deal with the dough. Trader Joes offers you a simple solution - cold pizza dough ready for use. You no longer have an excuse for the best pizza money can buy...your own.

So the other night Tammy and I wanted to make some. It's a simple breakdown, but here's what we used:

shrimp (salt & pepper)
feta cheese
red onion
crushed red peppers
cherry, plumb or other small tomatoes
Artichoke hearts

Of course, you can always build your own with whatever you want, but I think the key to making it unique, tasty and worth the effort is to avoid the things you would normally do when you go out.

~ Brock

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Braised Short Ribs with Gruyere Potatoes and Fava Beans with Criminis & White Truffle Oil

This was a dangerous combination; the entree for a small gathering. Jason made these amazing clams as a first course and I wasn't sure if I could follow it.

Braised some beef short ribs. 3 hours in the oven and they were falling off the bone. I concocted a red wine braise because I was nervous to try a soy-bourbon the first time with guests. Jason walks in while I'm blending the sauce in-pan with a wand (as opposed to straining & reducing it). His look was like, "what are you doing!?" Now I see what's up. Anyway, it came out great and I popped out a quick gremolata to top it. I sided it with fava beans and Crimini mushrooms and a Gruyere mash.

Braise Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine:

3 pounds beef short ribs. Try to get the English cut and have your butcher slice them across the bones.
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups beef broth
2 cups red wine- choose a good, robust wine (I used a Barolo in this one)
2 bay leaf
2 Tsp dried thyme
2 Tsp dried rosemary
2 Tsp tomato paste

Pre-heat oven to 325. Salt and pepper your beef, then glug some olive oil in a oven-proof pot and brown on all sides...about 7 minutes. Remove from pot to a bowl and do the rest (you want only a single layer at a time). Remove all to the bowl.

Add some more olive oil and fry the onion for a couple minutes. Add the carrot and celery and fry for a minute or two. Add broth and wine. Add meat, tomato paste and spices, bring to a boil, then remove to oven for 3-4 hours.

Remove beef to a bowl and do 1 or two things: 1) remove solids through a strainer and return thinned sauce back to pot; or 2) use a hand blender to create a heavy sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce for about 10 minutes. If your sauce is too thin, add a few pinches of flour. Plate your beef and cover with sauce.


1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tsp lemon juice
bread crumbs from 1 slice French bread

Chop parsley, and process bread until crumbs. Add everything in a small bowl and stir.

Fava Beans and Crimini Mushrooms:

1 pound fresh fava beans, shelled
12 Crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 Tsp white wine
cayene pepper
White Truffle Oil

Boil fava beans for 5 minutes in salted water. Heat olive oil in a skillet, add mushrooms and fry for 5-7 minutes. Add beans and continue to fry, then add wine and fry until evaporated. Spice and remove. Drizzle with White Truffle Oil.

I've given recipes for mashed potatoes before, so check it out and add Gruyere.


~ Brock

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Does the Google Book Search Deal Violate the Constitution?

It's interesting to me that courts, lawmakers, and the rest of the world have been so impacted by the lawlessness of the Internet. Sure, you're average Joe thinks he can do whatever he wants online, because it's a free-for-all. Lawyers have been noted many times as acting the same way. But the Register of Copyrights suggests that the Courts are taking constitutional authority granted exclusively to the Congress and exercising it unlawfully. Case in point - the Google book deal.

What I find most interesting about this article is the fact that people (including courts) seem to have a fear of the uncertainty of our intellectual property future, particularly when it comes to Google. "If we give Google some unlawful legroom, maybe they'll pave the way for us to know what we're doing." Yes, Google may be very forward-thinking, but they're not the only ones. Regardless, courts have an obligation to apply the law as-is. Congress has the obligation to create new law. If the courts find that existing law just doesn't work, it's not their job to create new law.

As in many cases, I agree with Ms. Peters.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ten Ren...Again

I've had boba drinks all over the world. True, the best I've had was boba milk tea in a plastic bag in Taiwan, but as far as the States go, Ten Ren is my choice. But, you can't think that all Ten Ren places are created equal - they're not!

If you must get the absolute best tea from the absolute best location, you must visit the location in Rowland Heights on Colima Road. The location on Fullerton Road immediately off the 60 Freeway is somewhat easier to find and they also have a full restaurant (the Coliman Road location only does snacks and drinks), but they don't make the drinks as well. You might get too sweet or too watered down. It's really inconsistent. The LA Chinatown location is pretty nasty. The Riverside location - haven't been there in years, but I think I recall it was decent.

When you visit the Colima Road location check for Andy, Jerry, or Max. They hit home runs every time. In fact, Jerry created a special drink that I only know as "Jerry's Special" - it's a coffee milk tea with black sugar. Don't tell Jerry I said this, but Max recently made it better than Jerry, so I've secretly changed the name to "Max's Special." The rest of the gang in there is really good, but if the person behind the counter looks timid to make you're drink, you're gambling with your life.

I suggest:
Passion Fruit Green Tea
Mango Kumquat Green Tea
Boba Milk Tea
Boba Green Milk Tea
"Jerry's Special" or "Max's Special" (tell them Brock sent you)

As for snacks, try the toast.

~ Brock

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Mole Burritos

I'll be honest with you...I've never even seen a recipe for Mole. But, I've had it a few times and have a sense for what's in it. Sure, this might not be considered true mole, so just call it "Brock's Mole" or "Spicy Chocolate Chicken" or, as Tristen asked, "Is that poop? Chicken." Regardless, it was finger lickin' good.


1 pound boneless chicken, cubed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 brown onion, chopped
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 Tsp sugar
3 Tsp Pasilla pepper powder
olive oil
1 Cup wine
2/3 small can Swanson's chicken broth
2 bay leaf
2 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp clove, ground
1 small box raisins (about 2-3 Tsp)

Get it crackin':

Pan fry the chicken cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper, until browned on all sides. Pour into bowl aside. Add more olive oil to pan and fry garlic for 30 seconds. Add onion and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to boil, then reduce to medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add broth and everything else. Bring to a boil again, then reduce to medium-low for about 30 minutes. Pour contents into blender or processor (or use a wand if your pan is deep enough) and blend into a smooth sauce. Pour back into pan on medium heat and add chicken and 1 bar of 67%+ dark chocolate. Simmer on low for another 20 minutes, stirring often.

I also felt like a little cilantro-sour cream sauce to top it off, so here it goes:

1/2 Cup sour cream
2-3 Tsp white wine vinegar
small handful of cilantro

Blender it.


~ Brock

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moroccan Chicken & Apricot Stew with Israeli Couscous

It's my soft spot for foods from that neck of the woods.

Moroccan Chicken & Apricot Stew:

3 - 5 chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
20 - 40 dried apricots, chopped
1 small can diced tomatoes
2 small cans of chicken broth
2 - 4 TSP spices**
Olive oil
1-3 bay leaves

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a couple glugs of oil in heavy casserole. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Remove to bowl. Add chicken to pot and brown 5 minutes. Add garlic and toss 1 minute. Pour onions and juices back in pot. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add spice. Stir occasionally and simmer for about 1 hour or more.

**I've experimented with varieties of this spice mixture and you can too. Here's what I did this time (I'm using ratios instead of amounts...I prefer plenty of spice, but others don't. Use at your discretion):

1 dry-toasted cumin
1 dry-toasted coriander seed
1 garlic powder
1 1/2 paprika
1 cinnamon
1/2 tumeric
1/2 salt
1/2 pepper
1 sugar

Grind into a fine powder and use.

For the Israeli Couscous, I used a Trader Joe's Brand and followed the instructions to cook. I added it to my stew - amazing touch.


~ Brock

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sherry Mushroom Sauce for Chicken Scallopines

This sauce would rock on a steak as well, but I was craving chicken and that's that. Follow my recipes for steak or chicken and make this sauce.

Sherry Mushroom Sauce

10 - 15 Portabella, Crimini or Shitake mushrooms**
1 Cup dry sherry
1 Cup mushroom water or chicken brother***
7 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil

**If using dried mushrooms, you'll need to soak them in warm water for 30 minutes - save the water to use.
***Use the mushroom water from your dried mushrooms, otherwise use broth

heat oil. Add mushrooms and cook 5 - 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup sherry, let bubble up, then add 1/2 cup water/broth. Stir frequently on medium-high heat until liquid absorbs. Add remaining 1/2 cup sherry, let bubble up and the rest of your water/broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and reduce liquid slightly.

Pour over chicken or steak.

~ Brock

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jerk Chicken Wraps with Banana Rice and Biting Kiwi Sauce

My honeymoon in Jamaica was my first exposure to Jerk Chicken. Endless legs and thighs expanded my own to the tune of 5 or 10 pounds in a week. Twelve years later, I'm revisiting the classic with a twist of my own (albeit in slightly healthier portions).

Unlike typical jerk chicken cooked over fire, I wanted to pan fry. This was purely a matter of convenience, because it's over 100 degrees outside and I don't feel like sweating. With my base figured out, I wanted to mix it up a bit with some healthy and tasty accompaniments. I immediately thought of mango rice, but used my mangoes the night before and only had bananas on hand. Not a problem, though I figured I'd need to counter the dry taste of bananas and rice with something like milk, cream or butter. It was coming together nicely.

But, it was starting to sound pretty heavy. That's when I thought of a lettuce wrap. Keep portions smaller, focus on the melding of flavors, and so on. Here it goes.

Jerk Chicken

I had the urge for a dry rub, knowing I was using moist chicken thighs and have had great success with them on the pan fry. The rub is this (1 is in Tsp):

1 - dried thyme
1 - onion powder
1 - garlic powder
1 - onion flakes
2 - sugar
1 - cinnamon
1 - allspice
1/2 - cayenne pepper
1/4 - salt
1/4 - cracked pepper

Mortar and pestle into a fine powder and rub that into your chicken. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Heat 1 glug of olive oil in pan on smoking hot and fry on one side 4 minutes. Flip and fry on high for another 4 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly, and chop into thick chunks.

Biting Kiwi Sauce

5 Kiwis, skinned, chopped and mashed in a large bowl
Add juice from 1 lemon
Add 1 Tsp rice vinegar
Add 1 Tsp ponzu sauce
Add 2 large cloves of garlic, minced

Stir and mash, repeat. Set in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Banana Rice

1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 banana
3 - 4 Tsp sugar
1/4 C cream

put rice in pot and add water. Chop banana and stir in. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 - 40 minutes (depending on your rice type). When it's ready, remove lid, add cream and sugar and stir to warm cream.


~ Brock