Saturday, November 14, 2009

The warmth brought forth by the Umami-licious Sundubu Jjigae....

The sudden arrival of moisture and cold humid air has overcast a relaxing weekend, and intervened my planned date with the ingredients for macaron interrupted mind began to ache for the comforting aroma that drifts from a steaming pot of Sundubu Jjigae, the very one I had a few days ago at this NYC restaurant that I would always return for this specialty dish....Kunjip Restaurant in Korea Way.

It almost create the same sensation as another famed Chinese dish, "the" fried Rice with cured fish and chicken; the scent of the Sundubu Jjigae from Kunjip is impossible to resist, even before you have a moment to lay your eyes upon the succulent looking cast iron pot, filled with porcelain white tofu immersed within the sea with an orange red glow that reminds you of the setting sun.

For those who have not had the pleasure to take a sip, Sundubu Jjigae is a hot and spicy jjigae (Korean stew) made with uncurdled dubu (tofu), seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, onion, green onion, and gochujang or gochu garu (chili powder) in Korean cuisine. A raw egg is put in the jjigae while it is still boiling, creating the effect of an egg drop soup, an essential component to complete this bowl of heaven. This dish is eaten with a bowl of cooked white rice and several banchan (side dishes).

Why am I so obsessed with Kunjip's? With the very limited versions I have tasted, as I have yet to pay my visit to Korea, Kunjip's broth brings forth the near perfect harmony of all sensory taste to accentuate the delicate flavour and texture of fresh tofu. More importantly, it is the "Umami" of the sea that captures my taste buds with every spoonful. Please do share your thoughts and your favourite place for this mesmerising dish!

I have yet to find the definition to describe the sensory taste "Umami" outside of the Chinese is something I am currently exploring, but hope to write about it soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recipe: la bruschetta du marché des agriculteurs....

A recipe that is dedicated to the hardworking individuals at the farmer's market, and an extension to a previous post "For the Love of Figs":

This simple recipe is basically a collusion of flavours from the freshest ingredients selected at the local farmer's market, further enhanced with a homemade Black Mission Figs infused balsamic vinaigrette!

I love how the beams of the Sun glaze over this gives the relaxing sensation of a lazy Sunday afternoon....

1 loaf of rustic bread, sliced into 3/4 inch in thickness
6-8 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch in thickness
3 cloves garic, minced
1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/2 inch in thickness
Coarse salt
freshly grounded 4 blended peppercorns
good extra virgin olive oil
Black Mission Figs infused Balsamic vinegar - see below for recipe

1. Marinate the sliced tomatoes and half of the garlic with just enough olive oil to coat them, set them aside for 15 minutes
2. Lightly drizzle the sliced bread with olive oil, and sprinkle with the remaining minced garlic
3. Place the bread slices evenly on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and toast them in a 400oF oven for 5 minutes, or just till golden
4. Place the sliced mozzarella over the bread and return it to the oven to toast just till the cheese is gently melted
5. Place the bread slices on a serving plate, and decorate them with the marinated tomatoes
6. Sprinkle them with salt and freshly grounded pepper, and drizzle generously with the Black Mission Figs infused balsamic vinegar

Black Mission Figs Infused Balsamic Vinegar

8oz Dried Mission Figs, remove the stem and quarter each fig
750mL Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
1 pinch of salt
Sugar to taste

1. Place the Balsamic vinegar in a saucier over high heat until it reaches a simmer
2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the Dried Mission Figs
3. Allow the figs to simmer in the balsamic vinegar until the vinegar has reduced to half its original volume
4. Remove from heat and using a hand blender, blend until figs are completely incorporated into the vinegar. I leave this un-strained, as I think the grittiness of the seeds from figs gives the vinegar its character

Bon Appetit!

Mission Fig on Foodista

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For the Love of Figs....

As I stroll along the local farmer's market and mingle with fellow patrons, I have set it as my mission to absorb the diversity in colours and textures of various produce prior the approach of Thanksgiving, which marks the end of the 2009 farmer's market season.

As my eyes glaze over the glorious gems of heirloom tomatoes, my mind began to mesmerise the rich scent and flavour of black mission figs....yes, Figs indeed. The magical union between these two "fruits" is the result of the most refreshing salad for your sensory palate on a Sunday afternoon....

The fig could be considered the perfect fruit, except that it's not a fruit at all, but rather a "false fruit," or syncomium. Within the globe of the "fruit" are little clusters of flowers that look similar to threads.

The edible fig is one of the first plants that were cultivated by humans. Nine subfossil figs of a parthenocarpic type dating to about 9400–9200 BC were found in the early Neolithic village Gilgal I (in the Jordan Valley, 13 km north of Jericho). The find predates the domestication of wheat, barley, and legumes, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture. It is proposed that they may have been planted and cultivated intentionally, one thousand years before the next crops were domesticated. The ficus carica, which produces the fig, is just one of more than 800 species, including trees, shrubs, and vines, within the ficus genus.

Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well.

~ These jams from France are among my favourites! ~

Apart from its deliciousness, figs are also an excellent snack packaged with health benefits. Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium, and has more fibre, both soluble and insoluble, than any other fruits, which is excellent for cardiovascular health. According to USDA data for the Mission variety, dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, relative to human needs. They have smaller amounts of many other nutrients. Figs have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants. They are good source of flavonoids and polyphenols. In one study, a 40-gram portion of dried figs (two medium size figs) produced a significant increase in plasma antioxidant capacity.

Though my favourite variety is the Black Mission, there are also others available in the U.S. market:

~ Calimyrna, Kadota, Turkish, Black Mission ~

Calimyrna figs ripen to a purpleish blue sometime between October and November. Less sweet and moist than mission. These figs, whose season begins in August, are named for its variety, the California smyrna.

Kadota (Fresh):
Kadota figs, also known as dottato, can be green or white. They have few seeds and can be used for many purposes. They have a wonderful flavour, but a shorter season that ends in late September or early October.

Brown Turkey (Fresh):
These dark brown figs are one of the most abundant varieties in the United States. Their flesh is pinkish amber, and they are sweet, with a juicy pulp. They are available from May through October/November.

Turkish (Dried):
Original smyrna cultivar, they are large, sweet, and light colored.
Turkish figs are primarily used for drying; their season is August to September.

Black Mission (Fresh and Dried):

Black Mission figs have a blackish-purple skin with pinkish flesh. They are the most common and popular variety in the U.S. Introduced to California in 1769 when the San Diego Mission was established, these figs, also known as franciscana, are good for drying. Their season is July to September or October.

Conadria (Dried):
Conadria's season is August through September. They are yellow-green with thin skin and white to red flesh. They are good for eating fresh or making into preserves.

Having said all that, lets FIG out!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Recipe: Tiramisù aux Marrons Glacés

Recipe: Tiramisù aux Marrons Glacés
the magic unleashes when the beloved Tiramisu and Mont-Blanc collide....

This article is part of "The Chestnut Series"

Serves 10 to 12

2/3 cup castor sugar
3 cups whipping cream
2 (8 oz.) containers mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 pkg. ladyfingers.
1/3 cup cold strong coffee or espresso
1/3 cup dark rum
250g crème de marrons
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Cocoa powder for dusting

1. In a large bowl, lightly beat the mascarpone until smooth. Add the castor sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt and using an electric beater, beat this mixture until it is smooth and thickened like fluffy cream.

2. Using a spring-form 9 x 13-inch pan, 3-inch deep, quickly dip ladyfingers in dark rum and line them in the bottom of the pan, a single even layer.

3. Cover the ladyfinger layer with half of the mascarpone mixture. Dust liberally with cocoa powder.

4. Add another layer of ladyfingers dipped in dark rum, and cover it with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours. This is important, as it blends the flavors and the ladyfingers soak up the liquid.

6. To make the Marrons Glacés cream, beat the room temperature butter until fluffy. Add the crème de marrons and beat until combined.

7. Remove the tiramisu from the spring-form pan, and place it on plate or cake turn-table.

8. Using a spatula, evenly cover the tiramisu with the soft Marrons Glacés cream.

9. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bon Appetit!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...