Friday, January 6, 2012

Tuna Mac & Cheese

When Neal first mentioned tuna my heart sank a little bit as it always does, like a shipwreck, when the idea or thought of seafood is brought up. Admittedly, I'm not a connoisseur of the denizens of the deep, and I would gladly join that club in Finding Nemo where the sharks take a damn good oath if I say so myself, "Fish are friends not food."

But when I tasted his tuna mac&cheese, my heart swam. It was a delicious blend of texture and ingredients, with the green peas popping with the savory taste of pasta.

Pad Tex:
In the wild, wild west (of berlin), actually kind of in the east considering where we are, Neal made some pad tex as I like to call it: the rules for making such a fine concoction are as follows: add as much beef as possible and give a shake of some pecans from the glorious south and wah-lah you have a rootin-tootin' pad thai that will have the townsfolk kickin' in the saloon doors in.

The pad tex was wonderful: it featured the traditional peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and rice sticks that make up pad thai and was fused with a hearty helping of beef, cucumber, and pecan. We think that the pecans complimented the rice sticks beautiful and in fact could be enhanced with a glaze of honey and perhaps a tinge of brown sugar per Neal's suggestion (although the brown sugar was my idea, as sugar will always be my idea). You have to try this incredible recipe!

Merry Cheesemas

David here:

I thought neal's glorious cooking could use a second perspective, although I must admit to being a bit biased. Probably inspired by the German Burger King's recent Christmas promotional campaign, 'Merry Cheesemas', Neal decided to cook grilled cheese with the inclusion of Berlin's famous sausages, which were filled with cheese themselves of course. While Santa came a bit late this year, flavor certainly did not.

The addition of red bell peppers and gouda cheese made the cheesewursts sing. Add some frozen french fries, or pomme frittes as they say in old Europe, and a swig of coke zero and you have yourself a delicious dinner.

Merry Cheesemas and Happy New Year from Berlin!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sketchy Food

these are just some not fully hashed out meals that b and I made, being more lazy than inventive with our lack of correct ingredients

1. Shepherd's Pie with a cream of spinach made with a béchamel with gouda and garlic


2. just some appetizers that look nice, but a little plain, avocado, plum, cucumber, swiss on a whole wheat cracker could use something weird like fish roe, tuna salad, or some liver paté. who knows

3. baked apples with müesli, butter, and sugar tasted like apple sauce with said ingredients (didn't use baking apples...)

4. Didn't even make this one, but cool anyway: Neapolitan ice cream yule log

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pad Thai

Pad Thai with shrimp, lap xuong and cucumber

Pad Thai is known in the West as a typical Thai noodle dish, it's name in fact just means fried Thai style. It's a dish that has a balance of savory, sweet, sour, and salty flavors, soft, crunchy, and mild textures. It's fairly cheap to make, and has become wildly popular in the west in last decade or so. Pad Thai lends itself to a lot of adaptation, and the recipe that follows is my own interpretation of the popular dish. For this recipe I added lap xuong, chinese sasauge purchased at a Vietnamese market in Berlin, it has a different flavor than chinese sasauge, so I will assume the lap xuong I used here was more of a Vietnamese take on the sausage, it came pre-cooked and it had a lot more fat to it and a sweeter milder flavor that I'm used to. I also chose to use cucumber instead of mung bean sprouts for texture and a fresh flavor. However I would recommend adding them after serving, to make sure the garnish stays cold, unless you enjoy tepid cucumbers.

Above, I created an interactive map of the ingredients used for the recipe, the items without gradients are the items I got out of the fridge, expecting to use, but ended up not using, cooking and tasting along the way intuitively looking for the right flavor and editing those ingredients out of my initial idea of the dish. A lot of the dishes I make involve multiple permutations as I am trying to either replicate dishes I enjoyed or tinker with them. I also have step by step photos, best as I can, showing the way in which I cook.

Step one (Kitchen Prep): Mince shallots, cilantro and garlic (not pictured), slice the lap xuong, and julienne cucumbers. set aside.


Devein and shell shrimp, if necessary, save shells aside, they'll add some flavor, better if the shrimps come with the heads!

Soak the Banh Pho, or rice sticks in a shallow dish with water for about 10-15 minutes

Step two: Heat some oil in a wok on medium high heat and add your minced garlic, shallots and shrimp shells

Step three: drain and add the pre-soaked rice sticks to the wok and turn down the heat slightly so the noodles don't immediately stick to the bottom

Step four: adding the tamarind sauce, I added about a 1/3 cup of tamarind to my dish after cooking the noodles slightly. A quick note about tamarind, it is difficult to find in most grocery stores, but should be widely available in most Asian groceries, especially those specializing in South East Asian groceries. Mine came in a small block of paste to which I used a 2 Tb chunk and added hot water to, to get 1/3 cup of sauce. Stir!

Step five: add the shrimp at this point, figure about 4 or 5 per person, mix the noodles so the shrimp get to the bottom and cook well. Stir!

Step six: add a little dollop of sriracha hot sauce depending on how hot you want it, (small ammount like that below for mild, and 1/4 cup for nicely spicy). Stir!

Step seven: add in the Lap Xoung. Stir!

Step eight: add some honey about 1/3 cup. Stir!

Step nine: add about 1/4 cup of fish sauce. Stir!

Step ten: Push the noodles over to one side of the wok and add in the egg at the bottom of the wok. Stir it up so it gets scrambled.

Step eleven: as the egg sets up begin to incorperate it into the Pad Thai.

Step twelve: add the minced cilantro. Stir!

Step thirteen: add the julienned cucumbers and serve!

Enjoy! and see you soon on WASABIMAYONNAISE!