The Hulk (of the Cooking Variety)

By Tsz on September 8, 2009

“You’re making me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

Whenever I’m having a particularly stressful day, the hulk inside of me wakes up. No, not the green, smash-happy one a la Bruce Banner, but rather of the mellower, cook-happy variety. Perhaps it’s my natural defense. Whatever it is, I would go into my kitchen in a bout of concentrated trance and create till I’m exhausted, but happily full.

Usually, this happens a handful amount of times per month, but this past weekend was exceptionally taxing. So, instead of one cooking session, it became more of a series of little Hulk episodes. Here were the damages:

Oliver Twist’s Soup
A soup made entirely out of pantry odds and ends.

Dice up some Salo (Russian cured pork fat), render it in a pan with onions and potatoes. Add chicken broth and simmer for 20 mins, thicken with potato flakes (my secret to a quick soup. Shh.), add seasonings and finish with heavy cream.

BLT without the B or the L
Slice filone bread and grill in cast iron pan with pork fat (Salo fits the bill). Then sear Roma tomato slices with cracked pepper and salt. Assemble sandwich with Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, grilled tomatoes and basil. Et voila!

Anchovies + Lemon
My first encounter with the infamous anchovy… who would’ve thought they were so delicious? To me, they’re the solid version of fish sauce.

Boil pasta in salted water and heat up oil with diced onions. Add diced tomatoes, capers, lemon zest and chopped anchovies and saute till fragrant. Toss in pasta with a little bit of the pasta water and finish with lemon juice, basil and butter.

Leftovers from Trader Joe’s
Boil pasta in salted water and render Italian sausages. Saute eggplant strips with chopped anchovies in the rendered sausage grease (just trust me). Add frozen artichokes, garlic tomato sauce and pasta. Finish with basil, season and enjoy.

Lemon Panna Cotta + Port Wine Berry Sauce
Steep cream and milk with vanilla beans and lemon zest, add gelatin and chill in the fridge till set, which takes anywhere from 6 hrs to overnight. In a small saucepan, reduce down port with mixed berries, lemon juice and sugar. Blend till smooth and serve on top of the panna cotta. Garnish with lemon zest.

Very Gouda Risotto
Render Salo and add minced onions. Add Arborio rice and saute till golden brown. Add mushroom stock and cook till the rice is al dente. Add chopped haricot verts, bok choy and tiger shrimp. Finish with cream, pepper and grated smoked Gouda.

Home in a Bowl
Mixed ground pork shoulder with grated ginger, chopped bok choy, green onions, cilantro, Shitake and season to taste. Wrap and boil in water. Prepare soup by boiling chicken broth, chiffonade ginger, Shitake and bok choy. Add cooked wontons and finished with minced green onions and cilantro.

Until next time…

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  • Siao

    the wontons look delicious~ what about maybe some napa cabbage over the bok choy? and maybe some rehydrated shitake mushrooms? :)

  • Gastrophoria

    Ah yes, my friend and fellow wonton-maker, Jackie, asked the same too. I like them equally the same, but I grew up with bok choy so we ended up with it (and we didn't want to buy the watermelon-sized napa). We did add a few shitakes in the mixture—I call it the wonder schrooms.

    Ps. Thanks for being the first commenter! Keeps me on my toes to update more often…