In April 2016, Buro and I went on a short backpacking trip out on the Lost Coast in California. I came back with mixed impressions and raw feet from walking on the sand for 3 days.
On night one we made a green garlic cabbage slaw that is better forgotten than written up. Green garlic is quite pungent in April and we had used it generously in the sauce like an earlier in the season green garlic.
However, on night two, we made a fun and fantastic duck confit salad that travelled and ate well.
Fish sauce vinaigrette salad dressing
- Carrots (5-7)
- one to two larger pieces duck confit
- (small) pan or pot that fits each piece of confit in it easily for searing
- aformentioned made-ahead fish sauce vinaigrette
- Y-peel carrots (This is fun!)
- While one person is y-peeling carrots, shred each piece duck confit off the bone and place shredded pieces (with any fat that’s fallen off during the day while you’ve been hiking) in the pan to fry up and warm up. Brown and warm.
- Place duck on top of y-peeled carrots and pour over vinagrette to taste.
Pla Rad Prik is a Thai dish: whole-fried, meaty white fish with
chili sauce, usually a centerpiece entree. It’s pretty common to find red
snapper (delicious!) in Thai restaurants in the US; farmed or less over-fished
alternatives like grouper, pompano, white perch, etc. probably work as
well. Ideally, whatever fish is sized appropriately for your wok.
This is a recipe for a soft cashew cheese spread, in the style of what you may
find from Miyoko’s Creamery. The spread can also be pressed into a package with
a cheese press.
Mix together into a food processor and blend until smooth:
- 500g soaked cashews (simmered and soaked overnight)
- 1 tbsp miso
- 2 tbsp fermented tofu
- 1/4 cup pickle brine (lactofermented)
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Empty into a glass bowl, cover with a secured cheesecloth, and leave to ferment
in a sunny area (probably for a few weeks?). The cheese should begin to bubble
after a few days and will eventually darken on top.
I always have chile oil in a jar in the pantry. My mother makes her own, and my recipe is an adaptation of hers.
Ingredients & tools
- at least 12 whole dried chilis
- at least 1/2 cup of neutral oil
- large mixing bowl
- container for storing chili oil
- cast iron pan
- blade grinder / mortar & pestle
- one chopstick
Sourcing, tools, etc.
Start with whole dried chilis, not chili flakes. I live in California, and I prefer Mexican dried chilis (those used for Mexican cooking, like chile de arbol), despite making a Chinese recipe.
Don’t let sourcing difficulties hold you back though, any whole dried chili at all can be made into a chili oil.
I look for ‘fresh’ dried chilis. Freshness is an interesting concept when it comes to something dried–I mean a chile that has a pliable quality to it still, and it isn’t so brittle that it feels like dust waiting to happen in your hand. If you live somewhere with hotter summers than I do, you can grow your own peppers and dry them yourself to make chile oil.
Personally, I’ve been on a roll with Casa Ruiz’s arbol chiles, and I’ve had good results with Penzey’s Sannam Chilis as well.
You’ll also want something to grind your toasted chilis with. I use a cheap blade grinder. Something like this serves nicely if you don’t already have one. Of course, you can always use a mortar and pestle but it’s really not necessary for this recipe. How fine you grind the peppers is up to you, but enjoy a toothiness to my chile oils–a fine dust is a little too much grinding.
Remove stems from dried chiles. While doing this, you can shake out any loose seeds if you’d like a slightly less spicy chile oil. I don’t usually bother.
Heat a well seasoned cast iron pan on the stove. Do not use any oil. Toast the chiles on both sides until they smell fragrant. Sometimes they blister! That’s a good thing! If they burn and blacken, start over, or remove the ones that are burnt. A little bit of burnt pepper is OK, but too much creates an acrid oil that you’re not going to enjoy eating. It takes around 2 minutes on each side for the peppers to toast, but watch carefully, peppers vary in toasting time. I usually flip them over individually with chopsticks, a spatula is too coarse of a cooking tool for this job.
Remove chiles from the pan as soon as they’re toasted. If some are ready sooner than others, remove those first! No rules here except get the chiles toasted and keep ‘em from burning.
Let the chiles cool a little and then grind them in a cheapo blade grinder.
Put the ground peppers in your mixing bowl and set to the side.
Return the pan to the stove. Heat some neutral high heat oil (grapeseed, canola) in the cast iron pan. The oil is heated through when a chopstick placed in the oil looks as if the oil is ‘bubbling’ around it. When you reached this point, pour the oil over your ground chiles in the mixing bowl. Marvel at the sizzle and smell. Let cool a bit and then pour into your container.
The chile oil is ready a few hours after made, but tastes better as it ages. It keeps indefinitely at room temperature if you use clean utensils when serving it.
- on soups
- on daal
- as part of a dipping sauce for dumplings
- as part of other sauces for stir frying and other types of cooking
- drizzled on pickles
- on cheese
This describes an ice cream base used at tEp’s rush
events around 2008 to 2011. It’s basically a really thick
creme anglaise, similar to
what you might find at most nth-wave ice cream shops in Boston.
Make the Custard
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, simmer until fully dissolved:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- Remove from heat.
- Whisk 6 egg yolks in a metal bowl. Still whisking, slowly add 1/3 of the
heated cream mixture to yolks.
- Transfer yolk mixture to pot, slowly heating at medium-low until the custard
coats the back of a spoon (i.e., heat it up to 170F).
Too hot or too long and you’ll have sweet scrambled eggs. Yields ~4 cups total
and can be made and refrigerated ahead of time.
Flavor the Custard
You can split a large quantity of ice cream base into different batches for
- Vanilla (Pods and extract)
- Green Tea (Matcha powder)
- Chocolate (cocoa powder, chunked or melted dark chocolate)
Freeze the Custard
Use a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer on a low-speed setting, pouring a slow, steady,
patient stream of liquid nitrogen from the dewer until you have ice cream. Avoid
freezing it completely solid, as you can accidentally destroy the Kitchen-Aid
Addendum: Allergic to Milk? Vegan?
Of course, not everyone is into animal proteins. The Homemade Vegan Pantry
- Blend until creamy:
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/2 cups water
- Blend into cashew cream:
- 1 (13 1/2 oz) can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar.
Makes 4 cups total.
Note that you may need either a Vitamix, a strainer, or 24-hour soak of the
cashews to get a smooth texture.