Anne’s Carrot Cake
This started life as the carrot cake recipe from _The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook_, Revised Edition. And then Anne tweaked it. Heavily.
h1. Carrot cake
* 2 ^1^⁄~2~ cups spelt flour (all-purpose flour is acceptable)
* 1 ^1^⁄~4~ teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 ^1^⁄~4~ teaspoons cinnamon
* ^1^⁄~2~ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
* ^1^⁄~8~ teaspoon ground cloves
* ^1^⁄~2~ teaspoon salt
* 4 extra large eggs
* 1 ^1^⁄~4~ cups light brown sugar
* ^3^⁄~4~ cup granulated sugar
* 1 ^1^⁄~2~ cups coconut oil (melted)
* 1 ^1^⁄~2~ cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
* 1 cup raisins
* 2 pounds carrots, washed and grated (use a food processor, seriously)
# Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
# Lightly coat a 9×13 cake pan with butter then line the bottom with parchment paper.
# Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
# Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a *very* large bowl until frothy and the sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes with an electric hand mixer.
# Continue whisking the eggs and sugar as you add the oil, until the mixture is completely emulsified, about a minute.
# Gently whisk the flour mixture in until there are no streaks left.
# Stir in the carrots, walnuts and raisins. This will be an upper body workout.
# Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
# Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, assume a minimum of 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
# Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours.
# Run a paring knife around the perimeter of the pan, invert the fake onto the rack, peel off the parchment paper, then invert the cake again onto a serving platter.
* 8 oz cream cheese, softened
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
* ^1^⁄~2~ teaspoon vanilla extract (you can be liberal here)
* 1 ^1^⁄~4~ cups confectioner’s sugar
# Blend the cream cheese, butter, yogurt and vanilla until combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
# Add the confectioner’s sugar and continue to blend on low until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed, 15 to 30 seconds.
# Spread icing on cooled cake.
Treat your cast-iron right…
and it will be kind to you.
Sheryl Canter has “a very specific technique for seasoning cast iron cookware”:http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/ that is supposed to produce amazing results. Like all the best techniques, it’s grounded in science rather than hearsay.
But don’t take her word for it–Americas Test Kitchen tried her technique, and found that after treating a cast-iron skillet based on her technique, you could send it through a commercial wash cycle–with degreasing agent–and the finish was undamaged.
Our three cast iron skillets–one of which belonged to my great grandmother–are used so consistently they live on top of the stove; we basically never put them away. We use our stainless steel pots for soups, basically, but cast iron for everything else. This does present me with the small problem of taking them out of circulation to season them well.
Mind you, I have my eye on a Le Creuset Dutch Oven some day. Enameled, but still cast iron.
My Chai recipe
I knew that I had posted “my” chai recipe at some point in the past, but when I found it, I discovered that it was an old version. Time to update it, especially since as I’ve been getting more and more requests for the recipe of late. Something about cold weather.
The single biggest difference between the version I posted before and this one is that I’ve been using rooibos (aka redbush) tea for the last several years. This started because I was making it for a bunch of yoga practitioners, some of whom had sworn off caffeine. The unexpected benefit was that 1) rooibos is very tasty, and 2) unlike black tea, rooibos doesn’t get bitter if you steep it more than a couple of minutes. This means it’s possible to steep it for a long time and make a strong tea that stands up well to milk or milk-analogues.
Also, you can have it in the evening and still expect to get to sleep.
Since I sometimes make huge batches for 20 or 30 people over a weekend, but mostly batches to last Anne and I a week, this recipe is more concerned with proportion than amount (hence quantities below denoted as 4x or 2x, rather than 4T or whatever). Starting out, if you’re working with a gallon of water, x = 1 heaping tablespoon. If you’re working with a quart of water, x = 1 heaping teaspoon. Over time you’ll probably discover that you prefer certain things to be a little stronger and others to be a little weaker. I rarely even measure anymore, I just eyeball it. So don’t worry about it too much.
4x loose rooibos tea
4x peeled and sliced ginger
3x whole cardamom, crushed
3x cinnamon, crushed
2x whole cloves
2x black peppercorns, crushed
1x star anise, crushed
For the vanilla bean I use about half a bean for a gallon of chai.
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a pot appropriate to the amount of water you’re using. Put a top on it, and turn down low enough that it’s just simmering, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat, and if possible, leave it to steep overnight with the cover on. Filter and store.
I generally use this in equal proportion with milk, frothing it with the steam wand on my espresso machine—the frothiness is a nice complement. It works just as well if you whisk it in a pot as you heat it up, it’s just more work. I’ve drunk it with cow’s milk, almond milk and soy milk, all of which go well with it.
Sometimes you run out of milk
Sugar, threat or menace?
So, the New York Times “had an article about sugar”:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html.
Much of it wasn’t news to me–I knew about the interactions of fructose and the liver, for instance–while some of it was embarrassing for me not to have realized, like the fact that refined sugar is, effectively, 50% fructose (so, in that sense, those commercials the pushers of HFCS have been putting out lately are are right–there’s very little practical difference between cane sugar and corn sugar, though the fact that the fructose in HFCS isn’t bound up with anything else may mean it puts more stress on your liver).
The reason that I found this article much more compelling than the materials I’ve seen before from, say, the “Weston A. Price Foundation”:http://westonaprice.org/ is two-fold.
First, the article does not purport to be certain. I have an innate distrust of the sort of iron-clad certainty that the Weston A. Price Foundation presents when dealing with something as complex as the human body. Or most other things, for that matter–show me someone who is certain about something, and I will wonder just who they’re trying to convince, because I don’t usually feel like it’s me. For that matter, half the article makes the point that people’s certainty in the past is a large part of what got us into this mess.
Instead, the article talks about the reasons that one view is more likely, and explains why their may have been confusion–basically, it attempts to make me understand, rather than just accept.
Second, the article does not purport to impugn motives to people, and it does not take any sort of stance on their morality. The moment I read someone attributing motives to a corporation, especially “evil” motives, again, I am immediately distrustful.
Mind you, I have no love of large organizations of any kind–I think that they are inherently [_a_]moral, since morality is a necessarily individual thing, and as a consequence they will behave without consideration–but if your premise is that a corporation is setting out to consciously poison or kill its customers, you better be able to produce the memo to that effect. Otherwise, all you do by purporting to know a corporations heart is convince me that you are out of touch with your own.
So, all that out of they way, where do I stand?
Well, I don’t think sugar is inherently bad–that is, taken in small quantities, I think our bodies are resilient enough to deal with it, and I don’t give a shit about living forever–but I will be cutting down my outright intake even more than I have and taking the time to consider subtler alternatives that might allow me to reduce it still further. Perhaps one day I will remove it from my diet entirely, but I don’t see that happening soon.
“Something new for the feed reader”:http://www.cocktailians.com/.
Complete with video of Rachel Maddow (yes, that one) “making a cocktail”:http://www.cocktailians.com/2008/12/jack-rose.html.
Rockwood Filling Station
On a lark last night, Anne and I went to the Rockwood Filling Station, a new pizza place in Durham.
The pizza was very good. I do think you have to think a little differently when you’re talking about wood-fired ovens–don’t expect to get a pizza with lots of vegetation on it, because they’re a pain to par-cook, but pizza is in the oven for such a short time, they’d still be crunchy if you tried to cook them using its heat.
It’s not huge, so you might call ahead–(919) 401-9005–though we got a table immediately on a Saturday night at 7:45pm. They did try to hand us the check before we’d had a chance to order dessert–but it’s only been open for three weeks, so some hiccups in service are not unexpected.
_Supersize Me_ meets Edwardian England
I have to say, the sheer quantity of food being consumed made me more than a bit green. I’m not paragon of restraint, but there’s no way I could eat this much for one day, much less seven. “Read all about it”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/healthy_eating/article1640930.ece.
I’m in ur coffeeshop eatin’ ur breakfast
Well, on the one hand, I’m sorry that the 2-hour practice class that I had intended to go to isn’t on today–I found this out from the teacher at the class that we went to yesterday.
But the class last night, after a lot of walking, has left me worn out anyway. So instead I’m enjoying tasty food.
If I lived in DC, I’d end up awfully fat from eating like this at lunch. As it is, I try to make a pilgrimage to “Sushi Taro”:http://sushitaro.com/ when I’m in town, because it’s the best sushi I’ve ever had. From left to right, there’s eel, smoked salmon, amberjack and two kinds of mackerel. I’m not sure what the last probably says about me.
_Sous vide_ on a budget
“Ted Tso”:http://tytso.livejournal.com/–better known as a Linux kernel hacker–documents a way to do _sous vide_ cooking using a slow cooker.
This is the technique that you occasionally see on _Iron Chef America_, using special units that heat and circulate water at very precise temperatures. Using a slow cooker makes it a bit more accessible as a technique.
Funny enough, I seem to have just gotten one of those for Xmas…
If you like Alton Brown
Consider setting your TiVo to record “Alton Brown’s”:http://altonbrown.com/ new show *Feasting On Asphalt* (there’s no good link, sadly).
I watched the first episode last night (I had recorded it on Saturday or whenever it first showed), and it was interesting–the discussion of how mass culture has impacted regional food and small establishments, how changes in the automobile did the same (listen closely for the comment on the ’57 Chevy Bel-Air), so on and so forth.
The most interesting thing, though, was the fact that for all the places he stops, he gives lat-long coordinates. If you have an in-car GPS, you should be able to find any of them. That seems to me to make the whole process something more than your usual “lifestyle program” that natters about places that you’re never really expected to go.
Chicken *and* eggs. And Orzo.
While I was working up in DC, Alex–my primary partner in crime–and I would often go to a greek restaurant a on Pennsylvania Avenue a couple of blocks down from the Senate buildings. I don’t remember the name. It was not particularly distinguished in any way.
Their spanikopita were kind of scary–they looked more like burritos, if you can somehow imagine that–but the had good gyros, and Alex introduced me to avgolemono soup: the restaurant made one that was just wonderful, especially as October wore on and the days started to get colder.
Anne and I stumbled across some wheat-free orzo a while ago, and I decided to grab it Just In Case. And then I had to find a recipe. I cruised the net a bit, and came up with a few options, and then hacked around a little bit to arrive at this:
* 6C chicken broth
* 1/2C uncooked orzo
* 3 eggs
* 1/4C lemon juice
* 1C shredded chicken
# Bring the broth to boil in a saucepan.
# Add the orzo, cover and simmer until the orzo is al dente. Remove from the heat.
# In a bowl beat the eggs until fluffy, then beat in the lemon juice.
# Temper the eggs by slowly adding a cup of the heated broth to the eggs while beating vigorously.
# Reincorporate egg mixture into soup
# Add shredded chicken
So, I had “earlier”:/2006/04/omg-wtf-holy-shit.html commented on the premiere of Ben & Jerry’s “Black & Tan Ice Cream”:http://www.benjerry.com/our_products/flavor_details.cfm?product_id=180 with some shock.
Though I was uncertain of the palatability of a stout-based ice cream, I am mildly disappointed to report that there is, in fact, no beer in this ice cream at all. _Cream stout_ is apparently just a bit of clever marketing to refer to the most horrifyingly rich–mind you, not a bad thing–sweet cream ice cream they’ve ever done.
So: good ice cream, no beer. I shouldn’t be sad, but I kind of am.
OMG! WTF? Holy shit!
OK, that may seem excessive, “Black & Tan Ice Cream”:http://www.benjerry.com/our_products/flavor_details.cfm?product_id=180? I love Guinness as much as the next guy (depending, I suppose on “who the next guy is”:http://www.musicmademe.com/show_sng.php?d=98542), but damn, stout ice cream? That’s demented.
BTW, thanks to Tim for introducing me to “Ode to Guinness” which is one of the cleverest songs I’ve heard in years.
And, since I’m thinking about it, another…
So, I’m actually doing this here because it’s the easiest way to make this available to the people in the yoga immersion, many of whom have asked for the recipe (some in more amusing circumstances than others).
The original recipe is from Martha Stewart. It called for heavy cream and sixteen pans (OK, maybe just three) and other things with which we (mostly Anne, who first did the recipe) did not wish to bother. Plus we wanted to make it vegan, for maximum acceptance. As with the prior entry, blame us, not her, if it ends up unsatisfying.
The amounts are kinda arbitrary here–this is how much we made to take to a party with 30-odd people; you might need less. Also, this is very amenable to having proportions changed: if you want more or less of one thing or another, use it. Anne says that doubling the brandy works well. 🙂
Sweet potatoes with apples
* 6lb sweet potatoes
* 8 Granny Smith apples
* Lemon juice (to keep apples from browning)
* 6T butter or equivalent
* 3T maple syrup
* 2T brandy
* 4T orange juice
# Bake sweet potato’s in a 375 degree oven until they are cooked through.
# Peel and mash cooked potato’s with a little salt.
# Lubricate a 9×13 baking dish with butter or equivalent.
# Transfer mashed potato’s to baking dish.
# Peel and slice apples, tossing with lemon juice to keep them from browning.
# In a heavy skillet melt butter or equivalent, and when the butter starts to bubble, add apples. This will probably take three batches with 2T butter/1T syrup each time.
# Let apples caramelize. This is boring. Consider practicing pranayama.
# Layer caramelized apples on sweet potato’s in baking dish.
# When you’ve caramelized all of the apples, use the brandy and orange juice to deglaze the pan. The usual caveats about alcohol and open flame apply.
# Cook pan sauce down by half.
# Pour pan sauce over the contents of the baking dish.
# Place in a 375-degree oven for half an hour to warm through and let everything mingle.
fn1. Anything you find in a US supermarket is a sweet potato, even if it’s labelled a yam. Real yams are entirely different -beasts- tubers. So saith “Alton Brown”:http://altonbrown.com/, and so I believe. I think we used Beauregards, but that’s only because Anne and I find it amusing to say it with a broad southern accent.
fn2. Honestly, any firm-fleshed, tart apple, but Granny Smith’s are particularly good for this.
A recipe for the new year
So, over the last couple of years I’ve developed a taste for spiced tea, but haven’t ever found one pre-made option that I have favored unequivocally–the ones that had as much ginger as I liked were too sweet or what have you. So I decided to try making my own.
I don’t remember the original source for this recipe, but I’ve mucked about with it a bit so I don’t know that I’d be doing any favors if I credited them. 🙂
* 2-1/2C water
* 2 cardamom pods, crushed
* 3 whole black peppercorns, crushed
* 1T fresh ginger, peeled
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 2 cloves
* 1 “leaf” of star anise
* 1C soymilk
* 1-1/2T honey
* 3t loose black tea (or tea bags)
# Bash the spices lightly about in a mortar and pestle
# Put the water in a saucepan, add the spices, and bring to a low boil.
# Turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
# Add soymilk and honey and bring back to a simmer.
# Add tea, turn down the heat, and let steep for 2 to 3 minutes.
# Strain into two cups and serve hot.
Authentic? Who knows? Chai seems to be like curry, in that no two people do it the same way, so who’s to say my option is less authentic. It sure is tasty, though.
So everyone knows that in the real world, vegetables are seasonal
That is, it is only because of inordinate use of petroleum products to ship produce from wherever it might be growing that you are able to get tomatos (yes, yes, I know they’re actually a fruit) in January in North Carolina.
What you might not realize is that milk is seasonal, too.
“Bean Traders”:http://beantraders.net/ uses milk from “Maple View Farm”:http://www.mapleviewfarm.com/, a local dairy. When I walked into the shop on Monday, Christy, the owner told me not to be surprised if my cappuccino was a little less foamy than normal, because the cows had changed feed for the summer.
Let’s just say that I wasn’t expecting this–but if you think about it, this is just a natural consequence of buying locally.
Instead of getting milk that has been shipped from who knows where–and perhaps from cows that don’t get to graze in pastures and do get high doses of antibiotics and growth hormones–and mixed together with milk from some number of other sources, you’re getting milk from a herd of under 200 cows that’s processed and bottled on-site and shipped no further than the next county.
In fact, the really interesting part was that when the barrista’s noticed the change, they were able to contact the dairy and actually talk with someone, who was at least willing to think about what things the dairy might be able to do differently to try and minimize the change.
Murky Coffee Appears in novel. Oh, and naked women.
I’ve mentioned “Murky Coffee”:http://www.murkycoffee.com/ a couple of times before (but I’m too lazy to link to it), but I was amused to see a link to them on “Wonkette”:http://wonkette.com/ that led me to the information that a) it’s mentioned in Jesicca Cutler’s “novel” ??The Washingtonienne??, and b) their Arlington branch is hosting a “somewhat political photographic commentary”:http://www.wonkette.com/politics/personalities/the-art-of-jd-yezierski-105597.php that also includes naked women.
Lime & Basil, Chapel Hill, NC
So, I made myself sufficiently hungry writing about “Pho Cali”:/2005/03/pho-cali-raleigh-nc.html that I was going to go there for lunch. But, I figured I’d check with Anne to see if this was going to be an unforgivable transgression, and she suggested that I drive over to Chapel Hill and try “Lime & Basil”:http://triangle.citysearch.com/profile/41280615.
I’m happy to report that it’s good. It’s not as good at Pho Cali, but it is more than acceptable, and it’s a whole lot closer. I don’t know that we’d sacrifice our weekend trips to Pho Cali to go there, but for during the week, it’s a very reasonable alternative.
Caveat: I am probably still high from all the endorphins released by the Sriracha I tend to decorate my pho with, so judge accordingly.
Pho Cali, Raleigh, NC
So, poking around the search stats, I notice searches for “Pho Cali Raleigh” landing here–and, indeed, I seem to be the fourth result in Google.
So let me just state it here, unambiguously–I think Pho Cali is really, really good. It may not achieve the levels of excellence that, say, “The Slanted Door”:http://slanteddoor.com/ aspires to (and mostly achieves), but I’d put it up against the one other Vietnamese place I know well and like–Saigon City, in San Mateo, CA–any day of the week.
It’s a 20+ minute drive for Anne and I to get there, and we find it worth it to go once every couple or three weeks. Our Vietnamese friend, Milan Pham, thinks it’s good. Heck, we’re often the only Anglos in the place.
Have some pho, it’s good for you. And don’t forget to try the avacado smoothie, which, weird as it sounds, is actually a nice complement to the heat of a good dose of “sriracha”:http://www.huyfong.com/no_frames/sriracha.htm.
In fact, the real question is whether I’m going to risk Anne’s wrath by going to lunch there right now, without her.
I’m not sure I truly qualify as a Bacontarian…
Though I have to say that there’s few, if any, sorts of dead animal flesh I find more satisfying than a good piece of well-cooked bacon. Especially this variety we used to be able to get in Miami, cured with Juniper.
Still, if you are “a person who supplements an otherwise normal diet with large amounts of pork”, perhaps you should check out “the Bacontarian site”:http://bacontarian.com/
For what it’s worth, I’m aquainted with one of the posters on the site–dug–although I’m just mentioning this for the amusement factor. Of course, you never know–if I were given an opportunity to whore myself out, I might take it.
Or would that just involve setting up google ads?
Brad DeLong goes to Chez Panisse, “then has some fun with it”:http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2005-3_archives/000433.html:
bq. “We went to Chez Panisse for lunch last week.”
“Ah! The rough life of a Berkeley professor.”
“The dish they were pushing was chicken-under-a-brick. But i told them my wife had made it just a couple of weeks ago.”
“Did you tell them that what I made was actually chicken-under-a-cast-iron-Le-Creuset-casserole weighted with three soup cans?”
“That would have given them their opening. ‘Well, sir, be assured that at this restaurant, our chicken-under-a-brick is made with real bricks…'”
“Real bricks, made by hand by the artisan brickmakers of Sonoma County…”
“‘Sonoma County? You jest, sir! Alameda County. Those who lose big at the local Indian casinos must work off their debt by gathering dung and straw from Shattuck Avenue to hand-make adobe Mission bricks…'”
My new favorite source for recipes
So, it was a total impulse buy when I picked up the March/April issue of “Cook’s Illustrated”:http://cooksillustrated.com/–Anne and I had gotten my sister a subscription for Christmas a few years ago, and our friend Chapman had gotten us a cookbook by the same people a year or two ago, but I’d never really looked hard at the magazine, and, well, the checkout line isn’t the place to do it.
However, we’ve tried two recipes from it–one pasta dish (a spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, and pine nuts is actually “on the web”:http://www.cooksillustrated.com/article.asp?articleid=763&bdc=9156), which was judged excellent by us and the friends we had over, and their take on tortilla soup–and they’ve both been incredibly tasty, and, even more amazing, *easy*. Their tortilla soup recipe is as good as any I’ve ever had–although I’ll admit that I don’t live in, say, Houston–and it’s structured in such a way that if you had three people to work on it simultaneously, you could be done in maybe 30 minutes from start to finish.
They also have a roast chicken recipe that I’m dying to try, but for the moment, we’re going to try one of the other pasta variations. Maybe we’ll do the chicken next week.
Regardless, I highly recommend this. We have a shelf full of cookbooks, and they’re all interesting for one thing or another, but we’ve made as many dishes out of this magazine–admittedly, a $7.95 magazine (no ads, though)–as we have out of all too many of our cookbooks, and they’ve been easy and good. This is hard to overrate, IMNSHO.
Julia Child “has died”:http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/08/13/obit.child/index.html.
I don’t know what to say that others might not say about her personally.
But I can relate one amusing story.
When we were living in Cambridge, Karl Fattig came to visit us; I don’t remember if this was connected with him applying to Bowdoin or if it was after he had moved to Bowdoin and he was just coming down to visit Boston. I actually think it was the latter.
Anyway, we were sitting around eating some truly delicious scones that Karl had brought–this is part of why I think it was after he had settled in Bowdoin, otherwise why would he have brought scones along on an interview–and flipped the TV on and found FoodTV, and there was Julia Child making sausage.
Now you can say what you want about the rest of the process of making sausage, but we all just about died laughing as Julia gave her usual non-stop narration of putting the casing on the end of the sausage extruding tool–one doesn’t even have to see it to realize that this is going to look an awful lot like putting on a condom.
And then Karl started doing an outrageous parallel sort of narration, since he had a real facility for doing her voice, and I swear I couldn’t breathe.
Anne actually met her at a book signing while we were living in Cambridge.
There’s a lot of people who are professional cooks, especially (for better or worse) on TV who credit her with inspiring them.
Irregular Restaurant Review
“The Main Street Grill”:http://www.mainstgrillhmb.com/
435 Main Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
So, when we were out in California, we decided–somewhat on the spur of the moment when our friend Laura found she and Michelle were going to be late meeting us in Berkeley–to drive down the coast to have breakfast on Saturday.
We went to Half Moon Bay because it’s within shouting distance of the apartment in El Granada where I stayed when I was working out there, and it seemed likely to have something reasonable.
We stopped in the Main Street Grill not expecting much–you know, it’s a diner, so you set your expectations appropriately.
Wow. I mean, *WOW*. Anne had the best pancakes I have ever tasted, bar none. _I_ could not make pancakes this good myself, and I am a pretty good cook, and I would be motivated. In fact, I don’t generally get pancakes because I don’t think them all that inspiring. This, of course, was the one time I wish I had.
Which is not to say that the french toast, with wonderfully ripe strawberries, wasn’t quite good, too. It just wasn’t as good as the pancakes, which were otherworldly. And they do a pretty decent cup of coffee. Nothing special, there is no espresso machine of any sort in evidence, but it’s worth drinking.
The singing chef is just a bonus. Have I mentioned the pancakes?
We will definitely be going back next time we’re out there.
I salivate like a Pavlov Dog
In the two years I lived in Boston, I don’t actually remember anywhere selling Boston Cream Pie. But “this item on Fafblog”:http://fafblog.blogspot.com/2004_06_06_fafblog_archive.html#108718617404224818 is enough to get me thinking about City Cafe.
Note to any Alton Brown fans…
The fajita recipe–you know, the one that involves laying pieces of meat right on the hot coals–works brilliantly, though there is definitely a leap of faith involved the first time around. A word to the wise, though–flank steak is often somewhat thicker than the skirt steak that he recommends, so be prepared to adjust cooking time a bit.
Oh, and you probably only really want to consider this with real hardwood charcoal, not any of that processed, compressed stuff.
Bun Bo Xao
Only one place in the Triangle makes this better than this recipe.
h4. Noodle salad
* 1C cucumber, julienned
* 2C lettuce, preferably romaine, chopped
* 1/3C mint, chopped
* 2C bean sprouts
* 1/3C basil, preferably thai basil, chopped
* 1/2lb rice vermicelli
* 2T peanuts, chopped
Wash and prepare all vegetables. Mix together, and then distribute evenly among the four bowls. Cook rice noodles for four or five minutes, rinse with cold water to cool. Divide evenly among the four bowls.
h4. Vietnamese dipping sauce
* 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
* 1t chili paste
* 1/4C fish sauce
* 2/3C hot water
* 2T lime juice, with pulp
* 1/4C sugar
* 2T carrot, julienned
Combine all ingredients, serve in small bowls alongside Bun Bo Xao.
h4. Stir-fried beef
* 1lb top sirlion, sliced thinly
* 2T lemongrass, chopped as finely as possible
* 1T fish sauce
* 1/2t sugar
* 1t soy sauce
* 2T vegetable oil
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
* 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
* 2T shallots, sliced thinly
Put the beef in the freezer for one to two hours, then remove and slice thinly. Mix remaining ingredients together, then coat sirloin with marinate. When everything else is ready, heat the oil in a wok, add the garlic onion and shallots, after 30 seconds, add the marinated beef. Cook until done. Place beef on top of salad.