Today, Jess and Michelle invented Asian Chicken & Waffles: BonChon Chicken with Moffles (mochi waffles) and maple syrup. Deliciousness.

How to make Asian Chicken & Waffles:

  • Buy a bucket of BonChon chicken (If you are attempting to go at 11am when they open on Sundays in Manhattan, their chicken will not yet be in the fryer. Be prepared to wait.)
  • Grab a bag of mochi blocks from your local Japanese grocery store
  • Stick a mochi block in your heated waffle maker. Wait about 4-5 minutes until it spreads out and becomes crispy, yet still a tad bit chewy inside.
  • Put some chicken on top of your cooked moffle.
  • Add syrup.
  • Enjoy.

The beginning of January really isn’t the best time to be working outdoors to finish a pipe shelf that you’ve been dying to complete since you moved in. But here it is, our pipe shelf in all its glory!

Most of the directions can be found at the Brick House – the hardest part was measuring everything and figuring out exactly which pipes we needed to buy. And then going back to Home Depot over and over again because we needed different ones. The second hardest part was probably cleaning the pipes because the manufacturers insist that each pipe piece be stickered with extra-glue. And then the sticker is taped over with a big fat piece of super-sticky tape. Ughhh… thank goodness for Goo Be Gone. 

If you want to do this, you probably want a warmer day than below 30-degree weather (when Rob was spraypainting pipes). You also want to make a diagram and figure things out BEFORE going to Home Depot, so you know what you need when you get there. Although Morgan says to drill holes before you stain, I would recommend doing it afterwards (lessens the risk you or your pipes might be off). Also, matte black spraypaint looks pretty badass on these pipes.

Some of the stuff you see…

Lobster Stock Rice Pilaf

A few weeks ago, we took a trip with our friends Grace and Sean to Maine. We brought back a couple of lobsters from Three Sons that Rob chopped up and sautéed, Chinese-style. He’ll have pictures of that soon. My crowing achievement was making lobster stock.

Now, Rob and I are veterans of stock. We typically make chicken stock from leftover chicken parts and bones after we’ve deconstructed the chicken. This time, I decided to use the leftovers from the lobster, make it into a nice, rich stock and freeze it up in little baggies for future cooking adventures.

Today was one of those adventures. Last night, Rob made some chicken tarragon and we ate it sans-starch because… well, we were tired and didn’t feel like cooking anything else. I decided that the leftovers merited some sort of rice, so I decided to go beyond the trusty Tatung rice cooker.

Enter… lobster stock pilaf. Elise from Simply Recipes has a pretty awesome recipe for rice pilaf, and I’m going to show you my adaptation for Japanese white rice (the standard I have at home) and lobster stock.

I realize for some people it’s a bit of a sacrilege to be using butter and lobster stock with short-grained Asian white rice, but it tastes pretty awesome and is a good, quick fix for the “I’m sick of plain white rice” days.

(Adapted from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups Japanese white rice
  • 2 ½ cups lobster stock (substitute water for stock if you don’t have enough, but know it’s not going to be as flavorful)
  • some green onions, chopped up
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt + pepper

Directions

  1. Wash white rice three times in a saute pan (I always do this – habit, perhaps?)
  2. Put white rice on stove and cook on medium until most of the water burns off
  3. Add 1 tbsp of butter, coat the rice and cook for a couple of minutes
  4. While you are doing 1-3, put your 2 ½ cups of lobster stock in a saucepan on the stove and warm it up a bit (or in my case, defrost it) on low
  5. Back to your saute pan, add in your green onions and stir around until soft
  6. Add your seasoning – cayenne, salt and pepper – to taste
  7. Keep frying your rice until it looks a little browned
  8. Dump the rice into the saucepan with lobster stock and mix it around
  9. Let it boil, and then turn the heat down to simmer
  10. Cover your pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes
  11. After 15 minutes, take it off the heat but keep the lid on for 10 more minutes
  12. Fluff with fork, use your rice paddle to get some of the crusty stuff off the bottom, and enjoy!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

In Brooklyn, Model T is a classic butcher shop. It has the best meat and best prices. Lou, the butcher, is pretty much a one man show. He takes care of getting the meat, cutting, grounding, and anything else that you can imagine. Because of that, there’s usually a pretty long wait, filled with locals from the neighborhood.

This weekend, I waited about 30 minutes to get meat for our bbqs. That gave me a long time to figure out what to do with our extra Rudy’s BBQ sauce from a previous weekend. I decided to give pulled pork sandwiches a shot. Lou didn’t have any pork butt in display so he brought some out for me to look at. It turned out to be one of the best looking butts that I’ve ever seen. It was a deep red and marbled all the way through. I took 3 pounds. The guy next to me, who almost fainted at the sight of the butt, took the rest. Good butt looks like this.

The beauty of pulled pork is that you make it in a slow cooker. That means you pretty much dump everything into a pot and let it cook for a few hours. The length of time that you let it cook gives it the chance to really make the meat tender. So tender that it just shreds with two forks. Also, you can make this in advance, and it doesn’t require any grilling – great to save time when there’s going to be a crowded grill.

I found a recipe to take some inspiration from and modified it a bit to make it more simple. For my use, I didn’t need all those fancy ingredients because I was going to use BBQ sauce to flavor it after shredding.

So after mixing in the ingredients in a slow cooker and letting it cook for 6 hours, it came out perfectly. You’ll want to transfer it to a large bowl or flat area so that you can shred the pork with just two forks. I like to let it rest for a few minutes before shredding.

After I shred it up to the point where there are a few chunks, I transferred it back to the slower cooker to keep warm before serving. Then I poured in the BBQ sauce and shred some more. It should look like this when you’re all set.

You can serve this in many different ways – by itself, with chips and salsa, with cole slaw – we served them with buns. This batch turned out perfectly. Very tender and so delicious from the Rudy’s BBQ sauce that we used. Nothing beats a a good looking butt in between a soft pair of buns. Try it out for yourself.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (3 pound) pork shoulder/butt roast
  • 1 cup Rudy’s BBQ sauce + 1-2 cups extra for mixing
  • ½ cup vinegar (any will do)
  • ½ cup broth (optional, any will do)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 extra large onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 8 hamburger buns, split
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or as needed

Directions

  1. Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork roast into the slow cooker; pour in the barbecue sauce, vinegar, and broth. Stir in the brown sugar, yellow mustard, chili powder, onion, and thyme. Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours (low for 10hrs)
  2. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Discard cooking liquid from slow cooker. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir in 1-2 cups of bbq sauce.
  3. Spread the inside of both halves of hamburger buns with butter. Toast the buns, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Spoon pork into the toasted buns.

Chili-Lime Chicken Skewers

I love cooking with skewers, especially for chicken. Instead of grilling a big piece of chicken breast, cutting them up into smaller chunks gives it more flavor (if you’re using a marinade). It also grills faster and gives you more char per square inch, which mean even more delicious food.

For the chicken skewers, I wanted to give it a flavor profile that was refreshing with a kick since we had a heavier main course. I looked online and found inspiration from a Chili-Lime recipe. It was a good start, but then decided to make some modifications to my liking.

The flavor profile of the marinade is delicious. The marinade features two contrasting flavors that balance each other. The primary flavor is the spice from the chili pepper and minced garlic. The secondary flavor is the citrus sweetness from the lime and pineapple juice. The acidity from the citrus and the punch of the cilantro tempers the heat from the spice.

The recipe is simple too. You start out with the marinade, put in the chicken, wait an hour, skewer it, grill it, and then eat it. They cook quickly and come out perfectly. So juicy and flavorful that we had none left! Try it out –

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced with pulp
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup pineapple juice (or any citrus juice)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.
  • soaked skewers

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, pineapple juice, and lime juice. Season with chili powder, chipotle powder, paprika, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish with the sauce, and stir to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken juices run clear. Turn every few minutes to give an even char.

Cedar Planked Salmon w/ Soy-Ginger Marinade

A few years ago, this farm-to-table restaurant called Founding Farmers opened next to the IMF (not badass Ethan Hunt, but maid-chaser Dominique Strauss-Kahn). I went there countless times because the menu was so delicious and the drinks were to die for. In fact, I probably brought every out-of-towner to Founding Farmers.

One of my favorite items was the Cedar Planked Salmon. Growing up, I was fairly apathetic  to salmon. My take on salmon was either that it was either an oozing-white over-dried buffet item or a soy-marinated baked fish that my mom made now and then.

Founding Farmer’s version was different. Everything they used there was organic or locally grown, and somehow it made everything taste so much better. So they started with some wild-caught atlantic salmon, marinate it in a maple syrup-apricot glaze, then smoke/grill it on a cedar plank. The cedar flavor infuses the salmon during the cooking process to balance out the sweetness of the glaze. It is so freakishly good.

Because of that inspiration, Jess and I decided to try make it for some guests. They key would be cedar planks and the grilling process that releases its flavors. We got our planks from Amazon (where we get everything). Make sure you get untreated cedar wood, otherwise you’ll be eating chemicals.

So after very-excited receiving our planks in the mail, we ran to the market to pick a few basic ingredients, per the recipe that we found. The recipe we followed is really simple – just soak the planks, create a simple marinade with basic ingredients, marinade, and then grill. You could probably do this in the oven, but the cedar flavors would not be as strong. 

Anyways, here’s the Cedar Planked Salmon recipe that we followed. It a smashing success, and our guests loved it.

Ingredients

  • 3 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 (2 pound) salmon fillets, skin removed

Directions

Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour in warm water. Soak longer if you have time.

In a shallow dish, stir together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and garlic. Place the salmon fillets in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to one hour.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Place the planks on the grate. The boards are ready when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.

Place the salmon fillets onto the planks and discard the marinade. Cover, and grill for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when you can flake it with a fork. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill.

More Photos –

salmon in marinade

salmon grilling

Skewered Spicy Shrimp

The deliciousness of our previous Grilled Truffle Shrimp Skewers inspired us to look for similar recipes. Rob loves spicy food and Jess loves Mark Bittman’s recipes – they are simple yet oh-so-tasty.

Tip: Our wood skewers from last week started molding! Be sure they are dry before you store them. Try to get bamboo ones too.

We found one from him called Skewered Spicy Shrimp and modified it to make it a tad more suited to the dishes we were cooking today. Our party guests loved it. It’s a totally different taste and texture from our Grilled Truffled Shrimp – very savory with a spicy kick. I’d recommend eating it with a cold beer.

Skewered Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (approx. 42 shrimps)
  • 1/3 bulb of minced garlic
  • ½ tbsp coarse sea salt
  • ¾ tsp ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 tsp sauce from adobo chipotle (optional for added kick)
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges

Rinse shrimp – it gets rid of some of the undesirable “sea” flavors. Mix garlic, sea salt, chipotle pepper, adobo chipotle sauce, paprika, olive oil, and lemon juice together in a large bowl to make a liquidy paste. Mix this sauce with cleaned shrimp. Skewer shrimp – about 6 per stick. 

Fire up the grill to at least medium-high heat. Grill each side for about 3-4 minutes. Turn when tails turn orange/red. Serve with lemon wedges.

Gazpacho

Jess loves this blog called The Pioneer Woman. It’s the blog of a lady that came from a small town, then went to a big city in Cali, then fell in love with the a cowboy and now resides in the middle of nowhere. She keeps a blog of her life. In fact, her life is so interesting that a gazillion people go to it every day. The Pioneer lady has some pretty good stuff, one of them being this Gazpacho recipe.

I’ve always avoided Gazpacho because I always confused it with Gestapo. Everyone makes this mistake right? Honest mistake.

It looked like there were no Nazis in the recipe, so we decided bust out the food processor and try it out. 

We picked up from fresh ingredients and got to work. This recipe asks you to dice everything, so I started to mindlessly do that. But half way through and 15 minutes later, I realized that you have to throw most of it in a food processor. I’d recommend dicing a quarter of the ingredients and just rough chopping the other parts to save lots of time.

Tip: Make sure you know the liquid level limits of your food processor. Ours spilled over because we took too many liberties. 

After you cut everything up and throw it in the processor, make sure you chill the concoction. I would even throw it in the freezer for a few minutes before serving to get extra chill.

There some extra garnishes too (cilantro and sour cream) that are a nice to have, but go a long way for presentation.

Here’s the Pioneer Lady’s gazpacho recipe, modified for cutting tips.  

Ingredients           

  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ½ whole Red Onion, dice/chop
  • 1 whole Large Cucumber, dice/chop
  • 5 whole Roma Tomatoes, dice/chop
  • 1 whole Zucchini, dice/chop
  • 2 stalks Celery, dice/chop
  • 1 dash Salt To Taste
  • ¼ gallons Tomato Juice
  • ¼ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ⅛ cups Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
  • 6 dashes Tabasco or some chipotle adobo sauce if you’re making this.
  • 1 dash Black Pepper To Taste     
  • Optional: cilantro and sour cream for garnish

Instructions   
In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, and a dash of salt.

Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; mixture will have a nice speckled, colorful texture.

Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and half of the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. (Reserve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnish.)

Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least a couple of hours; soup needs to be very cold!

Remove the soup from the fridge and stir. Check seasonings one last time. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables, a sliver of fresh avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. Finally, place a grilled shrimp on the top and serve with grilled slices of bread.

This is a to-die-for summer dinner.

Sliders with Chipotle Mayo

I am a Food Network junkie. Some days, I wish I was Bobby Flay, the ultimate celebrity chef and my personal food hero. If you watch Food Network, you’ve also heard of Paula Deen, the infamous cook that defines “a little bit of butter” as a whole stick of it. Anyways, Paula Deen is to butter as Bobby Flay is to ancho chili pepper. I swear, he uses that stuff in every dish, but who can go wrong with more chili pepper? Love it.

In my quest to find a burger recipe, I came across a highly reviewed recipe for sliders. It was from Food Network and from Bobby Flay. It, of course, has adobo chipotle chilis too.

This was perfect complement to what we were whipping up for our lunch party this past weekend. It was big enough to be filling, but small enough that it didn’t dominate the meal. Also, the ancho chili complemented the skewered shrimp and gazpacho dishes we were serving.

The sliders are simple. No onions, no worcestershire, and no egg. Just ground beef, salt, and black pepper. The chipotle mayo is what really shines and what makes these slidersy a hit. Another benefit of serving sliders is that the cook fairly fast, as they are about half the size of a regular burger.

I recommend this recipe, so try it for yourself.

Ingredient for chipotle mayo:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • ½ lime, juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for sliders:

  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds ground chuck, 80/20
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cheese slices, your choice
  • Mini burger buns
  • 2 oz of butter, cut into small chunks  

Burger Bar (if desired):

  • Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • Pickles
  • Red onion slices       

Let’s start with the chipotle mayo. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and puree. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.       

Start the grill to medium-high heat. For the sliders, form the meat into 2 to 3-ounce portions, packed tightly. Season with salt and pepper. Push in a few little chunks of butter. You can substitute butter for small chunks of cheese for an added flavor.

Place the sliders on the grill. Wait until they are nice and crusty on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip and cook another 4 minutes. When the sliders are about done, top with desired cheese and close the grill, allowing the cheese to melt.
       
Place the slider on mini burger buns and top with chipotle mayo and any other desired toppings. In the photo above, we threw in some grilled sirloin steak and a spicy grilled shrimp for added deliciousness.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Grilled corned is a quintessential dish from summer bbqs. Grilling corn au-natural pairs its juicy sweetness with a crunchy char texture unfound in any other veggie. A few years back, we went to the Minnesoda State Fair and gobbled up several husks of grilled corn topped with butter and Old Bday – so delicious.

Back in NYC, there’s this one restaurant, Cafe Habana, that is known for their grilled cuban corn. Their grilled corn has always inspired us to make it ourselves.

This weekend, we finally had the perfect opportunity. We found a recipe that produced a similar style grilled corn and decided to try it out. It’s listed below.

It’s simple, tasty, and affordable. Our guests absolutely loved it – we’re pretty sure each person had at least one whole husks of grill corn. 

Ingredients

  • 6 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Cotija cheese (about 4-5 ounces)
  • Ground chili powder (or ground cayenne pepper or ground chipotle)
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving

Fire up the grill and get all ingredients ready.

Microwave 3 ears of corn at a time in a covered container, 5 minutes. When first batch is done, microwave the second batch.

While corn is cooking stir mayonnaise, sour cream, cumin and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Place grated cheese on a large plate and set aside.

When corn is done in the microwave, grill it, turning frequently, until browned in spots, about 10-12 minutes. When corn is done on the grill, attach corn holders to each ear, and, working quickly, smear each ear with the mayonnaise mixture (this is the glue for the cheese), and then roll it in the grated cheese, sprinkle with chili powder and place on a plate. Use whatever chili powder you like, and give it a light sprinkle. You are working quickly because you want the heat of the corn to soften the cheese. Don’t let the corn cool off.

Serve immediately, with lime wedges alongside. Squeeze lime over the corn before eating.