November 22, 2009

Making chinese bbq pork buns

Okay. For years. I have not been able to replicate how the hell my mother made these completely delicious pork buns. I've looked up recipes online, I've experimented, I keep winding up with passable, but not great buns.

I called her today and finally asked.

Okay. For context. The usual recipe is this:

Warm water 1 cup
Active dry yeast 1 (1/4-ounce) package
Flour 1 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Shortening or oil 2 T
Water 1/2 cup
Salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
Flour 3 to 3 1/2 cups


My mother, instead of oil or water - uses butter and milk. And adds an egg.

My mother has been putting bbq pork into steamed brioche for years.

Pictures and recipe to follow. I have some weirdass mashup of French Quarter Redneck pulled pork bbq buns going on here.

November 21, 2009

Sometimes you have to move cakes

And if you're me, you don't own anything that actually encloses or protects a cake or keep it from moving.

But you sure do have packing materials from a tv.

November 18, 2009

28 oz Wine Glass 40 oz Whisky Shot

A Very Special guest post by Ender

Hey, look at this, it’s an update! And one by a sane person at that! (Ed.--At this time we have not received documentation of the author's sanity from any licensed medical or psychiatric professional.) This post contains no ham cakes, cake hams, spatchcocks, or Chinese rocks that appear to be meat but are in fact rocks. This post is about ribs and beer. Specifically, the combining of the two into Guinness braised ribs. Do I have your attention there? I thought so. Let us begin the lesson.

What do you need for this party? Ribs and Guinness obviously, but you need a bit more than that. Let’s try:

- 4 lbs of ribs (I used boneless pork ribs because they were cheap)
- 1 Guinness bottle (drink the rest while waiting for it to cook or while eating)
- 1 cup low sodium beef broth
- Plenty of kosher sea salt
- Plenty of fresh ground pepper
- 2 diced carrots
- 2 diced celery stalks
- 1 diced onion (I used yellow)
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 overloaded tablespoon of tomato paste
- 4 cloves worth of minced garlic (or spoonfuls to taste if using pre-minced stuf)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 bay leaf

Crank your oven to 325 F and we’ll get started cooking.

First up is the meat.

I got a pretty decent cut of it here, but the nice thing about the recipe is that you can swap out the meat with other kinds and just adjust cooking time accordingly. Take it, cut it into manageable pieces and thoroughly coat it in ground pepper and kosher sea salt

Now I know what you are thinking- why kosher salt if you are using pork ribs? The answer is a religious joke that I’m pretty sure they won’t let me get away with on their blog. (Ed.--Probably not, but we'd enjoy hearing it for ourselves.) So let’s go with a scientific explanation.

Salt is hygroscopic, that is it attracts water molecules. This is why it used to be used as a desiccant. For our purposes here we want that, it draws out the water molecules from the meat. This is why it is kosher incidentally; it was used to draw out blood in the act of koshering meat. Thanks for the history lesson Dan, but how does this relate to cooking me delicious ribs? Well now that the water has been drawn out, osmosis will bring it back in, along with it some of the dissolved salt. The salt denatures the protein, making the meat extra tender, and leaving behind any additional minerals brought in giving it a bit of flavor, hence why we used sea salt. Now you have established a low level fluid flow in the meat. If you were doing anything else you would want to wipe off the salt now, but this stuff is going to be submerged shortly so don’t worry about it. You want the process to continue to really inject the flavor into the meat and the low sodium beef broth will ensure the end result isn’t too salty.

This concludes the unnecessary detour. Hopefully you didn’t waste time and coated the rest of your meat while reading this. Take the meat and set it to the side.

Now get out a large pot and put the olive oil in it. Get it hot and put the meat in.

Thoroughly brown the meat on all sides.

Once you’ve gotten it all browned, take the meat out and set it to the side. Toss your diced carots, celery and onion in the same pot with the hot and now flavored olive oil and sauté them until they are soft. This should take maybe 10 minutes depending on your stove and heat.

Add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme, continue to sauté until the garlic is mixed in (you can tell because the garlic smell overpowers the others)

Now add the tomato paste, and mix it thoroughly. I sent with about a tablespoon here, but adding more will increase the richness, color, and thickness of the final sauce. This could be desirable depending on your personal tastes. In the future I’m personally going to go with more.

In goes 1 cup of beef broth, 1 bay leaf, and finally…

1 cup of Guinness. Drink the rest of it you wasteful savage.

This should be your sauce. Mix well over low heat, then add in the ribs.

While stirring to keep the meat coated, bring it all to a boil. Look at it boil:

Now at this point I made an error. The pot I had been working in had plastic coated handles, so it couldn’t go into the oven. That was mistake #1. I transferred it to a large disposable foil tray, which was mistake #2. In the future, I will use something with a smaller surface area and greater volume. That way the meat is more immersed in the sauce and there is less chance of it drying out. They still ended up really juicy, but they could have been even better. Take your pan/oven safe pot full of boiling ribs and sauce and cover it and put it in the oven:

Braising gives you some leeway in cook time, I just kept checking with a meat thermometer until it was done. I’d estimate it took about 90 minutes though.


Serve with the sauce drenched on it like gravy. It goes well with mashed potatoes or rolls to sop up the extra juice. And more Guinness to drink .


November 4, 2009


I'm so excited. I am much more comfortable with fall foods - the squashes and the potatoes and the soups and stews and braises and GREENS that are growing again (oh Houston). Brussels sprouts and kale are back - I just sowed a new batch of kale and a batch of spinach.

Last night we made chicken pot pie soup and biscuits. We've also had an influx of cream - which we have been making into CREAMFEST TWO - oh my god we need the join gyms. Clotted cream, cream scones, creme brulee, aforementioned soup and bisques oh my.

and the PUMPKINING. Yes there will be pumpkining. One of my goals is to get a sugar pumpkin and process it down into pumpkin goo just to see how it's done. Pumpkin gnocchi and more brown butter than we should ever be allowed.