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What's for Dinner #339 -- The Advent Edition [through Dec. 21, 2014]

That sounds amazing! We grew up eating slow cooked mung beans as a stew; I had no idea they could be made into a salad.

Dec 18, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #339 -- The Advent Edition [through Dec. 21, 2014]

Tapas, brotzeitteller, doesn't matter what you call it, that's one of my favorite quick dinners. I enjoy beet-colored horseradish, but I have yet to get my hands on some of those wonderful sounding horseradish-inflected beets.

Favorite Christmas Food Traditions

I love the light meal we take after returning from midnight Mass, polvorones, cups of bracing hot chocolate whipped into a creamy froth with a batidor, warm clouds of pan de sal fresh from the oven and Virginia ham. It's a light but restorative meal to take us from caroling into the soft embrace of the Christmas morning bed.

Come dinner time it's all about the chicken relleno: completely deboned and stuffed with pork, pickles, eggs and sausages. It's sliced across the breast to display the artful interior that reanimates the chicken. And the spring rolls! Fresh ones with crisp jicama and salty garlic sauce. Fried ones with juicy pork filling and sweet chili on the side.

Dec 17, 2014
JungMann in General Topics
1

How to present deviled quail eggs?

I use small river rocks for dishes like this. They're a rustic contrast with fancy deviled eggs and the crevices between the pebbles are just large enough to nestle the eggs.

What's for Dinner #339 -- The Advent Edition [through Dec. 21, 2014]

That sounds delicious. Please report back. I've only tried Cuban pork dishes with sour orange. I'd love to hear how it works with poultry.

Dec 17, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #339 -- The Advent Edition [through Dec. 21, 2014]

I'm not crazy for chicken waffles, but I like the adobo version simply for having more flavor than the usually sweet and greasy dish.

The Ed Lee version is a bit more complicated than what I originally devised. I think you can get away with eliminating the poaching step and simply marinate boneless thighs in adobo broth (no water) in addition to seasoning the flour more aggressively with paprika, black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. I like Ed Lee's dipping sauce (I found it when I was searching for a maple nuoc cham idea I had) but would omit the soy, add sambal and increase the the maple syrup. Here I've plated my version on mini waffles with calamansi creme and maple adobo glaze.

What's for Dinner #339 -- The Advent Edition [through Dec. 21, 2014]

Most of it was made ahead of time and just needed to be heated or assembled day of; I thought it would all just be a matter of timing but boy was I wrong! Also I consulted your blog post on Liptauer when it came to making my Austrian version. Your blog is one of the top hits on Gooogle!

What's for Dinner #339 -- The Advent Edition [through Dec. 21, 2014]

According to Dan Pashman of "The Sporkful," there are two types of party hosts: missionaries and martyrs. Missionaries are there to spread joy throughout a party, martyrs sacrifice all their time and energy into preparing that meal from the ktichen. So when I planned Saturday's dinner, I made sure to plan a missionary menu so that I could spend more time with my friends. This year we dined on:
Soft pretzels with Liptauer and Christmas beer mustard
Steak with horseradish cream
Beet-pickled deviled eggs
Gin-cured gravlax with lemon creme fraiche
Maple-miso glazed bacon
Kibbeh with pistachios, pomegranate and mint labneh
Longanisa sausage with pickled papaya and ricotta salata
Crab rangoon
Hot buttered hummus with bastirma and oil-cured olives
Artichoke dip
Croquembouche

I made an extra effort on presentation to make up for serving a pre-fab dinner and yet with much of the menu made ahead of time, I still had to 86 other menu items to get out of the kitchen before midnight! At least people were quite keen on the seasonally warm spices of the hot buttered hummus and kibbeh so the effort paid off.

Tonight's dinner is one of the items I had nixed on Saturday: adobo fried chicken waffles. It was an idea I had when I tried to come up with something that speaks to my mixed background, but apparently Korean-American Chef Ed Lee beat me to the punch. I'll serve it with a gingery batch of kimchi so two can play at the borrowing Asian flavors game and of course a glass of aged eggnog under the glow of the Christmas tree for dessert.

arrogant swine opening, but....

"When I was there Tyson Ho, owner/ Grillmaster was there on premises. The place was sadly empty. It was dinner time and I figured it would be packed."

And that's probably why Chef Ho is so keen on "selling lots and lots of craft beer." It's likely where he'll be making his profit to make up for times like this when a day's worth of prepared food goes uneaten.

Dec 17, 2014
JungMann in Outer Boroughs

Eggnog - Love It or Leave It

I make enough eggnog to last me into the Spring. After 3 or 4 months the eggnog is so smooth that it's a little like drinking a glass of silk with the complexity of an aged red wine. I've had the same batch of eggnog last me as long as 7 months when summer weather makes eggnog ice cream with fresh summer berries a real and delicious possibility.

There is enough alcohol in aged eggnog to preserve it for a year's worth of aging. In fact studies suggest that allowing eggnog to sit gives the alcohol time to kill any pathogens that may be present, suggesting aged eggnog may be safer than fresh. I normally bottle my eggnog in sterile containers but had excess that I stored in Tupperware this year. It's been safe to drink for the past 6 weeks I've been sampling from it.

Dec 17, 2014
JungMann in General Topics

Eggnog - Love It or Leave It

I am a big, BIG fan. I usually make a large batch in October with brandy, dark rum and peach schnapps. It starts out somewhat thin with a definite alcoholic bite, but by mid-December the flavors have blended seamlessly and the proteins have begun to break down, giving the eggnog a bit more body.

Dec 16, 2014
JungMann in General Topics
1

What's for Dinner #339 -- The Advent Edition [through Dec. 21, 2014]

They're not quite latkes, but I do make Turkish zucchini pancakes with dill, mint, walnuts and feta cheese. The recipe below gives roughly the proportions I use, but I bind the pancakes with rice flour and egg.
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Dec 16, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking
1

Where to get merguez in NYC?

$14/lb I believe.

Dec 12, 2014
JungMann in Manhattan

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

I had fresh mint, so I made the chermoula with coriander, cumin, pimenton and harissa tossed in to taste.

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

Still working my way through the freezer to free up space for holiday foods. Other than stopping by the greengrocer for vegetables, I don't think I've properly gone grocery shopping in about a month now!

I have a leg of lamb defrosting in the refrigerator to make kibbeh for the holidays. It's not yet fully defrosted, so lamb's off the menu tonight. Instead I have leftover rice from Indian takeaway and an autumnally-spiced morcilla de Burgos to work with. So tonight's main: morcilla-stuffed squid on brown lentils with mint chermoula for brightness and zip. On the side a childhood favorite of steamed broccoli with lime pickle mayonnaise to grow it up.

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

I grew up in a Muslim home as well, but once I tasted pork, the real struggle was staying Muslim!

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

I didn't know you were in town this week! Your restaurant is just a stone's throw away from my regular bar and the proximity of khachapuri and beer forewarns of some diet busting come New Year's resolution time.

Ideas for serving smoked salmon

How do you serve your gravlax? Presliced or do you let guests do the work themselves? I plan on curing fish for Christmas and can't make up my mind on the best way to present it. Sliced on gaufrette potatoes or whole and surrounded with accompaniments.

Nov 26, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking

Ideas for serving smoked salmon

I wouldn't say spicy and it has a much cleaner cucumber flavor than tzatziki or raita. I grate a peeled seedless cucumber into paper towel so I can squeeze the juice from the solids. Add about 3 tbsp. of juice to a block of cream cheese with a bit of salt or Worcestershire sauce and a bit of grated sweet onion or some scallions or dill if so desired.

Nov 26, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking

Ideas for serving smoked salmon

Benedictine. It's a rich and yet light on the tongue spread made from cucumber juice and cream cheese. It's most popular in Kentucky, but outside Dixie it's a marvelous accompaniment for gravlax or lox.

Nov 24, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking
1

Christmas Baking 2014

Today is actually Stir Up Sunday so during the usual mind-wanderings in the middle of a bit-too-long sermon I debated whether I ought to start a Christmas pudding tonight or work on a mincemeat pie. I also came across a good supplier for fatback on the way home so I may make Filipino holiday cookies of candied fatback with wintermelon. Either way, the eggnog is now made and aging its way to Christmas.

Nov 23, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #335 - Is Everyone Feeling the Chill? [through Nov. 24, 2014]

Those lahmacun look great. Did you hold them in the oven to keep warm or did you plate them as soon as they were done? I'm debating getting a new pizza stone to make these for a cocktail party, but not sure how they hold up over time.

Nov 23, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #335 - Is Everyone Feeling the Chill? [through Nov. 24, 2014]

I went to a friend's apartment in Hell's Kitchen for the latest installment of our Desi dinner parties last night. She made our sides, naan, a buttery dal and okra sabzi. It doesn't sound like much, but I'm wild about her vegetarian cooking. (There's something you're not likely to hear me ever say again) Our other friend lives with roommates in the close quarters of Murray Hill, so she couldn't do too much cooking without proper ventilation. She store bought fried samosas and dahi vada, but made a Mughlai dish of matar paneer. Being the only non-Hindu, I was tasked with bringing the meat dishes. I opted for a Bombay style lamb biryani with sour plums and a nihari. Normally nihari is made with beef slow-cooked to quivering tenderness in a fiery, fennel-scented broth topped with ever more chilies, slivered ginger and cilantro. Dining with Hindus, beef was out, so I substituted goat breast and shoulder. I wasn't sure how the substitution would pan out, but I had to grin when my vegetarian-raised friend asked for a marrow spoon to get to the unctuous heart of a soup bone. She'd never had marrow before, but after failing to delicately scoop out the marrow with a toothpick, she resorted to sucking on the bone like a seasoned pro. I guess the goat worked out after all.

Al Bustan

Pan is right. The differences between the Levant and Yemen are vast. Even the Arabic they speak is different. The seasonings, too, are a stark contrast: direct trade routes with India have led to Yemen developing a spicier (both in heat and intricacy) cuisine than Arabs in the Levant. Just compare the Levantine staple of baharat to Yemeni hawaij and you clearly taste the difference. While the two regions do share common staple crops, they are prepared differently.

The Yemeni impact on Israeli cuisine is unique in the Levant because of the large population of Yemenite Jews, a population not found in other parts of the region. There is not as much crossfertilization between these countries as you imply unless you've also been noticing some Ashkenazi treats in Beirut nowadays.

Nov 22, 2014
JungMann in Manhattan

Thanksgiving/Festive Recipe for CostCo Boneless Leg of Lamb?

Cooking flat will cook the thinner parts of the lamb to well done while the thicker parts of the lamb remain medium rare. Rolling and tying the leg allows you to uniformly shape the lamb and cook to the desired temperature. If you have dinner guests who like their meat at various shades of doneness, then cook flat. If you want to serve your lamb at an exact 135 degrees, tie it.

Nov 22, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving/Festive Recipe for CostCo Boneless Leg of Lamb?

Have you opened the Costco package? The legs usually have a serious fat cap. It just may be hiding beneath the labeling. As for recipes, this North African-inspired spice rub from Epicurious is one of the most flavorful preparations I've come across. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Nov 21, 2014
JungMann in Home Cooking
1

What are your 3 favorite cuisines to cook other than your own?

Cajun, Chinese and Thai. All three tend to be quick to get to the table and even the mistakes are delicious.

Nov 21, 2014
JungMann in General Topics

Al Bustan

The interior is a step up from the average Lebanese restaurant and the place is dripping with Lebanese hospitality. You get a warm welcome when you come in and they do make you feel like an honor guest. The kitchen is happy to accommodate special requests. The wait staff just needs to come round more often.

Nov 21, 2014
JungMann in Manhattan

2nd entree that would compliment lamb (also 7hr lamb - leg or shoulder)?

I was also going to recommend an eggplant-based alternative. Lamb and eggplant are a greater pairing than steak and red wine.

Al Bustan

It's one of the better Lebanese restaurants in the borough, though there is better in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Service is slow as Simon notes. It would not be my choice if I were limited to one dinner in NYC.

Nov 20, 2014
JungMann in Manhattan