emeril’s mardi gras jambalaya

jambalaya

mardi gras jambalaya
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

one 5-lb. duck, trimmed of fat and cut into 8 pieces
3 tbsp emeril’s original essence or creole seasoning
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb. andouille or other spicy sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups, peeled, seeed, and chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
2 cups long grain rice
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. medium shrimp
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. season the duck pieces with 2 tbsp essence.

2. heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. add the duck, skin side down, and sear for 5 minutes. turn and sear on the second side for 3 minutes. remove from the pot and drain on paper towels.

chicken

3. add the sausage to the fat in the pot and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, and black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. add the tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes give off some of their juices, about 2 minutes. add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

sausage

4. add the thyme, stock, and duck. bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

jambalaya

5. season the shrimp with the remaining 1 tbsp essence. add the shrimp to the pot and cook until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.

jambalaya

6. add the green onions and parsley to the jambalaya and stir gently. remove and discard the bay leaves. adjust the salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. serve directly from the pot (or, if desired, transfer the jambalaya to a small ice chest to transport to an outing).

comments: this was truly tasty. it may be the tastiest meal we’ve made since coming to hawaii. it had so much tasty stuff in it, and they all worked well together. every bite you got some juicy shrimp, a strip of chicken, lots of rice, and a bunch of vegetables joined by the tasty seasoning and broth. basically we followed the recipe, except we used a whole chicken instead of a duck, because we couldn’t find any at the grocery stores here. it worked very well with chicken too though. emeril’s seasoning was actually really impressive. i really liked the spiciness and kick that it added. when i was searing the chicken, the kitchen smelled great.

the only thing i would recommend is to eat this all the day you make it. if it sits overnight, the rice absorbs any extra moisture and gets kind of mushy. it’s okay, but not as good as when it’s fresh. invite some friends over since this is meant to serve 6 (i think it probably could have served 8 though).

sad days and happy days

first, i recently had a really sad day in terms of food. so in the spring when i visited hawaii, i fell deeply in love with holotta ice cream on the fifth day. i refrained from eating it when i returned here in the summer, because my experience with it had been so special. you can’t just go around eating it willy nilly! i decided that getting my first job would be a worthy event for such great ice cream. when that day finally came, cameron and i went (with great anticipation) to celebrate with some of the life-changing banana ice cream, but alas, IT WAS NOT THERE!!! i was really crushed. still, i hoped that they had just run out for the day. i asked the girl at the counter and she told me that holotta ice cream NO LONGER MAKES BANANA ICE CREAM. i tried the pistachio:

holotta ice cream

the result: holotta ice cream is dead to me.

next, this other food experience was in the middle. pretty good, not amazing. i got this bento from mitsuba.

mitsuba

it was really cheap (4.50 i think) and had a lot of food, but i just don’t like food as much when there aren’t any vegetables. i enjoy meat much more when i get veggies too. anyway, i had the shoyu chicken, which was actually really tasty (moist and flavorful), and the other things included were a bright pink hotdog, some beef, chow fun, and rice. it was a lot of food so i had to save some to snack on the next day. apparently they have lots of different and yummy things at mitsuba, but you have to go early or they sell out. they are quite cheap too.

mitsuba delicatessen
1218 n. school st.
telephone: (808) 841-3864

finally, another awesome meal at jimbo:

jimbo udon
i had a big bowl of udon, and the special thing it had was fried mochi, which had a really cool gluey texture. it stays kind of melted since the broth is really hot. this bowl had a different broth than the one i had last time. i think it was some kind of fish broth. really good though.

jimbo combo

their combos are amazing. cameron had the udon with tonkatsu donburi. the donburi was heavenly. the egg is the perfect combination of runny and fluffy. it seems like the yolk part was cooked completely, but some of the whites were still a little runny. the tonkatsu went really well with the eggs as did the sauce. i was really jealous. i am definitely getting one of the combos next time.

jimbo
1926 s. king st.
tel: 808-947-2211

i got a job!

i finally got a job! i don’t know how i got this job, but i am pretty psyched. this is my desk:
my desk

i share this office with four other guys. they’re all a little older but very nice and kind of funny. but look at my desk. what’s that? a brand new macbook pro 2.2 GHz intel core 2 duo with a 15.4 inch screen! i have officially been converted. my mac is so beautiful and streamlined. technically it belongs to the company, but it is my baby while i work here.

we’re on the 18th (top) floor of the building right by ala moana (really convenient) so there are nice views in all the offices. here’s the view from our office:

view from office

it’s a really nice view of downtown honolulu. and if you look out to the left you can see some of the mountains; if you look to the right you can see the beach! :)

for the first week, i mostly read and tried to not fall asleep. that is not trivial! i have lots to learn though, so it’s been good. the only thing that kinda sucks is having to wake up at 6:30 everyday (i know that no one believes it’s possible but it’s true). :( it’s cuz i’m too cheap to just take the bus. that and i’m afraid that i’ll oversleep and miss work since everyone else goes to work early, so i go with cameron when he drives to school. so far things are good. i think once i start actually doing things, it will be pretty interesting but also pretty challenging since i don’t really know what’s going on (don’t tell them!).

pizza

pizza

tomato sauce
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

pizza sauce

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (5-6 cloves
1 cup dry red wine
4 15-oz cans tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock (or canned low-sodium chicken broth)
1 28-oz can crushed, peeled tomato
1 15-oz can whole tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp emeril’s italian essence
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1. heat the oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. add the onion, carrots, and celery and season with the salt and cayenne. cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and golden, about 5 minutes. add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. add the red wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

2. add the tomato sauce, stock, crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato paste, essence, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes. increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium-low. simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced nearly by half, about 3 hours. season with additional salt to taste.

pizza dough
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

1 cup warm (110 F) water
1 1/4-oz envelope active dry yeast
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups bleached AP flour
1 tsp salt

1. pour the warm water into a large bowl. add the yeast and let stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until the yeast is dissolved. stir 1 tbsp of the oil into the yeast mixture.

2. add 1.5 cups of the flour and salt, mixing by hand until is is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky. turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 minutes.

3. oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil. place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until the dough nearly doubles in size, 1 to 1.5 hours.

dough

4. remove the dough from the bowl and briefly knead, separating into two equal-size disks. place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm, draft-free place to rest for 15 minutes. use as directed.

pizza
(adapted from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

1. preheat oven to 500 F. lightly grease two baking sheets.

2. one at a time, pull and gently stretch each pizza dough portion into a 6-inch round. put each piece of dough on a greased baking sheet. pat each out to a 10- to 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on each round, leaving a 1-inch border. arrange toppings on sauce and top with a layer of the cheese.

3. bake until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom after 10 minutes

4. serve immediately.

pizza

comments: this pizza was pretty tasty. the sauce was really good on the pizza, and later we used some of it for some pasta. the dough was pretty easy to make, and turned out nice and thin. we had four different types of toppings:

1. onions, garlic, pepperoni
2. onions, pepperoni, broccoli
3. tomato, broccoli
4. spinach, garlic

i like tomatoes on the pizza. not so sure about broccoli. next time maybe we can put some real meats on the pizza, like chicken and sausages. yum!

mu shu pork

i remember eating mushu pork at a restaurant near my house when i was a kid. that was before arcadia and the surrounding areas (alhambra, san gabriel) were filled with awesome chinese food.  i guess real chinese restaurants don’t really serve mushu pork. but i still think it’s tasty!

mu shu pork

mu shu pork
from the essential wok cookbook

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated ginger
2.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp chinese rice wine
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2.5 tsp corn starch
500 g (1 lb) pork loin fillet, sliced into julienne strips
20 g (3/4 oz) dried black fungus
20 g (3/4 oz) dried lily bulbs
2 tbsp chicken stock
3 eggs
2 tbsp veggie oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 cups (150 g/5 oz) finely shredded wom bok (napa/chinese cabbage)
1/4 cup (40 g/1.25 oz) julienned bamboo shoots
5 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
white pepper, to taste

pancakes
300 g (10 oz) plain flour
200 ml (6.5 fl oz) boiling water
1/2 teaspoon veggie oil
plain flour, for dusting

1. combine garlic, ginger, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp chinese rice wine, 1 tbsp hoisin sauce, and 1 tsp corn starch in a large non-metallic bowl. add the pork, toss well, then cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

2. to make the pancake dough, sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. slowly pour in the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon, then add the oil. mix until a dough forms. place the dough on a lightly floured workbench and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic – be careful as the dough will be hot. transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. meanwhile, soak the black fungus and lily bulbs separately by covering with boiling water for 20 minutes. drain, remove any hard ends from the lily buds, julienne the black fungus, and cut the lily buds into 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces.

4. combine the chicken stock and remaining soy sauce, rice wine, hoisin sauce, and corn starch in a small jug. whisk with a fork to dissolve the corn starch and form a paste.

5. lightly whisk the eggs together with a fork. heat a wok over high heat, add 1 tsp of veggie oil and .25 tsp of the sesame oil, and add the eggs. stir for about 30 seconds, or until scrambled. remove from the wok.

6. heat the same wok over high heat, add 2 tsp of the veggie oil and the remaining sesame oil and swirl to coat. stir-fry the pork in batches for 2 minutes, or until browned.

7. add the remaining oil to the wok, then add the wom bok (napa), bamboo shoots, spring onion, black fungus and lily buds and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the wom bok begins to wilt. return the pork to the wok, add the sauce mixture and cook until it comes to the boil and begins to thicken. stir in the reserved scrambled eggs and season with white pepper. remove the wok from direct heat. keep warm.

mu shu pork

8. to make the pancakes, lightly flour a workbench, then divide the dough into four even pieces and roll each piece into a long sausage. cut each sausage into four. flatten each piece with your palm, then roll each piece out as thinly as possible to a pancake about 15 cm (6″) in diameter. the dough is quite elastic and you can roll the dough thin enough to almost see through it.

9. heat a frying pan over medium heat. dry-fry the pancakes on each side for about 30 seconds, or until some brown spots appear. stack the cooked pancakes on a plate, covered with foil to keep warm while cooking the remaining pancakes. wrap the filling in the pancakes, garnish with spring onion lengths, if desired, then serve.

comments: the filling for this was very tasty. it had all the elements i like in mushu pork, and the sauce/seasoning was just right. i just put in a little extra hoisin sauce on my pancakes and then a bunch of filling. as for the dough, we didn’t really read the directions, so when it came time to fry them, we DEEP-FRIED THEM. when you do that, your dough gets all puffed up:

mu shu pancake gone wrong

which is not to say it’s not tasty. it’s just more like fried dough than a thin wrapper. anyway, we decided to try just pan-frying (more like what the directions actually say), and they turned out nicely:

mu shu pancake

all in all, this recipe was quite tasty. the nice thing is that if you are lacking time, you can just buy the pancakes or maybe even use flour tortillas.