Tag Archives: Top Chef

New Year, New “Meat”: Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice

When it comes to food, I’m pretty much game for anything.

Except bananas. NEVER bananas.

But, I’d like to think I’d try most anything once.

I don’t want to eat bugs, but if I was visiting a culture where people eat bugs, I might eat a bug. But like, I wouldn’t eat a bug on Fear Factor (is that still on?) or just at my house or whatever. I’m not going to sit at home and watch Downton and eat a bowl of crickets.

via memegenerator.net (obviously)

via memegenerator.net (obviously)

So, to recap: I’d probably try almost anything, maybe a bug, but never bananas.

I saw this recipe for Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice on Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed has been doing this fun series where they have a chef come to their office and make breakfast. The latest chef contributor was Dale Talde.

For those who don’t know, Dale Talde is a Top Chef alum who was on my favorite two seasons (season 5 Chicago and season 8 All-Stars). He was a punk (season 5), but he really has a heart of gold (season 8).

I feel like we could be friends.  via Buzzfeed

I feel like we could be friends.
via Buzzfeed

 

Season 5 Dale…about to murk Antonia. via imdb.com

 

Dale always made really inventive food and was a pretty funny dude with a great laugh, second only to Tre Wilcox (season 3/season 8.) He also has a bunch of really killer restaurants in NYC. I’ve been to Pork Slope in Brooklyn and it was legit, especially since it combines my two favorite things: pork and puns.

Pork and Puns will be the name of my cookbook/comedy memoir, by the way.

So, when I saw this Spam and Kimchi fried rice recipe, I was excited. When two of my friends sent me the recipe, I knew I had to make it. It was time to try Spam.

I honestly did not know what to expect. But I thought, “if Dale Talde can eat Spam, I can eat some Spam too.”

If you’ve never opened Spam before, it will bring back some memories of opening cat food for the neighbors cats while they’re on vacation. (The cats weren’t on vacation…the people were….was that clear?) It has a golden pop top situation and there’s some gelatinous meat juice around the Spam, which add to the cat food-ness. It’s fairly disgusting to behold. And touch. It absolutely does not feel like real meat.

But this dish? This dish is awesome. Honestly. It’s just awesome. There are a lot of steps, but it’s not hard. Get your mise en place in place. (Nailed it.) Then go to town. The Spam is essential and it’s great. I really and truly stand corrected. It brings a salty, porky, meat-like punch to the dish.

Don’t skip the kimchi. It adds some spicy funk to the party, which every party needs. Also, it’s a probiotic according to the jar! Think about that! But not too much cause ew!

So, do yourself a favor. Try something new today. Buy yourself a can of Spam and make yourself some Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice. It’s what Dale Talde would do.

God Bless Spam and God Bless the USA.

Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice by Dale Talde from Buzzfeed

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fried rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups white jasmine rice, uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 12-ounce container Spam, diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced in 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup Kimchi, strained, thinly sliced, liquid reserved
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes (red pepper flake can be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional)

For the fried eggs:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the rice: First, rinse the rice by pouring it into a medium pot or bowl, covering it with cold water, then draining it in a fine mesh strainer, shaking the rice to get as much water off as possible. Then, in a medium sauce pot, combine the 2 cups of rice with 2 cups of cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat all the way down to low, cover, and let the rice cook, covered, for 23 minutes. Then, turn the heat off but DO NOT UNCOVER THE RICE. Let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, uncover it, fluff it with a fork, and set it aside in the pot while you prepare the other fried rice ingredients.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. While the oil heats, crack the 2 eggs into a medium bowl and beat them together with a fork until the yolk and white are thoroughly combined. Add the beaten egg to the hot skillet all at once, then use a spoon or spatula to constantly move the egg around the skillet, When the egg is fully cooked but not browned, about 30 seconds, slide it out of the skillet and onto a plate, and set it aside.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat, then add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil and the cubed spam. Cook the spam, stirring occasionally, until it’s golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.

Add the diced onion and minced garlic, stir everything together, and continue to cook over medium high heat just until the onion has started to soften, about 2 minutes more. Make sure to stir often, so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the chili flakes, sesame oil, kimchi, and butter, then stir everything together and cook for about a minute, just to heat the kimchi. By now, the mixture may have started to stick to the skillet. Add the reserved kimchi liquid (about 1/3 cup) and stir to deglaze the skillet (the liquid will release all the stuff that’s stuck to the bottom).

Add the cooked rice, stir, then add the cooked egg, sliced scallions, and fish sauce(optional). Stir thoroughly so that the egg is in bite-sized pieces and everything is evenly distributed throughout the rice. Turn the heat to low to keep the rice warm while you fry the eggs, stirring every minute or so to keep the rice from sticking.

To make the eggs, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. (If you don’t have a large nonstick skillet, use a small nonstick skillet and work in two batches.) When the butter is melted, crack the eggs into the skillet. Try to keep them separate but if the whites touch, that’s OK.

Season with salt and pepper, then let the eggs cook over medium-low heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 3-4 minutes.

Divide the fried rice evenly among four plates or bowls, then top each portion with a fried egg. Serve immediately.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bits and Bobs: My First Month in RVA

I’ve been saying to myself, “I have to write a blog post. My fans need me.”

But in reality, I’ve had nothing to which I wanted to dedicate a whole post. Please get off my jock, fans. I just want a normal life.

My friend, Anna, is always really incredible about writing about the bits and bobs in her life for her blog Curiouser and Curiouser. So, inspired by Anna, I give you highlights from my first month in Richmond/my life/my binge-watching of Top Chef.

  • No, really, I’ve watched every episode of Top Chef. I’m not kidding. I started from the beginning and just plowed on through. I think I started right before I moved…but even so, that’s PROBABLY an unhealthy level of TV watching. (Who are you to judge, weirdos?) Even the seasons I didn’t like originally had merit when I watched it again. What’s next for me? A season of MasterChef. DONE. Now onto MasterChef Junior and Hell’s Kitchen. And of course, the current season of Top Chef. Perhaps I might try a non-food show. But…I’d have to pay so much more attention…
  • Thanksgiving is in the air and I’m not upset about it. I love Christmas. But the fact that Christmas is trying to push Thanksgiving out of the way? Thanksgiving needs to hit Christmas in the face with a shovel. Defend November, Thanksgiving. I’ve already started fantasizing about my turkey day menu and have made my first stuffing of the year. I’m hosting the meal this year (in addition to cooking….like every year, MOM), so the research starts NOW.
  • I went on an oyster crawl. I remember eating my first raw oyster. I was on a shoot and we were at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain and my former boss was scoffing that I’d never had a raw oyster. I remember trying it and distinctly NOT liking it. Cause it’s weird. (Seriously, who is the first person who saw an oyster and said, “I better eat what’s inside there.”) Now, I can’t get enough of them. My friend Melissa organized an oyster crawl because Richmond has enough places that serve oysters that you can organize a whole crawl. MMHMM. The stand out was Rappahannock, an oyster bar whose owners are cousins that took over their grandfather’s oyster farm. The story is great, the food is greater. Order a dozen and the shrimp app, and be sure to chew on a licorice root just to see if it tastes like anything. (IT DOES, YOU GUYS, I SWEAR.)
  • I went to a food festival alone. Richmond had their inaugural Fire, Flour & Fork, “a gathering for the Food Curious,” a few weeks ago. I wanted to go and since I have like three friends (hey, it’s more than 0!), I went alone. The meal was stunning. The chef is a guy named Justin Carlisle and he’s got a tiny restaurant in Milwaukee called Ardent. He brought his farm-to-table philosophy to Richmond. Farm-to-table is really an understatement. It’s farm-to-table meets nose-to-tail. It’s farm-to-tail eating. Nose-to-table? (Weird.) He’s sourcing everything local, but not because it’s trendy. Because that’s the only way to truly understand your product. Every bite I ate was better than the last. The homemade muenster cheese was perfection. Mild and creamy and when paired with their milk bread (FROM THE SAME COWS?!), perfection. If you’re in Miwluakee, go. Make a reservation, it’s tiny! Also, it was kind of fun to go alone. I sat with a couple of gramma aged ladies and they were really nice. You can’t have a BAD time at something like that.

 

 

Those are my bits and bobs for now. Go make friends with a random old lady and chew on some licorice root.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Richmond Restaurant Wars: Graffiato

I’ve been on a real Top Chef binge lately.

All of the seasons are on Hulu and it’s the perfect background show. Drama! Suspense! Foie gras! I’d already seen most of seasons, but it’s been fun to go back and watch from the beginning. It’s shocking how dated the hair, clothes and food are back in the early seasons.

Since I’m a stranger in a strange land and I don’t have many friends yet, Padma and Tom have kinda sorta been my friends. (Oh my god, that sounds so sad.) (How do people make friends as adults?) (Seriously, though…how do you do it?)

My favorite season by far was season 8, Top Chef All-Stars. It was Top Chef turnt up. All your favorite competitors who didn’t win vying for the title! Bigger challenges! Tears! Family connections! Cookie Monster! Hoodie hoos! It was everything and everyone you wanted to watch.

Including the one and only Mike Isabella. I actually hadn’t seen his original season ’til recently, but Mike is one of the best people to watch. His food always looks stupendous–typically Mediterraean inspired, but he’s Italian American and his Italian dishes got him some high praise. Also, he’s got the best laugh–just seems like a really fun, happy dude. So you’ll have to imagine my excitement when I found out he has a restaurant here in Richmond. Mike opened the first Graffiato in DC in 2011 and the Richmond chapter just a month ago. And with my friends Emily and Paul coming up to town for a wedding last weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to try it.

I just watched an episode of Restaurant Wars and something that my best friend Tom said was sticking in my head. “People come to a restaurant for the food, but they return for the service.” It’s very true. And unfortunately, that quote speaks to my experience at Graffiato.

The dishes ranged from ok (American pie pizza) to extraordinary (kabocha squash casonsei). The concept is family/tapas style with Italian and mediterranean influences. Dishes are meant to be shared, and that part is pretty successful.

Casonsei WHAT?!

Casonsei WHAT?!

But the service. Oy, the service. Our waitress had a good attitude, but ordering was difficult.

Emily: I’d like the Hoptober.*

Waitress: Oh, I actually think we’re out of that.

Emily: Ok, I’ll have the 8 Point IPA.*

Waitress: Oh. We’re actually out of that too.

::Emily looks at menu to make another decision.::

Me: I’d like the ‘Put Me in the Mix’ cocktail.

Waitress: …I’m sorry…we’re actually out of that, too. Sorry, we’re actually switching over our menus right now.

Me: Ok, do you have a glass of sauvignon blanc?

Waitress: Yes, we do.

Me: Great, I’ll have that. Anything else you’re out of?

Waitress: No, I think that’s it.

*The names of the beer have been changed because I forgot what they were.

I understand that restaurants change their menus, but I’d find it a much more tolerable offense if we’d been warned in advance. That plus the fact that one of our drinks came out after we’d gotten the check meant I walked away disappointed with the experience.

I’m sad to say that in this episode of Restaurant Wars of Bethany’s Life (registered trademark of no one), Graffiato would not come out on top. The food was altogether good, but the service left a lot to be desired.

Padma?

::Dramatic Pause::

::Dramatic Pause::

::Looks up with really wide eyes::

Graffiato. Please pack your knives and go.

::Tear::

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Appeteasers: Roasted Fennel and White Bean Dip and French Onion Tart

I think the food you make says a lot about you.

In this case, I’m a dip and a tart.

WINK.

On Saturday, I co-hosted a wedding shower for my friends Lindsay and Tim. It was held at our friends Emily & Paul’s house and we had a lovely low country boil. Emily and I made appetizers. Emily did the lion’s share of the appetizer cookery, but I brought two dishes along.

When selecting dishes for a large group, you have to take in mind several considerations. 1) There are a lot of vegetarians, so you need something veg friendly. 2) Some of these people are REALLY good cooks. You can’t bring nachos to a foie gras fight. Plus, Tim is one of the founders of the soon-to-be Small Batch Beer Co. Tim is all about flavors—both in his food and in his beer—so I had to bring my A game.

When all was said and done, our appetizer menu looked a little something like this. (I’m pretty sure every recipe is from Food52. No, they don’t pay me to say that. Because why would they. But if they WANTED to…. I would take their money. To buy food. To make more recipes. From Food52.)

During the party, someone asked me what I made and I actually said, “I’m the dip and the tart.” I suppose it’s better than being the devil?

Anywho, as per ushe, I made two recipes I’d never made before for this event. Cause I live on the MOTHER-EFFING EDGE. (Or rather, I take JUST enough of a risk that I may fuck up and have to pick up a quiche at the store on the way to the party.) But thankfully, my risk was rewarded.

These recipes are really easy. And really great. Particularly the dip. I love a good dip. This one had such great flavor—the roasted fennel gave such depth. It was rich and creamy. Great on a crostini or a chip. And despite cutting off a chunk of my fingernail while chopping rosemary (cause, duh, I’m dippy), this was a huge success.

PLEASE NOTE. I did not serve anyone my fingernail. Nor was there any cross-contamination or accidental vampirism. I handled that shit like a pro. No Jamie from Top Chef All-Stars “I need to go get stitches” ish. I flipped my cutting board, got a new knife, cleaned up my finger, gloved my hand up and JUST KEPT COOKING.

It's not top scallop.

It’s not top scallop. Or top stitches. It’s Top Chef.

And this tart. Let’s just say if you want to impress someone, make this tart. It takes some time but it is not hard. You make your own crust! You cut two pounds of onions, which makes you cry, bawl, and snot in your kitchen! You make the tart! You want to eat the tart, but you can’t cut through the onions because they’re all tangly! But that’s ok! It’s delicious! It’s yummy! And it’s pretty!

Just like a tart oughta be.

French Onion Tart

Serves 6 to 8

For the filling

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds yellow onions, peeled & sliced thin
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed & stems discarded
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 2/3 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

For the Swiss cheese pastry crust

  • ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour | I found this at Whole Foods!
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons very cold butter, shredded using a box grater
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold seltzer | I wound up using about 3 ½ tablespoons of seltzer

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Cover pot, reduce heat as low as it can go without shutting off, and let cook until onions have cooked down and released a lot of their liquid, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crust. Add the flour, salt, and paprika to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to mix the dry ingredients. Add the cheese and butter, then pulse a few times until it forms a sandy-looking mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of seltzer, pulse again until a rough ball of dough comes together. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add more seltzer 1 teaspoon at a time (you may not need the entire 2 tablespoons…or you may need more like, 3 ½ tablespoons), and continue to pulse until you have a ball of dough. (Mine did not come together in a ball, but was moist enough to come together into a ball.) Turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter, flatten and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Remove cover from the pot of onions, raise heat to medium, add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Let the onions cook, stirring occasionally to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until onions turn golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. When onions are golden and very tender, stir in the sherry vinegar. Remove from heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer onions to a medium bowl.

Place the chilled dough between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll it into a 13-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch ungreased springform pan. Fold down sides of dough, leaving a 1-inch high crust.

To finish the filling, add the egg and cheese to the bowl with the onions. Stir to mix well. Pour mixture over the tart crust and spread to the edges using a rubber spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, until slightly puffed and golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

French Onion Tart

French Onion Tart

Roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip

For Roasted Fennel

  • 1 Large or 2 small fennel Bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic still in papery shell
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Cannellini Bean puree

  • ¾ cups Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and minced
  • 2 ½ cups Cooked Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice, Freshly squeezed
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Crostini

First make the roasted fennel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fennel and garlic cloves in the olive oil and spread on a sheet pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning twice during cooking. Take out and let cool. When cool squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins.

Start the cannellini bean puree. In a small frying pan heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until lightly golden, add rosemary and cannellini beans and cook for one minute more. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Take it off the heat.

In a food processor combine the garlic bean mixture, fennel, roasted garlic, lemon juice, remaining ¼ olive oil and all but 3 tablespoons of the parmigiano-reggiano. (Or….top with a lot more cheese.) Puree until smooth.

Raise oven temp to 450ºF. Transfer puree into a small baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Feel free to add more. If your dish is near full, place it on a baking sheet, in case it bubbles over in the oven. Bake until cheese is golden on top, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with crostini. Enjoy!

Roasted Fennel and White Bean Dip

Roasted Fennel and White Bean Dip

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
curiouser & curiouser

a collection of the delicious & delightful

Food and Brew Review

Triad restaurants and farms and craft beer! Oh my!

Motherhood - WHAT?!

Making it through motherhoodhood with the grace of a camel on ice skates

costablancamama

A Spanish Adventure - raising kids and giving birth in Spain

PornBurger

Burger Perverts Welcome

NC | NY

bringing a little bit of the south to the city

Erin Lesica

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Crafty Cook Nook

Preserving Food, Stories, and Place

Justin Timberlake Does Things

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Feed Me Phoebe

{ health, hedonism & all the delicious things in between }

pancussion

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Frenemy.

Real Food. Fake Blog.

THE KIDS ARE RELATIVELY OKAY

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Curious And Curiouser

I Find the World Curious

POPSUGAR Food

Real Food. Fake Blog.

This American Wife

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Eat, Live, Run

Real Food. Fake Blog.

So Delushious !

personal random ramblings from a girl who loves bacon and can't be fat.

Seasoned to Taste

I'm just a girl with an appetite.