Category Archives: FoodBlogging

Moco Loco

Two food posts in a row, because my hobby time for the last few days has been squandered on a Minecraft addiction. I made myself Moco Loco earlier tonight, as a planned consolation prize for the shitty weather. This is both the first time I’ve had it come out really well, and the first time I’ve managed to get a photo that looked reasonably appetizing.

Moco Loco is contemporary Hawaiian food, and is very much the modern follow-on to “Things that used to be peasant food are delicious;” as the story goes it was created as a cheap lunch for local boys at a cafe in Hawaii, and spread on it’s own merits. Strictly, it consists of white rice, topped with a grilled hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy, but I’ve rarely seen it served without fried onions, which I’ve always included in my attempts to make it. Aside from being tasty, I get a kick out of how much (possible) kaona there is in the name. It is also a sort of one-shot explanation for weight-related health problems being so endemic among Polynesians…

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Chicken Nyumen

I’ve made myself spicy chicken Nyumen a couple times this week, and decided it was photogenic.

Nyumen uses the same thin Japanese wheat noodles as the better known somen, but is a hot dish. It is really easy to make too: boil a pot of water, throw in some trimmed vegetables (Radishes, red onion, and mushrooms are particularly tasty), let them blanch, and pick them out. Then, throw a bundle or two of somen noodles in for a few minutes, and dip off some of the vegetable infused water to make a broth; I’ve been using a little bit of bullion and a small blob of Guilin Chili Sauce to make a nice spicy base. I also made myself some chicken pieces fried in a generic Asian sort of seasoning, and threw some in each bowl.

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Blog Move

This blog is in the process of moving in from it’s previous location at http://www.engr.uky.edu/~pseber0/ to it’s new home at pappp.net on bluehost. This current page will no doubt be repeatedly created and destroyed in the process, as I try to explain to the terrible migration tool about internal linking, resources, categories, and a variety of other things it is doing it’s best to lose or mangle. Things should be up and running in a couple of days, when the links will be updated, and the relocation notice will go up at the old location. This post also has a full set of categories, to force updates.

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Pacman Brownies!

I’ve had the idea of icing classic video games onto brownies rattling around in the expanse between my ears for a while. I haven’t tried to pipe ice anything in quite some time, and it never has come out terribly well, but it’s fun tedium damn it…
I made a measurement mistake somewhere, so it compressed toward the bottom, and I forgot some flanges on the edging, but for a roll of parchment paper, a tub of white icing, and a pack of food dye, it worked out pretty well. I suspect in two or three tries I could make it look good instead of merely fun.
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Coffee Tour

I’m on the dry side of the big island in Hawaii right now, and the Kona cost is an amazing place for coffee dorks; I took a tour of the Greenwell Farms Coffee Plantation, a 150 year old traditional (but not modern definition organic) coffee operation in the heart of the Kona coffee band today, and subsequently spent a ridiculous amount on coffee both for me and to spread around as gifts.

Some pictures from the tour:

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A grove of coffee trees, of Guatemalan ancestry, grafted onto hardier Tanzanian root stock. Picture is taken down one of the idled rows that was chopped short last season to encourage fruiting instead of growing the tree
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A nice close up of some unripe (green) and (roughly) ripe (red) coffee cherries.

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A dissected cherry in-hand. Whole cherry has a texture and appearance sort of like a cranberry. The skin is very firm and a bit bitter, the greenish pulpy flesh is very similar to a pomegranate kernel in texture and flavor, with the hard coffee bean inside. Coffee cherries have a shelf-life measured in hours, and virtually no meat, so you can’t get them away from the farm, but apparently in addition to being delicious, possess a variety of healthy properties – So much so that a company has finally figured out how to stabilize a juice product, and are marketing it as KonaRed, as some kind of super-dose antioxidant. Greenwell happens to be the sole source for cherries for manufacturing the stuff. I bought a bottle, and a couple packets of dehydrated, but haven’t tried it yet. I have high hopes for deliciousness.

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A bed of green coffee, in a hoshidana (sliding roof) to protect it from the daily rain, drying in the sun.

The tasting on the tour is the most effective sales pitch imaginable, as several of their products are absolutely delicious. I found the single-source estate coffee to be a little earthier than I like, but their Peaberry is spectacular, and the classic for Kona medium roast is exemplary. The fun specialty is roasted chocolate coated peaberry beans that make normal chocolate covered beans seem unpleasant, and are about 4-5 beans to the cup of coffee in terms of caffiene content, making them a significant threat to my continued wellbeing.
One of the big things I hoped to get to here, and a great way to spend an afternoon.

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Crispy Asian Eggplant

Playing around in the kitchen yesterday I made an interesting food:
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I like eggplant parmesan type dishes, and I like Asian-style eggplant dishes, so I decided to split the difference and fry strips of eggplant in a coating like one would use for deliciously greasy crispy orange or sesame chicken, and top them with a thick spicy teriyaki-type sauce.
It came out pretty well, the eggplant slices were crisp and fluffy and delicious, but the sauce needs work; definitely more ginger, and chili oil instead of directly adding powdered hot peppers. It could also use some greens on the plate, like cooked broccoli florets, for balance instead of just gorging on edamame while I cook. Very interesting and worth playing with again, even if it isn’t quite there yet.

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Baked Butternut Squash

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I discovered the recipe for the squash a couple years ago, and it is amazing. The entire procedure is: cut butternut squash in half, remove seeds, rub flesh with salt, sugar, pepper, and dried ginger, all to taste. Place in baking dish with 1” of water. Bake at 350F for about an hour. It is excellent. The chicken is more of the same, just rubbed with rosemary, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, olive oil… and some other things that were on hand, then tossed in the oven in another pan with the squash. Good seasonal food.

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Brauner

I picked up a new and excellent bad habit from Vienna: The Brauner. Vienna is famous for it’s coffee, and Austria in general is more into their coffee than even the stereotypical French and Italian coffee cultures, meaning I got to indulge my excessive affection for coffee while I was there.
A Brauner (lit: “brown one”) is a shot of espresso, served with sweetener (usually sugar, sometimes chocolate) and cream (usually on the side), and a glass of still water. It is basically the perfect expression of coffee. In Viennese dining culture it is perfectly normal to have one after every meal… and for the most part, I did. The best way to go about consuming a Brauner is to splash cream in until it’s roughly 1/4 of the volume, stir, taste, and then adjust. If it’s a preternaturally perfect shot and good cream, it won’t need any sweetener, otherwise sweeten until it has the same creamy, rich, and slightly bitter aspect as good dark chocolate. Most cafes offer Kliner Brauner and Großer Brauner as separate items, for one and two shots respectively, although drinking a double with every meal would be a truly unmanageable amount of caffeine.
This is how they usually come at a cafe (already started in on that one before I thought to take a picture, sipped the crema off) :
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And this is what I’ve been having with breakfast almost every morning since I got back:
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I even went and bought some proper espresso spoons because I was afraid I was going to break something mixing in the little 2oz cups. Easy to make (If you already have espresso equipment), and very, very tasty.

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Cherry Jam

One of the better parts of having old DIY-ful hippie types for parents is getting do nifty things that people just don’t do anymore. One of the better examples is the yearly ritual of making jam from the North Star Cherry tree in my parent’s front yard. The tree was productive this year (and not so much last year) so we ended up making somewhere around four gallons of the stuff over two days last weekend.

Onward, to Jam Making pictures:
Pitting cherries, which is hand-staining and labor intensive:
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To make double-batch sized vats of cherries:
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Which get cooked down, sweetened, and thickened to make jam:
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Which is then put into bottles:
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Way better than the store bought stuff, and fun (if hot, tiring, and messy) to boot.

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Roasted Eggplant with Red Pepper Cream Sauce

My post-semester “I have time to cook again!” food, Roasted Eggplant with Red Pepper Cream Sauce:
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The recipe was one of those “Popped, mostly formed, into my head” things that are always the most fun to make. The eggplant is just sliced into eighths, drizzled with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and broiled until cooked. The sauce is the real fun of the affair. In one pan, I cooked down a thinly sliced red pepper and some crushed tomato in herbs, garlic, and olive oil, to make delicious red slime.
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In another pan, I set up a roux with some milk, then added the pepper mixture, some appropriate cheeses for texture (In retrospect, probably would have been better without), and more milk until it reached roughly the right consistency.
The combination was served over farfalle, which the foodblogging category here should make clear is my default pasta.
I got lazy and used the toaster oven to do the broiling, so the slices were too close to the source and got a little dry/singed on the tips. I also missed on ratios a bit, and made too much roux for the volume of cooked-down pepper, so the sauce was thicker and richer than I intended. For a first pass at an unreferenced idea, though, this was a pretty solid success. Very interesting flavors and textures, particularly the herb/garlic/spice mating to the sweetness of the cooked down peppers, and the two distinct kinds of creaminess from the sauce and the flesh of the eggplant.
As a side note, making this is caused me covet knives; despite the fact that the housemates and I have a pretty nice set of knives between us there isn’t a narrow bladed slicer or a Nikiri in the house, and they both would have been handy here.

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