Monthly Archives: July 2014

Reflecting with Marinated Mushrooms

A while ago I had a conversation with a friend about deleting old content. This is a natural temptation I used to face almost daily. With practice, we all better our skills and after about half a year of blogging I grew embarrassed  of my old stuff. The most obvious thing is how much better my photos look now in comparison. Also, my views on food, cooking, and eating have changed enormously which is perhaps the most embarrassing thing about reading my old posts. I think it is for this very reason however, that it is important not to take down my old stuff.

Before I started publishing anything on Mai Food I talked to another friend and her most memorable advice was to make sure my blog had something to offer people that would make them want to come back. I’m not sure I was successful in this regard despite my best efforts. A few months ago I started posting recipes. If I made anything clear when I started blogging it was that I did not believe in recipes and that I would never put them up despite moans from friends and family.

I feel like my maturing philosophy towards food makes it difficult to commit to one set of ideals when it comes to blogging. As I continue to learn, the nature of my posts are likely to continue to change. I’ve become very interested in this idea which is why I think it is important that I keep all my old stuff up. To me, the process of maturing is more compelling than any one thing I could ever write about.

With that in mind, one of the first things I ever blogged about was marinated mushrooms. I’ve never written anything that has got as much attention as these marinated mushrooms. I’ve got no idea why because everything that I find embarrassing is evident in this post and yet nothing I write now can even grab a tenth of the attention these marinated mushrooms got. I’m not hugely popular or anything but the fact that what I’m most known for is something I find extremely unpolished was becoming annoying. I decided I’d give marinated mushrooms another go in hopes of besting my previous work:

Marinated Mushrooms

Click for Full Size

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion – julienned.
  • 4tbsp – red wine vinegar.
  • 3/4 cup – water.
  • 1tbsp – salt.
  • 1tbsp – sugar.
  • 1 handfull – enoki mushrooms.
  • 25 cremini mushrooms – cut however you want (I even had some whole)
  • 5 sprigs – fresh thyme (separate the leaves from the stems)
  • 4 slices thick cut smoked bacon – cut into matchsticks.
  • 1/2 cup – butter

Method:

  1. Mix 3tbsp of the red wine vinegar in with the salt, sugar, and water and bring to a boil.
  2. As soon as it boils, pour the pickling liquid into a jar containing the red onions and reserve.
  3. Cook the bacon in the pan until crispy and reserve.
  4. In the same pan, cook the mushrooms in the bacon fat on very high heat in order to ensure that the mushrooms gain colour instead of boiling
  5. Throw in the thyme stems and the butter.
  6. Wait until the butter becomes brown butter and then add in the remaining 1tbsp of red wine vinegar and toss.
  7. Remove the stems and reserve.
Marinated Mushrooms

Click for full size close up

Plating:

I like to put the cremini mushrooms down first and then drape the pickled red onion over top. Then, I like to fill in all of the crevices with bacon bits and enoki mushrooms before I finish the dish with the brown butter, bacon fat, and red wine vinegar vinaigrette and fresh thyme leaves.

Hopefully people like this one more than the first one. I know I do.

Thank you Kasley and Rosalyn for our conversations.

 

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Bò Kho | Vietnamese Stewed Beef

Every Saturday growing up I would wake up to a big pot of food that would last the weekend. The two most popular pots of food that I would wake up to were Pho and Mi, but every once in a while I’d wake up to Bò Kho (Vietnamese Stewed Beef). Usually it would be a big pot filled with tons of stewing beef with large chunks of potatoes and carrots enjoyed with freshly baked bread. Admittedly, stewed beef was always my least favourite of the three. I decided that I would try giving the classic a bit of a facelift while trying to keep as much of what made the dish a classic intact.

Stewed Beef

Ingredients:

  • 1kg – Beef Brisket (cut into chunks).
  • 1.5 L – Coconut Water.
  • 1 large onion (diced).
  • 5 cloves garlic (diced).
  • 2 stalks lemongrass.
  • 1 stick cinnamon.
  • 2 roma tomatoes (peeled and diced).
  • juice of 1 lemon.
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce.
  • 2 potatoes (julienned).
  • 4 carrots (julienned).
  • Chives for garnish.

Method:

  1. Brown the chunks of brisket and reserve.
  2. In the same pot add the onions, garlic, lemongrass and cinnamon.
  3. Cook the onions until translucent and then add the tomatoes.
  4. Add the brisket back to the pot and cover with all the liquid ingredients (fish sauce, coconut water, lemon juice).
  5. Simmer for 2.5 hours.

Meanwhile:

  1. Cut carrots and potatoes into little matchsticks.
  2. Fry the potatoes until crispy and golden.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and toss together and reserve.

I like to sit the salad of potatoes and carrots on top of the beef stew. The crunchiness of the potatoes and carrots adds some textural contrast to the rich and succulent brisket. I finish the dish with chives here but you can toss any herb you want over this. My favourites include thai basil, thyme, and cilantro.

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