Sunday, January 31, 2010

Little pink nightmare

Some lady totally destroyed this lexus. Spotted near Vallejo.

I think he's either...

...looking for something of hiding from the sun. He apparently melts.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black market love

Drew mugs with some zebra pelt from ikea

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jump (the director's cut)

Kitty treats

My own arc reactor

Taking a note from Tony Stark, I've been working on my own version.

Soccer pond

It rained a bit.


Drew and I destroyed a 10gb hard drive as a project. It might have been an unforgivable sin 10 years ago, but now I have a couple other drives in the house that have 100 times the capacity, so it's not so bad.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Momofuku is a restaurant in NYC owned by David Chang, a Korean-American chef that I've been sort of following for a few years. There aren't that many Korean chefs who cook really interesting food. At least not that many that have received enough attention to be followable.

His ssam bar is a really interesting take on various foods, including the Korean lettuce wrap known as ssam. I normally refer to ssam as Korean bbq since that is how we eat it. We wrap up a piece of grilled meat in lettuce with a slice of garlic, a slice of fresh pepper (jalapeno/serrano), and a dab of Korean miso paste. And sometimes rice, although that isn't technically correct. Drew loves ssam and asks for it multiple times a week. He eats the little center heart leaves of our lettuces with a piece of meat and occasionally rice, if he can get it on the leaf. I think the eating with your hands aspect of the meal is among its many charms.

Anyhow, Momofuku. One of their signature items is a steamed pork bun. I know, I know, I hear steamed pork bun and I think Chinese dim sum. I'm not really a fan of the Chinese dim sum version because it tastes too sweet to me. I love the bun part, but the filling is just kind of gross. The Momofuku version uses pork belly, which is the meat used in the Korean dish, samgyeopsal, instead.

At the library on Friday, I was checking out books and noticed the Momofuku book on the librarian's desk and I exclaimed how I had been thinking about it, and he nicely let me check it out right there. I suspect it may have been on reserve or something and he might have overriden it. In any case, yay!

The pork buns start with a solid piece of pork belly meat that is seasoned with salt and sugar for 4 hours, I left it overnight, then roasted for about two and a half hours with a temperature change in the middle of that roasting. The meat is then removed from the pan (which was, yes, full of lovely pork fat which I promptly had to pitch before I thought too hard about it) and chilled. Meanwhile, I started the dough for the buns this morning in the stand mixer, let it rise, and then split it according to plan with Drew's help. He loved my bench scraper. It occurred to me that it's like a knife without such a sharp edge, so it may come in handy in the future for Drew projects. Anyway, split, let rise some more, and then rolled and shaped.

Given that I wasn't sure that Rich would like them, I only used half the dough for the pork buns and then did half with filling I let Rich prepare. He opted to use some leftover carnitas tossed with some hefty habanero bbq sauce that I picked up in Birmingham. Like a savory-er version of the Chinese pork buns.

The bread steamed pretty well. The higher the temp, the darker they turned out, interestingly. They must have picked up some color from the bamboo?

Anyway, I adjusted accordingly and they came out perfectly pale and cute. The useful part is that after it is shaped, the dough is put on individual pieces of cut parchment, which made transfer into the steamer a breeze.

Sadly, for Rich's bbq pork buns, I didn't do that right off the bat and then when I did, the dough fell a bit, so they were quite flat in the end.

So, assembly. First, gently split open one of the pork buns. They're folded over during the rising/shaping process, so there's a pretty natural spot for it.

Spread some hoisin on one side and add the sliced pork.

Then add pickles to the other side. I made daikon, cucumber, and radish pickles per the recipe in the book. All three together were pretty in the bun. AND, they help cut the richness from the pork a lot. The acidity and the crunch made the rest of the bun not completely skin-crawlingly gross to eat.

And lastly, sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions. And in my case, a generous smear of sriricha hot sauce.

And tada!

All in all, I have decided that the Momofuku version is a bit too salty for me. And I had to add lots more pickles (luckily, I made all three types of salt pickles) and the sriricha to make it something I would eat and be happy. The original version, I suspect, is better made by the professionals, and I will likely try it the next time I'm in NYC. Mine turned out pretty well and Rich was pleasantly surprised.

The pork buns made with the bbq sauce + carnitas also turned out really tasty. A bit flat, unfortunately, but really tasty. Next time, WAY more filling - I was conservative with the filling, not knowing how little or much the dough would rise before and in the steamer.

The fun part of this is that now I really know how steamed bread works. I'm brainstorming some random stuff to put into the middle of steamed buns. A sweet but not too sweet application for Drew. More spicy pork for Rich, nice and fluffy next time. And maybe something vaguely calzone-y but not so crunchy on the outside. Would that even work? I like the crunchy part of calzones.

Anyhow, I'll keep you posted on what I end up trying.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Might as well jump

Drew sings along to the Van Halen classic.

Mmmm...goose fat

Good with chips

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My cat the traitor

I talked Amy into getting a cat and picked this one out at the pound. Now, I'm constantly getting bit and she hangs out in Amy's lap at meals and purrs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Know your audience


Where does your cat hang out?

Ours enjoys the warm, snug area behind the a/v components.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Drew poses on an armored truck at the opening of our new library.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dad, my finger hurts

This finger? Yeah, that one.

Sleeping beauty

I'm not really sure what she was doing when the fatigue struck her down, but I came upstairs to find Amy asleep like this.