Oysters #37 a la Joe Beef

This is an awesome appetizer recipe from the Joe Beef cookbook which is an impressive way to kick off a meal with not a ton of prep.


  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 dried chile, crumbled into wee pieces
  • At least as many oysters as you have guests (this makes a decent amount of sauce)


Combine first three ingredients in a pot, and bring to a boil. Add everything else but the oysters, and take off the heat. Allow to cool and let the flavors mingle as long as 24 hours.

Add the sauce to shucked oysters and steam them for about 5 minutes (potentially a little less if the oysters are small). Top them off with sauce if it runs off during cooking.

Top with chopped green onion, pickled carrots, sriracha, whatever your heart desires.


General Tso's Chicken

This image was originally posted to Flickr by TheCulinaryGeek at http://flickr.com/photos/72949902@N00/4665999863. It was reviewed on 10 August 2010 by the FlickrreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

This image was originally posted to Flickr by TheCulinaryGeek at http://flickr.com/photos/72949902@N00/4665999863. It was reviewed on 10 August 2010 by the FlickrreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

I love Buffalo wings. I love Asian food. I love fried chicken.

It should come as no surprise then that when I made a version of General Tso’s chicken from Saveur this weekend that I loved it as well. The recipe took some time to prepare as there were a fair number of steps, but none of it was particularly difficult. The two pitfalls I think would be easiest to fall into on this would be not getting the garlic and ginger chopped finely enough as well as not getting the oil hot enough.

I didn’t get my ginger super fine which led to a couple of bites that were particularly zesty, but using a small food processor would remedy that if your knife skills are like mine (could use some improvement). Getting the oil hot enough is key to preventing the coating from absorbing too much oil and giving you that sick tummy feeling.

The recipe is below and can be found at the following link: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-General-Tso-Chicken

Don’t sweat riffing on the recipe if you want as this is not exactly a classic dish (even then you probably should not fret) as there are multiple claims on the dish’s origin, but they seem to agree that the dish was “invented” in the 1970s.

I recommend the Saveur website to anyone who is looking for some great recipes. They tend to be more involved that most recipes, but the outcome is usually awesome.


1.25 cups of chicken stock
7 tbsp. cornstarch
6 tbsp. rice vinegar
6 tbsp. tomato paste
5 tbsp. light soy sauce
4.5 tsp. dark soy sauce
2.25 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1½″ cubes
3.5 cups plus 9 tbsp. peanut oil
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. minced ginger
2 tbsp. minced garlic
16 chiles de arbol
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil


1. Whisk stock, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, vinegar, tomato paste, 3 tbsp. light soy sauce, 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce, and 3 tbsp. water in a bowl; set aside

2. Place remaining cornstarch, both soy sauces, 3 tbsp. peanut oil, and egg yolks in a bowl; combine and then coat the chiken. Pour 3½ cups peanut oil in a pot heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 375°. Fry the chicken until crispy and done, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towels; set aside. Discard oil; wipe pot clean.

3. Return pot to high heat, and add remaining peanut oil. Add ginger, garlic, and chiles; fry, stirring constantly, until fragrant and chiles begin to change color, about 30 seconds. Add sauce from step 1; cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and toss constantly for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sesame oil. Transfer to a serving plate; top with scallions if you want to add a little color. 

NYT Article: Bittman on Chemical Use in Agriculture

Mark Bittman had a great article in the New York Times today about chemicals used in agriculture which have recently been classified as "probable" carcinogens. In the article he addresses, what is in my opinion, a major breakdown in the way we collectively approach agriculture; the willingness to allow the use of chemicals in the growing of food based on the fact that we have not proved the chemical harmful rather than proving it is safe.

I believe that we look at small gains in efficiency, and in turn food costs in the near term, but fail to weigh those gains against the health costs and lost productivity over the long run of the bets we are making.

The article can be found at the following link: http://nyti.ms/1y4UcnA

Cocktail Hour: The Rye Manhattan

My lovely wife got me an incredible book on bitters and cocktails in general by Brad Thomas Parsons called, fittingly, Bitters. There is tons of information in the book on the origin of bitters, how to make your own bitters (something I am looking forward to), as well as a number of classic cocktail recipes. The one I have been particularly taken by recently is that of the Manhattan which I used to think was overly sweet, but now realize that the original, as in many things, is far better and more balanced.

The Manhattan cocktail was invented in the 1860s, which was a long time ago, but to put that into perspective the American Civil War ended in 1865 and the union consisted of 37 states at the end of the 1860s. Somehow, the people of North Frisia (a group of islands near Germany) became big fans of the cocktail transcending the animosities of both WWI and WWII. 



  • Add all but the garnish to a cup of ice and stir to comibine
  • Strain into a coupe glass
  • Garnish
  • Enjoy

Momofuku's Octo Vinaigrette

Some non-Momofuku psn-fried chicken topped with the "sauce"

Some non-Momofuku psn-fried chicken topped with the "sauce"

There is an incredible 'sauce' in the Momofuku cookbook that first is used to top their fried chicken (which is also incredbile). Since I am improvising some pan-fried chicken tonight I thought I'd share the recipe. The rest of the recipes in the book are all really good and creative. They are definitely involved, but the effort usually results in a delicious dish as well as new techniques you can 


  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 fresh thai or serrano chile
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (I use canola)
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • black pepper


Mix it all together

Canard au Poivre de Joe Beef

This dish is incredibly flavorful and decadent while somehow being simple to make. How can you beat that? It features duck which is incredibly flavorful and horribly underrepresented in most people's diets. I believe it is important to increase the diversity of the genetic strains that humanity relies on and to better appreciate a wider variety of dishes.

Joe Beef is a restaurant in Montreal I have never had the pleasure of dining at, but if their book is any indication it would be an incredible experience. Their book features a number of decadent recipes that hearken back to an earlier time, and also features a section on trains. If that intrigues you I suggest watching the Canada episode of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown which features the men behind Joe Beef.


  • 1 large duck breast half, about 15 ounces (420 g)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black or green peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped French shallot
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brined green peppercorns, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • ½ cup (125 ml) beef stock
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) whipping cream


  1. Heat the oil in a pan and sear the duck breast (seasoned with salt and pepper) on each side for a minute and a half on each side for rare (medium-rare = 2 minutes); remove from pan and set aside
  2. Add butter to ban and sweat shallots for 4-5 minutes on medium-low heat
  3. Add mustard, brined green peppercorns, and Cognac; Mix for 30 seconds
  4. Increase heat to medium/medium-high and add stock. Reduce until syrupy; about 2 minutes
  5. Add cream and reduce for about another 2 minutes
  6. Return duck to the pan to warm it up. Serve either in the pan or on a platter

From The Art of Living According to Joe Beef , published by Ten Speed Press