Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Quinoa Caprese

Monday, May 27, 2019, 01:24 PM

Meredith made Quinoia Caprese again. She used leftover (from pizza) arugula pesto instead of "squeezy tube" basil like last time

Chinese Feast Again

Sunday, May 12, 2019, 07:40 PM

Meredith and I decided to iterate on the Chinese Food Feast we had last week. Meredith tweaked the Dan Dan Noodles Recipe and her notes are below. I made the cucumbers and tofu following their recipes. Last time, Meredith reduced 2 Tbsp to 2 tsp of chili oil. This time, I went to 1 Tbsp.

I do not think it was the oil, but it wasn't as good as it was last time. Maybe Meredith did something else differently but better.

The Dan Dan however was so good (I liked it last time too but this was better). I think the tahini helped hold it all together better and gave it a nice, nutty flavor. I would branch out on the other dishes but I really like the Dan Dan as is.

Dan Dan

I mixed it up a little this time with some inspiration from The Woks of Life. (LOCAL)

I pretty much stuck to the recipe I used last time for the pork (but doubled the amount of pork), adding a dash of five spice powder as I cooked the pork. Then I tossed in the ya cai and sautéed it with the pork at the end.

For the sauce, I did:

1 heaping tbsp tahini
1.5 tsp sugar
¼ tsp five spice powder
1/2 cup (200ml) chicken stock
2 tsp light soy sauce
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
2 tsp chilli oil
2 finely sliced spring onions
2 cloves of garlic, microplaned


This is just to see some of the different condiments we used.

Buttermilk Fruit Tart

Saturday, May 11, 2019, 08:12 PM

I’m still working on figuring out my preferred tart crust. This time, I used Mary Berry’s crust recipe from Bakewell Tart. The texture was much better than when I used the Kitchn’s recipe. I think cold butter is the way to go for the crust. Next time I may try a Pâte Sucre crust.

The filling was inspired by having leftover buttermilk. I looked for a buttermilk pastry cream and found this The Irreverent Kitchen (LOCAL). I followed this recipe adding the zest of one lemon stirred in at the end. However, I really did not like this method of making the pastry cream. And it didn’t set! I prefer what I’ve done before where you temper the eggs. It tasted good though!

I also used the blueberry topping recipe from the same link, only subbed white rum for the brandy based on what we had on hand. And I ended up using 6 tbsp powdered sugar. I don’t know if my blueberries weren’t as sweet or what, but with the crust not being very sweet and the tangy lemony buttermilk filling, I was going for more sweetness in the blueberries. Then I also topped it with kiwi roses which were surprisingly easy to make. Made them on a cutting board and carefully transferred with the fish flipping spatula.

As mentioned, the pastry cream did not set, and it was pretty soupy once you cut into it. It initially looked great and tasted pretty good. I would consider doing it again, but there are so many other tart combinations to try so it may never happen. Lots of room for improvement though. And as pretty as the kiwi roses were, I thought the blueberry went better. Kiwis are a bit sour, too and like I said it needed the sweeter topping to contrast the tangy filling.

Cà Phê Sữa Đá

Saturday, May 11, 2019, 10:59 AM

Meredith has been making Vietnemese Ice Coffee using the Andrea Nguyen recipe (LOCAL). She's done it with coconut sweetened condensed sensed milk which, while less white, taste pretty good. I tried using the dripper with just powdered creamer and splenda. That was pretty good but not the same


Friday, May 10, 2019, 08:12 PM

Meredith and I made Kebabs using the spice kit that Sam and Ron got us and we've used before (A,B). This one was a hit! Meredith made the marinade a few days before and I skewered and grilled them (also adding tomatoes). We served it with Trader Joes Garlic Naan. The yogurt Meredith bought was a bit thick so she thinned it with buttermilk for the marinade.

We really enjoyed it. Especially the jam! That was really tasty too with some interesting flavors combined with the mango.

Chinese Food Feast

Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 08:35 PM

Meredith had checked out a book called Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop and decided to go crazy cooking four different things from it. Meredith said they were all pretty easy it's just that she made four items

Meredith's notes are below

Classic Dan Dan Noodles

These were pretty good and quick! I’m not sure I had the right kind of bean paste. They were out of the sweet bean paste, so what I got was just bean paste, but given it calls for all of 1 tsp, I guess that was fine. I also used Sake in place of the other wine since I thought that would be close enough and didn’t want to buy it for one recipe. I had no problem finding the Sichuanese ya cai and it was really cheap, too. I also found fresh noodles at the Asian market, so I used those. Next time I might look to mix up the sauce a bit, and I’d consider doing a mix of zucchini noodles and real ones just for a more balanced meal. This could probably make a pretty nice dinner on it’s own with the zucchini noodles.

Also, only did 2 tsp instead of 2 Tbsp of chili oil

Dan-Dan Noodles

Sour and Hot Silken Tofu

I don’t typically love silken tofu, preferring a firmer texture, but for whatever reason this recipe still caught my eye. And I’m glad it did, because it was really good! I think the Bombay mix on top was essential, because it needed that textural contrast. Followed this recipe closely, except I did 2 tsp of chili oil instead of 2 tbsp, and since it was store bought there was no sediment. Based on some reading, you have to make your own for it to have sediment. I also used roasted peanut oil in place of the sesame oil because unfortunately our sesame oil was refined and not at all aromatic. I thought the peanut aromas would be better than no aroma. I also used TJ’s bone broth for the stock.

Tofu Recipe

Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce

Anytime I see an Asia cucumber recipe, I hope it will be similar to the cucumbers from the ABQ Popup Dumpling House. Their description is:

These cucumbers complement any of our Chinese dishes. We take crispy cucumbers and blend them with Chinese spices and seasonings for a refreshing appetizer or side.

I think I followed this recipe pretty much to a T, maybe smashing with a little too much zeal. But, they were delicious! I’ll have to try the ones at the dumpling house again, but I easily liked these as much even if they are different. I didn’t do the optional Sichuan pepper.

Smacked Cucumbers in Garlicky Sauce Recipe

Baby Bok Choy in Superior Stock

This was not a winner. It was quite simple to make, but very bland. I followed the recipe closely, using TJ’s bone broth for the stock.

Bok Choy Recipe

Amba Chicken

Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 07:04 PM

I made Amba Chicken basically identically as Last Time.

Arugula Pesto Pizza

Monday, May 06, 2019, 08:07 PM

Meredith made arugula pesto from Shutterbean (LOCAL). She subbed nutritional yeast for the cheese and used slightly more than half the oil it calls for.

We use Trader Joes herb style pizza dough. I let it sit at room temperature for about 45-60 minutes. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to roll it out enough for two people but I managed to get it. Not very pretty or round, but it worked.

We used the pesto as the main sauce and then topped it with sundried tomatoes and cheese. Towards the end of the bake (on the Pizza Steel), we added prosciutto. We also added some tomatoes but I do not remember if it was at the start or end of the bake.

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