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Posts Tagged ‘Momofuku’

Kimchi Quesadillas

In Food, Recipes on January 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm

This past weekend marked my first turn at making my own kimchi from a recipe of Momofuku chef David Chang’s. For the uninitiated, kimchi is a Korean fermented vegetable dish and is often made with cabbage. The key ingredients are fresh ginger and garlic, along with chili pepper and the result is earthy, spicy, salty, and savory-sweet. In a word, delicious. The results were even better than I could have imagined. The mixture should hit its prime after two weeks, but can be enjoyed after 24 hours. Patience has never been my thing, and so we tucked into just a little bit last night and made Kogi truck-inspired kimchi quesadillas using Kogi founder Roy Choi’s recipe. And they were AWESOME. To fein some stab at virtue, I also tossed a salad with a fresh ginger-sesame vinaigrette (fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and canola whirred in the blender). First time I’ve ever seen my husband go back for seconds on salad. And also the first of many times to come that we’ll be devouring these ooey-gooey kimchi quesadillas.

Kogi Kimchi Quesadillas

Adapted from a recipe by Roy Choi

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup cabbage kimchi, drained and chopped

2  flour tortillas (tho we used Whole Foods Whole Wheat tortillas for extra nuttiness)

2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar

1 cup grated Monterey Jack

Vegetable oil

Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then cook kimchi, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Cool kimchi.

Spoon half of kimchi on one side of each tortilla and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, and 1/2 cup of both cheeses. Fold in half to enclose filling.

Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium heat until it just begins to smoke, then cook quesadillas, turning once, until golden and cheese is melted, about 4 minutes total. Serve immediately.

The Kimchi Chronicles: Part One

In Food on January 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm

One of my favorite ethnic foodstuffs is kimchi—a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables, frequently with napa cabbage and loaded with ginger, garlic and chili powder. I’ve always wanted to try making my own but had never gotten past the idea phase until a rogue head of cabbage in my CSA farm box this week forced my hand. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to go shopping at HK Market in Koreatown on Western x 1st. Which is where I found salted shrimp. I have enough here for about a hundred batches of kimchi, but I’m thinking about deploying them in scallion pancakes or some kind of stew. This is between us, of course, so please don’t breathe a word to Mr. Foodinista. I’ve hidden the jar at the back of the fridge.

While at HK, I also grabbed a ton of ginger and garlic, as well as a huge thing of kochukaru (Korean chile powder) and some usukuchi, which is a lighter-colored soy sauce. From there, I followed David Chang’s recipe for Momofuku Kimchi.

The recipe calls for julienned carrots and I thought why not give the never-been-used julienne blade a go on the mandoline? At which point I lost my mind trying to figure out how to work the damn thing. While fluent in straight blade and crinkle cut, apparently I flunked julienne. What am I missing? Defeated, I resorted to julienning the old-fashioned way, with a knife. (Peeling potatoes and julienning rank as my two least favorite things to do in the kitchen, btw.) Can someone tell me, do I have this blade on there wrong? I mean, I think the blade is on there right but do I need to have the straight blade on there, too?

But I’m over it, I promise. Because—mandoline rage notwithstanding—the kimchi came together so much more easily than I imagined. It has to refrigerate at least 24 hours (this after 24 hours of the sliced cabbage first sitting doused with salt and sugar) so tomorrow night we are planning kimchi quesadillas. The kimchi reaches its prime in two weeks—on the very day I return from South Africa—so quite a homecoming it will be. Stay tuned!

Momofuku Pickles

In Food, Recipes on December 5, 2010 at 9:06 am

My favorite sandwich growing up in England was cucumber with butter. And if they are cut up into kicky little quarters, all the better. Tea sammies are, in my book, pretty much the bomb. And it occurred to me the other day that they would be the perfect way to feed a crowd. For our holiday bash on Friday night, I knew I wanted to do radish slathered with my favorite Irish butter and sprinkled with gray sea salt. And then I’ve been dying to try my friend Andrew Knowlton’s family recipe for Pimento Cheese. I mentioned as much to my friend Hugh, who came up with a third option—a totally inspired riff on David Chang’s pork buns: bacon with pickles, cilantro and hoisin. I love it! I made a batch of Chang’s vinegar pickles and you can’t believe how easy these are and they payoff is HUGE. You can do this with any vegetables you want to pickle. And ideally you want to really pack the jar with vegetables. But what you really, really want to do is to buy the cookbook. But I digress.

Momofuku Vinegar Pickles, Master Recipe

1 cup water, piping hot from tap

1/2 rice wine vinegar

6 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 large cucumbers, thinly sliced

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Pack the cucumbers into a quart container. Pour brine over vegetables, cover and refrigerate. Allow to sit 3-4 days at a minimum, a week for optimum flavor. Pickles will keep for at least a month.

Peach Tarragon Bellini

In Drink, Recipes on September 3, 2010 at 11:29 am

I’ve had a really good morning in the Twittersphere. Three men I respect greatly, Bruce Schoenfeld (wine editor of Travel & Leisure), Jason Wilson (spirits columnist at The Washington Post and author of forthcoming book Boozehound) and Los Angeles food blogger Tony C. (of SinoSoul) all tweeted about my Herbal Cocktails story in the current September Restaurant Issue issue of Bon Appetit! While the story is not up on the website, you can still grab a copy of the mag on newsstands—and believe me, you’ll want to. The issue is loaded with goodness from the country’s top restaurant including desserts to die for from Momofuku’s pastry chef, like Chocolate Malt Cake and the infamous and aptly named Crack Pie (it is that good, people). And here’s a little bonus not in the issue—the recipe I developed for the Peach Tarragon Bellini mentioned in the story. Cheers!

The Foodinista’s Peach Tarragon Bellini
The classic Bellini gets an herbal kick from fresh tarragon.

Makes 4-6

1/2 generous cup ripe peach slices, peeled
10-12 tarragon leaves
1 750 ml bottle Prosecco

Puree peaches and tarragon in blender. Add 1 ounce peach/tarragon purée to each flute. Top each with 4 ounces prosecco.

The Ramen Diaries

In Drink, Food on February 14, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Where to begin? The lost hours shopping for ingredients in Little Tokyo, the multiple visits to Jacob at Huntington Meats in search of pork bones, the phone calls and texting between me and my coconspirator Alex, the recipe that redirected us to no fewer than seven other recipes, or the mountains of dishes occupying every last inch in our kitchen? Well, let’s begin at 7:30 am yesterday, when I ignited the gas flame on our monster of a Wolf range and started this damn broth.

7:30 am Chang’s ramen recipe begins, apparently without irony, by saying “First, get everything ready.” Yeah, thanks. So the way Alex and I divvied up labor meant that she spent the previous evening slow-roasting pork butt and belly for HOURS on end. I was starting a broth that would take over 10 hours to make. It begins with rinsing konbu and then simmering over high heat.

8 am … feed Tiny G breakfast, remove konbu…shiitakes simmering for 1/2 hour.

8:30 am … spoon out mushrooms with a spider…chicken legs go into the broth, pork bones go into the oven to roast for an hour

9 am: flip pork bones, back into oven

9:30 am: pork bones come out of oven

9:45 am: chicken legs come out of the broth; pork bones and bacon go in. Mr Foodinista and I walk over to Larchmont for bagels and run into GastroKid’s Hugh Garvey with Violet and Desmond at Sam’s Bagels, continue up street and run into Alex and her kids. Alex pulls a tupperware of pickled vegetables for our dinner from her daughter’s stroller for us to try. They’re insane! Particularly the pickled Asian pear.

10:45 am … back home in time to remove bacon (don’t worry – Tiny G and his Aunt Claire were at home keeping an eye on the broth)

11: 30: Tiny G goes down for nap. Shower. Drive to….

12 pm: Chanel “Blue Satin” manicure with Sandra on Wilshire x Crescent Heights (310-292-2263)

1 pm: bring dashi and mirin to boil, simmer pistachios for one hour (for salad course)

2pm: fry ground chicken patty, reheat puréed cauliflower and chop apple for Tiny G’s lunch

2:10 pm: drain braised pistachios and purée with water … chop radishes and toss with salt and sugar (for salad)

3 pm: write out place cards and set table for 10.

4:30 pm: chop two bunches collard greens and simmer with water, soy sauce, sherry vinegar, brown sugar for 40 mins.

5:20 pm: change into Dolce & Gabbana ghetto gold leaf bracelet, J Brand black twill and an Anna Sui top—the latter is not only Chinese red but a nod to Chinese New Year!

5:30 pm: add scallions, chopped onion and carrot to broth

6 pm: test water for temperature (140 – 145 degrees) and add eggs to slow poach for 45 minutes—Chang’s signature technique is also known as onsen tamago, or “bath eggs”

6:15 pm: Alex and her husband Greg arrive with roasted pork butt and pork belly. I remove bones and veggies from broth and strain thru cheesecloth into pot. As you may have ascertained, I’ve also uncorked a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc…

6:25 pm: Alex removes layer of fat from pork belly.

6:30 pm: Greg preps sashimi course with spoils from Fish King in Glendale:

6:45 pm: Remove eggs from hot water and put into ice bath. My sister’s date arrives to take her to Avatar at the Cineramadome and a late dinner at Street. Claire has spent most of the afternoon outdoors so as not to smell like rendered fat when he picks her up…

7:05 pm: Neighbors Martha and Alex A. arrive with Sapporo.

7:10 pm: Neighbors Alyssa and Chris arrive; Chris is pulling his kids’ radio flyer wagon with a cooler full of assorted Hitachino Nest beer. Here he is serving our very chic neighbor and documentary film producer Martha.

7:10 pm: Tokyo expats and neighbors Whit and Jen arrive with Yebisu beer and sake. Jen designs the MOST amazing Japanese baby clothes under her NOKO label.

8 pm: Sashimi course, beautifully assembled by Greg…

8:20 pm: Fry oyster mushrooms in grapeseed oil and finish with sherry vinegar. Plate salads…pistachio purée, radishes, oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, radish greens, pickled sunchokes and braised pistachios…

8:40 pm: Whit delivers treatise on saké. He knows his stuff. And we toast to living on the greatest block in all of Los Angeles!

9 pm: Alex D. and I sneak out to kitchen, aided by Jen, to assemble ramen. Water boiling for ramen, running long poached eggs under hot water, seaweed torn and distributed among bowls, broth ladeled into bowls, stewed bamboo shoots (prepared previous evening) reheated and distributed among bowls along with ramen, chopped scallions, collard greens, eggs, INSANELY good roasted pork belly and pork butt…

9:10 pm: And here’s a funky one of me peeling and liberating all those damn eggs…tricky…

9:20 pm: Ramen is served! Was it worth it? OH. MY. GOD. YESSSSSSSSSSSS. What followed involved mochi for dessert, an ill-advised late-night decision to crack some Champagne, 30 Year Balvenie single-malt for some, vodka + tonic for others, more beer and Cuban cigars. Yowza.

1 am: And the aftermath? Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here Comes the Sunchoke

In Food on February 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Can you believe this gnarly thing is a sunflower? Well, the root of it anyway. Known as sunchoke, Jerusalem artichoke, earth apple or sunroot, this tuber is destined to be pickled and served in a salad at tomorrow night’s Valentine’s dinner party. So let’s get down and dirty.

First I made the pickling liquid: sugar dissolved in hot water and rice wine vinegar.

Next you boil the pickling liquid and peel/slice all those ‘chokes. Not fun—plus I sliced my finger, which almost always happens when I’m peeling. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Finally I mixed a teaspoon of shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice powder) into the boiling pickling liquid and poured over the sunchokes. They’ll sit in the fridge and think about their behavior until tomorrow night when they are called to action!

The Romance of Ramen

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on February 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm

What, I ask you, is more romantic than a big old hunk of pork belly?

My friend Alex and I struck out this morning to shop for our Valentine’s Day dinner party this weekend and the first stop was Huntington Meats at the Farmers Market on Third/Fairfax. We’re doing a Japanese-themed extravaganza, and the main event is the ramen recipe from Momofuku, my favorite restaurant in NY. The broth alone takes 10 hours to make. Here is our menu:

Sashimi + Champagne


Roasted Mushroom Salad with Braised Pistachios, Pickled Sunchokes + Radishes


Momofuku Ramen with Roasted Pork Belly + Slow-Poached Egg


Japanese Pickles



It’s a ridiculous undertaking, but we plan to divide and conquer. This morning’s mission: pork. Alex picked up 6 lbs of pork belly (above) and butcher Jacob deboned a 6+ lb pork butt, below. Alex is slow-roasting the belly and butt; I’m making the broth so I snagged the pork bones and have asked Jacob to hang onto any more bones, which I’ll hopefully pick up tomorrow morning. I need 5 lbs. I have .75 lbs. Stress.

From there, we headed to the Little Tokyo Market Place on Alameda (an enormous Japanese/Korean supermarket) to do a serious shop. Thank god, Alex was with me or I would’ve been there for HOURS. (I don’t read Japanese, PS.) So here’s what we got: konbu, dried shiitakes, fresh ramen noodles, nori, fish cake, radish shoots, canned bamboo shoots, instant dashi, mirin, oyster and enoki mushrooms, shichimi togarashi…

Now all that’s left is to secure the rest of those pork bones, find some sunchokes to pickle and get my hands on some Japanese feathered “fleur-ever” eyelashes from Shu Uemera:

7 Books to Give (and Receive)

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food, Media on December 20, 2009 at 9:59 am

Over at DESIGNwatcher, Lizzie recently blogged about 7 books she wants to give (and receive) this year. Her list is great, and inspired me to create my own.

1. Cheerful Money, by Tad Friend ($24.99)

A wonderful memoir from New Yorker writer Tad Friend, aka Mr. Amanda Hesser, that takes a look at WASP culture—or the decline thereof—in America. It’s a stylishly written, entertaining and insightful blend of family and cultural history.

2. Tennis Fashion, by Diane Elisabeth Poirier ($18.95)

Obviously I need this book and am, in fact, irate that I didn’t write it myself! Looking on alibris.com, I can pick up a like-new copy for as little as two bucks, but wouldn’t it be more fun to go to the swanky new Assouline store on Melrose Place in the former Bastide space? And about the cover…a tennis beret! Fascinating food for thought.

3. Imbibe! From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar, by David Wondrich ($23.95)

Here’s a book I refer to often, not just for excellent cocktail recipes and inspiration, but for fascinating cocktilian history. It’s written by a friend and colleague, Dave Wondrich, whose stories you’ve undoubtedly read in Esquire, Bon Appetit and Saveur. A must for any cocktail lover.

4. The GastroKid Cookbook: Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast-Food World, by Hugh Garvey ($22.95)

If we are friends and you have kids, chances are you got one of these from The Foodinista for Christmas! I love this book, love the message, and love the author. Hugh is a friend, colleague and neighbor—and in addition to being a totally great guy, he can cook. I love his recipe for roasted chickpeas even better than the original Babbo version on which it’s based.

5. Freidlander, by Peter Galassi ($165)

For the photography collector on your list. I desperately wish I’d bought this book when I saw the exhibit back in 2005 at MoMA in New York. I love the vision and wit of Friedlander’s images of everyday life (billboards, storefronts, cars), and perhaps my most prized possession is one of his photographs—a self portrait taken in 1966—that hangs above our fireplace:

6. Momofuku Cookbook, by David Chang and Peter Meehan ($40)

Here’s a must-have cookbook for the food obsessed from my very favorite restaurant in New York, Momofuku Noodle Bar. David Chang’s ramen with Berkshire pork belly and poached egg is reason enough to hop a flight to JFK. My friend Alex gave me a copy of this book for my birthday last month, and we’re planning a cooking date where we take over her kitchen or mine for a day and try to recreate (I’m told the ramen broth takes 10 hours to make). We’ve already sourced the pork belly at Huntington Meats at the Third/Fairfax farmer’s market. Game ON!

7. My Wonderful World of Fashion, by Nina Chakrabarti ($19.95)

It’s been a while since I’ve been interested in coloring books, though something tells me I’d better get my head in the game with Tiny G just learning to wield a crayon. I think this coloring book for fashion addicts just might do the trick! There are gorgeous illustrations to color, pages on which to design your own creations, and brief historical notes for inspiration. Santa, baby?

Mixed Messages

In Food on June 24, 2009 at 8:07 am


Here’s a dinner conversation that took place recently with my husband in a restaurant in Belgium:

What I said: “I’ve never heard so much Phil Collins in my life.”

What he heard: “I’ve never had so much self confidence in my life.”

The bottom line is that bad music can quickly derail a conversation. Conversely, when I stop to think about it, some of my best dinners have taken place in restaurants with killer soundtracks: Momofuku’s mix of Bowie, Modest Mouse, Wilco; Pizzeria Mozza’s classic rock with the Stones and Who in heavy rotation; and then as cliché as it might seem, Billie Holiday moodily piping through the speakers at Bouchon in Napa Valley. What’s better than bistro fare with blues?

Lunch for $15 or Less: Daikokuya Ramen

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on April 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm

The latest in my quest for lunch under $15 while I’m on jury duty downtown…


Until this afternoon, I would have told you without missing a beat that the best ramen I’ve ever had is at Momofuku in New York (made with Berkshire pork shoulder and belly, and a poached egg). I’m pretty sure Momofuku’s still rules the roost—it’s been a while since I’ve had it—but today I discovered a bowl of ramen in Little Tokyo that would give David Chang a serious run for his money. My friend Bryan (aka DJ Buttafuoco for all you downtown hipsters), who lives a few blocks from Daikokuya, gave me my marching orders, saying, “The Daikoku Ramen is what you’re there for. They make it ‘kotteri style’ if you ask, which is richer, thicker broth extracted from pork back fat. It might kill you, but it’s worth it.” 


Boy, he’s not kidding. The tonkotsu broth is made by boiling pork bones for a day, and then mixing with soy sauce—and, if you ask, the kotteri back fat. Ask. Then it’s loaded with tender kurobata pork belly, scallions, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and toasted sesame seeds. The soft-boiled egg is marinated overnight in soy sauce, and lordy, is it good. The bill, with a diet Coke, was a little over ten bucks before tip. I texted DJ Buttafuoco on my way back from lunch that I’d tried the ramen, to which he replied, “Now the real challenge begins: avoiding the noodle/pork fat coma for the rest of the afternoon.” I’m not sure I won that battle, but was sure glad for the brisk walk back from the restaurant to the courthouse, taking in the sights along the way. It was crazy windy—bad day to be wearing a skirt—but just gorgeous, gorgeous outside.