So, hey kids. I’m back. Kinda. Just getting back into the swing of this, and I miiight have a not insignificant amount of recipes I should finally write up.

Basically: unemployment and depression are rough, and getting yourself stabilized after all of the above is even more fun. For now, I appear to be settled enough that I finally feel comfortable getting back to this blog. So. Sorry for kinda disappearing since September, and thank you for sticking with me.

Pork belly is becoming a thing right now, and luckily for me, I have several Asian markets in the Chicago area that do cheap as shit (and well cut) slabs of pork belly. I came across this recipe on Lucky Peach, and decided to give it a shot. One major note – the original recipe calls for you to brown it on top of the time it spends in the oven, but to be very honest, it’s perfect as is after it comes out of the oven.

Momofuku Pork Belly
Makes however much pork belly you want; above was appx 2.5 lbs

Ingredients

  • Desired amount of pork belly (again, above was in one package from their meat counter, about 2.5 lbs I would guess; original recipe said skinless, I got mine with the skin on, didn’t make any large difference)
  • 1 T plus 1 t/lb sea salt
  • 1 T plus 1 t/lb sugar
  • a dash of fresh ground black pepper

The night before you want to make your pork belly, season it with salt and sugar, and a few twists of black pepper from the grinder. Cover it (I used one of the many many containers I have lying around) and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Day of, preheat your oven to 450. Put your belly in a pan, and then sear at 450 for about a half hour. Turn it down to 275, and let it roast slowly another hour or two (I want to say mine sat for closer to the two hour mark at 275), until it’s nice and tender (but not mushy. ew).

Let it cool to room temperature, wrap it up/put it in a container in the fridge to store, and then warm it and nom as you desire!

 

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I haven’t tried making a pie in a while, and frankly, I felt it was time to try again, especially with the strawberries and peaches at the height of their season. It didn’t exactly turn out amazing (fumbling around with thawing pie crusts and super juicy fillings translates into a sudden cobbler transformation), but it’s good for a first try. Plus, it’s generally an amazing flavor combination – warmed, honeyed peaches and strawberries, with just a dash of bourbon and vanilla. 

Honey Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen pie crusts (one for the bottom, and one for the lattice top or whatever you can manage) (if you want the recipe for the crust as in the original recipe, click the link above)
  • 5 fresh sliced and pitted peaches (roughly 5 c)
  • 2 c strawberries, halved and hulled
  • 1/3 c dark brown sugar
  • .5 c flour
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 T bourbon
  • 2 T butter, sliced thin
  • 1 beaten egg
  • sugar, to sprinkle

Line the bottom of your pie plate with the crust. Toss together your peaches, strawberries, dark brown sugar, flour, honey, vanilla extract, and bourbon, and then spoon the filling into the pie plate, being sure to get all the juices. Add the thin butter slices over the top. 

Place the top crust over the top of the pie – if you can make a lattice, go for it! Otherwise, just crimp the edges on, and be sure to cut vents in the crust. (I tried to lattice it. It didn’t go very well.)  Brush the crust with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle the sugar on top. 

Chill the pie in the fridge until it’s firm, usually about 1 hour, but up to several days in advance. 

When you’re ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 350. Once heated, place the chilled pie on a baking sheet, in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is a good golden brown. Let the pie cool, and then om the nom out of it!

I actually tried making these waffles a few weeks ago, but made a fatal reading mistake – instead of 1/3 c of warmed Nutella, I somehow decided to include ¾ c warmed Nutella. Now, while more Nutella usually isn’t a bad thing, in this situation, it led to a waffle that was half Nutella, and a bit crispy. I finally did these this morning using the right proportions, and the resulting waffle is lovely. This recipe doesn’t make that many waffles (5 total), so you may want to consider doubling the recipe. 

Nutella Swirl Waffles
Makes 5 waffles

Ingredients

  • .75 c flour
  • (original recipe recommended .25 c cornstarch, I found it didn’t need it)
  • 1 t sugar
  • .5 t baking soda
  • .5 t sea salt
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c Nutella
  • 1 T vegetable oil

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and sea salt, followed by the buttermilk, vegetable oil, and egg. Let the batter sit for twenty minutes.

Towards the end of the twenty minutes, heat your waffle iron according to its instructions. Scoop the 1/3 c of Nutella into a microwave safe glass measuring cup, along with 1 T vegetable oil, and heat for about thirty seconds to warm and thin. Drizzle and swirl it into the batter (see pic 2 for what this looks like). 

Then, make your waffles according to your maker’s instructions, and enjoy!

Tried this on a whim last weekend, as I’ve been on a creme brulee kick lately, or at least the idea of it, and the idea of that plus french toast sounded grade A amazing. I think this needs another go around to get it perfect, especially with the topping. Maybe caramelizing the sugar will work better under a broiler, or with a blowtorch? Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

Seriously, though, be sure to flip the toasts to get the perfect goldenness to it, and and have some fresh berries to make it even more amazing (these are Tay barries, a cross between raspberries and blackberries). I also used a loaf of shokupan (a type of Japanese milk bread) instead of brioche, and I still think it tastes amazing. Plus, odds are you’ll have some left over, for some lovely breakfasts during the week. 

Creme Brulee French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf rich bread of choice (again, Deb recommends brioche, I used shokupan, sliced to about an inch or so thick)
  • 1 1/3 c whole milk
  • 2/3 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 T alcohol of choice (original recommended Grand Marnier, I went Kahlua)
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Topping

  • 2/3 c white sugar

If your bread isn’t already sliced, slice it into generous, thick slices – Deb recommends 1.5 in thick slices, my loaf was cut into 1 in slices, about 9 slices total. Whisk together the milk, heavy whipping cream, eggs, white sugar, sea salt, booze, and vanilla extract. If you want to use a vanilla bean, you can do so – just follow Deb’s recommended steps for whisking in the vanilla bean scraping in the linked recipe. 

Preheat your oven to 325. Take a rimmed tray or pan that will fit as much of your bread as possible (I ended up going with two separate glass pans, and even those weren’t the greatest fits, as you can see), lay out the bread, and pour the custard over it. Let the slices absorb the custard for a half hour, flipping over about halfway through to ensure every side is soaking up the custard evenly. (You can also toss this in the fridge overnight to soak if you’re so inclined, and you won’t need to flip them if that’s the case.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper if you have it (I do because the people before me in this apartment left a lot of stuff, hallelujah), and space out the french toasts so that there’s juuust enough space that they can breathe a bit. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, flipping halfway through so that each side gets a lovely golden sear to it (I didn’t flip them, and I think they look better with both sides seared). You’ll know they’re ready when you lightly slice into the center of the bread and twist, and no wet custard comes out. 

About five minutes out from the toast being done, take a small, heavy, completely dry pot and melt 2/3 c white sugar over medium heat, stirring with a fork, and until it’s fully melted and the color of honey (see pic five). Time this so that this happens as soon as the toasts are done. Remove the bread from the oven, and then drizzle about 1 T of the caramel over the toasts, attempting to do so evenly (I just ended up doing a fancy drizzle). 

Add berries, and voila – a lovely, decadent weekend breakfast. 

(If anyone’s tried the broiler method for caramelization that Deb mentions, please let me know if it worked for you – I want to try that next time. Or maybe the hot spoon method would also work.)

“You begin to suspect your bowl is a portal to the meat dimension… In order to finish this bowl, you must have Understanding of your limits, Knowledge to control your pace, Courage to face this unrelenting tide of beef, and Diligence to persevere against this colossal challenge." 

So, one of the things you can do to raise your stats in Persona 4 is to take the Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl Challenge. On rainy days, you go to the Chinese restaurant, and for 3000 yen (~$30), you get a huge ass beef bowl that you have to try to finish. You can’t actually finish the beef bowl until you have all five stats maxed out (and then it’s free), so typically when you do it, you get three of four random stats increased, which is super useful in game. 

This is basically a combination of two existing recipes (Pixelated Provisions, and the now defunct Gourmet Gaming), but I like the end result I got better than the other two recipes. (I’ll likely include the onions on another run through, but I mostly just wanted the meat, egg, and rice for this.)

I’m thinking of trying something similar with reverse engineering recipes from the Odin Sphere remake, so any tag suggestions for this kind of thing would be great!

Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl

Ingredients

  • Steak, sliced thin (note: I got chuck steak for this, about a pound and a half, and that lasted for two servings; get something reasonably priced that you can get in large quantities)
  • 3 T mirin
  • 3 T sake
  • 3 T sugar
  • 9 T aged dark soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 T grated ginger
  • rice 
  • egg

Whisk together your mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce. Take your steak, slice it thin to your taste (you can see the approximate size I got from my photos), and marinate in the mirin/sake/sugar/soy sauce mix in the fridge. I let mine sit covered in the fridge for the better part of a day; you should marinate it for a minimum of fifteen minutes. 

About an hour out from when you’re looking to eat, toss together your rice according to its instructions in your rice cooker, and let it do its thing. 

Fifteen minutes out from when you’re looking to eat, take a large pan, heat it to medium high, and add the sesame oil. Take your grated ginger and garlic, and fry for about two minutes tops, until fragrant. Then, take your steak and marinade, and cook for about ten minutes, until your steak is browned on all sides (see difference between pics 4 and 5). 

As your steak gets close to being done, heat a small pan and a dash of olive oil over high, and fry your egg until you get your desired doneness (I like having a sunny side up with a runny yolk). 

Scoop out your rice, add a bunch of the steak, and then drop the egg on top, and open your portal to the meat dimension!

Looking for a springy, citrusy waffle that you can have ready to go pretty quick (and still have leftovers for breakfast for the week)? If so, I’d suggest these lovely key lime waffles. The most you’ll have to do is grate a lime to get the necessary zest (I have a separate thing of fresh lime juice, so); the rest should be lying around and ready to go in your pantry. Might mellow this out with a bit of vanilla next time, but otherwise, these are perfect and lovely.

Key Lime Waffles
Makes ~7 waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • .75 c sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.75 c milk
  • .25 c fresh key lime juice
  • 1 T key lime zest
  • 1 stick butter (.5 c), melted

Take your dry ingredients, and whisk them together in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs and milk, followed by the key lime juice and zest, and finally your melted butter. Then, slowly add your wet ingredients to your dry ones, until just barely combined. 

Then, make according to your waffle iron’s instructions, and enjoy!

So, our DM was down in Florida the last two weeks, and they accidentally bought too many strawberries back on the way home. TLDR we had a session on Friday night, and I am now the proud owner of 2 lbs of super ripe Florida strawberries. Have some ideas for the rest (strawberry lemon cake here I come), but the boy and I haven’t done waffles in a bit, and this was lurking in my to-make pile, so I decided to push this up and make these Sunday night.

Good life choice, that. Browned butter plus roasted strawberries = holy yes. This was originally a pancake recipe, and I think they may have been a bit thicker than I was expecting when I cooked them – any tips for thinning out the batter?

Roasted Strawberry Browned Butter Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c sliced strawberries
  • (original recipe recommended roasting with olive oil, I think I’ll just let them roast in their own juices next time)
  • half a stick (.25 c) unsalted butter
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • .5 t cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1.25 c milk

Preheat your oven to 375. Take your sliced strawberries, spread them in an even layer in a baking dish, and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until juicy and caramelly. 

While the strawberries finish, heat a small pot to medium high heat and brown your butter, melting it and whisking it until small brown bits start to form in the bottom (see pic 2 and 3 for what that looks like). Remove the butter from heat and set aside for later.

Meanwhile, mix together all your dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, egg, and milk, before pouring it into the dry ingredients and mixing until just barely combined. Then, pour in your browned butter, and a quarter of the strawberries and their juices. (The recipe recommends thinning with additional milk, but I tried that, and I think I may have thickened it somehow??)

Preheat your waffle iron, cook according to directions, and then top with the remaining roasted strawberries.