Hitachino Nest Dai Dai IPA

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NAME: Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Dai Dai IPA
TYPE: “IPA”
ORIGIN: Japan
ABV: 6.2%
REVIEW: Golden brown, slightly opaque, sweet tart smell. Bitter up front, then slow sweet finish with notes of honey, pine, and orange zest. Hardly hoppy at all, this tastes more like a saison to me… but a good saison. Don’t really know how this qualifies as an IPA, but it’s interesting. Like the white ale the flavors are subtle, but subtle is not the adjective I look for in an IPA. Not gonna lie, I’m a little disappointed.

goodwilltasting grade: B-

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Bulgogi Ssam – Kim Chi Salsa

Hello loyal readers!

My sincerest apologies to all 12 of you for being MIA the last couple months. The truth is, once the weather got better here in Boston, this blog took a backseat to being somewhere outside in shorts and a bro tank and not freezing. I think I’ve gotten a lot of the bro-tank-wearing out of my system so I wanted to get back to it!

Another thing I’ve been meaning to talk about is this: I don’t like tons of pictures.  In fact, one point I wanted to make when starting this blog was NOT to put up a million pictures in every post.  Do you really need a picture of me adding a teaspoon of salt to a pot? That’s not exactly a culinary school skill.  That being said, I realized that I’ve started posting more and more pictures in each of my entries and become something of a hypocrite.  So from here on out I’m going to try my best to only put pictures up that I think are necessary to clarify one of my instructions. I have a feeling I’m still going to put up a ton but whatever you guys can keep me accountable.  Yes, the 12 of you.

Anyway, here’s some Korean food I recently made:

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This is a ssäm. It means “wrapped” in Korean. I just googled it. I’ve been eating this for quite some time in restaurants but never made it at home until I met my wife, who if you didn’t know, is Korean. It’s super easy. Also on top is a kim chi “salsa” I made.  I got the idea from David Chang on Mind of a Chef when he made a bulgogi burrito and I thought it was genius.

Okay let’s start with everyone’s favorite, the meat! Sorry if you’re favorite is actually the lettuce.

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Most Asian stores will have thinly sliced beef like this, sometimes labeled under “beef for hot pot” or “sukiyaki.” I went big time with the ribeye but you can also use round.

Now for the marinade:

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Puree your pear, your onion, and your garlic in the food processor until it looks like apple sauce like so.

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Add your puree to the meat, then toss in your soy sauce, your brown sugar, and your sesame oil.  If you’re using a meat like rib eye, be careful when mixing because all the marbling will make your meat literally fall apart.

The beauty of bulgogi is that it’s so thin that you really don’t have to marinate it long.  You can basically start frying it up immediately after the marinade is done.  I went ahead and let it rest for 30 minutes before starting to cook but I really don’t think you have to.

While I was waiting, I started on the kim chi salsa.

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Char a couple green onions for a little added roasty flavor.

Chop up your kim chi and throw it in a food processor with your green onions.

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Chop until everything is coarsely ground. Next add your cilantro and a squeeze of lemon (or lime)

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Process some more and you’ll be left with something that you could serve at your local taqueria! Or if you live in Boston, Qdoba.

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Okay let’s get back to the meat. It’s been marinating for a little while now, so all you need to do is throw it on the griddle.  If you don’t have a griddle, you can use a large skillet, but make sure you cook in small batches, otherwise all the liquid will come out and you’ll end up boiling the meat rather than grilling it, and that’s not nearly as delicious.

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You’ll notice I added some mushrooms and green onions to the grill. This is up to you if you want to do it.  Either way it will taste great.

BTW, I highly recommend getting a cast iron griddle/grill pan.  I use that bad boy all the time and get great results every time.  Make sure all the liquid cooks out and the meat actually starts to brown! It’s gotta be a little crispy otherwise you’re doing it wrong.

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Glorious.

You can eat this as is, or wrap it up in your favorite wrapper (seawead, rice noodles, or good ol’ red leaf lettuce) with rice, some ssamjang, and the kim chi salsa. Enjoy y’all.

BULGOGI:

1 Asian pear or crisp Bartlett pear
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
1.5 lbs thinly sliced beef tenderloin or rib eye
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar
A good squirt of sesame oil (about 1 Tbsp)

Pulse the pear, the onion, and the garlic in a food processor for about 15-20 seconds, or until it looks like applesauce. Combine the pureed mixture, the beef, both soy sauces, sugar, and sesame oil into a large bowl and mix gently to combine.

Once all ingredients are incorporated, heat a griddle over medium-high heat, or a 12″ skillet over high heat.  Add a little oil to the cooking surface and cook your bulgogi in batches.  Make sure not to crowd the cooking surface or too much liquid will run out of the meat and it will start to boil the meat rather than brown it.

Optional: add sliced mushrooms and green onion to your bulgogi while it’s cooking.

KIM CHI SALSA:
1 1/2 cups kimchi, roughly chopped
2 green onions, charred on grill
1 Roma tomato (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
Half bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup loosely packed)
Fresh ground black pepper

Char green onions and tomato on the grill, until they are slightly blackened.  Add everything to the food processor except the cilantro and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the cilantro and continue to pulse until it is a smooth, salsa-like consistency.  Serve it!

SSAMJANG:

No ssäm is complete without ssamjang, or literally, “sauce for ssäm.” So here’s the wife’s recipe for the sauce.  It’s so good.

1 part gochujang (Korean sweet red pepper paste) to 2 parts doenjang (Korean fermented bean paste, or Korean miso as some have called it).

That’s it.

Happy ssäm-ing.

Beer pairing recommendation: Stone Go To IPA. It’s light, it’s crisp, it’s refreshing, but still packs enough hoppy, citrusy flavor to make it interesting.  Would go well with the fruity flavor of the bulgogi and stand up to the strong taste of the kim chi and ssamjang.

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Mikkeller/Prairie American Style

American IPA

NAME: Mikkeller/Prairie Collaboration American Style IPA
TYPE: American IPA (Nice job taking the guesswork out, Mikkeller)
ORIGIN: Denmark
ABV: 7.5%
REVIEW: Fermented with brettanomyces which is interesting. Fresh juicy tangerine smell. Golden amber, white foamy head. Sweet, super juicy, super balanced, lightly bitter at the end. Delicious. This might be one of my new favorites. That’s high praise.

goodwilltasting grade: A.

 

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Green Flash West Coast IPA

Green Flash West Coast IPA

NAME: Green Flash West Coast IPA
TYPE: West Coast IPA, duh (Double IPA)
ORIGIN: San Diego, CA
ABV: 8.10%
REVIEW: Green Flash West Coast IPA. Light amber color, orange zest and pine on the nose, bitter throughout, strong citrus notes, medium body, short, bitter finish. Get ready, this beer packs a punch.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Stone Go To IPA

Stone Go To IPA

NAME: Stone Go To IPA
TYPE: Session IPA
ORIGIN: Escondido, CA
ABV: 4.5%
REVIEW: Light golden honey color, fresh hoppy grapefruit and lemon zest smell, thick, foamy head, nice fruity taste, white grapefruit and tangerine. Light body, but the bitter finish still packs a punch. I think I could get used to this session IPA thing. What do you guys think btw… Is the session IPA here to stay or just a passing fad?

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Hop Rod Rye

NAME: Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
STYLE: Rye IPA
ORIGIN: Healdsburg, CA
ABV: 8.0%
REVIEW: Dark amber, very fresh, sweet smell, fresh cut grass and apple. Sweet, bitter finish, a little peppery spice from the rye. Very smooth, bittersweet finish. Solid Rye IPA but He’Brew’s RIPA takes it.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Clemenza’s Pasta Recipe – Herbed Meatballs – The Godfather

I love The Godfather.  It’s one of those movies that whenever it’s on, I’ll switch to that channel and watch it through to the end (yes, even though I own it on DVD). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it.  Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction, and of course Shawshank are on that list as well. So good.

Do you remember when Clemenza was teaching Michael how to make pasta sauce (or if you’re from Jersey, spaghetti gravy)?  Maybe this will jog your memory:

“Hey, come over here kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; you make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs, eh? Add a little bit a wine… and a little bit a sugar… and that’s my trick.”
– Peter Clemenza, The Godfather

Ah Clemenza, you fat, lovable, cannoli-loving mafioso.

Anyway, here’s my rendition of Clemenza’s sauce.  You’ll find many different versions out there on the internet machine, but I really think that this is a recipe you can’t refuse.

Let’s start with the sauce.  It’s pretty similar to the tomato soup recipe I just posted, but this time we’re gonna start with some pancetta:

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The next steps are pretty similar to the tomato soup recipe from a a few weeks ago… but let’s review:

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1. Render the fat outta the pancetta, then remove, saving it for later.
2. Remove some of the fat, leaving about 2-3 tbsp, then add 2 tbsp of butter, melt.
3. Fry your garlic, your onions, your bundle of thyme sprigs.
4. Add the tomato paste, and as Clemenza said, make sure it doesn’t stick!
5. Add a little bit of wine.
6. Toss in your tomatoes, some chicken broth.

Clemenza’s trick: the teaspoon of sugar

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And here’s a trick from goodwilltasting: the parmesan rind.

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You’ll remember these next steps if you’re a faithful GWT reader:

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1. Remove the parmesan rind and thyme sprigs
2. Turn off heat
3. Immersion blend (or puree in batches in a blender)
4. Add the pancetta back to the sauce, wise guy!

And that’s it, that’s the sauce. Believe me it is incredible.

Now for the meatballs, bambinos. Start with the bread crumbs.  I had some stale bread so I made my own, but you can definitely just buy them from the market.

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Add some milk to the bread crumbs, let it get mushy.

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If you don’t know what loosely packed means, this here is loosely packed:

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Just lay the leaves in there, don’t stuff the cup, when you fill the measuring cup you’re done.

Next we bring out our good ol’ food processor for the onions, garlic, and herbs. Chop it good. And spend time with your family. A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.

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Okay here we go with the assembly. Basically just combine all the ingredients together in a big bowl, and don’t forget the cup of fresh grated parmesan. BE A MAN. USE YOUR HANDS.

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Now we make the balls. Here’s a tip, wet your hands with water so the meat doesn’t stick to your hands and so you can get perfectly round meatballs. I make them about 1-1.5″ in diameter.

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Okay here’s where it gets a little tricky: when you fry them, make sure you have enough space between them so you can roll them around and they don’t stick together.

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Once they get a nice brown on the bottom, start rolling them all slowly in one direction, then leave them to cook, until they get browned all over. I’m going clockwise because I assume that’s how the Corleones’ do it.

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Once browned on all sides, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 more minutes to complete cooking.

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Cook your sausage however you want. I just fried em up.

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Shove in all your sausage and meatballs. Notice I took some of the sauce out. I’m doing this because I want to freeze some for later. Yes I’m freezing half the meatballs too.

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Boil your spaghetti per the package directions, combine with sauce, top with some parmesan, and you’ll be part of the family.

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Now that’s gangsta.

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TOMATO SAUCE
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 oz cubed pancetta (2 tbsp grease)
2 tbsp tomato paste
8-10 sprigs thyme, tied together tightly with butcher’s twine
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 parmesan rind

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, add the pancetta and brown until most of the fat has rendered out. Remove pancetta and save for later, discard all but 2 tbsp of the pancetta grease. Add 2 tbsp of butter, then add onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion becomes translucent but not brown, 6-7 minutes. Add your tomato paste and brown for 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pot with red wine, then add your tomatoes, stock, and water.

Now for Clemenza’s trick: add 1 tsp of sugar. And goodwilltasting’s trick: add 1 parmesan rind

Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Sauce should be reduced by about 20%. Remove from heat.

Remove parmesan rind and thyme sprigs. Using an immersion blender, blend up sauce until smooth.  You can also puree sauce in batches in a blender or food processor. Add pancetta back to the sauce. That’s it!

HERBED MEATBALLS
1 lb ground beef (I used 85/15 ground beef)
1 lb lean ground pork
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano 
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil (see picture above)
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic
2 large eggs
salt and pepper

If making your own bread crumbs, make sure you let the bread sit out overnight and dry completely, or you can put it in the oven at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes to dry. Pulse in the food processor until crumbs are even size. Add the milk to the bread crumbs and let it soak for 5 minutes.

Place onions, garlic, basil, parsley, and thyme in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (see picture above).  Add this chopped mixture to the beef and pork in a large bowl, as well as your parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Squeeze out any excess milk from the bread crumbs and add to the bowl. Add the eggs and, using your hands, combine all ingredients until they are all well-incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Take the meat mixture out, wet your hands, and start rolling the mixture into 1.5″ diameter balls. When you have all your meatballs formed, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add enough olive oil to the skillet to get a thin coating over the surface, and start frying your meatballs. Make sure you have enough space between them so you can roll them around.  Once they get browned on the bottom (about 2-3 minutes), roll them slightly just until the next portion of raw meat on the meatball is in contact with the cooking surface. Continue rolling the balls around until it is browned all around.

Place your browned meatballs on a cookie sheet, bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are cooked through. Makes about 45 1-1.5″ meatballs

ASSEMBLY:

Fry up some hot italian sausage in the skillet, cut into slices, and add the sausage and meatballs to your tomato sauce. Simmer for another 15 minutes so all the flavors incorporate.

Meanwhile, boil your spaghetti according to the package directions until JUST al dente, or even a little bit undercooked. If you’re pro, add a ladle full of pasta cooking water to your tomato sauce, (this will make your sauce even more velvety). Drain pasta and return the spaghetti to the pot. Add your sauce and mix well over low heat. The spaghetti will continue to cook in the sauce and really absorb the flavor.

Serve with grated parmesan.

Beer pairing recommendation: Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. Spicy, peppery, fruity notes complement this bold, sweet sauce and herby meatballs.

I’ll leave you with these words from Clemenza: “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” 

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Hitachino Nest White Ale

hitachino nest white ale

NAME: Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest White Ale
STYLE: Witbier
ORIGIN: Kounosu Naka-Shi Ibaraki, Japan
ABV: 5.5%
REVIEW: Light brown, opaque, orange zest smell, orange-y herby taste, a little thyme, clove, and banana. Smooth sweet finish. Really subtly complex beer that’s still very smooth and refreshing. One of the first craft beers I ever tried and still a winner.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Jack’s Abbey Hopstitution

hopstitution lager

NAME: Jack’s Abbey Hopstitution Hoppy Lager
TYPE: Lager (XPL)
ORIGIN: Framingham, MA
ABV: 5.5%
REVIEW: 
Golden color, white foamy head, subtle floral and pine notes. Crisp, bitter up front with a little lemony taste, bittersweet finish. Good bowling beer if you want to up your game!

goodwilltasting grade: B-

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Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale

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NAME: Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale
TYPE: American IPA
ORIGIN: Brooklyn NY
ABV: 6.9%
REVIEW: Sweet, lemon,orange, floral notes. Very smooth, not aggressively bitter, but the hops kick in at the end for a bittersweet finish. Really drinkable beer, good for a BBQ or for a picture in front of a BBQ.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

 

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