Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chocolate Cherry Cake

80 g dried Montmorency cherries
60 g rum
10 g AP flour

1 stick butter
96 grams granulated sugar
40 grams molasses
54 grams clover honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
72 g egg, about 2 medium eggs
57 grams buttermilk. sour cream and yogurt also work. 

176 g AP flour
20 g cornflour
3 g baking powder
3 g baking soda
3 g salt

1 bar 70% Piuro Blanco Dandelion Chocolate, chunked 
turbinado sugar, sprinkle after removing from oven

*based on Bouchon's Blueberry Muffin recipe and technique, but baked in two paper molds

Friday, February 10, 2017

Pork Butt Ragu

2 lb pork butt, salted and peppered
1 tsp anise seed
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 can whole tomato, 28 oz
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp hot sauce, to taste
1/3 cup sun dried tomato, puree

Sear meat in a dutch oven. Remove. Toast anise seed in residual fat. Saute onion, then garlic. Add bay and thyme. Deglaze with red wine. Return meat to pot. Pour in tomato with juice, hot sauce, then add water or light chicken stock until the pork is about 3/4 covered. Heat to a bare boil, then cover and simmer until meat is falling apart, about 3 hours. Add pureed sun dried tomato and serve with chopped green olives and parmesan.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tonkotsu, Ajitsuke Eggs

Tonakatsu Broth
1/4 cup sake
3 lbs pork bones - trotters, femur, and knee bones, sliced open
1 lb chicken - feet, wings
OPT: 1 onion, 1 head of garlic, white part of 1 leek, 1 inch ginger, flash fried to golden brown, not burnt. Try slow cooked caramelized vegetables too. Or maybe don't cook the vegetables at all before adding to the pot. 
OPT: unrendered pork back fat. In a pinch, soak salt pork in water. When adding fatback, do so after the second boiling. Cook for 4 hours, then remove, cool, and mince fat finely. Add to heating stock before serving.

Soak bones overnight in cold water with sake.
Strain the soaking water, then cover bones with fresh cold water and bring to a hard boil.
While boiling, remove scum from top layer for about 5 minutes.
Turn off heat and cool until easy to handle. Strain water and rinse bones well of blood and other crud.
With fresh cold water bring bones and vegetables back to a rolling boil and cover.
Remove scum periodically (there really shouldn't be that much) and check that the temperature is correct with the lid on. Stir often during the process for about an hour, agitation is good.
Keep to a rolling boil for a minimum of 12 hours, always covered. Add water, preferably hot, periodically. The last hour or so, when the bones are mostly dissolved, let the stock reduce and strain. 
When finally cooled, the stock will solidify into a big, jello. Skim the fat off the top (or not.)
Makes a lot of stock. Use about 3 ladles to 1 serving of fresh ramen.

Ajitsuke Eggs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup mirin
3/4 cup sugar
6 eggs

Boil sauce ingredients and simmer. Heat water to just boiling. Add eggs for exactly 6 minutes. Shock immediately in ice water. Peel and soak in sauce for 6 hours.

Tare
mirin, soy, miso, salt, sesame oil, garlic, bonito, rice bran vinegar, sesame paste

Toppings
bamboo shoots, green onion, wood ear, momofuku pork belly, pickled greens, fish roe.

NOTES:

  1. I pretty much followed the ramen recipe from Serious Eats and No Recipe as a starting point, to get a tannish colored soup with an "oily" (as described by SO) or perhaps "silky" texture but not as much body as I would like. I will probably make some adjustments next time as documented above. 
  2. The eggs came out perfect, but were not as seasoned as I would like. I would like to amp up the sweetness by a lot, so the recipe above needs to be majorly tweaked for a minimum marinating time. I soaked for 4 hours and the yolk was starting to cure, but will extend the time slightly next time. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cornflake Oat Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg


Cream butter and sugar, then mix in vanilla and egg. 

1 cup and 1 tbsp AP flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
3 cups corn flakes

Whisk dry ingredients and add to creamed sugar slowly until just combined. Mix in oats, then cornflakes thoroughly. Drop 1.5 tbsp balls of dough on baking sheet lined with parchment and bake 350°F for 14 minutes. Cool on rack.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lemon Bars

Crust
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Custard
5 large eggs
3 large egg yolk

2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup AP flour
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest, packed
OPT: 1/4 tsp baking soda
OPT: 1 egg white, brushed on top
OPT: powdered sugar, sprinkled on top

Sunday, January 1, 2017

World Countdown 2016 - Strong Woman Edition

Nadia Rose - "Skwod"
Speaks for itself really...


Laura Mvula - "Phenomenal Woman", "Overcome", "Show me Love", "Ready or Not"
Celestial rays of angelic sound bathe earthy vocals in extraordinary compositions of empowerment and joy.


Adele - "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)"
I love Adele best in her cheekiest ("Right as Rain") rather than moodiest ("Rolling in the Deep") modes, and "Send My Love" is really the former in the guise of moody confrontation. A spare confessional blossoms into harmonic overdub, each added voice a layer of regret, coalescing into an insistent clamor of resolve, perhaps closure


Solange - Don't Touch My Hair (album)
Solange's emotive territory is much more intimate and mysterious space than Beyonce's public autobiographies. If Beyonce sort of Represents for the Other through the self, than Solange blurs the line between self and universal, Channeling .


Little Mix ft Sean Paul - "Hair" 
Overcoming Shitty Breakups through Female Solidarity and Makeovers!


Kacey Musgraves - A Very Kacey Christmas (album)
Christmas in 50's Hawaii, where Willie Nelson meets tropicana.


case/lang/veirs - "Honey and Smoke"
"Honey and Smoke" sounds like something David Lynch would like. Creepy and plaintive.


Drake - "Hotline Bling"
Not a Drake fan, but the combo of sad sack/Cosby dancing/Casio presets won me over hard.


Domo Genesis ft Anderson.Paak - "Dapper"
Remember Faith Evan's "Love Like This"? Well I'm pretty sure these guys do too. Domo Genesis' Mace impression provides the perfect half-baked counterpoint to Anderson.Paak's raspy feel good sing song.


Yemi Alade - "Ferrari"
Warm, afrocentric afropop.


Justin Bieber - "Company"
Easy, breezy tropicali put Beiber on the map, but "Company" is the easiest and breeziest.

Kpop Countdown 2016

2016 TREND LEGEND
+ Dance Pop or Korea's infatuation with EDM, a synonym for Electronica, a term the West Rejected
+ More and Darker 90's R&B in digital clothing
+ SM Kingdom
+ Girls, Girls, Girls
+ Hip Hop = BeWhy, Hash Swan
+ Sexy

Exo - Ex'act (Album)
In the past, f(x) consistently pulled off the dance/pop marriage - with credit rightly going to SM for overall concept. The direction in the case of Exo, leverages heretofore disparate strengths - boyish edginess, epic bombast, and urban soul - into one sophisticated persona. Ex'act is an ode to urban music that gracefully avoids retro pitfalls - embellishing essential characteristics yet preserving a sense balance. The moving parts feel very whole. Harmonic choral textures blossom into cold, digital dancefloor volumes and boom bap spaces. Lush pop melodies flower over familiar dance composition. References shade into each other fluidly.
  1. "Lucky One" - modernized electro disco strung on a sexy Michael Jackson vibe
  2. "Monster" - epic bad boy bombast emphasized by spare rubbery beats and elevated by a lush, worship-me chorus 
  3. "Artificial Love" - throbby, seductive UK house springs a trap that feels inevitable on the hapless
  4. "Cloud 9" - late 90's swagger R&B, but looser, swoony and more romantic, this is "change in the pockets beats, daydreamy vocal scribbling." ref. Bobby Valentino
  5. "Heaven" - chunky piano chords, cavernous hip hop beats and dense production pave the sidewalk for earthy chorus. ref. Mary J Blige 
  6. "White Noise" - very groovy, slightly dirty, wonky house
  7. "One and Only" - R&B confessional sprinkled with squee synths
  8. "They Never Know" - minor key body roll gets to business with an instrumental two step chorus. ref. Silk meets Craig David.
  9. "Stronger" - the improvisational quality of the composition makes this ballad an ideal show off piece. ref. Jodeci Unplugged. 
Each song strikes a unique duet with it's own touchstones, but the dance-centric "Artificial Love" and "They Never Know", as well as R&B-styled "Cloud 9" and "Stronger" are probably my favorites, with "Monster" or "Lucky One" sort of crowning the collection. A few apropos additions round out the Repackage, including the DJ Mustard derivative "Lotto", a passable champagne banger that is too catchy to dismiss. 

The real Repackage gem however is LDN Noise's "Creeper Bass Remix" of "Monster". We've heard LDN Noise's sweaty-dancefloor influenced pop before, some prettier than others, see "View" or "4 Walls" where the rearrangement creates a focused case study of one particular sound. In the "Monster" remix, they tease with soul chords and a big house breakdown festooned with synth sirens over harmonic verses which escalate through EQ'ed chanting, drum builds and time stretching, only to lurch down a maaaaasive drop into juicy, bouncy, speed garage and spacious, growly, bassline territory post dub step style.

EXO & LDN Noise - "Monster (Creeper Bass Remix)"
"London Night-o"


NCT 127 - "Firetruck", NCT U - "The 7th Sense"
"7th Sense" was a surprisingly knowing appeal to contemporary notions of cool, but LDN Noise's "Firetruck" rode all the perfectly timed drops to the more satisfying climax and a UK Funky house comedown.
Soca "Sobangcha!"


Heize ft DEAN - "Shut Up & Groove"
DEAN officially ruled the roost last year with various production projects and superb 130 mood:TRBL to set the mood for Korea's 90's to aughts R&B revival (admittedly a personal sweet spot), but modernized. There's so much to love on this bouncy duet, from the proggy arrangement, the splashing/crashing forward motion in the production, the gradual transformation from coy crooning to sing-song to pop rap, all layered with a lightness that reads as complete narrative. Relaxed and sweet, Heize has never sounded better than in conversation with Dean's heartthrob exclamations.


Crush - "Woo Ah"
A silky drip drop of controlled, plinky synth cascading into a seductively wonky slow jam and descending into a woozy refractory outro.


G. Soul - "Far, far Away"
Stretched thin, micro-vibrato vocals and nimble styling elevates a simple pop melody over laidback reggae beats. I slept on 2015's Dirty, another pop album authentically derived from house traditions. G. Soul is winner of my favorite newly discovered artist of the year.


Babylon ft. Dok2 - "Between Us"
Update to early/mid 2000's swag ballads with knee melting chorus, and backed by an equally impressive B-side. First heard Babylon on Zico's "Boys and Girls", a song which in retrospect should have made it onto last years list for sheer fun quotient.


Zico - "I am you, You are Me"
Unexpectedly wistful and romantic mid-tempo slow jam, delivered by one of Korea's more respected idol rappers (with a mid-song rap cameo played by himself). 



Vixx - "Milky Way"
A callback to "Touch" by Omarion, "Don't Stop" is my favorite Shinee song from their new album. 1of1 works overly hard at early 90's retro and random other stuff but never really transcends the references. In that respect, Exo got the better deal from SM this year. However, the most effortless retro goes to Vixx for "Milky Way", a shimmery throwback that doesn't try hard enough to ever miss the mark.


Hyolyn ft Jay Park - "One Step"
The breathy vocals and daydreamy intimacy grew on me slowly and stealthily until "One Step" had somehow become the defacto mental soundtrack for waffle weekends. I suppose the topical likeness to Mariah Carey's "Underneath the Stars", a favorite from the Daydream album, reinforces the aura of self pleasuring diva vu.


Block B - "A Few Years Later"
Rubbery beats and arpeggiated interstitial melodies slide into each other on separate yet parallel temporal rails as a perfect mash up. This is pop songwriting at an ambitious and very subtle high.


Twice - "TT", "Cheer Up"
While Black Pink moderately filled the shoes of (finally) officially defunct 2ne1, I.O.I concluded a long string of forgettable releases with an overly frantic, "Very, Very, Very", and Unicorn penciled in for f(x) with very good "Blink Blink" (presaged by also very good "Huk" in 2015), JYP's girl group released the catchiest-catchphrase-iest girl group songs of the year including "Cheer Up" (aka "Shy, Shy, Shy") and unusual Halloween freestyle "TT". Twice has a lock on the cheer squad head cock and coy/cheeky insouciance they first promoted in "Ooh-Ahh", because the music supports their puffy sticker visuals with a strange confetti of cartoon sounds and fickle beat change mashups. It was hard to deny them attention this year, and therefore this spot gives way grudgingly before the same weird-cute aesthetic that was Got7's "Just Right".


Oh My Girl - "Liar Liar"
A satisfyingly straightforward counterpoint to Red Velvet's busy "Russian Roulette" in the bubblegum department.


Cosmic Girls - "Secret"
A standard girl group staple performs the magic trick of weightlessness, and exceeds its own charm quotient as the chorus ramps up subtly and takes off melodically into the stratosphere.


Winner - "Baby, Baby"
Doo wop soul



HONORABLE MENTIONS

Nu-est - "Overcome", "Love Paint"
Reminiscent of awkward early Vixx, with overblown bishi concept videos


Luna - "Free Somebody" 


U-Kiss - "Stalker"
Sexyback fart beats meets Shinee meets Ne-Yo


Jay Park - "Aquaman", "Solo" (2015)
Cha Cha Mode


Seventeen SVT - "Check-in"