Friday, August 11, 2017

S U G A R
A P P L E


Mmmm.. don't you just love how certain foods, aromas, places, etc. can bring back memories.. the good ones at least. This particular, peculiar looking fruit brings me back to my childhood. Sitting with my legs crossed watching cartoons I would devour as many as my mom would give me. The sugar apple, aka custard apple/ sweetsop/ cherimoya, is one of my top favorite fruits of all time & I will tell you why.

1. It looks like something from a sci-fi movie.. so kewlzzz. Alien eggs? OK! Lemme eat dat.

2. The taste! It is unlike any other fruit. Very sweet yet subtle. Very smooth & creamy yet has texture. Not pungent, not overly juicy to the point it's all on your arms. So exotic. Think asian pear + lychee had a bambino!

3. The names are all super. freaking. adorable. *squee!*

So if you can get your hands on one of these, how do you eat one? First off, look high & low at all your local asian markets! If you are in the Lowell, MA area check out Bangkok Market on Chelmsford Street. Then wait for it to ripen. You can tell when the outter "shell" starts to crack & seperate. 

I was especially lucky to have my aunts from sunny Florida ship these to me. I look forward to this time of year so much. Thank you aunties!

Now to break this little fucker open. No need for knives. I also like eating purely with my hands so note that as another reason. Slowly remove each segment of skin to reveal a chunk of flesh. Take a bite & be ready to spit out the seeds! *Even though there are lots it doesn't take away from how stupid good this fruit is.


What's left are a bunch of little outter pieces & shiny, pearly seeds. Ahhhhh so good! Plus, they are apparently really good for you?! Check >> this site << out for more info because I don't feel up to typing about all of them.


This sugar appple had such an effect on me that I am going to try to sprout them & possibly attempt to grow one into a tree! (VERY WISHFUL THINKING) But just look how cute. Hi I'm Jeannie & I'm in kindergarten. 


What next? I'm gonna find some more of these sugar apples so I can purée the shit out of them & add Tito's vodka to it! YES PLEASE. Sugar apple martini oh myyyy..

So yeah, basically.. you need this in your life. As always, thanks for reading!  

Monday, April 3, 2017

L A O T I A N

B E E F  J E R K Y



AHHHH.. The time has come. My beef jerky has been perfected! This winter I've picked up a new, super tasty hobby & that is making my own seen hang (beef jerky in Lao)! Every snow storm we've had up here in New England gave me an excuse to make a new batch. I'm so happy to say that after a handful of tries (all which were edible thank god) the winner has been chosen. May I present to you my Laotian Beef Jerky (sticky rice + jeow not included).

Are you thinking: "I don't have a dehydrator, how am I going to make this?" Fear not! I made all my jerky in the oven. Traditionally, I remember growing up & my parents would actually hang beef in the kitchen from the tops of the cabinets. I'd bring friends home after school & seeing their WTF faces from the cuts of meat dangling was priceless. 

This method in the oven is a little less 'beef-in-yo-face'; although on a hot summer's day I feel like hanging it up to dry would be a funny thing to do to my husband!

If you are worried about your beef jerky being too bland or too salty, you can always do a taste test. Snip off a tiny piece of the marinated beef & nuke it in the microwave for a minute or until cooked. I usually do this with my eggroll filling, too! 

As far as cuts of beef goes I tried sirloins, flanks & also both top + bottom round roasts. The winner? The cheaper cuts taste just as good as the more expensive ones! I will buy the best deal at the market & trim it up. I like to leave some fat for flavor but feel free to get rid of it if you want.

Pleeeaaase let me know if you plan on giving this recipe a try! I know it's been awhile but I would love to hear from you, my readers. Yes.. you are reading this therefore I can actually say that! As always, thanks for the support. This .com ish ain't free so I hope someone out there appreciates this!

Ingredients:
3lb Top Round Beef Roast 
1/2 cup Soy sauce
2 tbsp Fish sauce
2 tbsp Oyster sauce
3 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Black pepper
1/2 tbsp Garlic powder
1/2 tbsp Onion powder
1/2 tbsp Red pepper flakes
1 tbsp Sesame seeds

Skewers + Aluminum foil

Directions:

1. Start by taking the beef out of the package & rinsing. If using a big roast, slice in half and transfer onto a plate. Place into the freezer for 20-30 minutes, enough to firm up the beef for easier slicing. *Use a serrated knife!


2. In a large bowl whisk together all the ingredients. 



3. Again with the serrated knife slice beef into 1/4" thick pieces. You can do more of a thin strip or do a big, flat piece. Cut the beef against the grain (this site helps explain). Also, feel free to cut off most of the fat (but leave some for good ol' naughty fun!) 


4. Mix sliced beef in with marinade & let sit in fridge covered for a day.


5. Next day! Hello again [: Put one oven rack at the lowest and one at highest setting. Line bottom rack with aluminum foil. 


6. Drain any remaining marinade and start to skewer the beef- one skewer should fit 6 pieces. Dangle them in the oven on the highest rack with the pieces in between each slot. 


*Here's another picture! The foil helps keep your oven clean from marinade drips.


7.  Now slide those racks in real nice & set your oven to the lowest setting. Mine goes to 170°F. To allow air to flow in the oven wedge a wooden spoon in the door like this.


8. NOW TO WAIT! I set my timer for 4 hours. At the last hour check out your jerky. The smaller, thinner pieces may be done! They shouldn't be hard but firm. Take those out. Leave the chunkier guys in there for the full 4 hours. You can tell it's ready by the color & firmness. 


9. Are we done? NO!! We're not done yet! Remove the rest of the jerky from the oven.




10. Now, it's time to flash fry these suckers! FLASH FRY. This is where Laotian beef jerky differs from American styles. It not only gives it a shiny gloss but also a nice smoky flavor. Heat up some vegetable oil in a wok, pan or fryer if you have one & throw them in! Just a few seconds will do, you don't want to burn your jerky.



11. Line a tray with paper napkins and drain the ready to eat beef jerky. The picture below shows the freshly-flash-fried pieces on the left next to the batch that are waiting their turn.



Serve with sticky rice & a nice spicy dip like jeow mak len.. mmmm & you have yourself a damn tasty Lao meal! 



What do you think? Going to try it or nah? If you do, please please please let me know! Or don't. Whatever. Do you. If you made it all the way to the end of this blog post then high-five to you! Happy Spring!