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Monday, January 31, 2011

Bao from a tube

The cooking details from yesterday's chicken bao cooking.  Here is a reminder of what the cook was really about, which is the 5-spice chicken cooked over some pecan wood and hardwood lump charcoal.
The whole shebang got a little complicated.  First I had to make a rub and marinade to get some additional flavor into the chicken.  I almost always buy Mary's Air-cooled Chickens as I feel they are actually more flavorful and cook better than the more industrial chickens at the Supermarkets.  Starting off with better tasting meat always helps.  The wet elements of the marinade were lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, sugar and rice vinegar.  The dry elements were lime zest, sea salt, vietnamese black pepper, ground ginger, chile powder and fresh Five Spice powder.  The spices were combined in two batches, one for the marinade and one for the dry rub.  A couple photos of the base flavors.
The chicken was marinaded for 8 hours in this blend.  I also purchased two chunks of firm tofu, fresh from the tub, which I intended to also smoke and add to the bao.  The tofu was marinaded at the same time, separate bag obviously, as the chicken.  Once these were cooked, it was onto the kettle running along at 350F with a couple large chunks of pecan wood for smoke. Here is the final chicken product, the tofu will be seen later.  Oh, about those skewers, I wanted the chicken to have a more uniform profile and shape and to be on the plump side, so I skewered them, then tied them. 
The top photo shows the chicken trussed up on the skewers, nest are the more uniform chickens with a little more 5-Spice Rub on the chickens, finally after about an hour and a half, the finished chickens.  These were so aromatic, the entire kitchen smelled of 5-Spice and pecan smoke.  This is a great thing.  Below are the additional elements, including the smoked tofu (which puffed up like that, very odd) including chopped scallions, baby bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, which were precooked in a braising liquid if water, shoyu, hoisin sauce and sugar, which was reduced once the mushrooms were removed.
For the other stuyle of bao, I prepared some carrots and cucumber into a simple sugar and salt pickle, I wanted these to have some crunch, so they were soaked in the lime juice, vinegar and sugar mix for just 3 hours.  This makes for a colorful and crunchy complement to the salty and smoky chicken.
The filling for the chicken stuffed bao was tossed in the wok with the chopped veggies, chicken and tofu along with a sauce made from the liquid the mushrooms were cooked in.  This was allowed to combine and cool.  The dough from a tube was then prepared.  Here is the dough in it's 'natural' state.
The steamer was prepared and ready to go.  Here is where I made my biggest mistake, the same mistake I always make of over stretching the dough and making it too thin.  I did that again.  I take the dough, overstretch it and cup it in my hand, add the filling then overstretch the dough even further by pulling the edges up, pinching them together.  I give it a twist and then push it up into the bao.
These were placed onto a sheet of cooking parchment in the steamer and steamed for 15 minutes, I think 10 minutes might have been enough.  They came out fine, if a little thin on the top due to the dough being over stretched.  I also used the biscuit dough to make the simple folded bao, also over-rolled.  These were stuffed with slices of the chicken along with the sugar-cured carrots and cucumbers.  Good stuff.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dough in a tube experiment

So, the BBQ Brethren, a forum that I am a member at has a little informal weekly competition to see who can make the most people drool for a photo of their food.  I won one of these, finally, and had the chance to choose the subject of the next Throw Down.  I chose a Four Ingredient Challenge with a Twist.  The twist was that the fourth ingredient had options.  The first three ingredients were Chicken, Limes and Dough in a tube.  The fourth ingredient could be anything, as long as it was either tofu, eggplant or peanuts.

I chose tofu.  The results are shown below.  A plain steamed bao with chicken and sugar cured carrots and cucumbers along with a chicken bao with tofu.
Normally this is where I would go into a long drawn out description of what I did and how, but, the photos and description are not ready, stay tuned.  For they will be here in a day or two.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spice Kit and Tea Garden Restaurants SOMA

I took the opportunity today, between dire deadline demands to wander over to San Francisco and taste some 'street food'.  Yes, I overate, I am a pig, a straight haired Mangalitsa sized pig.  I met a friend of mine, Rob Bergstrom, for lunch and a chat about food, after all, what do you talk about over lunch but food.  Rod has recently started off a new venture on fish sauce, which has triggered an old passion for street food.  Because of the nature of our health department regulations, real street food is hard to find.  But, it has become popular now to serve street food from restaurant settings, with high quality ingredients and preparations allowing me to partake of foods that I had to give up due to some health issues.

Spice Kit is an Asian Fusion/Street food place of the best type, offering quality meats and preparations in forms familiar to anyone that has eaten off of a food cart or hole-in-the-wall place.  I ordered the pork belly steamed pork bun and a 5-Spice chicken Banh Mi.  The flavors were bright, pure and clean with well prepared meats.  The 5-Spice, often not fresh, clearly had the pungent, aromatic qualities that only fresh ground 5-spice can really have.  The chicken was intensely flavorful with fresh sugar pickled veggies and a home made pork pate, that is often sorely missed in Banh Mi I have had elsewhere.  The bread was a little disappointing to me, as it was not what I have come to expect and the size of the sandwich was on the large size.  I can see why people would like the larger bread and sandwich size, but, the flavors become tired by the time you are done.  The steamed bun with pork belly was just terrific, the soft white bun with the savory pork belly was perfect with the flavor and texture of the pork being spot on.  Again, the flavors were clean, precise and showcased the meat very nicely.  Oh, and order the Taro Chips.

Then we wandered over to a place that Rob highly recommended, called Tea Garden, it features take-away dumplings, buns and other items with a Taiwanese flavor.  This was hole-in-the-wall at it's finest.  The counter and kitchen are built into what was probably once an parking garage office.  Small with limited space, the steamed pork bun with pork belly here was earthy, braised with the skin on, and served on a white bun with braised pickled mustard greens and some other herbs and spices.  The flavor was complex with a definite feel of something cooked by a family.  It lacks the precision of the classically trained chefs at Spice Kit, but, just as good in it's own way.

Spice Kit
405 Howard St
(between Fremont St & 1st St)
San Francisco, CA 94105

Tea Garden
515 Mission St
(between 1st St & Ecker Pl)
San Francisco, CA 94105

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Roastin' Ronnie's Serengeti Blend coffee

A fellow BBQ aficionado has expanded his hobby of roasting his own coffee, as well as his passion for coffee, into a small fledgling business.  He has started selling his coffee on the BBQ Brethren forums under the name Roastin' Ronnies Coffee.  I decided to buy a pound of his Serengeti Blend beans to just see what a home roaster can do.  I normally get my beans from a place called Zocalo Coffee in San Leandro, who have a philosophy that each bean has an optimal roast and that it is never going to be burned to a crisp.  So I was curious to see how Ron interpreted his ideals of roasting beans to a level that the bean is optimized.  Upon opening the bag, I was hit with a very aromatic nose and no aroma of being in the bag.  These were not sitting in the bag for very long.  Here is Ron's bag as mailed.
Guess who misjudged the levels of light in his kitchen, yes, me!  That image lighting is far more dramatic than a bag of coffee probably needs.  As you can see, the Serengeti Blend is a blend of Tanzania, Mexico and Indonesian beans, there were some that were peaberry sized and others more along the line of your typical Arabica sized bean.  The overall roast is a little darker than in the photos, again, the lighting levels were not as good as I thought.  Here are the beans on a white plate, to show size and color at least somewhat close to the real color.
Hopefully you can see the sheen and variety of bean sizes.  The beans were clean and did not have chaff or ash, there were very few cracked beans and the color and aroma was clean with no bitter, acrid or off smells.  There was zero baggy aromas at all.  I mention this as Tanzania beans can often suffer from quality control and show baggy tones in the nose.  I am more of a fan of Indonesian coffees and have not been a fan of Kenyan coffees, as they are very clean and mild.  I do not believe I have ever had a light roasted Mexican coffee as a single source roast, so I have no ability to tease out what they contributed.  I decided to do a pour over test for my first taste. I would extract light to get the most bright flavors, I was hoping to bring up the similarities that the Tanzanian coffee might have to Kenyan coffees.  Here is the cup...
This is with water heated to 195F and pour over timing of 2.5 minutes with a standard pour over coffee process.  The coffee was tasted at 120F initially and later at 90F.  I do not like to taste hot coffee.  As you can see, there is a little red to the brew, the color deepened into the cup, the bottom of the cup was not visible.  The aroma was a little fruity with a good earthy note.  I am not great at teasing out flavor descriptors, but, the cup was very clean, mild with light acidity, I got no floral and limited tree fruit flavors, no wine or berry flavors at all.  I did get a distinct sense that this was a very clean version of a North African/Indonesian coffee.  Which means I liked it a lot.  Not at all the Kenyan I was expecting.  I think this might actually make an interesting espresso, which is my plan for tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Phat Matt's...what makes a BBQ joint worth visiting

I can cook, I can BBQ, and I think I can do it pretty well.  I don't have loads of trophy's, but I can smoke a pretty nice meal up.  So, why do I have a 'go to' BBQ joint?  What makes a BBQ restaurant worth going to when I can cook and enjoy cooking.  Well, it comes down to more than just convenience.  It comes down to a place that not only makes great meat, but, that listens to what customers say and changes up the offerings once in a while.  Phat Matt's is one such place.

I am not in the habit of reviewing restaurants, I think my choices and tastes are too limited to do that kind of thing accurately.  Further, I am too easily swayed by personality to be a good reviewer.  However, I really do enjoy Phat Matt's BBQ, not only because they make a very good brisket and ribs; but also because I appreciate that in the recent couple of weeks of the new year, they have put a couple of items on as specials that I and several other had asked for.  This week, it is brisket pot pie.  And it was excellent.
Pot pie is not an easy menu item for a BBQ place to simply run as a special.  It shows Matt's desire to offer varied menu items and to draw in people that might want something beyond the simple beauty of smoked meats.  The restaurants that specialize in making loads of pot pies (Bakesale Betty anyone, amazing pot pie) have pastry experts and things such as dough rollers to make the process easier.  Matt was making the dough by hand and with a rolling pin.  These were excellent renditions, peas or not.  Here is a sliced version...
Last week, it was a southern U.S. standby, Brunswick Stew. this week it was pot pies and next week, burnt ends stuffed potatoes.  I really appreciate the fact that Matt and Charlotte are working to create items that are not just the same menu.  I know Matt has more stuff in the pipeline as well.  It is what makes it worth visiting his shop once or twice a week.  I can't wait for pulled chicken pot pie (HINT HINT) or perhaps some smoked salmon? 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pourover Coffee test

Well, it's Sunday and I was a slow starter today, I will end up spending most of the day working at the computer, so hurrying to that is certainly no bonus.  But, I slow started to the point where going to my favorite coffee shop was not going to happen.  So, I decided to test out the idea of making some pour-over coffee.  This is a technique that is similar, on the surface, to using one of those Melitta cones, but, with a great deal more detail involved.

I don't have the budget to just to and get all 'spendy' on coffee equipment that I might not like, so I decided to go with a funnel, coffee carafe from my now dead coffee maker and a measuring cup.  Sooo technical.  Fresh ground some beans from Zocalo Coffee in San Leandro, these folks actually roast their beans on site, several times a week I can go in and actually talk with the roaster as she is working.  Some water was heated and the whole process began.

This is some good coffee, brewed at 195F and very delicious.  I need to graduate from a aluminum funnel and a old drip carafe.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Beef Chuck Ribs...fancy style

A forum I often post at (The BBQ Brethre) has a weekly challenge cook in which a theme is chosen and then everyone gets to try cooking the theme.  This weeks was Nouvelle Quisine (sic) in which 'Que and the tenets of Nouvelle Cuisine were to be combined.  This was my entry.

Smoked Beef Chuck Rib braised in a wine and cherry reduction, Fresh sugar snap peas sauteed poached in Sweet Barnea cold pressed extra virgin olive oil with kosher salt, baby shiitake mushrooms sauteed in poaching oil of sugar snap peas, potato galette with eggnog custard and sauteed sweet onions and baby shiitake mushrooms with sweet butter, wine and cherry reduction sauce with herb tea and Sweet Barnea oil drizzle.

Yes, the title is a little over the top.  Here is the plated shot...
The meats, ox tails and chuck rib, which I prefer to get un-sectioned if at all possible.  The chuck would be smoked over pecan, for two hours at least to absorb smoke once the color was set, it was to be braised. The ox-tails were smoked for 1 hour at 350 for both color and smoke flavor. This was all I needed for the stock as what I really wanted was a smoke infused strong herbal tea.
Here are the vegetables and herbs, most you will recognize, rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram were the players. These were also roasted on the kettle with some pecan smoke along for the ride.
Oh, that little piece of paper, about that, it is a technique for making stocks and melting vegetables as well, it essentially allows for some moisture to escape while also preventing roiling of the stock. It really works great for melting onions for pizza. Anyways...

I also made a wine reduction, it took 3/4 of a bottle of wine to make this...
I know, what will I do with it all. This is great stuff though, intensely flavored, viscous and pungent. Literally, I have half of it left, as the whole dish needed just a tiny amount. It does have beautiful color. It would have been a whole bottle, more on that later.

Here is the chuck rib going into the braise and getting ready to hit the uhven. As you can see, there is a little more wine, some onions, garlic and the herb tea. Oh, back to that, I used the tea method to add some herbal flavor and additional collagen and smoked meat flavor to the braising liqiud, this allowed me a little more control over the amount in the braise.
 After two hours at 270F, I added cherries (not local, but, I had to) to the braise for the final hour. This added both color and flavor and would punch up the wine infusion even more.

As a side item, I prepared scalloped potatoes but, used a filling of sauteed onions and baby shiitake for a filling to add some flavor. These were sauteed then layered into the potatoes. This was then cooked with eggnog added halfway to add some flavor and binder. All I have is this one shot.
Finally, I blended the braise with the wine reduction, mounted a small amount of sweet butter and poured it onto the plate and meat. The sugar snap peas were slowly cooked in olive oil, then cooled and finished with kosher salt. The mushrooms were then sauteed in the oil from the peas. Here is the end result...
Ah, and I burned all sorts of things along the way, I even managed to burn the stock, the wine reduction, some aromatics, a hamburger bun for lunch and the air was acrid for a while. Man, I was a bad multi-tasker today.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken

A classic of the Japanese restaurant scene nowadays, this type of chicken is borne of the grill and is at it's best over a live fire.  The type most commonly seen in American restaurants is more of a glaze or sauce applied during and after cooking.  My families recipe uses marination of the chicken in the 'tare' or sweetened shoyu liquid.   I use a two step process now, the marinade and the glaze, with the glaze providing not only a little more flavor immedieately to the tongue, but, some nice color and shine.  That ain't no photoshop shine...

The ingredients, other than the chicken, consist of shoyu, mirin, sake or sherry, grated ginger, grated garlic, black pepper and sugar.  In our family kitchen, the shoyu (soy sauce) of choice is Yamasa brand, we like the taste and salt level of this brand.  There are more expensive brands, and I have made the same recipe with tamari, but this is our classic.  Mirin is a sweet sake that is often used for sweetening Japanese foods in lieu of, or in addition to, sugar.  it provides a complexity to the sweetness.  I would have used sake, but, I forgot to buy some, so it was what I could find, which was the marsala.  I find that the alcohol is important in this recipe as I do not heat the sauce and the alcohol helps to 'marry' the flavors.  Without the sherry or sake, I go with mild heating and a little acidity from vinegar or citrus juice.
I typically make a double recipe, what is pictured above is one recipe.  I make the double recipe to make sure I have enough for both marinade and glaze.  Once the first batch is made, I take the chicken, wash and dry it then place in a container to marinade.  I used Mary's Air-cooled Chicken for this, as I most often do for all chicken I cook.  I normally use a doubled zip closing bag for marinading, as it keeps the marinade on the chicken.  If any of the people I am cooking for are sensitive to plastic, a glass container works fine, but, the meat needs turning.  Here is the marinaded raw chicken showing the color and texture (I hope) when the chicken is pulled out.
The 'tare' marinade actually functions like a brine and has the tendency to darken the meat and draw some moisture out.  For this reason, I marinade overnight to make sure it has a chance to complete the osmosis process and allow for transfer of liquid back into the meat pulling some salt and flavor back into the meat.  Then it is grill time.  Although, more specifically, it is roasting time.  These were cooked over a neutral fire, 350F, 40 minutes.  I am not a fan of lots of wood smoke on this recipe.

Now for that second batch of marinade, it is gonna become a glaze and sauce.  I make the same recipe and add honey to create a little more sweetness and to get the character of glazing that honey possesses in cooking.  I will use this glaze raw during the last half of the cooking process.  I quickly glaze the chicken every 8 to 9 minutes.  It is more like slopping it on.  My goal is to end up with this at the end.
I cook it on a pan, as the marinade and glaze make a terrible mess of the grates.  If you want sauce, then use the remaining glaze, heat is up slightly until it starts to simmer.  I will add some slurry made with Kuzu to thicken it slightly.  I have found this chicken needs no sauce at all.  But, it is tasty sauce for dipping other meats and a little rice as well.

I used to cook for our church, and they used a different process, in which the chicken was layered with rock salt which served to pull off moisture from the meat.  The boxes of chicken and rock salt would be place in flower shipping boxes and stored in the coolers on one of the flower nurseries over night.  Then they were cooked over an open pit, it was 4ft wide and 25ft long behind the church building.  The chicken would be dipped into large vats of the sauce/marinade along the way.  That was also some good chicken.

Teriyaki Chicken:
1 Cup shoyu
1/4 Cup each sake, mirin
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon grated garlic
1 scant Tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sugar

For glaze:
add 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey to above recipe

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for 1 hour.  Place in a watertight container and shake to make sure all ingredients are combined.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Years BBQ Brisket and Chuck

One of the new traditions that has begun to become part of just about everyone of our gatherings has been the addition of grilled or smoked meats.  This is largely due to my influence; although it also reflects the changing traditions that have become a part of my family's journey in the United States.  While I do not believe that we will ever completely give up our Japanese heritage or the connections to those traditions, I believe we will continue to incorporate and celebrate our growing heritage here.  A slow smoked brisket and pulled chuck roast is a part of the American tradition we have adopted.

I found an excellent Painted Hills chuck roast that had excellent marbling of both fat and connective tissue.  This is key, for in a long smoke, both fat and collagen rendered from connective tissue add to a moist end product.  Finding the right piece of meat is quite important for making great BBQ.  The brisket appeared to be more problematic, as it was from Humboldt Grass-fed Beef, it was pretty lean in terms of internal fat and connective tissue was hard to determine, although it is hard to miss on connective tissue in a brisket.  I coated both with a medium coating of Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy and then Bob's Top Rub.  This was allowed to sit for one hour.

The BIL's kettle was fired up to 275F with Lazzari Hardwood Briquettes and a little oak.  The meat was put on and the kettle was brought back to 250F for the first hour and a half, then up to 280F to 300F for the balance of the cook.
The meat ran for 6 hours, at which time, fortunately for me, both meats were ready for pulling and resting.  I used a method for testing the meat that involves poking a skewer into the meat, when there is almost no resistance to the probe, I shut down the kettle and let it coast down for 30 minutes to an hour, once the temperature drops to 140F or the meat drops to 170F, I remove the meat and tent in foil. In this case, this meant resting under the foil for 15 to 20 minutes.  I then pulled the chuck, which had a medium bark and dark color.  This is not burned, it is just a dark bark and has no bitterness.

I pulled the chuck into rough shreds and then mixed a little thin sauce into the meat to add a little moisture and punch up the flavor.  I really like a little acidity with BBQ beef and pork, this is one of those cases.  Here is a look at the in-process shredded chuck.
The brisket was then sliced, sadly there are no pictures of the beautiful flat and point slices that came off this brisket.  The meat glistened when cut, and the meat held onto the moisture as it hit the plate.  The point was chopped into chunks and served to the little guys as it was so tender.  There was a little left after dinner...
All of this was served with a sauce I threw together from the stuff hanging around the kitchen.  I found a 1/4 cup of locally commercial sauce, to which I added 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce, 1/4 cup, Viet Phu fish sauce, a little dashi (yep, hitting the umami hard) and 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar.  This was then tastes and corrected with a little black pepper, Tabasco and aloe syrup to create a little sweetness and heat.  Brought to just hot, no bubbles, then strained and served alongside the meats after a 1/4 cup was mixed into the pulled beef.  Good stuff, on the thin side with a good kick of sour and sweet and a umami hit.  It went great with all the beef.

Dashi-the building block

One of the basic ingredients we use quite a bit of for New Year's Osechi-ryori is dashi.  We use dashi to impart a key taste to many of the dishes we prepare for many different types of meals.  The basic stock we make is based on katsuoboshi shaved into what essentially looks like wood shavings (at least to me, back to this later).  We also add a little piece of kombu, a type of dried sea algae, often called kelp in the U.S.  There are many forms and types of kombu, but, we use the sheets of the kombu leaves.  This broth finds it's way into all of the soups, stews and some of the seasoned vegetables we prepare throughout the year.

Here is our pot or dashi being simmered. 
Some believe it should be boiled, others feel it should be steeped.  We believe it is best and strongest when brought to a low simmer, then allowed to steep for 15 to 20 minutes.  It takes on a stronger flavor when boiled, and lighter flavor when steeped.  It is largely a personal preference based on taste, and often on the region your family originates from. That is about 8 quarts of dashi there. 

From here, the katsuoboshi is removed, drained and discarded. The broth is allowed to cool and settle, which avoids filtering.  The broth at this point is a building block of umami flavors.  The kombu and katsuoboshi adding amino acids, salt, protein and complexity.  We will end up adding this to eggs for tamagoyaki and sushi, sushi vegetables for makisushi, BBQ sauce (my own swing, he he), oden and soup.  In fact, if you touch it up with some fish sauce and herbs, you have a great Pan-Asian soup base, I use it for a base in fried rice and noodle sauces, soba broth and dipping sauces.

I have experimented with it for adding a MSG effect to BBQ sauces that would otherwise not be there, since I choose not to add MSG to my home cooking.  This is the element of flavor many people do not recognize in Japanese cooking. Oh, and that wood shaving thing...when I was a kid, maybe 10 or 11, I was learning to help cook with my mom and grandmother and decided to help by shaving the bonito stick in the new katsuoboshi shaver.  I took what I thought was the bonito stick, but was actually my grandmothers surikogi, an old one at that, and proceeded to shave it.  It smelled oddly of pepper and wood, not the expected fish. Hmmm...there was lots of yelling, something about 'bakatare'.  You try to help...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Prime Rib for Christmas

As I mentioned, my family does a lot of 'fusion' if you will.  One of these is Christmas dinner and how we approach it.  While my family came to this country with the religious backgrounds of Buddhism and Shinto, a pagan religion indigenous to Japan, we changed once my generation was born with some of us being raised as Christians.  This was to become part of the culture of our new home.  Celebrating Christmas became a part of our holiday celebration, and prime rib became a part of our dining.  Who would not want to eat this?
But, I am jumping the gun here.  For starters, you need meat. I got up north and found that we still needed to go find the meat, cool, I like meat shopping. And I have not been doing as much of that since I was told to stop eating so much meat. We found Painted Hills Beef, Humboldt Grass-fed Beef and some store brand stuff which was all select. The Humboldt grass-fed is quite lean and while I like it, it is too lean to make a good prime rib. So, Painted Hills it was, and it was outstanding choice beef, some of the best choice I have seen. I felt the roasts were a little over-trimmed from what I asked for, and the butcher asked me over and over if I didn't mean to trim and retie the ribs, until I finally told him that I really really meant, leave them fully attached. But, these roasts were terrific quality.
 Roast One - 7 lbs
Roast Two - 5 lbs.

Then a slurry was prepared, Roast One got a mixture including Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy Rub. Roast Two got Dizzy Pig Salt Free Dizzy Dust. The other ingredients of the slurry rubs included olive oil, fish sauce, grated garlic and Bob's Top Rub mix.
Here they are ready to go. This is after having the wet rub applied and sitting for around 90 minutes to finish coming to temperature.
These little guys headed out onto the kettle, in this case my brother's OTG kettle. The kettle was was going along at 275F, the temperature outside ran from 55F down to 47F during the cook, it was pouring rain (yes, I think this matters). The meat was placed in a pan with onions, celery, scallions, garlic and 1 cup of water and 1 cup of Pacific beef broth. The rack in the above photo was for air circulation around the roast.
These were cooked for 5 hours to an internal of 130F, the meat was then removed, tented with aluminum foil and allowed to rest for 45 minutes. Bones were removed, meat was carved, and one platter disappeared from the adult table while I was carving the portions for the kids. Fortunately, I allowed 1.3 lbs per person, so there was no lack of meat for me.  Both of the wet rubs were outstanding, I would use either one without hesitation, which is why I use them, I suppose. We ate the Simply Marvelous on Christmas Day and everyone raved about the flavor.  I have to say that it has become my go to rub for most cooking I do in a more traditional smoking or live fire roasting.


One of the great things about Osechi-ryori is all of the little 'finger' foods that are prepared and consumed throughout the day on New Years.  One of these, and a favorite of mine, is tamagoyaki.  It is a rolled omelet of seasoned eggs fried in a special pan which allows a specific level of done-ness.  Here is the special pan, which has a particular shape and depth, to create the layers of the omelet.
The eggs mixture consists of four eggs per roll, you could do more if you want a special large roll, but, this really gets a little unwieldy unless you are trying to create some impression of over generosity.  We like to keep things at one or two bites at most.  So, four eggs, in this case from my sister's personal stash of chickens.  Wyandotte chicken eggs are particularly good, especially from the coop.
These were seasoned with a 3 to 4 tablespoons of katsuo dashi stock, or whatever stock you might have chosen to make.  We make our dashi from katsuoboshi (shaved bonito) and a little konbu (algae/seaweed).  We make a relatively strong stock, so 3T is more likely what we go with.  We also add a little sugar, the traditional amount is 2 to 3 tablespoons per four eggs.  We cut this amount by half now, as our taste has moved to a slightly more mild and less sweet profile.  In the past, we also added a small amount of shoyu (soy sauce).  No more than a tablespoon.  Since we have cut back on salt, and the dashi is quite strong this is often omitted or added in very small amounts.  The mixture is cooked in layers in the pan to create a concentric pattern of the brown edges and yellow centers.  The layers are thin and the roll is not removed until the whole omelet is competed.  Here it is in progress.
As you can see, each layer is connected to the previous layer by a small overlap during the cooking of the next layer.  It is worth noting that each layer is cooked until almost done. The omelet is rolled while the top of each layer us still a little moist, the ensures a tender and cohesive roll.  This shot represents the 4th of 5 layers I believe.  I could be wrong as I was busy fiddling with other stuff while the cooking was being done by my sister.  Once the omelet is completed, it has a particular shape that is not really round, and the desired shape is round.  So we wrap the roll in parchment lined sushi makisu mats and then tie (or rubber band) the rolls into a round shape and then cool the rolls.  Sadly I was busy eating and did not get a finished shot.  Trust me on this, they were round.
 Now, a similar recipe will result in the omelet used for making the tamago nigiri-style sushi often served to the fish-phobic at sushi bars.  I am one of the fish-phobic, which does not bother me as I particularly like this type or preparation.  If you wanted to use this for tamago sushi, you could use a rectangular mold or form the maki-su into a squarer shape to achieve the more familiar rectangle seen in nigiri-style sushi.