after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Archive for the ‘Hoofed’ Category

July-to-August Review!

leave a comment »

t says:  We’ve had a pretty month since coming back from London – the summer is flying by!  We need to play a little catch-up.


V Street!  That’s right – we finally did V Street.  Well, to be clear, g had done V Street several times before, but I had not.  This is one of her favorite dishes, and was demonstrative, in general, of the style of food there.  What you see above I think is called their “Peruvian Fries”.  In an interseting-taasting aioli, herbs, and peanuts, the nicely cooked potato wedges were fantastic!  However, I have to say that I wasn’t quite as blown away as she, as I was expecting something “punchier” – tangier, spicier, louder.  The other dishes, too, just felt a little muted to me, not quite hitting the expectations that I had after having eaten at Vedge and reading V Street’s interesting menu.  It’s not “bad”, but I’ll leave this place for the vegans (and g).


oh – and don’t do the custard – the texture is atrocious.  (unless you’re used to vegan ice cream).


Hop on over to Jersey and visit Vineland, our hometown.  It’s a quaint little city, Vineland, with not a lot of the craziest gastronomic advances going on – but that’s fine – that’s just Vineland!  That said, I’ve had these pretty amazing ravioli at Larry’s so I just had to give them a shout-out!  Often filled with ricotta+vegetable (pea, or caramelized onion, or whatever) and sparsely dressed, it’s my new favorite when visiting our parents!


Ah, yes – the good ‘ol blurry photo.  Why bother including it?  Because it’s a reminder to one and all that Mercato is still frickin’ killing it, Italian-BYO-style.  Remember when Philly was reknowned for its Italian BYOs?  When Mercato, Melograno, Modo Mio, and La Viola were all the rage?  Before we cared about celebrities and expensive tasting menus.  Well, we won’t forget those good ‘ol days (obviously we are old and crotchety and resistant to change).  The above is a dish from Mercato during the “Summer Tuesday Tastings” they got going on.  Pasta, braised meat, pistachio, and some shreds of cheese?  Yes please.  God it was good.


It has been a while since we did brunch here on adsz – we just kept going to the usual suspects.  But now, check out the newest king of the hill: TRIA!  Yes, that’s right – TRIA (the one on Fitler Square).  These blueberry ricotta pancakes were absolutely insane!  So delicately light and fluffy, (but substantive) and full of flavor.  It was incredible.  And there were still like three other dishes we wanted to try!  Get their early, avoid the lines, order a glass of Riesling (obviously!), and enjoy breakfast!


Now here we go … here we go …  Look at these four beignets, sitting in a row. Stuffed with apples or chocolate or crawfish, Brenda’s does the most amazing sweetly fried dough that I have ever had.  The catch?  Brenda’s is in San Francisco (  Consequently, we’ll just have to keep going back every time we visit …


Oh – and Brenda’s does upside-down peach cobbler pancakes, too – imagine peach pie (with crumble topping) but in pancake form.  Seriously – blew my head off.  So delicious.


Also on a recent visit to SF, I dined at Saru, a place we first visited for lunch some time.  As usual, it was delicious, from the charred shisito and daikon salad …


… to the nigiri I chose from the menu.  Now, because I dined alone, I had the chance to make a few observations.  The first one was weird.  I arrived at restaurant opening, which meant there was a line.  While there were parties of 2 and 3 and 4 being turned away with wait times of about 30 minutes, I knew that a solo diner like me would just sslliiddee right in.  So when I finally got up to the host and hostess, I told them, “party of 1, please” and looked over to the bar, eyeing an open seat, smiling.  So he nodded and I swear he was about to seat me, right up until, I overheard her lean in to his ear and telling him, “make him wait”.  WTF!!  But it’s ok – I waited the 20 minutes (I visited a nearby chocolate shop) and it was worth it.  The sushi is crazy.  The other observation is that Saru is only prepared for a single ordering for each party – the “oh if we’re hungry we’ll just order more” tactic doesn’t work.  The kitchen is small, busy, and doesn’t have time to go back and make another order for you  – they want you in, ordered, fed, and gone, ready for the next party.  Lingering, ordering “just a few more” is discouraged – that messes with their workflow.  The couple next to me didn’t understand this.  It was an interesting exchange to say the least: “another 45 minutes for just 1 more roll and a few nigiri?”.  So remember: order, eat, leave.


k and cm took me to a wonderful little restaurant for seafood pasta, cioppino, and oysters – so great.  No idea what it was called, but I can’t wait to go back!


Remember when we said we needed to go back to Mercato more?  Done!  Boom!  My dish: pasta, meat, cheese – done!  g’s dish: pasta, meat, cheese – done!  So simple,  SO GOOD.  It used to be second fiddle to Melograno, but no more – Mercato is our new-old-fave Italian BYO.


Oh, yes, this.  I’ll just leave this right here.


And to close: check out our pseudo-porchetta.  Let’s zoom in:


From “All Abour Roasting”, the lovely sage, rosemary, thyme, and garlic sang between the two slabs of meat (5lb pork belly, 3lb tenderloin).  Yea – it was as good as it looked – had it with some broccoli rabe, provolone, potato rolls.  Next time, I’ll cook it a little slower so it’ll be a bit more tender, but nevertheless, 6 people demolished 8lbs of meat over two days.  Success!

korean roast chicken

leave a comment »

t says: My cooking method of choice for some time has been braising – it’s just so much fun! The one meat that I’m just not 100%-pro-braise for is chicken – and I’m pretty sure that it’s because of a single problem: soggy skin. I mean who likes soggy skin?! No one! Chicken skin is supposed to be crisp and delicious! And between Rotisseur and FedNuts, there’s a lot of good skin out there! I was determined to put together a recipe that offered great skin, reasonably-tender-meat, and minimal time commitment (braises take way too long). So, with the help of Molly Stevens’s “All About Roasting”, I went back to basics: roasting skin-on chicken thighs.

garlic, gouchichang, lemons, roasted sesame seeds, salt, pepper, rosemary, orange liqueur, chicken


the rub

the rub

Step 1: The rub. The above is a concoction of a heaping teaspoon of gouchichang, a heaping teaspoon of roasted sesame seeds, a half teaspoon of sesame oil (you can use whatever oil you want – I like the sesame flavor), 4 cloves of minced fresh garlic (yes, it’s a LOT of garlic), a dash of black pepper, and then enough lemon juice to make it spreadable (~0.5 lemon). So basically, it’s made of everything awesome, mashed together (and yes, it needs to be mashed to release some of the garlic essences). And, because I added gouchichang and sesame seeds, I can now call this “korean roast chicken”.  Afterwards, coat the entirety of each chicken piece with the rub – and make sure you get a good amount between the skin and chicken.  Let the chicken temper at least a half hour.

the pan

getting fancy in the pan

Step 2: The pan. Here’s where we make it fancy. Place a slice of lemon wherever you plan on placing a chicken thigh. Top it with a sprig of rosemary. Add a half teaspoon of orange liqueur to each slice (we tend to have GranGala on hand, but whatever).  You don’t want to put in more orange liqueur than can be contained a single lemon slice, as the excess will leak away from the lemon, and then burn and smoke when heated in the oven (trust me – I made this mistake already).


the assembly

Step 3: The Assembly. Place each piece of chicken on top of each slice of lemon. Basically, each piece of chicken is on its own lemon pedestal. It’s weird, but I feel that these slices of lemon really add some zing! Season with salt and pepper.  Snake some remaining sprigs of rosemary between the chicken – if nothing else, the pan will look more festive, and your house will smell like rosemary, so what do you have to lose?

Step 4: The Cookery. 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes (40 minutes was great, but I’m anticipating I could go shorter and it’d be juicier).

And that’s it! Based on how hot you like it, you could smother more of the sauce on the chicken before cooking.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

9 February 2013 at 5:54pm

impending steak-off

with one comment

t says:  I’m a fan of Alton Brown … but I’ll be first to admit that his recipes are often a little complicated/fussy.  In his defense, he at least attempts to justify the extra steps with some kind of logic/theory/evidence.  I often use his steak-cooking procedure when I cooking my steaks at home.  But then I saw this:

My world has been rocked.  Hmmmm …  I think we need a steak-off.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

16 November 2011 at 12:27pm

How t Does Ramen

leave a comment »

t says: The other day, a, v, g, and I were discussing childhood foods that we still enjoyed eating today … even if they are a little – shall we say – “unrefined”.  For instance, a has found himself eating Spaghettios once or twice a year; I find this to be revolting.  I, on the other hand, have been known to eat a Pop-Tart or two in my day (Cherry is the best); a finds this is ridiculous but not necessarily surprising (I believe his exact words might be: “you would … you would!”).  g has a secret crush on sugar doughnuts filled with strawberry jelly (she can resist a lot of sweets … but not that one).  This is when v reminded me of one of her food weaknesses: ramen.  Mmmmmm.  Ramen.  I, too, love ramen.  But not just any ramen – for me it has to be Sapporo Ichiban:

Sapporo Number One! ... Ichiban!

This is the brand that I grew up on – no “Cup-o-Noodles” or “Smack Ramen” (both of which are gross) or anything like that – this is the real deal.  And, if you haven’t had this brand before, I strongly advise you find your nearest Asian convenience store and buy it (don’t mess around with the “flavored” Sapporo ones, either, as the “original flavoring” is by far the best).

Back in the day, I’d drop an egg or two into the boiling water to add a little “something extra” to the noodles and MSG goodness.  Now, years later, I will cook the ramen using the full seasoning packet but avoid ingesting too much broth (that’s where the salt is).  And lately, I’ve been playing around with my ramen toppings by adding some leftovers:

ramen with leftover Chinese food (shrimp and broccoli), leftover kimchi jige, some sauteed spinach, and a hard-boiled egg

No, it’s no Momofuku ramen, but if I close my eyes, I can pretend that it’s a balanced lunch (it’s got three pieces of broccoli in there, right?).  One day, I do hope to master David Chang’s ramen, and maybe then I won’t need Sapporo Ichiban anymore … (but I’d still eat it anyways).

Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 November 2011 at 10:06pm

I’m back, baby…

leave a comment »

g says:  t had taken over most of the dinner-making duties for the past couple of years as my work schedule became more challenging (read: i get home late and t is hungry before then). i very much appreciate him stepping up to the plate, but i do miss the meals i used to create when i was the first-string dinner-maker of our home — they were creative, they were delicious, and i plated each one with care (t interjects: my dishes are a little more … “rustic”)

now, t is a bit more busy and i am stepping back in when i am home early enough from my new(er) job. one such meal was the beauty shown below — rosemary lamb sausage (procured from an excursion to the italian market with a and v), sauteed with red bell peppers, spinach, apples, and cinnamon, served on a toasted roll and topped with fresh pecorino.

t says: she loves to add cinnamon to everything…

g says:  shut up, t. cinnamon is delicious… (and very versatile!) this time i used the fancy china cinnamon that lr gave us as a gift. that’s right, there are different kinds — and i am all about finding out how many ways i can incorporate each of them into my diet!

anyway, this was a fantastic sandwich and i wanted to share. please feel free to use this idea to spice up your own weekday dinners.


lamb sausage sandwich

Written by afterdinnersneeze

30 October 2011 at 8:35pm

j puts bacon everywhere

leave a comment »

t says:  If kp, j, and me had a fight, and the winner was solely determined by who loves bacon more, I’m not sure who would win.  kp’s got the culinary mastery over j and me (he makes bacon-covered breadsticks), but I can claim that I ate a heaping plate of bacon 6 days a week for 6 months straight (and to be honest, it wasn’t even that delicious a bacon – it was at my college cafeteria).  I’ve decided to give j a bit of an advantage of her own by gifting her a bacon-centric cookbook for her bday.  These were her first attempts:

BFF ... beautiful from far-away ... (I'll give $1 to the first person who can tell me where I'm stealing that from - cast members not permitted to guess)

If you add mussels and snow peas, it's now considered "healthy", right?

j says:  Okay so it is bacon and salmon poke (top picture) and pork tenderloin wrapped with bacon with mussels and sugar snap peas (bottom picture)
t says:  was it tasty?
j says:  sooooo good.  i used salmon intead of tuna bc the tuna didnt look fresh.  and i of course added my own variations. bc i didnt want to deep fry wonton wrappers so i used triscuits.  and [boyfriend’s name] doesnt like regular peas so i opted out.  and they didnt have fresh clams so i used mussels. you want me to blog about it?  i feel like i will be more likely to do it bc it was good and i made it.
t says: lol – nah, go study or something.  what’s the title of the book?
j says:  I love bacon
t says:  is that a statement you’re making, or the title of the book?

t steals the mic:  It turns out that “I love bacon” is the name of the book.  Furthermore, it is the center of some kind of controversy as it may or may not be a follow-up to “I <3 Corn”.  Check it out.  Corn?  Seriously?  I mean, I love me some SoJo corn just as much as the next guy, but unless it’s that corn dish from Fond, I have a hard time loving it even one-tenth as much as I love bacon.

What was the point of this post?  Three-fold:
1)  To show off j’s cooking skills.
2)  To make kp salivate.
3)  To make certain vegetarians queasy at the thought of bacon-wrapped pork (you know who you are).

If j feels so inspired, she’ll send me the recipe.  If not, then you’ll just have to deconstruct it, yourself.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

29 September 2011 at 10:17am

Kimchi Jigae (for Real)

leave a comment »

t says:  A while ago, we posted a kimchi jigae recipe, but it was kind of a cop-out – it used a pork shoulder that was cooked for another dish and then added the leftovers to kimchi …  That needed to be fixed – kimchi jigae deserves its own recipe.  ha has her own way of cooking it, but even she admits that it’s something she thought up – not a formal recipe.  Plus, sometimes the meat just ended up very tough to chew.  So I set out to re-do kimchi jigae, but this time in the method of a braise … but it had to be done outside because cooking kimchi indoors for hours on end produces an ugly smell.  I did some experimenting and this is what I’ve come up with.  It’s a piece of pork, a piece of brisket, and some tofu, braised over a long period of time.  While using just one or the other is permissible, I kind of like having a mix of meats so this way I can eat the same dish over a few days and not get bored of it.

__ 1 package of kimchi (from Hmart … the older/stinkier the better)
__ 1 slab of pork shoulder (will be determined by vessel size)
__ 1 slab of brisket (will be determined by vessel size)
__ 1 slab of extra-firm tofu (will be determined by vessel size)
__ 1 box of beef stock (~26 oz)
__ salt, pepper
__ oil (to sear the meats)

-2)  Find a Dutch oven that will fit on your grill – ideally with the cover closed (therefore emulating a real oven) – or find an outdoor burner capable of low heat (a lot of outdoor burners may heat the Dutch oven to way too high a temperature for an effective braise – you’re aiming for ~300 degrees F.
-1)  Season meats with salt and pepper and allow to stand at room temperature for at least a half-hour.  At the end of this time, preheat the Dutch oven on the grill/burner with high heat.
0)  Add oil to Dutch oven and sear meats and set aside.
1)  Lower the heat of the grill/burner and add just enough kimchi to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven.  Stir around the kimchi to soak up those brown bits.
2)  Return the meats to the Dutch oven.  Pour the remaining kimchi on top.  Add enough beef stock to just get half-way up the side of the meat.  Place lid.  If you have a Dutch oven with a domed lid (like the Le Creuset we used), you may be well-served by adding a sheet of parchment paper between the lid and the vessel so the moisture will fall back down the center of the vessel and not just down the sides – it also tightens the seal of the lid, too.
3)  Cook at the lowest heat needed to just keep a light simmer in the vessel going – peek under the lid every fifteen minutes or so in the beginning to ensure that you’re not boiling too vigorously (the meat will be tough if you do).
4)  Wait several hours.  Flip every hour or so.
5)  For me, the pork shoulder gets done first, well before the brisket, so I remove the pork shoulder and the kimchi when the pork shoulder gets to that ridiculously tender stage and falls apart as you try to flip it.  I leave the brisket and liquid in to go longer (for me, the brisket needs to go about an hour longer for a comparably sized piece of meat).
6)  When done, remove the meats, and eat! … OR, allow to cool to room temp and stick back into fridge to allow the flavors to meld together and eat the next day.  Both are acceptable!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

15 May 2011 at 8:01pm