A glimpse into my world of food

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New York City Review: Robataya

Robataya NY

231 East 9th St. New York
212 979 9674

As soon as I walked into Robataya, I felt like I was back in Japan.  Everyone greeted us with a powerful "いらっしゃいませ~" ("irasshaimase", which means welcome) and most of the staff were Japanese.  There were two cooks taking center stage, surrounded by the fresh ingredients and grill.  They sit on a low stool with a cutting board in between them and the grill.  The waiters call out the orders for the grill and the cooks repeat the order and don't even have to write it down.  They display their knife skills in front of the guests and when they finish plating a dish, they pass it over to the guests using a paddle.  The counter seats were full by 7pm or so and everyone was amused by this show.

This is one of the few authentic Japanese restaurants that I've been to in the US and I would definitely go back here for comfort food.  They use quality ingredients and simple cooking methods.  It's exactly the kind of food I love to eat.  Besides the robatayaki (grill), they also have kamameshi, which is rice cooked in the traditional way (in a kama or pot), with ingredients such as salmon & salmon roe, chicken and burdock and king crab.  Ordering may be a bit of a challenge for first timers but the waiters are prepared to explain the menu and they also have an omakase course.

Kaisou Salad (Kelp Salad with Miso Dressing)

 Grilled Edamame (best edamame I've had in the US- grilling them made them more fragrant)

Eggplant, shishito (Japanese green peppers) and Eryngi (Trumpet mushrooms)
 Gindara saikyoyaki (Sable fish marinated in miso and sake)
 Uni (sea urchin) gratin with salted konbu (kelp)
 Nama-fu Dengaku (with miso paste)
 Squid- SO tender!
 Tsukune (minced chicken with a teriyaki glaze)
 Lamb chops
 Sato-imo (Japanese taro yam)
 Kamameshi (Rice with salmon and salmon roe)

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Aya's Kitchen: Chocolate Recipe Contest- Chocolate Braised Lamb with Home Made Tagliatelle

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Aya's Kitchen: Chocolate Recipe Contest- Braised Osso Bucco with Spiced Chocolate Sauce and Taleggio Risotto

Braised Osso Bucco with Spiced Chocolate Sauce, & Taleggio Risotto

2 servings

Osso Bucco

Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                         2 T

Osso Bucco                                                        2 ea

Salt                                                                  1 tsp

Black pepper                                                   6 turns

Garlic clove, crushed                                      1 ea

Ginger, sliced                                                  ¼ oz

Onion, large dice                                             4 oz

Fennel, large dice                                            2 oz

Carrot, large dice                                            1 oz

Celery, large dice                                            2 oz

Cumin, ground                                                1 t

Crushed tomato                                              1 cup

White wine (Pinot Grigio)                              1 cup

Hungarian Paprika                                          1 T

Dried Indian red chili                                     2 ea

Brown veal stock                                            as needed

Bay leaf                                                           1 ea

Thyme                                                             3 sprigs

Scharffen Berger 70% Baking bar                  2 oz

Raw honey                                                      2 t

Corn starch                                                      2 t

Water                                                              as needed       

Taleggio Risotto

Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                    2 T

Shallot, small dice                                           2 T

Arborio rice                                                     ¾ C

Brown veal stock                                            3 C

Taleggio                                                          3 oz

Parmigiano Reggiano                                      1 oz

Salt                                                                  if needed

Lemon zest, sliced thin 1 inch long                as needed

Chive, cut 1 inch long                                     as needed

1.      Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.      Cut the lemon zest into very thin strips (1 inch long) and cut the chive into 1 inch long pieces.

3.      Heat the olive oil in a medium sautoir over medium-high heat until hot.

4.      Wipe the osso bucco dry and season with salt and pepper.

5.      Sear the osso bucco on both sides until golden brown.

6.      Meanwhile, cut the onion, fennel, carrot and celery into ¾ inch squares.

7.      Remove the osso bucco from the pan and set aside. 

8.      Turn down to medium heat and add the onion, fennel, carrot and celery.  The moisture released from these vegetables should be enough to deglaze the fond.  If not, add a tablespoon of water and clean the bottom of the pan.

9.      Once the vegetables have browned slightly, add the cumin, then add the crushed tomato and cook over medium heat until the liquid is gone.

10.  Add the wine and evaporate until most of the liquid is gone.

11.  Add the paprika and dried chili.  Add enough veal stock to cover ¾ of the osso bucco.  Once you add the bay leaf and thyme, put a tight lid (plastic wrap that can withstand the heat, then foil, if there is no lid for the sautoir) on and place in the oven.

12.  Braise the osso bucco until fork tender for an hour and a half.

13.  When the osso bucco is done, remove the meat and set aside (keep it covered and warm). 

14.  Put the braising liquid through a chinois or sieve and into a small sauce pot.

15.  Add the shaved chocolate and honey and mix well.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Adjust the consistency by adding a slurry of corn starch and water (should be the consistency of heavy cream).  The sauce should be medium nappe (leave a fairly thick coat behind a wooden spoon). 

16.  Meanwhile, start the risotto.  Keep the veal stock hot (add salt but do not season fully because the cheese will add some salt to the risotto).

17.  Heat the olive oil and add the shallots.  Slowly caramelize over low heat.  When tender, add the rice and cover each grain with the oil.

18.  Add enough stock to cover the rice and stir while cooking.

19.  When the rice has absorbed most of the stock, repeat step 17 by adding more stock.

20.  Keep stirring the rice and keep adding more stock until the rice grains are al dente (have a bite) and the risotto flows (not too thick not too watery).

21.  Add the taleggio and parmigiano reggiano and season with salt if needed.

22.  Place the risotto in a bowl dish and lean the osso bucco over the side.  Cover the osso bucco with the sauce and garnish the top of the marrow with the lemon zest and chives. 

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Aya's Kitchen: Chocolate Recipe Contest- Chocolate Duck Ragu with Taleggio Polenta

This is a recipe I entered for the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Recipe Contest last year... The duck skin cracklings look a little weird but the duck ragu with chocolate was actually really good.  Went well with the taleggio in the polenta.

Duck Ragu with Taleggio Polenta

4 servings

Duck Stock

Duck bones                                                     ½ ea

Extra virgin olive oil                                       2 tbsp

Onion, large dice                                             1 cup

Carrot, large dice                                            ½ cup

Celery, large dice                                            ½ cup

Duck Ragu

Duck thigh and breast, skin on                       1 each

Salt                                                                  1 tsp

Black pepper                                                   6 turns

Extra virgin olive oil                                       2 tbsp

Onion, sliced ½ inch thick                              ½ each

Garlic, crushed                                                2 each

Ginger, sliced thin                                         0.2 oz

Tomato paste                                                   2 oz

Malbec wine                                                   1 cup

Hot Hungarian paprika                                1 tbsp

Dried Indian chili                                          2 each

Bay leaf                                                           1 each

Thyme                                                             5 sprigs

Dried porcini and lobster mushrooms             ½ oz total

Duck stock                                                      as needed

Extra virgin olive oil                                       2 tbsp

Cremini mushroom                                          2 oz

Shimeji mushroom                                          2 oz

Salt                                                                  a pinch or as needed

Black pepper                                                   4 turns or as needed

All purpose flour                                             2 tsp

Braising liquid                                                 1 ½ cups

Scharffen Berger 70% Baking bar             2 oz

Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Cocoa       1 tbsp

Raw honey                                                     1 tbsp

Taleggio polenta

Remaining duck stock and water                   2 cups

Salt                                                                  1 tsp

Polenta, instant                                               4 oz

Taleggio                                                          4 oz

Parmigiano Reggiano, grated                          2 oz


Duck Stock

1.      Remove the breast and thigh from half the duckling and also remove excess fat. 

2.      Cut up the bones into a few pieces.

3.      Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a small rondeau and sear until golden brown on all sides.

4.      Remove the bones and set aside.

5.      Deglaze the pan with the onions, carrot and celery (add a little bit of water if necessary) and lightly brown.

6.      Add the bones back to the rondeau and pack tightly.

7.      Add enough water to cover everything by an inch.

8.      Simmer for 4 hours and skim the fat and skum once in a while.

9.      Drain and cool over an ice bath if not using within 4 hours.

Duck Ragu

1.      Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.      Season the duck breast and thigh with salt and pepper.

3.      Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a small rondeau on high heat.

4.      Sear the breast and thigh on both sides until golden brown.  Remove and set aside.

5.      Turn down the heat to medium and add the onions.  Deglaze the pan and cook the onions, garlic and ginger until lightly brown (add a little bit of water to prevent burning).

6.      Add the tomato paste and cook until rusty brown.

7.      Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce until syrupy consistency.

8.      Stir in the paprika, dried chili, bay leaf, thyme and dried mushrooms.

9.      Place the breast and thigh back in the pan.

10.  Add enough duck stock to cover approximately ¾ of the breast and thigh.  Stir lightly to incorporate the stock and other ingredients.

11.  When brought back to a simmer, place a tight lid on top and put the rondeau in the oven.

12.  Braise for 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender.

13.  Remove the duck from the braising liquid, shred into bite size, and keep covered and warm.

14.  Strain the braising liquid into a small sauce pot through a chinois or sieve and squeeze excess liquid from the onions.

15.  Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms.  Season to taste.

16.  Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and mix in well.

17.  Add the braising liquid and simmer for at least 15 minutes.

18.  Add the chocolate, cocoa and raw honey, and stir well with a wooden spoon.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more braising liquid.

19.  Add the shredded duck and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Taleggio Polenta

1.      Bring the duck stock and water to a boil in a small sauce pot and add the salt.

2.      Sprinkle the polenta into the water and stir with a wooden spoon.

3.      Turn down to low heat and stir in the Taleggio and Parmigiano Reggiano.

4.      After five minutes and the cheese has melted fully, scoop the polenta onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper (use a palate knife or wooden spoon to flatten it out to desired thickness).

5.      Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

6.      Cool long enough for the polenta to become stiff enough to cut into desired shape.

7.      Cut the polenta (into four portions, any shape) and place on a parchment paper lined sheet tray and place in oven until light brown or just heated through.

8.      Serve with the duck ragu.



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Friday, July 22, 2011

Avocado Recipe Contest Series: Shrimp & Avocado Risotto with Cilantro Oil

 This risotto was actually really good.  I used store bought shrimp stock but fortified it with some shrimp shells.  The general ratio of rice to liquid for risotto is 1 to 3 but you should adjust it accordingly.  As the risotto was nearly done I seared the shrimp (cook all the way).  I folded the avocado into the finished risotto.  The cilantro oil is simply cilantro and olive oil blended together (you can add garlic if you want).  When plating, top with the seared shrimp and cilantro oil.

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New York City Review: Heidelberg Restaurant

Heidelberg Restaurant

1648 Second Avenue (between 85 & 86)
New York, NY 10028
212 628 2332
After seeing the Heidelberg Restaurant on an episode of No Reservations, my friend and I decided to go check it out.  I was surprised to see no one there on a Sunday afternoon but the food did not disappoint.  And the waitresses really were dressed up.

Marinated herring with sour cream


 liver with mushrooms (side of spaetzle and red cabbage)
 Three types of sausages with sauerkraut, red cabbage and potato

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