Tag Archives: Momofuko

Momofuko Bo Ssam and Au Revoir Andy Hoffman

Bo Ssam 1

This is the story of pork butt.  It is also the story of friends (Jenn and Andy) who are moving to place of “the fountain”,  Geneva actually.  Certainly known for things other than “the fountain” but Google Geneva and the Jet d’Eau is all over the Image pages (followed closely by the flower clock).  Don’t ever try to say the words “Jet d’Eau” out loud if you do not speak French, it’s just embarrassing, trust me…

The pork butt portion of the story is sweet and savoury, the friends moving part is more bitter and sweet— though we want to have pals to visit in Geneva (and to tour the fountain with) we also are very sad to have them so far away (they eased us in un-gently by moving to Vancouver first).  We like to get together to eat with Andy and Jenn, a lot of meat, a lot of cheese and a lot of wine.  (Andy could throw around wine terms like “flabby” and “grippy tannins” before Sideways had people hating Merlot.)  Jenn makes mean guacamole.  And cocktails.  (Jenn’s cocktails are so good she should be an anesthesiologist.)

All I have left...and btw..the cayenne one is now gone.

All I have left…and btw..the cayenne one is now gone after the photoshoot.

But this blog is sparked by Andy (not that we do not love Jenn-we do–and she brings chocolate from BC–which I am running short of and desperate for…) because when I last saw him he had his arm twisted into giving me the Momofuko cookbook for my birthday.  He came over to visit and had the book in a bag and then I might have said something like “Is that for me?” and then suddenly it was.  Which I feel bad about…but not a lot.

Cook book momofuko

Especially now that I finally made the Bo Ssam that every blogger every has already posted about, the book is on my “featured” bookshelf (also because it is great reading).   The Bo Ssam recipe came to me at the perfect time as we were having a BBQ (planned for a weekend of torrential downpour–so trying to feature meat but not on the grill) and aside from having delicious, easy food, I wanted to do something fun.  I haven’t had a “cooking day” in a while, and hurriedly making dinner for the family does not count ever.  (Almost ever.)   So meat that would be in the oven for hours, making the house smell inviting with it’s with potentially fantastic results seemed like a great idea… Andy said it would be the best.

Andy

And so I called Cumbrae’s and ordered 14 pds of bone-in pork butt (which the woman helping me seemed to think was a lot for 12 people) but I feared would barely be enough (no need to trust the experts Sue!).  To be fair to my own gluttonous judgement, I really was not sure how many people would show up and how can a person have a BBQ and bear the thought of running low on meat???

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Fourteen pounds of pork butt

Essentially you’re just slow cooking the butt, so this recipe is incredibly simple.  The night before you rub the meat with a mixture of salt and sugar and let it cure overnight in the fridge.  Then you drain off any liquid and cook for 6 hours-ish at 300 F til tender and yielding.  I think ours went 7 hours.

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At that point, when you’re drooling and ready to eat you rub the exterior with a bit of salt and a lot of brown sugar, and fire the oven up to 500° F.  Then in goes the meat for about 10 minutes until the exterior is sweet and crusty (David Chang calls it a “pig shoulder encrusted in Pig Candy”  in the book).

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Finally you bring it outside (under the tarp your husband spent 3 hours putting up for a storm that would pass before the guests arrived) and you hesitate…..where to start?  All the guests, expected to eat at least 1 pd of eat each, hovered.  We also had an emergency as the steamed rice I had picked up from the Chinese food place was actually discovered to be fried rice.  Which was not going to work with my lettuce wrap plan.  (luckily the problem, a bike ride away was resolved though I admit I may have panicked and slightly overreacted when I saw the fried rice–possibly freaked out just a little?)

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Finally, crisis managed, I dug in (we had Boston lettuce for wraps, steamed rice, condiments and cucumber and strawberry salad and red cabbage salad to go with–(the  recipe for the slaw is one  I was seduced by in California (red cabbage is very sexy) made by my brother and sister-in-law’s friend Traci.  Recipe at bottom.  AWESOME.).

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Condiment wise I made the ginger-scallion sauce reco’d in the Momofuko book, we had Kimchi, pickled onions and a beet horseradish spread I had made for burgers and was nice and earthy with some bite.

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This is not Andy (Andy who sparked the whole idea was back in BC planning what to wear to his first fountain visit), it is my friend Terry (meat consultant), and yes my face melted when I realized we had the wrong rice.  It was horrifying.  Luckily Terry took it in stride and just kept pulling meat.

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You must all try this.  Here is a link to Sam Sifton’s piece in the New York Times Magazine that provides the recipe.

Andy and Jenn-  wish you were here (but Geneva also good)  xo Sue

Red Cabbage Salad (based on a the slaw recipe from a The Northwoods in southern California.)

  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
Shred half of the cabbage finely and the other half coarsely. Place in a large bowl.
Whisk together vegetable oil, red win vinegar , sugar, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
Toss the dressing with the cabbage. Scrape the salad with the dressing into a zip-top bag or covered container and refrigerate. Let marinate for a 5  hours until cabbage turns deep red, softens a bit, and flavors meld. It’s even better after a few days.   (IT REALLY REALLY IS!)
AND THE CHEESE BOARD–I almost forgot– we had Albert’s Leap ripened goat cheese (ON), Bleu D’Elizabeth (QC) and Mountain Oak Wild Nettle Gouda (ON)
 
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My iPhone is still sticky from Donut Plant (but it was worth it)

This blueberry glaze is made fresh from real fruit.

Donut Plant. I know, you’re drooling.  Yet you’re thinking, no, it’s too much that donut!  Too sweet, too dense, too purple.  But it was gold, until I took a bite of my Tres Leche (super-gold).

Which ruined my strategy of “only taking one bite “.  My theory was that since we were going to Momofuko Ko that night I could not be eating donuts all morning (especially since I had just eaten a bagel on our walk over and had a lot of cheese to finish back at our apartment).

Apparently I could, and did.  My one-bite plan was quickly abandoned at first taste of the Tres Leche.  This thing is filled with evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream.  PEOPLE, go to New York right now.

I barely had the willpower to remove the above donut from my mouth and take its picture.  My hands were so sticky that the HOME button on my iPhone may never recover.

“My iPhone for a donut!” I may have yelled.

Donut Plant’s Crème brûlée donut has been called a “Boston Cream on crack” by Maxim magazine and I am sure they know their crack.

There are two types of donuts available; the denser “cake” donut and the fluffier, chewier “yeast” donut.  I am cake all the way.  Owner Mark Isreal uses his grandfather’s recipes but spent years perfecting his cake donuts.  The man even invented A square jelly-filled donut so that the filling is evenly distributed between the dough.

Donut Dedication. Checkout the whole history on their website.

Here’s what we saw inside when we finally found Donut Plant which is in the Lower East Side.

I did not go in with a plan and then I panicked.  Luckily my trusty donut instincts drew me to the Tres Leche.  But why did I did not also get a Vanilla Bean or Valrhona chocolate I cannot explain.  Questions that may plague me til my dying day.

(Here is a little review from NY magazine for more info).

And though Momofuko Ko was amazing (more later) this was hard to beat.

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NY NY: One pork bun too many before dinner at Prune

The Wild Blue Yonder

Departing Toronto and flying to NY on Thursday, we arrived just in time for all the trees to bloom.

East Village in Bloom

Once set-up in our apartment on St. Marks Place we ran to grab some lunch around the corner at Momofuku Ssam Bar.

We really did run as it was almost 3pm and they close until dinner at 3:30.  Tad had had their buns of deliciousness before so he  craved reunion while I was happy to finally be introduced.

Better than a circle of friends.

My picture cannot really convey the deliciousness which caused me to eat one pork bun too many when I was already bursting.  But the eyes would not back down and I shovelled the last one in feeling equally satisfied and slightly queasy at the same time.  In hindsight, an hour later, I have no regrets.

Bun-ravelled.

We had two steamed pork buns each and a pulled duck bun.  The duck bun was lined with smoked mayo and sauerkraut and the pork was accented by cucumber, scallions and hoisin sauce.  The bun was soft like newborn Wonderbread, crust removed.  Fresh, tender, sweet, salty flavours.

As I perused the drink list and I noticed a Riesling from Tawse Winery.  I said to the server, “Oh how nice, I’m from Toronto so happy to see a Canadian wine on the menu” and she replied, “Yes, wine making is getting popular in Canada.”

Why yes- yes, it is!!!

After some R&R at our apartment we wandered out again before dinner.  It as a gorgeous night.

The Cooper Union Building

We wandered around and I went into a couple little boutiques where jeans came in waist sizes for women from 23-28 (well, ok, it was the sales table but they were all beautifully laid out and not a bigger size in sight).  We headed to Prune for dinner at 7:30.

Prune (NYTs review) has been in the East Village since 1999 and is at 54 East 1st Street. Chef Gabriella Hamilton won the 2011 James Beard Foundation Best NY Chef Award and has recently written a biography called Blood, Bones and Butter (excerpt here from Bon Appetit magazine).

The pictures below were necessary but taken under duress as the place only seats 30, and it’s elbow to elbow.  Obnoxious food blogger iphone antics seemed out of place and I was extremely self-conscious.  Tad twisted my arm.  Lighting sucks but “picture it” all in better light. And btw, I don’t think you come here without ordering the bone marrow.

Roasted marrow bones, parsley salad (with capers) and sea salt on the side.  Served with grilled bread.  The sum of the parts –the fatty, rich,  mouth-coating marrow with the sea salt cleansed with the bright, fresh flavours of the parsley salad was luscious.  You really are temped to stick your tongue into the bones (once the little spoon renders itself useless) to dig as deep into the crevice as your would like.

Our mains--see the clams and pork in the back?

The mains were also lovely.  I had Arctic Char (with the crispest, sweet skin I’ve ever tasted) on a lemon rice which was like a light risotto mixed with fresh peas.  Tad had pork shoulder with Littleneck clams in a broth filled with kale and white beans.  The tender, delicate pork was sitting in the broth surrounded by the sweet, tender clams.

Not too sweet, a little espresso bitterness in the chocolate. Perfect conclusion!

Dessert was a chocolate semifreddo (an Italian chilled dessert usually softer than typical ice cream) on slightly sweetened whipped cream and I think it had little caramel bits around it  (we’d finished a bottle of wine and a negroni at this point).

So excuse my bad photos, tomorrow I hunt for cheese.  Til then….

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Trigger Happy- My slightly obsessed efforts to get a Momofuko Ko reservation

I’m going to New York this weekend with my husband.  The weather looks like it will be fabulous, we’re flying Porter so will avoid Air Canada nonsense and we found a great apartment to rent for 4 days in the East Village.  Yet despite all this and the simple pleasure of wandering New York itself, I am obsessed with getting a reservation at Momofuko Ko.

If you like to eat, and you like to to travel  then like me,you probably prepare your food itinerary before you do anything else.  I am slightly concerned that I overplanned but more concerned that I won’t be hungry enough to eat all things I want to eat.  And I do want to eat a giant pastrami sandwich which takes a while to digest–which could kill at least three hours without food.

We’re having dinner at Prune Thursday night,  Friday we are doing Mexican at Empellón Taqueria, Saturday lunch at Artisinal with friends (cheese and wine flights here I come)   and Saturday night was to be at Momofuko Ko.   I had it all figured out.  You can only reserve at Ko on-line 7 days in advance.  You get a password and enter the site, and then hold your finger over the mouse pad until the second hand hits 10:00 am and then you FIRE.  If you’re lucky you’ll see one slot in the 12-seat restaurant still showing a green check mark and not a BIG RED ‘YOU LOSE” X.

After already spending 1 1/2 hours on the phone (the Monday 5 weeks in advance that I was allowed to call)  trying unsuccessfully  to get a seat at the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare I was pretty turned off by the “cross your fingers and hope to eat” reservation system.  I had already rescheduled my day to phone Prune at the exact right moment.  But, this on-line thing seemed simple.  I tested my speed on the mouse button on the Momofuko site.  How fast could I be?

Like a gunslinger in the old West practicing to draw his six-shooter I was ready for this Sunday, March 18 which would hook me up with a Saturday night reso.

But then my son’s first soccer practise got scheduled for the same time on the same Sunday.  First as in, “first ever”.  He’s 3.   After a brief but serious discussion with Tad about which was more important (Felix might not like soccer, I was sure I would like dinner) we decided I would take Felix to soccer and he would stay home to make the reservation.  BUT HE HAD NOT BEEN PRACTISING.  I didn’t mention my concern as it seemed slightly….crazy.  But I left detailed instructions.

I got the call as we headed onto the filed.  ALL BOOKED.

I felt loss then anger–why did these stupid restaurants have to be so exclusive?  I could eat a hot dog and be happy–I  was lucky enough to be in new York!  And there was the Shake Shack to think about.

And yet, just this morning there I was, finger hovering over the the mouse pad, and I did it.

See how easy it is?  And only a $150 charge and loss of your reservation if you’re fifteen minute late.  This is my lucky day.

Only problem is Sunday night we were planning to have dinner at Colonie in Brooklyn.  They don’t take reservations there so maybe we’d get in, maybe not.   Sigh.  Maybe I should just go wander around  the MoMA.

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