Malted Yeast Waffles for Two

So at this point I think I make better waffles than anything coming out of restaurant.  After much work I have come to the realization that yeasted waffles are the best waffles and that keeping them in the oven helps them stay warm and crispy.  Apart from that, you just need to know your iron.  I completely ignore the beeps on my Waring Pro now as if I followed them I would have undercooked soggy waffles.

This recipe makes enough for a waffle-loving couple and I have put in a little malted milk powder for fun.

Adapted from

123 g AP flour
28 g malted milk powder
7 oz of milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp of melted butter or 3 tbsp of oil
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 egg

Follow link instructions.  I cook for 4 minutes on the 4 setting of my waffle iron and I get about 4 waffles.

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Perfect Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I find a lot of peanut butter ice cream sorely lacking in actual peanut butter flavor.  The peanut butter ice cream base over at Serious Eats is an exception, but I think can be improved upon in three ways.  One, reduce the sweetness and improve texture by incorporating some liquid invert sugars.  Two, add a few egg yolks for their powerful ability to enhance ice cream.  Three, move from half and half to milk as this base already has enough fat from the peanut butter.

Sure it’s not quite as easy as the original, but I think it’s worth it.

1 c (265 g) of creamy no-stir peanut butter
1/2 c (100 g) sugar
2 c milk, preferably whole
Up to 1/4 c liquid sweeteners, e.g. corn syrup or molasses
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/8 to 1/4 tsp of salt

Blend all ingredients together and then put into a saucepan over medium heat.  Stirring continuously heat mixture until it reaches 175 degrees F.  Remove from heat and let cool before refrigerating overnight.  The next day churn it in your ice cream maker.

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Al Pastor Tortas and Sundry Other Things

This is a placeholder, just trying to compile things from a past meal.

Al Pastor

3 to 3-1/2 pounds boneless pork loin or stew meat cut into bite-sized chunks
Salt and pepper
2 cups of fresh diced pineapple, reserving any juice
1/2 white onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 to 6 ancho chiles, toasted, stemmed, seeded, soaked, then pureed
4 to 6 guajillo chiles,, toasted, stemmed, seeded, soaked, then pureed
1 chipotle morita chile
3 to 4 roma tomatoes, well charred and pureed
2 to 3 cups of water and reserved pineapple juice
2 tablespoons vinegar (pineapple, apple cider, or rice)
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves, ground
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Salsa Roja

1-1/4-oz dried guajillo chiles
1 chipotle morita chile
14.5-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce and fish sauce
5 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Salsa Verde

Refried Beans


1½ cups carrots, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
1½ cups jalapeños, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
1½ cups small cauliflower florets (¾-inch pieces)
¼ white onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp salt
2 cup apple cider vinegar
6 Tbsp of dbr sugar
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
6 cloves

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Lagman or Asian Ratatouille Noodles

In central Asia/western China there is a popular dish called lagman that is essentially a stewed/stir fried vegetable dish over noodles.  Sometime lamb is added, but I think it is delicious as vegetarian dish.  Here is my version where I have added some Chinese influence and western technique.

1 large eggplant, cut into 1-in pieces
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed and liquid reserved separately
2 onions diced
8 cloves of garlic smashed
2 Tbsp of ginger julienned
2 Tbsp of tomato paste (optional)
2 Tbsp of doubanjiang (optional)
1 Tbsp of dark soy sauce
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground black pepper
1-2 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 small zucchini, 1-in dice
1 small summer squash or another zucchini, 1-in dice
1 red bell pepper, 1-in dice
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, 1-in dice
1 Tbsp of black rice vinegar (prefer Shaanxi)
Light soy sauce to taste
cilantro for garnish
fresh wheat noodles

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Add onions, garlic, ginger then cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until onions are translucent and start to soften.
  4. Add tomato paste, doubanjiang, pepper flakes, spices and bay leaf then cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in reserved tomato juice and reduce for a few minutes.
  6. Stir in eggplant and crushed tomatoes and dark soy sauce.
  7. Transfer pot to oven and cook, uncovered for about 40 to 45 minutes, until vegetables are very tender and spotty brown.
  8. Remove pot from oven and, using potato masher or heavy wooden spoon, smash and stir eggplant mixture until broken down to sauce-like consistency.
  9. Stir in zucchini, bell peppers and 1 tbsp of light soy sauce then return pot to oven.
  10. Cook uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes until zucchini and bell peppers are just tender.
  11. Remove pot from oven, cover and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes until zucchini is translucent and easily pierced with tip of paring knife.
  12. Using wooden spoon, scrape any browned bits from sides of pot and stir back into ratatouille.
  13. Discard bay leaf then stir in 2 tablespoons of cilantro and vinegar.
  14. Season with salt, light soy sauce and pepper to taste.
  15. Serve with favorite wheat noodles and additional cilantro to garnish.



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Da Pan Ji (Big plate chicken) Recipe

Let’s finish up the trifecta of chicken stews with da pan ji, aka big plate chicken.  If you have never had this dish, I pity you.  It’s one of the all-time greats and I recommend you order it next time you see it.

When we were in Xian we found this restaurant that served two sizes of da pan ji, huge and hudger.  Even the “small” size was too much for two people and we were definitely not the only ones that wasted much of their dish.  It saddened me to see such profligacy of one of the most amazing plates of food.  The potatoes were nearly buttery and the chicken was chunks of perfect bone-in dark meat all bathed in a spicy, deeply flavored broth and some delicious hand-pulled noodles.  We went back again a few days later in the only repeat restaurant visit of our two weeks in China.  It was definitely the best thing we ate and we ate a lot of very good food.

Now I don’t claim to be able to top the version we had.  If nothing else I am fairly sure a large part of our dish was deep fried as that is the only way they could get the silky texture in the food and get it out to us so quickly.  This version is more stew-like and less a brothy stir- fry.  I hope it ends up good.  Also I struggled with how much tomato/carrots to add, so in this version I am just going to add a dollop of tomato paste and omit carrots.

2-3 lbs of chicken thighs, drumstick or leg quarters
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 in of ginger, thinly sliced
2 tbsp of sichuan doubanjiang
2-4 tbsp of tomato paste
3-4 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 black cardamom (cao guo)
1 tbsp of cumin, ground
1 tsp of white pepper,  ground
1 tsp of black pepper, ground
1 tbsp of Korean or Sichuan red pepper flakes (mostly for color)
1 tbsp of Sichuan peppercorns, whole or ground (adjust this to taste)
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
10-12 mild dried red chiles (something like an Arbol will work), deseeded if preferred
2 bay leaves
1/4 c of Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp of brown sugar
3 c of chicken stock or replace some with beer
2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
2 tbsp of light soy, plus more for seasoning
1 to 1.5 lbs of potatoes (any type you prefer), peeled and cut into large chunks
1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 2-3 jalapenos deseeded and chopped
6 spring onions, whites cut into 1 inch piece and greens thinly sliced and reserved for garnish
1 tbsp of black rice vinegar

Preheat oven to 325 F.

On medium high heat, brown chicken skin side of all chicken, adding oil as needed, and in as many batches as needed.  About 6-7 minutes.  Remove to a cutting board and, for true authenticity, cleave into small bone-in chunks.

Saute onion, garlic and ginger until lightly browned.  Add doubanjiang, tomato paste and whole spices and saute until tomato paste is browned and oil is red.  Then add ground spices, dried chiles and bay leaves and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.  Splash in the wine and scrape up any browned bits.

Now add chicken stock, sugar and soy sauces and bring to a simmer.  Add potatoes and then transfer to the oven partially covered.  Braise for 15 minutes.  Add chicken thighs and braise for about 30 minutes.  Then add peppers and spring onion whites and return to oven for another 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and season with vinegar, additional light soy sauce and pepper.  Serve over flat wide wheat noodles or rice.


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Coq au Vin via the Yucatan

I was flipping through David Sterling’s Yucatan (gorgeous book) and I came across a recipe for chicken stewed in spiced wine.  It sounded a lot like a weird mashup of coq au vin mashed up with Moroccan tagine (though more likely the influence is by way of Asia) and then a Latin touch with the pickled things.  I wanted to make it more of a one pot meal so I added some typical stew vegetables, dropped the green olives (we are not big olive eaters) and drastically amended the preparation.  Sterling has great ideas for recipes, but I find the cooking techniques overly complicated and not optimal at the same time.  However, I am sure they are authentic.

4 oz bacon or salt pork in lardons
3 lbs of chicken thighs, drumstick or leg quarters
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 oz of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp of tomato paste
2 tbsp of flour
1.5 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of ground ginger
6 allspice berries, ground
4 cloves, ground
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 lb of button/cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 lb of carrots, large dice
8 oz of peeled pearl onions
4 c of red wine
1/4 to 1/2 c slivered almonds
2 tbsp capers
5 pickled jalapenos
2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar, more to taste
sugar, salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Brown bacon in Dutch Oven over medium high heat for about 10 minutes.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel.

Brown chicken skin side of all chicken in rendered bacon fat, adding oil as needed and in as many batches as needed.  About 6-7 minutes.  Remove to a plate.

Brown mushrooms for about 10-12 minutes.  Then add onion, garlic, ginger

Add onion, garlic, ginger, pearl onions and carrots and saute until lightly browned.  Add tomato paste and cook until lightly browned.  Add herbs, spices and flour and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.  Add wine and scrape up any browned bits.  Bring to a simmer and then transfer to oven partially covered.

Braise for 30 minutes then add chicken, almonds, capers and pickled jalapenos, using stove to return to a simmer if needed.  Return to oven and braise for 45 minutes to an hour longer.

Add vinegar and then season to taste.  Much of this depends on the sweetness of the wine you use. Garnish with reserved bacon lardons.

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Maafe or West African Peanut Soup

We found this Senegalese restaurant not too far from us.  The service is invariably slow, but it is worth it for the Maafe.  This is a dish of lamb stewed in peanuts popular all over West Africa and while heavy it is amazing.  Also the restaurant gets very good, fatty lamb.  Not the lean flavorless stuff that always underwhelms me at Costco (the only reasonable purveyor of stewing lamb cuts).

This dish apparently came over to the South as West African Peanut Soup.  Very similar, maybe a bit thinner.  Also it usually uses chicken.  I am going to deploy a chicken version here, but beef or lamb would work as well.

2-3 lbs of chicken thighs or drumsticks, skinless if desired
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 cup of peanut butter
2 onions
1 to 2 inches of fresh ginger
12 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1-2 tbsp of shrimp paste
2 spicy chiles (habaneros or thai bird would work)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground white pepper
12 tsp. ground cumin
12 tsp. ground black pepper
14 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
3 whole cloves, ground
2 bay leaves
1 large sweet potato, small cubes for stewing
1/2 lb of Yukon Gold potatoes. small cubes for stewing
1/2 lb of carrots, small cubes for stewing

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Puree the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato and shrimp paste, spices and chiles.  Saute this paste in a dutch oven on medium heat until it starts to stick a bit.  Meanwhile, puree can of tomatoes and peanut butter.  Once paste is nicely aromatic, add tomato/peanut puree and bring to a simmer before adding sweet potatoes and carrots and bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer again and then partially cover dutch oven before placing in oven.

Braise for 15 minutes, add potatoes.  Braise for 15 more minutes.  Add chicken thighs.  Braise for another hour.  Adjust seasoning with salt or sugar (depending on sweetness of peanut butter and personal taste).

Serve with white rice and copious amount of pepper.



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