Thai Cabbage Salad

Raw and Fried Napa Cabbage, Cucumber, Red Onion, Herbs, Pistachio and Scallions. I think I have this one dialed in now. Switching over to Napa Cabbage and adding more fresh herbs was the right move.

Tempura fried Napa Cabbage. When it comes out of the fryer, hit it with some salt.

I swopped out the traditional chopped roasted peanuts for chopped roasted pistachios. Why? Because pistachios taste better and look cooler. Sorry peanuts.

Thai Sweet Basil, Cilantro, Peppermint and Spearmint. Besides the Cilantro, all of this can grow in your yard year round in Central Texas. A pack of seeds costs a buck and a half and you will always have it on hand.

Combine the herbs with Red Onion and raw Napa Cabbage. Wait to toss in the the fried cabbage till the very end so it retains it’s crispness.

The base of the dressing is Thai Chili’s, Red Pepper fakes, Ginger and Garlic. If you haven’t been to H Mart, stop reading this and get in your car. It’s in North Austin and is the best grocery store (of any kind) that I have been to. They have all of the Eastern ingredients that I had been looking for. Fresh Curry leaves? No problem, they have them. Fresh and dried Thai Chili’s? Yes and Yes.

The liquid part of the dressing is Canola Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce. Combine with the fibrous parts, put a lid on the jar and shake, shake, shake.

Quick Pickling

These are not ‘shelf stable’, but will last weeks in the refrigerator. English Cucumber and Red Onion.

One tablespoon Sugar to two tablespoons Salt. Three cloves garlic. To that add three cups boiling water and let the sugar and salt dissolve. When it’s cool, add one cup White Vinegar.

Mandolin does quick and even work. I like the heavier metal ones apposed to plastic. I would hate to have a plastic one flex or shoot off the cutting board mid maneuver. I like my hand just the way it is.

Knife Sharpening

Knifes are like friends; if you don’t periodically give them your attention and love they can end up hurting you. Constant. Gentle. Sharpening.

These sharping stones are typical of a friend group; they set consists of coarse, mild and fine. And, one to keep all the others in line.

Five pounds of pressure. Constant angle.

KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

I have been working on this recipe for a while. It started out simple, then expanded to a three day odyssey and now has returned to it’s rightful place: 30 minute meal. It gets eaten fast, so why not make it fast?

The brine, the pre-dredge, the fridge dry: all out the window. Chicken straight out of the cellophane into a dredge of wheat flour, rice flour, baking powder and S&P. Shake off the excess and lets go for a dip! Isn’t that what everyone says before they go for a swim?

Rice oil at 325F until chicken gets to 175 internal temp. Pull it, rest it. Heat the oil up to a GBD temp of 375F (Golden Brown Delicious). First fry cooks the chicken, second fry sets the crust.

I never used to wash my rice. I was wrong. I do now. It doesn’t clump as much when you wash the grains a few times under running water before cooking. I now also ignore the cook time on the instructions. My rice in the past has been mushy, so I started backing off the amount of water in the recipe and the cook time. Currently, my ratio is one-to-one rice to water. Ten minutes and it’s done. I should probably break down and buy one of those rice cookers everyone is talking about, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

This Salad Needs a New Name

I grew up on this salad. We called it Taco Salad. I don’t think it deserves that name anymore. First of all, the original one I was fed had little to do with a good taco. Secondarily, this current version goes beyond a typical “taco”.

Ground meat, sure. But, Thunderheart Bison is the way to go, not 90/10 beef. Pinto beans and yellow onions. We are still in the stratosphere of taco, but anarchy awaits.

Sid Miller told me, “get your Jesus juice in Oklahoma”. Actually, he didn’t tell me that. But, I was was standing next to him one time and thought to myself, “why are all these loud guys so short?” Canola oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Smoked Hungarian Paprika, Chili Powder, Honey, S&P. Tastes almost as good as Kraft Catalina Dressing.

The foundation: cilantro stems and leaves, cherry tomatoes, romaine, iceberg, and hoping my mom doesn’t read this and think that her recipe from the 1980’s with crushed Doritos was better.