Tuesday, July 14, 2015


One of the many advantages of living in an Asian neighborhood is cheap produce. And once in a while this ‘hood really outdoes itself and drops something at your doorstep for FREE.

Case in point: Some little refugee pomelos recently fled their crowded homeland garden and made their way over the rear border fence into our territory. Like good San Franciscans, we offered them sanctuary, no questions asked.

Welcome... Weeeelcome.

Pomelos are a southeast Asian citrus. Unlike the ones in the store, these backyard fog-grown versions are almost inedible on their own. And no one’s ever comes over for brunch and asked us for pomelo mimosas. So, what to do with these thick-skinned, thorny little escapees?  Well, as the saying goes…

When opportunity knocks: ferment it.

Here’s the story: Late last year, San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewery released a grapefruit-infused version of their Sculpin IPA. It’s freaking addictive. We were going through that stuff like a stripper goes through Summer’s Eve, and at $18 a six pack, it looked like one of us was going to have to sell a kidney pretty soon in order to keep us in beer. Thankfully, white boy (the genius behind Sunset Brewing) ended up brewing a clone called OG (Original Grapefruit) IPA and our bank account has almost made a full recovery.

Now, thanks to our mysterious neighbors to the east (no really, they have the yard to the east of us, and they are shrouded in mystery – all we know is that they’re quiet and there’s a lot of them), a sister beer - OPP (Other People’s Pomelo) IPA has been born. (recipe below)   

The zest of these bad boys packs a punch – super citrusy and sour. So much citrus oil, actually, that the zest burned a pattern in the plastic tray on our food scale. Their peel is hard and super thick.  Despite all that, the end brew could have done with more actual pomelo flavor. Don’t get me wrong; it was rad and we drank ALL of it. But in subsequent versions we've pumped it up with more zest. 

American IPA
Type: Partial Mash                                           Date: 10/10/2014
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal                      Brewer: Sergei Andruha
Boil Size: 4.27 gal                                             Asst Brewer:
Equipment: Pot and Cooler ( 5 Gal/19 L) - Extract/Partial
Boil Time: 60 min
End of Boil Volume 3.90 gal                              Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 4.60 gal          Est Mash Efficiency 82.8 % Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage    Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0 Taste Notes:



Amt                               Name                                                                             Type           #      %/IBU
2 lbs Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 18.6 % 2 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 18.6 %
8.0 oz                             Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM)                                        Grain          3      4.7 %
1.00 oz                           Amarillo [9.20 %] - Mash 60.0 min                               Hop            4      7.2 IBUs
0.50 oz                           Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min                                 Hop            5        29.5 IBUs
0.25 oz                            Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min        Hop            6        13.8 IBUs
0.25 oz                           Magnum [12.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min                               Hop            7        11.8 IBUs
0.25 oz                           Willamette [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min                             Hop            8      5.4 IBUs
0.25 oz                           Citra [12.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min                                      Hop            9      9.1 IBUs
0.25 oz                            Crystal [3.50 %] - Boil 30.0 min                                    Hop            10    2.6 IBUs
0.25 oz                           Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min                                  Hop            11    9.8 IBUs
1.00 Items                      Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)                                  Fining         12   -
1.00 oz Pomello Zest, Bitter (Boil 5.0 mins)   Spice    13        1.00 oz Amarillo [9.20 %] - Boil 0.0 min            Hop      14        0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg                            California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml]        Yeast          15   -
6 lbs 4.0 oz                     Pilsner Liquid Extract (3.5 SRM)                                   Extract        16    58.1 %
2.00 oz                            Amarillo [9.20 %] - Dry Hop 7.0 Days                          Hop            17    0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz                            Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 7.0 Days                           Hop            18    0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz                           Pomelo Zest, Bitter (Secondary 3.0 days)                     Spice           19   -

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.067 SG                          Measured Original Gravity: 1.046 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG                               Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.9 %        Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 % Bitterness: 89.2 IBUs            Calories: 151.6 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 5.7 SRM

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body,
Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs 12.0 oz
No Mash Out
Sparge Water: 3.40 gal                                    Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE        Mash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps

Step Time
Mash In
Add 6.63 qt of water at 161.3 F
150.0 F
75 min
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 3.40 gal water at 168.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: Bottle                                  Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 3.61 oz                                 Carbonation Used: Bottle with 3.61 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F                  Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage                       Storage Temperature: 65.0 F


Saturday, February 21, 2015

SF Beer Week - Dim Sum and Belgians

San Francisco Beer Week is here. Across the Bay Area taps are spewing the modern day versions of frankincense and myrrh; stuff so precious that you ordinarily can’t get it. Nope, not even on the interweb. Not at that trendy bar with skinny bartenders in suspenders. Not even in beer trades with people on the other side of the country, most of the time. Thanks to Amazon and Netflix, we’ve lost touch with what it feels like to not be able to get whatever we want, whenever we want it. We become insane with lust for anything unattainable, so Pliny the Younger and Dogfish Head 120 bring ALL the lumbersexuals to the yard during Beer Week.

Beer Week’s a nightmare for anyone with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  There are 600 events over 10 days. Even if you quit your job and damn your liver… you’ll still miss out. So you have to choose: What wondrous events are too sweet to miss? Not to state the obvious, but this 7 course Szechwan Dim Sum and Belgian Beer pairing at Mama Ji’s was not an event I was willing to just hear about from friends after it happened. 

Dim Sum in the Gayborhood? That has a 15-line beer sonnet on their menu? Oh yeah, this is livin' the DREAM, people.
What we done came for. 
Best pairing of the night - seafood shumai with the Lucifer Golden Ale. For this, I would storm the Emperor's castle wearing nothing but granny panties.
Turnip cake. With sausage and beer. As god intended.
Hard to remember the last time I saw three different types of beer glasses at a Chinese restaurant. Oh yeah wait, it was NEVER.
Pork Buns and Vegetarian Buns. Vegetarians... thanks for making this a world that has fewer pork buns in it. I hope you're happy. 
Oh good lord, I'm so full, I couldn't possibly.... 
Well OK, fine, maybe just one.
Lady, stop bringing food out here. Are you trying to kill us? Pack this up to go please, for the love of all that's holy. Wait, wait! ...leave that beer though. 
Usually when I eat this much I get my picture on the wall, or a free t-shirt, or something. So... just sayin. No? Well screw you - pack this stuff up too then.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Chairman Food Truck

Tired of food trucks phoning it in? Riding the wave of food truck mania and slinging mediocre food? 

Check out the Chairman's legit Gua Bao... 

Can't get by on clever names and fancy truck-wrap graphics alone. But it doesn't hurt. 

Pork and pork and chicken and pickle and buns. Oh my. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy Dumpling - Stonestown Farmer's Market

When I grow up, I'll eat dumplings for breakfast. Every. Day.

In the long tradition of anthropomorphizing dumplings. 

Break me off a piece a dat.

Positive reviews? Propaganda? Both? 

This dumpling is all about that bass, no treble. Extra thick wrapping would kick a Xiao Long Bao's delicate little booty. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kimchi Bacon Burger

This was supposed to be the first generation ‘test run’ of a more sophisticated (read: complicated) burger that would evolve to incorporate Korean BBQ ingredients like Asian pear and ginger and stuff. But after tasting this beast, the verdict was that it would be hard to improve on it. Kimchee and pork are like lemon and garlic. Like Frankie and Dino. Coffee and doughnuts. Mario and Luigi. There’s a reason those matches have endured for decades; an alchemy that doesn’t need much messing with.

So smoke a bowl, cook this burger, then call in sick for work tomorrow ‘cause you’re gonna have to spend all day in the gym to work this one off. 

Kimchi Bacon Burgers (makes 4 burgers)

1 lb ground beef

1/4 lb ground pork

6-7 pieces thick cut smoked bacon

Sriracha mayonnaise (mayo + sriracha to taste. I use approx 4:1 mayo to sriracha. If you think mayo in a jar is grody (and it is), here’s a recipe for idiot-proof homemade mayo:

Hamburger Buns

1 1/2 cups Kimchi

½ tsp salt

Thoroughly mix beef and pork together with your hands, adding salt as you go.
Form meat into 2 patties, making the center of the patty thinner than the outside, so it doesn’t bulge up in the middle when you cook it (so annoying).

Cook burgers on the grill, in the broiler, in a pan, whatever. You know how to make a burger. Medium rare, unless you’re one of those “well done” people, in which case that’s something you should definitely be disclosing on your online dating profile. Toast up those buns.  Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it’s browned but not crispy, otherwise bacon shards will be flying all over the dinner table.

Spread a generous amount of Sriracha mayo on both buns, add burger, and top burger with kimchi and bacon.  Serve with side of more spicy mayo for dipping your tater tots or oven fries into.

NOTE ON THE KIMCHI: I recently made a version of this one from my homegirl Maangchi:

So easy even white people can do it. I omitted the salty squid because I just straight up chickened out on it, and cut the recipe by about 75% so I didn’t have to go out and buy a bigger house. It’s very bomb, very delicious, and the bonus is getting to watch the videos in which Maangchi take adorableness straight to 11.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers 2: The Curry That Saved Christmas

Aaaand now it’s Sunday. Day three after the holiday, and the last of that turkey had. to. go. If we threw that final, symbolic half pound away, then an innocent beast would have died in vain, the abundance of the holiday would have been dishonored, and we would have been spitting in the face of our Pilgrim ancestors who would have called up Santa and baby Jesus all ornery-like to instruct them to fill our stockings with weasel droppings and Justin Beiber novelty pens.  

So for the final push, here it is, The Curry That Saved Christmas.

Today I am grateful for keffir lime leaves, coconut milk, and the fact that this dish tastes like all of the things that don’t remind me of Thanksgiving food.  

Turkey, Kale and Sweet Potato Curry     

2 tsp vegi oil
½ onion, sliced
2-3 thai chilies, chopped fine
4 tsp red thai curry paste
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp soy sauce
2 keffir lime leaves, torn
1 ½ cup kale (or ½ lb of green beans, or other leftover greens)
½ lb cooked turkey, cubed
2-3 cooked sweet potatoes, cubed (festive marshmallow and/or fruity topping scraped off).*
White rice, for serving

In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and thai chilies and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or so until onions are soft.  Add curry paste and fry, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Add broth, coconut milk, soy sauce and kefir lime leaves and bring to a simmer. Add kale or other greens. If greens are raw, simmer in the curry for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Add turkey and sweet potatoes, and simmer for another 2 minutes, just to heat. ** Serve with rice, hot pepper flakes, and lime wedges.

*This only works if you make sweet potatoes like my mother-in-law. That is, not mashed but cut into halves and baked with sweet stuff on top.  Otherwise use raw sweet potatoes, peeled, and added just after the broth and coconut and cooked for 5-10 minutes until tender. Leftover pumpkin or other firm winter squash will work just as well.

** Should your sweet potatoes have, like mine, been sitting on the counter for three days instead of in the fridge like they were supposed to be, boil vigorously for 2 minutes to kill whatever questionable bacteria might be present. Unless your great-great-grandparents came over on the Mayflower, in which case the USDA advises that you are of such hearty and resilient stock that the potatoes are safe for you to consume either way.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Black Bean Turkey Pot Pies and 5-Spice Cranberry Sauce

The Pilgrams were fortunate. They didn’t have access to Asian food, and therefore didn’t experience the withdrawal symptoms that yours truly has been subjected to thanks to the onset of Thanksgiving.  We have just concluded 5 days of family entertainment, culminating in the traditional annual celebration of white person food. My dairy consumption is off the charts, and this morning’s blood test revealed a soy sauce level that is dangerously low.  I have grown two inches taller, and have developed a Minnesota-shaped rash on my right arm.  Coincidence? I think not.

Yet there is an issue of leftovers that must be resolved. Since my cookbooks have more to say about pickled mustard greens than mashed potatoes or turkey, I must find a way to transform the pounds and pounds of leftover Thanksgiving food into something Asian-y. 

Update: Zao Jun the Kitchen God has smiled on me today and helped me to create damn good Asian Turkey Pot Pies. Google doesn’t turn anything up in this particular category, so perhaps we’re starting something here. This made a dent in the leftover turkey, gravy, veggies, biscuits, AND cranberries. Thanks to all the cooking that actually took place on Thanksgiving day, this was an easy 10 minute assembly. There is real heat in the cranberry sauce, so add cayenne and taste as you go, yo.  

Black Bean Turkey Pot Pies and Five-Spice Cranberry Sauce

Pot Pie

1 can Pillsbury or other oven-bake biscuits
1 cup green beans, cut to ¼ inch dice, or 1 cup peas
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup cooked turkey, diced
1 T fresh ginger, grated or finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, diced
1 ½ cup brown, mushroom, or turkey gravy
1 ½ tsp black bean sauce
1 T vegetable oil              
Soy Sauce

Preheat over according to directions on can o’ biscuits. Grease 8 muffin tins.
In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until they start to soften. Add garlic and ginger, sauté 1 minute. Add beans and mushrooms, cook 2 minutes or until just starting to soften – leave them al dente. Add turkey and gravy and remove pan from heat. (Unless you are Emeril or Oprah, that turkey is probably already dry, so don't cook it anymore, for pete's sake.) Stir black bean sauce in and mix all to combine.    

Roll each biscuit into large, thin rounds between two pieces of wax paper. Place one into each muffin tin, with the edges folded out like flower petals. Fill each cup with pie filling, and fold edges of dough in toward the center. Filling will not be completely covered – just make sure the edges of the dough don’t creep back down into the cup.
Bake according to directions on biscuit can, or just remove from the oven when they look ready to be bitten.

Serve with soy sauce to drizzle, ma nizzle.

Cranberry Sauce

½ cup leftover cranberry sauce
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice powder

Mix all to combine well. Serve alongside pot pies