Beefsteak Dungeon


I purchased Secret Ingredients, The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink because it collected an eclectic mix of food writing by some of the most interesting American writers like Woody Allen, Dorothy Parker, Steve Martin, Calvin Trillin and even a surreal piece by Roald Dahl.

But what attracted me was a 1939 piece by Joseph Mitchell entitled “All You Can Hold For Five Bucks”. It was an exposé on the New York steak dinner or “Beefsteak”. It lamented how the whole beefsteak dungeon (as the underground cellars where the action was were called) scene was ruined in 1920 when it allowed women who insisted on better manners, fancy salads and cocktails. And it defined the different styles of Beefsteak into the West and East side schools.

I won’t go into it in detail as I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the book to read. However, the essay contained intriguing tidbits on cooking and serving the beefsteaks, so there’s no helping but to duplicate this delicious beefsteak dinner.

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Posted on 18th Nov 2011 in American, Food and Drink, French, Meat, Old School, Recipes  |  6 comments

Eating Hungarian Szalonna in Singapore

Mangalica Pork

Hungarian Szalonna (Sah-Lon-Na) is a fantastic piece of pork product; it is basically your back bacon with rind that’s smoked. And because it’s part of traditional Hungarian cuisine, it’s readily available in any butcher or supermarket.

Hungarians usually spear a piece of the Szalonna on a piece of wood and hold it over the fire till it sizzles and then place it on a piece of bread to catch the drippings. It’s crunchy, fragrant and ooooh-so good.

In restaurants, if you order pork done in “Gipsy-style”, this means your pork chop will be topped by a beautifully round of crispy juicy Szalonna as pictured above. And if your pork is from the Hungarian Mangalica pig, you’re in for a real treat.

On my last trip to Budapest, I managed to score a small block of Szalonna from the local butcher. For research purposes, naturally. But since I’ve neither a fireplace nor Mangalica pork chops available in Singapore, this is what I did…

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Posted on 23rd Aug 2011 in Asian, Hungarian, Recipes, Singapore  |  Comments off

Pan con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread)

Pan con Tomate

Elaine seems to be the only one who observes that I tend to blog a lot about breakfast. This is because I live in Singapore where the climate tends to be hot, so a hearty breakfast in the cooler mornings and a light lunch in the warmer afternoons make more sense.

Anyway, I love tomatoes and am always on a lookout for recipes to include them. But mostly, I simply eat them straight with a little bit of salt. But one delicious way to eat them is Pan con Tomate.

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Posted on 16th Jul 2011 in Food and Drink, Recipes, Spanish  |  2 comments

And I made Abalone Pasta (the Ghetto Sous-vide version)


I first tasted this at Cliantro, KL. Like a drug dealer, Chef Takashi give us all a taste; it blew us all away and had us begging for a little more, Oliver-style. Very kindly, he provided just a little bit more.

As days passed, the craving for a Abalone Pasta fix grew to epic proportions; the want became a hunger became a need. Until there’s no helping it but to break out my Emergency Can of Abalone – look, if it’s the end of the world, wouldn’t you wanna go out well-fed too? – and cook me some Abalone Pasta.

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Posted on 15th Jul 2011 in Food and Drink, Fusion, Recipes  |  3 comments

And I made cured Hamachi

Homemade Salt-cured Hamachi

I am a little ambivalent about David Chang and Peter Meehan’s Momofuku recipe book because some of the recipes produce results which are not consistent with the photos. For example, my results for their Onsen Tamago recipe is more consistent with Douglas Baldwin than David Chang.

However, one recipe in the book is spot-on and that’s the Cured Hamachi. I’ve made this from the Momofuku Recipe Book by David Chang and Peter Meehan and it’s been a hit with everyone I’ve served it too.

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Posted on 14th May 2011 in Food and Drink, Japanese, Recipes  |  2 comments

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