(if you don’t get the headline, you were brought up deprived. see here)
Last night several of the LTHForum folks got together for our fourth Iron Chef Pot Luck. No judging, no winners, just an opportunity to be creative and have a nice dinner party. I had a friend of mine pick the secret theme ingredient, and so battle carrot was on! Our rules are that the ingredient is announced at 11PM the night before, and you can only shop for that item — everything else has to come from your pantry.
We ended up with two cocktails: a carrot bloody mary, and I made a ginger ale, carrot and orange juice bourbon punch-like drink. Since I didn’t do anything special to the drink other than scale it up, I’ll just link to the original I found from Joy the Baker. Very light and refreshing.
Savory dishes included a carrot and pineapple salad (nearly a dessert), my carrot chawanmushi with carrot kimchi (recipe below), Sue’s carrot and bacon corn muffins, carrots and chicken wings on rice, and a carrot soup that unfortunately ended up on the floor of a car on the way over, and a carrot chicken salad that got left home or it would have been piped into little cream puffs. This is the first battle we’ve had with culinary casualties.
Desserts were Sue’s carrot bread pudding with whiskey cream cheese sauce (awesome!), carrot-shaped eclairs with roasted carrot ice cream filling, and carrot cake.
It’s always fun to challenge ourselves to find a dish that features the ingredient, and is still novel and exciting. I’d never made chawanmushi, and I think I’ve only eaten it once. What I got was a nice light custard with flavors of carrot, shiitake and shrimp, with a bright, spicy pickled carrot. So I present to you…
Recipe: Carrot Chawanmushi with Shrimp and Shiitake, and Quick Carrot Kimchi
For the Kimchi:
(makes about 2-3 cups / 750ml kimchi)
3 medium carrots, peeled
2 baby persian cucumbers, or about 1/4 medium cucumber, julienned (about 3/4 cup / 150ml)
3 scallions, green part only
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 inch (2.5cm) ginger, chopped fine
2 Tbs (30ml) gochujang (Korean red pepper bean paste)
1 serrano chile, halved, seeds removed, cut into fine half-rings
1 Tbs (15ml) kosher salt
1 Tbs (15ml) sugar
1 cup (250ml) rice vinegar
- Using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrots into ribbons about 1/4 to 1/2″ wide (average 1cm), 3-4″ (7-10cm) long, for about two cups (450ml)
- Toss all vegetables together in a shallow container
- Whisk together vinegar, salt, sugar and gochujang
- Mix well, and allow to stand for at least six hours
- Note: a vacuum-sealer container was used, but there’s no proof that this had any effect
(makes 12 servings)
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
18 medium shrimp, shell-on
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/3″ (1cm) cubes
8 large eggs
1 2/3 C (400ml) stock (I used Momofuku’s ramen broth)
1 2/3 C (400ml) carrot juice
2 Tbs (30ml) soy sauce
2 Tbs (30ml) mirin
12 6.5oz/200ml ramekins
3 steamer baskets
- In a bowl, pour boiling water over mushrooms and allow to steep for 30 minutes
- Drain mushrooms, remove stems, and cut into 1/3″ (1cm) dice. Distribute into the ramekins
- Bring a medium saucepan of salted water (about 1Tbs /15ml to 2 quarts) to a boil
- Blanch the carrot cubes until just barely tender, about 4 minutes
- With a slotted spoon or spider, remove the carrot cubes to the bowl of ice water
- Bring the pot back to a boil and add the shrimp until just opaque, about 2 minutes
- With a slotted spoon or spider, remove the shrimp to the ice water
- Drain, separate the shrimp from the carrots, and peel the shrimp
- Cut the shrimp into about 4 pieces each
- Bring a separate large pot with at least 1 quart of water to a boil, that will fit your steamer baskets
- Distribute the shrimp and carrots into each ramekin (about six pieces of shrimp per)
- Mix together carrot juice, and stock.
- Add soy and mirin to taste, about 2 Tbs/30ml each. It should be saltier than you’d like, because eggs have to go in yet
- Whisk the eggs into the stock/juice mixture. I used a blender, then skimmed off the foam on the top.
- Carefully pour mixture into each of 12 ramekins
- Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and place in steamer baskets
- Steam over gently boiling water for 25-35 minutes, until just set.
- Serve with a garnish of the kimchi