How to Make Toast Even Better: Fry It

Marian Bull wrote . . . . . . . . .

You know how to make toast. Your 6 year old cousin knows how to make toast. You just pop the thing in the toaster, you are saying to me in your brain right now. And yes, you’re right: that’s a completely viable way to make toast! It’s perhaps the easiest task you can accomplish in a kitchen without a microwave. You can even do it under a broiler if you’re lacking in counter space for single-use devices.

But that is not, unfortunately, the best way to make toast. That is not the most delicious way to make toast! That is not the way to make yourself yearn for your toast the way you yearn for a stupid pair of expensive sneakers or an all-expenses-paid trip to Tulum. For that kind of toast, you’re going to need a bottle of good olive oil, and a pan—yes, a pan! Like the one you use to make eggs!—on the stove. Because the best, tastiest, most perfect toast is toast that is fried.

Anyone who does things like crossfit or counting calories will probably stop trusting me at this point, and I understand that. There are people who don’t want to go adding a tablespoon or two of (“good”) fat to their diets. Toast that has been fried until glossy and golden in a pan full of hot oil is not the basis of a “low-cal breakfast”. It’s not going to give you the same effect as, say, a smoothie. But it is fucking delicious.

Here’s what happens: When you fry a thick slab of bread in olive oil, the insides get soft—for this reason it’s a great way to use up a loaf that’s almost stale—and the outsides get golden and crunchy. (My former boss, who is the person who exposed me to fried toast, likens it to a “[very large crouton].”) It is the perfect base for a cooked egg, or some vegetables, or beans, or even something like sliced fruit—anything that’s not too, too fatty. (Avocado is pushing it.)

And the process is easy, albeit slightly more laborious than your standard toast production. Get yourself a thick slice of crusty bread. Heat up a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pan, until it’s shimmering but not smoking. Then add the bread, and flip when it’s golden, and cook the other side until it looks good too. Sprinkle the thing with salt, and then eat it plain, or underneath whatever leftovers are sitting in your fridge. You will not necessarily feel virtuous, but you will feel happy, and that is important, too.

Source: GQ Magazine

Advertisements

Video: 3 Minute Standing Ab Workout

You don’t have to go down to the floor to work your abs, and this quick workout proves it. Get ready to work your core while keeping your feet on the floor, all in three minutes!

The Three-Minute Standing Ab Workout consists of four ab exercises done for 45 seconds each:

1) March and Squeeze – Start with both hands straight up in the air and bring one knee all the way up while bringing your arms down, keeping your hands above your elbows and near your body, so your elbows and knee line up, with your knee in between both arms. As you do this, squeeze your abs. Return to the starting position and do the same thing with your other knee, and continue to alternate knees.

2) Elbow to Opposite Knee – Bring one arm up so your elbow is at chest height and your hand is above your elbow, and bring your opposite knee up while bringing that arm down so your elbow meets your knee (don’t hit them together hard). As you do this, squeeze your abs. Return them back to their starting point and do the same thing with your other knee and elbow, and continue to alternate.

3) Straight Leg Raises – Keeping your leg a straight as possible, raise it up in front of your body with bringing the opposite arm down, reaching out your hand to touch your foot (or as close as you can get). Return them back to their starting point and do the same thing with your other leg and arm, and continue to alternate.

4) Rotate and Punch – Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart and rotate your upper body, throwing a jab out with your arm. Then rotate the other direction and jab with your other arm. Your feet should stay in about the same location the whole time, with just a little twist of the same foot of the arm that is jabbing to allow the body to rotate.

Do each of these exercises consecutively, for a total of three minutes, and you will have got an awesome ab workout while never going to the ground.

Watch video at You Tube (3:35 minutes) . . . . .

Video: How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes According to the US Navy

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you toss and turn at night?

A good night’s sleep is necessary for optimal health.

So if you’re one of the millions of people in the world who suffers from a sleep disorder or you want to fall asleep faster, watch this video to learn a trick straight from the US military.

Watch video at You Tube (7:24 minutes) . . . .

How to Make Pork Shoulder Chashu for Ramen

Sho Spaeth wrote . . . . . . . . .

It sometimes feels like everyone who loves ramen is obsessed with chashu, the roasted or braised slices of pork that seem to adorn almost every bowl. What’s curious to me is that chashu in the United States seems to most often consist of slices of braised pork belly so soft that they fall apart in your mouth, while in Japan, chashu made from roasted or braised pork shoulder is far more prevalent.

Chashu in Japan is also, generally speaking, cooked to have some texture, some bite. I interviewed the talented butchers Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura a while back, and whenever I think of the soft meat and softer fat of the belly chashu that appears to be standard here, I think of Guest saying, “I like to chew my meat.” Well, I do, too.

With that in mind, I set out to devise a recipe for those of us who prefer to chew the meat that comes in our bowls of ramen. Kenji long ago developed an excellent braised-belly recipe for those who like meltingly soft pork—it even has an added bit of texture because he calls for leaving the belly’s skin on—so I thought I could do one for pork shoulder, hitting two of my preferences for chashu in one go.

Funnily enough, though, Kenji’s recipe works just as well for pork shoulder as it does for belly, and it’s flexible enough to accommodate a range of preferences with respect to the softness of the meat. The process is identical: Tie up the meat, put it in a Dutch oven with flavorful liquid, cover it partially, and place it in a low oven for a couple of hours. If you prefer chewier pork, cook it for less time; if you prefer softer pork, cook it longer.

But even with these options, braising still locks us into a fairly narrow range of results. More specifically, the pork is always cooked well-done, even on the short end of the cooking-length spectrum.

Hop on a plane to Japan, and, after visiting enough ramen restaurants, you’ll likely discover that a well-done piece of braised pork, whether shoulder or belly, is only one of the forms chashu takes there. Rare pork shoulder chashu, for instance, is now something of a fad in Japan, where the aversion to eating pink pork isn’t as widespread as it is in the United States (from a food-safety perspective, there’s not much risk to eating rare pork).

Rare pork may not sound appealing (or maybe it does?), but if we turn to other techniques besides braising—like sous vide, or roasting using the reverse sear—we can take advantage of more precise temperature control, opening up the possibility of many different doneness levels and textures.

You could cook the pork medium-rare or medium or medium-well, or anywhere in between, depending on your preference. You may not like all the possible results—I’m not a huge fan of medium-rare sous vide pork; more on that below—but almost certainly, these techniques offer something for everyone. The challenge for me was working out the details of each approach, so I spent some time experimenting with cooking pork shoulder to a variety of temperatures, using a variety of methods, to figure out which were best.

The Benefits and Challenges of Using Pork Shoulder for Chashu

Before we get into the experiments, I want to go into a little more detail on why pork shoulder is so desirable for chashu. There are some obvious reasons, including the fact that it’s a widely available cut and it’s relatively cheap. But beyond cost and convenience, the shoulder has something else going for it: It’s a complex cut made up of many smaller muscles interspersed with striations of fat and connective tissue, which can result in slices of chashu that are both visually and texturally appealing.

There’s just one catch. Since there’s a fair amount of tough collagenous connective tissue in the shoulder, it tends to respond better to longer cooking, such as the braising method Kenji uses in his recipe. With enough heat and time, the collagen breaks down into tender gelatin, making the cooked pork seem very juicy and unctuous when you eat it. Shoulder chashu that’s rare or medium—the way I sometimes want to serve it—risks ending up unpleasantly tough, given the briefer cooking time. Unless a cook turns to more modern techniques, that is.

How to Prepare a Pork Shoulder Chashu Roast

No matter what cooking method you choose, you’ll need a piece of boneless pork shoulder that you can tie up into a uniformly cylindrical roll. You might be able to get a butcher to cut a perfectly sized piece of shoulder for you (more on that below), but if not, you can prepare the chashu yourself by buying a whole boneless pork shoulder at the supermarket. (It may be labeled “pork butt” or “Boston butt.”)

You won’t need the whole shoulder for chashu, though, only a part of it. The rest you can cut up for a pork stew (such as Kenji’s excellent pressure cooker chile verde), or grind for meatballs, or use however else you like.

[ . . . . . . . ]

Read more at Serious Eats . . . . .

Video: Cooking Authentic Spanish Seafood Paella

Watch video at You Tube (14:54 minutes) . . . . .


Read also at Fine Cooking:

Paella: Rice at Its Best . . . . .