I recently went home to Los Angeles and did a photo shoot with Lucky Bird at Grand Central Market. You know I can’t stay away from fried chicken. Lucky Bird opened in Aug 2018 by Chef Chris Dane and Christine Dane. While they are the new kids of the current wave of new fried chicken restaurants opening in LA, Chef Dane has been planning and building out Lucky Bird since 2016.
Thank you to the crew at Barbuto for letting me photograph them as they were getting ready for dinner service.
I've been a fan of the restaurant and their roast chicken dish ever since I went there for one of my birthday lunches. It was mid March. I ordered the roast chicken with salsa verde and a glass of house wine. The weather was mild for March and I took advantage of it by sitting outside. It was perfect.
Barbuto was opened by Jonathan Waxman back in 2004! I didn't know it has been around for that long. Good for them!
I met Molly Yeh in Sept 2010 at the Vendy Awards. She was the winner of a month long free schnitzel from the Schnitzel & Things truck. Back then I was taking photos for the owners. The owners had asked Molly to help them at the Vendy and that was how we met and have been friends since then.
It's been awesome seeing Molly's journey. 6 years doesn't seem that long but so much has changed. OMG!
Anyways, go buy her book. I have already made this hot dish 3 times in the last 4 weeks. It's SO GOOD. It's like getting a super awesome warm hug when it's super freezing outside.
3/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
18 ounces frozen Tater Tots
Ketchup, for serving (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
Enough chicken broth base to make 3 cups broth
Preheat the oven to 400 F
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat.
Add the onion and carrots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring until soft, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Repeat with the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk.
Stir in the chicken broth base, peas, chicken, thyme, and a few turns of pepper and simmer, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes.
Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if desired.
Transfer the mixture to an 11x8 inch baking dish (or other 3-quart ovenproof dish) and cover the bitch with Tater Tots.
Arrange them snugly and neatly.
Bake until the tots are golden brown.
Begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly and serve with ketchup, if desired.
It's cold. It went from a light thin jacket weather to hoodie weather to this morning when I thought about maybe wearing my winter coat. I used to LOVE winter and cold weather.....until I moved to NYC from LA. I never needed a scarf or gloves in LA nor any super thick coats. But now once it dips into the 50s it's all the layers I can wear at one time, knee high socks, thermal undies, two beanies. But you know, it's also comfort food season. It's like gimme all the mac n'cheese, hotdish, beef stew, risotto, congee, lasagna, endless supply of fettuccine alfredo, and butternut squash soup!
My perfect cold day scenario is hugging a bowl of oyakoDON by the fireplace and it's snowing outside and I have a cup of green tea and maybe White Christmas is playing on TBS. Or Forrest Gump, TBS is always playing Forrest Gump.
You know who is also hugging a bowl (well not an actual bowl)? Cynthia of Two Red Bowls and her husband Andy. They recently welcomed their little boy, Luke. So in honor of this, Stephanie of i am a food blog and Alana of Fix Feast Flair put together a virtual welcome baby Luke celebration. They were super cool to put together a nice group of food bloggers (full list below) and we all made things in bowls! Fun! Here's what I cooked up: CHAWANMUSHI!
This is cold weather comfort food times 100. Chawanmushi is steamed egg custard. It's super easy to make. It's basically eggs and dashi and the filling/toppings can be whatever you like. Though I have mostly seen it with chunks of chicken, fish cakes, shiitake mushroom, and ginkgo nuts.
For any Japanese recipes I only trust one source and that's Francis of Cooking with Dog. Have you seen Francis in action?! The recipe from Francis makes 2 bowls but to be honest it all really depends on the size of your bowls. And for obvious reasons I had to tweak the recipe to make 3 bowls. I had searched through the internet, looking at other chawanmushi recipes and the key is the egg to dashi ratio. What you want to have is 1 cup of eggs to 3 cups of dashi. Just scramble the eggs in a bowl and pour it into a measuring cup. How ever much you get times 3 will be the amount of dashi you'll need. Simple!
Happy days y'all!
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- Cut up the chicken thigh into chunks. Each bowl should get at least 3-4 pieces of chicken. Marinate the chicken with 1 teaspoon of sake and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. Let sit for 10mins to 30mins.
- In a pot, add the 2.25 cups of water. Put on low heat on the stove. Add hondashi, sake, soy sauce, and pinch of salt. Stir to dissolve hondashi. No need to boil the water, just warm enough to dissolve the hondashi. You can use the microwave also. Take pot off the stove to let it cool.
- Scramble the eggs.
- Heat a pan up on medium flames on the stove. Add oil and brown the pieces of chicken. Don't worry about cooking them all the way through since you'll be steaming them later.
- Slice up shiitake, fish cakes, and scallions.
- Make sure the dashi broth has cooled down, you don't want to cook the eggs. Add eggs into dashi broth. Then pour the mixture through a sieve. This ensures a smoooooth custard.
- Place few pieces of chicken, shiitake, fish cakes, and scallions into each bowl. Pour in the egg/dashi broth.
- Get a steamer ready.
- Before putting the bowls into the steamer, wrap each one with plastic wrap.
- Put the bowls into the steamer and steam on high for 5 mins. Turn the heat down to low and steam for 13-15mins or until the custard is ready. Use a skewer or toothpick or chopstick to poke a hole in the custard. If the liquid is clear, it is done.
- Sprinkle extra scallions or your favorite furikake or shichimi togarashi.
1 chicken thigh
Handful of shiitake mushroom
Few slices of your favorite fish cake
2.25 cups of water
2 teaspoons of hondashi
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of sake
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
Salt + pepper