Momofuku, the book: ginger scallion sauce

I read David Chang’s cookbook from cover to cover when I got it for Christmas, but didn’t test out a recipe until tonight.  If I could only have one recipe from the book, it would probably be this one.  He describes it as “one of the greatest sauces or condiments ever.  Ever.  It’s definitely a mother sauce at Momofuku, something that we use over and over and over again.  If you have ginger scallion sauce in your fridge, you will never go hungry.”

Chang scarfing down ramen with the sauce:

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At first, I was skeptical.  I was skeptical of the whole book, really; but the versatility of this recipe grabbed my attention.  It can make a meal of any carb you toss with it, but it also seems like a handy sauce for some weeknight chicken or pork chops or a T-bone, pan-fried or roasted and finished with a spoonful of this stuff.  Or TOFU, seriously!  It could totally work on some pan-fried tofu or folded into some of the silky, soup-like kind.  Especially if the latter is freshly made, holler.

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So I made the sauce but I haven’t actually tried it yet, since it was nearly bedtime when I started and after bedtime when I finished.  Mincing a 1/2 cup of ginger is labor-intensive and time-consuming, especially with a dull knife, but comforting in that it absorbs you and all you can think about is making clean straight cuts and lining up the ginger slivers so they can be meticulously cross-sectioned.  I imagined myself making a 1/2 cup worth of perfect microscopic squares but I would never take a microscope to my mince work.  Joy in a bowl? Worth the effort? TBD.

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A weekend in NYC

The thankfully not so impressive line at Shake Shack.
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My first Shake Shack burg.  Satisfying but not worth the hype or the wait, yet another thing about New York (and New Yorkers) that perplexes me. The vanilla frozen custard with toffee and Valrhona chocolate chunks, on the other hand, I want a deja vu of that mouthwatering stuff. Loved the variety of textures and the strong presence of vanilla in the base (rather than a generic sweetness).

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Latte from Joe the Art of Coffee

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Momofuku cookies.  L to R blueberry cream, cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow, and compost. Again, unimpressed with the much-hyped Milk Bar. My favorite of the trio was the cornflake one b/c of the unique texture from the interplay of the crunchy-chewy cornflakes and melted marshmallows, but they were all toothnumbingly sweet, unnecessarily so (and L concurred). Will definitely keep your sweet tooth in check for a long while.

My foot in union square on a picturesque Sunday afternoon. That, a Giants win, and a home-cooked meal with friends = a happy day.

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Dinner at Nicks Pizza.  Homey but sophisticated ambience with solid thin-crust pizza. Would not make a trip up to there just for the pizza, but would definitely go back if I am in the neighborhood.

Pokemon creature in the bread basket..

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A stellar portobello, parmesan, and wilted spinach salad.

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Small Margarita pie and a large 1/2 eggplant 1/2 sausage pie. That the Margarita was clearly not straight out of the oven was my only main complaint. The pizza had a crisp, flavorful crust and tasty toppings (both the eggplant and sausage were prudent additions).

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Nosh nosh.

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Taking a page from Momofuku Bakery

Word on the street is that the latest manifestation of David Chang’s genius, Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar, is no pushover.  As a baked good fiend, ‘David Chang’ and ‘bakery’ in the same sentence is sweet music to my ears.  But for now, I suppose I can only salivate from afar and live vicariously through you lucky bastards who trod its hallow ground.

While I’m sure he’s not the first person to employ the compost cookie concept, that particular one stuck out to me the most when I glanced at the menu (check this review out for some solid pics).  Momofuku’s compost cookie supposedly contains foodstuffs like pretzels and potato chips, to go along with butterscotch and chocolate chips.  While I unfortunately can’t vouch for the cookie’s taste (Ed Levine seemed underwhelmed by it), I at least find the concept attractive for its hypothetically economical-environmental use of ingredients.

As such, I was delighted to discover that I had a number of ingredients on hand that would work well for a batch of cookies I planned to bake for my students: I thought, proudly and a bit smugly, that these could be compost cookies in theory as well as in practice.  Since the ingredients produced a beautiful banana, chocolate, and coconut riff, I anointed them my “bananonut” cookie creation.

An approximated recipe (is that an oxymoron?):

3/4 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
3T coconut milk
2 ripe bananas, i’m told that’s about 1 cup
1.5t vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2t baking powder
1/2t salt

100g chocolate, broken
1.5 cups oats

for topping:
desiccated coconut

Mash bananas. Whisk in vanilla extract and two eggs. Cream butter and sugar and combine mixture with banana-extract-eggs. Combine dry ingredients except for oats and chocolate.  Stir in dry ingredients about 1/4 at a time, until just incorporated. Toss in oats and chocolate, or whatever else you have on hand. 1T drops on baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 10-15 mins. Makes ~36 cookies.

Pre-baked:

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Post-baked:

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