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Chicago Cook-in of June 28-30, 2002

Hag and Stenni (Okinawa)

Hag and Stenni

Chi-Town Cook In- After Action Report

The Chi-Town Cook In was just tremendous...

[Snot - I think we will rename it "The Chi-town Annual Drunken-Pig-fest-Food-Orgy."]

Great Hosts, Place, attendees... I have to apologize for this report being so delayed, We were on the road directly after our return going to Stenni's Moms house... No Internet...

1st I really want to Thank Gar and Snot for hosting a fine fine cook in...

[Snot - It would not been a success without the enthusiastic and multi-talented participants.]

They have a wonderful place, very eclectic and comfortable (pops is still cursing the 80 or so flights of steps, but hell he needed the exercise)... a beautiful patio/courtyard,

[Gar - [Thanks. It already looks completely different. That area that pops was using to prepare ribs is now gutted and the cabinets are now in the old kitchen. I got that space 2 weeks before you guys arrived so I didn't have time to do much with it. I remodeled this place for me to live, and now with 4 of us here is a little challenging.

Snot's children are beautiful and well spoken, well except the oldest one (GAR) and man I bet she wears herself out keeping that one in clean drawers and outta trouble, but she did managed to keep him pretty much in line... chuckle... Their friends that stopped by to view all the internet weirdos, were all wonderful, well er... except the guy that kept wanting to show me his snake, but I think that was the Hakata specials talkin...

[Snot - Funny - that "guy" (my boss, btw!!) doesn't remember a thing...

and the food, MY GOD, the sheer amount of food was staggering...

[Gar - I'm still amazed we had all that food. My refrigerators and freezer were full when we started and they're still packed. It's going to take weeks to eat all this stuff.]

Our adventure started on Thursday morning, we wanted to leave at 0400, figured we would make it out by about 5 or 6, well damn the luck the kitchen sink wouldn't come off the wall clean, and then about 0900 we had trouble backing the white elephant onto the truck, so we finally made it on the road about 10 am... sigh...

[Ariane - I had to congratulate you guys for making it at all with all that stuff in the back of the truck! I don't remember the last time I've seen a vehicle so heavily loaded... :) ]

The Traffic and construction were so bad that when we finally got in we were worried about how the meats were all holding in the coolers so we headed directly to Gars house rather than checking into our hotel...

[Ariane - You all should've seen this. Erik and I had called when we arrived, just to check and make sure it was okay to come on over. After a couple hours' nap, we gave up and crashed Gar's place. I was going to take a peek at the alley/yard when all these hoodlums came pouring down the stairs to greet us. ;) ]

Thats right, hot off the road looking like hell and smelling like... hmm well lets not go there... folks were gracious enough to accept my hugs, but kept their distance from Stenni and Pops (if you see the picts you can figure why... LOL)... That and Pops (Mike B) was right to work swinging his jumbo butcher knife and prepping ribs.

[Damsel - Hey, if I'd known them at the time, I'd have given them hugs! They got hugs at the end of the weekend. By then, they were no longer strangers.]

[Ariane - He was a madman. I didn't think he'd have time to eat with all the running up and down stairs, so I hope he was able to grab a bite or three.]

[Snot - Pops was poetry in motion - what a sight...]

Friday night was the hosts show, starting off w/ Chicago beef of which I mistakenly wolfed down 2 sandwiches complete w/ wonderful Giard____(unpronounceable to anybody but Chitown natives) relish,. Next I manfully consumed a vienna beef hotdog complete w/ half a garden, sport peppers and celery salt, When the pizza came out I was forced at great personal pain and injury to snarf down a slice of combination garbage variety... Gar apparently was not pleased at how they turned out, but let me tell you given the extreme amount of gastric distress I was in I would not have eaten to save anybody's feelings. I was just driven into a frenzy by the smell alone... If pizza is a religion in Chi-Town, then Our man Gar is preaching to a packed congregation... Upon realizing that He had committed the ultimate sin of tossing these beauties into the trash, several cookin attendees myself included had to be restrained from doing him bodily harm... After we gave that up as a bad bet (we were too stuffed to catch his skinny butt!) we all crawled back to our holes to nurse our sore bellies and prepare for the food marathon to come... and folks this was an endurance event...

[Snot - Yea - eating Gar's pizza IS a religious experience!! And he certainly did blaspheme by tossing the evidence... But - next year he promises to let you all take care of the pizza leftovers!!]

Saturday morning was supposed to begin at about 10 I think, but ribs wait for no man! SO Saturday morning started early for SOME of us...we arrived bright and early w/ pops (Mike B) to begin the ribs... about 8 am, the hosts I believe were still recovering, but soon roused to see who was invading their premises at this ungodly hour... Other attendees wandered in and then My Hero Bolii arrived w/ the Smithfield Ham...

[Gar - Ahhh yes... the fabulous ham.

Dams and I guarded the table w/ extreme prejudice - pictures are available... that Ham didn't get lonely let me tell you...

[Damsel - I'd never had Smithfield Ham before. It's fabulous stuff! I was just glad that you were willing to share the bounty with me! What a gal!

Breakfast was laid out along w/ the Ham and while Bolii tried to keep pace slicing ham w/ My and Dams appetites, Tim set to making those wonderful sharp cheddar biscuits... muffins, cakes, jellies, jams, fruit, Bloody Mary's, etc etc, what a spread and in reality there was never a break in the eating, food just kept being added to the already groaning tables...

[Snot - I just remember the Bloodys for breakfast... you mean there was ham, too???? Lol just kidding. What a breakfast it was, too. The cheese biscuits with the garlic jelly - oh my....]

Around noon I went shopping to pick up more Ice, and Midori for the Hakata specials... After my year in Oki, I was dazed and amazed at the selection and sheer quantity of stuff at the Jewel store "God Bless America, the land of stuff..." chuckle... Then I spotted Stenni coming from the liquor section carting a 5th of Rumpleminze (peppermint schnapps) I knew I was in for a rough night...

[Ariane - All that liquor in him, and we totally neglected to get him started on embarrassing stories about you. I'll never forgive myself.]

[Snot - God Bless Hag and her Hakata specials.]

Gar got the cajun cookers out and cranked up for my frying and somehow managed to set the place on fire, and then I got some hearts racing by wandering around asking, hey am I reading this thermometer right, and don't they explode when the temp goes over 500 or is it just that the oil bursts into flames?... Time for another Mary... chuckle...

[Snot - Gar was dangerous that weekend.]

All the while, Mike B was workin his ribs and he even managed to set up a cheese and sausage tray and commit numerous guerrilla raids on the food tables...

[Ariane - The cheese and sausages were delicious. Out of the cheese, I think the garlic cheddar was my favorite. And we've already consumed half a beef summer sausage in the couple weeks we've been home.

[Damsel - Your dad's homemade sausages were simply wonderful! I really liked the Mexican bologna, the one with the cumin in it. We're having the last of the bratwurst that we brought home for dinner tonight. Let me tell you, that stuff is fabulous! Tender and flavorful. Heavenly!]

Various of the hosts friends and family arrived to check out the internet weirdos, chow down, and watch the grand spectacle....Several of theses bystanders (non-rfc participants) innocent comments about "Boiling" the ribs were treated to surly responses, my favorite being "I'd sooner eat shit"

[Ariane - I'm so sorry to have missed that!!]

[Gar - Shudder... Pops knows what he's doing. The ribs were even fabulous reheated.]

Oh the food the wonderful food, There is no way I can list it all Ill forget something and my apologies... I didn't have a bite (and trust me I had some of everything!) that was less than spectacular the entire 3 days... I was better prepared and intended to graze only having learned my lesson in pain the pervious evening... My Only failure, was the pork vindaloo of which I couldn't resist taking several large scoops... I don't count the Smithfield Ham, as eating that is like breathing when there's air available... chuckle... Sheer involuntary reflex, something you do w/out even thinking...

[Damsel - Absolutely. If we weren't so full, we'd probably have hoisted Boli onto our shoulders and sung, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." That stuff is great. I'm going to use some of the piece I brought home in the Parmesan-Proscuitto Potatoes that I make.]

The ribs were succulent, that is the only word to describe them... the meat just slid off the bones and down your throat... Erik's pork vindaloo was even better than last time, wonderfully rich and balanced pungent w/ strong cinnamon flavor, and Ari's stewed mongolian garlic tingled my toes... Snot's raspberry sorbet was a little slice of chilled heaven and the rare grilled tenderloin was the stuff of dreams... Tim's cheese biscuits were great and when slathered in cherry butter they took you to all new heights... Liz brought wonderful crusty bread and these Thai appetizers, wonderful sweet chilled pineapple and seasoned pork w/ a sliver of red chili that hit you right between the eyes... I kept looking for Emeril to say BAHM!!! after I ate each and every one... Oh MY... Dams meatballs, a small bite of heaven, home and comfort, a rich creamy stroganoff style gravy w/ that wonderful tang of sour cream, tender meat and bits of chewy wild rice...

[Damsel - I'm glad you liked them. They've already been requested for the 2nd Annual Chicago Pig-Out.]

Stenni didn't per se cook anything, but w/ a little help from his friend Minze, provided us w/ a great floor show as the evening progressed.

[Damsel - Stenni was a riot! He was so quiet at first, but get that boy going, and watch out! LOL!]

[Gar - Hehe. He was pretty funny.]

[Snot - What you said! Hag - you can come and cook for me and Gar N-E-Time!!! The lumpia... the spring rolls... the fried chicken... Pops' ribs... I can die happy and fulfilled now. Oh - my - I cannot forget my undoing - the Hakata specials... and I really DID have a stomach bug Sunday morning, since it lasted nearly the entire week. I am not that much of a lightweight <g> although 10 Hakatas on top of 5 Bloodys may have overloaded my liver... just a bit....]

Sunday Morning was highlighted by Bolii's Grandmother's griddle cakes, Taylor Pork Roll, and more jellies and jams, and the diviying of the leftovers... While the others were engrossed in the chow, I quickly and stealthily began securing my leftovers... GAR HOWEVER was also sneakily at this task and total screwed up my system!!!!]

[Gar - That's my job <g>]

Well SOMEONE was taking MY leftover boxes from the cooler and redistributing them... sigh...

[Gar - That definitely wasn't me. I was trying to get rid of stuff.]

I got most of the Basil cheesecake, but NO Key LIME pie

[Ariane - The basil cheesecake is heavenly. My arteries are probably suffering right now, but it's really good stuff. And I've already made Snot's key lime pie for ourselves, and it's almost all gone.]

[Gar - I found pop's pie in the basement freezer. I'll save it till next year <eg>]

(if anybody is wondering where the last Taylor Pork roll went, Well I'm Claiming the 5th) and my bag of sesame noodles was AWOL upon arrival...

[Damsel - ::sigh:: I missed out on taking some of your wonderful potstickers home, too. There was so much hysteria and confusion as people were packing up to go home. I guess we should just be thankful for the treasures we did get.]

Pops is still cursing that we didn't manage to snag some almond bars... Thank God I had goody nut bars, Thai appetizers and monkey balls to throw at him... Since there were no noodles, I had to comfort myself by eating the remains of the Italian beef in its entirety... Nope, I didn't share a bit!... LMAO...

[Gar - Hey there! That was supposed to be for your mom!!]

[Damsel - Those almond bars are ridiculously easy to make. I have little doubt that "Pops" will have a whole pan of them soon! Those beef sandwiches are incredible. If you hadn't taken the leftovers, I'd have done so, myself!]

[Snot - It's hard to believe that 2-plus months of preparation are already 2 weeks' past. Making new friends is the most enriching experience to have, and we made many that weekend. So glad you and Stenni made that huge trip - and hope you can swing it again next year! (Btw - have you ever considered writing a food column for a newspaper or magazine?? Your descriptions made my mouth start watering again!!)]

Hag k

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Recipe By : Hag and Stenni
Serving Size : 4
Categories : Appetizers and Beverages

1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce -- (japanese)
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon coriander -- fresh ground
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dry minced garlic or 2 cloves fresh
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs

mix ingredients well until honey is dissolved. cut chicken thighs into 3/4-inch cubes or long strips. Marinade overnight. Put meat on skewers, threading and folding if in strips and grill.

Damsel - This was another favorite of Crash's. In fact, we both loved it. Crash had several skewers. I stuck with two, because I knew that these were only the beginning of an enormous feast! Hag's chicken satay turned us white-meat lovers into people who are now willing to eat chicken thighs!

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

2 cups water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Accent (MSG)
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic (1/8 to 1/16)
tiny pinch of poultry seasoning

Combine all and mix well. Soak poultry or pork products to season and make juicy.

Notes: Well now... I can't claim expertise, just been brining things for many years with very good results... I use the same basic brine for large and small meats and just vary the brining time. For big items, like Turkeys 10 lb and up so, Large pork roasts I soak them for about 3 days and let them rest for one day to let the seasoning even out. And for little stuff like, chicken breasts, fried chicken pieces, cutlets, small pork roasts, or roasting chickens a shorter period say 6 - 24 hours depending on the item and size...

My reasoning based on my experiences is that the larger foods need to sit in the brine for a longer period for the salt/seasoning to fully penetrate. For smaller foods, the salt/seasoning will penetrate more quickly, and extra time in the brine will make for an overly salty or seasoned product...

Seasoned Flour (for 20-30 pieces of chicken):
4 cups flour
2 - 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons MSG
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder

To make fried chicken...

Brine chicken for 24 hours, skins on or off as you like... make an egg wash of 1 egg to 1 cup milk as much as you need... dip chicken pieces into the flour, then milkwash then flour again... this may be repeated again if you like more crust... for softer crust fry directly after dipping for nice CRUNCHY crust let the chicken rest for 15 minutes between dipping and about 15 minutes after dipping... this allows the crust to bind... fry at 325-350, depending on your fryer. Fry for 5 minutes then turn, 5 minutes then turn again, then for 10 minutes to finish...

[Damsel - Hag, if you were available, I have little doubt that Crash would dump me, and marry you. His (he claims) entire reason for attending the cook-in was to try your fried chicken, and he wasn't disappointed. Folks, this chicken was absolutely fabulous! Try it!]

[Gar - I reheated some chicken on the grill for Max. He told me i made the best chicken as he moaned. It was pretty funny. I had to admit it wasn't my doing. He did remember who Hag was. The chicken is all gone.]

Hakata Specials

1 shot rum
2 shots midori
2 shots OJ
2 shots pineapple juice
3-4 shots sour

adjust to your taste of course... serve cold over ice rocks or slush...

Gumian Style Lumpia with Sweet Garlicky Dipping Sauce

Lumpia with Dipping Sauce

These are Lumpia, similar to the ones made in the phillipines, and as I ate them while I was stationed on the Isle of Guam...seems like most of the Phillipino and many of the Guamanian rec use beef and cooked beef at that, but these are just a little different and I just fell in love w/ them at the fiestas...

Gaumanian Style Lumpia:

1 lb ground lean pork
1/2 c. fine shredded carrots
1/2 c. fine shredded onion
1/2 c. fine shredded cabbage
1/4-1/3 c. oyster sauce (depends on brand and strength that you're using)
1/2 tsp msg
Spring roll wrappers (not to be confused with egg roll wrappers, totally different animal)

Mix meat, veggies, oyster sauce and msg. chill. Roll 1 Tbsp of meat into each spring roll. These are very small as the meat is raw. If they are made too large the wrappers will burn before the filling is cooked. Seal ends with a thin paste of flour and water. Let set for about 15 min to seal and bind the ends. Deep fry at 375 until deep golden brown and filling is done. Serve with Sweet garlicky dipping sauce.

Sweet Garlicky Dipping Sauce

2 tsp corn starch
3 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 - 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic (to taste)
2 Tbsp Soy sauce
3 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth

Combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Serve hot or cold. An interesting variation on Sweet and sour type sauce...

[Ariane - I'm hooked on these things, too. Thanks to Hag's generosity, we've got a package of them in the freezer and I just know Erik and I will end up eating them all one night for dinner. :) ]

[Damsel - We've got a bag of them in our freezer, too. Crash tells me he ate about 20 of them at the cook-in. I wonder what *I'm* gonna have for dinner the night we serve these?]

No Dairy Slaw

No-Dairy Slaw

1 c. cabbage
1 c. carrots
1 c. daikon radish
1/2 c. red cabbage
1/2 c. celery
2 tsp sesame seed
3 Tbsp soy
3 Tbsp vinegar
1-2 Tbsp water
a few drops of sesame oil
sugar to taste

Julienne all vegies. Combine dressing and season to taste and toss w/ vegies... Fresh minced ginger or goyza sauce is also nice in this...

Potstickers

Potstickers

1 pound ground pork
1 cup cabbage -- finely shredded
1/2 cup green onion -- finely chopped
1/2 cup grated carrots
3 tablespoons fresh ginger -- fine minced
1 teaspoon msg
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
40 wonton wrappers

Mix well. chill, fill approximately 40 wonton round wrappers. Freeze then drop into boiling water for 10 min... If desired fry till golden brown.

Sweet Dipping Sauce

3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp soy
shreds of ginger

Mix well to dissolve completely...refrigerate until serving.

Salty Dipping Sauce

3 tbsp soy
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp lime juice

Mix well and let set over night chilling before serving.

[Damsel - If not faced with the prospect of other angry diners, I swear, I'd have just claimed all of the potstickers for myself. I've never made them, myself, but I plan on making a batch from this recipe as soon as it's feasible.]

Springs Rolls with Fixings and Fish Sauce

Spring Rolls and Lumpia

1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 cup diced or minced RTC shrimp
8 cups fine shredded cabbage
2 cups carrots shredded
1 1/2 cups green onion -- chopped fine
1/2 can bamboo shoots -- julienned
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce -- aprox
2 dry shitake mushrooms rehydrated and finely sliced
salt, soy, msg, garlic granulated -- to taste
1 package spring roll wrappers

fry pork seasoning to taste w/ salt, pepper, soy, garlic, to taste. Chop if needed to make fine... cook shrimp... combine all ingrediants well and season to taste, wrap into rolls, deep fry at aprox 350 for approx 5 mins until golden brown. Makes approx 25 depending on your wrappers and how you stuff em... Serve w/ sweet and sour, garlicky, or Nauc Cham Dipping sauce.

Sweet Garlicky Dipping Sauce:
2 tsp corn starch
3 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 - 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic (to taste)
2 Tbsp Soy sauce
3 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth

Combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Serve hot or cold. An interesting variation on Sweet and sour type sauce...

Fish Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
1 sm fresh red chili thin sliced or 1/2 tsp dry red pepper flakes
3 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp finely shredded carrots
6 Tbsp fresh lime juice
4 Tbsp fish sauce (Nuoc Mam)

Combine everything in a jar with a tight sealing lid (make sure the lid seals well as this stuff is Stinky). Shake well to combine. Chill.

Tomato and Olive Salad

Tomato and Olive Salad

Equal parts diced tomatoes sprinkled w/ salt and sugar and chopped black olives
a couple of minced green onions
a couple of Tbsp minced red onion

Mix well, season to taste and chill

[Damsel - Hag made a great salad, which I'm going to try to reproduce tomorrow. It was diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, diced red onions, sliced green onions, and small amounts of sugar and salt. SO good!]

[Ariane - Halt your dicing immediately, Damsel! That combination of tomatoes, olives and scallions has recently been shown in studies to be very hazardous indeed. Please do the right thing and send it to me right away, where it can be disposed of safely. ::burp:: ;) ]

[Ariane - This was so simple to put together (well, I watched you do it, I didn't help much!) and very tasty. I'm definitely doing this at home when the tomatoes are ripe, it was so good I could've eaten a bowlful of it all by myself. Great summer food!]

[Damsel - I made this the other day (minus the onions, because I forgot - duh!). For a small batch, try one large tomato and one of those tiny cans of sliced black olives. Works out pretty nicely.]

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