A Kitchen Monkey Retrospective - Favorite Posts

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Kitchen Monkey with a Saturday morning hangover.

KM has been cooking alot this week but not posting. Why? It has been a week of intense grilling. Starting with last weekend's pork ribs, and moving into three different experiments with chicken, various rubs and mops, and various types of wood chips for smoking. It was great fun, but I'm a bit burnt out on grilling for now. "Burnt out." Hahahahaha. I slay me.

Tonight a few people are coming over, including my friend Carlo. His italian accent is thicker than my ragu alla bolognese, and he's a huge fan of Elvis and Willie Nelson. He says he makes a good risotto. We'll see if it's any better than mine. I have my doubts. Yes, he was born and raised in Genoa, and I was born and raised in Utah, but that means nothing. I still haven't decided what I'll make to complement it. I'd love to make osso buco again, if I can find a veal shank in D.C. that doesn't cost a fortune. Who knows. You'll find out tomorrow.

Speaking of osso buco, I've been wanting for some time now to post my favorites from KM meals past. So to tide you over, here's a little retrospective... (cue harp music)

Japanese Meat Platter
This ranks near the top because it contains some of the best foodtography I've done on KM. I have to admit, the pictures have gotten sloppier lately, so check out this entry to Meathenge's Meat Platter Contest for an example of what KM was in its glory days. I use the term 'glory' very loosely here.

Hummus to end All Hummuses
The hummus post belongs here because the sheer superiority of my hummus-making skills has caused the mighty and powerful to weep like tiny children.

Tuna Tataki
The tuna tataki post is nothing particularly special. The picture is nice. But for unknown reasons "tuna tataki" is the most popular of the google search terms leading to Kitchen Monkey. In fact, if you google tuna tataki, KM is listed second, right behind "globablgourmet." Whoever they are.

Salmon and Vegetables in a Pouch
A very simple recipe, and one of the posts I had the most fun with.

Ramen Part 3
My ramen adventures have slaked a bit as of late, but follow this link to remember my ridiculously overwrought pursuit of good homemade authentic ramen.

Baked Polenta with Ragu alla Bolognese
I still make this from time to time, and its always delicious. I like the pic, too.


Kansas City Ribs - Recipe

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Like the Outlaw Josey Wales chewing on a cigar, a bottle in one hand a gun in the other, waiting in the arid dust-blown streets to take revenge against the men that burnt down his farm and killed his wife, I stood chewing on a piece of Chorizo, a plastic cup of sangria in one hand a pair of tongs in the other, waiting in the cool suburban night, smelling of after-rain and charcoal, to take revenge on the pig that burnt down my farm and killed my wife.

OK, I should tell the truth here: this pig never did anything to my farm and never laid a hoof on my wife. In fact, unless I am mistaken, I do not have a wife. Or a farm. What I do have is a good recipe for Kansas City style spareribs, and the only way to make it a reality was with a giant rack of delicious pork spareribs. Behold the beauty of this selection as seen when first placed on the grill. I'm really beginning to love grilling, and am dreading the quick approach of winter. I think I will still grill, even in December. Who can stop me?

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Kansas City Style Spareribs

5-7 lbs. pork spareribs, trimmed of excess fat

For the Rub
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. hot hungarian paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the Sauce
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cups ketchup
juice of 1 small lemon or about 3 Tbsp.
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
black pepper to taste


(1) Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl and coat the ribs on both sides. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. I left mine in overnight.
(2) for the sauce, sautee the onions and celery in the melted butter for about 7-10 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Boil for a couple minutes while stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer for another ten minutes.
(3) The grilling: you'll want to use indirect medium heat for these, so place all the briquets to one side and wait until the flames have subsided. I happened to have some oak wood chips, which I soaked in water for about an hour. Once the flames had subsided I added the chips for an extra nice smoky flavor.
(4) Place the ribs on an area of the grill that does NOT have any coals under it, or it will be charred on the bottom. After about an hour you may need to add a few more briquets on top of the burning ones to keep the fire going, depending on how hot your briquets burn. There is no need to turn the ribs, since this is indirect heat. Leave the lid closed! Total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During the last half hour, begin basting the ribs with the sauce. About every ten minutes or so. Reheat the leftover sauce and serve on the side.

These are really, really, very good.



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They say that during law school you should "live like a student now so you don't have to live like a student later." I have not really taken this to heart.

True, my rent is relatively low (for D.C.), and I try to pack a lunch on the days when I intern at the Superior Court, instead of eating small, overpriced sandwiches from "gourmet" chains like Costi and Au Bon Pain-ful For Your Wallet. But I can't resist using a healthy chunk of the financial aid on luxury foods now and then. Hence last week's $25 per lb. lobster.

It was my first time making lobster. Nothing special, really. You just put it in some salted water until its done. The little fellow in the picture above made no sound when he went in the pot, to my confusingly mututal relief and disappointment. We also sauteed some jumbo shrimp with capers in butter/garlic/lemon sauce. I don't typically like rosé, but we had a really tasty one - if I get the name I'll post it.

Also, from a few days ago:
Here's our back-patio grill. It's a dual charcoal/gas grill, but I usually use it for charcoal. These brats were boiled in beer before we put them on. TASTY.

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I'm looking forward to this weekend. My amigo Javier from Madrid is sadly leaving for Spain in a couple weeks and is having a large fiesta. He has enlisted me to help with the food. He's supplying the chorizo, jamon serrano, and manchego. After dismissing the idea of a time-consuming paella, I decided to go with several different meats, including some memphis-style dry rub ribs and some lamb kebabs. That's on Saturday, so expect a good post on Sunday.


K.M. is BACK. For Real This TIme: Israeli Mango Soup Y'all

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Alright alright alright. I know I said at the beginning of summer that I was going to be posting again all summer long with fantastic recipes and adventures. It wasn't a lie. It was more of a well-intentioned but flawed prediction.* But the fans have spoken, all two of them (three if you count my mother), and I've decided that I missed the blog too much to let it slip away into the ethernet forever.

So how about a quick recap? (If you just want the mango soup recipe, skip to the bottom, you ingrate).

Law school is much better now that the first grueling year is over. I actually have time for the important things in life. Like fun. Washington D.C. is an all-around fantastic place, for music, nature adventures, and, of course, food. Toward the end of spring I bought a vespa and being more mobile has enabled me to explore more nooks and crannies of the area. There are three million sushi restaurants in this town. There are amazing Ethiopian restaurants on U Street, where you can see live traditional dancing several times a week. There are the inexpensive and very tasty Guatemalan and El Salvadorean restaurants of Mt. Pleasant. In Silver Spring, to the north, there is a gigantic Asian market where I'm able to stock up on panko, fresh fish of all kinds, and enormous containers of kimchi.

I also took a week-long trip to Memphis. Two major highlights: (1) Seeing Radiohead from about fifteen feet away at Bonnaroo Music Festival, and (2) gorging myself on Memphis BBQ. I didn't get a pic of the Q, so here's one I took of Radiohead. They so gooooood.
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Other summer highlights: I've been playing soccer twice a week on the National Mall with a rag-tag bunch of grad students and foreign students studying english. One such gentleman, Carlo, from Genoa, promises me that we'll be cooking soon, so stay tuned for some nice Italian food.

Also, made good friends with a woman from Tel Aviv who taught me how to make this incredible spicy mango soup. No, it's not really an Israeli recipe, but calling it that made you curiouser, did it not? Thank you, I'm aware that 'curiouser' is not actually a word. It's called artistic license. Lay off man.

I have to say this is one of the most interesting and tasty soups I've ever had, and I heartily recommend it, especially while the last few weeks of summer are dripping away. So here it is, courtesy of Limor Ben-Har:

Mango Soup
4 large mangoes - 2 can be ripe and two maybe not so ripe
3/4 stick of butter
2-4 chillis - chopped (I used thai chilis, but whatever you like)
4-6 garlic cloves - chopped
1/2 cup white wine (I only had red wine on hand, but it tasted just as good)
2 cups of cream (the more cream the sweeter the soup will be)
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
salt and pepper

(1) Cube two of the mangoes and puree the others in a food processor.
(2) Melt the butter, add garlic for a minute, then the chillis for another minute, then the cubed mangos for a couple of minutes, stirring all the while.
(3) add the wine and spices, stir until it boils, then add the cream
(4) stir on low heat until it boils, then simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (5) taste to see if you need more spicy... if it's too thick, add milk, if it's not, add cream.

Tastes even better as leftovers!

Below you can see it on the stove, next to some of my now perfected gyoza.
Good to be back.

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*See what law school is doing to me?