Tag Archives: family

J’adore Paris. I eat Paris.

In true FamilyStyles fashion, these next few posts are dedicated to our mom, an amazing person and one of the reasons that Irene and I place such an importance on good food and family.  We  did  some traveling around Paris and  Southwest France last month to visit friends, a trip which happened to come soon after reading My Life in France by Julia Child.  After consuming tales of Parisian markets and laborious and decadent French meals, my mother was inspired,  bien sur, to do her own search for some serious French food. As the lucky daughter already on the same side of the Atlantic Ocean, I joined her for an epicurean tour of La Belle France and her wealth of gastronomic delights.

From simple picnics of bread and cheese on park benches to Michelin-lauded establishments of the culinary elite, my mother and I ate our way across both the city and the countryside. Through well-laid plans as well as happy coincidences, our meals were shared with old friends from all over the world either living in Paris or happening to travel through the region at the same time.

One of the amazing things about Paris is how easy it is to find incredible food on every corner, from boulangeries to patisseries to shops teeming with foie gras or artisan chocolates.  We started one day at Sainte-Chappelle on Ile de la Cite, a popular tourist destination that was completely worth the wait…

and then proceeded to visit another the spectacular sight of Paris – the fromagerie.

This shop, on Ile-St-Louis, featured a front window display teeming with chevre of all shapes and sizes.  Some looked like moldy grey logs, others like newly hatched dinosaur eggs, others like petrified stones or lumpy balls of grout scraped off your shower tiles.  But the inside…smooth and creamy and bursting with earthy, grassy flavour.

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Tartine Bread and Cowgirl Creamery Food Porn

It might just be the best bread in the world.  A warm, soft, tantalizingly nutty sesame loaf, fresh from the ovens just after 5pm…

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The Questionable Legality of Open Flames in the Backyard: Twelve or So Hours of Epic Roast Beast

We promised pig photos, and pig photos you’re going to get. Be forewarned though; spit roasting a 50 lb pig in the backyard is not exactly a pretty process, although it ends in lots of happy deliciousness. If you’re squeamish about meat, weird animal parts, nose-to-tail eating, or happen to be (gasp!) vegetarian…you probably shouldn’t click the button below. But if you’re curious about how to roast your own whole pig on a bed of charcoal in your backyard, then choose the blue pill and take the plunge into our carnivorous world…
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Mom, Dad and BeanPie Turn 150. We Celebrate with Roast Pig, Crack Pie, and Butter.

It was a grand occasion in the Li family household on Sunday for an epic once-in-a-lifetime event: the 150th birthday party! Once-in-three-lifetimes, to be exact – it was a springtime celebration of our mom’s 60th birthday, Irene’s upcoming 20th birthday, and our dad’s upcoming 70th. Obviously, 60+20+70 = BADASS PARTY TIME. And no badass party would be complete without roasting a 50 lb pig in the backyard.  Or grilling a 30 lb fish. Or baking 10 desserts, including 4 crack pies. Or making 3 kinds of homemade pickles. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of beef brisket, pulled chicken, barbecued ribs, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, three bean salad, collard greens, and sandwich rolls from Lester’s Barbecue and three sheet trays of cornbread from Andy’s restaurant Harvest.  And an accompanying approximately 20 cubic feet of alcohol. How else would you celebrate such a once-in-three-lifetimes occasion?

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The Family Styles Holiday Eating Escapades, Part Five: Momofuku Inspired Miso Butter Scallops

If you’ve been reading this blog recently, you know quite well that Irene and I have a bit of a thing for David Chang and his small East Village Momofuku restaurant empire.  The cookbook has been bedtime reading for both of us as well as the source of three or four or maybe eight dishes over the past few weeks. I’m almost glad I left the book back in Boston with Andy (it was ostensibly his Christmas gift anyway) because things were getting a bit out of hand.

I first ate at Momofuku Noodle Bar in its initial tiny incarnation about four years ago and felt a pressing and insistent desire to return after finishing the cookbook.  Luckily I was leaving for New York the next day, so less than 24 hours later I found myself alongside devoted noodle fans Lexi and Rachel, hunkered down over steamed buns glistening with fatty pork belly, pungent and slippery ginger and scallion noodles, and a steaming hot porky bowl of classic Momofuku ramen that I could now recreate if I had a ridiculous amount of time and an even more ridiculous amount of pork.

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The Family Styles Holiday Eating Escapades, Part Three: Chinese Home Cooking and Tea Glazed Eggs

One of the best things about being home at my parent’s house is the likelihood that any given moment – approximately 89.75% of the time – the Bean and I can walk into the kitchen and there will be delicious Chinese food cooking.  Yep. It’s pretty sweet.  There’s a lovely Chinese couple, Jenny and Don,  living there who help our Dad around the house and also cook tummy filling and seemingly effortless and homestyle Chinese food.

Quite often these dishes are aesthetically pleasing and easily replicable, like the black tea and spice glazed eggs above.

Other times, these dishes are neither easy to prepare nor particularly attractive…

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The Family Styles Holiday Eating Escapades, Part Two: The Wake and Bake

I am a gloriously productive person every time I return to the States. Blessed with a five-hour time difference from London, I arise at the I-do-lots-of-useful-and-important-things hour of 7am (a time of day I am generally unacquainted with, especially on vacation) and…I do lots of useful and important things.  Like bake lots of focaccia.

Okay, so obviously this is a relative usage of the words ‘useful’ and important’.’  But I do consider baking to be a valuable activity, particularly so over the holidays when the day’s activities consist primarily of getting together with family and eating, meeting up with friends and eating, catching up with old family friends and eating…you get the picture.  In such a gastronomically focused time, baking and other food production techniques grow to paramount importance.

Thus, I present to you the newest addition to my useful brunch party repertoire: The Wake and Bake Eggs. Simple, cheap, non-labor intensive, adaptable, and basically idiotproof.

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The Family Styles Holiday Eating Escapades, Part Two: The Wake and Bake

I am a gloriously productive person every time I return to the States. Blessed with a five-hour time difference from London, I arise at the I-do-lots-of-useful-and-important-things hour of 7am (a time of day I am generally unacquainted with, especially on vacation) and…I do lots of useful and important things.  Like bake lots of focaccia.

Okay, so obviously this is a relative usage of the words ‘useful’ and important’.’  But I do consider baking to be a valuable activity, particularly so over the holidays when the day’s activities consist primarily of getting together with family and eating, meeting up with friends and eating, catching up with old family friends and eating…you get the picture.  In such a gastronomically focused time, baking and other food production techniques grow to paramount importance.

Thus, I present to you the newest addition to my useful brunch party repertoire: The Wake and Bake Eggs. Simple, cheap, non-labor intensive, adaptable, and basically idiotproof.

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The Family Styles Holiday Eating Escapades, Part One: Now THIS is Fried Chicken.

When Irene Bean (little sis) and I (big sis) are in the same place, certain things are bound to happen.  Things like:

1. Obsessive playing of video games (this year it’s Dr. Mario).

2. Multiple rounds of board games (Settlers of Catan, Bananagrams, what have you).

3. Repeated watching of cute things involving babies on the Interwebs (seriously, go watch this).

and, obviously,

4.  A sick amount of cooking. And not just regular cooking. Wake-up-at-7am-and-start-baking-style of cooking.  Make-a-new-kind-of-cake-every-day-style of cooking. Take-24-hours-to-make-fried-chicken-style of cooking. In short, Family Styles cooking.

Hey, it’s the holidays. What else do we have to do?

So here’s what we did. Let’s start off with the chicken. Biggest props go to the Bean for the most laborious, complicated preparation of  Brined-Steamed-Dessicated-and-Deep-Fried-then-Rolled In Special Sauce Chicken from the Momofuku cookbook. Talk about an insanely delicious masterpiece of crispiness. She found the recipe online and spent the first day brining several chickens in multiple plastic bags in the fridge and then steaming them in multiple batches.

Yeah, I know it looks kinda gross, but just wait till it gets deep fried. She then cooled them overnight to dessicate the skin so when the chicken hits the oil, it doesn’t take as long to crisp up the dried skin.  Once deep frying time came around (always an eventful moment in our kitchen), the Bean rigged a Macgyver-style candy thermometer setup using a bobby pin to monitor the boiling oil. I kid you not. It is not pictured though. Sorry.

Then it’s time for a quick dip in the boiling oil. The genius of this extremely labor-intensive process is that the pre-cooked chicken and carefully dessicated skin makes for super short frying time and no danger of overcooking the outside in order to make sure you don’t get raw chicken on the inside.  Plus the skin is thin and incredibly crispy without a thick layer of gross breading and flabby skin. Amazing.

Yup. Tasty time. The chicken by itself was already an amazing bite of oily, crunchy, golden perfection. But to keep things exciting (and add another level of complication to the whole business), Irene meticulously sliced and diced up an Asian vinaigrette with about a dozen ingredients. Jalapeno, garlic, ginger, hot sauce, soy sauce, corn oil, sesame oil, black vinegar, rice vinegar, etc etc = OH HOLLER YOU ARE A WALLOP OF SPICY TANGY NUTTY SALTY YUM.

Stop, drop, and roll. Then fall to your feet in appreciation. This fried chicken is that good, people. Thank you to the inspired brilliance of David Chang and the culinary dedication of my sister. I love you both.

P.S.  If you want to recreate this madness, the recipe is here (in PDF) from TimeOut via the awesome Inuyaki blog.  Or in the Momofuku cookbook. Which I don’t own, but hopefully will someday.

P.P.S. I am still accepting Christmas presents.

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My New Year’s Resolution Was to Post About Thanksgiving, So…

Who doesn’t like to think and read about Thanksgiving deliciousness, even if it’s well after New Year’s? No one, that’s who.

This beauty right here is a kahlua pumpkin pie with a latte-art-esque design in heavy cream, courtesy mostly of one Daniel Bartholomew. We made sure to use real pumpkin (boiled it ourselves and all) and plenty of cream. Just to be safe.

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