Friday, January 25, 2013

Green Chili with Pork

When it's cold outside soup sounds like the best thing in the whole wide world.  And I'm not usually a chili fan, but there is nothing more seasonally appropriate than a bowl of steaming hot (both in temperature and in spice level) chili when it is insanely cold out.  This week was absolutely perfect for chili.  Since I don't like pinto beans (or a ton of beans of any sort) in my chili I usually end up defaulting to a chicken or turkey chili with white beans, but I thought this green chili with pork recipe sounded like an interesting bean-free alternative when I stumbled across it sometime last winter.  And it was interesting.  I wish the flavor of the cilantro came through a little more clearly, but the chili had a nice spice level and the flavor overall was quite good provided that you like pork (it was quite porky).  I loved the substitution of hominy for beans because in my humble opinion, hominy and corn are way better than beans.  You might or might not agree with me there, but beans just don't do it for me.  I think you could totally lighten this chili up by adding more vegetables - some zucchini would have worked nicely.  Another bonus for me was that the chili didn't need to simmer for hours and hours to develop its flavors, although a little more simmering wouldn't have hurt.  Overall it was a nice hearty winter dinner!
Recipe after the jump!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moroccan Beet Salad with Cinnamon

In my last trip to the grocery store I decided that I needed to buy more vegetables that get overlooked in our apartment.  I wasn't looking for vegetables that we never make, but for vegetables that we make from time to time, but with no real regularity.  Broccoli rabe was an obvious candidate, as was cabbage.  And I threw in some beets for good measure because I love them and as far as I am concerned, we don't make them enough.  But somehow none of our usual recipes appealed.  So I decided to try this recipe for Moroccan Beet Salad with Cinnamon from Serious Eats.  I wasn't sure if I would be serving the beets by themselves or over a bed of greens, but as soon as I took my first bite of the beets I knew I wanted to serve them as a salad.  So I threw together a quick salad with what we had in the fridge - a few large handfuls of mixed greens, toasted hazelnuts and some Coach Farm goat ricotta.  And I topped it all with the beets and their dressing.  Speaking of the dressing, it worked really nicely as salad dressing - I loved the aroma and warmth of the cinnamon.  I had never paired cinnamon and beets together before but I liked the combination a lot.  I have never added sugar to my beets before, but I thought together with the lemon juice it amped up the sweetness just enough without making the beets too sweet.  The tangy goat ricotta was a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the dressing, although you could use any number of cheeses instead of goat ricotta (which I admit is not exactly the easiest thing to find at the grocery store).  The hazelnuts provided a really nice crunch, although it wouldn't be the end of the world if you omited them in the future.  And I'm sure some toasted pinenuts would work nicely too and would give the salad a nice buttery flavor.  Obviously you could serve the beets as is, without the rest of the salad, but I thought they were really nice this way. 

Recipe after the jump!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Guinness-Glazed Lamb Chops

I have a lot of thoughts about this lamb dish, but I'm not sure exactly how to phrase them, while still being fair to the recipe.  Most importantly, I think the problems with this recipe were in large part caused by the cooking method we used.  The gas broiler on our oven only has one setting (kill) so we were afraid to try to broil the lamb chops and end up with little lumps of lamb coal instead of lightly charred lamb chops.  So we tried to sear them up in our cast iron.  Only they fit a little too snugly so we basically sauteed them instead of searing them.  And most of the glaze ended up stuck to the pan, rather than to the lamb.  If I had my way in the future (and if my broiler situation were a little different), I would broil the chops to caramelize the glaze and char it up a little.  Or I would grill them.  The smoky flavor either of those options would impart would do a lot to give the lamb chops more depth of flavor and provide a nice complimentary flavor to the glaze itself.  Because if I am being honest, the glaze really was interesting - a little funky, a little sweet and floral - and I think it would have been very nice if it had only stuck to the lamb itself.  I'm not sure that it had the potential to be my favorite lamb glaze out there, but I liked it because it was different.  Too often with lamb you end up with one of two flavor combinations - mint or herbs.  And this was a large departure from either of those typical combos.  But the glaze didn't stick to the lamb chops at all.  The very few pockets of glaze that did stick would have benefited from some char because they were still slightly wet and runny.  And drizzling the lamb chops after they were done cooking just resulted in the glaze continuing to slide right off. 

So I guess the best thing to do here is to post the recipe as written (noting that we used a different beer instead of the Guinness and used lamb loin chops instead of rib chops), rather than posting the recipe as we made it.  The only real difference between the actual recipe and our modification is the cooking method and I would have to give Gourmet the benefit of the doubt and assume that their broiler worked better than our cast iron...

Recipe after the jump!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tandoori Shrimp Salad

This dish was something I randomly came up with one night a few weeks ago while trying to decide how to use the shrimp I had defrosted.  I started thinking that we hadn't had an entree salad in awhile and then started thinking about what kind of shrimp salad I could make that would be interesting enough to appeal to Alex (who isn't a huge fan of the entree salad genre but goes along with it to humor me).  I started kicking around ideas in my head until I came up with the idea of doing a quasi-Indian tandoori shrimp salad - marinating the shrimp tandoori style, crisping up some garlic naan to use as croutons and rounding out the salad with the cucumber, red onion and radishes we already had in the fridge.  When I hit the grocery store to pick up some salad greens and the naan I decided that baby spinach sounded like the obvious choice.  Then I decided that some grape tomatoes would be another nice addition to the salad.  And then I went home and started wildly throwing stuff together.

My favorite elements of the salad were the shrimp (even though we overcooked them they had nice flavor) and the whole garlic naan as crouton idea.  Unfortunately, overcooking seemed to be something of a theme because I wandered off and crisped up the naan a little more than I had intended.  Oops.  I also love salads full of herbs and random veggies.  Adding herbs to salads is somewhat new to me (and I only do it occasionally), but ever since I had a salad at The Spotted Pig that included some fresh mint I have been intrigued by the idea of using herbs (in moderation) in salads.  Now that I think about it there was an Asian salad I was obsessed with over the summer at Chop't that also included herbs.  Unfortunately they rotate their menu of salads and that salad is no longer available, but I have high hopes that it will be back next summer.  The dressing was also nice - I liked the interplay between the tang of the Greek yogurt, the hint of sweetness from the honey and the warmth from the spices.  I would definitely try the dressing again and play with the spices until I found the perfect combination (I think the combination we found was a good one and worked really well with the salad, but I'm sure that there are a lot of different variations that would be just as good, if not better).

Recipe after the jump!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Eden Center - Huong Viet and Song Que

One of my favorite thingns about visiting my family in Maryland is the opportunity to eat good Vietnamese food.  I don't know why Vietnamese food is sub-par in New York City (or if that is even a fair characterization, but Northern Virginia has a huge Vietnamese population and I grew up eating amazing Vietnamese food so I may be a little spoiled), but nothing in NYC can compare to what I can get in Maryland or Virginia.  I mean, look at the quail in the picture at the top.  And then the assortment of Asian fruits and desserts in the picturese below.  You just can't find some of this stuff in NYC since there is only one Vietnamese grocery store and only a few Vietnamese restaurants in the city.  This past weekend I went down to Falls Church with my mom and visited a shopping center called Eden Center.  For those of you who know the area, Eden Center is essentially little Vietnam.  The shopping center is full of Vietnamese restaurants, banh mi shops, bakeries, bars, jewelry stores, etc.  And every little strip mall in a 2 mile vicinity has even more resetaurants, bakeries and banh mi shops.  When Alex and I got married we had a small wedding banquet of sorts in a Vietnamese restaurant near Eden Center called Present.  And we have tried a number of other restaurants, bakeries and banh mi shops in the area.  Our favorites are Present, Huong Viet, Viet Royale, Song Que and Ba Le.  Of those five, Huong Viet, Viet Royale and Song Que are all in Eden Center.  There is a new restaurant in Eden Center called Rice Paper that the Washingtonian recommends that Mom and I will have to test out some time.  Maybe during my next visit we will give it a shot...  This visit we decided to go to Huong Viet for their quail (pictured above), lotus root salad (pictured below) and butter-fried frog legs (also pictured below - I know it sounds weird, but they are really tasty) versus Viet Royale for their banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes with shrimp and pork) and caramel fish.  After lunch we then hit up Song Que for their coconut bubble tea smoothies (they make the absolute best bubble teas) and tons of tasty Vietnamese desserts.  Song Que also makes banh mi, but we prefer the banh mi at Ba Le.  When I was little I was obsessed with these little rice cakes called banh bo (the banh bo are the little colorful cakes on the far right in the picture of all of the various saran-wrapped green desserts).  My grandmother used to hit the Asian markets and come home with little styrofoam containers of roast duck and banh bo for me and I was the happiest little half-Asian girl in the world.  For some reason they don't seem to sell banh bo in New York City (although they do sell other somewhat similar Vietnamese desserts at Tan Tin-Hung) so every time I come down to visit my family I try to get my banh bo fix.  So I guess I am still a little obsessed.

More (including more pictures) after the jump!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Restaurants to Try for 2013 and My Favorite Restaurants of 2012

My restaurants that I am dying to try in 2013 (in no particular order, except that restaurants that have been on the list since last year are at the top) are:
  1. Brooklyn Fare (still dying to go, even more so after seeing the meal that Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert had there on the last episode of No Reservations)
  2. Locanda Verde
  3. Torrisi Italian Specialities and Parm
  4. Empellon Cocina
  5. Pok Pok NY and Pok Pok Phat Thai
  6. Biang
  7. Red Farm (they are opening an UWS location in the old Fatty Crab space and I have really high hopes for it)
  8. The Marrow
  9. Roberta's and Blanca (also attributing this addition to the last episode of No Reservations and the meal that Anthony Bourdain had there)
  10. Acme
Runners Up:  M. Wells Dinette, Pig and Khao, Sripraphai, Boulud Sud, Yunnan Kitchen, Red Rooster

**SPOILER ALERT - Alex and I hit one of the runners up last night and it was phenomenal.  More on that later

More after the jump!

My Mom's Fudge

Growing up this fudge was a holiday tradition in my house.  There were a few years where my mother made butter cookies around the holidays, but she made this fudge each and every single year.  I remember helping Mom wrap each individual piece of fudge in tiny little wrappers she bought specifically for that purpose - sometimes they were holiday themed, sometimes they weren't.  I don't think it needs to be said that I probably ate just as many pieces as I successfully wrapped along the way.  What I love about this fudge is that it is really easy to make and it isn't too sweet.  So many fudge recipes are so sweet that they make my teeth hurt - this one is nowhere near that sweet.  It also doesn't do the instant crazy melty thing that a lot of store-bought or homemade fudge does once you put it in your mouth.  I guess I like my fudge to be a little sweeter and a little less traditionally fudgy?  I don't know.  What I do know is that Christmas doesn't quite feel like Christmas without some of this homemade fudge in the kitchen.

Recipe after the jump!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pumpkin Cornbread

For whatever reason I have been thinking about making pumpkin cornbread for a long time.  I can't even remember where I got the idea, but I have been holding on to a can of canned pumpkin with the intent of making some cornbread forever now.  Christmas was the perfect opportunity to finally make it because cornbread sounded like the perfect accompaniment for the Roast Duck Breasts with Pomegranate-Chile Sauce that I was planning on making.  Actually, there is a little backstory to the duck.  I was originally planning on making an Andrea Reusing recipe (Roast Moulard Duck with Kumquats and Salt-Cured Chiles), but after hitting 8 grocery stores in two days on the UWS and UES in search of kumquats (including both Fairways, Zabars, Citarella, Dean and Deluca, Whole Foods, Food Emporium and West Side Market) I had to admit defeat.  The only kumquats I found were at D&D and they were both ridiculously expensive and squishy, which freaked me out.  So I decided to change plans in the middle of the UES Fairway and make my back-up duck recipe.  Of course I hit one more grocery store that day after Fairway and low and behold, Eli's had fresh kumquats.  Once I made that discovery I sent Alex a text with some four-letter words because by that point I had called an audible and switched recipes.  Oh well.  But in the end it was a good thing that I switched recipes because this cornbread would not have gone quite as well with the other duck recipe.  The interesting thing about this cornbread is that the cinnamon and nutmeg carry through so clearly.  I didn't really taste the pumpkin, but I tasted a whole lot of pumpkin pie-like spices and that was kind of enough for me.  Served with some homemade honey butter this was an interesting take on cornbread.  I'm not sure under what circumstances and with what dish I would make this cornbread again (maybe some sort of chili), but I'm glad I made it this time.

P.S.  I thought I took pictures of the cornbread, but apparently I forgot to do so when we had it for dinner.  And then I threw away the few remaining pieces of the cornbread prior to finishing this post.  Oops.  No pictures for you - just think golden, slightly orange (and not yellow) cornbread and you're halfway there.

Recipe after the jump!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lemon Shortbread with Fresh Rosemary

There is a coffee shop near my office called Blue Bottle that has the most amazingly decadent shortbread cookies.  They have two kinds of shortbread - an olive oil rosemary shortbread and a savory parmesan shortbread with fennel (which I will be making the next time we have people over because they are absolutely delicious - recipe available here).  Both of them are buttery and scrumptious, but I was looking for a dessert cookie so I decided to make some rosemary shortbread.  I spent a few minutes searching for a recipe and then came across a few different lemon and rosemary shortbread recipes that sounded promising.  So I picked one, threw together the dough and left it in the fridge to chill.  And then it kept chilling for a few days until I had the time to bake it because Alex cut me off on baking and cooking on Christmas Day since I made fudge that morning (more on that later) and we were already making duck, brussels sprouts, cornbread and salad for dinner.  Suffice it to say that I get a little over-ambitious sometimes and Alex has to rein me in.

These shortbread cookies are exactly the type of elegant little cookies I think should be served at high tea.  Or at a wedding/baby shower.  They are light, fresh and very easy to munch on.  The flavors of the lemon and rosemary are pronounced, but are balanced nicely by the buttery flavor of the shortbread and the crunch of the turbinado sugar sprinkled on top.  Brief side note - turbinado sugar is one of my favorite baking ingredients because it gives you those little bursts of sweetness and that nice crunch on top.  You have to be a little careful when baking with an herb like rosemary because a little goes a long way and you don't want to feel like you are eating a pine tree.  I felt like this was the perfect amount.  I do have one caveat - if you served a platter full of homemade chocolate chip cookies on one side and these shortbread cookies on the other they might be overlooked, but on their own they shine quite nicely.

Recipe after the jump!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Roast Duck Breasts with Pomegranate-Chile Sauce

It looks like today is a poultry day.  I started off the morning with a post about roast chicken breasts and now I am following it up with roast duck breasts.  I have a number of other posts that I could substitute for this one, but I am kind of digging the poultry theme I have going on so I am going to stick with it.  Anyway, this duck recipe is what I served Alex and my father for Christmas dinner.  There were other sides and such that went with it (including a version of this salad to which we added radishes and cherry tomatoes and a pumpkin cornbread - more on the cornbread later).  Since I was cooking I got to pick the recipes and duck was a no brainer because it is is one of my absolute favorite things to eat.  As far as I am concerned, a nice Peking duck is one of the finest meals in the world (a nice seared duck breast is a close second).  Brussels sprouts were another no brainer because I love them dearly and they are easy to roast.  This duck breast is one of those dishes that is more than the sum of its parts.  When I first tried the pomegranate-chile sauce I wasn't sure what I thought - it had a lot of flavor from the pomegranate juice, the adobo sauce and the dried chiles.  It was interesting, but I wasn't sure how it would go with the duck.  In some ways it almost reminded me of a really refined take on a BBQ sauce (if BBQ sauce ever involved pomegranates).  Duck is fatty enough and flavorful enough in its own right to work well with fairly aggressive sauces and seasonings, but I was a little worried that this might be taking it a little too far.  But once I tried a mouthful that combined the duck, the sauce and the little pomegranate seeds, I realized that it all came together really well.  The duck is rich, but the sweet, tart flavor of the pomegranate seeds and the slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce make a really nice dish.  Given that the sauce starts with a caramel, I really expected it to be a little sweeter than it was, but the caramel gave it a nice deep, subtle sweetness to balance out the chiles.  I didn't think it was at all spicy (but if you have a more sensitive palate you might disagree), although the flavors of the chiles and adobo were definitely present.  You might need to modify the cooking times if your duck breasts are particularly large or small, but as written I think the recipe is pretty spot on for normal duck breasts.  This isn't the world's most refined and elevated duck recipe, but it is a very interesting and beautiful one.  Plus the colors were pretty perfect for Christmas if I may say so myself.

Recipe after the jump!

Roast Chicken Breasts with North African Spice Paste

I know that I blather on fairly often about how the flavor of a dish would be improved by grilling over an open flame.  But this dish wasn't just written for the grill, it was literally made to be grilled (which makes sense because the original recipe was "Grilled Chicken Breasts with North African Spice Paste").  The combination of spices would be absolutely magical grilled along with a nice crispy skin that grilling can give you.  Don't get me wrong - this was still a really nice and well-seasoned roast chicken breast without the flavor of the fire from the grill.  It was also an insanely juicy roast chicken breast.  But the grill would have punched the flavors up a few notches and made it really sing.  And we got a little nervous searing off the chicken skin in the cast iron because we didn't want the spices to burn and turn acrid from the direct contact with the hot pan, which would be less likely over the indirect heat of the grill.  You also wouldn't lose quite as much of the spice paste over the grill as you would in a pan.  Either way, until I get a grill I am going to continue to make this recipe on the stove top because it is a really different and fun take on roast chicken breasts, which we make all the time, plus it involves ingredients that we always have in the apartment so it's easy to throw together.

P.S.  If you haven't noticed yet, a busy December at work has caused a serious back log for me with posts.  There will be a few more coming today and over the weekend.  Barring any craziness I should be caught up after this weekend, but I make no promises.

Recipe after the jump!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thanksgiving 2012 - Soy-Sauce and Honey-Glazed Turkey, Mark Bittman's Green Beans with Crisp Shallots, Cranberry-Reisling Compote and Sweet Potato Gratin with Chile Spiced Pecans

I came up with the menu for Thanksgiving back in mid-November after spending a little while pouring through the Food & Wine website.  I quickly realized that they had a slideshow for various ethnic and regional Thanksgiving feats, including an "Asian-American Thanksgiving."  I was instantly hooked.  Alex's favorite thing about Thanksgiving with my parents has always been the Sichuan cucumbers that my mother makes and the Soy-Sauce and Honey-Glazed Turkey sounded like the perfect centerpiece to a meal featuring my American father, my Chinese mother, a number of her Chinese siblings and a batch of Sichuan cucumbers.  We only ended up making one dish from the slideshow, but since it was the turkey I think that deserves a shout out. 

I thought the turkey had really good flavor and was very moist, although I wish that the flavors of the honey and soy-sauce mixture really seeped down into the meat a little more.  With that said, I think it was the best turkey we have made for Thanksgiving to date, although I think we have made better gravies.  Unfortunately the picture looks a little ridiculous - nothing that I did made the turkey lay flat on its back.  It just kept keeling over left and right until I admitted defeat.  The sweet potatoes were perhaps my second favorite dish from Thanksgiving.  They were really good.  I was a little worried about the dish for a number of reasons, including the fact that I bought white sweet potatoes and didn't realize that the flesh inside would be this weird light yellow color (which looked kind of sickly against the roasted marshmallows), but the flavor was really good.  They almost looked like applesauce mixed into mashed potatoes.  The color was really weird and slightly off-putting.  I actually considered leaving the sweet potatoes at home rather than bringing them with me because they were such an odd color. I wish I had taken a picture (even thought the picture would have been horrible), but I didn't have time.  I was also worried that they would be too sweet, but in the end I think they were just right.  Mark Bittman's green beans were nice, although the shallots and almonds tended to fall straight to the bottom and without any shallots or almonds to liven them up, they were a little blah.  The cranberry compote marked our third attempt at cranberry sauce, none of which has been a smashing success.  I'm not sure if the heirloom cranberries we are buying at the farmers' market are more bitter than your average grocery store cranberry or if I am extremely sensitive to bitterness, but the past few batches have been too bitter to eat without the addition of a large amount of additional honey or sugar.  I would say that these cranberries ended up being our most successful to date by far, but I added about 1/4 cup of honey to them after they cooled to get them to that point.

P.S.  Sorry for the delay on this post but there was a whole camera/hard drive debacle.  If you want to read more about it, you can look at my Thanksgiving 2012 Desserts post.  I'm not going to repeat the whole story here, but suffice it to say that I am a wee bit forgetful sometimes. 

Recipes (and more pictures) after the jump!

Thanksgiving 2012 Desserts - Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie, Peanut Butter Cup Pie and Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil

This post is almost ridiculously overdue.  But I forgot my camera at home when I went down to Maryland for Thanksgiving so I had my father take pictures of our dinner.  He helpfully uploaded all of the pictures to my trusty external hard drive, which I then promptly forgot to bring back to NYC with me.  So the pictures languished in Maryland until Dad came up to visit for Christmas and brought my hard drive with him.  Yay!  So I am finally ready to post about the dishes we made for Thanksgiving this year.  Better late than never, right?  And I guess that having a picture of at least one of the items, is better than not having any pictures at all.  Oops.

This salted chocolate pecan pie was my first attempt at making my own pie crust and I think that I really should have added a little more water to make it hold together.  My pie crust needs a little work.  I need to practice making the crust itself and then folding the edges so they are pretty.  For the record, the pie crust looked a little better before we packed it in the car for the drive down to Maryland and Alex squished it with his laptop bag.  Twice.  The filling was really tasty (and rich, which pecan pie should be), although I didn't really get the salt as much as I wish I had.  Also, the pie never really set up.  We baked it for the recommended time and then added a tiny bit more time, but when we cut into it that evening there was some serious oozing.  As for the peanut butter cup pie, I don't think I have ever served a richer dessert.  If you think pecan pie is rich, you have never experienced this peanut butter cup pie.  It was good but it was really sweet and really really rich.  The crust also didn't hold together as well as I would have liked - perhaps I need more butter if I ever make it again?  The lemon curd tart was perhaps my favorite of the desserts.  The lemon curd filling was lovely and I loved the flavor of the olive oil in the dessert.  I thought it was a really nice touch.  But if you are looking at the recipe and thinking about using a 10-inch tart pan instead of a 9-inch tart pan, don't do it.  We unwittingly made that mistake and then had to double the filling because the amount the recipe produced just wasn't going to cut it.  And then our crust was too thin.  Of the three recipes I would be most likely to make the lemon curd tart again (and make it exactly as written).  If I were to make the salted chocolate pecan pie again it would take some additional cooking time and perhaps a different crust...  If I am being entirely honest, I probably wouldn't make the peanut butter cup pie again.  I just think there are better peanut butter pie recipes out there.

Recipes after the jump!

Pork Belly Ssam with Mustard Seed Sauce

In trying to figure out what Alex and I should make for Christmas I got hung up on a few items we had in our freezer - pork belly and duck breasts.  Now I know that ham and goose are more traditionally served at Christmas but sometimes you have to improvise.  We didn't have ham or goose in the freezer and I don't really like goose anyway.  As far as I was concerned, the pork belly and duck breasts were far superior alternatives.

Once we settled on pork belly for Christmas Eve I decided that we should make this David Chang recipe from Momofuku that I have been saving up for a lazy Sunday.  This is one of those recipes that needs plenty of time because it is kind of crazy and labor-intensive.  So we threw the sugar and salt brine early that morning and let it hang out in the fridge for 10 hours before roasting the pork belly in the oven.  While the pork belly was roasting we pickled the mustard seeds and then made the sauce.  If you count the brining time the meal probably took a good 12-3 hours to make and to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure it was worth it.  Our pork was insanely salty (even though we used maybe half of the salt-sugar mixture).  I wish we had rinsed off the salt-sugar mixture before roasting the pork belly.  That might have made all of the difference in the world because the flavor of the pork belly itself would have been really nice if it weren't for the intensely oversalted exterior.  It was also verging on being too caramelized on the outside.  I love a good bark on the outside of my BBQ, but the sugar and salt here formed a pretty hard crust on the outside of the pork.  It wasn't burnt, but I think if we had left the pork belly in the oven for another 5-10 minutes it would have been.  Rinsing off the sugar-salt mixture might have helped out there too.  Or perhaps we should have modified the cooking temperature/time to cut down on the crust on the outside.  Beyond the pork belly itself, I didn't actually enjoy the sauce that much.  I love coarse Dijon mustard, but this almost reminded me of the sauce for potato salad.  I think it was the combination of mustard and mayonnaise...  All things considered I would say that this dish wasn't a smashing success, but it wasn't an abject failure either.  It just needed a lot of tweaks.  And since we live in NYC, maybe the solution is to just go to Momofuku Ssam and get the dish there, rather than trying to re-create it at home.

Recipe after the jump!