Hey guys and welcome to another exciting edition of Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them! This week we have an interestingly long post to detail some of the amazing food a few of us here at Moar Powah enjoyed over the weekend, which was rather beautiful by the way. Everyone on the East Coast, and all of you NYC-folk, please take advantage of this amazing weather and go outside!
So to emphasize how pretty and nice it is outside, this post is going to highlight some (sort of) light and spring-ish-summery food to help enjoy the warmer weather! (Yay!)
For those of you who don’t know, hanami is the Japanese tradition of enjoying the “beauty of flowers”, mostly the beauty of the cherry blossom tree from the end of March to early May. Most hanami celebrations involve finding a nice spot underneath cherry blossom blooms with a big blanket, lot’s of food, and in some cases, plenty of beer for a day of eating and revelry with one’s friends while being showered in a snow-storm of pink petals. It’s even better if some of the iconic sakura petals fall into your food and drink and (supposedly) adds more flavor to the food itself.
Unfortunately due to the rather windy weather that assaulted NYC for the last few days, there were no more cherry blossoms left for us to view. BUT, that did not stop us from having a rather enjoyable picnic lunch under the cool shade of some very green leaves. So despite the less than ideal conditions, silverwolf, and a few of our other friends had a lovely sort-of hanami party at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden during their annual Sakura Matsuri.
Sadly there aren’t more images; we had to eat quick lest we were caught by the inevitable garden cops (We did get caught eventually and were forced to retreat), but here’s the basic gist of what we got to eat:
That right there is a bánh mì sandwich, a lovely Vietnamese French-inspired sandwich of bread, pork, spreadable pate, lot’s of pickled carrots and daikon, with some cilantro for extra fragrance. Overall, it was very, very good, I assure you, and was devoured rather quickly. There were also some of the zucchini fritters I featured last week, and some curry sauce and rice. Other friends also happened to bring some lovely Japanese bakery goodies ranging from curry-pan to croquette-pan, and another friend brought some homemade kimchi-beef-pork-mix-onigiri.
And then there was the dessert, that our resident Francophile (*Cough*Silverwolf*Cough*) can vouch for their deliciousness:
These were an assortment of macarons from Mille-feuille, and they disappeared rather quickly once the box was offered. Anyway, they were perfect for the spring day, easy to carry around and so bright and colorful, they would have matched well with a shower of cherry blossoms but what can you do. It was still a very fun day and, for those of you in the area, I highly recommend a Botanical Gardens visit, cherry-blossom festival or not.
And now after a rather long weekend of partying it up with my friends (Namely silverwolf and inverseman), how can one lazy, essay-editing Sunday live up to all that good food we’ve had over the weekend? With a rather simple, but filling, dish that just about anyone can master with enough practice: pork tonkatsu!
2 pieces of boneless pork cutlet
And some flour for dusting
Salt and pepper to taste
Also, because of the flower viewing from yesterday, my camera memory card is sadly full of nothing but pictures of flowers and university students derping it up in public. So, we’re all going to have to make due for some strategic cell-phone camera shots that refuse to be uploaded right now; I apologize guys!
Okay so first of all you’ll need to get out your pork cutlet slices, and you’ll need to clean them, then make some cuts into the pork to keep it from curling up when it fries. If you want you can also trim the fat off; but these cutlets were pretty lean already so I didn’t bother with it. Once your pork is ready and you’ve lightly salt and pepper’d both sides it’s time to bread them; first start an assembly line going with one plate of flour, one bowl of scrambled egg, and one plate of panko bread crumbs. Now why use panko? It’s for that distinctive crunch that tonkatsu has, and it’s a product that can be found most anywhere nowadays, just take a look in your “Asian” section or scour your local Chinese/Japanese/Filipino grocery store, you’ll find it.
So first dredge your pork into the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip it into the egg, then into the panko it goes; make sure you get a lot on there so that the crust can be extra crispy! Theeeeen heat up your pan with a good bit of oil and, once it’s hot and ready, fry up your pork! Now you’ll want to make sure it’s cooked all the way through, so I’d recommend consistently checking on the pork annnd to avoid burning turning it over and checking on the flames. Mine got a littttle burnt this time around, so I’ll either need to use a different frying pan or watch them a bit better.
But, once they’re done (You can touch test by poking at it, if the pork is firm it’s good) take them out and rest them on a cutting board for a moment before cutting them into strips. Also now would be a good time to check to make sure that the inside of the pork is nice and white, that means it’s cooked.
And well, now you have some crispy pork strips… What now?
Well, that’s when you take out a nice big bowl of rice, plop the pork down onto it, and then place an attractive glob of left-over curry on top. And ta-dah, now there is some relatively easy katsu-curry to enjoy the rest of the evening of writing and sobbing over an essay.
Annnd tune in next time for a very special collaborative post between silverwolf and I! EGADS what kind of crazy culinary combination will that be?