Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thank You to the Rat Man - Chorizo, Sake & Manila Clams, Beef Bourguignon Recipe and A Scoop of Scoops

J lives in a great spot in Los Angeles. It's close to our favorite eating spots with Chinatown, Koreatown, Thai Town and Little Tokyo within a 10-minute drive. The 101 is less than 3 minutes away. The complex she lives in has several cottage-style units, a nice courtyard for hanging out, a semi-view of the Downtown skyline and most importantly, warm neighbors. After a few months, we were all on first-name basis and pretty much knew about each of the neighbors. This is great we thought. The grass is green, birds are chirping, dragonflies buzzing around – life couldn't be better.

Or so we thought.

J and I started to notice that the soba noodles and spaghetti pasta packages were being opened. Unless it was a new design, vietnamese rice paper had small teeth marks. Cotton was being removed from J's japanese-style futon. Occasional scuffling in the walls and banging sounds in the oven.


One night, J and I were ready to go out. I went over to her closet to grab my jacket and all of a sudden, we froze to the sound of something rustling in j's wicker hamper. I turned to look at her and pointed my finger at the hamper. Her eyes were widened, eyebrows arched with concern and distraught. I signaled for her to open the kitchen door. She came back and I slowly opened the hamper. And within a flash, something black and hairy with a long pink tail jumped out. He scurried right by J. J quickly watched as it went by and let out the most delayed scream ever. 2 seconds later. It was pretty funny haha. Anyway, the rat didn't see the open door and instead, ran behind the fridge. Great. I went back there with a broom and proceeded to slam the spank the back of the fridge like it liked it. J was annoyed and told me to stop haha – I was probably releasing stress from a few months ago and forgot that I was after a rodent. Anyway, it was nowhere to be found. We moved the fridge and stove. Nothing. Rats are so clever. Did he sneak out while I was on the spanking spree?

We knew of one last option – call JR. JR is J's next door neighbor. A tall, slender early-30's drummer who proved to be one of the most handy guys around the complex. He has helped J out many times with different things. We asked him to come over and help us rat out the rat. After a few minutes of looking, we were all baffled.

JR: "Wait. Did you check inside the stove?"
Me: "You serious. It's freaking hot in there."
JR: "Be right back."

He comes back with a flashlight, and lifts the broiler door open. And sure enough, we see a trembling rat wedged in the back end of the broiler. I couldn't believe that it got through the stove from the back side. We opened the door, stuck something in the broiler and out popped the rat. Thank you JR.

But the story does not end here. Again, we found feces and opened food a week later. Was it the same one? Couldn't be. An Orkin guy was even sent out and he really didn't do anything but give J these stupid old school Tom & Jerry mouse traps. Rats aren't stupid.

Me: "You know what you need?"
J: "What?"
Me: "You need some clear sticky tape. Just tape."
J: "And we throw some bait."
Me: "Yesssssss." *evil*

J found some sticky tape at the store. But we needed something delicious to lure that hairy bastard back in here. Thank god J had some of that delicious cashew butter from Trader Joe's. That stuff lures me too. She put a ball of the butter past the sticky tape line. And within an hour, she reported hearing noises in the kitchen - like nails gliding across the ceramic tile. She called me while I was at work and I could hear the rat making noise. She peeked in and saw the rat, about 7" minus the tail, stomach stuck to the tape - exhausted. It was relief yet cruel at the same time.

Me: "Are you just going to just let it die?"
J: "I don't know what to do."
Together: "JR."

JR comes over and picks up the tape with the rat attached to it. The rat was miserable, tired and nearly dead. JR takes the rat to the back, grabs a big stone and puts it out of its misery. I think it was the right thing to do. Thank you JR.

Now that I've whet your appetite. Let's get on to the food. As a simple thank you to JR for helping J out and for being a really down-to-earth, good neighbor, we invited him over for dinner.

We started off with some delicious cheese that J got at Silverlake Cheese store. The creamy, triple-creme kind. Stuff that looks like butter.

As an appetizer, we made some manila clams. I love the clams served up at Musha, which are cooked with sake, parsley, leeks, mushrooms, garlic and about 10 lbs of butter. Who doesn't like butter?! Our take included sake and white wine, chorizo sausage for a spice kick and korean-style sliced scallions. And it was delicious. JR and J were so hungry that they started sponging up the sake/butter sauce with bread. Not healthy, but good.

Chorizo Clams

Chorizo & Sake Manila Clams
Simply wash and scrub the clams to rid them of any sand or nasties. I bought nearly 20 clams - about 2.5 lbs. First pan fry some chorizo pork sausage and break them down into small bits. Set aside on paper towel to soak up the grease. Sauté some shallots and garlic over medium heat. After you've sweated them, add about 1 cup of white wine, and about 1/2 a cup of sake. Wait a few minutes for the alcohol to burn out and add about 2-3 tablespoons of butter. As soon as the butter melts, bring the clams to the party. You'll see the clams slowly pop open. ***A side note. To identify dead clams, take a wooden spoon and tap the clamshell. If you hear a solid sound, it's alive, if you hear a hollow sound (like cracking open egg shells), it's dead. Once all of them have opened (about 4 minutes, add the sliced green onions and stir - making sure that you spoon butter into all the clams. Serve immediately with french bread.

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon
JR is french, and we knew that he would like this. We saut̩ed some beef stew meat in olive oil and added a mire poix (onions, carrots, celery). Poured in some red wine and add bay leaves, garlic, thyme, peppercorn and tomato paste. To thicken up the stew, we added potatoes, a little flour and mushrooms. Baked the whole thing in a dutch oven at about 450 degrees for nearly 4 hours. The result is a hearty and savory meat dish that goes well with greens, rice and potatoes - or simply with fresh warm french bread. If you want the recipe, feel free to email me РI'm too lazy to type it out.

Scoops Ice Cream

A Scoop of Scoops Ice Cream
Any dinner party we have, J will get stoked. Her first choice for dessert is always Scoops Ice Cream over on Melrose/Heliotrope. Owned by a very nice Korean man, Scoops conjures up very interesting ice cream flavors daily. He even has a white board for people to write down suggestions for future flavors. I believe he has even made a foie gras ice cream. Mmm. Not a flavor any PETA person would like to see on a menu. Pictured above is the brown bread and chocolate, banana and cinnamon flavors. A delicious way to end a hearty meal.

Thank you to JR for being a good neighbor and friend to us, and thanks to everyone for reading. I know this was long.


daddy in a strange land said...

Daaaamn! Can I fix something for you guys? Anything? Wait... I'm not handy.

Okay, fine. Can I just beg you to feed me? :)

Bon Vivant said...

I don't have rats but I do have a 90 lb. German Shepherd who knows how to open my locked pantry doors and eats my pasta, soba, and dried ancho chile peppers.

Daily Gluttony said...

re: the rat: ewwwwwwww!
re: the food: yum!

also, i dunno what it is about us girls and the 2 second delayed scream. i did the same when we had mice in our loft.

One Food Guy said...

I was hoping for a picture of the rat stuck to the tape, is that so wrong?

The Cooking Ninja said...

Poor rat. :(
Yummy food.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Daddy, haha thanks. it was great meeting you and your wife at Dj Shadow/Cut Chemist. You two were very nice and d2earth.

BV, dang that's a huge dog. Dogs really are clever.

Hi DG! I wish I recorded j's reaction and put it on YouTube.

OFG, come to think of it, why didn't I snap some photos???

Hey ninja! love the name haha. thanks for stopping by.

JadedOne said...

Haha I love this post... on spot with the opening of Ratatouille! (By the way, the movie is great. They really did their research by recruiting people such as Anthony Bourdaine & some of the staff from French Laundry!)

It sucks that J had a rat eating up pantry items... the food you guys cooked up looks great!

I had a similar problem when my husband went away on a week long trip. He forgot to roll up his car windows and took his car keys with him. I couldn't find a spare key anywhere. Before I knew it, two squirrels managed to get themselves trpped in the car, tempted by some Japanese snack cookies left in the backseat. Let me tell you, what a pain in the ass!! I had to break into the car, disarm the car alarm and bang on the car seats to get them out. Damn tree rats!

JadedOne said...

PS - If you watch Ratatouille, don't stay to the end of the credits. There aren't any outtakes.

marias23 said...

Yummy-looking food and the rat issue sure sounds yucky! At least it's not a mouse problem. They tend to move faster and are more difficult to catch.

SteamyKitchen said...

I'll smash rat heads for you if cook for me!

singleGuyChef said...

Damn, I knew I shouldn't have clicked on the link. Now, I am hungry. I was trying not to eat late! Damn you! ;-)

MeltingWok said...

Funny thing about the rats. You just reminded me of a place where I grew up. Its so freaking hot 365days/year and we practically grew up with rats/ centipedes/ big fat roach around the house hahahaha..ewwwww, right ? No, not as a pet, they just love staying around uninvited, and we kids are so used to that I think about it, ewwww..okay, let see, oh yeah, love your clams recipe. I usually do mine with sake, mirin, butter baked with some shicimi togarashi flaks, yums !:)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Hi JadedOne, we just watched Ratatouille and it was great. Couldn't spot out the character Thomas Keller played. I like the squirrel story haha. Squirrels rock! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Marias23, thanks for stopping by.

SteamyK, how cool would that be if I made a ratatouille w/ rat. I would lose all readers...

SingleGuyChef, how's it going? Thanks for stopping by. Said it before, your site is cool - great food and photos. Imma add you.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Rats are nasty and all that, but I feel sorry for it anyway. Ending your life stuck on a big piece of tape.....:(. What a terrible way to die. At least it had something good to eat huh? If I was stuck on a big piece of tape I think I'd prefer to have a big plate of sushi on it.

JadedOne said...

No no... there was no Thomas Keller character in it. They just listed some of his staff in the credits which I'm assuming the writers asked for cooking and foodie advice. You know.. the lingo :)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

JadedOne, in this article, it says he was the voice of a patron.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

"Mr. Keller, who has lent his name to a companion children’s cookbook for the film and is the voice of a restaurant patron, helped guide the culinary education of the Pixar team and subsequently became friends with Mr. Lewis, the producer."

that's awesome that Pixar let him do it.

JadedOne said...

Woah sweet! Now I gotta watch it again heh.

Jeni said...

Lovely dinner! Everyone needs a neighbor like JR. Thanks for cooking D...and thank you for putting up with all those calls, "Dylan....there's a rat in the kitchen! What do I do???"

r a m e n i a c said...

that poor rat could have been looking for spices to put in his boulliabaise! hehe well i would have just driven him far away and set him loose to inflict harm on someone else's pantry... =P

Chubbypanda said...

Poor rat.

corinne said...

This is great. You should really consider submitting the recipe to Cookthink's Root Source challenge. Next week's ingredient is clam and you could win a cookbook!

Check it out:

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