Sunday, February 28, 2010

Short Rib Ragu and Homemade Pappardelle

So here's part deux of the double sauce Thursday.  Since my short rib ragu was already made, I decided to do homemade pasta this afternoon.  I followed Marcella Hazan's pasta making directions in her book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.  The recipe is standard, but her explanations and tips are, well, essential, if you have not made pasta before.  The first time I made pasta, my neighbor had given me fresh eggs her chickens had laid.  The eggs were deep dark yellow, almost orange in color.  They were more taught and the whites less runny than store bought eggs.  I've read the more stiff the whites, the fresher the eggs are.  That was some delicious pasta.  Since you are working with a two ingredient item, the better your ingredient, the better your result.  I should have thought ahead and bartered fresh eggs for some fresh pasta.
This is my 4th time making pasta, and each time, my little well breaks sooner than wanted, spilling out the eggs, resulting in a mad dash of sorts to keep it all from rolling flat out onto my counter.  My hands rush all over the board, like I'm trying to catch a run away chicken.  A pastry scraper in one hand helps rein it all in.  With only one sticky, gooey hand, it's easier to get the mixture into a ball.
The pasta roller is a necessity if you are to make your own pasta.  I contemplated rolling out the dough myself.. now that I've done it with the machine, I cannot imagine achieving the same result on my own.  Once rolled, I cut each really long sheet in half and then used a roller cutter to cut into pappardelle width. 


I have our friends Jim and Lisa to thank for my delve into homemade pasta.  We had the most amazing ravioli at their house and I could not believe the difference in the texture and consistency of the pasta.  It immediately rose to the top of my list of have to do's.  
They are also responsible for the short rib ragu.  We were immediately in love and knew it would become a staple in our house.  I love it because it freezes so well, so when you need something sooo delicious and don't have time to make it, bring out this fabulous sauce and impress yourself all over again.
I'm not sure if I have the same recipe they used, but I used a recipe from Food Network.  The best combination of meat I found was short ribs and a cut of leaner steak.  It makes for a less fatty ragu.  I used about 3lbs of short ribs and  1lb of steak.  Any steak will do as you will be cooking this down to a pull apart state.  It is rich and fulfilling.  The pasta cooks in 1 1/2 minutes and is superb.  Stella's comment was "it doesn't taste water bleached, like all the good taste was sucked out by the water.  You can taste the pasta."
  

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Casserole a la Mode

If you're ever looking for a quick dessert, look no further.  Someone brought this to a 4th of July party we had and my kids ask for it regularly ever since.  Depending on the number of people you have to feed, you can do a double decker or a single layer as I did last night.  Take a casserole dish and line bottom with ice cream sandwiches.  I used cookies and cream ice cream sandwiches, which are our favorite.  Top with one layer of Cool Whip, freeze, and then add a thin layer of caramel, or chocolate fudge, and freeze, then another layer of Cool Whip and freeze.  Truly a go to, cannot fail, you know you love it, don't try to hide it, dessert. 

Saturday Night Comfort

Chicken and Chinese Sausage Rice in a Clay Pot
Just Stella and I tonight, so a one dish, simple, comfort meal felt right.  
Cut chicken thigh or leg meat into bite size pieces and marinate in about 2 tsp of Shaoxing wine, a pinch of salt and 3 tsp of corn starch.  I had 5 drumsticks that I deboned.  Soak 5 dried shiitake mushrooms until soft.  Remove stems and slice the mushrooms.  Take 4 Chinese sausages and slice in diagonal into pieces.  Rinse 2 cups rice  and place in clay pot with about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of water.  I've read the water should be about 3/4" above the rice.  Heat rice on stove to boil, and then add the chicken, mushrooms, then sausage on top.  Cover and cook on very low heat until rice is cooked, maybe about 15-20 minutes.  I finished this in the oven at 375f, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
I debated adding the following sauce directly into the rice before cooking, but then decided to follow the traditional method and have each person add their own.  
4 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 small garlic clove minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
Heat to boil for a couple minutes.  Then cool and set aside until ready to use.

To serve, place into individual bowls, garnish with chopped green onions and the sauce to your taste.  
The pickled vegetables from yesterday made a good companion.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Something Light for Friday Night

Well, we were supposed to have the short rib ragu tonight, but I couldn't bring myself to another rich meal.  So, that will be saved for this weekend.  We decided to go Japanese...ish.  I feel a little sheepish in saying Japanese as I feel like I really don't know if what I'm doing is true to form.  But we love it.  For an appetizer, we had some salmon sushi.  I made my own sushi rice and made a salmon roll,  some salmon nigiri as well as regular sashimi... all was buttery and rich.  It was made and consumed within minutes, which is, as I believe, as it should be.  I kept the rice slightly warm which made it melt in your mouth.
For dinner, I made a variety of small plates.  

Panko Crusted Ahi Tuna Roll
Sashimi grade Ahi, rolled with baby spinach, nori and panko then flash fried and served with a soy wasabi butter sauce

Black Cod with Miso
Black Cod marinated in miso, sake and ginger and broiled

Tempura Calamari
Calamari soaked in milk and then dregded in flour and flash fried

Yakitori Chicken
Skewered boneless, skin on chicken thighs grilled and brushed with yakitori sauce of shoyu, sake and sugar

Pan Roasted Asparagus, poached egg and miso butter
Pan roast the asparagus in butter
Miso butter is heated with sherry vinegar (I used balsamic & red wine vinegar)
Poached egg
Truth be told, I am not an egg fan.  But I have come to love the warm and lava like yoke center that tastes buttery and cheesy at the same time.  


A Little MOMOFUKU

David Chang's MOMOFUKU cookbook is a collection of recipes from his various restaurants in New York.  I bought this for myself back in January wanting to read about his varied approach to Asian cuisine and challenge myself to work my way through his recipes.  In preparation for some of the items in his book, I decided to make these little treats.  

Miso Butter 
5 tbsp unsalted butter with 1/2 cup shiro miso
Combine well, refrigerates up to a few weeks
Chang writes "it just tasted good-so good I licked it off my fingers, like cake frosting."
I am going to use this tonight to make his pan-roasted asparagus, poached egg and miso butter

Pickled Carrots and Daikon
Julienned Carrots and Daikon and one batch of brine for vinegar pickles as follows
1 cup piping hot water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
6 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Will keep for weeks.

Pickled Shiitakes
I made a half recipe
2 cups loosely packed dried shiitake
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup sherry vinegar (I used half red wine and half balsamic as I did not have sherry)
1 3-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
Steep shiitakes in boiling water until softened.  Trim off and discard stems and slice caps into 1/8 inch thick slices.  Reserve 1 cup of steeping liquid, pass through fine-mesh strainer to remove any sand or debris.
Combine reserved steeping liquid, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and sliced shiitakes in saucepan.  Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.  Let cool.
Discard the ginger, and pack the shiitakes and as much liquid as necessary to cover them into a container.  These are ready to eat immediately (and they were good!) and will keep, refrigerated, for at least 1 month.

I can't wait to have my pickles with a nice bowl of ramen!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Double Sauce Thursday

My current two favorite pasta sauces are results of two dinners we had at two different homes.  I've been making these a lot over the fall and winter and as we head towards spring, I thought I should give it one last go.  Both of these freeze well and in fact taste better reheated the next day.  The next day improved flavor is true for many sauces and soups.  I think it intensifies the flavor and in sauces like these, lets you easily skim out the fat once it's hardened.  Since these both have similar preparations, I decided to make both at the same time.
My brother in-law made a bolognese sauce several years ago that he cooked for hours using fresh tomatoes.  It was delicate and delicious.  My subsequent versions have always been heavier and more brutish.  I love those sauces as well, but have come to realize that just because it's a meaty bolognese, does not mean it should not be subtle and light - well, as much as a meat sauce can be.  
I tried a new recipe today. Yes, I have an actual recipe for you!  It is  Marcella Hazan's Recipe for Bolognese Meat Sauce. A friend gave me Hazan's cookbook when I inquired about homemade pasta she had made.  I will definitely post about the homemade pasta revelation later.  The recipe link above does not go into the detail Marcella does in her book, but the measurements are accurate. And since I am too lazy to type it all out, I googled and found this one.  I tripled her recipe because instead of ground beef chuck, I had already purchased one package each of organic ground beef, ground veal and ground pork.  This is the combo I usually use for my bolognese.  I made the sauce as directed, but wished there was a photo.  It is very hard for me to follow a recipe as I become a slave to it, questioning every move.  For all the cookbooks I have, I follow very few recipes.  I like to look for ideas and answer questions on a particular method, but for the most part, I love to wing it and trust all will be okay.  But once in a while, it is educational to follow something to the tee.  After all, she has a book.  I do not!  My biggest question is, whether to skim off the fat that rises to the top.  The last words of her recipe says that the fat should separate from the sauce, and that's it.  I posed this question to Chris and he said, 'no way, that's my favorite'.  The bolognese was fabulous.  Meaty, but not overpowering.  I went with a pappardelle noodle.  My favorite brand is De Cecco.  I could smell the eggs as the pasta was cooking.  7 minutes to perfection!
Tune in tomorrow for the Short Rib Ragu!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday I Gotta Chicken and Don't Know What to Do With it

I made a quick Costco trip on Monday for the usual household necessities but we all know a few items can turn into the equivalent of an overnight stay at the Four Seasons.  I am historically bad at eating meat out of my freezer, and as such, I try not to purchase more than I plan on eating in the next few days.  But even then, plans or cravings change.  It's not because I don't like frozen meat, it's because I forget about it, or rather that I love to shop for food, so I like to do it often.  It's probably my favorite thing to shop for, right next to shoes.  But I can justify food purchases. Costco has good meat and great prices, but you have to commit.  I grabbed a two pack of organic whole chickens.  I like the organic, not only because it is organic, but it is not super-sized.  What are they doing to chickens these days?  One went right into the freezer, (will we meet again?) the other one in the downstairs refrigerator.
Today, I decided to marinate and grill it.  This afternoon, I deboned the chicken, but kept it as one whole  bird.
A boning / fillet knife is the best tool for this.  Start at the back and move forward along the bone.  Remove the legs from the body with the bone in and then once separated, it is easier to work the leg bones out.  I left the drumette and wing on, but they can be easily removed and used for another purpose.  You can also ask your butcher to debone the chicken for you or buy pieces of boneless chicken.  But I prefer the skin on, and most boneless chicken is also skinless.
I marinated the chicken for several hours in a large zip lock bag.  Make sure the chicken is laid out flat so all of the marinade gets on the chicken and once you add in the marinade, massage it into the chicken.  Ingredients are:


3/4 Cup Coconut Milk
Several tablespoons of fish sauce
About 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
Sliced Ginger
Crushed and chopped garlic
Slice Green Onions
Sliced Shallot
Chopped Cilantro
Juice of one Lemon (I wanted lime, but didn't have any)

Chris grills the chicken on the gas Weber to perfection.  I served it with chopped cilantro and nuoc cham sauce on the side.  With it, we had Thai fried rice and wok fried baby bok choy.  For the fried rice, I took the tenders off the chicken and cut into small pieces.  In the wok, I heated vegetable oil, added the chicken, then minced onions, garlic, ginger and stirred to combine.  Then added the rice and a bit of fish sauce and sweet soy sauce.  When well incorporated, I added bean sprouts and about 20 basil leaves to finish.  I scooped out portions for the kids and added in sliced Thai red chilis for me  and Chris.  At the last minute, I decided to fry an egg to place on top.  From the table came "This is aaaawesome!"  As Chris said, "if you're ever bored with chicken, have this one!"




Monday, February 22, 2010

This One's For You Jeff, Veal Scallopini, Pancetta, Button Mushrooms and Brown Butter Gnocchi

Yesterday, my sister asked me what I made for dinner last week.  I could name the last two meals, but beyond that, I said, hey, haven't you been reading my blog?  This is partially why I started to blog.. I can't keep track of my own cooking.  There's been a few dishes over the years that I wish I had written down exactly how I made it.   My most memorable meals are the ones where the bliss on a persons face makes you want to get back in the kitchen and cook them something else.  Our friend Jeff always made me happy to cook for him.  I remember this veal chop being one of his favorites.  Jeff and family now live in so-cal, so Jeff, we toasted to you tonight.  Was it as good as the original?  
I purchased two veal rib chops along with two packages of veal neck bones to make a stock.  Remove the the bones from the two chops and pound the chops to your preferred thickness.  You can also buy the prepared scallopini which is usually made from the top round cut.  I like to prepare my own as I like it not as thin as the regular scallopini you get at the store.  Makes it easier to cook.. the store scallopini I find cooks almost instantly and I like to get a little more of a sear on the outside.
For the stock, I seasoned the neck bones and browned them in olive oil on medium high in a large sauce pan.  Remove the bones and add in a mirepoix of carrots, celery and onion.  Once the mirepoix is softened, add the bones back in and cover with water.  I added about 3 cups.  Let simmer, covered, for about 90 minutes.  Remove the bones, strain out the mirepoix and return the broth to boil and reduce slightly.  As I was not going to use all of this tonight, I got out a couple of ice cube trays to freeze the rest of the broth in small portions to use when needed.
For the veal, remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you are ready to cook.  I like it a little cool as they are thin and will cook more quickly than a regular chop or steak, so this will help achieve a medium rare center.  Cut your pancetta into 1" lengths and fry in a large frying pan until crisp.  Remove the pancetta and keep enough of the oil to just coat the pan.  I used applewood smoked bacon in the original recipe, but since I had this leftover pancetta from last week, I decided to try it.  Season the veal lightly with salt and pepper and sear on medium high flipping once, about 2-3 minutes per side.  The pancetta winds up adding a lot of salt to the sauce, so don't over season.  Remove the veal and add thinly sliced garlic, about two cloves and sliced mushrooms and cook until softened.  Add back the pancetta and the veal stock.  The amount depends purely on how much sauce you like; we like a lot!  Bring to a boil and add in, you guessed it, a splash of cream.  Oh my holy cow, I went to the frige and there was no cream to be found.  I accused Chris of drinking the rest of the cream.  I start to consider what else is in the house.  Marscarpone... that will do.  No need to reduce the sauce now, it is perfectly thickened.   
I served this with gnocchi I had made a few weeks ago which I had frozen.  The gnocchi deserves a separate posting, but suffice it say, home made gnocchi was a revelation.  The first time I had home made gnocchi was at my friend Lisa's house.  She comes from a large Italian family and I knew I would not be led astray.  You start to think you cook a lot and have made a lot of stuff, but there is always something else.  Even if you've done it before, there's always another secret to be learned.  I love eating at other people's homes because everyone has their own secret ingredient to share.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh Happy Day Duck Spring Rolls

I debated between making my own roasted duck and buying one for restocking my spring roll supply.  Basically, the roasted duck from my favorite barbecue place was less expensive than buying a frozen duck, so no need to think any further.  We were meeting my sister for dim sum in the International District.  Perfect opportunity to stop for a whole roast duck.  King's Barbecue is my long standing favorite spot.  Roast duck, roast pork, salted chicken, among other delectables... it's the best.  I purchased my duck, but we were drawn to the roasted pork.  

There was a whole suckling pig waiting to be picked up.  We decided a small snack before lunch would not hurt anyone.  We ate our bits of roast pork while walking back to the car.  Crispy cracklin' and juicy tender pork.  I felt a little like a guilty thief making a get-away.


Back at home, it was spring roll making time.  I shredded carrots, chopped green onions, water chestnuts, and minced garlic and ginger.  I quick fried these together with the sauce they gave me with the roast duck.  To this I added bean thread, or vermicelli, soaked in water and cut up into small pieces.  Then took the duck, removed the skin and fat, and shredded the meat.  Mix all together and wrap in a pre-made wrapper.  I used Wei Chuan Spring Roll Shells.  

Wrap tight and fry at 350.  They freeze well, so it's another great item to keep for when you need a little something... As I said to Chris, I love inventory!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All Day Pork Shoulder

On Wednesday night, Chris quizzed me on what I was thinking of blogging about over the weekend.  It's going to be great weather, he said.  You should definitely do something on the grill.  How about a pork shoulder?  One of the things that makes us such a good pair is that I love to cook, but have a hard time deciding what to cook, while Chris, has no problems with deciding what he wants to eat.  This cooking expedition is a joint effort.
Sometimes the best cut of meat is the least expensive, most pedestrian simple cut.  It's easy to make an expensive cut taste good, but it's truly a stroke of ingenuity to make those less desired cuts delectable morsels of goodness.  
Start with a pork shoulder with the skin on.  Pork shoulders sold in regular grocery stores have the skin removed.  This is why a special trip was made to Uwajimaya yesterday.  They are the only store nearby, that I know of, that sells them with the skin on.  When you are planning on slow cooking this all day, the skin is an integral factor to keeping the meat juicy.
I put the pork shoulder in a simple brine of water, salt and brown sugar yesterday afternoon.  Let sit overnight in the brine and remove in the morning, rinse, dry, and let come to room temperature.  Chris started the charcoal grill at 9:30 this morning.  By 10:00, the pork shoulder was on.  Maintain a temp of about 250 degrees.  Set the charcoals to one side of the grill to cook with indirect heat.  Throughout the day, wood chips are added for smoking.  And, to maintain the heat, more charcoal needs to be added along the way.
At about 4:00, we started to baste with a mixture of cider vinegar, butter, brown sugar, honey, mustard powder, and black pepper.  We like red pepper flakes as well, but left that out for the kids. At 5:00, the shoulder was removed from the grill and wrapped in foil with some more basting liquid and put into the oven at 300 for two more hours.  This steams the meat and is the last element in making it fork tender.  

Remove the skin and cut or pull the meat apart.  We served with potato rolls and stir fried cabbage with a little of the basting sauce on top.  It was smokey, tender, juicy and reminiscent of summer on the beach.  

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stella says Ribs!

Stella made a request for ribs tonight.  It's one of my favorites too!  I seasoned the ribs in my own rub mixture of salt, garlic salt, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder and pepper.  There are a few different ways in which I've cooked my ribs, but tonight I used our gas Weber grill.  I soaked some hickory chips earlier in the afternoon and put them into a foil packet pierced with holes.  I turned on only half the grill and placed the packet on top.  The grill was kept at a temp of around 300  and the ribs sat on the side with no flame to be cooked with indirect heat.  After an hour on the grill, I brushed them with a doctored bbq sauce. 
My favorite bottle sauce is Sweet Baby Rays.  To that I added ketchup, honey, garlic, onions, and red wine vinegar.  Flip once and brush the other side and about 10 minutes before you are ready to take them off, flip again and brush the top side again.  A total of two hours on the grill.  They are sweet and tangy, tender, but still maintaining their meatiness without being mushy soft.  We sat down and put our napkins on to feast!

Stella describes these potatoes as french fries, but with bigger insides.  The first time I had these was at my sister's house.  She made them using lard, which is how I'd been making them until tonight.   Peel and cut yukon gold potatoes and boil until just tender.  Heat fat on a baking sheet in the oven at 440 degrees until hot.  Add potatoes and salt and bake flipping potatoes every so often.  The potatoes become crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  We decided the lard was better than the duck fat.  I thought perhaps this batch of duck fat I had in my freezer was not as duck tasting as that which I've used in the past.  I've made duck fat french fries before and they were outrageously decadent.  I will have to experiment further.. poor me!  For those of you poo pooing all this talk about fat... here's some interesting details I copied from Bon Appetit .  
Butter: 1 tablespoon contains 100 calories and 12 grams of fat, of which 50% is saturated and  30% is monounsaturated.

Lard:  1 tablespoon contains 115 calories and 13 grams of fat, of which 39% is saturated and  45% is monounsaturated.            

Duck fat: 1 tablespoon contains 115 calories and 13 grams of fat, of which 33% is saturated and  50% is monounsaturated.

Olive oil: 1 tablespoon contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, of which 14% is saturated and  77% is monounsaturated.

Go ahead, live a lot and have a little fat.  

Uwajimaya

If you haven't made a trip to Uwayjimaya yet, or don't live in Seattle, I thought I'd take you on a little field trip.  It's a Japanese market, but they carry all sorts of Asian foods.  If you are cooking an Asian meal of any kind, you are likely going to be able to find the ingredients you need here. It's of course not the only Asian market in the city, but it is probably the most approachable.  
A fabulous selection of Asian vegetables
There's nothing better than Chinese leafy greens.  Each one has its own distinct clean flavor.  Just wok fry in oil and salt and a little garlic if you like.

The meat counter is filled with a variety of cuts you will not find in your average super market.  I bought a pork shoulder.  Tune in tomorrow for that.

I buy almost all of my fish here.  I have never had a bad piece of fish and I've gotten to know a few of the folks behind the counter so I know I will always be well taken care of.

There's always a large selection of live shellfish, especially oysters, kept in tanks with flowing water.  



Geoduck... it is on my list of things to cook.  My mom used to make the best geoduck when we were growing up.  I remember chilies, ginger, garlic and green onions wok fried with thinly sliced geoduck.  Clam strips times a thousand.
They always have packages of cleaned blocks of fish for sushi making.  They also have ready made sushi rice.  If you've never made your own sushi, this is a great way to start.

The variety of rice exceeds my ability to consume in a lifetime.  My current everyday favorite is the Nishiki brand below.


Various pickled vegetables, most of which, I must admit, I have not tried.

A plethora of soy sauces and other sauces.  I use Kimlan dark soy for braising and Yamasa soy for everything else.

The best Sake selection in the area.

A large variety of Asian kitchen supplies.  The Japanese have a lot of neat cooking gadgets and tools.  I love to look and always have to remind myself that my utensil drawer is overflowing.
There's also a fabulous bookstore which was not open yet when I was there this morning.  My kids love to go there to look at paper products, pens, pencils and erasers.  And if your kids like Hello Kitty, they have a whole section of that as well.  The photos above only represent a small portion of what's at Uwajimaya.  So many items are mysteries to me.  Just think what I could be missing.  Too much food, too little time!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ode to the Flying Tomato Greek Salad and Fried Chicken

Did you all watch the Olympics last night?  Well.. as much of it as NBC would allow you to.  I'll gripe about that in private.  But I felt compelled to celebrate the flying tomato.  Nothing thrilling to say about this salad other than I skip the red onion and go big on the feta!

I've been thinking of giving up fried foods for a while.  With spring around the corner and the looming inevitability of swimsuit donning, something must go.  But oh how yummy fried chicken is.  I normally soak in buttermilk for a day.  I find the buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and makes for a good sticking agent for the flour dip.  But tonight, I simply coated the chicken in flour seasoned with garlic salt and Johnny's seasoning salt.  This makes for a less greasy feeling chicken as there is not as much coating to soak up the oil.  Fry at 350 until golden.  Light, crispy and juicy.  

Kuo Tien Replenishment


Kuo Tien, also known as Jiao Tse or Potstickers, are in steady freezer supply at my house.  Every so often I will sit down and wrap about a few trays of them.  They go into the freezer on the tray and once frozen, into zip lock bags for an easy snack, appetizer or meal.  I buy the ground pork from Uwajimaya.  They carry two types, one they call 'premium' and the other just ground pork.  The difference looks to be the premium has less fat.  From my countless sessions of kuo tien making, I've found a combo of the two is best.  I made the pork filling yesterday and let it set overnight.  For the 3 packages of pork I purchased, 2 regular, 1 premium, I grated about a 1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced 4 or 5 green onions, then added soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, sesame oil and water.  The water addition is key as it helps make the pork, once cooked, tender and moist.  I usually make the marinade and add the pork in and then continue to add water until the mixture is quite soft and moist.  
When my parents owned their restaurant, they used to make the wraps from scratch rolling out each individually.  The pace at which my dad would roll one into a round was perfectly timed with how long it took my mom to wrap one up.  Their hands were like precision machines.  I cannot match that, so I go with a ready made wrap.   I've tried many brands, but my favorite is one that is found in the frozen section.  The label is pictured above.  It's the proper thickness and cooks up more like the home made version.  
I can't describe how to wrap the kuo tien.  But done the way pictured above, they stand up on their own when you cook them and their bottoms crisp up nicely.  If you pan fry them, they are called Kuo Tien, if you boil them, they are Jiao Tse.  Either way, they are delightful and never let you down.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feels Like Spring Seared Golden Pompano and Quinoa Salad


The other day when I went to get my fish for Chinese New Year, I was told to try the Golden Pompano which was a fish they had not carried before.  My man behind the counter told me he was going to bring home two for himself.  So, I bought one, but then gave it to my mom.  I've been thinking about how that Pompano would taste.  Today, it's February yet feels like spring here in Seattle.  I decided to go back to Uwajimaya and pick up another one.  I cleaned and filleted it.  Note to self, do not clean the fish in front of your kids before you are about to serve it to them. 

  










It turns out that one fish, once filleted, is not that big.  Fortunately, I had made the mistake of making it an educational experience for my girls, and when I was finished, they took a pass on the fish.
I seared the fish in canola oil then made a broth out of chicken broth, a bit of soy and a couple pads of butter.  As Chris said, "I like this fish thing, let's do it again."

A few weeks ago we had dinner at Restaurant Zoe with some friends.  We ordered their Quinoa salad.  I had never had, nor made quinoa before, but I LOVED it!  Their menu describes it as Quinoa, black trumpet mushrooms, duck confit, shaved root vegetables and citrus emulsion.  I did not find trumpet mushrooms or duck confit, so a couple substitutions had to be made.  I cooked the quinoa as directed on the back of my Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa package.  Let cool.  I sauteed oyster mushrooms in olive oil, then cooked Salumi pancetta, very thinly sliced and cut into sections.  For the root vegetables, I used celery root, parsnip and golden beet.  To slice them transparent thin, I used a mandoline that I inherited from a friend  (thank you Lisa & Jim!).  For the citrus emulsion, I put fresh squeezed orange juice, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, honey, soy, one small garlic clove, and a tablespoon of minced shallots in a blender.  Once well combined, I added olive oil until it became an emulsion.  I combined everything and added the citrus emulsion to taste with some freshly ground pepper.  I missed the duck confit, but the salty pancetta made a very fine stand in.

Let's Not Forget Pacino


When I took this photo, the girls said, "really, mom, really?"  If for nothing else, it could be considered comic relief.  Have I gone around the bend?  But as I blog about cooking for family and friends, why should Pacino, a very important part of our family, be left out?  Pacino gets two meals daily of ground turkey and peas.  He likes his turkey well done and peas on the raw side.