Saturday, June 24, 2017

Chinese Sizzling Rice Soup

East Garden, Stockton Calif

3~4 Ounce baby shrimp
3~4 Ounce chicken breast (skinless and boneless) (cut into thin slices)
1 egg white, beaten
2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Cup peanut oil (for frying)
1 Quart of homemade chicken bone stock made with onions, carrots, celery, ginger, and scallions
1 Ounce sliced cremini mushrooms, sautéed
1 Tablespoon water sliced chestnuts
1 Tablespoon sliced red radishes
1/3 Cup fresh snow peas
½ Large carrot, sliced thinly on diagonal, blanched
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Shaohsing wine
1 Tablespoon Marin wine
2 Crispy oven-dried jasmine rice cakes1, fried

Mix the shrimp, chicken, egg white, and cornstarch. Let rest 10 minutes.

Bring chicken stock to a low simmer. In a very hot wok, quickly stir fry shrimp and chicken for 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Preheat a cup of peanut oil to 375 F in a pot, in preparation for frying the rice cakes.

Quickly stir fry mushroom, water chestnuts, snow peas, peas, carrots, Marin, salt and Shaohsing wine. Add cooked vegetables and shrimp/chicken to stock, simmer on low. Correct seasonings.

Fry two oven dried rice cakes quickly on both sides. These will puff up and cook in 10 seconds a side. Drain on paper towels, then, in the company of your diners, add to soup while still piping hot and sizzling.  Garnish with a bit of soy and chopped cilantro. Serve.

Notes:
Rice cakes can be made weeks in advance and store in plastic bags until needed, Make steamed rice as normal, except use less water. Store rice in an open tray for an hour in the refrigerator, then collect and store in a covered bowl overnight. Roll out some rice ¼ thick on parchment paper. Use a wet inverted rice bowl to stamp out “rounds”. Dry these on parchment paper on a cookie sheet for an hour at 300 F in a convection oven.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Crunchy Coleslaw

The satisfying character of crunchy coleslaw comes from dicing the pieces as opposed to grading or merely slicing. You may also make this using some red cabbage to add color and improved nutrition. Red tastes the same but has increased antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin A and more Vitamin C.

1 Large head cabbage finely diced
1/3 Cup diced carrot or more
2 Tablespoons onion powder1
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/3 Cup granulated sugar or less
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon each of white and black pepper
1/2 Cup whole milk
1/2 Cup Best food mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Teaspoon tarragon


Peel the carrots. Cabbage and carrots must be finely diced. I do this by hand on a large cutting board but remove the cabbage’s stalk portion by cutting it out.

Pour cabbage and carrot mixture into large stainless steel bowl and stir in other ingredients thoroughly. Correct the seasonings. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Note:

  1. Onion powder is made from oven dried yellow (Spanish) onions. See Ardeshir's-persian dried yellow onions

Ardeshir’s Persian Dried Yellow Onions

Ardeshir was the master librarian for Valid Logic in 1986. He was deeply interested in food especially his own Persian food. He taught me to appreciate the regional foods and how to shop for Persian ingredients. These Persian onions are great as a condiment for cooking such as rice, vegetable dishes, stuffing’s, dressings, sauces, soups and onion dip. The onions sweeten like raisins in the sun by this slow drying process.  It is best to do a whole lot of onions at a time as the oven is on for a long time and the volumetric yield is low. Onions reduce in volume 30:1 or more. Six whole chopped onions make a cup and a half of dry product.

Chop uniformly 6-10 large yellow onions. Set your oven on its lowest temperature. (170o F) Prop the oven door slightly open with wooden spoon. Dry onions on Teflon sheet pans on multiple racks. Turn onions over several times to expose wet onion with a spatula. Onions are done when all are a deep camel brown. They will begin to turn pink before this stage. (Five to six hours.) Store up to a year in an air tight jar.


These onions may be ground, once dried, into onion powder. Use the onion powder to make onion pastry dough or simply as a condiment. I use an old coffee mill for grinding.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Calçots in Tarragona Romesco Sauce

Romesco is red pepper pesto sauce that originated from Tarragona, Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain. The fishermen in this area made this sauce to eat with fish.  It is typically made from any mixture of roasted or raw almonds, pine nuts, and roasted garlic, olive and bitxo peppers (similar to New Mexico chiles) and/or nyora peppers (a sun dried, small, round variety of red bell pepper).


1 Slice  stale soudough bread
½ Cup toasted almonds
1 Fire roasted red bell pepper
1 Ripe tomato seeded and chopped
1 Head of roasted garlic, squeezed out
1 Tablespoon raspberry balsamic vinegar
¼ Teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
Olive oil
White pepper
Sea salt to taste


In the spring, romesco is served with fire roasted calçots, a spring onion (Scallion) typical to Catalonia. Calçot barbecues called "calçotades", calçots are roasted over an open fire until their outer layer is charred (pictured below). The charred layer is then removed and the tender part of the onion is dipped in the romesco.

Notes
1. Calçots substitute large green onion

Thursday, May 4, 2017

St Louis Style Ribs BBQ



St Louis style ribs are spare ribs trimmed of the sternum and flap ends, leaving just the most desirable parts. In preparation, these have their membrane removed, dry-rubbed with your favorite rub, and set aside overnight to marinate. I include a smoke component in the rub but little sugar as the sugar has a tendency to burn.
St Louis Style Spare Ribs

Removing the Membrane
Each slab has a meat side and a bone side. The bone side has a membrane called the pleura covering it. It can be leathery when cooked, and, ideally, it is removed and discarded. Many butchers remove the skin or may be asked to do this. If the membrane has not been removed, you should remove it yourself. In the middle of a rack, on the bone side, insert a fork tine between the membrane and the meat. Work a finger in to help separate the membrane. Use a paper towel for a better grip; gently begin peeling it off, trying not to rip it. If patient, you should be able to pull it all off in one long strip.         

Preheat the grill to medium 275-300F. Grill ribs for two hours on medium tuning once after first hour. Once the ribs have some char and color, enclose in a double wrap of heavy duty tinfoil. It is important to seal these so the moisture stays in while baking.
Pre-heat oven to 275 F.
Bake at 275 F for two hours. Let rest wrapped for 20 minutes, serve with one or more sauces on the side.

Mesquite and Chilies Rub

A good rub is a combination of fresh spices, seasonings and herbs. Overnight is often convenient - the prep time is the same but the depth of flavor is deeper.

Sea Salt
Mesquite Smoke Flavoring
Sweet paprika
Merken1 Mapuche Chile
Ground Pasilla Chile
Chile chipotle
Garlic powder
Black and white pepper
Onion powder
Sage
Thyme
Ground Makrut2 lime powder
Cascabel Chile

Notes:
  1. Merken is a traditional Chilean seasoning created by the indigenous Mapuche people. The local version is made from Goat’s Horn chile (aji cacho de cabra), which is mildly spicy and smoky, but not nearly as strong as chipotle.
  2. Makrut lime leaves are indigenous to Southeast Asia. Many of the trees now thrive in Hawaii. They have a citrus-like, floral aroma and impart a unique flavor.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Steve’s Fabulous Steak Sauce

The color of this sauce is a dark chocolate brown and the flavor not only outstanding on meat but promotes the meat’s flavor marriage to big red wines.  I use an immersion blender to process the sauce until very fine. If the destination includes small-necked bottles, you may want to consider a course strainer to remove any large bits, which may impede the pour ability. I think the exercise of making a sauce like this is a good one for any chef who may need more faith in their abilities. Achieving this sauce may seem almost magical. Originally, I was intending to mimic A1 Sauce, which is very good. Now, I much prefer this one.


If making a hot and mild version, consider doubling the recipe and split the sauce before adding all of the hot pepper. The sauce is so good that it goes quickly so consider doubling the recipe.

1 Chopped onion
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Small can tomato paste
Start with 1 cup of water (add more and sauce cooks and to adjust thickness)
2/3 Cup orange juice
1 Teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce
1/8 Cup red wine vinegar
½ Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup sugar or enough to correct the sweetness
½ Teaspoon of ground ginger to start (adjust to taste)
1/8 Cup lime juice (juice from two limes)
1/8 Teaspoon of ground cloves
1/8 Teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
½ Teaspoon of ground mustard
1½ Cup raisins
½ Cup orange honey
2 Cloves crushed chopped garlic
6-7 Tablespoons of tamarind paste1
1 Tablespoon ground orange rind
White pepper, black and red pepper to taste
Pinch of thyme
Salt to taste

Sauté 1 chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until onion is translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Cook 1 minute then combine tomato paste, raisins, tamarind paste, lime juice, vinegar, honey and water. Cook down, adding water as necessary, until well blended, about a half an hour. Using a hand-held post blender, blend all the ingredients finely.  Add water as necessary to thin the sauce as it thickens at this stage. Add all other ingredients and cook another 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt, sugar, vinegar levels as necessary. When cool, pour the sauce into canning jars, tightly fit the lids, and sterilize the sealed jars in boiling water for an hour.  The sauce is now ready for long-term storage.  The flavor will deepen and further develop with age.

Note

1.        The paste of the tamarind in 1 pound blocks can be found in Asian markets offering Thai ingredients. Alternatively, use fresh tamarind pods, discard the outer pods, filaments, and seed pods. Softening these by boiling them in a bit of hot water wage makes the paste easier to work with.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hadaegh Ardeshir Persian Shiraz Salad

Many of the Persian dishes Hadaegh Ardeshir taught me are both simple and delightful. Shiraz, Iran is one of the most celebrated cities in the world of Islam. Shiraz City booms with sophistication and has been known as the heartland of Persian culture for over 2000 years. Located in the southeast of Iran, Shiraz city is the capital of Fars Province and has an estimated population of 1,500,000.
 
Shiraz considered to be the city of gardens, due to the
many gardens and fruit trees in the city.

Chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. Sometime herbs such as Persian mint are added. This is easy, refreshing, and goes well with practically anything.