About Mastering and Enjoying Home Cooking. Drink, Cook, and Live Well!

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Steve"s Mole


2 tblsp guajillo powder

1 tblsp ancho powder

4 cups home made chicken stock

3 tomatillas,  cut in half 

2 tomatoes, cut in half

2 tablespoon Manteca ( lard )

1 onion, halved and thickly  sliced

½ head garlic, peeled and sliced

⅓ cup chopped peanuts

¼ cup raisins

2 tsp cumin 

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tblsp allspice 

5 whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise

5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons white sugar

Water as required

1 teaspoon salt

Italian Roasted Eggplant


2 large eggplant 

1 vidalia onion, chopped 

4 cloves garlic,minced 

1 fresh hot red chili, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp chopped basil

1 small can tomato paste 

1 tsp salt 

Pinch of sugar or balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Preheat oven to 375°F. 
Trim the ends off the eggplant and cut lengthwise into eighths. 
Place skin side down on a baking sheet and roast until the flesh is browned.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, cook briefly. Add onion and chilies the stir fry until onions are clear. Add eggplant, 
tomato paste and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add basil, and a pinch of sugar. Toss. Add chopped basil, and correct seasonings.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Best Thai Coconut Fish Soup


Thai often combine fish flavors with lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and coconut milk. For color they use a variety of colorful vegetable and herbs.

Bruised lemon grass
2 tblsp of olive oil
1/3 cup assorted grape tomatoes
Minced garlic
Scallions separated into two portion, white, a green
Minced ginger
Sliced mushrooms 
Fish sauce
10 Snow peas
Lemon peel 
3/4 pound white flesh fish ( haddock, cod, pollock, or catfish )
8 shrimp ( prefer head on, but cleaned)
Cilantro, Thai basil and or fresh spinach add-in with greens of scallions
Coconut milk

Optionally, add bruised kaffir leaves when adding coconut milk

Heat a wok until hot, add oil, when smoking, add garlic, ginger, scallions whites, smashed lemon grass. When cooked, add tomatoes, snow peas, fish sauce, lemon, black pepper, pinch of salt, coconut milk. When hot, add fish, shrimp and cook 4 minutes. Then add cilantro,basil,scallion greens. Serve.

Tantanmen - Spicy Japanese Noodles

With a massively flavorful, spicy broth as its secret weapon, Tan Tan Ramen (Tantanmen) is a Japanese noodle soup that is certainly not for the faint of heart. The familiar aromatic combination of garlic, ginger, and scallions cozies up to the likes of miso, toasted sesame, peanuts, and Sichuan sesame paste.

1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
1 cup hot water
Soak the mushrooms in hot water 30 minutes, discarding hard parts, cut up

8 cups pork stock ( pork bones boiled 12 hour slowly)
1 1/2 cups rich chicken broth
3 tablespoons grape seed  oil
8 shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails off
2 pieces squid (tubes), cleaned and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
16 fresh bay scallops, trimmed
1/2 cup thinly sliced pork belly 
3 cups chopped napa cabbage
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, ends trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup peeled and sliced carrots
16 pea pods, trimmed of their ends
3 cups bean sprouts or waterchesnuts
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Couple of sautéed shrimp for each bowl
4 (7-ounce) pieces frozen ramen noodles
2 scallions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced on an angle

Dash of hot chili oil or Szechuan pepper

Decorate bowls with a softish egg half, steamed boy choy, few peanuts, fried squid, pan fried scallops

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Hunan Braised pork belly Hong Shao Rou from Woks of Life

Hong Shao Rou, also known as red braised pork belly, is a traditional Chinese dish from the Hunan and Zhejiang provinces that holds a special place in Shanghai cuisine. The dish features pork belly braised in a mixture of soy sauce,  caramelized sugar, and various spices, resulting in tender, flavorful meat with a glossy, caramelized coating. 

The Shanghai version consists of pork belly cut into thick pieces, caramelized sugar to achieve a signature red color and sweetness, and both light and dark soy sauces to add depth of flavor and color.

The Hunan version, which is more traditional, will also include the Shaoxing wine, a Chinese cooking wine that enhances the overall flavor, and aromatics such as ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon add complexity, dried chili peppers, bay leaves, and scallions. 

Unlike the Shanghai version, which is a mix of sweet and savory, the Hunan version is more spicy and aromatic. 

The cooking process begins with blanching the pork belly in boiling water to remove impurities. Sugar is then melted in oil to create a caramel base, and the pork is simmered in a mixture of soy sauce, wine, and spices for about an hour until it becomes tender and infused with flavor. The final step involves reducing the sauce to a thick, glossy coating on the pork.

The slow braising process ensures that the pork belly achieves a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Often served with steamed rice or vegetables to balance its richness, Hong Shao Rou is a beloved comfort food in Chinese cuisine, appreciated for its deep flavors and satisfying texture.

12 oz lean, skin-on pork belly
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp rock sugar (rock sugar is preferred or you can use granulated sugar)
3 tbsp Shaoxing wine 
Garlic, minced
Ginger, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 cups (500 ml) water

Step 1/6

Begin by slicing your pork belly into 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick pieces.

Step 2/6

Heat a pot of water until boiling, then add the pork belly pieces and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the pork from the pot, rinse it, and set it aside.

Step 3/6

Over low heat, add oil and sugar. Cook until the sugar melts slightly, then add the pork, the ginger, the garlic, Cinnamon. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the pork is lightly browned.

Step 4/6

Reduce the heat to low and add Shaoxing cooking wine,  dark soy sauce, and water. ( I pre measure the wine, soy and water in the same large measuring cup.)

Step 5/6

Cover the wok* and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the pork is meltingly tender. 

Stir every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning, and add more water if it becomes too dry.

Step 6/6

Once the pork is done, if there is still a lot of liquid, uncover the wok, increase the heat, and stir continuously until the sauce reduces to a syrupy consistency. Serve with white rice.

* A flat cover smaller than the wok will also work, to retain steam.

Shaoxing Wine

Monday, June 3, 2024

Bok Choy


1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 or more slices of fresh ginger, smashed, then chopped finely

8 heads baby bok choy, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

Sea salt or  soy to taste

Cook in boiling water til just tender. In a fry pan, heat the pan, when hot, add the garlic and ginger. Stir with a chopstick. Add the cut up choy. Stir or toss  to coat. Eat over steam white rice

Snap Pea Salad

 Nothing is fresher from the garden that is hardy even sweeter than snap pea greens. The nice thing about harvesting them is that the grow back rapidly and I include snap peas too. Combine with other favorite green and enjoy as a salad to company.

Preparing Artichoke so they Look Great


The ingredients are best of the start of the season which starts in spring. The first crop of artichoke yields the fattest chokes. The stem are giant, so you going to haft to peel the stem and discard the small leaves at the stem of the flower. Cut a lemon if half. Now trim each petal by cutting off the top quarter of each leave one leaf at a time. Don’t cut into its neighbor. Now, using a serrated knife, chop off the top of the choke, bend the choke to the cutting board so you trim the top of the choke evenly. Now cut off the stem, leaving only 1/2 an inch stub. Rub the cut with lemon to prevent discoloration.
Fresh globe artichoke

Cook for 1 1/2 hour or until tender.

Chill for a couple of hours. Serve with ramekins of butter, a a mustard mayonnaise.