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Big Bunny

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  1. P.S. Any recipe recommendations from the book, i.e., which recipe should I start with? I've only cooked Chinese food successfully a handful of times.

    I don't have the book here, but her tofu recipes are great, especially "ma po", and "yu xiang."

    I really liked her beef stew with "lo bok"/daikon.

    The street food and dumpling recipes are good, too.

    I have done about three dozen recipes from this book, all were at least quite good.

    It will give you practice in finding ingredients, though.


  2. I have to tell this story.

    Years ago, I would spend Saturday cooking - making "leftovers" for the rest of the week. Sometimes this would lead to a good Saturday lunch.

    One time, I had made a steamed whole fish, and had to put half of it into the frij. Knowing the tradition, I paused for a second to decide whether or not to flip the fish as I put it into the container.

    I did NOT flip the fish.

    This became important to me later on that afternoon. There was a news story on the radio that the boat of two local fisherman had flipped over. One of them drowned.

    If I HAD flipped the fish, I probably would never have gotten over it.


  3. I made this yesterday with home-salted chicken eggs, but no shrimp or other salt. I left the eggs out over night with the soaking con poy. Everything was room temperature and ready in the morning.

    I made two minor mistakes:

    1) used a too-small bowl

    2) hade the heat a bit too high

    It was still delicious over rice. I intend to experiment with this a bit more, although I really shouldn't eat so many eggs.


  4. I usually blanch in batches. I have never timed myself, but two or three batches seems just as fast as waiting for the water to boil when I thow in everything at once.

    A Chinese-style "chicken wire" strainer makes the whole process fairly efficient.

    The thing I blanch most ofteen is string beans for stir-frying. The change to bright green is pretty clear.


  5. I think that part of the "lesson" of this thread is that one cookbook rarely covers a subject. Mexico is too big for one cookbook, or one author.

    I have a good selection of books by Bayless and Kennedy (as well as others), but I really enjoy cooking from "The New Complete Book of Mexican Cooking" by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz.

    It is a reprint of the classic paperback. Although I have a good selection of books, I only actually "cook Mexican" occasionally. Ortiz' book often has the recipe I like best.

    Unfortunately it is out of print, and getting expensve.


  6. I get a kick out of this discussion. My father was a professional photographer and would give me cameras in the hope that I would become interested.

    One of two things would happen:

    1) I would shoot one or two rolls and lose the camera.

    2) I would take the camera apart to see how it worked.

    Some people just love to photograph, and some don't. I really enjoy seeing photos of food, but can't imagine that I would ever take pictures myself.


  7. Over the weekend I read Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China by Jen Lin-Liu. The author is a free-lance journalist. Raised in Southern California, she now lives in Beijing.

    On the way to starting her own cooking school, she goes to a cooking school then apprentices at various shops and restaurants, learning about "the industry" and meeting cooks and other food-service people along the way.

    What makes this book a joy to read is that a few of these people become important parts of the author's life, and she weaves there stories very successfully into her own adventures. Her writing helps you understand the food scene at the same time that you develop sympathy for the people who are part of it.

    Of course, there are recipes.

    Because I collect books about Chinese cooking, I look forward to the seeing what books will result from the interest generated by the Olympics. This one will be hard to top.


  8. Does anyone have suggestions for substitutions that have worked?

    A quality, medium-dry sherry can sub for shaoxing. The difference is noticeable, but the food will be quite good. I like Lustau Amontillado.

    In Chinese cooking "wine" may sometimes mean something stronger. There are no subs for "gaoliang liquor" or "rose wine", but Scotch can be quite good in some Shanghainese steamed pork dishes. Sometimes vodka is o.k. if the dish just needs some extra zip.


  9. Really?! Interesting.  I never thought to use Angel Hair for that dish.  I usually use cellophane or yam potato noodles for that.  Do you have a pic to share with us?  :smile:

    I don't currently have a working camera.

    Many stir-fries make good "spaghetti sauce."

    Of course, the transparent noodles add to the effect, and I wouldn't want to alter a classic.

    However, good pasta is amazing in its ability to go well with almost anything.


  10. I guess I wasn't clear about the second infusion.

    I would discard the water from the first infusion, hopefully leaving milder leaves.

    The question I see is whether one can remove bitterness without removing too much flavor.


  11. I'm like a magpie for brightly colored tins.

    Dust is an eternal problem in my apartment, so I keep everything in some sort of container - thus a use for my pretty tins.

    The square tins moon cakes come in are especially useful and attractive.

    By the way, package design is an art, if a rather minor one. Sometimes the art is more apparent than others.


  12. I have stumbled into this discussion out of curiosity.

    Although I don't generally drink mixed drinks, I am fascinated by the whole idea of mixing flavors.

    The question of too much "tannin" comes up often. In China, tea leaves are often left in the cup and more boiling water added as the tea is drunk.

    At lease some authorities say the second and third infusions are better than the first. Perhaps some sort of pre-brewing would make better infusions.

    This seems to lead to two possibilities:

    1) Re-drying the leaves to prevent diluting the infusion.

    2) Use of grain alcohol to compensate for the water.

    Of course there is lots of room to experiment with temperature and time, but I would guess that 1 minute in boiling water would reduce bitterness considerably.


  13. ...  On my last visit there I had picked up Barbara Tropp's "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking"

    ...  This is Kenneth Lo's book, "Chinese Regional Cooking."

    ...  "The Key to Chinese Cooking" by Isabelle Chang

    ... "Don't Lick the Chopsticks" by the "Ma" family

    ... "Long-Life Chinese Cookbook" by Madame Wong

    ... "Far East Cafe" by Joyce Jue

    ...  and "The Cooking of China" by Emily Hahn.

    .... "The Classic Food of China" by Yan Kit So

    Just some quick thoughts before I get to work:

    Barbara Tropp's book is a "must have".

    Kenneth Lo's books are wide-ranging, but I rarely use his recipes.

    I don't know the Isabelle Chang book. There is a book with the same title by Irene Kuo which is superb.

    The Ma family books are great for insights into everyday cooking in a interesting family. Daughters have married and moved and blended influences with what they learned at home.

    "Far East Cafe" is not just Chinese, but is an excellent book. I use her recipe for "char siu" (roast pork.)

    Emily Hahn - The Time-Life books are great for their time (Or is this another book by the same author?). I have yet to cook from this book.

    Yan Kit So's books are excellent - available new for reasonable prices.


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