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Big Bunny

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  1. In the late 80's Ken Hom wrote "Fragrant Harbor Taste: The New Chinese Cooking of Hong Kong" and "Ken Hom's East Meets West Cuisine: An American Chef Redefines the Food Styles of Two Cultures." I love to cook and eat Chinese food - try to do so as "authentically" as possible. Mr. Hom's "Hong Kong" book shows that all sorts of ideas can find their way into Chinese kitchens, and "East meets West" takes these ideas closer to the "fusion" approaches which were popular fifteen years ago. Ken Hom is talented, creative and articulate. He has also studied both Asian and European cuisines in depth. As much as I love to learn all about the inner workings of Chinese farms and kitchens, I also love to see someone who understands the "inner workings" of food develop his own ideas. BB
  2. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (really!) BB
  3. Over the years, as I have studied Chinese cooking, I have tried to "pick up" as much vocabulary as possible. Because I am always trying some new cuisine, I forget what I have learned about each cuisine as I immerse myself in the next. I will now try to remember "dun" and "zheng." As many times as I have done them both, you would think I could remember the words by now. So, stated more clearly, a small crock pot is probably a good tool for "dun", but not as good for "zheng." Of course, there will be many experiments ahead. Mainly, I hope to try more of the long-steamed dishes that used to keep me trapped on weekend afternoons. BB
  4. When I steam these dishes, I use a sealed stainless container with a clamp-on lid. The food cooks perfectly, even though no steam gets into the food itself. I think that the small crock pot would give very similar results because the lack of steam is not of consequence. It would be interesting to know exactly what the temperature inside the sealed container is. It must be less than 212 degrees, because I have never experienced any pressure release when I open the lid. BB
  5. Hi, Ben! The little crockpot I have holds 1.5 quarts and has a "high" and a "low" setting. On the high setting I get a mild simmer - I don't know the temperature of the low setting. The simmer was great for the fungus, but my guess is that pork belly would cook better on the low setting. This would probably take much longer than steaming, but would have the advantage of not needing attention for three hours. My bet is that dishes like belly in soy sauce, sugar and chestnuts might even be better with this longer process. When I have had a chance to try I'll report back. BB
  6. Yesterday I did the same soup for 3 hours on high. That works well - I got the nice gelatinous texture I wanted from the fungus. This is an excellent dish, considering how simple it is. I plan to experiment with some of the Shanghai pork recipes soon, but right now I am busy exploring "Land of Plenty." BB
  7. I did soak the fungus, then cooked it for 2 hours, as specified in the recipe. Apparently the crock pot is "gentler" than steaming. Please forgive my vagueness. By "without a lid" I meant those dishes steamed in an open bowl, where the steam goes up and over the food. Of course there is a lid on the steamer. It seems to me that the crock pot would be more appropriate for things that are steamed in a covered bowl. I used a little, one quart crock pot. Thanks for the tip about the thermal pot. I have used a traditional steamer for years, but the crock pots are a "new toy." I love the braised/steamed pork dishes in Wei-Chuan's "Shanghai Style" book, but rarely have time to tend the steamer for two or three hours. BB
  8. Last week I cooked Fuchsia Dunlop's version of sweet soup with silver fungus. She mentioned in passing that a friend of hers had good luck using a crock pot for this dish, so I tried that. It worked well, although I think that I could have left it to cook longer. I know that the crock pot would not be appropriate for dishes steamed without a lid, but might be a good way to do long-cooked, covered dishes. Has anyone tried this? I am particularly thinking of some of the pork-belly dishes I have done which are delicious but keep me tied to the kitchen on a busy weekend. BB
  9. One of my favorite sushi bars has a big TV behind the counter. Sometimes it is off, but I have stopped going there because of the gamble that it might be on, and loud. I always think of sushi chefs a entertainers. Why would they want competition? BB
  10. In her vegetarian cookbook, Florence Lin gives a recipe for soy sauce pickles. Essentially, thin slices of a crisp vegetable are sprinkled with sugar and salt, then allowed to "weep." These are then kept in soy sauce (do not rinse.) Kohlrabi done this way is wonderful with jook and stays crisp "forever". BB
  11. Just thinking about twinkies makes my teeth hurt. BB
  12. I've occasionally had deep-fried wontons filled with cream cheese and curry powder or brie and dried tomatoes. Not AT ALL traditional, but quite good. BB
  13. I'll put a padlock on my fridge! BB
  14. After sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, the cloudy matter had all settled on the bottom. I was able to ladle off nearly two quarts. After that, the ladle came too close to the "lees" and it was impossible to get clear tepache. It might have been possible to get another pint-or-so somehow, but I am happy with what I have. This sediment flows right through a doubled cheese cloth, but completely stops up a coffee filter. BB
  15. Annabel Jackson, Taste of Macau: Portuguese Cuisine on the China Coast Grace Young, The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore I have had "Macau" since last spring, "Wok" for about two weeks. Although the subjects of these books are entirely different, they both are ultimately about "real people" dealing with food traditions in changing times. Each book combines stories about the people involved with a few well-chosen recipes. Most of the recipes are from the people in the book, edited by the author. So far, I have done eight recipes from "Macau" and three from "Wok." These have all been well written, fairly easy, and have provided good eating. The special dimension is the insights into the lives of the contemporary people who have contributed family favorites. Of course, you will also learn about Macau and woks. The combination of recipes and essays makes each book a "must have" for an arm-chair traveller like me. BB
  16. Crystallized (candied) ginger is a staple at Chinese groceries. As you know, orange-blossom water is a Middle-Eastern staple, like rose water. Whenever I see one, I imagine substituting the other. In her Sichuan cookbook, "Land of Plenty", Fuchsia Dunlop gives a recipe in which sweet-potato puffs are garnished with rose water, so it seemed reasonable to add orange blossom to the kulfi. Besides, I think of ginger and citrus as one of the great natural combinations. BB
  17. Over the weekend I used an adaptation of this recipe with a simple Chinese meal: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...74entry706774 I substituted chopped crystallized ginger for the cardamom, an garnished the kulfi with orange blossom water. It worked beautifully, and paired nicely with the Chinese dishes. BB
  18. When this discussion was new, I asked a local merchant to recommend a wine to go with Chinese food. Among other things, I got a bottle of Bonny Doon "Pacific Rim Dry Riesling." Over the weekend I had a chance to try this with a simple Chinese meal. The dishes were slightly "unbalanced" - a stir-fry and two steamed dishes, but there was a good variety of flavors to taste with the wine. These recipes are all from Grace Young's new Book "Breath of a Wok:" Stir-fried Corn and Green Beans Silken Tofu Steamed with XO Sauce Chicken Legs Steamed with Fermented Tofu It is well known that a Riesling goes with spicy food, but Chinese cuisine has many complex flavors. In this case there is the "fishyness" of XO, and the "earthyness" of the fermented tofu. The wine was good with the meal, mostly by not being too challenging. In fact, though, as carswell has mentioned no wine will go equally well with a varied spread of Chinese dishes. The XO seemed to "want" something crisper. I am still pondering the chicken dish. I love fermented tofu, and the sauce here is wonderful and deep - I have to experiment. A good South American red might work, but balance would be tricky. I finished the meal with an adaptation of Monica Bhide's kulfi - substituted minced crystallized ginger for cardamom, and garnished with orange blossom water. I sipped the last of the wine with this. Somehow, the wine seemed to "fight" with the orange blossom after-taste, but mostly it went well with the whole meal. BB
  19. I like fruitcake and I like moon cakes. Even the "bad" ones are kinda good. BB [spelling]
  20. Authenticity was important thirty years ago when we were becoming aware of "un-Americanized" cuisines. While groping for a better understanding of foods of the world, we became impatient with substitutes and, sometimes, over-zealous in our search for the "real thing." Gary's mention of the 50's diner shows the paradox of trying to nail things down. If the diner serves "authentic" 50's food, does it still serve "authentic" American food? Of course, we imagine that there are classics, that don't evolve - but I suspect that these are really rare. Few "classics" in any cuisine are more than a century old. BB
  21. The best cookbook holder really depends on the layout of the kitchen. In one apartment, I sometimes used a music stand and clothes pins. BB
  22. This is a favorite childhood memory. I haven't had a sandwich like this in decades. Peanut butter and banana on toasted raisin bread - especially the store-bought raisin bread with white frosting. BB
  23. The barley is added with brown sugar/piloncillo after the pineapple has spent a couple of days in water with spices. Since the barley is there when the sugar "feeds" the pineapple, it takes part in what little fermentation there is. It does give a sort of earthy/barley flavor. I am not really sure of its real significance. I have some recipes that don't use barley, but haven't tried these yet. They usually add beer as an option, so I guess the point is to get "grain" into the mix, by whatever means. Ortiz' recipe uses a whole pineapple, so the flavor is quite nice. Other recipes use just the rind. The next time I use a pineapple for "whatever" I will have to give one of them a try. I have seen references to tepache originally being made with corn, but I have no idea what that process is. BB
  24. I have just made a batch of pineapple and barley tepache using a recipe from Elizabeth Ortiz. I made the same recipe two years ago, and it came out the same way. It has a nice flavor, and just a slight "buzz", if any. My question concerns the sediment. There is a thickish "fog" of it, which I cannot decide about. Should I make a greater effort to remove this, or is it just part of the drink - sort-of like cider? It passes right through doubled cheesecloth. It would probably have to be forced through something finer. BB
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