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Posts posted by annachan

  1. I'm most familiar with it in the dish of pig's feet with ginger that is traditionally fed to new mothers to help heat their bodies. Fortunately (or not), this delicious dish was never made specifically for me but I've eaten lots of it because all my aunties were having babies when I was growing up, and now my friends are.

    I totally forgot about that. Even though I shouldn't, since my mom makes this all the time. It's not that anyone has had a child, we just love this stuff....

  2. When I was small, I remember on one occasion how all the adults were making such a big deal about having crystal fungus for lunch because of how expensive it was and so on. I didn't see what the big deal was, it was almost completely tasteless and had a wierd texture and I think I made my parents rather angry by saying it tasted disgusting.

    Now that it's become cheap and ubiquitious, I don't think anyone I know eats it anymore because it tastes like nothing.

    I happen to love crystal fungus in soups and dessert soups. It is kind of bland, but has a great texture.

    I also love wood ear. My grandmother used to stir fry wood ear with "golden needle" (a dried vegetable of sort) with chicken wings. My mom tends to put it in stew with mushroom and pork/spare ribs.

  3. My husband and I were there for Valentine's Day last year. The food was wonderful! It's a little pricey, $90 per person, but worth it. Other than the 5 courses we had, there was also an amuse bouche and a cookie platter that arrived after dessert.

    Wine is the most expensive there. Most bottles are in the hundred range with quite a few in the thousand range and even some in the ten-thousand range. We were big on drinking that night so we just got 2 glasses, which came to almost $100. I was wondering why so many people brought their own wine and pay cockage. I understood when I saw the bill....

  4. I'm doing a very good friend's wedding cake. It's just going to be them and my husband and me, so it's just one 6-inch cake. No tiers, only one chance at flavor combinations. I've asked her what kinds of flavors she likes, and here's her response:
    Still thinking about cakes! There are so many options; it's hard to zero in on one. I like these tastes:  vanilla creme brulee, carmel, hazlenut, orange/blood orange, pomegranate, plum, apricot, raspberry (ALL berries in fact), mango. We also love grapefruit! I think passion fruit sounds amazing. Mango and raspberry would look great together,..not sure about the right combination of any of the tastes...Any more suggestions?

    The cake's going to be a basic genoise. Since they don't drink, I can't use any alcohol either to flavor the fillings or the syrup for the cake layers. The outside will be a basic IM buttercream.

    Based on her suggestions, these are my thoughts: crème brulée is out (though we are having them to dinner the night before, and I will probably make that for dessert that night). Pomegranates and oranges/blood oranges seem more wintery to me, and plums and apricots strike me as being better suited to tarts. That leaves me with caramel, hazelnut, berries, mango, and passion fruit. The grapefruit thing throws me, as well. I could do a grapefruit curd, but can't possibly imagine it being very tasty as a cake filling.

    The cake will likely be six layers, so there are five layers of filling. I could swap out a couple of layers of cake for a hazelnut dacquoise and do a caramel mousse filling, or do a hazelnut praline mousse filling, or mix fruits: raspberry + mango, mango + passion fruit, raspberry + apricot.

    My friend is right. The possibilities are endless. :wacko: Do you all have suggestions to help me clear my head?

    Chocolate cake with hazelnut buttercream....that's what I had for my wedding cake....

  5. I just had a slice of one those lovely Chinese layered sponge cakes with fresh cream and fruit.  Does anyone have a decent recipe for this particular kind of sponge cake?  The texture is so incredibly fine and light that I'm really curious to know how Chinese bakeries/pastry shops make them.

    Do tell.

    I have a sponge cake recipe that is similar (but not exactly) to the ones you get @ Chinese Bakeries.

    1 cup Softasilk (cake flour)

    1 cup sugar

    6 eggs, separated

    1 tsp vanilla

    1/4 cup cold water

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp cream of tartar

    Preheat oven to 325.

    Beat egg yolk and sugar till creamy. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and water alternately till mixed well.

    In a spearate bowl, beat egg white till foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peak.

    Fold egg white into batter in batches.

    Pour into ungreased angel food cake pan.

    Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

    Turn upside-down to cool.

    Because there's no oil in the cake, it does stick to the pan. Just use a knife to careful go around the pan. It helps if you use a pan that has a removable bottom.

  6. After having some friends over and ordering thai food, i was going through the left overs.. I looked at two empty containers, one containing massaman curry, the other a green curry.. I threw them out.. What would should i have done instead...


    Next time, save them and toss them with some cooked noodle the next day. Add meat/vegetables if you like.

  7. I am planning on serving the following menu for a "carpet picnic" (too hot and disgusting here in Manhattan to eat outside) on July 4th:


    Cold roast chicken

    Green salad with creamy mustard vinaigrette

    Cool steamed asparagus with herb mayonnaise

    Chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches

    I'm trying to figure out what herbs to add to the mayonnaise served with the asaparagus...

    Any thoughts?

    I like thining the mayo out with some seasoned/garlic rice vinegar. Another idea is to use olive oil as a base instead of mayo. I have a lime olive oil that works great. i can imagine a hazelnut oil or truffle oil would work well.

  8. out of all the meat and carbs(rice, bread, potatos, mac salad, etc) i should include some greens. the local farmers market had a whole bag of green beans for cheap.

    so anyways, i was planning on throwing in the beans in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, take them out, then tossing them in a skillet with some butter and kosher salt for a minute or 2...

    will this come out right? something simple? or any other things i can do to it to flavorize them?


    That should come out fine, but I would add garlic and maybe some shallots as well.

    I also like to prepare green beans with onion and garlic with crushed tomatoes, like a stew.

  9. Warning:  I am not Thomas Keller.  (I almost hate to post this, as I've received e-mail in the past telling me my food was pedestrian and not up to the eG standard, but I figure they can just naff off if they don't like it.)

    I use the crock pot for onion soup all the time.  My basic recipe -- change it as you see fit, use what stock or flavoring you like, I'm not territorial:

    Slice a LOT of onions -- enough to completely fill your crock pot, really packing them in.  Add one stick of butter or parve margerine, a good amount of salt and pepper, two large whole cloves of garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.  Turn the crock pot on low and walk away for 18 hours.  The onions will be mahogany colored and your house will smell divine.

    Add stock.  Whatever you like.  I have used chicken, beef, veal, a combination of the above, and good quality vegetable.  All have their good points.  When I can, I use half chicken and half beef.  I like the lighter flavor.  You'll know how much stock you'll need.  I won't.  Also add a few springs of thyme and 1/2 cup or so of a decent wine -- red or white, doesn't matter.  I've used both and they both work.  Just make sure it's drinkable.  Leave it for another hour or two on low.  Taste for seasoning.  You may need to add a little water.  Do whatever you have to do.  Then proceed with the croute, etc.

    I like the crock pot method as well. Instead of cutting up the onion, I've actually just peeled them and left them whole. I haven't tried it with the seasonings in the pot, just onion and butter, and then season later. When the onions are nice and carmelized, I transfer them and the juices to a pot and add stock, seasoning, and sometimes wine. It's divine!

  10. In theory eGullet caters to people of all levels--as long as you eat you might be reading or posting here.  But I think that no matter what, there's always a level of intimidation in posting really simple cooking questions.

    Sometimes it's just a case of having a little hole--a knowledge gap--in something really basic.  You might be a real ace as a cook but have some single simple embarrassing gap that you've never managed to fill.  Or sometimes it's the case that a user may be something of a "professional" restaurant patron and a total amateur at creating anything themselves.

    I see this thread as an opportunity for people in this position to band together rather than hiding in the shadows.  Sure, you may be putting yourself out there, but you will be in good company!

    I'm talking about the REALLY simple things--the things that can likely be answered with a yes or no, or maybe a few sentences.  Stuff you might have easily learned from Mom, if you'd listened, or Google, if you are a really really good searcher, or Home Ec. class if you hadn't taken Shop class instead.  But probably too damn simple for most cookbooks.

    Okay, I suppose I'll have to take a stab at it, and then after someone answers another person can ask their "stupid" question in turn and wait for their answer (I'm putting "stupid" in quotes, because hey... you know that they say...  there are no stupid questions, only... oh, never mind).

    When you boil pasta you sometimes get a nice sticky glutenous coating all over it--even if the pasta still seems al dente otherwise.  Does this mean that you did something wrong?  Overcooked it?  Didn't stir enough?  Had it boiling too furiously?  Bought bad pasta?  Should you be washing that coating off afterwards or just leaving it be?

    I've found that the lower quality pasta does that. I used to get Barilla's (sp?), which is a good quality at its price. Then I discovered Trader Joe's pasta. It even cheaper ($0.69 for a pound) and it's comparable to Barilla's.

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