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Everything posted by basquecook

  1. That looks beautiful Franci. My trouble is, I make the beet ravioli with homemade ricotta cheese.. They are extremely fragile, they often leak which melts the pasta dough and they break open during boiling. Then, the water is cloudy and I can't see what the heck is going on. I am catering a large wedding next week and have to make a couple hundred of these guys. I would love the recipe if you have it. Last night, we were getting ready for an event this weekend. Friend of mine knows the people who work at the garden at Rutgers. They gave me a huge bag of peppers. Ghost Chiles and Habaneros. I made a basic hot sauce base. Boiled carrots, white vinegar, garlic and onions, added some orange juice, sugar and salt, then a ton of peppers.. Simmered for about 25 minutes and the blended. Once I had the base, I mixed brown sugar and fish sauce into on of the jars to test. It was delicious. I am going put this in little bottles and give it out to some people. Started the Demi Glace last night Made a roasted vegetable stock as well and a shrimp stock and a chicken stock. Dinner last night was the last of the pea shoots. Miso glazed scallops. They were terrible. They were those wet scallops. I don't think I have ever had them before but, was hoping they would be good. They were from this Spanish only speaking fish shop in Elizabeth. They leaked water and then fell apart. I don't know who would think that is ok to treat a scallop like that. Pea shoots were really good. Pork chop for the little one. Double thick pork chop, internal temp was 128.
  2. Simple and fun dinner tonight. We are recipe testing various things so, we just wanted to make a quick dinner.. Stopped by the market on Mott Street, NYC. Picked up peashoots, live shrimp, Chinese Sausage and a salmon steak for Miss k. pea shoots, sugar, shoaxing, chicken stock, sweet soy, shot of vinegar. Pound of live shrimp. ginger, garlic (thought i had scallion but, didn't)fermented black bean, chicken stock, sugar, salt, soy, shoaling. caught a few jumping out of the pan
  3. Thank you. I go back three times a year or so. I am in the middle of a pretty interesting work project on the home front so, I may only go back twice this year. I just picked up a new customer in Qingdao so that is cool, I may go up to Beijing for a little bit. I really want to try to get over to Yili to see the Lavender fields. But, we shall see what this year has in store.
  4. Hey thanks.. It was certainly fun sharing this with most of you. I kind of got distracted and ran out of steam.. Thanks for coming along with me. If I ever got motivated I will finish this up. Thanks again.
  5. November 30th, I have a 130 person wedding, they too would like ravioli. The scary thing is, we are making a ricotta and beet. Beet ravioli is tough as they bleed and are very fragile. Too hot they melt, to cold, they crack. It's going to take me at least 6 hours of straight ravioli making. I am dreading it.
  6. Catered a 40th wedding anniversary party for a little over 50 people.. They wanted stations, passed hors devours and then a brief dinner with more platters and chafing dish stations. The couple met in Maryland. They had a beautiful loft in the flatiron district. It was mainly a crowd of actors and theater people as that was the couple's profession. They were not really into food but, enjoyed crab. We normally make a menu with the customer, we prefer to make our own but, when we have a few meetings with the people, we get an idea and eventually like to create a menu. These particular people were very adamant about a few things.. We had to have crab cakes, crab dip, there were vegans coming, they wanted a cheese plate, they wanted smoked pulled pork, some hand made pasta the rest was really up to us. We sort of created the menu prior to heading to the space. They told us the apartment was huge so we figured it would have a huge kitchen. We were wrong, the oven was 12.5 inches wide and 17 inches deep. They also had a toaster oven and four burners. One small sink. This definitely posed an issue. We started with these really cool shot glass looking guys filled with a fall soup of butternut squash, sweet potato, apple, ruttabaga, yams, carrots. We finished the soup with cream and maple syrup, topped with cayenne and served with a peanut butter cookie cooked with foie gras in the dough and then filled with a foie gras mousse. Sort of like a foie gras peanut butter oreo. For the vegan was served a gingersnap cookie and just finished the soup with maple syrup. The soup was roasted, then blended, put through a China Hat twice. One of the only photos.. If not the only photo. Egg shells cut off, a custard was made in the shell, a roasted mushroom, a spear of chive and shaving of black truffle. That was left over that came back into the kitchen after the night. Ravioli for 50 was a challenge. Vegan was water and flour pasta dough, filled with sweet potaotes mixed with a cashew ricotta we made, toasted pecans, a match sticked apple slices topped with a sage olive oil. Non vegan was homemade ricotta, roasted sweet potato, ravioli, topped with toasted pecans, match sticked apples and shaved 5 year gouda and brown butter. We served in platers. Having 4 burners going at once, we were making 15 ravioli at a time, per pot. So it was like 2.5 rounds. Made them the night before and kept in the fridge. We made roasted cauliflower, roasted red and golden beets on a huge plater with dollops of cashew ricotta and topped with a gremolita of scallions, parsley, lemon and raw garlic. Cheese plates were fairly impressive. Vegetable crudites with vegan and regular mint dipping sauces.. I actually preferred our vegan dip and I couldn't believe it. We hallowed out a few different types of squash for the dip containers. Mini crab cakes, whole lump mixed with backfin, homemade bread crumbs, fried in clarified butter. Topped with a homemade mustard, togarashi, micro greens. There was a whole thing of crostinis. Salt cod and potato brandade topped with a home made pickled cherry pepper, vegan lentil crostini, shrimp and avacado (as requested) Crab dip was a huge amount of lump and back fin. Topped with a sharp cheedar cheese. We made homemade pita chips to serve with it. Smoked pork brined for 2 days, rubbed for a day, smoked for 10 hours. Got up at 430 to start smoking, happy it started raining. I am sure I am forgetting things. Long day, 23 hour day of cooking. I could barely walk Sunday.
  7. Due to my weird sleep schedule, i was up two nights ago around 4 am. I was inspired to make ravioli filling with some ground veal and rabbit livers I had in the fridge. added onion, garlic, tomato paste, Chinese Cooking wine, milk, parm and thyme. After the filling was done, i made the pasta dough, then some lunches a breakfast and there was nothing left to cook in the house. Got home last night around 730 after a beautiful sunset and made the ravioli. Served with a butter sage sauce: Roasted snapper and broccoli rabe:
  8. tonight was a mix match of meals.. we were making sardines for dinner. Sardines and a salad.. But, last minute, inlaws came over. we started with the leftover pate, i had a ball of ricotta hanging in cheesecloth for a day.. so, i just baked the ball in a 400 degree oven for an hour. roasted and breaded clams, brussel sprouts, bought steaks, roasted leftover squash and miss a made a key lime pie. sardines: sardines grilled served with watercress salad. Plain old baked ricottoa clams prebaked more steak and bone marrow: happy inlaws, happy wife, happy life. life is good
  9. We started with some spicy duck web: Shredded bean curd: In a sesame oil Spicy pig stomach: served with some chinese vinegar. This is interesting.. It was beef with noodles in a Coconut Broth. I asked my guy if this was Chinese and he was pretty adamant about saying yes. Though, these guys are pretty nationalistic. There was some sort of pause during the conversation when I was telling them that Dodge was an American Company . I think they were like, yeh, right, let this stupid American think they invented everything. Pork Buns: steamed and then browned on the bottom with sesame seeds: More of the reddish green greens. Beijing Duck: It was not the best but, it was not bad. Crispy skin, juicy meat, what's not to like. Sliced fish with fresh bamboo.. One thing I missed about Chinese Cuisine in China is the access to Fresh Bamboo.. Nothing beats it, it is so awesome. Everyone full yet? But wait, there's more: Clear rice noodle with crab.. The crab was cooked in the noodles in such a way that much of the flavor of the crab was imparted in the noodles. Kind of like a crab rice. there is also mushrooms in the sauce. Crab meat was wonderful.. i love dipping crab into the vinegar. More duck soup. Lots of duck soup.. This was one of the more complete Yangzhou rices I have had so far. Little pieces of thousand year old eggs, little shrimp, bits of eggs, peas, carrots, some onions.. Delicious. Best fried rice I have had by a long shot. The egg was ribboned through out the dish. I don't know how they could have done that.
  10. I requested we go for some Sichuan Food:Thick gluttonous noodles with the classic Sichuan Combination of hot and a little vinegar This was one of the better dishes of the night: Interesting.. there were a lot of pine nuts in this dish: Little pieces of lamb Sliced fish in spicy broth: \ This was my favorite dish of the night.. It was little bits of chicken on the bone served with something similar if not exactly like yucca.It was served in a spicy and fatty chicken broth.. This, chinese rice wine, airborne and nyquil make for a lovely cold remedy.This dish was awesome. Fried live shrimp on a skewer.. This is just like the little shrimp I get in chinatown. The were sweet and delicious. Cumin lamb ribs with peanuts and peppers.. Amazing too A little cold goose never hurt nobody Spicy tofu: Not a bad dinner for 4,I think it came out to something like 35 dollars:
  11. yup, sunflower seeds. Normally there are peanuts, this was one of the first times we were given sunflower seeds.
  12. basquecook

    La Caja Cooking

    The marinade, I just throw the pig in a huge plastic bag, triple bag it and then pour in the marinade with the pig and tie the whole thing up.. Flip every 12 hours or so.. I have a huge cooler that fits the pig. I often brine baby pigs in my house.. I have this huge pressure cooker. So, I brine the pig, seal it in the pressure cooker and then leave it on my back porch when the weather is cold enough..
  13. basquecook

    La Caja Cooking

    I have had several Caja China's over the years... I currently have two. I cater weddings and when someone wants to have a pig roast, I will often just leave the Caja at the person's home as kind of a present, if they want it. I have had more success with the skin than you. Maybe I keep it in longer.. I oil and brush the skin before the last charcoal dump and when you flip the pig. I have cooked goats in the caja as well. In terms of marinade, I like the basic Cuban Marinade. Sour Orange, or orange and lime, oregano, salt, pepper and a crap ton of garlic. I let this soak for at least two days. i may or may not cumin, i am trying to remember, it may go both ways.
  14. Love the watercress with the scallops.. I bought a few bunches this weekend at the greenmarket.. i will serve that with the sardines i bought yesterday. In terms of Paisano doing that, i always kick the guy a couple of bucks after he does it for me. Some are not excited to do it but, they will.
  15. I was picked up and taken to a group dinner at a very traditional, village type restaurant, it was described by my host as. The company was strange. Some weird dude from Copenhagen named Lars, his "female companion" and a few sales people.. Many people were drinking wine and sprite. Food starts flying out.. I think that is roasted goat on the left.. a big thing of muddy fish in the middle with noodles, which was excellent. Then comes that really barnyardy meatballs in a strange green soup.. I ate it and enjoyed it this time. A time when red wine actually went well with chinese food. Meat dumplings in a broth.. Lots of chicken skin mixed in with the broth and the dumplings. There was dish that had beef slices over french fries.. It was actually pretty good.. the beef was good and it was in this thickened beef sauce that was served over the fries.. I really liked it. There was dried fish, there was these glutinous things that at first i thought were razor clams in this pesto type dressing.. it was not basil but, a green herb with oil and garlic that also went well with the red wine.. I was switching between red wine and beer. They kept filling my drink so, guy to my right gave me wine, person to my left gave me beer. There were local greens mixed with 1,000 year old eggs, stewed greens, rice with greens, spicy cabbage with pork, steamed shrimp with corn.. Lots of food, it just kept coming.. Good food. Not the best company but, sometimes, not be able to speak the same language is a good thing.
  16. This was a Hunanese Restaurant that we found walking around one day in Guanzhou. My friend and I who I met over there, we both don't speak Chinese so, we were happy they had photos of some of the items.. we managed to bang out a really nice meal. We were the only Americans and there was a 25 minute wait, we figured it was a good sign.. The food was really lovely. On the table they provided seaweed or some type of kelp in a very spicy sauce.. We then had fried peanuts in Black Vinegar Cold spicy pig ears.. This was exceptional.. Lots of cilantro that added a nice freshness. This is actually a Cantonese Dish but, hey, we are in Canton. I love this dish and am happy that i had a chance to eat it. Super garlicky bean thread noodles over steamed scallops Spicy chicken with bamboo over a sterno.. super spicy oil was frying. the table next to us started coughing from the fumes. Greens with pork Ribs with gelatinous rice flavored with lotus leaf. the ribs were cooked with the rice.. the rice soaked up all the fat from the pork. there were parts of the rice that were super fatty and just delicious. This was really great too. This is one of my favorite hunan dishes.. Fish head.. The fish head is split down the middle so, one side gets green the other side gets red.. The sauce is this wine, sauce and hot chile oil. It's rich and sweet, spicy and sour. So great. i think there may be like an eyeball left in there.. one can ask for noodles at this point to have them tossed in the sauce but, we were out of room. with 4 22's of beer, lunch was less than 50 dollars.
  17. A quick breakfast in Guangzhou My first attempt was a good one at this dumpling stand.. Guy had a big wok with a little pool of oil.. He was selling 10 dumplings for 3 or 42 cents, roughly.. They were delicious, i would say along the lines of a prosperity dumpling Next we found this little store front.. They were making pork shumai and these little mini bao tze, filled with juicy pork. This was closer to 8 rmb for the pair. One guy made the shumai, one guys made the bao A good way to s tart the day for sure The buns were my favorite as i have never seen them so little before.. super juicy. here are the shumai close up.. sorry if i am spelling it incorrectly.
  18. Back to Yangzhou for lunch I have had that shredded tofu dish in a few places around China.. Nothing comes close to how good it is in Yangzhou. Even like 1.5 hours away, they can't make these tofu strips.. Bean Curd Crepes Sichuan fried chicken.. They had these mushrooms that looked like sticks.. Fried pieces of bone in chicken, tons of peppers and onions, brow sauce. Crispy duck with plum sauce and pancakes. Duck Soup:
  19. Another dinner with the Chief of police: We went to this fancy restaurant, this guy has three places.. He is about 40 years old, worked in the Shangri La hotel in Beijing and some other place.. He is a trained Malayasian, Thai, Chinese and Italian Chef. His restaurants are super fancy. One is Thai, one is Malay and this one is his newest Chinese Place.. The food is super fancy and pretty delicious. We started with BBQ Pork Riblets and that sugary fried fish Then these greens with two dipping sauces: Lotus and seeds and fresh water chestnuts.. Water chestnuts were like nothing i have ever had in the US.. It was more like a dense yucca than those crunchy coins that come in cans. Spicy Eggplant Shrimp ground and served in like a fried bread with a mayo sauce: We were given the honor of cracking the shell with a spoon and drizzling the mayo sauce on top Happy Family Soup: Beef slices in the pickled, peppery sauce with mushrooms.. Third day in a row.. this was my favorite version Chicken stuffed inside pork stomach Durian pastry: Now the chef owner comes over with a box of various homemade chile condiments there is chile oil with bacon, chile oil with dried shrimp and shredded beef, there is chile oil with pickled vegetables, chile oil with mushrooms, chile oil with ginger, peanuts and garlic. He brings out buns and he is filling these buns with his chile mixtures The he brings over a dish that he is working on. Pork elbow slices with a shit load of peppers.. super spicy. that is a thyme branch People from other tables are coming over.. we are drinking whiskey, and beer and this guy is roaming around chugging full glasses of red wine.. Chugging red wine is a thing here.. The night ends with him bringing over a bottle of Vodka. An expensive one, maybe grey goose.. I tell them about bloody mary's and i tell them about screw drivers.. no one has had one.. i tell them, it's for breakfast.. we end the night slamming down a glass with half vodka, half watery, yellow looking oj..
  20. Peashoots: Ants climbing a branch.. made with sweet potato bean really, delicious Twice cooked pork Spicy goat or something with sichuan peppercorns, dried chile. Pork belly with some sort of preserved greens.. When asked the name of the vegetable, it only translated as Chinese Greens
  21. So, old college friend coming over with her husband. They were arriving at 8, it was my first day off in over a month. I wanted a meal i could start an hour before they came over. We had a sausage hanging in a kitchen for about a month now, we brought it home from Paris. And we have had this pork pate they told us not to but in the fridge.. Needless to say, i ate a buch of both a couple hours before people came over. I figure, if i get sick, then better me than them. if not and it tastes good, I tell them the story and they can decide to eat it. Steak is perfect. And the steak was perfect. dry aged ny strip from Paisano's. little less than 2 lb each. and some bone marrow Stopped at the greenmarket and picked up some kale for a salad with the steak and some squash to roast. With the marrow bones, I made a salad of watercress and a few different types of mustard greens. two purples and a green. make a salad of lemon and olive oil. Served with beautiful toast from Ben Cuit, grilled and rubbed with garlic as well as a Blood Orange Marmalade. We started with a really nice 02 Rioja and then moved to two really nicer Barolo's that my friend brought. Needless to say, i had no trouble sleeping last night. This is an action shot after order had been dissolved. Cooked on a burning hot green egg. temp was 125 when i took it off. roasted squash
  22. Unfortunately, the photos you had shown were not very appealing examples. But, i know the dishes you are referring to.
  23. Yeh, the ladies husband I work with is, the chief of police.. He is a good guy to know. We broke down a couple of trips ago and there was a cop car that came up scooped us up and brought us to the restaurant we were heading to. He is a nice guy. Everyone in town knows him. You definitely feel pretty safe when his drivers take you home at the end of the night. The little crabs, you just suck the meat out. I personally loves these guys. I can admit that I have just crunched up the claws and eaten everything on occasion. Just like eating sunflower seeds or something. I will occasionally eat a whole shrimp head to. After some rice wine, after a few beers, after some rice wine, I care less and less about the proper way to eat tiny little crab claws.
  24. Our work host and her husband have a large group of friends and they meet almost weekly.. The men sit at one large table, the women at the other. It is a successful group. Government officials, a manager of a huge Loews Hotel, the Chief of Police, a factory owner, a banker and so on. They rent private rooms.. The men get freaking whacked on whiskey, chain smoke cigarettes, the women and children play cards and whatever. It starts very civil. We sit around and exchange glances, smiles, head nods, sip tea. There are cold dishes on the table. Shrimp, fried, sea kelp, dates, greens and fava beans, coleslaw, some sort of cold mutton with chili sauce. We are drinking this toasted wheat tea, which is really lovely. Tiny crab claws in sauce: spicy tripe in chile sauce with mushrooms Mutton or something like that: Finally, the last guest arrives.. He arrives with a carton of these yellow cigarettes that apparently cost close to 18 dollars US a pack. He starts throwing them around.. Then he opens a bag and there are several bottles of whiskey. All of the glasses are put on the lazy susan and he collects them. He is now pouring them to the top. I try to not drink whiskey and ask for a beer. I am asked, why would I drink beer, whiskey are for men. While I don't understand much, the macho display needs know interpretation. Then, I guess Jacques Briel's Carousel would be the most appropriate theme song for what happens for the next few hours.. There is standing and giving cheers and taking shots and smoking and eating, and plate after plate are places on the spinning lazy Suzanne.. Suzanne was far from lazy last night. She was getting a work for sure.. That is the birthday girl on the left, she is drinking tea. pork belly with bamboo to cut the fat oysters like the Cantonese Scallops this chicken was really lovely.. Some sort of beef innards with meatballs in a pickling pepper sauce. really nice Tofu: crab, you can see some type of glutinous squares in the top left corner too Flounder and various plates of greens Noodles to end.. I flashed my tattoo and out came the noodles.. Awesome night.. A fun loving close group of friends.. I feel fortunate to be invited into their circle, if only for a night.
  25. yangzhou dinner one night: I swear this tasted like it had parmesan cheese it in. Gelatin noodles made with potato. Tofu with some sort of dried clam with tofu.. This was one of the first dishes of the trip I couldn't eat. it was really strong stuff. Salted and perserved pork belly with eggplant in a sweet soy sauce with garlic and chile peppers. this dish was awesome yellow croaker.. super meaty and strong tasting fish. Spicy fried chicken: awesome
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