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  1. This blows. I mean, I'm happy for you guys, and all, but this does nothing for folks like me in San Francisco. It's all just one big tease. Even the picture, jeez, was that really necessary? On the other hand, I've already got a bag of peppercorns. But I'm worried about the day I run out. Don't you feel it, now, too? It's a good sized bag for a buck, sure, but do you really want to be invested like this? You're making a dish you love that does great with a really big pinch of the peppercorns (neatly discovered after a dozen or so recipes and halfway through the bag), and you hold back a little, thinking that if you drop a couple back in the bag the dish will probably be just as good, and you may be able to stretch this dish, this habit, out a couple more months? Instead of cooking you're managing resources. Putting off the inevitable. Envisioning putting Dunlop's book in a plastic bag and throwing it in a closet or something. Or giving it away, it doesn't matter. All you got is your memories. And your wok that no longer smells of sichuan pepper. But it's ok, Cantonese food is, you know, all right.
  2. Good info, here, guys ... thanks muchly. I'm not familiar with Virginia Lee -- I'll have to find her book -- but I've got a big sealed jar of the peppercorns and they're starting to go downhill. I don't know when they were harvested, but I bought them earlier this year (they were in good shape, until recently), and only in the last month or so they've started to lose their oomph. I suspect pj is right -- maybe they dry out, and once they do they remain in that condition indefinitely. So you use more of them? There's got to be something here, if you use a Tb in a Dunlop recipe where she specifies a tsp, it would be overwhelming, doncha think? One author uses small amounts of the freshest stuff and another uses large amounts of old sitting-around stuff? And age aside, pj, it sounds like you bought a bag of stems-and-seeds rather than buds.
  3. Mamster -- a while back you wrote a nice piece on Thai curries, in which you said you thought one was better off buying prefab Mae Ploy curry paste than pounding one's own (for reasons that seemed legitimate, for Americans, at least). Do you still feel that way?
  4. This may sound a little stupid, but ... A chinese restaurant here in San Francisco sells Fujian Fried Rice; it's delicious. So I tried to find a recipe, which was very difficult. I found a recipe in Yan Kit So's Classic Food of China (not published in US), but it wasn't very good. Earlier this year, I found a recipe in -- ready? -- Martin Yan's last book. Apparently he made it on his tv show that was broadcast by food network canada. This recipe was close to what I've bought, and I (finally) understand the basics and so can make a good version at home. (the sauce is what I was hung up on, and it's basically stock reduced and flavored with soy and oyster sauces and so forth -- now, I could figure that out, but I couldn't at the time). Also, Yan adds tomatoes, which surprisingly doesn't suck. I've been through an awful lot of Chinese cookbooks, American publications mostly, and Fujian cuisine gets precious little attention. In restaurants, too, right? You can't purchase pre-fab sediment paste, which I gather is a high-profile ingredient in Fujian cooking. What the hell? And right here, this thread has produced only one Fujian restaurant? Thanks to trillium for the Fukien/Fujian/Hokkien breakdown. I was curious about that.
  5. When I first started looking for these guys, about four years ago, I did find an imported jar of ground, roasted peppercorns. It was nothing like what I make at home now, roasting and grinding my own. This homemade ground pepper, as alanamoana said, holds up pretty well. But that storebought stuff wasn't very nice at all. Very finely ground (powdery) and insipid in scent and flavor. But you can't even get that these days, can you? Does anyone have a source for the "roasted and ground in China" variety? Everyone knows where this is going, right? The "egullet © Underground Sichuan Peppercorn Railroad."
  6. Amazon lists it as released in June 2003, and that's when I bought my copy from them. Weird.
  7. Thanks, Jason, but I think an American editor or someone who owes favors put together the sources. As a whole, they suck. When I got this book (upon u.s. publication) the two sources you cite did not have the peppercorns. They were mediocre sources, in general. That was, what, June? I'm in San Francisco, and "she" gives two general sources here. One, May Wah, is famous, and deservedly so. The other is a joint in chinatown, and I hadn't heard of it so last week I hiked up there and it's your basic chinatown import shop. Not a grocery at all, though they had some foodstuff imports downstairs. wtf? Sadly, I conclude that whoever put the reference in the book (not Ms. Dunlop, no way) hadn't actually visited this store. I mean, it's San Francisco, we've got really great Chinese markets all over, and I'm directed to this junk shop? Ok, maybe it's nice stuff. But it ain't any sort of food store. On the other hand, I walked past the Wok Shop, where I picked up a new steamer. Pretty sweet store, right there. Thanks again for bringing up the book. This baby is a gem. Stupid stuff, like Kung Pow, is _stunningly_ good. You think, I'm not gonna make her Kung Pow, I've done that a thousand times. Then you make it, and it changes everything. This book should be a pinned topic. But you can't make anything without the peppercorns! Has anyone tried freezing these peppercorns? Are they still available via ebay (I can't find them)? Some months back it was mentioned in the food section of the sf chronicle, and a fda guy was quoted as saying the ban would never be lifted, it's too dangerous, and it would be decades before anyone was sure the bug was, well, safe.
  8. Ya, mamster's. I have several hot and sour soup recipes I'd call great, but since mamster published this it's the only one I've made. And I make it all the time. It's sort-of blasphemous, but goddamn, it's good: http://www.egullet.com/?pg=ARTICLE-mamster021003 Two notes: mamster recommended Kong Yen vinegar, which I find significantly better-tasting than Marukan, which I always used before, and which mamster properly disparages. It'll make a difference in the finished soup. Also, make some really good stock. Mamster's article has some tips (I make mine a little differently, mainly in that I use two whole chickens, breast meat removed, and two pounds of wings).
  9. One other thing: you're going to need szechuan peppercorns (not so easy if you're in the states, but really, you need 'em) and preserved vegetable (tianjin). Have fun, it's a terrific book.
  10. Red cooked pork belly! Actually, you might want to spare your friends on that one, depending on how adventurous your friends are. Dunlop's recipe for Dan Dan Noodles is good, and won't offend anyone. I've also made dry fried beef, and beef in fiery broth, and those turned out good, too.
  11. Soup! Lots of pastas so far, here ... little soup. Specifically -- Tom yum, or Chinese hot & sour (depending on whether or not lemongrass is in the kitchen, kinda hit or miss at my house).
  12. Last I read, years ago, P&G was on their second version of this synthetic oil (Olestra --> Olean). What changed, such that the FDA no longer requires the warning? Is there a new version? I mean, FDA didn't just change their collective mind, right? P&G must have improved the product ... and someone here must know. You folks with stories of pain ... I don't get it. I have a simple understanding of the "Olean" molecule, and I can't fathom how it could possibly cause _pain_. Is there a nutritionist in the house? ps -- Steingarten's first book has a swell article on Olestra/Olean.
  13. Michael Pollan wrote a piece on this subject that was published in the New York Times Magazine, March 31 2002, titled "Power Steer." http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html...DAA0894DA404482 It'll cost you a couple bucks to read it, but I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is even remotely interested in the subject.
  14. Fat Guy wrote: Acme Chophouse in San Francisco serves grass-fed. I haven't been, but its reputation is stellar. Traci des Jardins, the big cheese there, was nominated for Best Chef/CA by the folks at James Beard this year. The restaurant was reviewed, coincidentally, in last week's SF Weekly. The link will likely be good for only a few days, but here you go: http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2003-07-02/...ml/1/index.html
  15. Thank you, thank you. This article makes my day. For the last several years my wife and I frequently visited a Korean/Japanese place in town -- it was Korean with a sushi bar, and miso soup was included with all the condiments, that isn't normal Korean, is it? -- and she would always get the kimchi chigae. It was awful, awful good. Pretty spicy, that's where my brother-in-law came up with his joke about the ring of fire. But clearly he was a sissy, and shouldn't have applied. Anyway, the place went bust and they took our soup away. It never occurred to me to make it myself. Questions: Have you made this with pork stock? Is it significantly improved? What's the difference between chigae and gae jang? And does anyone know what "son" kimchi is? I can't find a translation (I've tried www.kimchi.or.kr) and I'd like to know what's in it before I buy it.
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