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I think you’ll see in a moment why I didn’t just post this on the Lunch! topic. It was exceptional. An epic and it has been an epic sorting through the 634 photographs I took in about three hours. If I counted correctly, there are only 111 here.
Like so many things, it came out of the blue. I was kind of aware that there was a Chinese holiday this week, but being self-semi-employed I am often a man of leisure and the holidays make little impact on my life. This one is in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 duān wǔ jié) and although it features nothing boat-like, it was festive and there is a dragon link.
It started with this invitation which appeared on my WeChat (Chinese social media) account.
Longtan (龙潭 lóng tán) means Dragon’s Pool and is more of a hamlet. It is about an hour’s drive north of Liuzhou city. I’d never heard of it and certainly never been there, but a friend of a friend had decided that a “foreign friend” would add just the right note to the planned event. I’ve seen many pictures of such “Long Table“ lunches and even attended one before – but this one was different and I was delighted to be invited.
So, I was picked up outside my city centre home at 9 am and the adventure began. We arrived at the village at 9:45 to be met by the friend in question. He led me to what appeared to be the head man’s home, outside which was a large courtyard with a few men sitting at a trestle table seemingly finishing a breakfast of hot, meaty rice porridge washed down with beer or rice wine. I was offered a bowl of the porridge, but declined the beer or rice wine in favour of a cup of tea. After downing that and making introductions etc, I was left to wander around on my own watching all the activity.
Here goes. I'm posting these mostly in the order they were taken, in order to give some sense of how the event progressed.
These two men were the undisputed kings of this venture, organising everyone, checking every detail, instructing less experienced volunteers etc. It was obvious these men had been working since the early hours. and their breakfast was a break in their toil. There were piles of still steaming cooked pork belly in containers all over the courtyard.
Some of this had been the meat in the rice porridge, I learned.
This young lad had been set to chopping chicken. Not one chicken! Dozens.
Entrails, insides and fat were all carefully preserved.
In the meantime, the two masters continued boiling their lumps of pork belly. This they refer to as 五花肉 - literally "five flower" pork", the five flowers being layers of skin, fat and meat.
Another man was dealing with fish. Carp from the village pond. He scaled and cleaned them with his cleaver. Dozens of them.
And all around, various preparations are being prepared.
Gizzards and intestines.
More Pork . You can see the five layers here.
to be continued
My Breville BSO 800XL just died on it's second birthday, after only *extremely* light use at my beach house. Just won't power up.
Reading online, I learned that a common failure mode is the thermal fuse blowing -WHICH IS DESIGNED TO BLOW AT <450F. This is a $3 part at Radio Shack, and there is a detailed instruction on how to replace it here: http://virantha.com/2014/03/02/fix-your-breville-smart-oven-by-replacing-the-thermal-fuse/
So I guess I'll give fixing it myself a try and report back. Has anyone here done this repair? Was it successful? And why would Breville use a fuse that is lower than the appliance's top heat settings?
The best Chinese food restaurant I have ever been to is a place called the Imperial Buffet in Aberdeen SD. Their General Tso's is unlike the Tso's anywhere else. The closes comparison I could make is the Orange Chicken at the Panda Garden only 3x better. Their Lo-Mein Noodles are done with the skill of a master Italian pasta chef & perfectly seasoned. They also used to do a mean fried squid. I say used to because they had it when I lived in Aberdeen from 02-04 but didn't when I visited in 15'. One of their other discontinued specialties was a dish advertised as 'Golden Fried Cauliflower'. Note, this was NOT a breaded product. The cauliflower was cooked as though it had been boiled perfectly. It was not greasy as I recall but was a golden orange color as was the sauce it was evidently cooked in. I never could identify the flavors in that sauce. I wish I could describe it better but it has been well over a decade since I had it. Is anyone familiar with it or something similar? I can't seem to find anything like it online & all my searches just bring up links to breaded deep-fried crap.
I've had an idea flowing across my brain waves over the last few months. It's on every channel and I'm getting ready to pull the trigger.
I'd like to try to braise a dish in my smoker. I am thinking of braising a rabbit, but the I'm not looking for guidance on the protein/ingredients, rather the technique. I turn to you, o internet, in hope you will tell me your secrets.
Has anyone ever braised in their smoker before? I've done some research, but I haven't seen much on the "how to" for the technique. Here's my plan:
- Brown the rabbits on skillet (stovetop)
- Get the aromatics/other stuffz sweated browned, etc.
- (MEANWHILE) Smoker heats up to 300-325 degrees.
- Add stock to rabbit, bring to a simmer on the stove top.
- Transfer to smoker, braise uncovered for 1-2 hours, then cover with foil to finish for as long as necessary.
I've seen folks smoke and then braise, but I haven't seen much on the idea of braising something IN the smoker. I saw something on CookingwithMe.at about doing something similar with pork belly, but that's about it.
All I know is that after using stock+drippings from a smoked turkey created this CRAZY MIND-BLOWING flavor, so I'm basing this a lot off that idea.
The 2017 iteration of the International Home & Housewares Show is being held March 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago. This is the world's 2nd-largest tradeshow for the cookware and housewares industry, close behind Ambiente in Frankfurt. It is a cornucopia of what's new and what's coming down the pike in the world of cookware, and if you've ever wondered about why makers do the things they do, this is your opportunity to talk with execs and their product development people (e.g., you can discuss ceramics with the 6th-gen owner of Emile Henry). It takes an able cookware geek a full two days to cover all the booths.
Are any eGulls or eGuys besides me attending?
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