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One possible note – if the type matters, you may want to be more specific than "mustard greens." We have a variety of mustard greens that's fairly common in southern US cooking, but it's very different from the kind (芥菜?) pictured in your recipe. It is leafier, with thin stems, and IME is stronger/sharper tasting than the common Chinese varieties. Looks like this:

 

image.png.d4ed5f19d906f7b98b61c4226583cf47.png

 

If you don't specify, I suspect that is what people will buy. On the other hand, I think it would still be good in that soup, just different.

 

For the clams, you may want to specify the size in terms of how many per pound (I think that's ~6-10 for littlenecks?) as that's a common way of specifying size for seafood here.

 

As an aside -- people may have good luck finding bitter melon at an Indian grocery in the US. For some of the pantry ingredients like black beans and doubanjiang, online ordering is easy.

 

One other potential pitfall is soy sauce. Soy sauce is very easy to buy in American supermarkets, but the selection is heavily biased towards Japanese brands and varieties. In many cases, the only "Chinese" soy sauce is an awful fake soy sauce like La Choy. Also, the term "light soy sauce" is often used on reduced sodium Japanese-style soy sauce. I'm not sure exactly the best way to approach that -- besides saying "buy your soy sauce at a Chinese market."

Couple other miscellaneous notes:

 

The term "mange tout" is not used in the US at all. Snow peas and sugar snap peas are common and available all over. To be utterly unambiguous, you could say "snow pea pods."

For the recipes that specify chiles -- are they supposed to be fresh or dried? For either, specifying a similar Mexican chile variety is helpful.

The most common "neutral" cooking oil in the US is canola by a long shot. If you say "like canola" people will use the right stuff.

 

On 9/4/2020 at 1:35 AM, liuzhou said:

Duck is the cheapest meat I can buy in China, which suits me just fine! Not that I'm cheap! It is just my favourite meat (apart from seafood).

 

 

I think there is just not that much commercial duck production in the US -- I think traditionally it was more likely to be hunted than farmed, and now is raised mainly as a gourmet ingredient for fancy French dishes in relatively small numbers.

 

In my local supermarkets it is very expensive -- 4-5x the price of chicken, and on par with the better cuts of beef.

 

But it is not exactly hard to find -- most supermarkets I think will have some kind of duck somewhere.

 

 

 

 

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I think that looks great, @liuzhou.   

I didn't reply earlier since I've never been to Cincinnati but I'll chime in with my 2 cents.  

 

Love that you are including a squid recipe as it's one of the first recipes I learned from my Chinese coworkers.  I still have her recipe on a page of lab notebook paper, titled, "Protocol for Squid" complete with the instruction that removing the skin from squid was like peeling meninges from brains and you just do your best to remove it but don't worry if there's a little left  ❤️  Anyway, you say that "your seafood purveyor" should be able to prepare the squid.  In my US supermarket experience small squid are usually available at the fish counter either whole or pre-cleaned and offered as separate tubes & tentacles or sometimes rings. Frozen are most economical, but do require cleaning.  

 

The duck recipe calls for a pound of duck meat, preferably from legs & thighs.  I can buy whole duck, leg quarters or breasts, all frozen but have never seen frozen duck leg/thigh meat that would be easy to chunk up like the dish in the photo.  Nor would I know how much to buy to get a pound.  I was wondering if boneless, skinless chicken thighs could be offered as a non-traditional and less desirable alternative?  

 You do say that you've been told that the duck meat is available in Cincinnati so you should probably just ignore me on that!

 

As mentioned above, mustard greens could be a challenge which made me wonder whether a substitute could be offered, again with the caveats that it's not traditional or desirable.  I know writing up recipes like this takes a lot of time and thought and how annoying it must be to  be asked about substitutions for something that you've already thought about carefully so a preference to stick with the traditional is very understandable. 

 

Since pork is inexpensive and easy to find here, I was wondering if you'd considered including a pork dish.  

 

I don't know if you are expected to highlight certain sorts of dishes typical to Liuzhou but in the past you'd shared some student recipes for the common and ubiquitous tomato/egg dish.  I thought they were quite endearing and liked knowing that was often the first dish they learned to cook.  Any chance you could share one of their recipes for that?  Or rope a young person into writing one up for you so you have proper permissions?  It's so simple, maybe too simple for this project but that also makes it quite approachable.   

 

 

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On 9/3/2020 at 11:56 PM, liuzhou said:

 

OK. Interesting. Many, if not most in the UK do list their stock. Thanks. That is helpful.

If you got to Instacart and look up the market in question, they will have the store's stock listed

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On 9/3/2020 at 5:26 PM, chileheadmike said:

I live about an hour South of Cincinnati. We really don't get there all that much. We've been to a couple of museums and the aquarium, but very few restaurants and markets. They are known for Cincinnati chili, terrible stuff. Loaded with cinnamon and served over spaghetti noodles with fistfulls of cheap, orange cheese piled on top.

 

 

Cincinnati Chili is so...uh...unique, that it must be prefixed with the city name in the spirit of giving fair warning.  Perhaps if it weren't advertised as chili and called something else....

 

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I think that @dtremit and @blue_dolphin have given you some good feedback.  I very much agree with @dtremit's comment regarding finding bitter melon in stores specializing in Indian ingredients.  We have stores in my town that say they specialize in Asian, Hispanic, and Indian foods and I've had good luck finding things in these stores.  Duck quarters may be an issue unless they go to a specialty butcher shop or a halal market.  I think all the recipes that you came up with sound interesting and doable! 

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11 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

 I know writing up recipes like this takes a lot of time and thought and how annoying it must be to  be asked about substitutions for something that you've already thought about carefully so a preference to stick with the traditional is very understandable. 

 

Not annoying in the least. Thanks for your feedback. The brief was to describe how some dishes are made here, so I suggested very few substitutions (unless they were minor). Chicken could, I suppose, be used in the duck dish instead, but it would radically alter the final outcome. Beer chicken is not something I've ever heard of.

In retrospect, a pork dish would have been good, but it is so common here I overlooked it. I was trying to think of things more usual to outside eyes. This also explains the lack of tomato and egg. After all, it is just scrambled egg with tomato. Not so interesting in the long run.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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12 hours ago, dtremit said:

For the clams, you may want to specify the size in terms of how many per pound (I think that's ~6-10 for littlenecks?) as that's a common way of specifying size for seafood here.

 

I did suggest 8-10 and said littlenecks are similar.

 

12 hours ago, dtremit said:

One other potential pitfall is soy sauce. Soy sauce is very easy to buy in American supermarkets, but the selection is heavily biased towards Japanese brands and varieties.

 

I don't think that matters too much. I have suggested that ingredients are best sourced in Chinese supermarkets (although Indian markets are good for bitter melon).

 

12 hours ago, dtremit said:

The term "mange tout" is not used in the US at all.

 

That's odd. The two American friends I consulted here both used it. One is from New York; the other California.

 

I have clarified the mustard green type and also noted that I mean fresh chiles. Thank you.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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3 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

I confess I had to look up "mange tout".  I'm 61 and I've lived all in a few different regions in the US (including the Cincinnati area) and I didn't know what it meant.  I'm not being condescending, but I don't know that your average Cincinnatian would know it.  

 

I only used it as an alternative name, which some, probably a minority, in the US do know.  I gave the better known term in the US, first.

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16 hours ago, KennethT said:

@liuzhou I'm not in Cincinnati, but this looks great! Is there any chance I could persuade you to cut and paste the recipes into RecipeGullet? It would certainly make for easier finding later on, after I've tried to remember but long forgotten the original name of this thread?

 

Done.

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11 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

I did suggest 8-10 and said littlenecks are similar.

 

You had said 8-10 per person -- I was just suggesting adding an approximate weight. Maybe that's in your ingredient list already, though? 

Littlenecks are about the smallest clam frequently found in the US, so you might end up with someone buying 8-10 huge clams per person and getting confused. Chowder clams are sometimes 200-250g each, though I don't think they get shipped to Cincy that much!

 

11 hours ago, liuzhou said:

That's odd. The two American friends I consulted here both used it. One is from New York; the other California.

 

I know it from UK cookbooks but haven't ever seen or heard it outside that context. (See also: courgette, aubergine, rocket)

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47 minutes ago, dtremit said:

 

I know it from UK cookbooks but haven't ever seen or heard it outside that context. (See also: courgette, aubergine, rocket)

 

Exactly.

And mange tout is less familiar than those others.

In Cincy serving somebody mange would be looked askance at.

 

Edited by gfweb (log)
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What's the fuss about? I used the common American term first. I merely pointed out an alternative name. I wasn't attacking anyone or suggesting anyone was wrong or asking anyone to change their vocabulary. Calm down!

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1 hour ago, dtremit said:

you might end up with someone buying 8-10 huge clams per person and getting confused. Chowder clams are sometimes 200-250g each, though

 

I'm sorry, but anyone reading 8-10 clams per person (similar to littlenecks), then rushing out to buy 8-10 huge clams per person is beyond my help.

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I don't know about keeping live clams live in cold water. I prefer keeping them in the coldest part of my refrigerator, under a moistened towel with ice on top of that.

 

It appears as if there's a whole foods somewhere near. They may stock a bunch of stuff otherwise not easily procured.

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5 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I don't know about keeping live clams live in cold water. I prefer keeping them in the coldest part of my refrigerator, under a moistened towel with ice on top of that.

 

Any time I refrigerated them, they rapidly died.

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Interesting...

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/10774-how-to-store-fresh-shellfish

 

Quote

Note that clams and mussels should not come in contact with melted ice since submersion in fresh water can kill them.

 

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I cooked 3 dozen little necks last night. I stored them in my refrigerator, with a cold, damp paper towel covering them. It was hours before I grilled them later and every single one opened up. None died. I’ve been doing that a lot this summer with very limited casualties. I also soak them for about 20 minutes in cold, salted water before cooking to help them express any remaining sand. 

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Well, I don't know but every supermarket and market stall here with clams holds them all day in cold water. My market woman gives me my clam purchases in a plastic bag of fresh water to carry them like a fairgound goldfish prize.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

What's the fuss about? I used the common American term first. I merely pointed out an alternative name. I wasn't attacking anyone or suggesting anyone was wrong or asking anyone to change their vocabulary. Calm down!

I don't think anyone is really fussing.  I know I wasn't.  I think it's mostly interested chit-chat.  

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 That’s so odd about the clams. Is the water the clams are given to you in salted? That I could understand better. But salt water, live clams in fresh water to me equates the clams being killed. 

Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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4 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Well, I don't know but every supermarket and market stall here with clams holds them all day in cold water. My market woman gives me my clam purchases in a plastic bag of fresh water to carry them like a fairgound goldfish prize.

 

 

Here there are fresh water clams.  And by "here" I mean in the Millstone river within walking distance.  The clams are not permitted to be eaten because the river (which my drinking water comes from) is polluted and the clams help to clean the river.  Nonetheless poachers harvest the clams and sell them to NYC Chinese restaurants.

 

I've only visited Ohio once, but I grew up in Pennsylvania, the adjacent state (OK, I know Pennsylvania is a commonwealth), and never in my life had I heard of "mange tout" until yesterday.

 

 

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