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eG Foodblog: Pan - How to stop cooking and love life


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Great blog Pan.

To make your mundane fortune in the fortune cookie more interesting, add "in bed" at the end. It works everytime.

This is a tradition that began when I lived in Atlanta in the '80s. Now my family and friends around the world have adopted it too.

That's funny, Michelle. I'll try it.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Those red berries are wolfberries (lycium barbarum). Very healthy, but I'm a bit hazy on WHY they are so healthy!

Thanks for the name. Wolfberries. My father likes them a lot, too; they add a lot to that dish. They're a bit, hmmm, sort of tangy/spicy.

Wolfberries are supposed to be good for your eyesight.

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Those red berries are wolfberries (lycium barbarum). Very healthy, but I'm a bit hazy on WHY they are so healthy!

Thanks for the name. Wolfberries. My father likes them a lot, too; they add a lot to that dish. They're a bit, hmmm, sort of tangy/spicy.

Wolfberries are supposed to be good for your eyesight.

So they're red from carotene?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I have something to add: I have specific plans for dinner on Friday night. If you want to know about them in advance, please have a look at the ISO thread pinned in the New York Forum. I have the sinking feeling that no-one looks at the ISO threads. I hope I'm wrong about that. [official mode]Please look at the ISO threads in forums covering regions where you live and travel. Thank you. :biggrin:[/official mode]

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Pan, the lotus root is intriguing.  I've purchased it at the asian market and sliced it thin on the mandoline and fried it like chips but have never seen it on a menu.  What is the texture cooked this way?  Cripy like a raw potato or does it soften up?

Mind you, lotus root will go quite soft if cooked for a long time. Takes on the texture more-or-less of boiled taro. I've never actually timed it, but I think somewhere between 20-30 minutes of cooking is the point where it starts going soft.

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Mind you, lotus root will go quite soft if cooked for a long time. Takes on the texture more-or-less of boiled taro. I've never actually timed it, but I think somewhere between 20-30 minutes of cooking is the point where it starts going soft.

That's right; lotus root does soften eventually. Actually, there's a different Hunanese sweet and sour lotus roots dish at Grand Sichuan St. Marks that is a hot (in temperature) dish. (For those of you who might want it and are in the area, it's a main dish, #148, found under "Vegetables," whereas the cold dish I had tonight is #111 under "Typical Cold Dishes." Both are in subsets of the larger "Authentic Hunan Food" section of the menu.) They cook it such that it's still somewhat crunchy, but much less so than is the case with the cold dish. The lotus root slices take on a somewhat sticky character and are definitely softer. That dish is also a favorite of mine. I have a favorite lotus root dish at Congee Village, too... :smile:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks for an interesting blog!

my father and mother used to cook up dirty rice sometimes. (Dirty rice is a Louisiana staple that includes scraps of bacon among other things, and I really enjoyed it.)

Actually, bacon pieces in dirty rice are highly unusual. It's called "dirty" because the meat element is typically chicken livers and gizzards which result in a dark brown colored rice. Some recipes call for a touch of pork in the form of bacon drippings (or ground pork or pork liver), but when pork is included in dirty rice, it's a bit player.

Lobster.

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Re Black and White Cookies:

1. When dear friends of ours from Germany visited us here in the US, my parents traveled with them for several weeks in the western half of the country and they were here in south central PA for several weeks also. (But we didn't visit NYC during that visit.) They kept saying they wanted to get some Americanos cookies. We had no clue what they meant. They described them, but it was no help. They kept saying how delicious they were and couldn't believe we didn't have them. We asked in many bakeries and no one knew these cookies, either. (This was before the internet was such a resource for this kind of thing.) Years later, dh and I were in NYC for the day, walked past a bakery window, and ta da: Americanos, aka Black and Whites! Another example of the difficulty most foreigners have wrapping their minds around the size of the US -- a specialty from NYC gets adopted in Germany as the cookie of America, though millions of Americans have never heard of it, much less eaten one. :rolleyes: Oh, and the one we bought was lousy -- we couldn't comprehend how these had captured the imaginations of Germans everywhere.

2. Last winter, my dh made these with the recipe in King Arthur Flour's Baking Book. I've never heard such moaning and groaning while he was doing the icing! In the end, they looked as if a deranged kindergartener had been let loose with brown and white tempera paints. I made all the appropriate comforting noises necessary to the frustrated beginning baker and urged him to take them to the get-together he'd baked them for anyway. Everybody loved them. He told our friends to enjoy them that night, cuz he'd never fool with them again.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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I've also had their black and whites, assorted cookies, bialeys, and God knows what else.

How are bialys different, in flavor and texture, from bagels? I've eaten a bialy or two, but not enough to know how the recipes might differ, or if there's a difference in the cooking.

And I can't really even get a good bagel around here, much less a bialy.

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Here is an answer, from "Artisan Baking Across America" by Maggie Glezer:

Bialys are more closely related to English muffins than to bagels. Dusty with flour. . . quickly baked on a hearth. . .and in need of a preprandial toasting.

. . . they have a deep indentation at their center, which is filled with a smear of ground onion. . . infusing them with an oniony scent. They are much lighter and less caloric than bagels.

Good bagels are slightly sweet and off-white from the addition of malt syrup. . .they have a crisp, slightly blistered crust and a very dense, chewy texture. By definition, they must have a hole through their center, about the only real feature left in the counterfeits sold today.

I love bialys. As you can tell by the urgent need I had to go find this book and type out this text. (There is more on them, and on bagels, and some good recipes, too in this book).

Plus it is taking my mind off the idea of crying, just like Suzie Sushi said. Those photos. Those photos. . .

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For anyone who knows: I have a Lotus plant growing in my backyard pond. The lotus root dish you showed, Pan, looks like the part at the base of the flower. Somewhere I think I have heard this referred to as a Lotus "Pod". Is not this also the thing that one can find dried in flower arrangements?

So, is Lotus Root actually the part that grows under the dirt, or is it the base of the flower? If it is the base of the flower, can I eat the ones growing in my pond?

Maggie

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I've also had their black and whites, assorted cookies, bialeys, and God knows what else.

How are bialys different, in flavor and texture, from bagels? I've eaten a bialy or two, but not enough to know how the recipes might differ, or if there's a difference in the cooking.

And I can't really even get a good bagel around here, much less a bialy.

Carrot Top's quote is excellent (although I have to admit the comparison of bialys to English muffins made me cringe a bit.) I've never baked either bialys or bagels, so I can't say anything about that end of it, but I've certainly eaten plenty of each. Bialys are of course much thinner than bagels, it can be problematic to slice them in half and I usually end up smearing butter on top after sticking them in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes. They're not as dense and chewy as bagels, they're somewhat more "airy." The ones made now seem to be much smaller in diameter than the ones I remember from childhood, and a bit thicker as well. In addition to onion in the center they often have garlic as well. Actually I haven't had a bialy in quite some time, and I suddenly feel that I need one! Well, I'm at work so I shall have to wait. :sad:

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I think maybe what she was referring to when she said "english muffin" was the wonderful ability a bialy has to soak up butter. . .(?)

Yes, that would make sense.

Also (and I guess this is for another thread perhaps), I realize the only kind of English muffin I've ever eaten is good old Thomas's. They're good, but I suspect they might not have anything to do with "real" English muffins (which is probably what the author is referring to in that quote.) In fact, I don't even know what a "real" English muffin is!!

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[...]

And more on topic, the pictures from the bakery nearly made me weep. I'd commit mayhem for a real cheese danish about now.

Marcia.

Cheese danish is a real New York (or Eastern Seaboard) thing, eh? No decent cheese danish in your neck of the woods? Oh well. But you have the mountains and clear air, don't you? I hope this doesn't sound very preachy, but I had an experience last week that reminded me that we all have to appreciate what we can where we are. And then again, there's always travel! :biggrin:

i've had cheese kolaches in southeast texas, and they are similar to danishes. or at least they seem that way to me--a flaky dough with some sort of filling, usually fruit or poppy seeds or cheese.

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Pam R, they are a lightly lemony vanilla cookie, with glossy black and white icing. Usually they are oversized I think?

This is VERY interesting for someone who's never been farther north than Washington, D.C. I am very jealous of what you have available to you. Hopefully, one day I can see it for myself!

-Becca

Your description of black and whites is accurate. To my palate, the black icing is indeed chocolate, but it just occurred to me that the white icing is sugar rather than vanilla, I think? Usually oversized for sure. The cookie part of a black and white is only one color, a sort of normal cookie color.

I'd love to visit Louisiana myself, as an adult. Actually, my parents tell me that when I was 2, I spoke with a thick Louisiana accent, though no-one else can believe that. My father was in residence at LSU (Louisiana State University) in Baton Rouge from 1966-67. Of course, I remember nothing of those times, as I was just 2 1/2 when we came back to New York. The time in Louisiana did have culinary effects I can remember, though. When I was a kid, in the days when my mother still ate pig (why she doesn't any longer is a long story having nothing to do with Judaism), my father and mother used to cook up dirty rice sometimes. (Dirty rice is a Louisiana staple that includes scraps of bacon among other things, and I really enjoyed it.)

Its good to know we made an impression on you. However, since I'm from NE LA, my accent is unfortunately more redneck than cajun. :laugh::laugh:

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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gallery_786_1493_18888.jpg

This is Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken. Aside from chicken, you also see scallions, bamboo shoots, and dried hot pepper in the dish. This dish is an old favorite of mine from the other Grand Sichuan branches as well as this one, and my parents also like it.

Look at the artistry of that carrot rose! It's a dying art. These days people just don't give a darn about such detailed garnishes.

I once ordered Peking Duck from a local chinese restaurant (you had to call a day in advance to order it) and when it was served to us it had the most amazing carved carrot in the shape of a fish leaping upward out of the center of the serving platter.

It was amazing...and it was "just" a garnish.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Pam R, they are a lightly lemony vanilla cookie, with glossy black and white icing. Usually they are oversized I think?

This is VERY interesting for someone who's never been farther north than Washington, D.C. I am very jealous of what you have available to you. Hopefully, one day I can see it for myself!

-Becca

Your description of black and whites is accurate. To my palate, the black icing is indeed chocolate, but it just occurred to me that the white icing is sugar rather than vanilla, I think? Usually oversized for sure. The cookie part of a black and white is only one color, a sort of normal cookie color.

JERRY: Uhm, The thing about eating the Black and White cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate And yet somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved.

ELAINE: Your views on race relations are fascinating. You really should do an op-ed piece for the Times.

JERRY: Um, um, Look to the cookie Elaine. Look to the cookie.

-- Seinfeld, "The Dinner Party" (circa 1994)

Sorry, guys, I just couldn't resist... :biggrin:

GREAT blog, Pan. I've been subconciously avoiding the St. Mark's Empire Szechuan location (mortified by the Quiznos-Chipotle strip minimall dropped on the block, methinks... :huh: ) but after your pics and description, I'm definitely going to have to hit it soon!

Also thanks to your Moishe pics, I'm now craving the kichel (the bow tie-shaped cookies in the bottom of the display case pic) that grandma used to bring. Yummm...

I look forward to your further adventures.

Edited by Josh (log)

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." -- Mark Twain

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Just one more addition to the black and white description (I'm a New Yorker, I can't help it :raz: ): it's more like a cake than a cookie. In fact, I don't remember ever hearing it called a black and white cookie until the abovementioned Seinfeld episode. We just called it a black and white. (See how influential Seinfeld is?)

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Thanks for all the black & white info. I think I may need to try making them for my customers..... bring a little more NY to Winnipeg.

Have to start looking for recipes...

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Oh dear. Now I'm jonesing for bialys. And that's just after a phone call from my doctor's assistant to discuss my elevated triglycerides level ... which means that even if I could find an authentic bialy somewhere in San Diego, I shouldn't be eating it. :sad:

I dunno why bialys didn't take off as a national food fad the way bagels have, but part of me is glad--I'd hate to see bastardizations of bialys as heinous as some of the sponge-o-matic bread objects getting passed off as bagels these days.

Hey, speaking of bialys, y'know what Jewish bakery delicacy hasn't come up yet in this blog? Onion board! Got any sightings for us, Pan?

(Having way too much fun reading this blog ... )

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[...]Hey, speaking of bialys, y'know what Jewish bakery delicacy hasn't come up yet in this blog? Onion board! Got any sightings for us, Pan?

(Having way too much fun reading this blog ... )

I'm glad you're enjoying it!

I'm pretty sure they have onion board at Moishe's, I just didn't get a picture of it.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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