Sunday, September 28, 2008

Xiao long bao – Shanghai Soup Dumplings

Aspic/Gelantized Stock

1 pound chicken wings
2 chicken backbones (carcasses from roast chicken will work too)
1 pork trotter (foot) or a large piece of pork skin
3 1/4 inch thick slices of ginger
4 green onions
1 star anise
8 cups of water

3 C all purpose flour
1/3 C hot water
2/3 C cold water
Pinch of salt

1 pound ground pork
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
2 C gelatin stock, chopped/mashed into small pieces

Serve with
Black vinegar
Fresh ginger slivers

Make the aspic
When working with pork feet make sure to wash it well, then boil it twice in a change of water to get the smell, bacteria, and scum out. If you're using raw chicken wings and backbones, it's best to boil those once too to get any scum out. Add the pork feet to a pot (large saucepan, stock pot, Dutch oven whatever works) and cover them with water and bring it to a boil. Boil for a minute, drain, and rinse off any scum on the feet in cold water. Wash out the pot as well or use a new pot because there will be scum on the side. Return the pork feet, and the raw chicken wings and backbones to the pot and fill with cold water and bring back to a boil again and boil for a minute. Drain and rinse off any scum and wash the pot again

Add 2 teaspoons of oil to your pot over medium heat. Smash the ginger slices and green onion with the side of a knife and add to the oil and until they are fragrant, then add boiled and rinsed off chicken wings and pork feet, 1 star anise, and 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil then simmer gently uncovered, skim any scum on the surface, for 6+ hours. Never let the soup boil again because it will cloud. The stock is ready when it can solidify at room temperature. Test the stocks gelling ability by spooning some of it into a small bowl and allow it to cool down to room temperature. If it solidifies then the stock is ready. Strain soup and season it with some salt. Set aside 2 cups for the dumpling filling. Save any excess for adding to sauces or soups. Let the soup cool to room temp then transfer it to the fridge. The soup can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. You can scrape off any fat that solidifies on top or mix it into the filling, up to you.

Make the dough
In a large bowl, add 2 1/2 cups of flour. First add the 1/3 cup of very hot water and stir that into the flour. Then add the 2/3 cup of cold water and stir it into the dough. Bring the dough together and knead while incorporating additional flour if you need to, until the dough is not sticky. Don’t overknead or it will be too tough and gluteny to work with. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the filling
Mix the ground pork with all of the seasoning ingredients. Roughly chop the aspic then use a pastry blender or two forks to mash it into smaller pieces. Mix this into the ground pork mixture. Keep it in the fridge until the dough has finished resting.

Wrapping the dumplings
Divide the dough into 3 portions. Work with one portion and keep the other two covered. Roll the dough into a long snake. Then cut a small cylindrical piece off of the snake. Flatten with your palm and roll the dough out into a 2 1/2 inch diameter wrapper. The best rolling device for making Chinese wrappers is a small wooden dowel thats about 6 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter.

The first 4 pictures in the eating Chinese xiao long bao tutorial shows the process of making the dough and wrappers. You want the wrappers to be a bit thicker than wonton wrappers. If the wrappers are too thin, the soup will dissolve it and leak out.

Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of the wrapper. Hold the outer edge of the wrapper with the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand. Using the other thumb and index finger, hold the edge of the wrapper and bring it to your dominant hand to pleat. Pleat around the circumference of the entire wrapper, turning the dumpling as you go, and seal the tip to close. The third and fourth pictures in the third row of the eating Chinese xiao long bao tutorial gives a somewhat helpful guide. The hardest part for me was getting my thumb out of the inside of the dumpling and sealing the tip.

Steam and serve
Bring some water to a boil in a wok or large pot with a steamer insert. Line a bamboo or metal steaming basket with cabbage leaves or damp cheesecloth. Place the dumplings in the basket and steam on high for 5 – 7 minutes. (5 minutes was enough for my dumplings but make sure the filling is cooked all the way before eating)

Serve hot with ginger slivers and black vinegar.

Pasta with Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant and Yogurt Sauce

Time: 45 minutes

1 large eggplant, about 1 pound, in 1/2 -inch cubes

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, more to taste

3 fat garlic cloves, minced

1 large shallot, minced

1 pound ground lamb

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, preferably Turkish or Aleppo (see note), more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill, more to taste

1/2 pound bowtie or orecchiette pasta

2 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, to taste

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt.

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta.

2. Toss eggplant with 4 tablespoons oil and a large pinch of salt. Spread on a baking sheet, making sure there is room between pieces, and roast until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. In a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and the shallot and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lamb, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Sauté until lamb is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in mint or dill and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir eggplant into lamb. Taste and adjust seasonings.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter: the amount is to your taste. Let cook until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, remaining garlic and a pinch of salt.

5. Drain pasta and spread on a serving platter. Top with lamb-eggplant mixture, then with yogurt sauce. Pour melted butter over top. Sprinkle on additional red pepper and more mint or dill. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 to 3 servings.

Note: Turkish or Aleppo (Syrian) red pepper flakes are sold at specialty markets and at You may also substitute ground chili powder. Do not use crushed red pepper flakes; they will be too hot for this dish.

Filipino Longanisa

- yields about 20 4-inch links -

Adapted from Burnt Lumpia


2 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into small cubes
1/2 pound pork fatback, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 large cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup chilled cider vinegar
Hog casings, soaked for at least 30 minutes in warm water, then rinsed well inside and out


1. Combine the cubed pork, fatback, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Grind the mixture through the large die of a meat grinder. Add the chilled vinegar and mix with your hands until just combined.

3. Make a small patty of the sausage mixture and place the rest in the refrigerator. Pan fry patty in a skillet until cooked through. Taste test the patty and adjust seasoning of sausage mixture if necessary.

4. Fit casings over sausage stuffing horn and tie off the end. Stuff all of the sausage into the casings and tie into 4-inch links. Refrigerate sausages until ready to use.

5. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly. Grill sausages until cooked through, or when an instant read thermometer reads 150°F when inserted into the middle of the sausage. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brisket Recipe

ake a heavy pot, put in in one packet of Knorr's Oxtail Soup mix. Beware - they call it tomato soup now and Oxtail is in parentheses. Add two cups of water, dissolve the soup mix (the flame is on at this point)). Then add about a 4-lb brisket - who cares which side is up. Bring it to a boil, cover it, turn the flame down, and simmer it for about an hour. During the last 20 minutes, add a box of dried pitted prunes. If you don't want to make tsimmes, just leave the prunes in there and they'll disintegrate as the brisket cooks some more and become part of the delectable gravy. By the way, this is easily made ahead of time, even frozen, and then reheated - it's even better then.

Okay so let's say you want to make tsimmes. Take the prunes out after that 20 minutes, when they're soft. Add cooked sliced carrots, garlic powder, and honey. You got your tsimmes.

For you, GG, a veggie tsimmes: Cook some barley until it's soft. Soak the dried prunes in hot water until they're soft, then mix together the cooked barley, the soaked soft prunes, and cooked sliced carrots. Add a healthy tablespoon of fake chicken soup mix (Osem or Elite are the best brands for this). Add some garlic powder and some Nyafat.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Armenian Rice Pilaf

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Pasta Rice
Side Dish

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup vermicelli crumbled into 1 inch long pieces
1 1/2 cups chicken broth -- mixed with
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter in a deep, covered pan suitable for cooking rice, and and add vermicelli. Sauté until vermicelli is golden brown. Add rice, stirring until well coated, then add chicken broth and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 15-25 minutes until rice is cooked and broth is absorbed.

Turn heat off and let sit a few minutes. Stir the pilaf and serve.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 117 Calories; 12g Fat (91.6% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 31mg Cholesterol; 937mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Fat.

* Rice pilaf should not be gummy or salty. It is a very subtle side dish, and is a compliment to poultry, fish, lamb and veal.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Char Siu – Chinese BBQ Pork

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

4 lbs pork boneless butt cut into slices about 1-in thick, or country style ribs
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C hoisin sauce
1/4 C Shao Hsing rice wine, or dry sherry
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C ketchup
1/4 C honey

You will need an oven-safe wire rack and tray for this recipe.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the sesame oil, after you whisk everything together, otherwise the oil combines with the five spice and forms clumps that are hard to incorporate. Measure out 1/3 C of the marinade and set aside.

Pierce the pieces of pork 10 – 12 times all over with a fork. Place in a large zipper lock bag or tray and pour the marinade over the pork. Make sure each piece of pork is coated sufficiently with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for 3 – 5 hours.

For the glaze, combine the reserved 1/3 C of marinade with the ketchup and honey. Cook over medium heat and reduce it until it’s syrupy, about 4 – 6 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line a tray with foil and set the wire rack over the tray.

Place the pork on the wire rack. Pour about 1/2 C (enough to cover the bottom) of hot water into the bottom of the tray and cover the tray tightly with foil. Roast on the middle rack for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and roast for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the edges of the meat start to brown.

Turn on the broiler (keeping the rack on the middle rack), and broil the first side of the pork for about 5 minutes. Then brush the pork with half the glaze and broil for another 5 minutes, until the pork is a dark brownish red and evenly caramelized. Flip the meat over and broil the second side for 5 minutes, then brush on the glaze, and broil for another 5 minutes.

Cool, then cut into slices and serve with rice. If you have extra, you can freeze it, add it to soup, ramen, or fried rice.

Bombay Street Food: Vada Pav

For the filling

500g small potatoes, steamed with skin on
150g sweet potato, steamed

For the Masala

1 small piece ginger, minced
2 garlic clove, minced
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped

For the tempering

1 teaspoon turmeric powder
5-8 curry leaves
2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil or ghee

For the batter

1 1/2 cups gram flour (besan)
1/2 cup rice flour
approx. 2 cups water
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon chilli powder(optional)
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Peanut oil for frying

Pita bread
Tomatoes, sliced
Onions, sliced in rings


Peel and mash both sweet potatoes and potatoes with a potato masher. Depending on how you like it - either mash completely or coarsely allowing for some chunks. I like mine slightly chunky.

Add ginger, garlic, onions and green chili paste, coriander leaves, and salt to the potatoes. Mix, preferably with your hands until everything is incorporated.

Put 1 tablespoon oil or ghee in a pan and heat at medium heat. Add mustard seeds. Once they start splutter, add turmeric powder and curry leaves. Carefully pour this tempering over the mashed potatoes and stir in gently.

Using your hands make small balls of mashed potato mixture. Traditionally Vadas are shaped into balls, I flatted them to make them into patties as they fit better into the pita bread.

For the batter

In a large bowl mix together both flours. Add salt, turmeric powder and all the spice powders. Gradually start adding water and keep mixing with a spoon or whisk. Remove the lumps and whisk into a smooth batter. The batter should not be too watery or too thick. If lifted by a spatula, it should flow in a ribbon like consistency, similar to pancake batter.

Heat some peanut oil in a pan. Drop some batter in the oil to check if the oil is the right temperature. If the batter immediately floats on the surface of the oil, the oil is ready. The oil should not be too hot either, otherwise the vadas turn dark from the outside before they are actually done from the inside.

Now dip each ball in the batter, letting the excess batter drip off. Gently and carefully add the vadas to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, or the temperature of the oil reduces which will slow down the frying process. In the simlar way, fry all the vadas until golden. Remove on a paper towel and drain.

To assemble the Vada Pitta Pav warm the pita bread in the oven. Once warmed through slice off the tops and cut open. Spread generously with the sun-dried tomato and tamarind chutney, fill with onion rings, sliced tomatoes and rucola. Finally, add the vada. Enjoy warm

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Grilled Fish with Pimentón Aioli


Time: 20 minutes

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 teaspoons pimentón

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 swordfish or other fish steaks, about 1 1/2 pounds

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Lemon juice to taste.

1. Start a grill or preheat broiler. Mix together all but 1/2 teaspoon garlic, some salt and pepper, half the pimentón and olive oil. Brush one side of fish steaks with this mixture (if you are broiling, brush both sides). Put on grill, sauced side down, and brush other side. Grill or broil, turning once, until done, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise with remaining garlic and pimentón; add a little lemon juice and whisk; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve fish with a dollop of aioli.

Yield: 4 servings.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

- makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10 servings -

Adapted from Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox.


3/4 extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the pan
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons


1. Put oven rack in center position and heat oven to 325ºF. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale and thick. Add yogurt zest; beat to combine. With mixer on medium speed, add oil in a quick steady stream. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture just until blended. Whisk batter by hand to make sure that all ingredients are incorporated.

4. Pour batter into pan. Bake, rotating pan once, until cake is golden, center springs back to touch, and edges pull away from pan, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for a minute or two on rack, then release from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bagna Cauda

from Bon Appétit | December 1992

Literally translated as "hot bath," this dipping sauce for vegetables often appears in many Italian homes as part of the Christmas Eve buffet. Although cardoons (an edible thistle related to the artichoke but resembling celery) are traditional, celery makes a fine substitute and any combination of vegetables will do. In Italy, the routine goes like this: Vegetable pieces are dipped into the sauce (a fondue-style fork will help) and then eaten, with a slice of bread held underneath to catch the drippings. Once the bread is soaked with sauce, it's eaten, too. Then everyone starts over. It's fun for a party appetizer no matter where you live.

Serves 6.

3/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 anchovy fillets
6 large garlic cloves, chopped

Assorted fresh vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1-pound loaf crusty Italian or French bread, cutinto 2-inch sections

Blend oil, butter, anchovies and garlic in processor until smooth. Transfer oil mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 15 minutes, stirring, occasionally. (Sauce will separate.) Season with salt and pepper.

Pour sauce into fondue pot or other flameproof casserole. Set pot over alcohol burner or gas table burner to keep warm. Serve with vegetables and bread.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Jacques Torres

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.