Sunday, January 15, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
My 2005 (bought in 2004) Mini Cooper S still has the factory battery after 12 years. I have never tax it so it finally gave up during a winter cold spell. I charged it up and went shopping and almost got stranded.
The fuel level gauge in Brunnhilde has never function during my ownership. I would eventually suspect that it is caused by a stuck float mechanism inside the tank. I have been waiting for the opportunity to inspect it when the propane tank is empty.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Some of my recent culinary interest has been recreating many Chinese dishes that involves the use of preserved ingredients. Most of these cannot be found in restaurants in the West, and even in China. It is because they are regional home cooking.
Chinese cuisine is very expansive. Often than not in the West the country's cuisines are very poorly represented. The stereo type of Chinese food hardly represents what its people eats, especially before globalization. In recent years I like to rediscover some of the less popular dishes that used to be common home cooking. Many Asian countries has extensive preserved food. The range of food that is preserved with salt is extensive. Some vegetables are preserved in salt only to be used as cooking condiments.
It was only very recently that I begun testing my hands on preparing brisket. Brisket is one of the thing that there is no point to try making a small quantity. To do it right you should get an entire piece of brisket or not bother at all.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Among the Chinese food that I miss the most are good Chiuchow beef meatballs 潮州牛丸 and fish balls 魚蛋. Here in the Pacific Northwest there is no place that you can find them. In fact to me, there is no decent Chinese restaurants. So for me the only way to crunch my cravings is to take matter into my own hands.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Only very recently that the Western press talks about Japanese washoku 和菜 . Washoku 和菜 means Japanese home cooking in a not so good translation. The two Kanji 漢字 words - 和 means in harmony and 菜 means a dish. A similar term in Chinese is 家菜 (pronounced as gar-choy in Cantonese) though the Chinese one has a connotation of being simple and prepared with unassuming ingredients, except for special occasions. The alternate term for is chang-chai 常菜, meaning daily routine home dishes.
The definition of gar-choy 家菜 can be quite problematic as China is so vast. The ingredients or the lack off can vary significantly from cities to rural village, and from rich to poor. A few characteristics that are typically common are cook with the ingredients available locally to make the most out of them. Contrary to the misrepresentation of Chinese cuisines in the West deep fry and greasy dishes are not the norm. Almost always there are plenty of vegetable dishes and often a soup accompanies a typical family meal.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Years ago when I first encounter matsutakes 松菇 I had little idea what they are. Their strange appearance and the high price intrigued me and I brought a pack home to try. Later on I would realize matsutake 松菇 is one of the Pacific Northwest forest bounties. Matsutake 松菇 means pine mushroom in Chinese and Japanese. I would eventually found my prefer ways to prepare them.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
I bought a whole piece of pork butt to make braised pork (charsiu) for ramen. However I didn't want to have that much of ramen charsiu. I decided to only use one half. What to do with the other half? I initially thought I would make tasso with it. Then seeing the jar of Chinese fermented red bean curd that has been sitting on the kitchen counter for months, the decision was easy. I would just make Chinese charsiu with it. Sound strange? What is the difference between the charsiu that is used as topping for a bowl of ramen and the Chinese charsiu?
Saturday, November 5, 2016
The air is getting damp and cold. It is near the season for clay pot rice. Clay pot rice is one of the most versatile dish once you master the fundamentals of the preparation. It is very fast to prepare and involves only one cooking vessel. I have written about clay pot rice in many posts over the years. In recent weeks I have made many meals of clay pot rice, each time with some variations of the ingredients.