Thursday, December 1, 2016

chinese home cooking - 中國家菜

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.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

matsutake 松菇 galore

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

home made char siu - 叉燒

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

clay pot rice aplenty - 很多煲仔飯

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.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

security camera system - part 5

It was just a needed maintenance work on the security because one of the wireless sensors have been eating the lithium battery very fast. I think it is because of the installation that exposed it to extreme heat and cold that deteriorated the integrated circuit. Soon it would turn into an update project for my home security system.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

jazzing up a frozen pizza - part 1

In the past I would not consider buying frozen pizza. I either make my own dough or buy fresh dough from a store when making pizza. A while back I gave Trader Joe's frozen pizza a try and they are really quite good if you are not too critical of the crust. Frozen pizza can never have good crust compare to freshly made.

braised pork belly - for ramen

I have been making ramen a very long time. Each time I prepare a batch of ingredients I learn something new. Cooking is like everything in life, is a continuous discovery. Hence, I can never keep any recipe as few of my preparation of the same dish are the same process.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

security camera system - part 4

Smile, you are on camera. One of my reasons for wanting a good security camera system is to guard against door to door unsolicited cold calls. These two guys going house to house in my neighborhood wanting to buy houses at depressed price to flip for a handsome profit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

a small batch of smoked salmon

I would never thought that I would waste time and effort to smoke this small amount of salmon. It was totally unplanned. I did not buy any salmon this year as the prices have been the highest I have seen in recent years. I came across some fresh Coho with $5 off each pack. I picked the smallest pack because it has the biggest discount. I was just going to make a few pan fry meals.

ramen in portland - part 6 中華料理拉麺

Soup noodles are my most frequently prepare meals. They are very versatile and are a meal in one serving vessel. It takes as little as 15 minutes to prepare if I have the basic ingredients already made in a big batch.

pc updates - part 2

The graphics interface card arrived. I set out to cap the entire 4k display upgrade to be under $500. I selected this ATI Radeon R7 370 graphics card with 4GB of RAM made by Sapphire. There are many manufacturers also make and market basically the identical design. It can support multiple monitors and support 4k display resolution via the Displayport or HDMI ports up to 60Hz.

Monday, September 19, 2016

security camera system - part 3

I ran out of the RJ45 plugs to complete my version 1.0 of the security camera system installation. I have planned an incremental installation to do it right. I want to do this on installments so I would have time to uncover areas for improvement, especially the locations of the cameras. Also I would have time to think through the cable routing for the few challenging locations of the cameras.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

ramen in portland - part 5 中華料理拉麺

It has been a ramen week as I made a big stock pot of pig bone stock and a modest amount of slow braised pork butt. BTW, if you think pork butt is literally what what they call it, you would be rather disappointed. It is not the butt of the pig. Often it is really pork shoulder.

Friday, September 16, 2016

pc updates - part 1

I have been disciplined. My desktop Windows PC that I assembled myself is now about 5 years old. The two LCD monitors are 8 to 10 years old. They are both Dell 1920x1200 LCD. I would be happy to continue using them have it not because of their fluorescent backlight. One of them is quite tired. They also run quite hot which is an indication of the high power consumption compared to the current offering that has LED backlight.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

ramen in portland - part 4 中華料理拉麺

A friend met up with me to go try the new ramen place that is in Uwajimaya. We have high hope that it serves half-decent bowls of ramen. I have to admit I am very hard to please and I have yet to be impressed by any that I tried in this country. The decor and presentation of the restaurant looks right, and so is the menu. Usually if the place try to be everything of Japanese it is a sign to avoid. You want to see they serve nothing else but ramen and Gyoza, and drinks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

security camera system - part 2

I have been evaluating this NVR security camera system for 10 days now. While I jumped from the initial cash outlay of $250 to $1000 I have no disillusions that this is nothing like the systems used in commercial applications. Then there is law enforcement equipment that a camera alone cost a few thousand dollars. I think I have a well informed level of expectation of what to expect. I am very glad that I opted to spend a bit more. The network based NVR is the way to go for the ease of camera installation if you want to maintain unobtrusive professional installation.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

new hummingbird feeders

Hummingbird feeders are some of the worst ripoffs of consumer goods. Most are very poorly design and made. The prices for one of this cheap plastic thing that cost may be $0.30 sold for 50 folds. I never want to pay over $5 each. The secret is to way for autumn when the stores are making room for Christmas merchandise.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

chiuchow black pepper pig stomach soup - part 2

Looking back it has been a while since I ate pig stomach. While shopping in my regular Asian grocery stores I was disappointed at the lack of selections of live seafood. This year the Pacific Northwest crab and other shellfishes harvest must be abnormally low. I came across the nice looking pig stomachs. They were 2 in a pack so I bought a pack.

Friday, August 26, 2016

security camera system - part 1

I have been wanting a security camera system a long time. Over the years I have monitor the progress of the improvements on those of consumer budget but have defer the purchase as I felt they are not good enough. I recently picked up this Night Owl 8-channel DVR with 4 HD analog cameras for only $250. I have a lot of reservation, especially the challenges of running the BNC/power cables between the DVR and the cameras. Upon inspecting the cable interconnect I decided to return it without evening opening up the rest of the system. I started researching on the newer generation of network video recorders (NVR).