Archive | February, 2010

C is for cookie, part 2

28 Feb

The battle continues. Classic chocolate chip.

The secret to a better chocolate chip cookie? Letting the dough rest for 36 hours.

From the New York Times: “What he’s doing is brilliant. He’s allowing the dough and other ingredients to fully soak up the liquid — in this case, the eggs — in order to get a drier and firmer dough, which bakes to a better consistency.”

JACQUES TORRES’ CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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.

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

 

C is for cookie

28 Feb

This is the battle to end all battles, in two parts.

Part one: chocolate vs. chocolate. Dorie Greenspan’s world peace cookies vs. Vancouver’s Thomas Haas’s chocolate sparkle cookies.

Two adorable names (world peace? sparkles? goodie!), two scrumptious recipes.

CHOCOLATE SPARKLE COOKIES

recipe ran in the Vancouver Sun, which we couldn’t locate, but did find here, with great pictures.

1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate (Haas recommends Valrohna if possible)
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tbsp honey (Haas recommends Blackberry)
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 tsp cocoa powder

pinch of salt

Melt chocolate on top of a double boiler, over (but not in contact with) simmering water. Remove from heat. Cut butter into small pieces and mix into the heated chocolate until melted.

Beat eggs, gradually adding the sugar and honey until light and the mixture falls into thick, smooth ribbons (about 10 min). Fold into the chocolate mixture. Add the cocoa powder and salt to the ground almonds and mix; gently add to the chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to form the dough into 1 inch balls. Working quickly, roll the balls into granulated sugar. Place on the Baking sheet 2″ apart. Bake at 325 for 12 minutes, until the centres are moist, but not wet. Cool slightly. Dust lightly with powdered icing sugar. Makes about 36 cookies.

Note: You may find this recipe has cocoa and honey added that were not included in the original recipe. Thomas Haas tweaked the recipe between the LA Times version and Vancouver Sun printed version.

WORLD PEACE COOKIES

Go here to see good photos.

Makes about 36 cookies

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Serving: The cookies can be eaten when they are warm or at room temperature — I prefer them at room temperature, when the textural difference between the crumbly cookie and the chocolate bits is greatest — and are best suited to cold milk or hot coffee.

Do ahead: Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days (Deb note: not a chance); they can be frozen for up to 2 months. They can also be frozen in log form for months, and can be sliced and baked directly from the freezer, adding a coupld minutes to the baking time.

Shiny happy people

21 Feb

Need these. That is all.

Trading up Trader Vic’s

18 Feb

Colman Andrews writes wonderfully about Trader Vic’sinSaveur Issue #80
Makes us want to don a hibiscus-print dress, stick a gardenia in our hair, pop in South Pacific, and knock back a mai tai or two. Pupus anyone?
“When I think back on my many dinners at what was once, without question, my favorite restaurant, I recall first and maybe most of all the seductive aromas: the faint hint of smoldering wood from the Chinese ovens; the perfume of gardenias garnishing drinks; the sweet fragrance of the hot towels presented after the finger-food appetizers; the meaty scent of the rum-and-sugar-glazed barbecued pork and the roasted Indonesian lamb, with its hint of curry. After the aromas, I remember the music: soft, slightly fuzzy, the sounds of slack-key guitar bands and Martin Denny– esque exotica, issuing from little speakers under palm-leaf ceiling panels above the replica tikis, giant conch shells, or amber glass fishnet floats. Then I remember the almost military orchestration of the service: the hostesses in their tailored hibiscus-print dresses, the captains in their jaunty crested blazers, the three (if not four) levels of waiters and busboys in uniforms of descending grandeur; the practiced presentations at the table of communal servings of stir-fried vegetables or crusty cottage-fried potatoes dished up with unobtrusive flair, and the deft carving of heroic slabs of glistening mahogany-hued meat. “…. My parents started taking me and my sister there for dinner. On my earliest visits, my favorite dish was a combination plate—I don’t remember what it was called—that involved a hamburger patty, a toasted english muffin, a fried banana, and a heap of crisp shoestring potatoes. I subsequently learned to love the Cosmo tidbits—an appetizer assortment that included crab Rangoon (fried crabmeat-filled wontons), sweet barbecued spareribs, slices of lacquered pork loin, and deep-fried shrimp. I also developed an affection for the mahimahi, which was scattered with shards of almond, and, later, macadamia nuts—and certainly for the snowball: a big scoop of coconut ice cream topped with chocolate sauce and coated in shredded coconut.”

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TRADER VIC’S LORE found a happy/tacky/tiki place in our imagination, huddled up against the memory of Greg Brady’s disasterous surfing wipeout caused by Bobby’s cursed ancient tiki necklace.
It steered our maiden voyage to Trader Vic’s on the Vegas strip. We slipped inside to enjoy a guilty pleasure and had the place nearly all to ourself. The mai tai was mostly shaved ice, but stiff. The lobster dumplings were sad little dough pockets smeared with something resembling seafood. $23. Thanks for coming out.

Perhaps Trader Vic’s is better reimagined. We are perfectly capable of riffing off the fabled Cosmo tidbits — an appetizer assortment that included crab Rangoon, sweet barbecued spareribs, slices of lacquered pork loin, and deep- fried shrimp.

And we’re going to serve them all, including rumaki, on this platter.

Of all these Polynesian delights, we are most enchanted by crab Rangoon — a treat we did not grow up with. The beauty of the faux-Burmese triangle shaped deep fried dumplings is in the dipping sauce. Less is more for the dumpling filling.


And yet, variations abound.

Ming Tsai tarts his Rangoon up by adding a cup of cranberry chutney to a 1 lb of crabmeat, 1/4 lb cream cheese, chopped chives and salt and pepper.
A baked version of the typically deep fried snack persuades us to preheat our oven to 350, spray muffin cups with cooking spray, press wontons so edges extend above the cup, and fill with a mixture of crab and neufchatel, and bake up to 20 minutes.
This gal makes her mother’s crab cheese wontons with 8 oz of cream cheese, three sticks of imitation crab meat (finely diced) two chopped green onion, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1 tsp Knorr chicken bouillon, and lots of ground black pepper. She wraps them like tortelli and freezes them.

We also recall a crazy crockpot rangoon dip that melded crab, condensed shrimp bisque, worchester, lemon, soy sauce and scallion, and added cream cheese at the last minute. Served with vegetable sticks and fried wonton chips, it was a calorie bomb to be sure. But the hot dish is a nostalgic twist of 1950s clam and oyster dips.

More twists: smoked salmon cream cheese, or crab Rangoon-stuffed chicken breasts.

We are secretly planning to suss out chive or herb and garlic cream cheese. But we are going to err on the lighter side and keep the ratio heavy on the crab, so it’s not as bland and gloopy. And let’s not lie to ourselves — we want to make these using lobster.

TRADER VIC’S CRAB RANGOON
(A newer version calls for 6 oz crab, 2 tbsp cream cheese, two scallions (green part only), 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 tsp worchestershire, 1 tsp soy, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Fry in peanut oil. Makes a dozen.)


We also think that chilling or freezing these before hand is a good idea.

36 pieces
1/2 cup fresh cooked crabmeat, drained and chopped
½ pound cream cheese, room temperature
½ teaspoon A-1 Steak Sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
3 dozen wonton wrappers
1 egg yolk, well beaten
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Chinese mustard
Chinese red sauce
Combine crabmeat with cream cheese, steak sauce and garlic powder in a medium bowl and blend to a paste. Refrigerate if not using right away. Set out 6 wonton wrappers at a time and place a heaping teaspoon of filling on each. Moisten edges of wrapper with egg yolk and gather corners at the top. Pinch edges together gently to seal.
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat oil in wok, deep fryer or electric skillet to 375 degrees. Add wontons in batches and fry until golden brown, turning often, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to prepared baking sheet and place in warm oven while frying the remaining wontons. Serve hot with Chinese mustard and/or red sauce for dipping.

TRADER VIC’S MAI TAI
original version invented by Victor Bergeron, aka “Trader Vic”, in 1944.
2 ounces Jamaican rum (such as Appleton Rum Estate VX)
1/2 ounce orgeat syrup
1/2 ounce orange curacao
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Juice from one fresh lime
Sprig of mint (for garnish)
Pour rum, orgeat, orange curacao, simple syrup, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of fresh mint on the edge of the glass.

TRADER VIC’S SCORPION

From “Trader Vic’s Tiki Party” by Steve Siegelman

2 ounces silver rum
1 ounce brandy
2 ounces orange juice
1 ½ ounces lemon juice
½ ounce orgeat syrup
1 cup crushed ice, plus additional ice cubes
1 gardenia, for garnish
Combine rum, brandy, orange juice, lemon juice, orgeat syrup and crushed ice in an electric blender and pulse for a few seconds, just until uniformly combined. Pour into a double old-fashioned glass and add ice cubes to fill. Garnish with the gardenia.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

18 Feb

We don’t know what in the hell is wrong with us, but we have tendency to hoard restaurant recipes found online. Surely they must make pills for this, no?
SPICY SHRIMP SALAD WITH MANGO AND AVOCADO
2  cups mango, sliced lengthwise thinly
2 tbsp soy bean oil or vegetable oil
2 tsp chili paste, (sambal brand)
1 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tbsp lime juice, fresh
2 tbsp orange juice, fresh
1 tbsp zest from lime and orange mixed
4 heads butter lettuce, ripped into pieces
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
1.5 lbs shrimp, cooked in seasoned water (21-25ct-size of shrimps)
1 cup thai basil, mint, and cilantro
1 cup scallions, cut into rings
1 cup roma tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ tsp  white pepper, ground (or to taste)
1 tbsp honey
2 each avocado, ripe (small diced – 1.5 cups)
3 tbsp  soy sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp  rice wine vinegar

In a blender, puree the oil, juices, chili paste, soy, ½ cup mango, and honey. Prepare ahead to let chill, and flavor develop.
Place the other ingredients in a bowl (shrimps are best served chilled), and pour dressing over ingredients. Toss the salad in a folding motion, ensuring they are coated but not ‘drenched’…reserve remaining dressing to dip the shrimp into if you wish.
Mound on a platter, being sure to get all the good stuff on top to see. Garnish with orange or lime wedges. Enjoy!
This may also be done with grilled skirt/flank steak, with a great warm/cold contrast. After grilling, slice the beef thinly against the grain (marinate the beef with oil and honey well beforehand to tenderize the meat-or make extra dressing, and use 1 cup to marinade 1 ½ lbs meat for 12 hours).

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PULLED CHICKEN WITH SPICY CUCUMBER CHILI NOODLES
2 lbs chicken, boned dark and white
1 lb shanghai or Chinese noodles
1 cucumber, chinese
2 tbsp chili paste, sambal
4 tbsp tahini paste
1/4 cup soy bean oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 bunch cilantro
10 mint leaves
2 tbsp hoisen sauce
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp ginger, fresh grated
5 tbsp scallions

In a pot of boiling seasoned water, place the boned chicken, bring back to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn heat off and let sit uncovered for 25 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, in a bowl, add the tahini paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, grated fresh ginger, fish sauce, peanut butter, and 1 tbsp of chili paste. Mix together with a rubber spatula or whip to incorporate well. After the mixture is well incorporated, add about 2 tablespoons water to “smooth” out the dressing. It will lighten, and become thin enough to spoon (you may need to add a touch more water as it sits, and adjust just before you use with the dish.
In a separate pot of seasoned boiling water, place the Chinese noodles and cook until ‘al dente’ about 5-7 minutes. (this may be done ahead of time, and blanched to stop the cooking process… then easier to time the dish when your ingredients are all ready). Reserve the noodles chilled, and keep the water for when you are ready to plate your lunch/dinner/snack).
Cut the cucumbers in disks, then cut into julienne “strips” (easier to eat), and reserve chilled.
When the chicken is done, cooked just to 165 degrees, or in the dark meat no “pink”, remove and place into the refrigerator to chill. The chicken may be done ahead of time, but make sure to keep covered so the chicken does not dry out… you may keep some of the poaching liquid with the chicken to keep it moist.
Once the chicken is chilled, “pull the meat along the grain of the muscle, it will come apart into ‘strings’. These should be roughly pulled, and better if they are different sizes, thickness, and lengths. If you have to, you may use a knife on the dark meat to get the pulling started.
Plating your dish: With all the ingredients done, now place the cooked noodles into a strainer in the boiling water for just a minute (to heat them up), and place on a platter or individual bowls/plates.
Now make sure your Tahini dressing is the right consistency…and adjust if needed, and spoon about 4-5 tbsp of dressing over noodles…. You may always add more! Now place the chicken in a ‘pile on one side of the top of the noodles, and the julienne cucumbers on the other. Garnish with chopped scallions, and put the hoisen sauce as a side offering for you to spoon onto the noodles.
Serve with a nice rice beer, or something with bubbles… Ginger beer, or Ale… Enjoy!!!

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GINGER CHICKEN STIR FRY WITH ROMAINE AND CITRUS SOY
1 lb ground chicken
3 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp garlic
1/2 tsp chili flakes
3 tbsp soy bean oil
2 heads romaine lettuce
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisen sauce
1 oz scallions
1 tbsp soy sauce

Makes about 8-10 servings of ‘one spear’ each
Dice the Chicken into tiny pieces, not minced, but small diced…about ¼” rough squares.
Place the chicken into a mixing bowl, and add 2 tbsp of soy bean oil, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Mix together in circular motion until well mixed. Let marinate in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
Mix together the citrus juices, soy, and hoisen sauce with a whisk. Reserve until needed.
Clean the romaine lettuce, chopping off the stem, peeling each ‘spear’ and running under clean cold water. Reserve in Refrigerator until ready to use. Chop scallions into rings and reserve chilled.
In a very hot sauté pan, coat lightly with the soy bean oil, make sure the pan is very hot! Evenly lay the chicken around the sauté pan, being sure not to lay too much on top of each other. We are trying to get a good searing of the chicken to get it crispy and golden brown…about 2 ½ minutes.
When the chicken is browned, toss gently in pan (or fold with spoon). Repeat for another two minutes and fold again. The pan will appear to ‘burn’ a bit, but that is the ‘Fond’ (which is the caramelization, and where all the magic flavor comes from.
When the chicken has cooked for 4-5 minutes, add ½ of the citrus-soy mixture, and toss well. Let the sauce coat the chicken until it is ‘glazed’, and thickens on the chicken. Add more or less depending on how “wet” you want your mixture.
When coated, the chicken should be cooked (165 degrees), then spoon onto a plate.
Whats fun is to put plates of each ingredient on the table or bar top, and let people build their own Romaine wraps, sprinkling the scallion rings on top as a garnish, and great light onion taste. Sesame seeds also make a great finish to the mixture.
Eat and enjoy! A Tsing Tao would be a perfect compliment to this dish, it’s spicy, smoky, bright and sweet, and fun to eat!
This can also be done with baby shrimps, fish, or beef.

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ASIAN NEW YORK STRIP STEAK WITH CARROT PEANUT SLAW
3 each 12 oz  NY Strip Steak Each
1 tbsp  Soy bean oil
1 tsp  salt and black pepper mixed
1 tbsp sweet unsalted butter,

Place the steak on a hot sizzle plate in your oven.  You can get the plate hot over your range (being careful, and using tongs/kitchen mitts). Sear on for about 3-4 minutes.
Pull the sizzle plate from the oven or grill, and brush on a generous coating of your sweet soy, or molassas.
Return to oven or grill and broil for another minute, or until a caramelized look throughout the beef.
Flip and repeat steps 1 and 2.
If possible, let the steak rest for 1-2 minutes, allowing the meat to relax.
The finished product should be medium-rare.
Orange Chili Vinaigrette
1 ½ cup Orange juice
1/3 cup OranGe zest, grated
2 T. Ginger, chopped fine
¼ cup Sugar, granulated
½ cup Ginger Vinegar
1 cup Orange Chili Oil

Put all ingredients in a small sauce pot and reduce by half.  Transfer to a stainless steel mixing bowl.  Whisk in the vinegar and oil to emulsify.

Carrot Slaw
4.5 oz Shredded carrots, matchstick
.5 oz Green onion, slivered
.05 oz Mint, julienne
.05 oz Cilantro, julienne
.05 oz Sweet basil, julienne

In a mixing bowl, place all ingredients, and incorporate well.  Check seasoning, and adjust if needed with kosher salt.  Best if eaten fresh.

Spicy Peanut Dressing
1 lb Peanut butter
1 fl oz Soy sauce
2 tbsp Lemon juice, fresh
2 fl oz Sake, dry
1 tbsp Lime juice, fresh
Pinch Pepper, ground white
2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped rough
½ tsp Chipotle, tobasco sauce
2 oz Rice wine vinegar
2 oz Water

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients well.  Be sure to mix with a whip, in a circular and figure 8 motion, to incorporate.  The dressing should be slightly thick, but able to coat a spoon well.  If the dressing is slightly thick, thin it out with water, little by little.  If you like it thicker, thicken it with more peanut butter.
When you are serving the beef, place the beef on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, slice into very thin slices all the way along the beef. “Re-arrange the meat” fanning along a plate, or into a circle around your carrot slaw with peanut dressing, or other favorite compliment.  Now drizzle the orange chili vinaigrette over the beef, as desired, and enjoy!
A crisp Savignon Blanc, or a Pinot Noir will go beautifully with this dish!

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SHANGHAI NOODLES WITH GRILLED RIB EYE AND BROCCOLI
Shanghai Noodles, (egg based) lb 1
2 lb rib eye steak
1 lb broccoli florets
1 onion, white julienne
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, fresh
1 tsp chili flakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisen sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 oz butter, unsalted
4 tbsp soy bean oil
kosher salt, and white pepper
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Sauce: combine the hoisen, orange juice, and soy sauce with a whisk and reserve.
In a small bowl, combine ginger, chili flakes, and garlic with 2 tbsp of soy bean oil.  Add 1 tsp of kosher salt to the mixture, and a pinch of white pepper…combine well and reserve.
Rib Eye: Ask the butcher or meat dept to give you four 8 oz steaks. The better ‘marbling’ the better. In a bowl, add the chili-ginger-garlic goop to the steaks, making sure you evenly distribute around the steaks. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours to get the flavor into the steaks.
While the Steaks are marinating, you can blanch the noodles and broccoli. Get a pot of water going, and season with kosher salt (about 1 tbsp per gallon).  Get another bowl of ice water ready, which will be used to ‘shock’ the broccoli (stops the cooking process).
With the water to a boil, place the broccoli in a wire basket and cook for about 4 minutes at a slow boil.  Remove from pot, and place in ice water.  Let sit in ice bath for only a few minutes, until just chilled (letting it sit in the water will make the broccoli mushy and take on too much water).  Reserve until ready to make the dish.
In the same water, place the Shanghai noodles, and cook until al dente…about 5-6 minutes.  Remove and pour into a colander. Once the excess water is removed, place the noodles on a sheet tray, and lightly coat with soy bean oil, being sure to move the noodles (this prevents ‘sticking’.  Let cool to room temp, moving occasionally (we do this so we don’t lose the starch in the noodles…do not rinse or shock in water!  This is a big “noodle sin”).
Get your beef ready, and allow to come to room temp for about 5 minutes before cooking.  Season with Kosher salt, about ½ tsp per steak both sides.  In a very hot sauté pan (or grill), place the steaks and let cook for 5 minutes on each side (to medium-rare).  If using the sauté pan, place a bit of soy bean oil just before placing steaks…the pan should be VERY hot!  We are trying to ‘caramelize’ the beef, which gives flavor and locks in all the great juices, and gives a nice ‘crunch’ texture’.
While the steaks are cooking, in a large warm sauté pan, place 1 tbsp of soy bean oil, and sweat the onions with 1 tsp of garlic, ginger, and chili flakes. Once the onions are translucent, add the white wine (or michu wine), and allow to reduce by ¾).  Now add the hoisen sauce mixture and stir.  Let the sauce simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add the noodles.  Toss the noodles with the sauce, and allow the noodles to take the sauce in and get hot…about 4 minutes.  This may take two pans, or a strong ‘single pan’. Add the blanched Broccoli, and continue to cook until noodles and broccoli are hot.  Add the butter and continue to toss until the butter has ‘tightened’ and the sauce is coating the noodles and broccoli well.
Place the noodles on a big platter, or four individual plate-bowls. Garnish with scallion rings, and/or toasted sesame seeds.
The Beef should be done by now, and nicely caramelized (dark brown in color on the outside).  Place on a cutting board, and with a very sharp knife slice into thin strips. Once done, lay the rib eye slices on top of the noodles, or arrange around them, or put back together and lay in front of the noodles.
Serve and enjoy!!!

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FLAVORS OF YUNNAN ZODIAC NOODLES
From P.F.Chang’s “Flavors of Yunnan” menu, Zodiac Noodles combines rice noodles with pork loin, ham, cabbage and shiitake mushrooms in a spicy Kung Pao-style sauce.

•5 ounces Guilin Rice Vermicelli (or substitute spaghetti, follow recipe on package for cooking)
•1 teaspoon any vegetable oil
•2 teaspoons any vegetable oil
•8 each chili pods
•3 ounces pork loin, cut into thin strips
•1 teaspoon garlic
•1 1/2 ounces Yunnan ham, cut into thin strips (substitute Proscuttio or Serrano)
•2 each green onion, cut into 2-3 inch sticks
•1/4 cup sliced cabbage, cut into thin strips
•1/4 cup Shiitake mushrooms, sliced (substitute any mushrooms)
•1/8 teaspoon salt
•2 tablespoons soy sauce
•1 teaspoon oyster sauce
•1 teaspoon sugar
•1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Preparation:
Procedure:
1. Soak vermicelli in very hot water for 1 hour.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add Vermicelli and boil for one minute.
3. Rinse under warm water for one minute, drain well then mix with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.
4. Heat a wok over high heat until it begins to smoke (can substitute cast iron skillet or saute pan).
5. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, then chili pods and pork. Then stir-fry until pork is almost done.
6. Add garlic, ham, green onion, cabbage and mushrooms then stir for 10 to 15 seconds.
7. Add vermicelli, salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil then stir-fry until all ingredients are mixed well.

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PF CHANG LETTUCE WRAPS
•8 dried Shiitake mushrooms
•2 teaspoons cooking sherry
•2 teaspoons water
•1 teaspoon soy sauce
•1 teaspoon cornstarch
•salt and pepper to taste
•1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
•5 tablespoons vegetable oil
•1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
•2 cloves minced garlic
•2 chopped green onions
•8 oz can bamboo shoots, chopped up
•8 oz can water chestnuts, chopped
•2 small dried chilies (optional)
•1 package of Chinese cellophane rice noodles, cooked according to instructions on the package
•Iceberg lettuce leaves

Lettuce Wrap Sauce:
•2 tablespoons oyster sauce
•1 1/2 tablespoons water
•1 tablespoon cooking sherry
•1 tablespoon soy sauce
•1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
•2 teaspoons cornstarch
•1 teaspoon sugar
•1 teaspoon sesame oil

Pour enough boiling water over dried mushrooms to cover. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain. After the mushrooms have soaked, remove any woody stems and chop up the mushrooms.
While waitng for the mushrooms to finish soaking, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sherry, water, soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir together until chicken is well coated.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil. After the oil gets hots, add the chicken mixture. Fry quickly for about 3 minutes, or til chicken is no longer pink. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Remove chicken.
To the same skillet, add 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, and optional chilies, if desired. Fry quickly for 45-60 seconds, or til garlic is a golden color. Do not overcook garlic, or it will taste bitter. Add the dried mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Fry quickly for about 2 minutes.
Return chicken to the skillet. Add the sauce ingredients to the same skillet. Cook until the sauce thickens.
Break the cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces. Spread the noodles onto the bottom of a platter. Pour the chicken mixture on top of the noodles. Spoon into lettuce leafs. Roll up chicken lettuce wraps and secure with toothpicks. See if this doesn’t taste just like the PF Chang lettuce wrap recipe to you.

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P.F. Chang’s® Coconut-Curry Vegetables
For the Tofu
2 tablespoons sesame oil
12 ounces package extra firm water-packed tofu
1 small onion, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 small red bell pepper, cubed
1 cup halved mushrooms
4 ounces (3 cups) cauliflower or broccoli florets
1 cup thinly sliced carrots or whole sugar snap peas

Coconut-Curry Sauce:
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 Tbl. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 – 2 Tbl. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 cup peanuts

2 Tbl. canola oil for stir-frying

2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 Tbl. cold water mixed together in small bowl.

Drain the tofu, cube and fry in 1 tablespoon oil until brown. Set aside.
Separately blanch the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and sugar snap peas until tender-crisp in plain boiling water. Drain and flush with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
Combine the coconut-curry sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust the sugar to your liking.
Heat a wok or wide skillet over high heat until hot. Add the canola oil, swirl to glaze the pan, then add the onions and bell pepper. Stir-fry until tender-crisp, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir until hot, a few minutes more. Add the blanched vegetables and toss to mix.
Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Bring to a simmer, tossing to combine.
Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Stir until the sauce turns glossy, about 10 seconds (a bit longer if you`re doubling the sauce).
Add the peanuts.
Serve with rice, noodles, or a warm loaf of bread.
Use a milder or hotter curry powder to vary the spice.
For a really saucy dish to serve over rice or noodles, double the sauce ingredients and the cornstarch mixture.

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P. F. Chang`s China Bistro Firecracker Shrimp Recipe
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 ounces 36-40 shrimp
7 baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup water chestnut slices
24 snow peas
1 large scallion – white part – 1/4-inch minced
1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon sambal chili paste
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons ground bean sauce
Cilantro (for garnish)
***Cornstarch slurry***
1 teaspoon cornstarch
blended with
1 ounce water
***Sauce***
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 ounces water
2 teaspoons white vinegar
Assemble sauce ingredients and put aside. Heat a large saute pan, cast iron skillet, or electric wok until smoking. Add oil and baby carrots, saute until the color of carrots brightens. Add shrimp and stir fry until about half way cooked. Add water chestnuts, snow peas and garlic. Saute briefly. Add scallions. Add chili paste, ground white pepper, ground bean sauce, when you smell the “nuttiness: of the ground bean sauce, reduce heat and add sherry. Introduce sauce mixture, let boil briefly. Add cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened (approximately 30 seconds). Serve with steamed rice on platter or in large bowl, garnish with cilantro.

Gung Hei Fat Choy

15 Feb

A random sampling of unusual – and delicious – dumplings for Chinese New Year… 

SIU MAI DIM SUM
5 oz (140 g) goat cheese
1 lb (500 g) ground pork
7 oz (210 g) shrimp, peeled, deveined and mashed
2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt
2 tbsp (25 mL) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) corn flour
1 tsp (5 mL) toasted sesame seed oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) light soy sauce
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 pkg Chinese dumpling skins or wonton wraps
In a large bowl, combine pork and shrimp. Using a mixer, blend meats, salt, sugar, flour, oil and soy sauce until sticky.
Add cheese and sliced onions and mix well.
Place 1 tsp (5 mL) of the filling in the centre of a dumpling skin. Lightly dampen edges with water and bring them together to form a small bundle. Press edges to seal. Repeat until all ingredients are used.
Place several dumplings at a time in an oiled steaming basket and steam for 10 minutes. Serve hot with your favourite dipping sauce.
Makes 45 to 50 dumplings

FIRECRACKER DUMPLINGS
1 c. chopped carrots
2 scallions
1 lb. ground raw chicken
1 T. soy sauce
2 t. dry sherry
1 t. sesame oil
1 t. Chinese chili sauce
1/4 t. salt
1 T. white sesame seeds
30+ wonton wrappers (the square ones; most packages are a couple of inches tall, which will be plenty)

Asian Pesto:
12 oz. spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 t. minced ginger
1 t. orange zest
handful of cilantro
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 scallion
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. dry sherry
2 T. white vinegar
2 T. sesame oil
2 t. hoisin sauce
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. Chinese chili sauce

Start with the pesto. In a food processor mince the spinach, garlic, ginger, orange zest, cilantro, basil and scallion. When everything is mulched up well add the add the soy, sherry, vinegar, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, sugar and chili sauce. Puree for one minute for a thick, smooth pesto. Set aside.

Place the carrots and green onions in a food processor and mince coarsely.
Transfer to a bowl and add the chicken, soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, chili sauce, and salt.
Thoroughly mix and set aside.
Toast the sesame seeds until golden in an ungreased skillet, then set aside.
Within 5 hours of cooking, assemble the dumplings.
steam and then toss with dressing.

CHANTERELLE AND FLOWERING CHIVE DUMPLINGS
from Martha Stewart
This flavorful dumpling recipe is courtesy of Joe Ng, executive chef at Chinatown Brasserie in New York City.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic, plus 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
6 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
4 ounces white button mushrooms, chopped
4 ounces king oyster mushrooms, chopped
4 ounces fresh bamboo shoots, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 heaping teaspoon sugar
1 heaping teaspoon Chinese barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon black mushroom soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 ounces snow peas, chopped
1 1/2 cups wheat starch
1 1/4 cups potato starch
1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
20 dried goji berries
1 ounce bean sprouts, chopped
20 flowering chives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
Honey mustard, for serving
 Directions
1.Heat olive oil in a large wok over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 20 seconds. Add chanterelle, button and oyster mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and carrot; cook, stirring constantly about 1 minute.
2.Add sugar, barbecue paste, black mushroom soy sauce, sesame oil, pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper; cook until mixture is softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk cornstarch together with 3/4 cup water until well combined. Slowly add to wok and cook until thick and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let mixture cool for 2 hours. Stir snow peas into cooled mixture.
3.Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, mix together wheat starch and 1/4 cup potato starch; add boiling water and mix until well combined. Let stand for 1 minute. Add remaining 1 cup potato starch and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil; stir until a dough comes together. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap; set aside until ready to form dumplings.
4.Place goji berries in a small bowl and add enough hot water to cover; let stand until plump, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
5.Heat a large heavy-bottom pot with high sides three-quarters full with vegetable oil over medium high heat until it reaches 350 to 375 degrees on a deep fry thermometer.
6.Using your hands, roll dough to form an 8-inch long rope. Cut into 8 to 10 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Using a small rolling pin, flatten each piece of dough into a circle. Place some of the filling into the center of each circle and fold over filling into a half-round to enclose. Bring the two corners of each dumpling together and press to seal.
7.Add dumplings to hot oil and fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
8.In a wok set over high heat, cook bean sprouts, flowering chives, remaining 1/4 teaspoon garlic, and soy sauce, stirring constantly, until vegetables are slightly softened but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon mixture onto the top of each dumpling. Serve immediately with honey mustard and garnished with goji berries.

Year of the Tiger (rawr)

12 Feb

The lunar new year begins Sunday… that means the Year of the Tiger.

We are certifiably koo-koo crazy for dumplings. Delicate shrimp har gow, sweet pork siu mai, and the holy grail of steamed dumplings at Jing Fong. We memorably munched on dumplings and washed them down with a pot of hot tea at the Hong Kong dim sum palace in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Walking in by ourselves off Elizabeth Street and up the escalator, wait staff in yellow jackets seated us at the singles’s table, inhabited by a trio of wisened men hunched over steaming bowls.


We must be hallucinating the flavour — despite our intrepid online sleuthing, we have yet to encounter a similar recipe. It tasted delicately of scallops steamed boy choy and celery. Rejuvenating.

Speaking of Big Apple Chinese New Year, here are two more New York items.

Moving on to less authentic fare — but no less compelling — we live with regret for running out of time to encounter Kenny Shopsin. The great Calvin Trillin introduced us to crazy Kenny through the New Yorker.

Trillin’s children were regulars and frequently ordered items that weren’t on the menu. And so, we’ve pined for his Chow Fun without ever tasting a morsel. We were thrilled to pick up Shopsin’s memoir/cookbook Eat Me, which features some chicken and bok choy funness: stir fry dredged chicken strips “the size of a baby’s finger,” add a mix of bok choy, jicama, snow peas, scallions, shitake, broccoli, long beans etc, and two cups of fresh chow fun noodles.

Squeeze the juice of a lemon over everything, drizzle with soy sauce and add 1/4 cup chicken stock.

SCHEZUAN CHOW FUN
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
4 ounces ground chicken (cooked)
14 ounces chow fun noodles (wide rice noodle)
2 teaspoons minced scallions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon Szechwan preserved vegetables (can be found at Asian market)
2 teaspoons shredded black fungus mushrooms
1 teaspoon Sesame oil

Sauce
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon mushroom soy sauce
2 teaspoons water
Directions: Separate the chow fun noodles and cover with plastic wrap until ready for use. Heat the wok and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Stir fry garlic and chill paste for about 6 seconds. Add ground chicken and stir fry with garlic and chill paste. Add black fungus mushrooms and sauce stir-fry for about 10 seconds. Separate the noodles and mix into the wok a handful at a time. Continue cooking for 2 to 4 minutes or until the noodles are hot.
Mix in sesame oil before serving.
Serve on plates.
Garnish with Szechwan preserved vegetables and minced scallions.

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SEAFOOD SHUMAI IN LEMON GRASS BROTH
Ming Tsai

 

  • 2 cups master seafood mixture, recipe follows
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces chopped, frozen butter
  • 1 package shumai wrappers
  • Lemongrass Broth, recipe follows

 

In a food processor, add seafood mixture, egg, and butter. Pulse until the butter is incorporated but still visible (small pieces). Place 1 tablespoon of mixture on a wrapper and bring up the sides going around the mound. Continue with the remaining mixture and wrappers. Drop, open side up, from 6 inches on a flat surface to flatten the shumai bottoms. Steam shumai for 8 minutes.

Into 4 soup plates, place 3 shumai each. Ladle 4 ounces broth around the shumai. Serve and enjoy.

MASTER SEAFOOD MIXTURE

  • 1 pound rock shrimp, diced
  • 1 pound Chilean sea bass, diced
  • 1 pound bay scallops, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and white pepper

In a food processor, add shrimp, bass, scallops, egg, ginger, and sesame oil. Pulse only a little bit to bring ingredients together. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in scallions and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

LEMONGRASS BROTH

  • • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno sliced with the seeds
  • 4 slices peeled ginger
  • 6 stalks lemongrass, sliced, white part only
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Dash white pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced

In a 2-quart casserole, saute onions, jalapeno, ginger, and lemongrass. Deglaze with fish sauce and reduce by 80 per cent. Add stock and dash of white pepper. Reduce by 20 per cent on a slow simmer, about 45 minutes. Strain and keep hot. Check for seasoning. Squeeze in lemon juice right before serving.