Showing posts from June, 2005
chicken with garlic, basil, and tomatoes

Yet another standby recipe

I've been getting home so late that I can't really do much elaborate cooking. So I always fall back on dishes that I have in my head and take no effort to make. This is also one of my standby recipes because it is quick, easy, and tasty! Tomatoes go so well with basil. And sauteing garlic and black pepper in butter creates the most wonderful aroma in the kitchen. This dish works best with shrimp because chicken tends to take longer to cook and is easily overcooked. Also the heavy flavoring (garlic, butter, basil) goes well with seafood, while chicken can be a little too weak to carry all these fragrances, especially bland chicken breasts. I only had chicken breasts at home so that's what I used. This dish goes well with plain rice and sweet buttery peas with onions.

Recipe: Shrimp/chicken with garlic, basil, and tomatoes

1/2 lb of shrimp or chicken meat
2 stalks of fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 pint cherry/grape tomatoes
black pepper

This is one of the bizarre mutant cherries I had last night. Doesn't it look like a butt!?
Chinese egg pancake

Chinese breakfast egg pancake

Breakfast doesn't seem to get much attention on weekdays here in the US. It seems that most people just get by with milk and cereal, some toast, and coffee or orange juice. When I am home in Taiwan, I usually have tons of choices. The traditional breakfast places serve freshly made soy milk, scallions pancakes, chinese chive pockets, and other pastries. These pastries were traditionally made with flour, water, and lard so that the crust has hundred of layers like puff pastry. The filling can be ground pork with scallions or malt sugar. There is also the plain pastry, and it is usually ordered with scrambled eggs (kept as one whole piece though) or "deep fried puff dough", another pastry that is super crunchy and puffed up. Another popular item is the egg pancake. The pancake part is like a crepe but much lighter, made without milk and butter. The egg is scrambled but in the pan it is kept as one sheet and allowed to stick to the pancake. The whole thing is then rolled in…
Blackberry sorbet
Flank steak with spinach walnut salad

Cool-off meal

Summer is here with a big bang. The temperature has been rising into the 90's and the humidity is so high we can probably just breathe in liquid water droplets. Combining these facts with a lousy AC, I just don't even want to turn on any heat in the kitchen. But I gotta eat! Tuna salad is only going to last me a few days. So I made up a salad meal with minimal heat generation -- broiled flank steak on a spinach and walnet salad followed by fluffy blackberry sorbet.

I usually keep a piece of flank steak in the freezer because it's the beef cut I normally use for stir fry. It's also very good grilled and then thinly sliced. In this case, I just used the broiler. I could just eat a spinach salad, but I need my daily protein consumption. To cool off the heat, and to kick start my ice cream maker for the season, I looked up this sorbet recipe that cannot possibly be simpler. But the real reason for using blackberries was that I knew it was on sale -- I do try to be to frugal…
Crepes with Blackberries
Green Veggie Risotto

Lazy weekday

Green Veggie Risotto and Crepes with BlackberriesI had a wonderful weekend with my friend Kay-wen from Cornell. I played host and we attended our friend Amy’s lovely wedding. Kay-wen has been asking me to cook for her ever since I fooled her into cooking for me in freshman year during spring break. Today we had all day to waste before she had to leave for LA at 6, so we paged through my Martha Stewart, Cooks Illustrated, Real Simple, and Everyday Food magazines and lots of my cook books to look for something to make. We decided to make this “healthy” risotto. At the grocery store I also bought some blackberries and heavy cream for dessert – crepes.

My number one comfort food has always been noodle soups. But in recent years risotto has slowly made its way closer to the top of my list. Made poorly, it becomes a mambo-jumbo of badly westernized Chinese congee. Made well, it sparks up my senses and nourishes my tired body. I guess a lot of people substitute ingredients when they are hard …

Cha-Siu=Chinese BBQ Pork

叉燒肉 -- Don't forget the sauce!

What kind of image does the word "Chinatown" conjure up? Well, besides the crowd and less-than-clean sidewalks, I think of tightly neighboring storefronts with large panes of glass behind which roasted ducks, BBQ pork, and marinated chickens are hung side by side. Yes, the three treasures, as the Cantonese restaurants call them. Most people are fooled by the three treasures served in many Chinatown restaurants -- they only get the duck, pork, and a sunny-side-up egg. The three treasures were my introduction to Cantonese cuisine, even before my dim sum days. I remember I didn't like the duck very much; I usually just ate the chicken and pork. I especially liked the sweet glazed pork with a shockingly red color. That is my favorite.

Since I started cooking regularly, BBQ pork has made its way into my repertoire. This is my stand-by recipe. I've made it so many times I don't even need to think much when I make this. This may not be …
Thin slices against the grain is important!
Finished baking!
Raw pork hang-baking in the oven. Make sure there's a grease trapping device.