Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Maybe you’ve had scallion pancakes debit card payday loans at a good dim sum place, but apply now paydayadvanceusca.com if you have never tried payday loans without checking account them, you’re missing out. The last time I had them was nearly two years ago at a place in Sydney’s Haymarket area. I payday 2 cheats forgot how good they were until I made them at home the other day.

The pancakes are not really pancakes at all. They’re made from unlevened dough, more like Indian parathas than American pancakes or even French crepes.

I found a recipe from Food Network, then deciphered the directions by looking to Poor Man’s Feast. The process isn’t difficult at all, but the wording was confusing in the original recipe.

The result payday is doughy and layered. I served them for lunch with a ginger-soy dipping sauce and a leftover duck and noodle soup. My sister said they tasted like potstickers, which was good in her book.

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Cooked Cabbage Kimchi-Style

I know, I know. Kimchi isn't cooked. It's pickled.

But what if you want the flavors of kimchi and don't have time for the fermentation process? That's how I came up with this dish. I thought about kimchi: cabbage that ferments in a brine including chilies, garlic, ginger, green onion and other ingredients.

I minced some garlic, ginger and onions, then mixed it with sriracha hot sauce. I added soy sauce because it is salty and made from fermented soy beans. To add to the fermented flavor, I used a little bit of fish sauce. (Some regions use salted anchovies or shrimp.) I also added some rice vinegar for more acid and because it too is fermented.

I briefly cooked some cabbage (regular green since I didn't have napa) in a hot pan with just a little water to soften the leaves, but maintain crispness. Then I added it to my sauce, which I wanted to leave uncooked to keep the sharpness of the onions and garlic. I sprinkled on some sesame seeds and let the whole thing cool.
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It's not quite kimchi, but it worked well with the kogi-style beef and lettuce cups we had for dinner. The next day I made some more kimchi-flavored cabbage and ate it hot over rice.

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Wonders of the Wok

wok

I left my wok in Argentina. And I feel nearly as strong about that as Tony Bennett leaving his heart in San Francisco.

Fine, maybe not that much, but I will miss it.

When my dad came to visit me in Buenos Aires, he was surprised to learn I had bought the wok only two months before. “It looks really well seasoned already,” he said.

Yes, I had put the wok to a lot of use. It was perfect for cooking for one. It cooks things quickly, it’s easy to clean, and it’s shaped so you can make your food do fun flips. For the first month I had it, I didn’t use the oven at all, making everything in the wok instead. Asian-style stir-frys and fried rice, of course, but also my version of Chipotle’s burrito bowl and other one-dish creations like a meal of sausage, potatoes and zapallitos redondos (round squash). Plus, a wok gets really hot quickly, and since I didn’t have a microwave, I used it to reheat pasta or other leftovers.

From what I’ve read, the most important thing to look for in buying a wok is carbon steel. Don’t go for non-stick. Carbon steel conducts more heat and gets that great seasoned effect from food sticking to it. Plus it’s cheap, especially if you can get to a Chinatown. (Mine was U.S. $11.)

Before you use a wok the first time, there’s a bit of a process to go through. I used this and this as a guide. Then you can make all sorts of dishes in it as long as you use an oil with a high smoke point (peanut oil, grapeseed oil or refined oils). It gets more seasoned with each use. (Don’t ever use metal utensils in it or you’ll end up with scratches like I did.)

Part of me wished I could have fit the wok in my luggage, but I guess I’ll have to get a new one and start over.

Grilled Pork Kabobs with Thai Dipping Sauce

Missouri is very capricious when it comes to weather, so we relish every warm, sunny day we get. For us, that means barbecuing.

Well, when Missouri graced us with nearly a week of sunshine we grew tired of burgers, brats and Italian sausage. To mix things up one evening, we had a Thai-inspired barbecue.

As seen on the plate, we had ground pork kebabs with a soy/chili/cilantro sauce, rice, crab wontons and cole slaw with a sesame-ginger dressing.

The wontons and cole slaw were the product of our own experimentation, as most of our recipes are, but this time we didn’t keep track of what we did. The kabobs came from a Thai cookbook, so you can absolutely recreate those.

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The Flavor-Principle Cookbook

I love to flip through cookbooks, but lately I’ve been more interested in food theory — books about ingredients, techniques, flavors, etc. Besides not being able to stick to a recipe to save my life, I prefer to learn the concepts behind cooking. It’s like that saying: Give a gal a fish recipe and she’ll eat for a night. Teach her how to cook it and she’ll eat for a lifetime. Or something.Flavor Principle Cookbook

I found an incredibly interesting book in the university library called The Flavor Principle Cookbook. It discusses the flavor principles and cooking techniques of several cultures, and then offers examples of traditional dishes and unique ways of combining ideas from different regions. This seems progressive for 1973.

I loved reading about the flavor principles from each culture, noticing the overlap and slight differences among them. For instance:

  • Olive oil + tomato + garlic = Southern Italian
  • Olive oil + tomato + saffron = Spanish, Southern French
  • Olive oil + tomato + mixed herbs (thyme, basil, oregano) = Mediterranean, Provencal
  • Olive oil + tomato + cinnamon and/or lemon = Greece, Balkans, Middle East

You can almost draw a map and follow the cuisine.

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Thai Purple Rice with Scallops and Coconut Milk Broth

When Michael and I competed in the university Iron Chef Battle Rice competition, we used brown basmati and red Himalayan, but there were a few other exotic varieties we didn’t put on our menu. We were curious to try them though, so we got some samples after the competition. One of these was Thai purple rice.

The rice, also called black sticky rice, is generally used with sweet flavor profiles, especially in desserts. It becomes sticky when cooked, and has a slight nutty flavor. I found a recipe for scallops and purple rice using lemongrass and coconut milk that sounded really good, but I didn’t execute very well. The broth came out really sweet because I was out of cilantro and didn’t add quite

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enough lime juice. I also might not have let the other flavors steep long enough in the coconut milk.

This was one of those times that I should have stuck to the recipe a little more carefully.

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