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Paul Winalski

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:12 pm

That would have been an Americanized version. I'm following Fuchsia Dunlop's traditional Sichuan recipe. In Sichuan they use a rind-on pork shoulder cut with several alternating layers of meat and fat. You can't find that here, but pork belly comes very close. The traditional vegetable is Chinese green (i.e., sprouted) garlic (for which Fuchsia substitutes baby leeks) or green peppers (which is what I'm using tonight). Other ingredients are doubanjiang (fermented chile bean paste), Sichuan sweet wheaten paste, fermented black beans, dark soy sauce, and sugar.

Green garlic or baby leeks are cut on the diagonal into "horse ear" slices. Green peppers are cut into roughly 3x5 cm squares. The pork is put into a pot of boiling water in one piece, the water is brought back to the boil, and the meat is simmered for about 20 minutes, until just cooked through. The meat is cooled down and put in the fridge for at least two hours to firm it up for easier slicing. It's cut into thin 3x5 cm slices and then stir-fried at moderate heat with a bit of oil until the fat has rendered out and the slices are getting toasty. The meat is pushed up to one side in the wok, the doubanjiang is stirred in until the oil turns red, then the sweet wheaten paste and black beans are added and stirred briefly until the aroma comes up. Then you mix everything in the wok together and add the soy sauce and sugar. Last to go in is the vegetable. Stir-fry until they are just cooked, and you're done.

-Paul W.
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Jenise

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:47 pm

Thanks for that description, Paul. I've never bought/worked with doubangiang or the wheaten paste. I pride myself on doing Chinese while being aware that my versions are fairly pedestrian in that I don't have many ingredients beyond the basics. I'm probably missing a lot. I recently got a book called simply Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo (know her?). I should get into that, though it's daunting at present to get my hands on Asian ingredients.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:49 pm

Btw, I see I dogeared a rib with salted plum recipe. And I note she calls for several teaspoons of a "bean sauce". Just that. Not red or black or anything more specific. What would that be?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Larry Greenly

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Larry Greenly » Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:41 am

I accidentally ran across this Essential Guide to Doubanjiangs website if you want to be confused: https://www.malafood.com/cn/%E8%B1%86%E7%93%A3%E9%85%B1-2
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:41 am

Jambalaya tonight, made with shrimp and sweet Italian sausage. (And rock shrimp, which was a mistake; I meant to use crawfish tails but grabbed the wrong package; sigh.)
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Rahsaan » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:01 am

Jenise wrote:I should get into that, though it's daunting at present to get my hands on Asian ingredients.


Someone posted this here before (perhaps Paul), so you may already know it, but I've been buying from https://themalamarket.com/ these past months and have been very impressed with quality. It's only Chinese, so not broadly Asian, but very high quality.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:59 pm

Jenise wrote:Btw, I see I dogeared a rib with salted plum recipe. And I note she calls for several teaspoons of a "bean sauce". Just that. Not red or black or anything more specific. What would that be?


Chinese bean sauce is made from fermented soy beans. The Japanese call it dark miso. The Chinese version comes in two forms. The one labeled simply "bean sauce" has whole split soy beans in it. "Ground bean sauce" has the soy beans ground up. Kind of like the difference between chunky and smooth peanut butter. Bean sauce is the main flavoring ingredient in Beijing meat sauce noodles. Koon Chun is the brand I've seen most commonly. Dark miso is an acceptable substitute.

Doubanjiang is made from fermented fava beans and has different formulations in different regions of China. The Sichuan variety is made from just fava beans, fresh hot red chiles, and salt. The best Sichuan doubanjiang comes from the town of Pixian. Lee Kum Kee widely markets their Chili Bean Sauce Toban Djan (different latinisation) in Asian markets in the USA. Theirs is a Cantonese version with more ingredients than the Sichuan variety and a different flavor, but it's a good substitute if you can't get the Pixian doubanjiang. It's what Fuchsia Dunlop used for the recipes in her cookbooks.

I very highly recommend The Mala Market. They are specifically a source of ingredients imported directly from Sichuan. Their ingredients are far fresher than those you'll find anywhere else. They sell both Pixian doubanjiang and sweet wheaten paste.

-Paul W.
Last edited by Paul Winalski on Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:19 pm

The twice-cooked pork was a great success. It came out looking exactly like the picture in Fuchsia Dunlop's The Food of Sichuan. This is decidedly not a dish for those with a fat phobia. The meat and veggies are swimming in red-orange oil from the pork belly. The meat has the chewy and slightly crunchy consistency of bacon, the veggies are nicely crisp, and the sauce is very strongly and fragrantly beany. It marries perfectly with lots of white rice and is an ideal dish for, as the Chinese say "sending the rice down". You'd think to look at it that it would be greasy, but when served with rice it is, as the Chinese put it, "richly fat without being greasy". I'm definitely making this again.

-Paul W.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:18 pm

Paul, I can't try that dish at present, but I do have a piece of pork belly in the freezer that's already been pressure-cooked. It would do well as the meat component in a simpler version of this dish.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:23 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:
I very highly recommend The Mala Market. They are specifically a source of ingredients imported directly from Sichuan. Their ingredients are far fresher than those you'll find anywhere else. They sell both Pixian doubanjiang and sweet wheaten paste.



I've been to her site before on your recommendation but not ordered anything. You and Rahsaan give me an incentive to do so now, so I will! Thank you!


Speaking of Asian food...yesterday I'd planned to do shrimp scampi on pasta for dinner. At least, that's what I thought when I got up. By noonish that had turned into a spicy version of shrimp and grits. And by dinner time: Burmese shrimp curry on coconut rice. It was divine with a really good local reisling.

Tonight, I'm repurposing the leftover 4,000 year old lamb stew from Saturday night into a crepe filling.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:07 pm

Jenise wrote:Tonight, I'm repurposing the leftover 4,000 year old lamb stew from Saturday night into a crepe filling.

Time flies when you're having fun. :D
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Barb Downunder

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Barb Downunder » Thu Dec 10, 2020 2:55 am

Was invited next door to pick myself some berries, raspberries and Loganberries yum. My ,neighbour kinda Indicated I should post a dish on fb so today I’ve made a summer pudding, more yum.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:46 am

I saw a recipe for Thai green curry that suggested zucchini as a vegetable, so that's what I made last night. It indeed is very good.

-Paul W.
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Dale Williams

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Dale Williams » Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:57 am

Did a very simple dish last night. Roasted slice of sweet dumpling squash, cooked lentils with cinnamon stick and garlic, combined, topped with feta, scallion, and pepitas, dressing was oil/pomegranate/honey/cumin/cayenne. Only time consuming part was peeling those damn little squash. The dressing was a bit sweet for me, but otherwise a do again.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:48 pm

Sounds like a great dish, Dale. Very Ottolenghi-ish.

Speaking of peeling squash, I'm in a French cooking group on Facebook and someone there did an Ottolenghi baked butternut squash dish last week wherein she left the skin on the squash. I consider the skins of small squashes like Delicata edible, but would never have considered it on Butternut. Need to rethink!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Dale Williams » Fri Dec 11, 2020 5:00 pm

Wait, are you saying they ate the butternut skin? I've roasted halves with skin on, to scoop out, that's often actually our preferred method, but thought skin inedible.
I didn't roast the halves this time because needed reasonably firm slices to make the salad. But the small heavily ribbed dumpling squash make that a real PITA.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:07 am

We're eating a lot of delicata so it's skins on over here. We peel butternut, we roast acorns in the skin, don't have the hang of making kabocha.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:28 pm

Dale, yes. The squash was cut up into large 2-3" chunks, and they ate the skins. I was so surprised by her photograph that I asked. I'd have thought it would be inedible too.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:37 pm

Last night was my almost-new-BIL's birthday. Chris got take-out, and I provided the salad and dessert courses. Salad was shaved fennel, frisee, pink chicory, arugula, chopped walnuts and crumbled gorgonzola cheese tossed in a simple dressing of lemon juice, roasted walnut oil and salt. Dessert was chocolate chip cookies and a '97 Dow's.

Re the chocolate chip cookies: a few years back I made the best chocolate chip cookies of my life. Unfortunately, I could never duplicate them, because I used the recipe on the back of the chip bag and didn't have all the right ingredients, so some substitutions were made. But they were cake-y, which is my preference, and not flat. They sat up high and proud.

So yesterday I read through a bunch of recipes and decided on one. I used a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours (as I had in that accidental batch a few years back) and added a half teaspoon of cornstarch (a tip in a different recipe than the one I used) and voila, I had the cake-y, tall mounds I'd dreamed of. Very proud of myself for cracking that code.

Tonight: free duck.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:53 pm

Jenise wrote:So yesterday I read through a bunch of recipes and decided on one. I used a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours (as I had in that accidental batch a few years back) and added a half teaspoon of cornstarch (a tip in a different recipe than the one I used) and voila, I had the cake-y, tall mounds I'd dreamed of. Very proud of myself for cracking that code.

Brava!

Tonight: free duck.

Free Willy!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:11 am

So Saturday night's duck was great. I pre-salted the duck skin and left it uncovered in the fridge the night before to start the drying process, then blasted it for about 30 minutes with a hair dryer propped up on a meat slicer still on the counter where I'd used it at lunch to slice some ham. Bob instantly dubbed it the "Hillbilly AirFryer". In addition to getting a crispier skin, this process shrinks the fat under the surface and exposes the hard little feather follicles left behind from initial processing for easy removal before cooking. Duck was delish with a bok choy fried rice.

Yesterday the remaining meat and bones went into a pot with green onions, ginger, star anise, garlic and green peppercorns to simmer for a few hours. Strained that through fine mesh and put it in the fridge to chill overnight. Will de-fat that today and reduce it for a demi-glace thick sauce for, probably, duck ravioli made from the meat I picked off the bones.

Also yesterday, I simmered a huge pile of green beans with onions and ham chunks all afternoon for that southern classic. Skipped wine in favor of pre-dinner southern whisky (Tennessee) cocktails.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Dale Williams » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:17 am

I wanna be at Jenise's house. :)

Really happy with Saturday night's dinner (Betsy was in a virtual retreat, and requested a few night of vegetarian). Mushroom ragu on pasta. Ragu was simple- small dice of mushrooms, saute with shallots, garlic & thyme, then marsala. Good sauce. But the best part was the pasta- spaghetti cooked in broth, cream, and porcini powder. Could have skipped the ragu actually.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:21 pm

Dale Williams wrote:I wanna be at Jenise's house. :)

Or yours!

Jenise wrote:Yesterday the remaining meat and bones went into a pot with green onions, ginger, star anise, garlic and green peppercorns to simmer for a few hours. Strained that through fine mesh and put it in the fridge to chill overnight. Will de-fat that today and reduce it for a sauce for, probably, duck ravioli made from the meat I picked off the bones.


Oh, so that's what to do with duck soup, other than just spooning it into me!

I also made a duck yesterday, roasted over a bed of chopped fennel and torn basil. Served with baked acorn squash and baked potatoes (...the oven is on already so...). The bird was a little gamy, a little chewy; good but not the best I've ever had.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:31 pm

Jenise, the duck dinner you described is close to the way they serve Beijing Duck at the China King restaurant in Boston's Chinatown (an obscure, hole-in-the-wall place but IMO some of the best Mandarin Chinese food in the area). The roasted duck (head and feet still on) is paraded around the table and taken back into the kitchen. A minute or two later the first course arrives--slices of duck skin served with Beijing pancakes, hoisin sauce, and scallion brushes. The second course is the duck meat stir-fried with bean sprouts. The third course is duck soup made from the carcass, with bean thread noodles.

Dinner tonight will be stir-fried ground pork and hot peppers. Next up after that will be Shanghai red-cooked chicken wings.

-Paul W.
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