In Season: Kumquats

 

20170215_110407

 

People in developed countries are spoiled when it comes to the availability and variety of food they have access to; especially so in and around urban centers.  Because our food supply chain is so globalized, most people don’t think of when a produce is in season.  The fact that I can make fresh guacamole in New York in the dead of winter is at most a small miracle and at the very least a logistical triumph.  But still, there are some products that remain elusively seasonal.

One of my favorites is the kumquat. Read More

In Season (soon): Fresh Garbanzo Beans

20170127_174016-1

It is still way too early in the year for the glorious bounty of spring produce to start lining the market bins but the H-Mart near my house had fresh garbanzo beans.  This is a product that is elusive (and cheap) enough to warrant purchasing even with the possibility of off-season disappointment.  And while there ended up being a number of pods that contained undergrown beans, just having them in my refrigerator for a couple of days was a constant reminder of the eventual coming of Spring. Read More

Vegetarian Croissant Dressing

20161125-dsc_0561-3

Let me start off by saying that this recipe is a pain in the behind.  You will want to start this recipe a few days before you need the dressing because some of these components take time to cook.  But if you want a meatless stuffing that has the full on savory punch of one made with chicken stock or sausage, you’ll find this stuffing well worth your time.

The “meatiness” comes from deeply caramelized onions and dehydrated mushroom powder, both of which bring in complex umami flavors not unlike the flavors of seared meat. Read More

Simple Delicious Corn Sauce

20160914_184959

As summer makes way for fall, you may find yourself with a bunch of corn lying around the kitchen.  The markets tend to sell them for cheap near the end of summer to make way for fall produce.  If you have a bunch of corn left over and you’re sick of corn of the cob, try this simple corn sauce recipe made only with TWO ingredients: corn and salt.  You will also need a blender and a strainer, or better yet a juicer. Read More

My Misadventures with Trotter and Chinese Roasted Pork Belly – Back to Roots

Here are the results of both the belly (top) and the trotter.  You can see that there is a bubbly texture on the belly skin and its GBD (golden brown delicious).  Meanwhile, the trotter skin is burnt, unattractive and tough.

Here are the results of both the belly (top) and the trotter. You can see that there is a bubbly texture on the belly skin and its GBD (golden brown delicious). Meanwhile, the trotter skin is burnt, unattractive and tough.

My posts have been sparse to say the least.  Why?  Well,  I think I’ve lost track of why I was writing in the first place (See what this blog is about).  Originally, it was about documenting my growth as a professional cook.  I wanted to post my ideas to the public.  Ideas that would otherwise be relegated to a small notebook in my back pocket.   At some point in the last few months I started to post entries only if I thought there would be some broad appeal.  The fact is, by not writing about less “interesting” things, and documenting my failures, I am cheating my future self of valuable lessons.

This post is back to my roots in two ways.  First, is what I just mentioned.  Screw you guys (sorry) but I’m writing for me – though I do hope you find some of this stuff interesting.  Second, I’m ashamed to say, as a full fledged Chinese immigrant, that I don’t have a firm grasp on Chinese cuisine.  I decided here to learn about Chinese pork belly and see how I can incorporate its techniques into my cooking.

What is there to say about Chinese pork belly.  Tender meat and CRAZY crispy skin. Read More