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

Roasted Carrot Soup with Carrot Top Ginger Gremolata

Roasted Carrot Soup

The often overlooked carrot; it rarely gets its day in the spotlight.  You’ll find it in most classic stocks and it is a great vehicle for getting French onion dip into your mouth.  It is often playing the supporting role and being used to bolster the main ingredient.  But a roasted carrot takes on a much more complex flavor- an earthy, dark, caramelized sweetness. Read More

Brown Rice Turkey Congee: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Thanksgiving Leftovers

Turkey Congee

Thanksgiving leftovers are great until you open up the refrigerator a week before Christmas and see Tupperware containers of uneaten turkey breast ready for the trashcan.  At the same time, there are only so many turkey sandwiches that one can eat.  When it comes down to divvying up leftover turkey in my family, I usually go for the carcass only.  I use it to make stock that can be frozen and used later.  This year, I also picked up a drumstick – BONUS!  My aunt took the turkey wings and told me she was making congee (jook in Cantonese).  I thought it was a great idea and wanted to do the same. Read More

Brussel Sprout Pistachio Pasta

Brussel Sprout Pistachio Pasta

In the beginning of the week, I often make a meal that will feed me and my wife for a couple of days.  Its economical and easy, and, since I work nights, its one of the only times I can to cook at home.  And when it comes to making “family meal” sized portions, pasta is always a good way to go.  But just because I have to cook in bulk doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun. Read More

Lemon Drop Pepper and Mead Preserve

Lemon Drop Mead PreserveAfter telling a good friend about how I tried to dry some authentic Thai chili seeds in the oven just to mistakenly roast them, he surprised me with a small batch of lemon drop peppers that his restaurant had grown this summer.  I promptly collected all the good seeds and was left with about 3 ounces of flesh from the lemon drops.  I’ve never had them before.  They are bright yellow when ripe with a fairly thin skin.  It is spicier than a jalapeno but is a bit more nuanced.  A hint of citrus, and an incredible aroma. Read More

Eggplant Four Ways

Eggplant Dish

The Eggplant.  It may be one of the most forgiving and versatile vegetables ever.  You can char it to a crisp.  You can slow cook it.  You can deep fry it.  There are really two ways to screw up eggplants in my opinion.  First is to serve it raw – don’t do this unless you want an upset stomach.  The other way is to let it soak up too much oil during the cooking process (and an eggplant can absorb A LOT of oil). Read More

Brick Chicken Thigh

Brick Chicken

Chicken skin.  If you’re the type that doesn’t like eating chicken with the skin on, I’m going to let you in on something – you’ve never had it prepared right.  A well cooked piece of skin on a pan fried chicken is like a thin cracker.  A hard, crispy contrast to the moist and tender meat. Read More