HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Chinese Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chinese Cooking. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mu Shu in Moments from Gourmet Magazine


Ready to be folded, Mu Shu in a Moment!


        
Restaurant General Tso's Chicken
the good, the bad and the ugly.
In our bid to eat healthy, Chinese food has taken quite a hit. We never order it for takeout.  And our visits to Chinese restaurants are few and far between.  But take heart.  We have discovered how easy it is to make Chinese food at home.  Not only does this keep the exotic flavors on our table from time to time, it also solves a lot of the issues we’ve had with the food to begin with.  Despite last week's news that salt might not be all that bad for you, Chinese cooking packs extraordinary levels of the stuff.  The current recommended daily intake of sodium is 2300 mgs. Or about a teaspoon.  A restaurant serving of General Tso’s chicken comes in at 3200 mgs. And, at 1300, more than half the calories that an adult is supposed to consume all day (2000).  That’s before you added an egg roll, which will send the sodium count up another 400 mgs. and the calorie count up another 200.  So much for the General's chicken. But surely Chinese vegetables are healthy?  Not so fast.  A plate of stir-fried greens comes in at 900 calories, eggplant in garlic sauce, 1000.  Then there’s MSG, monosodium glutamate, which has had a bad rap since the 60s when it was associated with “headaches, flushing, sweating, numbness, chest pain, nausea, heart palpitations, and weakness” according to Yale Scientific (www.YaleScientific.org). It was even called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”.  However, according to YS, “researchers have not found any conclusive evidence that links MSG to any of these symptoms, though it is acknowledged that a small minority of people may have mild, short-term reactions to MSG.”  So there!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce from Cook's Illustrated Magazine



Sichuan Province, Land of Plenty
         In one of their masterpieces of science and cooking combined, Cook’s Illustrated chose to take on one of my favorite Chinese Restaurant dishes: Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce.  Sichuan cooking is immediately associated with hot and spicy flavors. The odd thing is that these flavors are relatively new. And initially at least, they were only popular among the poorer segments of Sichuan society.  There was so much else available. Sichuan Province is known as a land of plenty. While landlocked and therefore without seafood, it has an abundance of pigs, poultry, beef cattle, freshwater fish and crayfish.  And it’s been known for its masterful cuisine for hundreds of years.  The first Sichuan restaurant opened in what is now called Hangzhou, its capital city, over 800 years ago. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Where to Go in New York's Chinatown for Roast Duck to Go


         A few months ago, my friend Peter told me about Optical 88, an optical shop in the heart of Chinatown, at 116 Mott Street (Tel: 212-343-1947).  I am all for money saving and he raved about the service and the prices.  I looked on Yelp. There was not one bad word said about the place.  In fact, everyone was wildly enthusiastic. Everyone except Andrew.  He was slightly leery of a walk-in eye exam and the promise of a finished prescription in an hour.  But since I’d worked in Eye Care in my Ad career, I knew that whoever does eye exams has passed their own exams in order to be licensed.  So off we went, I got examined and in one hour I walked out of the store with a new pair of eyeglasses. They cost all of $130.00.  So when I ran out of contact lenses, I ran right back to Optical 88.  I got more than my contacts.  I got instructions on where to go to buy the best Roast Duck in Chinatown.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

David Tanis' Twice-Cooked Duck with Pea Shoots



David Tanis 
         I wasn’t familiar with David Tanis at all until he started writing the City Kitchen column in Wednesday’s Dining Section in the Times. Clearly, I’d been missing a lot.  While David’s recipes have often peaked my interest, this is the first one I’ve tried.  And what an introduction!  This is a stir-fry with a twist.  The duck used in the dish is first braised in an Asian inflected broth.  Then the meat is cut up and crisped in oil before being joined in the pan by a blizzard of Asian flavors—ginger and orange, garlic, cumin, and hot peppers. The sauce and the broth from the braise bring it all together.  And finally, pea shoots, a vegetable I’d never used before, are tossed into the mix where they wilt and bring an rich earthy quality to the finished dish. It’s sweet and spicy and satisfying.  It’s one of those dishes that comes with a supreme sense of pride: You’ve made something that tastes so authentic and so good the very first time you’ve cooked it.  So why haven’t I heard of David Tanis before?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Moo Goo Gai Pan


         The other day, when I opened a post from Bee at www.rasamalaysia.com, along with Bee's recipe for Moo Goo Gai Pan came a flood of memories.  It instantly took me back to my childhood in Montreal.  Not that I ever ate Moo Goo Gai Pan. I don’t think Chinese food in any form ever crossed the Mathews’ family doorstep.  However, my parents had one friend in particular whose entire diet seemed to consist of Chinese take-out.  At least that’s the way it looked to me at aged 10. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sotanghon with Chicken and Wood Ear Mushrooms



         One of the great joys of cooking has to be the amazing things you learn when you use an ingredient that is new to you.  In this case, our dear friend Richard arrived from Hong Kong recently and presented us with a sealed plastic bag of Wood Ear or Tree Ear dried mushrooms.  He brought us so many, he could have used the bag as a neck pillow on his long flight from China.  They were intriguing--almost white on one side and then practically black on the other.   While I marveled at the sight of them, I couldn’t help wonder why Richard had appeared with this very bulky gift.  Turns out, Richard, an avid Chewing the Fat reader, remembered something I wrote in November 2010 in a post about Shun Lee West, our neighborhood Chinese restaurant.  http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/11/long-ago-visit-to-shun-lee-and-my-take.html is where you’ll find the post.  But what was missing from the recipe for Shun Lee’s Sichuan Shrimp were, you guessed it, Wood Ear or Tree Tea mushrooms.