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.
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