Broccoli and Scallops (西兰花扇贝)

Cooking for my parents, I wanted to show them a classic Chinese vegetable dish. I also wanted to explain how the Chinese incorporate meat and fish to flavor vegetables. 

After I cut the florets into smaller pieces, I blanched the broccoli, just until the broccoli turned bright green. 



I made an ice bath and put the blanched broccoli into it to stop the cooking.


I followed a recipe which recommended braising the scallops in chicken broth for a few minutes to eliminate the fishy flavor which develops in frozen scallops.


The fishy scent is probably decomposition, but I could be wrong.


I then removed them. 

 Chopped ginger and scallions went into the hot pan. I was using the wok to cook twice-cooked pork. 



I used tongs to flip the tender scallops as I didn’t want to break them apart. 


When the scallops were seared, I added soy sauce, dry sherry and a tablespoon of oyster sauce. 

This dish turned out well. 

Egg Raviolo

After I had that job interview in LA I went for a walk. I had planned to walk to Chinatown, but I was just too hungry to make it. Starving, I happened by the Central Market and I became excited by the offerings. 
I’ve always thought chicharrones (fried pig skin) were fried and crispy. Much to my surprise, the chicharrones tacos I ordered were mushy. I picked at the tacos, but mushy pig skin doesn’t excite me.

However, the egg raviolo I ordered from an Italian stall was amazing. The raviolo was big, although I could have eaten two easily. 


The sauce was delicious and tangy, yet not acidic. 


As you can see, liquid yolk oozed from the large raviolo. I loved it. There was grated cheese atop the raviolo, maybe Romano, and there was also roasted red peppers in the sauce. 


Here was the non-fried pig skin tacos.


The sauce was good, but I guess soft pig skin is how some prepare it.


I will definitely return to the Central Market. 

BLT

One of my favorite sandwiches and I hadn’t had one of these in a long time. I was in downtown LA for a job interview. I was very early and very hungry so I went to this Korean-owned cafe and ordered a very nice BLT with a side salad. 

The bacon was crispy and I liked the addition of mustard. However, the sandwich could have used more mayonnaise, my favorite condiment. The side salad had nice fresh vegetables and for $5.50 it was a steal.

Steakhouse Nachos

Great marketing by Taco Bell enticed me to get these a while ago. I have been seriously slacking on this blog, but have no fear, when I move up to Los Angeles in two weeks I will post more often.

 

I mean steak on Nachos sounds great, right? In theory it could have been great.

In practice it was disgusting. The ‘steak’ was chewy and vaguely steaklike in flavor. It was most likely highly processed Grade D beef. The retried beans were most likely made with hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of lard. They were a tasteless paste. Even the hot sauce couldn’t save this slop.

  • The picó de gallo was lacking in cilantro.
  • Overall a sad experience. 

The quesadilla was okay, but I’m afraid I’ve fallen out of love with Taco Bell. 

Sichuan Green Beans (四川青豆)

By far, this is my favorite Chinese vegetable dish. Not only is fried in oil and pork fat, but chilies and Sichuan peppercorns make it savory and spicy.


The end result, ready to be enjoyed at my sister’s place for Thanksgiving. 

Over two pounds of green beans took awhile to clean and cut off the stems. 



Ready to be cooked. 

I chopped up a thumb-sized chunk of ginger, three cloves of garlic, about 12 Sichuan peppercorns and about eight dried chilies. 


Ordered from Amazon.


I added enough oil to fry the beans. I cooked them until they began to wilt and soften. 


I then removed them from the wok and drained some of the oil. 


Then I added the garlic, ginger and chilies to the wok. When the garlic had turned golden brown I added the 200g of minced pork and 100g of bacon fat, which were marinating in 1/4 cup soy sauce, corn starch (1tbsp) and 1/4 cup sherry. 

I cooked that until the pork was browned. 


To this delicious mix I returned the beans to the wok to coat thoroughly. I then added about 1/3 a cup of soy sauce. 

It was a good Thanksgiving dinner. In the last photo one can see the hors d’oeuvres I made. Toast with anchovy butter and radish slices and poached prunes stuffed with chicken liver pâté. 

Potato Soup

I wanted to make a crowd pleasing soup for Thanksgiving and this is what I made. 


First I chopped up carrots, celery and onions. Since I was going to purée it afterwards I didn’t cut the vegetables finely. 

I added garlic to the mire poix because I love garlic.


Then I cut up about 220 grams of bacon, so about half a pound. 


I fried that up and removed it when it was crispy. 


I cut up about five russet potatoes. They weighed a little more than a pound, so maybe 500g.


I cooked the vegetables in the rendered bacon fat until the carrots began to soften.


I made a roux by mixing 1 cup of milk with two tablespoons of flour.


I added the potatoes to the pot with 4 cups of chicken broth, thyme, salt and pepper. I also added some cayenne pepper. 


I let it simmer until the potatoes were soft. I then put the soup in batches through a food processor until smooth.

I returned it to the pot, added the roux and a half pint of whipping cream.

After blending the cream into the soup I added the crispy bacon. 
Except for my mother who thought it was too spicy, everyone else loved it.