I had heard about this Persian a few times and curiosity compelled me to try and make it.

That was the final result. Although it didn’t look impressive, it was happily received by my audience, in this case my parents. 

I started off with walnuts.

Then I roasted them in the oven.

When the walnuts had cooled down, I put them into the food processor. 

I took a butternut squash and shredded it. 

I diced chicken breasts and thighs for flavor, I’m in the habit of dicing  chicken, but Persians probably would have tossed the chicken parts in the pot.

I cooked the chicken in the pot.

After it was browned, I took it out. 

It wasn’t really browned because I tossed it all into the pot, rather than cooking it in batches. 

I then added butter to the pot and then a chopped red onion.

Then I added the walnut paste and the pomegranate molasses.

I then added the shredded squash, saffron, cinnamon and the chicken stock. 

Last I put the chicken back into the pot and cooked it for awhile to let the flavors mix and sauce reduce. 

Savory, earthy and tangy, I loved it. I enjoyed the texture as well. 

I served it on rice with a side salad of cucumbers, parsley, tomatoes and red onion.


Pan Seared Salmon in a Dill Cream Sauce

I had wanted to eat crispy salmon skin and I wanted to eat a sauce with dill.

The finished product. This is actually a picture of the leftovers. I ate the freshly prepared dinner with my parents and they would have asked me why I was taking pictures of my food. That and I was starving.

I cooked the skin off side first.

I used a lot of garlic and a whole shallot,much more than advised the recipe I used from Emeril Legasse.

I added a half pint of cream after I had dumped 1/4 a bottle of Pinot Grigio to the shallots. I cooked it down a bit. I added the dill last. 

I added sliced English cucumber on the plate. Long ago I worked in a French bistro in Plymouth, Michigan and that’s what they used, although they sliced the cucumber into strings and lightly steamed it. 

I also roasted spaghetti squash, which I shredded and mixed with butter and Parmesan cheese.

It was all delicious. Not spicy at all, but the mellow flavors worked together. 

Twice Cooked Pork (两次熟猪肉)

One of my favorite Chinese dishes, this attempt did not measure up to my standards, but my parents liked it.

However, I know what I did wrong, so next time, the attempt will be successful. 

For the broth in which to boil the pork I places a chopped up scallion and a small handful of Sichuan peppercorns.

Instead of using pork belly (which I should have used) I used pork loin which was way too lean. This recipe needs fatty pork. So I cooked the pork in the pot for twenty minutes. 

Meanwhile, I had chopped up scallions, garlic, ginger and dried birds eye chilies.

I took the cooked pork from the pot.

Then I sauté the ginger and garlic in the wok. When the ginger began to turn golden brown I added the pork.

I then added chopped leeks, chilies and scallions. 

At this point I should have cooked this down a bit. Instead I added bell peppers. I also added a mix of soy sauce and sugar. 

It added too much sweetness to the dish. Twice cooked pork should be about spice and fat. It might have tasted fine, but I was disappointed. Next time I know what to do. 

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. 

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. 

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

Here I am in San Diego County and after making a pretty decent sweet and sour pork, I decided to make one of my favorite dishes of all time, kung Pao chicken. 

The finished product tasted like the real deal. I was very pleased. 

First I cut the chicken breast into cubes and marinated it in soy sauce, sherry and corn starch. 

Next I mixed soy sauce with sugar and corn starch for the sauce. Since I didn’t have black vinegar, I used balsamic vinegar. 

Next I cut up ginger, garlic and scallions which I would add after cooking the chicken cubes. 

Chilies went into the hot wok first. They burn quickly, but a little burn is what I associate with kung pao chicken. 

After they brown a bit, I added the chicken cubes.

I cooked the chicken until golden brown. 

Then I added the garlic, scallions and ginger. 

Here is the recipe: