Guess what I found when I was in New York’s Chinatown last week. This beautiful looking hulu! I’ve not seen them before in New York nor anywhere in the U.S. Hulu (葫蘆) is a bottle shaped gourd often seen in Chinese brush paintings. Sages or monks carrying hulu flask are common themes in Chinese art. But these sinuous shaped gourds are also delicious as vegetables.
I often wondered what I would do when someone tagged me for a meme. I’ve read quite a few memes along my online travel. Although I find them to be fun they can be rather silly. Then Bron at Feast with Bron tagged me. I was amazed by the power of the Internet to connect people. I’ve not heard of Bron before. I don’t even know Bron’s gender. But here is someone who’s been reading my blog and I am now connected to him or her. Not just a reader from New York. But someone from London! Well for that I feel the need to participate.
Photography by Ron Boszko
When was the last time you ordered a salad or cold dish in a Chinese restaurant? In fact I bet you never have. You probably don’t even associate cold dishes with Chinese food. I can hardly blame you. The majority of Chinese restaurants in America do not even serve cold dishes although they are a staple of a Chinese meal in Asia. Learn how to make this cool cucumber salad.
During my Wine Pairing Chinese Banquet I challenged a few friends in the wine business to find wines that would complement Chinese food. We ended up with 20 bottles of wine, including one corked, paired towards all ten items on the menu. Many of the selections were rather unconventional but really worked quite well. With each course we compared the merits of each selected wine and even attempted impromptu pairings. There were a few disappointments but most were overwhelmingly successful.
Have you ever wondered why the wine lists in your average Chinese restaurants are so limited or non-existent? One would think that with a cuisine so wide-ranging and creative, there would be a sophisticated wine culture accompanying Chinese food. Well, there is. It’s just not the same wine we know of. When mentioning “wine” to a Chinese you need to differentiate between the indigenous “grain-based wine” made from rice, sorghum or barley and the imported European “grape-based wine.” But it doesn’t mean grape wine is not fitting for Chinese food.
So it was on this July 4th weekend my partner, Warren, and I along with some of our neighbors went to the beach. Our wonderful friend Chick invited all of us to spend the weekend with him and his family at their beach house, which is in a small coastal hamlet of Slaughter Beach at the mouth of the Delaware River. Kim, the Yummy Mummy, and her family were part of the group. If you’ve been following her blog you’d know about the “horrors” that happened during the weekend. But don’t believe all of them!
In this world there are those who nurture and those who are nurtured. Kim, the Yummy Mummy, is the poster girl of the nurturers. It was her encouragement that started me writing Red Cook, and she continues to be a champion of my blog. So when she received the Arte Award from NTSC at The Art of the Pig, I thought it was truly appropriate and well deserved. But then I received a complete surprise when she in turn bestowed the same award to me.
Do you remember in March I let the garlic in my kitchen sprout? Yes, it’s been almost three months and no news about the shoots. I am guilty of being neglectful with you, my readers. The fact is I’ve harvested the garlic shoots (蒜苗) twice but I was not motivated enough to record the events. This weekend however I collected another batch of these flavorful young shoots and made the classic twice cooked pork (回鍋肉). This time I am determined to share the marvelous herb and dish with you.
Last Wednesday The New York Times published an article by Kim Severson about “Recipe Deal Breakers.” In it she asked if there is an ingredient or a technique that would stop you from using a recipe. The article was humorous and light-hearted, which I enjoyed immensely. However, that didn’t stop a firestorm of reactions from spreading all over the culinary blogosphere. Michael Ruhlman joined in the fray with his blog post the next day. Kate Hopkins at Accidental Hedonist continued the discussion with a poll. Now it’s my turn to ask a similar question. What is a deal breaker for creating authentic Chinese food in an American Kitchen?
Located virtually on the equator, Singapore offers a wide variety of fresh fruits year round. Although many tropical fruits are harvested year round, a small number of them are seasonal. When I lived in Singapore I used to follow these seasonal fruits like people in temperate climates follow changing season. Among the seasonal fruits, mango is the one I always eagerly anticipated. Its season starts at the end of the dry months, which is around July. Local mangoes start appearing in the market around August and continue to be available through October.