• 30Oct

    My butcher and I share a common heritage. Last Friday he talked me into buying some beef scraps for stew. Lots of tendons in those scraps which turn very gelatinous after simmering for hours. In China you used every part of the animal – in fact most of the non muscle meat parts of the animal are very nourishing. Those tough connective parts are mostly protein and in your body can be used as the building blocks for your joints and connective tissue. Sure beats buying Chondrotin supplements and tastier too! Maybe it’s an aquired taste as I grew up eating stews from gelatious cuts like these and more – like oxtails. This is my family’s comfort food :)

    Here is the recipe for the stew I made from these scraps along with some oxtails

    Beef – Sichuan Red Cooked

    Serving Size : 8

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    2 1/2 pounds beef — (stew, chuck, ox tail, tendon)
    1 tablespoon oil
    3 inch ginger — peeled and sliced 1/4″
    5 each garlic — smashed
    6 each scallions — cut into 1 1/2″ sections
    1 stalk celery — sliced 1/2″ thick
    5 each star anise
    1 1/2 teaspoons sichuan peppercorns — toasted
    1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
    8 each cloves
    1 each black cardamom (got this idea from the blog Tigers and Strawberries)
    2 strips orange peel — 1 1/2″ long, peel using a vegetable peeler
    1/4 cup shaoshing wine
    3 tablespoons sichuan chili bean paste
    2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
    1 tablespoon Chinkiang black vinegar
    1 quart beef stock — chicken stock or water
    1 tablespoon sucanat
    1 pounds daikon radish — (or watermelon radish, black radish, turnips, potato, yucca, sweet potato.) Peeled and cut into 2-3″ chunks

    cilantro springs
    scallion — sliced thin
    sliced jalapenos — optional

    Boil 2-3 quarts of water in a 6 quart pot. Blanch beef in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse.

    Heat oil in the 6 quart pot. Sauteed ginger, scallion, garlic and celery over medium high heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes.

    Add star anise, sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves. Saute for another minute.

    Add chili bean paste and saute for 20-30 seconds.

    Add remaining ingredients except radish.

    Simmer on low heat for 2 – 3 hours until meat is tender. Skim fat.

    Add daikon and simmer until cooked through.

    Serve with steamed rice or on egg noodles. Garnish with cilantro and scallion.


  • 27Oct

    It’s taken a bit of time but here it is – the recipe for the Dan Dan Noodle Salad I brought to the Food Blogger’s picnic back in August and that I made for my nutrition class summer gathering. I’d love to give more background on the ingredients but I am madly preparing for another nutrition talk. Rather than wait until I had time I figured I’d post the recipe and answer questions as they arose. Here is some info on the inspiration for the dish which came from last year’s trip to Chongqing, China.

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Dan Dan Noodle Salad – Chongqing Street Style

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    **Marinade for Meat or Tofu**
    2 teaspoons shaoxing wine or sherry
    1 teaspoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
    2 teaspoons chinkiang vinegar — Chinese black vinegar
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons Xinjiang Spice Mix
    5 ounces ground pork — or chicken or turkey or crumbled extra firm tofu
    2 teaspoons oil
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    2 each scallion — sliced
    1 1/2 teaspoons Xinjiang Spice Mix
    2 tablespoons cilantro — roughly chopped
    1/2 cup broth or shiitake mushroom soaking water or water
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
    1/4 cup Chinkiang vinegar or Chinese black vinegar
    2 teaspoons sucanat or brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    2 tablespoons oil — divided
    1 ounce dried shiitake mushroom
    1/2 cup chopped pickled chinese vegetable (ya cai or mustard) — optional
    12 ounces yam noodles
    4 each scallion — sliced
    1/4 cup cilantro — roughly chopped
    1/2 cup peanuts — roasted, unsalted & roughly chopped

    Marinate meat or crumbled tofu for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Heat a 10″ saute pan with the 2 teaspoons of oil and brown meat or tofu. Set aside.

    Squeeze excess water from shiitake and roughly chop. If desired, save the mushroom soaking liquid for the sauce. Heat a 12″ saute pan with 2 tablespoon of oil. Saute shiitake until lightly brown. If using, add the pickled chinese vegetable. Saute for 2-4 more minutes.

    To make sauce. Warm sesame oil in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add scallion and Xinjiang spice mix. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add remaining sauce ingredients and bring up to a simmer. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

    Cook yam noodles. Boil 4 quarts of salted water. Add noodles and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain 2-3 times to remove any excess starch. Put noodles in a large mixing bowl. If you do not use right away (within 10-15 minutes – drizzle a little sesame oil on it to prevent from sticking together…and believe me – it will stick together and then some!)

    Putting together the salad. Add to the noodles in the bowl: sauteed meat or tofu, shiitake, preserved vegetable and sauce. Mix together. Season to taste. Serve in one large bowl family style or in individual bowls with the garnish of scallion, cilantro and peanuts scattered on top.

    Here is the recipe for the Xinjiang Spice Mix:

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    1/4 cup cumin seeds
    2 tablespoons ground chili pepper — Sichuan chili if you can find it
    2 tablespoons black pepper
    1 tablespoon sichuan peppercorns
    1 tablespoon ginger — grnd
    1 tablespoon garlic — powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

    Toast sichuan peppercorns til fragrant. Toast cumin until lightly browned.

    Grind sichuan peppercorns, cumin, chili flakes and black pepper in a spice grinder

    Stir in remaining ingredients.


  • 07Oct

    Mochi’s favorite snack these days. As soon as she hits the back door her figdar is on. She methodically sweeps the yard – first by the garage they back behind the tool shed. She gets her fill of fallen figs and sometimes brings one in the house to save for later. Two Falls ago we noticed her tooth was purple. Being the over protective Mom I panicked and thought she had damaged her tooth. I insisted on taking her to the vet. The doc did a thorough exam and found nothing. Short of taking an x-ray she was at a loss so we took her home and kept an eye on the tooth. Lo and behold, after a week or so the tooth returned to it’s normal white. Sheepishly, I had to admit to P that I over reacted to Mochi’s fig stained tooth – an expensive lesson.

    P and are making our annual trips with 12 foot ladder in tow to M and T’s yard to pick pounds and pounds of black mission figs. This year we’ve been enjoying them fresh in addition to gingery fig chutney (to accompany my Dosa addiction, where btw I ended up purchasing a griddle…shhh, don’t tell P) and a batch of fig gelato based on this recipe. Tomorrow’s bounty will probably get dried in our 8 tray food dehydrator and vacuum packed to enjoy through out the year.

    So the gelato? After making an adjustment to make it non dairy…I liked it. Though if I make it again I will cut back a bit on the sugar. Here is the recipe that I ended up using (based on an LA Times recipe):

    1/2 pound figs, stemmed and cut into quarters
    1/4 cup sugar, organic raw
    1 tablespoons raw honey (I love Marshall’s)
    1 tablespoon orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau
    1 3/4 cups cashew nut milk (see recipe below)
    Pinch salt

    Put figs and sugar in a small pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Cook until figs are soft, about 5 minutes.

    Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator or in an ice bath, then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

    Cashew Nut Milk

    1/2 c raw organic cashews soaked overnight
    2 cups filtered water

    Blend until very smooth. Strain if desired. I generally don’t strain my nut milks since the blender that I use makes everything so smooth.

    Here is the ice cream maker that I used. It doesn’t make the best ice cream in the world but it’s a pretty cool little toy which I picked it up for $10. For delicious ice cream in the SF Bay Area run over to 4th Street or College Ave.