I frequently use the Chinese Velveting Technique with both chicken and beef to produce that silky, tender ‘mouth-feel’ one experiences with meat in Chinese restaurants, but rarely have I used it with pork. Mostly, this is because I prefer the fattier cuts with have their own unctuous softness but, a few days ago, I purchased a large pork loin which, as you probably know, is very lean and rarely as juicy and tender as the fattier bits when cooked. I don’t often buy the tenderloin (for the reason as aforesaid), but the price was right and so I bought a good hunk with a view to doing a few different dishes. Most of it was divided into three separate pieces for later use, but I decided to use the trimmings in a stir-fried dishes with the meat first nicely ‘velveted’ … Read more
Cooking onions over a low flame for an extended period in order to cause the natural sugars to caramelize is something I do pretty regularly… at least once in any given week at least. Mostly, I do this on an ad hoc basis for a particular meal… as a topping for a steak, for example… but you can also do up a larger batch for keeping in the fridge, or freezer, and thus have then on hand for whenever the need arises.
In the above picture, you can see the end product of processing two large Spanish Onions. It may strike you that these are considerably lighter than the very dark, almost mahogany coloured versions you may have come across (and this is usually closer to how I would cook them for a single use), but for keeping, I find it best to stop the process before the onions lose their integrity and get too dark. That way, you can take a little at a time and, if you like, finish the process quickly by reheating… say, for putting on a burger… or you can simply add them as is to a stew, or sauce, or what have you… Anyway, the process is fairly simple… Read more
When I was growing I loved pickled onions. Not the tiny, cocktail type silver-skins, but whole, regular onions. Sadly, in these past many, many years, I have been unable to buy them in local stores. The cocktail types are easily found, and I like them too, but they just aren’t the same.
Unfortunately, after deciding to remedy the situation and make my own, I waited in vain for suitable size ‘pickling’ onions to appear in my store. Accordingly, I hit on using shallots as a suitable substitute as the ones available are about the same size as the onions I would have liked to have used. Naturally, if you wish to reproduce the basic recipe here, you can use onions instead… Read more
I got this little device for my birthday not long ago. I was using it today and I thought you might like to see it. Basically, it is an adapter for a steamer basket. For years, I had a pot that worked perfectly for steaming as the rim just fit perfectly into the underside of my bamboo steamer set. Now, I no longer have it and my steamers sit rim to rim with my two remaining pots of suitable size and are a little precarious as a result. Luckily, someone came up with a solution… Read more
When I first published a ‘Foodstuff’ post on Jicama back in May of 2012, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t see them again in local stores for nearly five years. Anyway, a batch showed up the other day and, naturally, I grabbed one before they disappear again for who knows how long.
Now you are probably wondering where the Broccoli is in the dish you see above but, if you look closely, you will see that the pale green cubes visible here and there are actually pieces of the stem, rather than florets. The recipe today actually uses three separate cooking techniques, which sounds a bit involved but really isn’t that complicated. The Jicama is first seasoned and roasted, the broccoli is simmered to tenderness in chicken stock, and then the whole is sautéed with nothing else added but a splash of dry sherry… Read more
The radish in this particular case is the large variety most commonly known by the Japanese name Daikon. This very versatile vegetable is preserved by a variety of different techniques all across Asia, especially by lactic acid fermentation, but the most basic method is by salt curing the flesh to dehydrate it and prevent microbial spoilage. The Chinese were probably the first to treat the vegetable this way but the technique is widely used elsewhere, especially in Korea and Thailand. Indeed, the product pictured above is of Thai manufacture… Read more
Today’s recipe doesn’t attempt to reproduce any particular ethnic recipe but, with the addition of cumin and added hot sauce, is probably closest in spirit to being Mexican. There is a bit of preparation involved but none of it terribly difficult and the result can make either a main course, if served with, say, rice, or a nice appetizer… Read more
These little drumstick shaped things are the berries of a plant in the pepper family grown chiefly in Java and Sumatra. They are most commonly called Cubeb Berries (or just plain Cubeb), but are also known as Cubeb Pepper, Java Pepper, and (by reason of their stemmed appearance) Tail Pepper. They were a common culinary spice in medieval Europe but have largely disappeared from kitchens today. You won’t likely find them in your local supermarket, but you can find them on-line. They are worth giving a try, however, as even though a member of the Pepper family, they taste nothing like the variety in common use… Read more
I frequently have a jar of pickled ‘Banana Peppers’ in my fridge for all sorts of purposes including making sandwiches, nachos (especially), and other things where a little fillip of tangy spice is needed. These are available commercially in my local store all the time, and they are pretty decent, but I like making my own stuff and have long wanted to stop buying the store bought variety. Unfortunately, the type of peppers I want are hard to come by and any substitutions I might use (Jalapeño, or Anaheim, for example) are generally only available in green, which. I find, turn an unattractive greyish color after they have been pickling for a while.
Anyway, I hit upon the idea of using tiny red and orange bell peppers (which have become increasingly common of late), and adding smaller, very hot chillies to the pickling mix to provide the right ‘bite’… Read more
This rather gnarly looking object is not a withered old tree branch, but rather is the root vegetable that is the source of that sharp, pungent white condiment usually only encountered in jars purchased at the supermarket. Most people are well familiar with the commercial product as an especially good accompaniment to roast beef, but it does have other uses as well. It is sometimes used in ‘Bloody Mary’ concoctions, it works well as a sandwich spread for all sorts of creations (and not just those using cold beef), and it is very commonly used to provide the sharp bite of the standard seafood cocktail sauce. Quite a few Cole-slaw sauces also use it too. The purchased varieties are fine to use, as long as you don’t let them age too long, but there are some benefits to using the fresh article that are also worth investigating… Read more