Posted in General

Experiment: Oven ‘Barbecued’ Beef Ribs

 I am not a huge fan of beef ribs, usually. I often find them too fatty… especially the short rib cut.  However, these nice long, lean ones you see above are the ‘Prime Rib’ variety and, since they don’t appear in our stores very often, I just had to grab a few for supper.

Lately, I have been having a bit of a hankering for barbecue but, sadly, ‘tis not yet the season here in the North and, since my last cookout fiasco, I need to buy a new barbecue unit before I can do the real thing once again. Accordingly, I decided to cook these ribs in the oven with a nice barbecue rub made right here in my kitchen…  Continue reading “Experiment: Oven ‘Barbecued’ Beef Ribs”

Posted in General

Experiment: Beef Curry with Fresh Fenugreek

As I said in my recent ‘Foodstuffs’ post on Fresh Fenugreek Leaves (Methi), I decided to use the bunch I had just purchased in a loose version of an Indian dish called ‘’Methi Gosht’. ‘This dish is very similar to another Indian curry called ‘Saag Gosht’ (or ‘Palak Gosht’) which uses spinach instead of Fenugreek. I make that dish quite frequently, although I often use beef instead of the traditional lamb, and it is a favorite at our house. I decided that I would also use beef for this particular experiment and, as I will explain below, I make a couple of small departures from the usual Indian method of cooking such dishes… Continue reading “Experiment: Beef Curry with Fresh Fenugreek”

Posted in Spicery

Spice: Black Cardamom

Cardamom is not a common addition to most home spice cabinets. It comes in two closely related varieties: the green (which most people will have at least tasted at some time or another), and the black variety, which is larger and far less well known in western cookery. Green cardamom, although not widely recognized, is used in quite a few bakery products, especially in Scandinavia, and it is likely in these types of products that most people will have encountered it.

When I was growing up, green cardamom was used quite frequently in our house, especially in my father’s biryanis, but I was probably in my thirties before I discovered the black variety. It is unfortunate that that this spice is not very well known because it has a unique taste that works nicely in quite a number of different preparations… Continue reading “Spice: Black Cardamom”

Posted in General

Three-Cup Chicken (三杯雞)

I have yet to try this classic Chinese dish in a restaurant, although I have made it before. The ‘three-cups’ in the name refers to the fact that the chicken is cooked in a cup each of soy, rice wine and sesame oil, although, in actual practice, any volume of each can be used as long as they are in equal amounts. The dish apparently originated in Jiangxi Province in Southern China but is nowadays more closely associated with Taiwan where the basic recipe has been enhanced by the addition of fresh basil leaves towards the end of cooking.

The last time I made this dish I used the last leaves of basil we had growing in our indoor window box and there really wasn’t enough. I have been waiting for ages for fresh basil to appear in our local grocery store and when I saw some the other day I grabbed two of the only four bunches they had. There were some frozen drumettes of chicken in our freezer leftover from a steamed chicken wing experiment I did a few weeks ago and I though they might work nicely instead of the cut-up whole chicken many recipes call for…  Continue reading “Three-Cup Chicken (三杯雞)”

Posted in General

Experiment: Chocolate Dripped Cape Gooseberry

Well…. A very short post today. When I introduced the South America Fruit Physalis (also known as Cape Gooseberry), I rather hoped to use some to make a salsa, possibly to have with smoked salmon. Unfortunately, there were only about 15 or 16 in the little basket I bought and that really wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile. I did, however, come across a suggestion that they be dipped in chocolate and thus I came up with the presentation you see above.

I used some of that Hershey’s Chocolate Shell Topping you put on ice cream and I put the fruit into the freezer for about 5 or 10 minutes so that the chocolate would harden on contact. Afterwards, I added a little dab of raspberry jam, sprinkled on some sugar, and then garnished each with a little sliver of mint leaf. I was planning to make some mint tea but I put the mint in ‘fridge and forgot about it so most of the leaves had turned brown (I really must stop doing that!). Luckily, though, I managed to salvage a few to slide underneath the treats as a further bit of decoration.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed them and my wife really liked them a lot. The chocolate did indeed go nicely with the fruit, so it turned out to be a very good suggestion. I hope you like the look of them and try them yourself…

Posted in Ingredients

Foodstuff: Cassava (Yuca Root)

The curious looking vegetable you see above appeared in one of our local grocery stores the other day with a label describing it as ‘Yuca Root’. I have actually seen these while travelling down south before but, until now, it was never practical to buy some to sample. The name ‘Yuca’ didn’t mean a great deal to me and it wasn’t until I brought a root home and did an Internet search that I realized I had heard of it before by two of its other names: ‘Manioc’ and ‘Cassava’… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Cassava (Yuca Root)”

Posted in General

Beef with Cumin and Scallions

Beef stir-fried with scallions is a standard in many Chinese cookery books. It is also common on many restaurant menus in the west where it frequently makes an appearance as ‘Mongolian Beef’ (even though the dish actually has little to do with the cuisine of that region).

It is a fairly easy dish to prepare and is thus amenable to all sorts of improvisations. Most restaurant versions, and many recipes you find on the Internet, are generally made with a fair amount of cornstarch-thickened sauce, mostly quite mild, and generally rather sweet. For this experiment, however, I want to depart from that model and do more of a ‘dry-fried’ dish that is somewhat sweet but also incorporates some of the more assertive flavors of western Chinese cookery… Continue reading “Beef with Cumin and Scallions”