Monday, January 23, 2006

I read "bacon" so I ate it

In a happy accident, I read the title of the soup as "Bacon Provencal Fish Soup

Which, of course, I took to mean the soup that had both bacon and fish in it. Upon closer reading I realized the author was refering to Bacon's restaurant soup. But since my heart was set on bacon, bacon it was ...

Also, behind the soup is a beautiful way to keep your parsley (and cilantro) fresh, by putting them in a cup with fresh water (remember to change the water daily). This makes it easy to snip what you need.

Joy's Provencal Fish Soup

5 slices of thick cut bacon diced
5 large red potatoes diced
half a large onion thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 cans of plum tomatoes
1/3 bunch of parsley
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 leaves of fresh sage
2 fresh bay leaves
1/2 c of dry vermouth
2 filets of tilapia cut into large chunks
cayenne pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 c water

Garlic Aioli (1 clove of garlic + 3 T favorite mayonaisse)
Nicoise olives

Over medium high heat, fry the bacon until half way done, add onions, and saute until translucent. When the onions are nearly finished add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and sage for one minute. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up in the pot, and add the vermouth. Add one cup of water and the diced potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are soft (around 20-30 minutes). While the soup is simmering, in a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with a little bit of salt, and add to mayonaisse.

When the potatoes are finished cooking, add the tilapia fillet chunks and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with aioli if desired and a bunch of nicoise olives.

Bon appetite!

Friday, January 20, 2006

embarrassingly easy korean

Good Kim-Chi will strip paint, in all likelihood.

I love Korean Vegetable Pancakes. I must not speak Korean well because when I discussed them with the lady at the Korean Grocery Store, I said: Chi-Chi-Mee. She didn't understand me, and then she said, "Oh!" and repeated it back to me with an entirely different inflection.

Without further ado ...
Mini Korean Kim-chi Vegetable Pancakes

1/2 c Kim-Chi
1/2 c Vegetable Pancake Mix (buy at Korean or Japanese Grocery store)
1 scallion chopped in diagonal slivers (it looks prettier that way)
1/2 c water
Oil for frying (less than 2 teaspoons)

Japanese Mayonaisse (less than 1 t)

Mini food processor

Step by step:

The flour batter mix to buy at the store.

It's a one-to-one ratio of flour mix to water here. I just made a half batch for me today. (1/2 c flour, 1/2 c water)

Here I blitzed the Kim-Chi, but it's fine just to roughly slice it into more biteable pieces. Then I added the chopped scallions.

Then heat your pan to high and add oil, then turn down to medium heat and add batter in about 3 in radius circles. I obviously have not mastered the perfectly round curved edge pancake technique yet.

Drizzle with Japanese mayonaisse and serve as an appetizer, or light lunch. I ate this with my Soft Tofu in Tempura Sauce recipe for lunch today. I have a happy stomach.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

you say japanese lemon, I say yuzu

Product Spotlight Time!

When I spent New Year's Eve in New York, it was bitterly cold, and by the time I got inside the apartment where the party was, though there was much champagne offered, I only wanted tea.

My friend then graciously offered to make me Honey Citron Tea, but the way it was prepared was like nothing I had ever seen before. I have seen plenty of tea in powdered form (an Asian favorite), but I had never seen tea in a jam.

To be quite honest, all this Korean "tea" looks like is marmalade, but it is amazingly delicious, lightning fast to prepare, and great for when you feel a cold setting in. And it is entirely free of caffeine, but doesn't have that annoying taste that some herbal teas have.

You boil water, and scoop a large tablespoon of jam into your cup and stir. Voila.

You can find this in any Korean grocery store. Usually it is on the shelf near the jam, or in the refrigerator.

When hunting down this tea jam, my Japanese friend was telling me that it actually wasn't a regular lemon, but a special one.

"Yuzu." I said back to him, with a glint in my eye. (I have lived in Tokyo for a year).

first stop little peking!

Oh my. I have a slew of things to write about.

They do say pictures are worth more than many words, no?

The exquisite gustatory delights of well made Chinese food often elude me. However, in Orange County, California, if you are ever in the middle region, you must go to Little Peking. I suppose some would call this a hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant. It is located in the shopping center on the south east corner of Westminster and Newland at: 8566 Westminster Ave, Westminster, CA 92683.

I have had homemade dumplings in Beijing, eaten in Chinatown in San Francisco, Toronto, and New York, and I can still reassure you that these are by far the best dumplings I have ever eaten. Pictured above are the boiled dumplings and the roast beef in onion pancake roll.

The pork leek filling coupled with the home made dough make Peking a frequent must, along with their very reasonable prices. One order of succulent pan fried or boiled dumplings will only cost $5.

Only in the past few years has my family enjoyed the roast beef onion pancake roll. The roll is comprised of a crispy fried green onion pancake wrapped around layers of chinese flavored roast beef, fresh green onions, and hoisin sauce.

Hm, I feel a little drooly just thinking about visiting Little Peking restaurant, but unfortunately it is so far away.