Basically I just scrounged around in my pantry to see what I had that might make a delicious dish.
I began with about half a pound of frozen shrimp. I defrosted them under cold running water, peeled them, dried them off and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.
I found a few carrots and some cabbage, so I shredded them. I cut 5 scallions, slicing the white parts and cutting the green into 2 inch sticks. I smashed a clove of garlic.
I cooked a handful of Chinese egg noodles (you could use any kind of noodle, from spaghetti to rice noodles) in boiling water until they were not quite cooked. I drained them, tossed them with peanut oil and set them aside.
I mixed a tablespoon or so of the oyster sauce with soy sauce and a couple tablespoons of the XO sauce.
I add some oil to a wok, quickly cooked the shrimp until just pink and removed them. I added a bit more oil, added the carrot, cabbage and garlic and stir-fried for a minute. I added the noodles, and tossed about for a few more minutes before adding the shrimp and scallion greens, along with the XO sauce mixture. I tossed that about a bit and ate it with great pleasure.
The leftovers were even better the next day (with some more XO sauce spooned on top).
In my family, lobster was always a Christmas treat. My mother liked to order ready-to-cook Clam Bakes from Damariscotta, Maine, and it became something we looked forward to all year long. (The ad below is from a vintage issue of Gourmet.
Prices have gone up, but I still consider lobster a perfect holiday food. These days I tend to order mine from Graffam Brothers, and they’ve never let me down. They know how to pack the creatures so they arrive deep black, kicking and ready to cook.
Lobstermen, as you probably know, are not having an easy time just now. Lobsters tend to be luxury restaurant food, and with restaurants closed, demand is down. So if you’re ever going to order lobster, now would be a good time to do it. Personally, I have a hard time thinking of a more delicious gift.
Anybody who tries to cook Chinese food at home knows the magic of oyster sauce. A small spoonful adds richness, umami and depth to just about any stir-fry dish.
The problem is that most of the commercially available oyster sauces have never seen anything resembling an oyster. Look at the label; you’re buying sweeteners and thickeners.
But the minute you taste Megachef Oyster Sauce, you know you’ve got the real thing. I buy mine from Mala Market, and if you send this to a friend with a wok they’ll thank you every time they reach for the bottle. Which I promise, will be extremely often.
The sauce is made in Thailand , where fresh oysters are smoked over hardwood before being cooked with sugar salt and cornstarch. The result is this suave, savory sauce.
Buy it today and it will still arrive in time for Christmas. But the truth is, whenever it arrives, this oyster sauce will be extremely welcome.
I waited a day and then had to beg. But it was worth it: the knife is heavier than any other bread knife I’ve encountered, and it slices right through any loaf. The handle feels good in your hand. It also comes in a very pretty ribbon-bound box. And if you’re willing to wait, there’s a list.
But yesterday I received news of a brand new version of the Nancy Silverton breadknife. It costs less – and it has a beautiful red handle. Haven’t tried it myself, but if you’ve got someone who’s spent the last 9 months baking bread, I can’t imagine there’s a better gift.
Now I find myself putting this amazing elixir on everything. I use it on Chinese food of course – it’s wonderful on noodles and stir-fried vegetables – but yesterday I slathered it onto a steak sandwich with spectacular results.
XO sauce is the essence of umami. It’s made with a variety of dried seafoods and meats – dried scallops, dried shrimp, Virginia ham, shallots, garlic, chiles and a variety of spices.
Every chef makes his own version of XO Sauce, but this one from the renowned San Francisco restaurant is especially delicious. I’ll admit that I’m a condiment slut – I have a refrigerator filled with exotic bottles – but this is one condiment I never want to be without. If you know someone like me, they’ll definitely thank you.