An Old Fashioned Cantonese Restaurant Dish.

April 19, 2020

So many people have asked for the recipe for the Shrimp with Lobster Sauce I posted on Instagram. So here it is. (If you’re wondering why it contains no lobster, it’s because the dish was originally made with lobster, not shrimp. So it’s shrimp with a sauce meant for lobster.)

1/2 pound shrimp

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fermented black beans

1 large clove garlic

2 scallions

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons neutral oil

1/4 pound ground pork

handful of frozen peas

1 egg

Peel the shrimp, pour the soy sauce over them, and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Soak the fermented black beans in warm water for a few minutes, until they soften, then chop them finely.

Mince the garlic. Slice the scallions.

Mix broth, sugar, wine and sesame oil.

Make a slurry of the cornstarch by adding 2 tablespoons of water.

Get a wok hot, add the oil, then toss in the pork and cook until it loses its pink color. Add the garlic and black beans, stir fry for a few seconds, then add the shrimp and toss until they turn pink.

Add the broth mixture and peas, and bring to a simmer. Once it begins to bubble, add most of the cornstarch slurry and watch it thicken until it can coat a spoon. If it can’t, add more of the slurry. If it gets too thick, thin it with a bit of water.

Stir in the beaten egg and toss until it has been incorporated. Add the sliced scallions, stir a couple more times and serve over white rice

This will feed two people generously.

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Gift Guide 2019: Bottarga, But Better

December 22, 2019

Bottarga (cured mullet roe), was once an obscure ingredient, but lately it seems to be popping up on menus everywhere. I couldn’t be happier: it’s wonderful stuff.

It’s often referred to as “poor man’s caviar” because it is, after all, fish roe. But recently a few caviar producers are making “rich man’s bottarga.” They’re taking pricey sturgeon roe and curing it until it is a solid block that you can grate as you would bottarga. It’s wonderful simply grated over buttered pasta or omelets (the heat releases the flavor). And sliced into thin little sheets it’s the perfect addition to this canape season.

I particularly like the Calvisius Lingotto caviar, which is produced in Italy. Aged in oak molds, it comes swathed in gold – a perfectly pre-wrapped present.

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Gift Guide 2019: Promises, Promises

December 21, 2019

It’s not quite on the market yet.

Still, if you know someone who dreams of becoming a barbecue pitmaster, and you happen to have a few spare thousands on your hands, here’s an incredibly cool gift. Your friend could be one of the first people to own one of Aaron Franklin’s new backyard smokers.

As everyone who cares about true barbecue knows, Aaron Franklin is the man. People line up at his Austin place for hours just for a taste of his ‘cue. (I’ve done it myself, and yes, it’s worth the wait.)

But what if you could achieve that same quality in your very own backyard? Could you do it if you had one of the handmade smokers the Franklin people are working on right now?

Only time will tell.

You don’t have to buy one now. In fact, you can’t. What you can do is sign up for the newsletter – so you’ll be at the head of the line when the new Franklin Smoker is available. In the meantime, just to get ready, you could sign your friend up for Franklin’s master class on smoking meat.

Cool tidbit: Aaron told me that his grandfather was one of the original Texas Playboys.

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Gift Guide 2019: How Much Do You Love Me?

December 20, 2019

I don’t have one of these – but I really want one. I know lots of people who have them – and none of them can stop talking about the amazing Roccbox.

A few years ago I got a steel for my oven – and I love it. But it has serious drawbacks. It takes an hour to get hot enough, and then it’s basically only good for a single pizza, or maybe two, before you have to heat the thing up again.

But the Roccbox? It gets up to temperature – an amazing 950 degrees- in a matter of minutes. And it stays hot, so you can turn out a whole party of pizzas. Best of all, you can heat it with wood.

I’ve always wanted a woodburning oven. And now, apparently, it’s almost in reach. This may even be the present I buy myself this year.

My nephew sent me this picture. He’s extremely proud of the leoparding on his pizza….

So what do they cost? About $700. You can buy them in many places, including of course Amazon. But why not go right to the source?

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Gift Guide 2019: Light My Fire

December 19, 2019

Of all the hostess presents I received this year, this was my favorite.

Like most people who cook on gas, I’ve got a burner that no longer lights by itself. I can’t tell you how often I’ve scorched my fingers putting a match to the recalcitrant one.

Not anymore.

As you can see, these fabulous matches are very long. They are also easy to light – and easy to reuse. So this is a gift that will last.

Their original purpose is for fireplaces, and they work very well for grills. So it’s a very versatile present.

The matches look very nice sitting on the counter, and when they’re gone, you’ve got a very nice canister for pasta, sugar or beans.

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