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archive for November 2011

back in the day

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Recipe: chinese honey walnut shrimp recipe

Some time last week (Nov 7th) marked seven years since I began blogging. I hadn’t even realized this until today as I’ve been bogged down with so much. It seems fitting though, because I’ve been talking with some blog friends lately about blogging “back in the day” compared to now, today. It’s quite different. But I won’t bore you with those musings. I remember how excited I was in the early days to find a handful of blogs that posted Chinese recipes I wanted to make. The two I loved most were Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen and Bee’s Rasa Malaysia. They still crank out reliable recipes and I often reference their blogs for all manner of Chinese (or other Asian) cooking help.

Bee recently released her first cookbook, Easy Chinese Recipes, a lovely collection of favorite Chinese recipes and beautiful glossy photos to entice the reader to make every single dish. Bee’s style in her book is no different from her exacting instructions and helpful background information on her blog. The recipes are easy to follow even if you’ve never cooked Chinese food before. But I’ve cooked Chinese food before. LOTS. OF. IT. Yet, I still found plenty of recipes that I’ve been wanting to make and never found a good recipe for until I flipped through Bee’s book.

easy chinese recipes: family favorites from dim sum to kung pao

As any cook is bound to do, I compared some of my family recipes with Bee’s versions and they totally jived. There was never any doubt. I dog-eared several pages – recipes to revisit when I had more time. I finally settled on a restaurant favorite that I never had the guts to try at home, until now…

shrimp, honey, walnuts

marinate the shrimp in salt and egg white

The shrimp are raw despite their pink color (these are wild-caught Key West pink shrimp from Whole Foods), so be sure to use RAW shrimp and not cooked shrimp. It’s a straightforward process considering there is frying involved. Peel and de-vein your shrimp, then butterfly them if you like. (I like to butterfly them because they take on a pretty curled and flared shape when cooked.) Marinate in salt and egg white.

candied walnuts

mixing up the sauce

**Jump for more butter**

operation stay put

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Recipe: blackberry macarons

What a weekend! We had some pretty crazy (read: extremely high) winds in Colorado Saturday night, clocking as much as 115 mph at Breckenridge. Based on our 6+ years in this house, we gauged it probably gusted to 90 mph here… and this wasn’t even the worst wind storm we’ve experienced. We watched in moderately alarmed curiosity (before the power went out) as the front wall of our great room flexed with each gust. Of course, it would have to be the weekend that my in-laws were visiting, but thankfully the guest room is on the ground floor. Our bedroom is on the third floor and so we endured 8 hours of the Northridge earthquake. Kaweah slept (happily) through the whole thing. Ah well, there’s always a price for paradise.

Aside from the windstorm, we took my ILs into Boulder for some shopping and dining. We enjoyed a beautiful family dinner at The Kitchen one evening and introduced them to The Pinyon and Chef Theo.

the kitchen: rabbit leg confit

the kitchen: alaskan halibut

the kitchen: apple doughnuts

the pinyon: butternut ravioli, brussels sprouts, mushrooms in brown butter sauce

Before the winds went cuckoo, we did have some really beautiful clouds set up over the house last week. Even if I didn’t have some background in atmospheric science, I would still be 100% completely enamored with our Colorado skies. Who needs television?

wave cloud at sunset over my house

still there long after sunset

And now, I’m happy to be home to work on long-term projects and resume a much-needed routine! No more travel or house guests for over a month! All of the local ski hills are either open or opening within the next week. My list of recipes to try is growing almost as fast as the list of things we need to fix and do around our neglected house. Speaking of recipes, I came across these macs that I made earlier this year. Even though blackberry season is over, you can use frozen blackberries for the curd and the buttercream. I find frozen organic blackberries to have decent sweetness and flavor.

sugar + red + blue = purple sugar

whipped whites with purple sugar

**Jump for more butter**

my endless love

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Recipe: paseo cuban roast pork sandwich

I have this thing for sandwiches… but you already knew that! Last year when I was in Seattle for my friends’ wedding, my other friends took me to stand in line at Paseo, home of the best sandwich in the world. With a title like that, it’s only a matter of time before my grubby little hands get a hold of said sandwich.

the cuban roast pork from paseo

That was some sandwich. A juicy, drippy, savory, heady, tangy, spicy mess nestled between toasted bread. It’s one of those deals where you eat it and you have to continue eating it lest you wind up wearing it. Best sandwich in the world? I’m not sure about that. Damn good sandwich? YES. HELL YES. Obviously, the next step was to try to reproduce it myself… I searched online and took a chance on some random recipe because I honestly had little clue where to start.

orange juice, rum, olive oil, salt, pepper, limes, garlic, oregano, pork shoulder

mince the garlic and oregano; juice the lime

The recipe called for mango juice and orange juice, but I live in the sticks. There was no mango juice to be had, so I doubled the orange juice and called it good. The magical pork shoulder is then marinated for at least 3 hours, although overnight is recommended. I went for 24 hours. Why not?

mix the marinade together

place the pork and marinade in the baggy together

When the pork was done soaking, I gave it a pan-sear on each side to brown up some flavor before placing it in a baking dish with the marinade and baked it for a couple of hours. Actually, the recipe has a total baking time of 2+ hours, but I let mine bake for four because the connective tissue just wasn’t breaking down to my liking. I’m picky like that.

pan-seared goodness

braise it

**Jump for more butter**