I’m back baby!
Yes, after the election of the Cheeto, I changed select service providers to European ones and brought down the server to harden the software. It’s not like the NSA has this site on the list of to-dos, but given the Vault 7 data burps and the subsequent wannacry and petya issues, it’s not like I need the hassle.
Lots has happened in the interim, much of which I may eventually get around to scribbling about, but I did start up an Instagram account primarily to post stuff while I worked on getting Dr. Blog back up and creaking. [aside – Instagram is a great way to recycle old photos and content] You’ll notice that I haven’t fixed any of the visuals yet – that’s coming.
So let’s talk Chinese food. Those of us of that particular descent sort of call this just “food” but the ROW needs the modifier. When I think about this, out of the great culinary styles of the world (notably French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Peruvian, Spanish), everything else is referred to as “cuisine” and Chinese is “food”. Go figure. I do make “food”. I don’t do it very often because the prep can be really tedious and it’s sometimes less than rewarding when mise takes 6+ hours, cooking takes 15 minutes and consumption is under 3. But I’ll make it when there is a request, and if I really like you I may even make dumplings (餃子; be it 水餃, 蒸餃 [not really my fave] or 鍋貼, the latter which is also known as gyoza [ギョウザ]).
Remember this couple?
That’s Chef Amy and Mr. R. I last hooked up with them a couple of years back, when they had to pour me into the back of their SUV as I was in more than a little bit of a drunken stupor. And they’ve never brought up the loud snoring that must have emanated from the back seat while they transported me back to South SFO. Good times.
I have had the opportunity to visit them once again, but this time, a little bit more water and I had a spatula!
So what to make a Michelin-trained professional culinary bada$$ and her SO who also cranks out deliciousness?
Beef and broccoli.
No, seriously. It’s in her taste memory. It’s not like I can make « L’huitre en nage glacée » – she knows that recipe and technique and has made that for years [aside – I confirmed the dish is a PITA]. Fortunately beef and broccoli is one of these things I can make (this was from 2013).
Button mushrooms, big chunky pieces of garlic, slightly gloopy sauce. I got better.
I didn’t say my photography (or hurried plating) got better.
That probably got worse in the interregnum since I haven’t been paying attention photography-wise. However, beef, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, oyster sauce, sake. No gloopy sauce, and tiny tiny bits of garlic. I liked it.
That onglet that I found kept on giving, and given the produce I saw during the Berkeley Bowl excursion, that produced beef + garlic chives (Allium tuberosum; aka Chinese leeks [韭菜], aka nira [韮]). There is a Japanese dish similar to this called reba nira itame (レバニラ いため – レバニラ 炒め; “liver and leeks”), but even though iron helps us play(!), it’s hard to get people to eat liver. Besides, I didn’t buy liver.
I did make a few more things to have things slightly more rounded, including this spicy tofu dish (similar to Ma-Po tofu though lacking in doubanjiang (豆瓣醬) and Sichuan peppercorns.
And a variation of Yu Hsiang aubergines.
This plate of sautéed water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica; 蕹菜, listed in anglicized Cantonese “ong choy” at the store) had me realizing this was a mostly vegetarian meal.
And a very simple fried rice (well, it’s a very lightly tinted omurice).
I actually had an epiphany about this rice: it’s Persian “zebra sela” basmati long-grain. The stuff doesn’t clump whatsoever, and it fries up beautifully. Pre-fry it’s very fragrant and has a nice chew to it.
I also planned ahead to ensure there was something that paired well to drink with dinner.
Of the two Zind-Humbrechts, the Gewürtztraminer was the better pairing overall (also a Grand cru) as the additional sweetness (indice 4) better complemented salty/pungent (mostly the aubergine) + mildly spicy. The Heimbourg is delicious in its own right, but it’s significantly more restrained and less showy than its Rangen stablemate. I’d get both again, but would serve the Heimbourg with another menu. Asari no sakamushi maybe.
I’m happy. Pretty good reception all around, plus I worked clean and didn’t suck. Make beef and broccoli for Chef? Check!
Oh – dumplings come later.