8/27/13

Kitchen Tip
 

In our kitchen the challenge is to see how much life you can get out of a scouring pad.

If you use soapy steel wool scouring pads (i.e., Brillo, S.O.S) here is how Cooky Cat recommends using them. You don't put them in the pot and pan you want to scrub with a lot of water. That just takes away the soap from the pad. Just have what you are about to scour slightly wet and that is enough water to get the soap going. That method makes the scouring pad last longer.

8/19/13

What Tea with Dim Sum?
Did you know you had a choice? In any Dim Sum parlor worth its salt (soy sauce?) that is. Yes, you do.

Usually when you go to a Chinese restaurant for Dim Sum they will bring you a pot of house tea; usually a black Oolong, and sometimes Jasmine.

We discovered something which we now order religiously and recommend. You politely ask your server to take that pot of house tea away and specify, "Gook Po". Don't worry, you won't get a pile of some critters' nether regions. That's "Gook Po-Po" in case you're interested.

Better suggestion, order Gook Po right away when you are seated. That way you won't run the risk of antagonizing the harried waiter; and, you who's knows what goes on behind closed doors. 

"Gook Po" "Gook Pu" is a blend of earthy/woody Pu-erh tea enriched with chrysanthemum blossoms. Pure essence of Yin/Yang. At the tea station in a bustling Dim Sum joint they keep the varieties loose in bins and your server will simply toss some of this and some of that in a pot and fill with boiling hot water.

Also, ordering such an "in" brew will get you some cred with what can be a rather aloof style of service. Also, Gook Po is not just for Dim Sum. It's excellent with any Chinese meal.  

8/18/13

Pepperoni Paradigm Shift

Could we all take stock a minute and look at what we're doing? Pizza-wise.

Who in the hell says you HAVE to slice your pepperoni for your pizza into circles. PizzaTown USA in Elmwood Park, New Jersey — arguably the best pizza place in the whole wide world — 
slices theirs in thickish quarters. It gives a better bite and brings more flavor. In our humble opinion. 

If you are the sort that doesn't like pepperoni pizza (???), then never mind. 

8/12/13

Farmers Market

When I was a boy (some would suggest I was never anything but) my mother cooked mainly from scratch, and my parents shopped for fresh fruits and vegetables every Saturday at a nearby farmers market. You could get everything seasonally fresh, supplanted by imports such as citrus from Florida. Sometimes even, a kitten or a pup.

Alas, the Chene-Ferry Street Farmers Market in my hometown Detroit is no longer anything but an abondoned ruin.




But, word is the historic Eastern Market is a very thriving affair located in the city's main wholesale food distribution center near Downtown Detroit.




And, in New Jersey where I am currently residing, we shop the local Farmers Market most Saturdays in the growing season.

Besides fruit and produce at its freshest at good prices, I also shop for smiles. Also in abundance, as you can see. . .

Angels from Tabernacle, New Jersey
  
Jersey Tomato . . . Princess

"No squeezing the tomatoes!" (But, we're tempted.)

 
 Rockin' the Radish.

Dad's Best Helper.


Boyfriend's away at college. Life goes on.

 Undaunted by the cold weather.


 
It takes a tough guy to grow tender chive blossoms.


The "Dolly Parton" Tomato

  Chrysanthemum Queen


 He's smiling. Really.

The Great Jim Matarazzo of Matarazzo Farms




8/6/13

THIN IS IN
The world is ideed round . . . and flat
This is a summary in video form of flat breads from around the world. [Not exhaustive. We don't have room enough for yet another server in the garage.] Some, strictly speaking may be pancakes; but the main ingredients common to all are flour and water.

All the varieties in this group are "baked" on some form of pan over heat, more often than not directly from a wood fire. This cooking method itself is also a common factor the world over. Call it a "Sac" or "Saj" or "Tawa" or "Mogogo" or just a plain "Griddle".

Notice the care, the love.  
Start with this video link: Bread so dreamy you need a pillow.


Turkey 


  Lebanon

Japanese

Thai 


Indian Indian / Chinese

Don't Spare the Chili Powder

Spanking the Crepe . . . in France

Italia

Italia, Again 


Poland


  Vietnam

Native American


  Morocco


Morocco . . . See the Love


Trinidad and Tobago


 Ethiopia and Eritria


Norway

8/5/13

Bone Dust

Do you know what that is? If you buy meat prepackaged from most supermarkets the pieces are usually saw cut though both the bone and the flesh. This creates something butchers refer to as "bone dust". It's that powdery, slightly mealy pink stuff that you have to remove before cooking. A good butcher will remove said bone dust. But, mostly we've been seeing that extra step eliminated in the high volume commercial markets.

Not much to do. Just remember that you be sure to remove it yourself. A knife edge or a spoon will do the trick. Or, you can go all in and get the professional real deal tool. But, please don't. Only if you're cooking for a crowd, and often.


Your Might Think It's a Chore.

But, It's Chorizo!
Chorizo is a sausage. Once kind is the Spanish dry cured, ready to eat version. The other, Mexican, which must be cooked.

If you live on the East Coast in the United States of America you probably know the Spanish chorizo. Southeasterners almost never see that kind, but the fresh Mexican chorizo is easily available.

This brief note is to encourage you to try the Mexican variety. Not store bought, but home made.

Store bought is fine, but it's a fresh product and you should trust your store, the quality of ingredients, and their recipe. In a good Mexican food store you will find house made chorizo often done up in casings. In stores with high volume you'll also see chorizo in bulk. Again, trust your source. You must remove the sausage from the casing to fry in a little oil. Home made, the accompanying photo shows how you can wrap it in plastic and store overnight to blend flavors; or freeze in bags and have ready for use other times. 

It's very easy and the taste is wonderful for tacos or, as we do, a breakfast with eggs and pappas fritas or tostones or yuca with pickled onions.

For breakfast we saute colorful mild peppers and onions, set aside, then fry the loose Mexican chorizo. Mix together and serve with eggs, your style. And, of course, the hash browned pototoes, fried green plantains, or boiled casava with those pickled onions.

If your lips are smacking for some Mexican Chorizo, here is as good a recipe as you will find.