Friday, January 19, 2018

Sake-Steamed Dungeness Crabs -日本米酒蒸螃蟹

I recalled the first time I saw how dungeness crabs were prepared in the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, I was left quite puzzled or surprised when I saw them being boiled. The first thought that came to mind was "won't all the seafood flavors and essence be gone in the boiling process"?

Though I am not professionally trained as a chef, I have watched enough Chinese cooking shows to know that many delectable seafood dishes are prepared by simply steaming fresh seafood - Pickled Chili Steamed Whole FishSteamed Garlic Prawns/ShrimpsSteamed Ginger Green Onions Prawns/Shrimps.

Dungeness crab season in California typically starts from November and runs almost six-eight months till about June. When I got hold of fresh live crabs recently, it fell back to my natural instincts to STEAM them!

It may lack creativity or may even sound boring to some of you, but I simply enjoy fresh flavors of seafood, this way.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Winter Pinto Bean Soup 花豆浓汤

Nothing beats fresh produce. Though flash-frozen vegetables have been said to have nutrients locked at source and comparable to fresh vegetables in terms of nutrition, frozen vegetables often end up as back-ups, reserves or for emergencies especially when one is pressed for cooking time e.g. Artichoke and Pea Pizza using frozen vegetables.

Likewise for beans, the texture, taste (and price) of dried beans cannot beat their canned counterparts. But let's say you have 30 minutes to whip up something quick? Something quick like a creamy bean soup, perhaps? And 30 minutes starting from prep. to a done dish.

With dried beans, that can never be achieved. Eliminating the step that dried beans usually needs to be soaked overnight, cooking pre-soaked beans to tender already takes at least 20-30 minutes. In that sense, canned beans do come in handy, very handy. Well, making homemade bean soup in 30 minutes or less, is an intermediate solution - for those who do no have time (or plan) to make the soup from scratch using dried beans; and for those who does not succumb to ready-made canned bean soups which often (and in many cases) are high in sodium and may contain a list of undesirable ingredients.

So, get a good quality (e.g. organic, low sodium) canned beans - that is surely an easier task to finding a good quality canned soup and make a good enough tasty chunky bean soup using some of these cheat-sheets tips e.g. (1) adding some salsa or pasta sauce to create some flavor complexity and intensity; (2) adding fresh tomatoes, onions and garlic and even fresh herbs for...FRESHNESS, (3) pureeing part of the soup for "creaminess" and (4) keeping some beans whole for texture profile. Then think about it, all these found in a soup made in just about 30 minutes?  Bonus, bonus AND bonus!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Garlic Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranate 蒜炒甘蓝

As temperatures dip with the surrounding fall/winter foliage, I look forward to seasonal Brussel sprouts and pomegranate. What is better than combining the green and red holiday colors in a single dish.

This side-dish is very easy to prepare. The flavors are bright and refreshing as the savory garlic brussel sprouts complements with a surprising burst of sweet-tangy pomegranate.