tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal

17Nov/110

Thanksgiving Trials

Dear E,

I daydreamed about serving grilled cheese and soup for Thanksgiving this year, to serve the opposite of an over-the-top meal but keep the comfort. Of course that's not what we're doing but I am keeping soup on the menu.

soup trial
soup trial

I thought that serving soup as a starter would be a pleasant change -- the freezing weather outside may have something to do with this decision. The problem with serving soup at Thanksgiving that soup can be very filling, especially the sort of soups that came to mind at first -- cream of cauliflower, butternut squash, potato-leek. I also didn't want to just serve chicken broth! I happened across a recipe for roasted garlic soup that sounded light enough but with a bit of body to it. I shared the recipe with N and he thought it also sounded good but suggested that I make for us first. Good call!

I made the soup for dinner last Thursday (with a couple of modifications) and I think it fits into that little round box I hoped it would. We will see how it goes next Thursday. See you then!

Filed under: planning, trials No Comments
10Nov/111

In

Hi J -

Is pork belly the in food? The hip food establishment near work offers a Pork Belly Salad. The dish has more pork than vegetables. There are pork belly recipes on TV, in food magazines... I saw this Pork Belly Buster recipe from Bon Appétit. I am so tempted to make it.  I also read the really flattering article on Husk, where the Chef is breeding and raising his own heritage pigs.

I exercised some restraint (ha!) and opted for Red Cooked Pork Belly (红烧肉). Two recipes I like are from Rasa Malaysia and 80 Breakfasts. I asked G how everyone would feel about pork belly and he didn't seem to think anyone would mind the fat. But I noticed he left the tender fatty portions on his plate. Fail. I also read somewhere, on the Internets, that commercially available bacon has decreased from 80% to 50% fat in the last few decades. I forgot to take a pic of the "lean pork" sticker on my pork belly package. No really.

Friday evening, I cut up the pork belly and pork shoulder, browned the meat to a deep golden, tossed in ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, then deglazed with Shaoxing wine, sweet soy, yellow rock sugar, added a couple star anise & cinnamon, covered and cooked on the lowest simmer for a couple of hours. The meat / braise liquid cool overnight, and a lovely lay of fat floated to the top. Mmm. I skimmed the fat, reheat, and pour over store bought fried tofu.

with tofu, this dish is almost healthy

With all the root vegetables coming into season, I wanted to try an alternative to jasmine rice. I cubed a daikon, a few turnips, and half a celery root that I purchased for no particular reason last week, and tried to make a mash.

I love how the skin of the turnips are slightly purple.

Daikon, if I had though about it, has high water content. Turnip, is lower in starch than potatoes. And well, celery root, is just unknown to me. So needless to say, mash didn't work out.  I attempted a rescue with the immersion blender. The puree, seasoned with generous amount of salt and a splash of half and half, separated but there was not much I could do about that.

beige food on white plate

Everyone seems to like the puree okay. The surprise favorite was another backup dish, store bought dumplings from Tofu 101 Yelp. Tofu 101 is a tiny take out store front. They make tofu on premise and offer a selection of soy products, brunch items on Saturdays, and 'homemade' dumplings amongst other things.

dumplings, with spicy concoction

They had three dumpling flavors in stock that day. This one is pork with Chinese Chive, which, I think N really liked. I thought the filling was very tasty, but the skin was doughy. I would definitely try the other flavors.

After dinner, and all the Thanksgiving menu talk, we settled in with Mama Mia!

who was hoarding all the bell peppers?

N pulled a serious upset by making all his pizzas, two games in a roll. Which meant, yes, it was time to stop. I was asleep before you and N made it home with the midnight snack of the leftover dumplings.

P.S. Hail to the start of the indulgence season!

Filed under: dinner review 1 Comment