Tin Tuirtle Design

Wasabi Sole, Mongolian Black Garlic and other oddities

clock March 12, 2012 16:44 by author Bald Turtle

There is a place in building #5 at the Soho Sanlitun called "The Drive'Thru". The guy there stocks a massive assortment of beers along with his own spices. He dries stuff, blends stuff, and sells stuff. Best way I can describe it. I've been there twice and I picked up a couple of things, finally it was time to experiment with the goods. First up was the Mongolian black garlic. This is awesome and you can easily eat it right out of the bunch. It tastes almost like a date, or dried plum or some kind of fruit. It is a little pricey ($5 or so a head) but I had to have some to experiment with.

Mongolian Black Garlic

First up was an attempt at emulsification into a mayonnaise. Using two fresh eggs, 4 cloves of the black garlic, some salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar, I was able to quickly get a great mayo using canola oil. A nice spread for sandwiches and it clearly showed the black garlic flavor. But the best part was adding some pickled jalapenos, whole grain mustard, cracked peppercorn and French cream - then blending that to make a salad dressing. It was ridiculously, stupidly good. Below is the dressing on the left, the mayo on the right.

Black Garlic Dressing

Next I prepared two sole fillets using a mixture of eggs, cream and flour. It has taken me a long time to get the coating on fish the way I like, but finally I can say I have it down. This basic system works great and you can incorporate whatever spices you want for the specific dish. For this I added the wasabi rub onto the fish just before placing it into the hot oil. The veggies I wanted to try with the pink Himalayan salt, so I wanted a nice clean flavor for the veggies and then I would just sprinkle that salt over them when serving.

wasabi sole fillet

Dinner was accompanied by a sauvigon blanc from Chile. The fish was bedded on a simple salad of romaine, endive, cherry tomato and the black garlic dressing. The himalayan salt and the dressing were by far the best part of this meal. It caused my wife to swear loudly and lick the plate - this is an unusually good sign. So I take it as success.

Tenderloin w/Cornbread Stuffing and Cabbage

clock March 5, 2012 13:35 by author Bald Turtle

I still cannot find cornmeal in Beijing that is of the right consistency to make good cornbread. The only boxed stuff I can find is from Springfield, and it's not very tasty. Since I was only looking for a base for stuffing, the boxed version is ok. The real winner of this meal was the Kasteel Tripel 11. Sometimes you just get lucky with a good food/beverage pairing, and tonight that was the case. I do not even like wheat beers that much, but this was excellent and bounced off the flavors in the meal quite well. The colors were fun too, normally I do a green cabbage but it always looks little blah, the purple is really much more interesting. This was sauteed with onions in olive oil for a few minutes, and then chicken broth for flavor.

Kung Pao Lamb? Shredded Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprouts

clock March 4, 2012 13:47 by author Bald Turtle

Annie was leaving for the office and said she had a craving for lean lamb meat, so I happened to find lamb tenderloin at Schindlers that morning. I did a thing with dried red peppers, cumin seed, onion, fresh red peppers and peanuts that came out really well. So well in fact, that I had to pull the wife out from underneath the stove hood as she was devouring all of tomorrow's lunch. I got a lot of praise for this one, so I think I will work on refining the ingredients to get it the way I want. The rest was just some old standbys, the shredded sweet potato with tequila/lime juice and sliced brussel sprouts sauteed in olive oil. The thing about doing the two sides together is that the food processor is already out. Just a quick change between disks and the potato and sprouts are both processed in 10 minutes or less. You have to clean the thing anyway, so why not just use it to speed up the prep for everything?

For me, presentation is still a weak. This meal tasted great, but the way it looks on the plate is still "Wednesday-night-at-home". I need to work on this somehow. Probably pay a little more attention when we are dining out, and maybe do some research online or get a couple of books. If I could just improve this part, it would make a huge difference.

Brown Veal Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

clock February 22, 2012 16:53 by author Bald Turtle

I keep seeing different types of veal at Schindler's Meat Market and I've been wanting to try a few things. For some reason veal seems like a taboo dish even though it is quite normal to serve it in many places in the world. Some of that feeling comes from the work of the Humane Society to investigate and publish conditions at veal processing plants.

I put together a Brown Veal Stew with Tomatoes & Mushrooms (Saute De Veau Marengo) from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, page 360. This was served with some fresh pasta from the Imperia pasta machine and a Scottish stout beer. I really was not sure if Annie would like it because the meat and mushrooms are cut fairly large. But the recipe made enough to serve 6, and I made it slightly larger. This morning there is about 1/2 a serving left because all of it was eaten last night, and the flavor was very good.

Fish with Pecan Butter Sauce & Meuniere Sauce

clock February 19, 2012 01:23 by author Bald Turtle

I have been out most of last week and Annie has been too busy to come home so our eating habits have been poor. I decided to break that streak tonight and serve a dish I have not made since I lived in Arizona. Upon completion of this dish I am sad to say I am half way through my supply of pecans.

fish in Pecan Butter Sauce & Meuniere Sauce

Once again we pull out Paul Prudhommes Louisiana Kitchen and throw down on something wicked. Sole fillets from the Ole Supermarket were used in his recipe from page 54. The meuniere sauce is heavy and you really don't want to serve too much with this. I may even use a squirt bottle next time and place it under the fish that way. And you have to constantly whisk it, you cannot let it rest for a minute or you will get lumps. And the pecan butter on top, what can I say? Intense, awesome.. all of that.

The dish was served with a side of Basic Rice, baked in the oven with the shrimp stock. The grilled zuchinni are a nice side because you need something light to offset the heavyness of the fish. Some boiled baby carrots would go well too and look nice.... maybe next time.

The roasted chicken experiments continue

clock January 30, 2012 00:20 by author Bald Turtle

I took a 1 kg bird and split it down the back, smeared it with butter and then flattened it out on a cookie sheet. Then I sprinkled on salt, pepper, garlic granules and paprika. The bird is broiled breast side down for 10 minutes and then temp reduced to 400F, bird flipped to breast side up and roasted for 35 minutes.

BBQ Shrimp

clock January 26, 2012 22:31 by author Bald Turtle

I was supposed to fix dinner for a friend of mine but he cancelled tonight. I had already thawed out a kilo of tiger shrimp so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out the BBQ Shrimp recipe from Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen (page 88). I served it with a Rogue American Amber Ale. It was a good dish, but not as awesome as Shrimp Diane. I am still nursing some shrimp stock from that and I hope it will keep until Monday when I can throw down on something else for Annie when she gets home.

Shrimp Diane with Corn Maque Choux

clock January 20, 2012 23:32 by author Bald Turtle

We had some friends over last night and I prepared a Cajun meal from Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen. It was a basic 4 dishes, Shrimp Diane, Corn Maque Choux, Basic Cooked Rice and Sweet Potato Pecan Pie. The Shrimp Diane was made with fresh Shitake mushrooms from the Ole Supermarket. Everything went very well and I have about 4 cups of seafood stock left over to work with next week. I would like to freeze it but there is not any more room in our tiny freezer in Beijing. There are several shrimp recipes in that book I have not tried and I think I will work on them over the next couple of months.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

clock January 20, 2012 23:23 by author Bald Turtle

When I was in the Ole store in Beijing last year I saw Karo Dark Corn Syrup and the first thing I thought of was one of my favorite Paul Prudhomme recipes, sweet potato pecan pie. While all of the other ingredients are reasonable, pecans in China are crazy expensive. When I came back from the U.S. this last trip I brought enough pecans for 4 pies (or some other things). To make this an authentic Chinese dish I believe I will get sweet potatos from the street vendor next time. But for this pie we used 3 large sweet potatos baked for one hour and then peeled. The pie was very good, and when matched with traditional Chantilly Cream it was extraordinary.

sweet potato pecan pie

Roasted Chicken & Vegetables - Attempt 1

clock January 18, 2012 01:32 by author Bald Turtle

I am on a mission to perfect my chicken. Since I am lacking a meat thermometer at the moment its not easy to get perfection. And I need to learn my oven. Unfortunately my wife is not a big fan of chicken, but she will have to deal with it for a few weeks. I do not think she will suffer too much, she devoured at least half of one I fixed tonight. So why am I suddenly fascinated by chicken you might ask? Julia Child of course.

"You can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by roast chicken. While it does not require years of training to produce a juicy, brown, buttery, crisp-skinned bird, it does entail such a greed for perfection that one is under the compulsion to hover over the bird, listen to it, above all see that it is continually basted, and that it is done just to the proper turn."

Julia Child
Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The first attempt was made using the spit roaster in our oven. The bird was stuffed with sausage, onion mixed with cornbread from my father-in-law. Then it was wrapped in bacon that had been boiled for 5 minutes and roasted for 70 minutes. Sadly I cannot control the temperature using the spit, and thus was forced to judge by eye. It was tasty, but next we try a basic, unstuffed, Poulet Roti.

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