Tin Tuirtle Design

Grilled Chicken Salad w/Green Onion Dressing

clock May 4, 2011 04:46 by author Bald Turtle

I continue to try and figure out what has gone wrong with my emulsification method, and I'm not having great luck. I have some ideas but I want to try a few more things. Tonight I remade my Green Onion Salad Dressing (the one that screwed up the other night) and while it came out better, it definetly was not the way it should be. I ended up blending it one time, refrigerating for 40 minutes and reblending. The consistency at that point was about right, but the method to getting there was way out of wack. The salad was red and green lettuce, chopped scallion, shredded zuchinni, tomato, green pepper, cucumber and chopped hard boiled egg. I topped this with slices of grilled Sicilian eggplant and chopped grilled chicken. And shredded fresh parmesan before it hits the table.

Usually we use the grill pan for our veggies but I have been wanting to try grillling some meats on it. The chicken came out nicely, but it is not even close to using the real grill. Its more like sauteing with grill marks. I could not tell any flavor difference between the grill pan and the regular skillet. The eggplant was awesome though as usual. That is where the grill pan rocks - veggies! The key to getting this salad right is making sure the dish is served with the eggplant still hot. Its the difference between blah and amazing. The pic is not that great because I saturated mine with the dressing. Annie was smarter and as always - she wants the dressing on the side :)




Behold! The Magic Cake

clock April 23, 2011 18:48 by author Bald Turtle

Tian Tian requested that her Uncle Jeff make a magic cake. As we know, a magic cake requires 3 main characteristics, and a healthy application of Magic Dust.

  • Carrots - because Bugs Bunny likes carrots.
  • Cheese - because Mickey Mouse likes cheese.
  • Pink - because Cinderella likes pink.

We frosted the cake in the park and the attending princesses applied the magic dust at the appropriate moment.

From the culinary standpoint this is my current version of carrot cake. I have settled into what I feel is a pretty good recipe. The key with creating a good carrot cake is to use a batter that is dangerously close to becoming pudding instead of cake. It should be so thick and heavy when it goes in the pan that you are convinced it will never become cake. Then you have to somehow find a way to get it to turn into cake without burning. I use a 350F (180C) oven and baked for 75 minutes. And you need to check every 5 minutes for the last 20, using Pyrex so you can see if the crust starts to burn. This particular cake used 6 eggs, 1.5 cups of vegetable oil and 3/4 cup melted butter, so you can see why its tricky to get it to not become carrot pudding. This method is ridiculously, crazy good. I didn't write down the final measurements for everything this time, but I will bake one more and publish the recipe.

I received a personal phone call from the princess after the party and she assured me it was 100% princess approved.



Pork tenderloin in wine/cream sauce, sweet potato w/tequila & lime, ratatouille

clock April 22, 2011 14:10 by author Bald Turtle

I wanted something special for Friday night, so I decided to try Julia Child's ratatouille recipe (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1, page 503). I matched this with a pork dish I have been working on, and the old standby sweet potatoe dish. The ratatouille was good, but not outstanding. I do not have the right size casserole dish (2.5 qt) so I had to fudge it in a larger cast iron pot. I am still debating whether to go to Pantry Magic and try to pick one up on their final weekend of business. I probably won't as there are other things to spend money on - like food - and space is becoming an issue in the Beijing kitchen.

Ever since my dining experience at ,LM Plus I have been fascinated with pork tenderloin. For now I am mostly concerned with getting the cut correct and the cooking time exactly right. I start with wrapping the loin in plastic wrap and placing it in the freezer for about 40 minutes. Its nice and stiff but not frozen. Then I slice that thinly at an angle to get nice oval medallions of pork about 3/16 inch (4.5 mm). Its similar to how I scallop flank steak and venison. For this dish I chose a marinade of soy sauce and sesame oil. for about 1 hour.

Quartered mushrooms are browned in butter and olive oil, then removed. Then the pork is browned on each side in small batches, about 1 min per side and removed. After that I toss in a one chopped shallot and saute for 3 min or so, then clear with red wine and reduce. Add heavy cream, 1/4 cup of chicken stock, bring to a boil then salt and pepper to get it right. Let it reduce for a while, maybe even 10 min. Add shrooms and pork back to the sauce plus juices, toss in a nice handful of chopped parsley and some chopped rosemary, simmer for a minute or two and serve.

Next is to steer away from the heavy sauce, probably even eliminate the wine. I want to try and base the flavor strictly on the pork/marinade and the herbs. Then serve that over fresh greens so the flavor of the pork really comes through.



Sheperd's Pie

clock April 19, 2011 18:30 by author Bald Turtle
I have been having the urge for some good sheperd's pie. I had an order at Paddy O'Sheas (Beijing) and it was good enough to make me crave some more. To be honest, my recipe is the best I have ever had... anywhere... ever. It takes a bit more work then the typical, but it is lighter and has much more flavor. I just barely had enough for both of us to have lunch the next day, we ate the whole thing. Served with grilled zuchinni and eggplant.



Visited another open market

clock April 17, 2011 02:33 by author Bald Turtle
On Sunday I was out walking and found another open market just west of Blue Zoo. This was a fairly large market with lots of vegetables, fruit and mushrooms. The only downside of this market was that it is setup in a dirt lot, so if it is a windy day there is a layer of dust on the produce. Not a big deal for most things, but I probably wouldn't get my mushrooms here.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

clock April 14, 2011 18:38 by author Bald Turtle
Still searching for the recipe. I have done the original Tollhouse, the top rated one on FoodTV and still. Nothing is as good as my mother's recipe She said she will resend it to me this week. In the mean time I sent off the latest attempt to Annie's co-workers. She said all 30 lasted less then 5 minutes.



Continuing to work on the meatball recipe

clock April 1, 2011 03:53 by author Bald Turtle

I decided to deviate some from my Julia Child meatloaf recipe and go with a 50% lean ground beef, 25% ground pork, and 25% ground veal that I got from the butcher in the back of my local Lohai store. I also used some fresh bread crumbs from the bakery but ran them through the food processor to get the exra fine grind.

The marinara sauce is really the key and I am still working on that. I really don't do much Italian cooking so my recipe for this needs some work. But for now I am combining 4 peeled and seeded tomatoes (Chinese tomatoes are really tasty) with a 28oz can of Italian whole tomates. Everything gets hand crushed and cooked in the pan after I brown the meatballs. It was pretty damn good this last time, but I need to get a finer chop on the onions along with better garlic. All I know is you could pour almost anything over the fresh pasta from my Imperia and it would still taste awesome. Best part about doing meatballs is I put the extras in the fridge so I can have a meatball sub on a fresh french roll from the Symphony bakery (Beijing).. Fresh parmesan.... oh yeah.



Chicken Pot Pie w/ pate brisee (short paste)

clock March 27, 2011 00:43 by author Bald Turtle

I've been craving some chicken pot pie and when I saw fresh peas at Jenny Lou I decided to go for it.  I used a ceramic dish I picked up at the Pantry Magic sale along with a new pie crust recipe.  The crust is from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1, page 140. I used the version for the food processor and it was the strangest pie crust/dough I have ever made. It was very, very wet and had a consistency like fluffy sand.  I scooped it out on a floured board and was only able to roll it to between 1/2 and 3/4" (1.3 - 2 cm).  I was sure it was a failure but wow.... was one of the best pot pie crusts I have ever had.  I need to go back and make it again, as well as the hand version to see if I am doing it correctly.



Pantry Magic Beijing is closing

clock March 25, 2011 19:24 by author Bald Turtle

I received a depressing email this morning that Pantry Magic is going to shut down in Beijing.  It seems they are looking for a new owner to reopen later, but as of now there are no certain plans.  Items are up to 50% off for the close, so I nabbed a great cast iron casserole dish, and some ceramic bakeware.  Pantry Magic was really the only decent store for cooking items that I knew of in Beijing.  The stores at Lufthansa Center were ridiculously priced.  At least Pantry Magic had great quality at close to U.S. prices.

 



Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie w/ Blackberry Jam

clock March 23, 2011 00:59 by author Bald Turtle

I have two .5 kilo packages of dutch cocoa powder that were brought back from the U.S. about a year ago and I need to start using them.  It makes wicked hot chocolate by the way.  Anyway, I tried a recipe off of Food TV that combines a basic peanut butter cookie recipe with cocoa and then blackberry jam centers.  Wowsa.....  was good stuff.



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