Momofuku cookbook – fresh oysters and pickled Asian pears

Gong hay fat choy! Happy Chinese New Year! And happy Valentine’s Day to you as well! I’ve got a special treat for you today as a present from me to you, with help from Valerie and Beavie over at A Canadian Foodie. When Valerie found out that I got a copy of the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan for Christmas, she had a great idea for us to pick out recipes and do them at the same time in order to compare our experiences.

Momofuku cookbook

Momofuku cookbook

A quick flip through the cookbook told me one thing – David Chang doesn’t do simple recipes. At first glance they may seem simple but this initial impression is deceptive as most of his main recipes comprise of 2+ recipes combined together. Some of them can take days.

I had first choice, and I wanted to start with something simple, so I picked fresh oysters with a pickled Asian pear and black pepper mignonette.

The book has a fairly detailed section on how to choose, clean and open fresh oysters (pages 131-133). I was already familiar with most of these rules, but I thought one rule was a great reminder for myself: smell the oyster before you serve it and see if it smells clean and fresh and sweet – of the sea but not fishy.

I chose some lovely (but small) Malpeque oysters from Prince Edward Island. I gave them a good scrub under cold water, and kept them in the fridge until I was ready to shuck them.

Freshly scrubbed oysters

Freshly scrubbed oysters

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From Postsecret

Sorry - Postsecret

Sorry - Postsecret

And no, this isn’t one I sent in myself.

News and links

My last Vegas post is taking a while to write. So to tide you over, here’s some news and links.

Okay I lied, one more thing. I feel the need to complain about Food Network Canada‘s website and advertising. We all know the new fall season of tv shows are coming. They’ve even been advertising them in their commercials, but did you notice that they don’t give any dates? And they don’t have a feature on their website saying when shows start either. When I asked their Twitter account about it, I got back a reply that I should look at their daily schedule. And then they offered to tell me personally if there were specific ones I wanted to know about. Great for me, but sucks for everyone else wondering about what’s going on. Did you know that Top Chef 6 starts on Sept 7? Well I didn’t either, until I scoured the schedule.

Also, I got tired waiting to find out if they were going to broadcast Top Chef Masters, so I recently started watching it online. Am half way through the episodes, and loving it.

Fun Friday

Isabelle, from the Little Red Kitchen, has a series on CBC Radio where she reviews various cookbooks. You can listen to past reviews here.

Great book deals

For the past two days I’ve been at the University of Alberta taking a 3-day course. And this means I’ve had easy access to one of my favourite places in the city, The Book Cellar in HUB Mall. This store is the U of A’s book remainder store and they have a surprisingly large selection of children’s books, non-fiction and fiction. And food-related books.

(Remainders, by the way, are those never-been-read books that publishers have sold to bookstores for dirt cheap because they’re older books and they’re taking up valuable warehouse space. Those “bargain books” with the red and white price tags, sitting in the front section of the Chapters/Coles/Indigo store? All remainders and almost pure profit. You’d be shocked at the profit margin.)

l bought a lot of books. So many that the cashier gave me an extra 25% off my purchase. It’s probably a good thing for my wallet that I don’t go there very often. I hope I didn’t giggle in glee too loudly while I was immersed in the stacks. Some of these were books that I had on my to-buy list already and I saved a nice amount by picking up these copies instead.

So which food books did I get? Everything was in hardcover, prices not including the extra discount:
Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop – $7.99
My Grandmother’s Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Lo – $7.99
The Seventh Daughter by Cecilia Chiang – $7.99
My Life in France by Julia Child – $5.99
Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch – $5.99

They also had a Charlie Trotter cookbook that I looked over, but I decided that it was probably something I’d never cook from and that I had already picked up too many books.

Let’s see if I can resist going back there tomorrow during our class break.

Side note: while I was typing this out, Alton Brown made candied ginger, ginger cookies and ginger ale. Mmmm. Too bad it was only on my TV and not in my kitchen.

Trying new old recipes and tuna casseroles

My title will make sense, I promise. Just keep reading. 🙂

This post actually has two purposes; the first is a link to Michigan State University’s Feeding America historical cookbook project. It’s a fascinating site where they are posting online versions of American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. They even have a special section for “ethnic” cookbooks, which include some old Creole cookbooks, and a Chinese/Japanese cookbook from 1914. When I have more time I think I’ll have a look at some of the cookbooks posted there and see if there’s anything that I’d like to make.

Now to the second part of my blog entry. Most food bloggers I’ve seen, when trying new recipes, are either searching for the tastes of their childhood and trying to replicate familiar foods, or experimenting with something exotic that they find exciting and new. Continue reading