- Hershey kisses vs an upscale Champagne kiss by Jacques Torres
- David Lebovitz recently took a chocolate making class at Valrhona. Yes, I am very envious.
- baking masterclass by Dan Lepard – cookie and biscuits baking tips
- Heston Blumenthal set to open first London restaurant?
- Food writer and cookbook author Fuchsia Dunlop and Bar Shu owner Shao Wei open new London restaurant Ba Shan, which serves a mix of Xi’an and Sichuan cuisine.
- Serious Eats posted photos of seriously creepy looking dried skate rays called Jenny Hanivers. Don’t click on it if visuals haunt you in your dreams. I can’t believe people actually make them look like that!
- Bacon won So Good’s Meat Madness (click on the link to see the completed bracket chart and percentage breakdown). I wonder if bacon would have still won if the news about the swine flu had broken before the end of the competition? The misconception about how you can catch it is hurting pork product sales.
- It has been confirmed that the rumours are true; the next season of Top Chef will be filmed in Las Vegas. Too bad filming will be done before my trip there! It would have been fun to catch a glimpse of them running around.
- And speaking of Top Chef, here’s a “Where are they now” article on past cheftestants (from last year so no idea if it’s outdated).
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.
The second recipe that I tried from Fuchsia Dunlop‘s Land of Plenty, was a green bean dish. This doesn’t necessarily have any specific meaning for Chinese New Year, but I thought it would be an interesting one to try. The fresh green beans at the grocery store were unfortunately in horrible shape, and I had been so frustrated by the crowd at T&T on Friday that I didn’t end up buying any vegetables from there, so instead I ended up using some frozen green and yellow bean mix that I had lurking in my freezer.
The taste was much lighter and cleaner than the lettuce, and I think I preferred this dish over the previous one. I did screw up a couple of times on this simple recipe. Unfortunately my knife skills suck (I probably need to take a cooking class at NAIT), and I did not slice the ginger finely enough. I also really overdid it with the amount of ginger. Whoops. I think if you wanted to, you probably could even reduce the amount of ginger listed in the recipe as the raw ginger taste is pretty strong.
One change I made to the recipe was that I doubled the amount of vinegar so that all the beans were nicely coated and had a bit of tang to them. I would also recommend making the sauce a little earlier and letting the ginger soak in the liquid for a little bit, so I moved the order of the directions. Continue reading
For Chinese New Year, there are a number of traditional foods that you are supposed to eat to ensure prosperity, good fortune and wealth for the coming year. These include items such as fish, oranges and chicken.
This is the first year I have volunteered to contribute to the meal, and I decided to test two recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop‘s Land of Plenty, a Sichuanese cook book. The first was a lettuce dish; the Cantonese word for lettuce sounds close to “rising luck and fortune.”
I couldn’t find my sesame seeds… and I was lazy and dumped everything into a bowl, then went ahead and mixed the sauce and lettuce. Tasted fine, but made for a lousy photo! A really, really lousy photo. This would be a good dish for someone who loves the taste of sesame. I found it a little rich for my taste however, and would probably use less sauce on my lettuce if I made it again. The second recipe will be in my next post.
Intereesting article by Fuchsia Dunlop in The New Yorker.
Garden of Contentment
In a toxic era, a Hangzhou restaurant pursues purity.