Hot and Sour Egg Flower Soup

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everyone says i cook too much east asian food. i guess its true, but i never tire of it. i mean, there’s so much to discover. and this of course includes chinese food. these are adapted from martin yan recipes:

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sichuan spicy noodle salad

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macanese steak with mushrooms

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hot and sour egg flower soup

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hakka shrimp-stuffed eggplant with black bean sauce

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gum-lo wontons with seafood sweet and sour sauce

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fujian fried rice

here’s the recipe for the soup:

3 dried black mushrooms
1 dried wood ear mushroom
2 ounces dried bean thread noodles
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup carrot, sliced thinly
1/2 package medium tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch, drissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 green onion, sliced thinly

1. soak mushrooms with warm water until soft, about 20 minutes. drain and slice thinly.
2. soak noodles with warm water until soft, about 10 minutes. drain and cut into four-inch lengths.
3. bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan. stir in the mushrooms and carrot, simmering for about 2 minutes.
4. stir in the noodles, tofu, vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and sugar. simmer for about 2 minutes. pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the soup boils and thickens, about 1 minute. slowly pour in the egg, stirring the soup to create “egg flowers.”
5. ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with green onions.

A Long Weekend in New York

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i’ve been on east coast time for the past few days. i flew to new york city  towards last week for the occasion of the tanya morgan moonlighting release party at opus 22. upon my arrival on thursday, it took an hour to get to the hotel; by the time I got there around six in the evening i had about ten minutes to get ready before the big event. despite my extreme fatigue (by the time the party was over i’d been awake for 24 hours) and hunger (i never did get to eat a meal that day), i was thrilled that it was all a great success.

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monica came all the way from dc; von on the other hand calls brooklyn home sweet home.

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ilyas!

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von pea! (loves dilla!) together they plus donwill make up tanya morgan. duh.

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tim and dwine. both are california transplants to the east coast. both are super tall. both are well-rounded gentlemen.

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this is michelle the publicist and frank the graphic/web designer.

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tara was there too, which was fantastic because she’s fantastic.

after the party a whole bunch of us went to triple crown where i met ali shaheed muhammad. ordinarily i would have been super excited but i was so tired that all i could see was mirages of my hotel bed.

speaking of which, my hotel was an unpleasant experience to say the least. i never could catch up on sleep since every few minutes i’d hear a door loudly (and i mean LOUDLY) slam shut down the hallway or overhear the pseudo-party a few rooms down at four am. and our bathroom was about the size of a shoebox. the room itself wasn’t much bigger. and the staff was rude. i’ll stop before this turns into a hotel review.

our group spent friday exploring record shops and wandering the streets. the highlight of the day was a visit to the offices of scratch magazine. the lowlight of the day was my decision to order chicken soft tacos at a diner for lunch. mexican food in new york city – what was i thinking?

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at least i got to pose with dog the bounty hunter. hi melody.

saturday was a bit more eventful. despite the rain, we made a trip to the united nations after a disappointing faux vietnamese lunch. my main reason to visit was to purchase some iran flag keychains; the one i’d bought during my last trip had long fallen apart. it turned out the gift shop was out of keychains for nearly every country that begins with an “i.” i was heartbroken. stupid UN. thanks, kofi.

we got to pose with our favorite secretary generals, though. the UN had an exhibition of persian rugs featuring the likenesses of all the past secretary generals on display, courtesy of the iranian government. (the least they could do is carry their keychains in return.)

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me and u thant. how cool is his name?

from there we took the metro to brooklyn.
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grand central station. we saw two sets of newlyweds there.

brooklyn was fun but chilly. afterwards i went back to manhattan to meet dwine and his girlfriend for dinner. my tekka maki was the best meal i’d had since my arrival. afterwards tim and frank joined us at a coffeeshop for chess and hot mochas. then came the highlight of the day: our security-laden foray into the offices of hot 97. it was almost reminiscent of the time when i visited the state department.

for my last day in new york, i had gray’s papaya for lunch. i was surprisingly pleased with my humble hot dog and banana juice.

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mmm, new york.

i made a disappointing trip to canal street where i attempted to hunt down a pair of lacoste sneakers. even though i was unsuccessful, i did run into a dean and deluca on our way towards brooklyn. from there it was more record shopping and then a quick dinner and everyone parted their separate ways. i had to be up early the next morning to catch our flight back, 3:30 am to be exact.

it was a great trip and i was thrilled to finally meet so many people i’d heard all about and to catch up with ones i hadn’t seen in a while. that said, i’ve been more than a bit sleepy all week long.

Pickled Red Radishes

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i’m a little late on the persian new year wishes, but happy noruz nevertheless! i’ve been so busy this week that i’ve neglected my blog (again).

but i have been cooking:

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chilled udon noodle salad

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wakame and turkey potstickers

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tofu-stuffed shiitake mushrooms

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soy-simmered soybeans with vegetables

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picked red radishes

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chicken donburi

my weekend involved vietamese egg noodle soup, a spike lee movie, a number of bookstores, a whole lot of traffic, and a silly attempt at wardrobe modifications. i relished it all. after all, its not every week that i get to see the boy four days in a row.

Here’s the recipe for the radish pickles:

10-15 red radishes, trimmed
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 one-inch piece kombu (kelp) seaweed

1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and kombu in a small saucepan and let the kombu soak for at least 20 minutes. Place the pan over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Slowly bring to just below a boil and cook until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let the sauce cool in the pan.

2. In the meantime, slice each radish into quarters. Place the radish pieces in a bowl and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon salt. Allow the radishes to sit undisturbed for about five minutes. Gently toss and squeeze to wilt the radishes. Pour off any accumulated liquid and rinse the wilted radishes briefly under cold water to remove excess salt. Squeeze again.

3. Place the radishes in a glass jar and pour the cooled sauce over them, setting the kombu piece on top. Cover with plastic wrap and a tight-fitting lid. Let the radishes stand at least 30 minutes at room temperature and up to one day. After one day, refrigerate the radishes. The radishes will keep in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Spicy Chinese Eggplant

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while its been pouring buckets outside, i’ve been inside cooking. (well i’ve been outside too, but that’s another story.) the theme this time was chinese.

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shandong stir-fry soup noodles

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spicy eggplant

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sizzling singapore chili shrimp

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chinatown roast duck

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daikon with bean thread noodles

here’s the recipe for the eggplant:

1/3 cup chicken broth
1 T hoisin sauce
2 t soy sauce
2 t lemon juice
1 t plum sauce
4 chinese eggplants (1 lb)
vegetable oil
2 t minced garlic
1 t minced ginger
1/2 jalapeno chili, sliced into thin rings
basil leaves
sliced green onions

1. prepare the sauce: stir the chicken broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, and plum sauce in a bowl until blended.
2. cut the stems from the eggplants, then cut them lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces.
3. pour enough oil into a large saucepan to come to a depth of 2 inches. heat over medium-high heat and deep-fry the eggplant until tender. remove and drain on paper towels.
4. heat a wok over high heat until hot. add 1 tablespoon of oil and the garlic, ginger, and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 20 seconds. add the sauce and bring to a simmer.
5. add the eggplant and stir to coat. scoop onto a serving platter and garnish with basil leaves and green onions.

Sweet Potato Simmered with Kelp

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sunday evenings are always a bit naaraahat konandeh because they signal the end of yet another fantastic weekend. this time around the boy and i made up for not being able to spend valentine’s day together. (i know its a commercialized holiday and all, so i guess its not so bad that we still haven’t been able to spend one together.)

but i’m still trying to play blog catch-up, so i’ll make sure to write about my last two weekends in my next entry. for now i’ll make do with the japanese food i’ve been cooking as of late:

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burdock root and fried tofu soup

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chilled sesame-miso noodle salad

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octopus salad with radish sprouts

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toasted rice and salmon flakes in green tea broth

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sweet and sour lotus root

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sweet potato simmered with kelp

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soy-stewed beef

Here’s the recipe for the sweet potatoes:

Ingredients:

20 square inch pieces kombu (kelp)
1 sweet potato, cut into one-inch chunks with skin intact.
4 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup loosely packet katsuo-bushi
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablesoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin

1.  Place the kombu in a pot with the water. Let soak for 15 minutes, then place over medium heat. Remove the pot from the heat as soon as small bubbles begin to break the surface. Add the katsuo-bushi, scattering the flakes across the surface of the water. After 5 minutes, strain the broth with a fine sieve. Reserve the kombu pieces and slice into thin strips.

2. Place the potato chunks and kombu in a pot with the reserved stock and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes and kombu are tender. Add the sugar, soy sauce, and mirin, distributing evenly. Simmer for five more minutes and then remove the pot from the stove.

3. Allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature in whatever cooking liquid remains in the pot, and serve.