Plans for Thanksgiving 2013

I know I haven’t blogged in forever. First reason: my new studio apartment has poor lighting. I barely have any natural lighting. Second reason: my apartment isn’t accommodating for house parties. Third reason: My job is my life.

I haven’t been hosting any parties since August and the first potential opportunity would be Thanksgiving. Since I cannot host in my tiny apartment, my boss is allowing me to use the restaurant space! That’s super awesome because I’ll be using industry cooking-ware, etc…

This is what I have so far:

Butternut Ginger Soup with Pistachio
1st Course

Citrus Marinaded Quail with Parsnip Purée, Arugula,
Pea Leaves Salad, and Satsuma
2nd Course

Risotto with Shrimp & Sea Beans
3rd Course

Duck with Seared Bok Choy, Wheatberries with
Maitake Mushroom, Blueberry Reduction
4th Course

Apple and Lemon Tarts
5th Course

Seared Shrimp with Savory Coconut Risotto

I loved the savory coconut risotto that I did during my New Year’s Day Dinner so much!!! It hasn’t even been that long yet and I’m craving for it again! When I was in bed, writing my ingredients list, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go the lump crab meat + mango or shrimp + pineapple set. Ultimately, I love eating shrimp. It’s one of my staple foods.

At Whole Foods, I bought mango but I completely forgot about it. Damn.

DSCN1662b

[100% organic, gulf shrimp]

For the Coconut Risotto recipe, click here.

Plans for Thanksgiving 2012

I was scheduled to work this year on Thanksgiving but it got canceled. Yay! But that didn’t give me that much time to think and plan my Thanksgiving menu this year!

This is what I have so far:

Persimmon Carpaccio with Prosciutto & Fennel Radish Salad
1st Course

Seared Tuna over a Bed of Cucumber with Pickled Peanuts
2nd Course

Seared Duck Breast & Braised Leg over a Potato Herb Salad with a Blueberry Sage Sauce
3rd Course

Ginger Panna Cotta with Black Sesame Gelée with Blueberry Compote
4th Course

Thanksgiving 2011

I’m going to Los Angeles again for Thanksgiving. And this time, my Uncle and Aunt requested for me to cook. Actually, they’re just leaving everything up to me. Thank goodness I don’t need to cook the turkey, they already pre-ordered that from a restaurant. Oh boy, I know it’s going to be a tiring day. At least I’ll have my brother and two of my cousins to help me.

My Thanksgiving 2011 lunch:

My Thanksgiving 2011 dinner:

Change in Food Perception

Before coming to culinary school, I considered myself to be an “experienced” foodie, to the point of becoming snobbish, among my circle of friends. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, right? I just have higher expectations to how my food should come out of the kitchen and served in front of me. Aren’t all foodies a little snobbish? I know how most dishes were supposed to taste, to look, to smell, to feel, and to sound by appealing to our five senses. You’re probably thinking about the “sound” sense – have you had Chinese sizzling platters (铁板烧) or Teppanyaki? They are supposed to be sizzling when served to you; that same sound every time Hell’s Kitchen goes to commercial break.

I’ve been in school for a month and I noticed that my food perceptions have changed whenever I dine in. I really nitpick at everything on my plate – from the presentation to all the elements on the plate or bowl. Does everything on the plate have a purpose? Do all the ingredients complement each other? My instructor, Chef Phil, says to really test a restaurant’s chefs are to order a salad dish and a fish entrée.

For salads, we learned that there are three types – simple, mixed, and composed. A Caesar Salad is a simple salad – one main ingredient that is dressed simply in a dressing. A mixed salad has several ingredients and they are seasoned together, e.g. Macédoine de Légumes (Cooked Vegetable Salad). A composed salad has a mixture of several ingredients seasoned separately and then presented together on one plate. The classical French Salade Niçoise is such an example of a composed salad. When preparing the salad, the salad greens should be healthy, dry, and not be bruised. For the dressing, too many elements can cause it to become overpowering and it may cancel out flavors in the salad. It is important to select ingredients in the salad greens and in the dressing to complement each other. The flavor of the main salad ingredient should be enhanced by the salad dressing, not masked by the dressing.

I had lunch at a well-known hotel in Midtown last week and I had a Manhattan clam chowder soup, a beet and goat cheese salad, and a ham and swiss sandwich on ciabatta bread. I ordered the beet and goat cheese salad because we had already made it in class so I knew how it was supposed to taste/look/smell/feel. If I had made the salad, I wouldn’t have drowned it in dressing. In school, we learned to take a spoonful and slide it around the edge of a stainless mixing bowl and then toss it with the salad greens. The beets were not tender in the center so that told me that it should have been cooked in the oven a little longer. Also, I would have liked the vinaigrette to be a little less acidic. The sharp tang wasn’t too pleasing. However, I did enjoy the clam chowder and sandwich.

100 Chinese Foods to Try Before You Die

I love doing these online quizzes when I’m bored. This list was inspired by The Omnivore’s Hundred.

Let’s see how I do as an ethinic Chinese person.

  1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions
  2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten
  3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating

100 Chinese Foods to Try Before You Die

  1. Almond milk
  2. Ants Climbing a Tree (poetic, not literal, name)
  3. Asian pear
  4. Baby bok choy
  5. Baijiu
  6. Beef brisket
  7. Beggar’s Chicken
  8. Bingtang hulu (冰糖葫芦)
  9. Bitter melon
  10. Bubble tea
  11. Buddha’s Delight
  12. Cantonese roast duck
  13. Century egg, or thousand-year egg
  14. Cha siu (Cantonese roast pork)
  15. Char kway teow
  16. Chicken feet
  17. Chinese sausage
  18. Chow mein
  19. Chrysanthemum tea
  20. Claypot rice
  21. Congee
  22. Conpoy (dried scallops)
  23. Crab rangoon
  24. Dan Dan noodles
  25. Dragonfruit
  26. Dragon’s Beard candy
  27. Dried cuttlefish
  28. Drunken chicken
  29. Dry-fried green beans
  30. Egg drop soup
  31. Egg rolls
  32. Egg tart, Cantonese or Macanese
  33. Fresh bamboo shoots
  34. Fortune cookies
  35. Fried milk
  36. Fried rice
  37. Gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
  38. General Tso’s Chicken
  39. Gobi Manchurian
  40. Goji berries (Chinese wolfberries)
  41. Grass jelly
  42. Hainan chicken rice
  43. Hand-pulled noodles
  44. Har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings in translucent wrappers)
  45. Haw flakes
  46. Hibiscus tea
  47. Hong Kong-style Milk Tea
  48. Hot and sour soup
  49. Hot Coca-Cola with Ginger
  50. Hot Pot
  51. Iron Goddess tea (Tieguanyin)
  52. Jellyfish
  53. Kosher Chinese food
  54. Kung Pao Chicken
  55. Lamb skewers (yangrou chua’r)
  56. Lion’s Head meatballs
  57. Lomo Saltado
  58. Longan fruit
  59. Lychee
  60. Macaroni in soup with Spam
  61. Malatang
  62. Mantou, especially if fried and dipped in sweetened condensed milk
  63. Mapo Tofu
  64. Mock meat
  65. Mooncake (bonus points for the snow-skin variety)
  66. Nor mai gai (chicken and sticky rice in lotus leaf)
  67. Pan-fried jiaozi
  68. Peking duck
  69. Pineapple bun
  70. Prawn crackers
  71. Pu’er tea
  72. Rambutan
  73. Red bean in dessert form
  74. Red bayberry
  75. Red cooked pork
  76. Roast pigeon
  77. Rose tea
  78. Roujiamo
  79. Scallion pancake
  80. Shaved ice dessert
  81. Sesame chicken
  82. Sichuan pepper in any dish
  83. Sichuan preserved vegetable (zhacai)
  84. Silken tofu
  85. Soy milk, freshly made
  86. Steamed egg custard
  87. Stinky tofu
  88. Sugar cane juice
  89. Sweet and sour pork, chicken, or shrimp
  90. Taro
  91. Tea eggs
  92. Tea-smoked duck
  93. Turnip cake (law bok gau)
  94. Twice-cooked pork
  95. Water chestnut cake (mati gau)
  96. Wonton noodle soup
  97. Wood ear
  98. Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings)
  99. Yuanyang (half coffee, half tea, Hong Kong style)
  100. Yunnan goat cheese

So out of 100, I would never eat one thing and I haven’t had 3 things.

From Appetite for China.