People ask me, “Why would you live in Queens and not the city (Manhattan)?” I always say, “Culture, culture, culture!” Okay, it’s more like, “Food, food, food!” I enjoy having easy access to a wide variety of international cuisines and flavors. You can have whatever your stomach heart desires in Queens! Tuclingo Deli is a great example of why I love Queens so much.Share on Facebook
I remember as a kid that raw salted duck eggs were relatively easy to get; one would simply go to the Chinese market and purchase them. Now, the only way to have raw salted duck eggs is to make them yourself. Uncooked salted duck eggs are no longer available for sale at the Chinese market because the FDA banned the import of raw salted duck eggs a few years ago. All you will find are BOILED salted duck eggs and not raw/uncooked ones. <Le big sigh of frustration!> If your recipe calls for one, you have to plan ahead and do it yourself because there’s no market ready alternative available.
This is the reason why I have a baker’s dozen worth of duck eggs brining in my kitchen right now. Have a peek:Share on Facebook
We celebrated Father’s Day on Saturday instead of Sunday because I had to drive back to New York early Sunday morning. It was a simple, uncomplicated dinner at home that had the special addition of a Cantonese fried chicken (“gha gee gai“) purchased from Good Fortune restaurant in Wheaton, MD. It may not have been an economical move to purchase something from a restaurant but it was practical. Who wants to handle a detailed recipe that includes roasting and frying in their kitchen at home when it’s a humid, muggy day? (Anyone who says yes either has a tricked out kitchen or is a glutton for punishment.)
With absolutely no fanfare but lots of love for my folks, I present to you a snapshot of our dinner. Please note that this photo is a good representation of our family’s practical nature. My parents value function over unnecessary fussiness. Ma and Ba keep it real. (In the spirit of keeping it real, I edited the photo with the hideous yellow bar on top as an attempt to virtually tidy up the table. FAIL! Must.try.harder.next.time!) UPDATE 07/22/10: Guess who is learning how to Photoshop on her own? YUP!
It was a great dinner, with only one minor flaw. The Cantonese fried chicken was somewhat overcooked which resulted in dry meat. A properly done Cantonese fried chicken has a crispy crackling skin on top of moist, juicy meat flavored with slight hint of salt and five spice powder. The fat should be rendered out from the chicken to the point where you are only left with the contrast of crunchy skin and succulent meat. Even those this bird was not ideal, it was still tasty once doctored up with some lemon juice and dry fried pepper-salt mix or “wah yeem“.
The catsup shrimp is my dad’s invention. It’s just shrimp stir fried in a sauce of catsup, Lee & Perrins Worcestershire, sauce, garlic, onions, sugar and some broth. Everything is done by taste and not by measuring cups but I’ll break it down for you one day soon. The meal was rounded out by a simple pan fried steak seasoned with salt and pepper along with a side of steamed broccoli tossed in butter and salt.
The best part of the meal? The whole family was eating together. Hope you had a good Father’s Day!Share on Facebook
(Yea, you read that right. Kosher Coke. Don’t worry, my ancestors already spun in their grave once when I missed “Ching Ming” this year. They’re not going to be too pleased when they find out I am calling this “Lo sui gai toong Coca Cola-ah“. Oh well.)
So this isn’t a recipe, just more of a story. Sometimes I don’t plan anything for dinner, I just make do with whatever happens to be lurking in my fridge. Necessity is the mother of all invention, right? Um, not really. “Joyce needs to clean out her fridge” was the mother behind this dish. Sometimes, I try my best to clear out the fridge and have it organized get rid of stuff that’s been there for a while. Y’all know what I’m talking about!
I had a whole chicken in my freezer from Whole Foods. This chicken was from when I purchased several during a $0.99/lb sale on natural, air chilled birds. (My Ma didn’t raise no fool. I’m all about the sale.) Normally, I would roast them in the oven but it’s summertime and I didn’t want to use the oven in this heat and humidity. I live in a pre-war building with no central A/C and it gets HOT in my kitchen during the summertime without the oven on. You can just imagine what sort of inferno is created in my kitchen when the oven’s turned up during the summer months. That’s why I decided to poach the chicken in a Chinese master sauce (“lo sui“).
Well, that’s not the real reason.
Truth is that I wanted to find a way to use up the 1 liter bottle of Kosher for Passover Coke (KFP Coke) sitting in my fridge. I don’t drink much soda so that’s why I had 3/4 of the bottle left in my fridge. I hate wasting food so I wanted to come up with a way to use the leftover flat soda. Then I remembered the lovely Nigella Lawson has a great recipe that used Coke. This got me to thinking that maybe, just maybe, Coke would work with the master sauce I had on hand. So I decided to poach the chicken with the master sauce and Coke mixed together as the poaching liquid.
BOOM! All of the sudden thunder rumbled, the heavens went dark and the spirits of my ancestors swooped in on a lighting bolt and cursed me for being a stupid American-born Chinese “jook-sing“.
I kid. (But I paused for just a moment because I did miss “Ching Ming” so you never know.)
I should explain why this Chinese woman has KFP Coke in her fridge. I don’t like to drink or eat anything that has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the list of ingredients because I think it’s not good for my health. That’s why I only drink Coke when it is specifically made for Passover. KFP Coke is made with sugar and not HFCS so those observing Passover can drink it. I’m not a complete health nut but I try to do what I can for my health. Try as in running six miles a day so that I can justify my habit of eating butter-sugar sandwiches once in a while. (Don’t laugh. Butter-sugar sandwiches are YUM!) By the way, KFP Coke also tastes better, too!
Alright, so that’s the back story for now. Stay tuned for pictures!Share on Facebook