May 17, 2012 by MaryAnne
This is Part 1 in a series on Lanzhou noodles. Part 2 (the broth) is here.
This one has been a long time coming. Seriously. This dish is quite possibly the one thing we have eaten the most of in China. At 6rmb a bowl (like, 80 cents, maybe) and incredibly delicious, it’s hard to beat.
I was introduced to Lanzhou lāmiàn on my second day in the country, still jet lagged and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.
February in Shanghai, 2009; cold, grey, grim, absurdly smoggy, rainy.
I was flat hunting with Elaine, the admin assistant from my then new job, and I kept getting shown flats that were dishearteningly dreadful and embarrassingly over-priced (the laowai effect, I presume).
Elaine took me to lunch at a tiny Lanzhou noodle place just up the street from the flat I would eventually take (and then get booted out of 3 months later when the landlord suddenly decided he was itching to sell). She ordered me a bowl of piping hot 牛肉 拉面(niúròu lāmiàn), or beef pulled noodles. (more…)
Category Made in Jianada, Pasta Things, Soupy Stewy Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Canada,Chinese,noodle,OMFG Yum | 7 Comments
November 22, 2011 by MaryAnne
One of the unexpected things I’ve learned over the years of living in inconvenient places and having to improvise ways of making the comfort foods of my homeland is that the home made version is so much better than the store-bought version whose absence I had grown to fetishize.
Things like a simple chicken noodle soup- I have a feeling I’ll never be able to go back to Campbell’s or Lipton now that I’ve been making my own for several years now. Hell, I even make my own noodles.
And pierogies, my old lazy adolescent stand-by? A half dozen frozen pierogies hauled out of the freezer, boiled for a few minutes and served with plain yogurt- a broke university student’s dinner of champions.
And now I’ve gone and destroyed that easy option. Why? Because home made pierogies are a hundred million bazillion times better than those frozen things. I just can’t go back. It’s a little bit heart breaking. (more…)
Category Pasta Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Autumn,frying,garlic,Lady Dough,Pasta,pierogies,wok | 11 Comments
November 13, 2011 by MaryAnne
I’m starting to think this blog should be renamed, “Watch me make flatbreads! That’s all! Kthnxbye!”
Although I’ve been busy cooking all sorts of other lovely things for our meals (remind me to tell you all about that spicy chicken noodle soup with the 2 heads of garlic some day), what has been weighing heavily on my mind has been an obsession with seeing how many different noodle dough recipes can be successfully re-jigged as unleavened flatbread dough.
I know, other people have more sensible hobbies like philately and methamphetamines but, really, I’ve got a thing for dough. Particularly multi-purpose dough. I want to mess with the noodle dough’s head until it has no doubt that it was ever anything but a chapati. Like Gaslighting but for flour products. I’m a bit sadistic that way, I guess. (more…)
Category Improbable Things, Pasta Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Buckwheat,Chapati,Flatbread,OMFG Yum,wok,Yogurt | 7 Comments
October 12, 2011 by MaryAnne
I’m in the middle of a personal dilemma of sorts this week. I’ve been feeling extraordinarily exhausted and unmotivated, craving hibernation and inactivity and solitude as much as possible. However, my inner cheerleader (damn her!) has been trying her best to get me out of bed, out of the flat, doing something, anything.
I kind of hate her.
One of the results of this has been an awful lot of cooking going on. Elaborate, multi-part recipes that take up most of the afternoon. Heavy, fragrant autumnal dishes that leave me feeling even more lazy and tired and unmotivated after eating them.
But so very, very yummy.
I’ll be extraordinarily fat by the time winter rolls around, at this rate.
This morning Doug asked me if we could do pesto pasta with chicken for dinner. I said sure. No problem.
Now, if I was sane I’d probably pop down to the import shop and buy a little jar of pesto and a box of pasta and a packet of chicken bosoms. Prep time would be, um, maybe twenty minutes, including the time it takes to bring the water to a boil.
Did I do that?
Let me show you what I did, and after you see what I did, I want you to imagine how insanely tired I feel now. (more…)
Category Improbable Things, Pasta Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Cheese,Gnocchi,OMFG Yum,Pesto,wok | 7 Comments
October 10, 2011 by MaryAnne
My unemployment is showing. I haven’t done a lick of work since the end of September. I’ve kept myself occupied with bursts of scone-baking (using the leftover whey from the ricotta cake topping from last week), minestrone-cooking, tortilla-wokking and waaaay too much reading.
Indeed, I’ve been very busy.
Very busy lying in bed, drinking coffee, and telling myself that I really ought to get my act together and do something productive for once.
So I have, briefly. I’ve made something new.
Or rather, something really quite old. Today’s recipe comes from, seriously, a 14th century cookbook called Kitab al-Tibakh (aka كتاب الطبيخ or Book of Dishes), which I was happily able to easily translate as the Turkish words are pretty much the same, though with different grammar linking them- kitap (book)+tabak (dish)). What we have here are (apparently) the world’s oldest recorded pasta shapes. They’re shaped like coins, by hand, squashed between your fingers. No need for a pasta maker or even a knife. I find that very exciting. (more…)
Category Improbable Things, Pasta Things, Spicy Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Beef,Middle Eastern,OMFG Yum,Pasta,wok,Yogurt | 8 Comments
September 3, 2011 by MaryAnne
Let’s start with the ricotta.
Estimated prep time: However long it takes you to juice a lemon, pour 4 cups of milk into a saucepan and heat it a bit, pour in the lemon juice, wait 5 minutes, pour the lemony milk into strainer and then wait 1-2 hours for it to drain. So let’s say a total of 2 hours and ten minutes, with about 15 minutes being active. The rest is low-key coffee drinking time.
In Shanghai, it is actually possible to buy cheese. Not everywhere, mind you, and with very variable options. In most shops in non-laowai neighbourhoods, you’ll generally just find the Chinese equivalent of Kraft Singles. At City Shop, a Hong Kong based grocery chain where the foreigners push their trolleys down aisles full of expensive, imported non-melamine dairy products, German muesli, Mexican salsa and French chocolate, a tiny, tiny 150g pot of dubious ricotta (when in stock, which it wasn’t) costs about 50 rmb (about US$8), which is totally absurd. So I decided to make my own. (more…)
Category Milky Cheesy Things, Pasta Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Cheese,OMFG Yum,Pasta,Ravioli,Ricotta,wok | 8 Comments