November 30, 2011 by MaryAnne
This was originally going to be my ode to caldo xochitl, the soup I first had in a tiny little cafe in San Cristobal de las Casas about 3 years ago. I should note that thereafter, I had it again in a few dozen more cafes in Mexico and then again in Nicaragua. It revolutionized the concept of chicken noodle soup for me.
Some versions of it had vermicelli in them, others had pieces of leftover boiled potato. Some were spicier, with wrinkly chipotle peppers to be found floating lopsidedly in the broth. Some were very delicately flavoured. Some had shredded chicken while others sliced it. Some were vegetarian, focusing on starchy squares of orange and yellow gourds. The thing that remained constant was that you added fresh, raw ingredients at the end: minced chilies, pieces of avocado, freshly squeezed lime juice, salsa fresca, vinegared onion, cilantro. It made for a wonderful contrast.
We have been making this at home here in Shanghai since we arrived- it’s super fast to throw together after a long day in the educational salt mines and it’s great for using up leftovers: a bit of spud here, some chicken there, a quarter of an onion, a fistful of cilantro, etc.
Unfortunately, that’s not what this post turned into. (more…)
Category Soupy Stewy Things, Spicy Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Autumn,crock pot,OMFG Yum,Pasta,soup | 6 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
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