If you’ve ever been to a real Chinese market, have a Chinatown near you, or hell… If you’ve been to China you’ve seen and hopefully tasted Siu Mei in all of its barbecued, glistening glory. It’s a take-out tradition that goes back to Guangzhou in the days when every neighbourhood had a local “oven master” that would roast various animals in special sauce to perfection and sell them to their neighbours to eat with a bit of rice and pickles. (more…)
I just realized our kitchen calendar was still on August and flipped it over, revealing the stereotypical picture of golden hued oak trees and a dilapidated barn that always accompanies September. Ugh… Here on the Westcoast September would be more accurately represented by a grey sheet of rain.
Yep, autumn has come just like it always does; like a switch is flipped, the sun just surrenders and the rains begin like the final act of Seven Samurai… And as usual most of my friends, family and co-workers are getting sick.
So the calendar goes back up on the wall, I fire up a big pot on the stove and pull one of my secret weapons against autumn depression from the freezer: Master Stock! I know it sounds like Master Chief’s little brother or a particularly corny GI Joe villain, but it’s not. It’s a broth made from simmering a whole chicken with Asian aromatics and then, over the course of many uses and multiple chickens it condenses into a powerful, gelatinous flavour bomb for use in soups, stews and sauces.
This BBQ Sauce is as close to an original recipe as I’ve ever come up with. I know, nothing is new and every recipe has already been thought of by someone, but I take some pride piecing this frankensauce concept together. It’s a traditional American backyard BBQ sauce at heart (with a built-in balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty that I learned from Nick at Memphis Blues BBQ House) with summer blackberry sweet-tartness as it’s body and the brain of a Chinese fire-roasted duck. It’s just thing to slather all over fatty pork ribs. (more…)
Out in the garden my snap peas have exploded into four feet tall bushes packed with little bundles of yum. The local deer have really taken a liking to them, so I’ve had to fence off that part of the garden again and again as the kraken-like tendrils reach up ever-higher. The delicate, curly little tentacles can be snipped off 2-3 inches from the top of the plant and cooked or even eaten raw. These are sometimes confused with “pea shoots”, of which I also happen to have quite a harvest of. (more…)
My wife and I have spent much of our twelve years together moving from place to place. As nomads, who frequently spend little actual time together (due to me being a cook and her being a normal person, or “normie” as us cooks call ‘em) our most cherished moments are those weekly rituals designed to bring families together. Things like shopping, dog-walking, Netflicks binging, and dining. Of special importance are the evenings we dedicate to “eating out”. We jump in the car, speed off and spend a couple hours eating at “our place”.
At every way-station we have called home, “our place” has been a Chinese restaurant. If you’ve read my love letter to My Chinatown you probably know that the breakthrough food moment of my life was eating Chinese food with Crystal soon after we met. In Toronto we had the House of Gourmet, in Van. we had the (now sadly defunct) Wonton House, and in Campbell River we now spend countless evenings fighting chopstick duels for the last dumpling at Beijing House. (more…)