Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Chu Hou Beef Noodle Soup

This is a favorite of mine at my local noodle and dim sum shop. It's also pretty straightforward to make- the recipe is more or less identical to the Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup I described earlier  (, with the addition of oyster sauce and  Chu Hou sauce- a prepared condiment rich in soybeans, garlic, ginger, and sesame.  It's particularly welcome on cold winter nights.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Riga Gold Sprats

I love canned seafood of all sorts, and one of my favorites is canned sprats. But finding the right sprats is difficult. There are several brands out there, and most groceries don't carry any of them. Adro, the importer or packer of the can seen above, has at least two different varieties in similar tins.

Thanks to Amazon, I found a good supply- as well as the right sprats. The best I've found are these: Adro Riga Smoked Sprats, from Latvia. Small, lightly smoked, with excellent flavor. The UPS man just brought me a box of 12 tins.

Turkey Pot Pie

Unlike some, I don't think of turkey leftovers as a problem. I love turkey, and Thanksgiving is an excuse to make more turkey dishes- like this one. The filling is onion, carrots, and peas that have been cooked in stock that's then thickened with flour and had leftover turkey added to it. You can use leftover gravy here, too.

Many think piecrust is difficult, but it's really very simple. Start with the following ratio:

3 parts flour
2 parts fat
1 part liquid

The flour can be any wheat flour- I use general-purpose unbleached flour. The fat can be butter, lard, suet, of vegetable shortening. Mix the flour and fat (which should be cold) in your food processor, and drizzle in the water just until it comes together into a ball- don't overwork it. Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator to chill for half an hour or more.

Put the filling in a baking dish, roll out  the dough to 1/8", cover the pie, trim, and bake at 350-375 until hot, brown, and bubbly.

Perfect Turkey

A week before Thanksgiving I happened to hear the owner of D'Artagnan foods being interviewed on NPR about his organic turkeys. He suggested a way of cooking them that involved first simmering in a rich broth, and then roasting. His recipe involved the concentrated duck glacé his company sells; mine used turkey stock made previously, but you could also use chicken or even vegetable or pork stock.

You'll need a stockpot big enough to hold your turkey; I used a 24 quart pot originally purchased to use as a steamer that was big enough for the 18lb bird I was preparing. You'll also need enough stock, or stock and water, to submerge the bird.

Begin by heating your stock to boiling. Immerse the bird. The stock will stop boiling, which is what you want. Keep it at a simmer, below boiling, for 30 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the bird cool in the stock- up to four hours. Drain, reserving the stock, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat your oven to 475. Optionally, rub the turkey all over with butter or duck fat. An hour or two before you plan to eat, place the turkey in the oven in a roasting pan. After 30 minutes turn off the heat but leave the turkey in the oven. By the time you're ready to eat it'll look like the bird above and be ready to carve. You can reduce the stock- you'll have a lot- and use it to make gravy and stuffing.