Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hot pot a lesson in Chinese cuisine

Before heading off to Idaho for a traditional Thanksgiving feast with Bryan's family, we got together with my side of the family for something a little more Seattle: Chinese hot pot.

This was the plate of goodness that greeted us when we arrived at my aunt and uncle's house.

There was thinly sliced beef, lamb and pork, enoki and shiitake mushrooms, jumbo prawns, jumbo oysters, filled fish balls and geoduck. Each was cut to the perfect size to cook quickly in the broth at right, which was flavored with daikon and green onions.

But that's not to say this was a quick meal, like your typical Thanksgiving is. Which brings to mind a quote by Ted Allen:
The funny thing about Thanksgiving, or any huge meal, is that you spend 12 hours shopping for it and then chopping and cooking and braising and blanching. Then it takes 20 minutes to eat it and everybody sort of sits around in a food coma, and then it takes four hours to clean it up. 
Hot pot, too, takes plenty of time to prepare, but it also takes time to eat since everyone prepares their own food one or two bites at a time in the simmering broth. Instead of eating in a frenzy, we had the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy the food and catch up on each other's lives ... and make a little more room for just one more fish ball or a few more mushrooms!

It definitely helped that we each had our own flavorful sauce to spice up each bite. At first, my sauce, shown at left, was a combination of sweet soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil. I was skeptical of the raw egg my cousins were adding to their sauces until I tried Bryan's, and it was so delicious I added a raw egg to mine, too.

Later, we added leafy veggies and udon to the pot and let them simmer, rounding out our protein-heavy meal.

Thanks a bunch to Burly, Sandy, Rosenna and Ruth for inviting us over for this delicious meal!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Anchovy pasta is delicious at midnight and anytime

Since recently eating Bigoli at Anchovies & Olives, I've been obsessed with creating my own anchovy-based pasta dish. It didn't take long.

The first recipe I found, Midnight Pasta with Garlic, Anchovy, Capers and Red Pepper is so delicious, you don't even need the optional dusting of Parmesan cheese listed in the recipe. And if your pantry is stocked up enough with pasta, anchovies and capers, you can whip it up anytime.

It'd be a dangerous go-to dish, except the anchovies are actually extremely high in protein as well as healthy fats. No guilt here for this delicious midnight and anytime snack!