Thursday, July 28, 2011

Indo-Chinese Sichuan Fusion: Spicy Mapo Paneer for the International Incident Sichuan Party, Plus a Dragon's Hollow Wine Giveaway!

I am a bit late to this month's Incident Party, as I honestly thought it wasn't happening. You see, our fearless foundress and hostess Penny aka Jeroxie recently lost her dad. My mom died in 2006, and I unfortunately know a thing or two about the grieving process: It's long, exhausting, unpredictable, and  utterly nauseating.

But then I found out the Incident gang was going ahead and posting in support of Penny, and I'm all for that. Watching someone grieve is a helpless feeling, because there is nothing at all you can do. That said, it's important to show your support, so if you have a moment please go stop by Penny's blog, check out her tribute to her father,  and give her some love. I know she will appreciate it. Penny - this post is for you.

Before I get to my dish, I've got a really cool giveaway at the end of this post. It's a bottle of Dragon's Hollow Chinese wine. As far as I know, it's the only fine wine produced in China - but it makes sense, as it's on the same parallel as Napa and Bordeaux. I met David Henderson, the company's founder,  at the Fancy Food Show, and after tasting his delicious wine (at 10 am!) I set this giveaway up. More 2 year blogoversary festivities! As always - you have to get to the end of this post to see the goods.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nontraditional Naengmyeon: Spicy Cold Korean Noodles and the Gonchu Giveaway Winner

Necessity has driven us all to do it at some point in our cooking careers, but I am really not a fan of that whole "kitchen sink" school of making dinner. You know, that thing where you just sort of take every little odd and end in your fridge and throw it in a pot and call it Kitchen Sink Pasta or Kitchen Sink Soup or Kitchen Kink Surprise.

Kitchen Sink Mess is more like it.

That said, I did have to employ a bit of that approach here, as I wanted cold Korean noodles (like the ones I had at the Korean American Festival) but I was not equipped to make the real, authentic thing - my most egregious substitution in this dish is Japanese soba noodles instead of Korean buckwheat noodles. I think it worked, though, because I stuck to a theme and didn't just toss any random thing into the pot. This is truly a simple and refreshing dish with huge flavor, and it was just the thing Poppa Trix and I needed on a sweltering hot night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tycoon: Steak, Fingerling Potato, Blue Cheese, Roasted Garlic & Quail Egg Flatbread Pizza for the 5 Star Farmers Market Makeover

A pizza so fancy ... so retro ... so rich ... so downright manly it must be named The Tycoon ... or so says Poppa Trix
For the  June/July 5 Star Makeover Challenge - hosted as always by the multi-talented Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! - we were tasked with creating a gourmet dish using only farmers market ingredients (except for pantry staples). Given the quality of ingredients and breadth of choice at the farmers markets I frequent, the possibilities here were practically endless.

I know that I haven't invented something new by making a pizza, and some may question a pizza's right to wear the "gourmet" mantle, but I couldn't get the idea of these flavors out of my head.  I wanted a souped-up version of a steak, egg, and cheese pizza - and momma gets what momma wants. And besides, I am calling it a flatbread pizza, which imparts a more ...  highbrow quality. Also, it's called the Tycoon, per Poppa Trix, who said that this was the best thing he has eaten in a very long time. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hansik: A Korean Pop Up Restaurant Experience with Chef Akira Back at the Summer Fancy Food Show, My Two-Year Blogoversary, & a Giveaway

Above: Me, chilling in the kitchen space of Hansik with Chef Akira Back (far right)and his staff
Below: A Korean treat wonderland in the Korea Pavilion
I am, at long last, back from my self-imposed two week blogging respite/hiatus ... and I come bearing gifts! There, that got your attention. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Now, I certainly wouldn't want to bore you with every last excruciating detail of the past two weeks, so I'll skip to the good stuff: I went as a member of the press (both as a food journalist and as a blogger ... so many personas, so little time) to the Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., where I was faced with a dizzying array of foods from 2,400 exhibitors hailing from 80-plus countries. And I had to try to taste it all! The horror.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fresh Pea, Yogurt & Tarragon Soup Garnished with Crispy Paprika Tofu Croutons and Garlic Tahini Sauce

Usually in my posts I try to regale you (I do not say "bore you") with some sort of thematically-appropriate story or other (note I do not say "tall tale") that ties in with the featured dish or recipe. I take that extra step to show you just how much I care.

And so I certainly hope that you won't think my affections for you have waned when you discover that I have no witty, arresting, or amusing anecdote to accompany this soup. No musings about my childhood, major life milestones, gut-wrenching confessions, or elegant epiphanies lie ahead. I am not about to shamefully confess that as a young girl I had a shocking hatred of peas, and that somehow this recipe turned me around, changing my life forever.

It's just soup. That is all.