Archive for September 28th, 2011

September 28, 2011

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apples, Wild Rice, and Bacon


  • 1 large shallot, diced finely
  • 1/2 medium apple, diced finely
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced finely
  • 1-2 tbs pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tbs golden raisins, soaked in white wine
  • ~1 cup wild rice, cooked
  • 1 slice bacon, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • salt

Prepare squash: cut lengthwise in half. scoop out seeds in center. Place face down on aluminum pan and bake on 350F for 30-40 min or until flesh is soft.

Pan fry bacon in large skillet to render fat. Once browned and cooked through, remove bacon and set aside. In remaining drippings, saute shallots until soft ~3 min. Add celery and saute until soft ~3min. Salt. Add rice and apples then mix (use a dash of chicken stock if necessary to soften rice.) Add cooked bacon, raisins, pecans, parsley, mix and cook 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Salt to taste.

To serve, spoon out extra flesh from squash to make room for stuffing. Pack with rice mixture and serve.

September 28, 2011

Braised Chinese Spare Ribs (紅燒排骨)

Does this count as “hong shao”? Who knows. I’ve watched my mother cook for 20+ years and but she never has a recipe. I don’t even really know what most of her dishes are called. But she did make some variation of this stew all throughout my childhood. I figure it’s about time I learn! A lot of this just came to me as I was going. Like parboiling. I remember peaking over the counter as a child and seeing the steam rise up out of the sink as she poured the meat out.

Not all the credit goes to mother dearest, though. I did some research before hand, namely with the wonderful blog Red Cook. This is where I got the tip to caramelize my meat after parboiling. Great article!


  • ~2 lb spare ribs
  • 1/3 cup chinese rice wine
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 large cloves of star anise
  • 2-3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped in 2 inch long pieces
  • 2 large carrots, diced large
  • ~1.5 tbs chinese five spice
  • ~2 tbs soy sauce


  1. Parboil ribs: place ribs in a large pot of just enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil for about ~10 min and skim off excess foamy stuff that floats to the top (it’s cooked out blood, fat, etc). Remove meat, drain water, then rinse meat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a dutch oven or pot, heat up 2-3 tbs vegetable oil and melt in it all the sugar. When oil is hot, place ribs into pot and sear/caramelize on all sides.
  3. Once browned evenly, deglaze pot with wine.
  4. Let it reduce a little bit, then add garlic, green onion, five spice, soy sauce, 1-2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover pot ~ 2 hours. Turn meat and continue to simmer 2+ hours. Salt to taste if needed (or add more soy sauce.)
  6. Refrigerate over night and skim off fat before reheating to serve.

General note on braising:If you stop braising TOO SOON, meat will be tough and dry. This does NOT mean you overcooked it. As long as you kept braising low and slow, don’t freak out and let it it continue simmering for a few more hours. Meat will lose all it’s collegen and juicy goodness into the broth before it soaks it all back up again. So be patient!


September 28, 2011

Stir Fry How To + Easiest stir fry dish ever


  • 1 large potato, sliced
  • 1 green onion, sliced diagonally
  • vegetable oil


  1. Wash and drain potato slices to remove excess starch.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok.
  3. Add potato, salt generously, and stir fry until just soft.
  4. Push potato aside and make a hole in the center of the pan.
  5. Add a dribble more of oil in the hole, and flash fry the green onions.
  6. Stir and mix with potato.  Serve.

See? Easy. A good side to compliment a heavier dish.

I typically have one or two vegetable dishes, a meat dish, and something extra (tofu? eggs?) It may seem like a pain to make so many dishes when cooking Chinese at home, but stir frying is so fast and simple it really doesn’t take any longer than cooking a western meal with just one entree and one side.
Here’s your basic stir fry run down:

  1. Chop. Cut everything into similar shapes and sizes. Not only does it make it easier to eat, it cooks more evenly and is more aesthetically pleasing. Ex: if your meat is cubed, dont cut long and skinny vegetables. I typically prefer long strips of meat and veggies. It is easier to pick up several different components of the dish with one swipe of the chopstick.
  2. If you have meat, marinate it. This can be done ahead of time, or just before you cut the veggies so it’ll have time to sit. You do not need long. maybe 30 minutes. Dissolve a bit of corn starch in soy sauce. Maybe a drop or two of sesame oil. Then toss meat to coat evenly.
  3. Heat wok. Or a large frying pan. My crappy electric stove and Calphalon frying pan works fine. Heat until the pan is smoking. Add oil and let it heat until shimmering.
  4. a) Stir fry meat and remove. Once meat is browned all over, scoop it into a bowl and set aside. If using beef or shrimp or other meats that get tough when overcooked, don’t cook all the way through.
  5. b) Reheat pan and add veggies/tofu. Stir fry and season/salt to taste.
  6. Reintroduce meat into pan. Stir briefly to mix.
  7. c) Optional: Add tertiary ingredients if necessary: green onions, hot sauce, and things that dont need a lot of cooking and are just for extra flavor. In fact, always add green onion last or it’ll get brown and ugly.
  8. Remove from pan immediately and serve.

Stir fry combos I eat regularly at home: (Everything is split into 3 ingredients, corresponding with steps 4, 5, and 7)

  • a) slices of pork tenderloin + b) dried tofu (dou fu gan) + c) spicy preserved vegetable (see pic)
  • a) shrimp + b) eggs, scrambled + c) green onions…
  • a) chive flower + b) pork tenderloin slices + c) thousand year old egg (my favorite! place eggs in cold water and bring to a boil. remove and cut into chunks. this prevents the yolk from being too sticky)

Maybe I’ll write up recipes for these some other day. It’s all very simple! I’m sure you can figure it out.

One last tip: Seasoning is done with salt if the dish is light colored (shrimp and egg scramble). And soy sauce if dark (most meat dishes)