How to Make Noodles in a Meat Grinder

 Chinese noodles with perfect bite, chew, texture, with half the work? Sign me up. After creating the hand-cut noodle recipe, I realized that: wait, I'm way too lazy to use the peeler to make the noodles for more than just Brett and I. But until recently, I didn't know what to do about it, so when I made dan dan noodles for a group, they had to be satisfied with my favorite store noodles. It isn't right. No, my friends deserve the bounce of a fabulous fresh noodle. Fast forward to last week, as I flipped around the internets, that wild world of wacky ideas, eventually landing on a Mario … [Read more...]

Pambazo Lessons from an Abuela

Among the oddities of my childhood were an avocado green washer and dryer in the kitchen of our house, a mild prodigy brother, and a constant parade of exchange students from as far away as New Caledonia. 25 years later and I still have no idea where New Caledonia is. I do know where San Juan del Rio, Mexico is. It's a small town two hours north of Mexico City, from where hailed many of our exchange students. One of them has become a life long family friend, and on our recent trip to Mexico, his mother taught us how to make a Mexican sandwich called a Pambazo. This is the third time … [Read more...]

Little Nibbles: Chicken and Waffles, Squash Snacks and Me!

A quick round up of all things delicious, in my kitchen, in my city and around the world… The Chaffle Remember when I told you all about Chicken and Waffles in Seattle? Well, a restaurateur responded to my challenge. Blue Moon Burgers invited me in to try their 'Chaffle,' a chicken and waffle sandwiched. And I'll be damned if it wasn't pretty darn good. Act quickly though--it's only their burger of the month, so you only have until the end of November (that's next week, for those of you in December denial) to give it a taste test. Squash on Tortillas In my own kitchen, I've been brewing … [Read more...]

Bacon and Sour Cream Stuffed Potato Puffs

  The wheels in my head go round and round...round and round. The Taro Puffs on the dim sum cart go round and round...round and round. Using the recipe from Asian Dumplings, I became drunk on success  after my first attempt at Taro Puffs, those lacy, crisp bundles of soft starch that envelop pockets of pork, roaming about the dim sum world. What if...I thought. What if, I replaced taro with a more versatile starch, one that could be blank canvas for all my evil amazing plans. I tried to research if the lacy crunch that defines the taro puff would translate to a potato. Andrea … [Read more...]

Dan Dan Mien: Hand-shaved noodles and a Favorite at Home

Dan dan noodles, or dan dan mien, is one of my favorite dishes in the whole world. In the five years since I first sampled it, I've tried it everywhere I could find it, in my own city, in Flushing Chinatown in New York, in Beijing, as close to the source as I could get, and even in Korea, just for good measure. The first time I ate dan dan mien with hand-shaved noodles at Seattle's Seven Star Pepper, I remember thinking it just might be the best thing ever invented. Thick ropes of uneven noodle dough swam about in a sea of peanut sludge, spiked with islands of pork. Later, I would learn … [Read more...]

Best Recipes for Fall Seasonal Cooking

Last week, Seattle sweated through an 80 degree day--not something we have to do often. Three days later, we looked out on grey horizons, at that point where the slate sky meets the silver waters, through a screen of incessant raindrops.  The rain was typical Seattle--not hard enough to get your shirt wet, but leaving puddles and clumps of fragrant leaves strewn about. It smelled like fall. The season was here and it had a woodsy aroma--smokey, yet fresh. Cuddled into a cowl neck sweater, my mind wandered to the wonders of fall foods. Like a kid picking pumpkins from a patch, I selected a few … [Read more...]

Pasta without a Pasta Maker: Orechiette

Before I owned a pasta maker, I too fell into the lazy pattern of assumption. I assumed I lacked the rolling pin skills to make pasta. I assumed I could buy pasta that was good. I assumed that those assholes with pasta makers were the only ones who got to have real, homemade pasta every night, up there, in their pasta-maker having castles. In Italy, I'm sure. Now I have a pasta maker, but sometimes, you just don't want to get down all the gear, and you just want some FREAKING PASTA. This is me, like, all the time. I'm a pasta maniac. So at times like this, the solution is Orechiette. It … [Read more...]

(Stir-Fried) Water Boiled Fish

"You'll like it." These were the words that I was told the first time I tasted the Sichuanese dish known as water-boiled fish. That phrase may just be the most epic understatement in the history of my life, up there with descriptions of me such as 'a little competitive' and the usual elementary school report card 'can be bossy.' For once, I had found a Chinese restaurant that 'got' me. That didn't dumb dishes down when they saw my skin color, that didn't come running with a fork and a glass of ice water at my pronunciation of Chinese words. No, Chiang's Gourmet had made a dish suggestion … [Read more...]

Alterna-Thanksgiving: Peking Turkey

Somehow, somewhere I got the idea that I needed to make a Peking Turkey for Thanksgiving this year. It was extravagant, cross-cultural, a project. It was perfect. Most people just looked at me sideways as I excitedly described my plan. I even found evidence that someone had done it before and was able to use their recipe to guide me. My parents left town for Thanksgiving, and left to my own devices, I took over their kitchen (nicer than mine--and there's a dishwasher), and created a feast with my friends. I was also lucky enough to have the amazing Valentina at Thanksgiving dinner, so she is … [Read more...]

Chanterelles with Rosemary: A Foraged Feast

Seattle has a reputation for constant rain. Natives such as myself know that isn't true--it only rains in fall, winter and spring, and even then, just a light drizzle. Regardless, we natives also know that the rain brings us treasures in the form of chanterelle mushrooms. As our short summer wound down last week, I watched the rains begin--along with the complaints from those who have moved here from cities with summers that go past labor day. As others complained of the wetness, my head danced with visions of the reward we Seattleites get for enduring the rain. Freshly foraged chanterelle … [Read more...]