Month: August 2017

One from Column ‘A’ – Five Spice Caramel Pork

To be fair, I’ve never seen this on any Chinese take-out menu. I have only been able to get it in Bangkok…. or at my favorite Chinese fare haunt in the city. So, dont hate me there. In fact, if you are going to hate me at all – its because I’ve monkeyed around with the traditional recipe a goodly amount… I’m not using pork belly, Jane is deathly allergic to soy, neither of us like our head blown off with heat….. and (God forbid), I’m not using a wok, it’s a Dutch oven. Five spice pork is an old Cantonese recipe that has cousins and distant relatives across most of Asia. And, unlike most take-out oferings, is more of a stew rather than a quick wok fried dish (hence, the dutch oven.) It is smoky, spicy, slightly sweet and terribly flavor packed. Short of Char Sui, it is my absolute favorite way to enjoy pork. Alrighty then… on with the changes we’ve made. Chinese Five Spice Powder – If you wanted to go through …

Camera Obscura

About 37 years ago my dad and I went on a safari. No, we didn’t see lions…. or wildebeest… or even meerkat (although, truth be told, that would have been epic.)  Frankly, we didn’t even leave Marietta. It was a different kind of safari altogether. We were in search of the vanishing Cobb County. Even then, so very long ago, he knew what we had that made Marietta and the surrounding areas special was disappearing, vaporizing, and being ground into indisquinishable landfill fodder. He had the idea of capturing it all on cellulose,  preserved for all eternity in a little metal can. Now, driving all around town, snapping photos of every old building, house, and tree-lined street  we could find sounded like a laudable exercise. In fact, it sounded, well… fun. And, seeing that my father and I  really never did that much stuff together (just a wholly different set of interests going on) other than yard work… shop work… tree work…. repair work… ( see all those works there?) , I was game…. hell, …

Bread Whore ~ Perfect Caraway Rye

I’m really a simple guy in a lot of ways… it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.  But perfection in the grand order of things is one of them. You don’t see it a lot; small perfections are elusive and fleeting. But if you slow down just enough to take it all in, you can catch all those bits that classify as Perfect. A perfect pair of shoes… the kind that feel magnificent as soon as you take them out of the box.  The ones, whether socks or commando – dirty or shower fresh, your feet are absolutely at home. A perfect day… Where first thing in the morning there is such a crispness to the air, you don’t know if you want to jump out of bed as not to miss a second… or snuggle deeper into the covers to make it last as long as possible. A perfect loaf of rye bread… Loaded with caraway seeds, it’s a delicate balance of softness, chewiness, structure and flavor. One that adds pedigree to …

Tales of Woe ~ Love, Hate, and Fake Soy Sauce

Shortly after Soy became an ugly four – letter word in our house (okay… 3, but it’s still a terrible thing), I was convinced I could produce a fake soy sauce that would mimic the properties, taste and joy of the luscious dark brown elixir. I’m here to tell you – I can’t…. And, neither can you. There is an army of crazy people out there that believes just because it looks like soy sauce… you can trick people into thinking it actually tastes like it. I fell into their trap; mixing balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and instant coffee – – – Roasting mushrooms and steeping them in beef broth, or this attempt,  expressing the heavenly ( garbage )mixtures into soy-free nirvana – – – Fake soy sauce has become the culinary equivalent of the  alchemist transmutation of lead into gold… it can’t be done. However… that isn’t to say that  finding a suitable medium (like chickpeas, or lentils), then submitting them to rigorous fermenting, salting, and aging (like a traditional soy or tamari) can’t …