Snacks

COLD AND WARM SALMON SCRAMBLED EGG ROLLS

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HERE’S A GUEST POST OF MINE THAT APPEARED ON A CUP OF JO, AS ONE OF THEIR BREAKFAST SERIES.  JUST IN CASE YOU’VE MISSED IT…

When I was little, and by little I mean before my family moved to Vancouver when I was 12, before the unveil of a whole new alien-world of eating orders, I had always believed that a hot dog-bun… was solely designed for holding scrambled eggs.  Because that was how it was always given.  And that was the way it was always perfect.  Even after many years, after such belief had endured the discoveries of freezer-sections hot dogs, sidewalk hot dogs, gourmet sidewalk hot dogs to fancy restaurant hog dogs, it had not faltered.  In fact, my stubborn childhood “fetish” had only been reenforced through diversity and comparisons.  Before college, I stood even more firmly on my ground, that the perfect thing to go between a toasty bun, was the one and only – creamy scrambled eggs.  It wasn’t a childhood-thing to me anymore.  It was the truth.

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miso stewed short-ribs French-dip sandwich

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A ROUNDUP OF MY WEEK RANGING FROM TRAGEDY TO AWESOMENESS…

  1. Lost my sleep mojo.
  2. Left pink eye that’s flirting dangerously with my right eye.
  3. Egg allergy plus one-lick-too-many from testing the magic 15-seconds scrambled eggs, gave this pre-middle aged face a few beautiful, custard-filled pimples.
  4. Tweezer rage.  That corner of my eyebrow is never coming back is it?
  5. Being forced to sit straight up so the rim of my tummy wouldn’t touch my thighs.  They’re so close…
  6. My building’s management office and the grocery store downstair are plotting together on my imminent suicide.  Think I have to move.
  7. But again. my neighbour’s bichon, Coco, has a rainbow-colored afro on her head.
  8. Watched Frozen again.
  9. A dream of myself laying on Beth’s kitchen island, blanketed and all, as one of her props among other things, then fell asleep on the table and went into a second level dream which I have absolutely no recollection of.  Inception style.
  10. Watched Frozen again.
  11. An email that almost made me pee my pants.
  12. Eating this.
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FRIED PORK DUMPLING + KIMCHI NACHOS

YES, I WANT TO CALL IT MOJO.  NOT SAUCE.  MOJO.

Ooops, am I too late?  Have you already laid out your master game-plan for this sunday, unregrettably I hope, from this really awesome list I put together?  And now you could really kick yourself (or just kick me…)?

Well, that’s the thing about braving a crazy idea.  It needs to overcome a bit of hesitation-lag.  A crazily messy ideas like this that leads to moments of me staring at the final photographs, and doesn’t know what the hell I’m looking at.  An idea that I hallucinated about on Tuesday, doubted on Wednesday, gave up on Thursday, then on Friday… I thought, fuck it.  Life is too short – especially when it involves pork – not to make me a deep fried pork dumpling nachos, with kimchi salsa and gochujang and sour cream nacho-mojo (yes, I want to call it mojo, not sauce, mojo).  So here we are.  Kicking ourselves.

I know we are short on time, so I’ll spare the pornographic description that I usually paint you, and jump straight to the points.  Crispy blistered doughs with salty fish-saucy pork fillings.  Spicy, garlicky and crunchy kimchi salsa over a blanket of melted cheese.  Then in a finale-squirt of spicy, tangy and creamy gochujang nacho-mojo.  Here listen, I don’t call stuff mojo for nothin’ al’right?

So we still got a couple days.  Let’s get to it.

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    LET’S FILL THAT BOWL ON THIS SUPER !!!

    IN THE NAME OF SPORTS, IT’S TIME TO EAT OURSELVES TO A CELLULITE-D IMMOBILE PULP

    Right, let’s face it.  Who are we kidding?  The only thing sporty about me is that I could, maybe, jump over a puddle if my life depends on it.  But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t want someone like me at the party this sunday – while the gang rouse up above a borderline-patriotic roar towards the flatscreen, beers blazing and testosterone bursting – who sinks into the couch giggling at her phone for French bulldog puppies on youtube.  Why, because my friends, I’m the one who’s gonna bring the kool-Aid.

    So let’s hit it.  For God and country, in the name of sports, and beefcakes clashing and tight muscles fluttering in slow motion… let’s eat ourselves to a cellulite-d immobile pulp and call it the spirit.  Man… gotta love this day.

    Here’s the game-plan.


    First, what’s a football party without some sliders?  These 2:1 sliders with charred green chili mayo, with patties that are 2 parts meat and 1 part cheese, browning and melting all over the place, is the one that you’re looking for.

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    POTATO CHIPS AND THAI HERBS SALAD

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    MORE REFRESHING THAN THE MORE COMMONLY PRACTICED CRISPY FRIED HERBS,

    BUT FAR MORE ADDICTIVE…

    MY relationship with dining-out for western cuisines in Beijing has been for the past 5 years, at best, a struggle of love and hate.  The incentive for attempting such silly missions is simple.  If you were living in Beijing, most of the times your best shot at some happiness at least is to make yourself feel like, you weren’t.  And sometimes, you know, the right restaurants can do that.

    But unfortunately, for far too many times, I’ve sat on a taxi-ride home fed with the fury of underwhelming meals, overcharged bills, and all together more often than not, a complementary cocktail of clueless and laughable services.  In the end, I guess one could argue that all along, the true idiot had always been, perhaps, me.  Because I was the one who’s been looking for cow’s milk in a rat’s asshole, trying to match the standard of what’s available here with that of New York.

    I was the real joke.

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    CAULIFLOWER RICE CAKE + POOR MAN’S X.O. SAUCE

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    YOUR DESIGNATED DIM-SUM PLACE CAN’T TOUCH THIS

    Have you had Chinese turnip cake with X.O. sauce?

    Well, the thing is, you probably have without knowing.  Over the dizzying array of small dishes on a dim-sum table, your friend passed you a plate of square white cakes with browned and crispy exteriors, served with a small oily dollop of brownish condiment.  You ate it, mmmmmmm…., probably even asked for the name of the dish, but let’s be honest, who the hell can remember any names from a feeding-frenzy over a dim-sum table?

    Well, that, my friend, you just had Chinese turnip cake and its side-kick, X.O. sauce.

    I’ve been long trying to come up with a X.O. sauce recipe.  X.O. sauce, suggested from the name given, is made with a large proportion of expensive ingredient, being soaked and shredded dried scallops, and thus lands as a prestigious condiments on the table of Chinese banquette.  It’s usually served in small spoonfuls, as an intense, savoury and spicy flavour-booster to highlight stir-fry dishes, rices and noodles, or dim-sum classics such as the turnip cake.  It’s wonderful.  I love it.  So why not just make that?

    Well… I mean, dried scallops are great.  Fancy stuff.  One of those things that are pocket-burning to buy, a pain in the ass to prepare, and in the end of course as all fancy stuffs must be, highly fucked-able.  One miss-step in the prepping and cooking procedure, what was supposed to make this sauce supremely “X.O.”, will also easily turn it into a pile of rubbery and teeth-flossing donkey-hide.  In this particular juncture in my life where several “bad apples” are on the brink of collapsing, I’m not going to risk my iphone 6-fund on something that could potentially malfunction, too.  Especially, not when I believe the beauty of X.O. sauce could be replicated with ingredients that are more, literally, down to earth.

    Instead of shredded dried scallops, I’m using dried shitake mushrooms.  In combination with dried shrimp which is also a traditional ingredient in X.O. sauce, this poor man’s version came out well beyond my highest expectation.  It’s robust, complex and intense, embodying the sea-essence from the dried shrimps and oyster sauce, as well as the earthiness of mushrooms and ham.  It’s a symphony of notes that cannot be described unless personally experienced.  And it’s my next it-sauce to be slathered on a bowl of rice, a quick slurps of noodle, or if I’m feeling like going the extra mile, this cauliflower rice cake.

    Wait, what happened to turnip cake?  Because I’ve also, long been trying to come up with a turnip cake recipe.  Turnip cake, suggested from the name given, is made with a large amount of Chinese turnip aka daikon, along with Cantonese sausage, dried shrimps, and a batter made with white rice flour.  It’s usually steamed inside a rectangular mold, then sliced and browned over a hot skillet right before serving.  A humble, homey and delicious staple that’s as beloved as anything can get if you came from an Asian background.  It’s wonderful.  I love it.  So why not just make that?


     

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    LAST SHIT – THE 3 FOUNDING DONBURI, THE ART OF EATING CANNED MEATS

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    (THEY CAN) TRANSFORM INTO SURPRISING DELICIOUSNESS OF ELEGANCE AND COMPLEXITY

    THIS is the last post (for awhile at least) of the new week-long segment, The Shits I Eat When I’m By Myself.  Jason is coming home tomorrow, and if you were any decent, none of us is ever going to speak of what happened here in the last few days…  But even though we’re near the end of an epic run, I have meticulously kept the best, and I hope you agree, for the last.

    I’m going to share with you what I eat, sunny or rainy, broke or stashed, then-young and now-old, then-slim and now-lumpy… by myself or not, doesn’t matter.  This.  This is what I actually eat, love to eat, and I mean, like all the time.  This is what raised me, put me through college, and every other weekday-nights along with the lovely grin of Jon Stewart.  This, completes me.  I never had a name for this before, but for the sake of easy reference, I will now call it – The 3 Founding Donburi, The Art of Eating Canned Meats.

    Donburi, is Japanese “rice bowl”, with various toppings that ranges widely.  The integrity of well-cooked short-grain rice is, of course, important, which is a subject I won’t even touch today for it’s so not the focus here (fine, two words, rice cooker!).  The focus here is the topping, and the topping, my friend, is a promiscuous playground for something that we all, at any given moment, got 1 or 2 stashed in a dark corner within the pantry.

    Canned meats.

    Good sardines in olive oil from Europe, bad sardines in olive oil from Europe, not-bad sardines in tomato sauce from Southeast Asia, corned beef, tuna, salmon… SPAM!  Misunderstood and badly represented, where people see them as shunned practices of desperation, I see them as cherished and indulging delicacies.  Good quality canned sardines (or even just the OK ones), with just a light touch of acidity, grated ginger and scallions piled over warm rice, can transform into surprising deliciousness of elegance and complexity.  How can I douse sichuan chili oil over diced SPAM, with a few drops of black vinegar and calling it a thing?!  Well, that is too, what doubters said at the historical moment when somebody thought why not smearing a bit of mustard over hotdogs…  Then browned corned beef, mixed with chopped kimchi and gochujang, toasted sesame oil and grated garlic… will have you breathing stinky and happy.

    Each of the donburi will take… 2 min to put together at the most (not including the cooking-time of the rice).  Less than the time it takes to boil a pot of water.  And they will have you asking yourself, where have they been all your life?

    Well… they’ve been right here.

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    THE SHIT I EAT WHEN BY MYSELF – FLAMING CHEETOS + ARUGULA GRILLED CHEESE

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    THE ARUGULA IS NOT JUST THERE TO VALIDATE THAT I’M STILL A HUMAN BEING…

    If you thought, we shared a passionate connection yesterday over orange ramen for our new segment – The Shits I Eat When I’m By Myself – well, here comes true love.

    True love is… true love is…  I say true love is when your other half walked in on you, with this throbbing in your mouth, said nothing, walked away and pretended like nothing happened, and didn’t cancel your credit card…  Uh, what was in your mouth oh I mean, my mouth you asked?  Uhem… even the mere pronunciation of the words, has to come with great courage…  It’s sharp gouda grilled cheese.  ……………..  OK.  OK… that’s not entirely honest.  Wwwell, it’s sharp gouda grilled cheese with baby arugula, and something tangy, spicy hot and fabulously crunchy in between…  What?  Now you’re just prying…

    Fine!  FINE!  It’s flaming hot crunchy cheetos!  It’s FLAMING HOT CRUNCHY CHEETOS!  And I fucking love this shit!  Ya happy now?  It’s gooey melted gouda grilled cheese, but with a crunchy and contrasting texture sandwiched right in between, releasing neon-red powers that are, possibly, the last surviving legal addiction.  And didn’t you hear that there’s A-RU-GU-LA?  Which is, a ve-ge-ta-ble.  Which is, not just there to validate that I’m still a human being, but to elevate the entire flavour profile to please anyone, who obviously, isn’t insane.

    What’s not to like?  Don’t answer that…

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