Teeny Tiny Kitchen

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Chinese
Chinese five spice PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Sunday, 08 January 2012 18:47

 

As I've mentioned before, we're lucky enough to live down the street from Rail City Market, which is a health food store here in town that sells spices in bulk. So, when it comes to cooking we are two lucky, lucky people. We can go and buy small amounts of a lot of different spices and get out of there without spending more than 5 dollars. That allows us a lot of freedom to play with different spices and to create our own spice blends. For gifts this year, we made our own curry, Chinese five spice and Moorish blends for gifts and holiday cooking.

 

We gave all of the curry away without getting a photo of it. Which is too bad, because that was pretty epic to make. We didn't have an electric spice grinder at the time, so I toasted the spices and Jedd ground them through an old pepper mill. It took him an hour and a half, and by the end of the process he had band aids on all of his fingers for protection from blisters – and to protect the blisters that had already formed. Ouch. It was delicious, though. Then the birthday fairy miraculously brought me an electric grinder for an early birthday present and we delved into our next round of spice making, blister free.

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Cold-Tossed Broccoli with Sesame Seeds PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Jedd Kettler   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 10:22

 

 

Broccoli was once one of our favorite vegetables, but for some reason it's faded into the background in recent years. We just haven't been making it, eating it or craving it. At a recent farmers market, though, I saw a gorgeous head of broccoli practically glowing with angelic light.


The craving was back.

 

At first I didn't have any particular use in mind for it. A stir fry? Just steamed in all it's pristine glory? Then as I unloaded the food into the fridge my mind flashed to a dish that Launie and I used to make all the time a decade ago - a Chinese broccoli sesame salad. This salad is the exception to the rule of using sesame oil sparingly. The sesame oil-based sauce brings a sweet, tangy richness and the broccoli keeps it crunchy and light. It's great as a side dish or a light lunch. It's simple and quick to prepare, but there is some wait time to let the flavors fully develop.

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Food Revolution Day: Making Potstickers and Homemade Tortillas with Luke PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Friday, 18 May 2012 21:05

 

Today is Food Revolution Day, which is a chance to talk about real food, and real food preparation whether it's in a school, a restaurant or a private cooking class. To celebrate we got together with our nephew, Luke, to make some of his favorite things from scratch. Luke's parents feed him extremely well, but we used Food Revolution Day as an excuse to play in the kitchen with him, because we don't see him often enough - and what could be more fun than to get our hands dirty together? And we started with two things that we know he loves, tortillas and potstickers.

 

And the homemade tortilla thing is big for me. When we started our year of only eating unprocessed food, one of the first ingredient lists that made me groan with defeat was for my favorite brand of tortillas.

 

The ingredient list: Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid) Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Cottonseed) With Mono- and Diglycerides, Glycerin, Corn Syrup Solids, Salt, Baking Powder (Baking Soda, Corn Starch, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Propionate (Preservatives), Monoglycerides, Fumaric Acid, L-cysteine Hydrochloride.

 

I didn't know how to make tortillas, but I loved them. So, I had to learn to make tortillas. And as I've said before, the difference between store bought and homemade is pretty huge.

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In search of the perfect Lanzhou pulled-noodle cilantro soup (Lanzhou la mian) PDF Print Write e-mail
cooking
Written by Jedd Kettler   
Friday, 08 April 2011 19:02

lanzhou lamian soup, la mian, spicy cilantro soup, chinese soup, lanzhou soup, spicy pulled-noodle soupThere are 100 or more things that I miss from the year I spent in China back in 1991-1992, but there are few things I've ached for more than the intensely spicy, cilantro Lanzhou noodle soup (兰州拉面) I ate on the streets of Beijing.

I'd put in my order, watch the artist at work - stretching, twisting and slapping my noodles into long, wide strips before tossing them into a large vat of water heated over the ubiquitous coal fires of the city. Minutes later he would lift them out in a cloud of steam and drop them in a large bowl, asking bluntly, "Hot or not hot?" "Hot," I would answer, and he would toss a bit of la jiao jiang on top of the fresh noodles, followed by a few short strands of pre-cooked beef and a healthy handful of cilantro. This beautiful mound of food would then be doused with a thin, dark broth.

I would bring it to my table on the sidewalk and crack open my warm Coke (refrigeration was not common at the time, though I'm sure this has changed since my stint in Beijing). Somehow the full flavors of the broth and the fresh cilantro found their way through the intense heat. Sweat on my forehead and the tingling of my lips, quickly going numb, were inevitable. Staring out at a dirty, flat, gray city on the other side of the world, slurping noodles and draining the last of the precious, fiery liquid - there was nothing better.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 March 2012 18:37
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Jiaozi (vegetarian Chinese potstickers) PDF Print Write e-mail
cooking
Written by Launie Kettler   
Sunday, 24 April 2011 17:13

 

 

"There are two kinds of people : those who think there are two kinds of people and those who are smart enough to know better." -Tom Robbins

 

As much as I generally defer to Mr. Robbin's outlook, I do make one distinction. There are two subsets of people in the world, people who like their vegetarian jiaozi potstickers steamed and people who like their potstickers fried.

 

I like my potstickers fried.

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