One Saturday morning in late January, while visiting friends in San Francisco, we decided to take a day trip to Berkeley. While we had several reasons for going there, one of the most important was to check out some of that area’s most highly-regarded eating places. I asked my friends, some of whom knew the area well, for recommendations on where we should go to — after all, I was the tourist and they were the locals. While there were a lot of options thrown around for lunch, dinner and snacks in between, everyone agreed on where we should have breakfast. They all said Rick and Ann’s.
The culinary world can be a confusing place at times. It’s not uncommon for some restaurants, who serve so-so food, to become highly fashionable and hugely popular. While, concurrently, some other restaurants, who serve amazing and often highly original cuisine, remain very much off-the-radar, serving only a small handful of patrons, whose presence hardly accounts for even a quarter of the seating capacity of such establishments. Similarly, there are chefs that, by sheer force of personality and/or personal connections and most definitely not because of their very average food, become (minor) celebrities. While others who, by the nature of the outstanding food they produce, deserve to be celebrated but are consistently overlooked because they aren’t loud, or colourful, or gorgeous enough.
Soooo, here we go! This is our first post and we are elated to bring our nomad suitcases full of recipes to the Chubby Hubby e-abode. We can’t think of a better way to start than to bring you along on our summer adventures, which for your enjoyment (and ours, quite evidently) will take place in our home countries. Call it “The Kitchen Nomads go back home” if you will! I (Paola) will be introducing you to the concept of double deep-frying and the variety of Colombian cuisine, while Jessica will entice you with the beauty of using more butter than you need to and the freshness of summer fruit in France.
One of the things that my lovely wife S likes me to do is make char siu (Chinese roast pork). It’s one of the things I feel I can be immodest about. Over the years, I’ve really perfected the art of making it. She’s always bringing home gorgeous fatty slabs of pork neck from Huber’s Butchery for me to turn into yummy hunks of Chinese roast pork. Because we always have char siu in the freezer, I decided recently that I wanted to learn how to make char siu bao. I figured it was something we’d enjoy, and if I knew what went into it, something we could feed our son.
Since T has come along, I spend significantly less time in the kitchen. The elaborate, time-consuming recipes requiring a fully sentient being to execute have taken a backseat. In fact, I have a roster of quick recipes I keep on my mobile phone that I keep returning to. Some of them are just notes or lists of ingredients that help remind me of what I usually put into a dish; others are full recipes replete with my tweaks and adaptations. Having them always on hand makes it easier for me to throw something together when my head is stuck in a cloud of sleep deprivation. This granola recipe based on Molly’s adaptation of Nekisia Davis’ is one of them.
Ah, Summer. The season of dressing light, ditching the covered shoes and bringing out the flip-flops. Hit the beach and bake the skin to a crisp brown. This may sound great for most people in the world but when you’re actually here in the midst of drowning humidity between 80 to 90 per cent and combined with average temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, it’s almost as if Singapore is a giant dim sum steamer.
When I was a kid, my family rarely shopped at the supermarket. If we did, I would always beg my parents to get me a box of Sara Lee’s pound cake. To me, Sara Lee’s pound cake was the best cake in the world. If I was having a bad day in school, I would open the fridge, cut a slice and eat it, and everything instantly seems brighter.
Food trucks have been gaining in popularity throughout the US and New York City has many of them. They tend to be priced lower than most sit-down places and even though some of them have long lines, you still get your food pretty quickly as people in the trucks typically prepare food from a limited menu. There are even many Smartphone apps that follow the movement of trucks and update their locations so it’s now easier than ever to find the truck you’re looking for!
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that, while attending the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, S and I had eaten one of the best oxtail stews we’d ever had in our lives. It was prepared by Chef Mark Jensen of the very famous Vietnamese restaurant Red Lantern, which is in Sydney, Australia. Traditionally, Bo Kho is made with cuts like brisket or shank. It’s also one of those traditional dishes that has no really defined and universal recipe. While certain ingredients might appear in most dishes, all mothers (and grandmothers) and chefs who make Bo Kho seem to have slightly different ways of making theirs. And, of course, every Vietnamese friend you have will swear that his mother’s version is simply the best in the world.