Category Archives: Gastronomy

Fine dining, cuisine, food, cooking, hunger, nutrition

Khoresh

Note: This is the first of what will be several recipe posts, and I’ve added a new recipe category. Most of the stuff in this collection are from my grandmother Georgia, who told us these from memory between 1997 and 2000.

The Khoresh recipe here is originally from my great grandmother Jesse, who picked it up during their days in Or≈myeh in present-day Iran.

We don’t cook all that often, and passing along recipes from generation to generation is a fast-decaying practice. Welcome to the year 2005. And thus, we move this particular oral tradition thread over to the web. The nice thing though is that comments are open if someone can figure out how to improve on these or find some interesting variances…

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 pounds lamb ribs or shanks, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • 3 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cans of whole, stewed or chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 2 cups of cut string beans
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped (one half inch pieces)
  • One half teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 whole bay leaves
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

Begin cooking khoresh in the morning. Start by putting tomatoes, beans and 3 cups of beef broth into a stew pot and set aside. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet. As you brown the lamb, adjust the heat to keep the temperature between medium and high, doing one layer of lamb pieces at a time. When nicely browned, add to a stew pot and heat. After all lamb has been browned and put into the stew pot, add onions to skillet and brown the onions in the pan drippings, cooking until lightly browned. Add this mixture to stew pot. Now put garlic into the skillet for approximately one minute. Add garlic to stew pot. Finally, add carrots to skillet and brown lightly. If necessary, add a bit of additional oil. Now add carrots to stew pot. Add the spices to the stew pot. Deglase skillet with the remaining 1 cup of beef broth, bringing to just under boiling point, reduce heat and simmer all afternoon, being careful not to allow khoresh to boil. Serve over steamed basmati rice.

One Strawberry

To get Max to eat one strawberry this morning, we had to resort to coercion and bribery.

First of all, I think the boy is going through a growth spurt. He ate like a pig yesterday, which is not normal for him — he usually doesn’t finish his meals but yesterday he was polishing everything off and asking for more. His little tummy was sticking out by the end of the day, which was funny considering how skinny he is.

Also, there was a time when this kid would eat anything. He used to love fruit and veggies and all sorts of healthy things. But then one day he just decided that there were only going to be a few select delicacies in his food vocabulary, and it’s been a battle ever since to get him to eat something that grew out of the ground and wasn’t chopped, pressed, and formed into a breaded nugget shape.

So, this morning again he’s coming up to me after finishing his breakfast of Lucky Charms, and this time he’s asking me to take him to Chili’s. Nevermind that it’s 8:30 Saturday morning and I haven’t had more than half a cup of coffee yet, and this kid wants to follow up on brekkie with some baby back ribs. So methinks – how about using this ravenous hunger to introduce something simple, like fruit.

First tried the blueberries. My god you would have thought I was offering him a plate of bugs. “So how about a strawberry then, Max?” He muttered something that remotely sounded like a yes, so here we go washing and cleaning one strawberry and sticking it on a plate, right in the middle of the dish.

No strawberry for you kiddo, eh? How about if I chase you around? Nah, that kid is too wiggly and I’m sore all over from painting and cleaning our house yesterday. Not gonna happen. But as the old saying goes: Youth and beauty will always be overcome by age and treachery.

First came the bribe. “We’ll get you a prize if you eat this one strawberry” we offered. But Max was smarter than that. He knew he’d have to eat a vegetable — “No way!” So we then hit him where we knew he’d have no defense; his bike. We offered to take him outside for a bike ride, and this is his obsession. You could almost see the smoke pouring out of his ears as he struggled to reconcile the opportunity versus the consequences. We had to turn our heads to laugh so he wouldn’t see.

Finally, kicking and screaming, he took a bite. And then another. Trying to find some way out, which was futile, he finally started going for it. Of course he will never admit that he liked it, but he was going pretty quick on that little strawberry by the end.

And now he’s riding up and down the street on his bike. The strawberry has not killed him, and he’ll live to see another day.

And now I know how to get him to eat broccoli.

Prego Pizza

This is awesome – I love urban legends when they’re right in your own backyard: The Prego Pizza

The results were amazing. The woman left the restaurant after eating the “Prego” pizza and went into labor that same evening. So began the amazing history of the first ever, the original, “Prego” pizza.

Yingwen is dying to get this long ordeal of a pregnancy over with, and I had heard from many different coworkers to go and try one of these pizzas from Skipolini’s. So I thought, what the heck – it’s worth a try. Bring it on. I went and picked one up after work. She ate three slices. I think it’s working… We shall see…

By the way, the Prego Pizza is outstanding, no matter if you’re prego or not. We are talking about heaping amounts of what makes pizza beautiful: a generous serving of every slice of cured meat in the house, plenty of oregano and peppers, and gargantuan fistfuls of fresh garlic and onions. I think I may even go into labor after that meal…

Eating Taipei

My trip to Taipei can best be described as a culinary tour of duty. Carol was our tour guide, so it was pretty much all eating and shopping.

Day #1: Japanese Udon, KTV, and Steak

First thing we did after we checked in to our hotel was to go get lunch. We hit the nearest shopping mall (called New York New York) and had some quick udon noodles. Nothing terribly notable about these noodles, but the dessert that came with the meal was quite good – a pile of jello, fruit, and liquid sugar. We did lots of shopping in the mall and Yingwen bought some platform shoes. Dinner was at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 2F, 135 Min Sheng East Road Section 3. I had never been to the one back in San Francisco. Nice steaks, cooked to perfection. Nothing unique about this place, except that it is almost indistinguishable from any garden variety steak house in the United States and full of expats and travelers from anywhere but Taiwan.

Day #2 was a special Tonkatsu lunch, photos at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, computer and VCD shopping, and dinner at Chuan Lai.

The tonkatsu was somewhat of an out of the way place that we found near a train station. Don’t ask me where it was or how to get there. That’s all they make – just tonkatsu. Very good – three kinds of sauces for my breaded and fried pork cutlet, and a pile of shredded cabbage. Nothing more was needed – it was delicious. We then proceeded to go buy tons of VCDs and cheap crap at this computer alley. Man, it is amazing what these guys will do to a PC. They had blinking strobe lights, phosphorescent decals, Hello Kitty, the works. In general, the boxes were large, homegrown, and dirt cheap. There were a few Macs here and there, but largely these were left alone and there was almost no Mac software on any of the shelves in these shops. You need to go to the local Apple Center for that.

I believe that someone is missing a real opportunity to sell some Apple product here. Everyone I have talked to is going through some amazing hoops with their Windows machines to get the simplest tasks done. They look at my PowerBook and my process for doing things and they are just astounded. Price is a problem, but the added value of having a computer that lets you work intuitively is quite compelling. What Apple needs here is a powerful advertising campaign with Yo-Yo Ma and one or two other notable celebrities in their ads, some larger, fully-stocked Apple Stores complete with a Genius Bar, put it right next to large bookstores, and people will come in and check it out.

Dinner at Chun Lai (02) 2841-4567 was amazing. First of all, the setting: This place is tucked away in the mountainous area of Yanmingshan, famous for it’s beautiful scenery and luxurious mansions. This restaurant includes a spa and an extensive back forty with little tea huts, a sushi bar, a cocktail bar, and a steep cliff lined with waterfalls and dotted with colorful spot lighting. The meal consisted of a set menu of Szechuan-style dishes. There was a natural style roasted chicken, sizzling pepper beef, beef chow fun, steamed trout, soup, prawns coated in oats and fried, and lotus roots with pork and garlic. Every dish was incredibly delicious. We then walked up the hill a ways to where they had the tea huts, and spent the rest of the evening drinking tea and eating dried plums. This is a very special place for Taiwan, and shows the true beauty of the country and the true magnificence of it’s cuisine.

Day #3 consisted of Thai lunch, and more shopping.

Lunch was at Very Thai. The place has a cool atmosphere, plays decent modern jazz music, and serves up some mean neo-Thai cuisine. Great food. After that place, we hit more computer shops and department stores, and finally wound up buying most of our souvenirs in the el-cheapo street booths at the train station.

Got back to Kaohsiung that night at around 11 PM and promptly crashed.