Alicia's Food For Thought


Eating Animals
December 22, 2010, 8:20 PM
Filed under: Media Bites | Tags: , , , ,

Over winter break I thought I would take advantage of all the down time I have and catch up on some food books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf.

I’m current reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

On September 16th I actually saw Jonathan Safran Foer when he spoke at NYU. He is a professor here in the Creative Writing Program.

I have not read any of his other books, but as of right now, the book seems very “Omnivore’s Dilemma”-esque with a mixture of The Jungle. It is a bit more narrative and family-oriented since he was inspired to do research about the meat industry with the birth of his son. I do like how he pokes fun at being an on again and off again vegetarian (aka a flexitarian). It definitely is a timely book since I decided to reintroduce meat into my diet once the year is up.

I also wonder why so many books are coming out about food? I guess it is a hot trend especially with the Food Safety Bill S150 and the Child Nutrition Bill thanks to the great work of Michelle Obama.

I’ll definitely give my full review on it once I finish the book so stay tuned!

What books are you reading over winter break?

Chow,

Alicia Kim

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Dim Sum Culinary Class
December 21, 2010, 11:42 PM
Filed under: Alicia's Asia Adventures, Real Eats | Tags: , ,

Hi readers!

Long time no see. I am taking advantage of some time I have over winter break and catching up on blogposts.

This semester I was able to take 11 of my residents to a dim sum culinary class at Miette Culinary Studio in New York City. It was a ton of fun and Chef Sui Lon Chan was such a great instructor. She usually caters but participates as an occasional instructor at Miette Culinary Studio when she has the time. She had a lot of patience with us as we had a 3 hour long class and 12 mouths to feed.

Ever since I came back from Asia, I’ve been craving to learn how to make all those delicious creations at home and this turned out to be the perfect introduction class to learn how to use tradition Chinese ingredient such as oyster sauce and black mushrooms. We made spareribs with black bean sauce (tofu for the vegetarians), vegetable spring rolls, congee with preserved duck egg and pork, shrimp siu mai, and steamed cake with lychee sorbet for dessert.

One of the few things I learned from the class was to use every part of every ingredient. For example, we used rehydrated black mushrooms and instead of throwing out the water afterwards- the mushroom excreted delicious juices into the water and it was the perfect base of the conjee.

Next, make sure the oil is hot enough to fry the spring rolls. Many people may say that Chinese food is greasy but that is only because the oil was not hot enough when they cooked the food. The spring rolls cooked so quickly and when they came out of the wok, they were crisp and not oily at all. You also have to be careful and make sure that you do not crowd the wok because with each spring roll you put in the wok, the oil temperature will lower which can also cause greasy food.

Another lesson I learned was to not be afraid to get your hands dirty! Cooking is easy if you just remember to use simple ingredients and realize that your fingers are the best mixing utensils in the kitchen. Just make sure you wash your hands in-between cooking stages to avoid cross-contamination. This was especially important when we made the shrimp siu mai. We chopped up the shrimp with ginger, oyster sauce, salt and chives and placed the filling into a dumpling wrapper. After we filled the dumpling wrapper we used our thumb to put a decorative seal on the edges. Chef Chan also informed us that chefs and cooks usually put different colored vegetables on top to distinguish the different types of dim sum. After we had our fill of spring rolls, conjee, sparerips, and siu mai- we of course had to have dessert! The steamed cake was simply made with egg, sugar, and flour and steamed instead of baked. This took less time than baking and also made the cake as light as a pillow.

I can’t wait to make these dishes in my own kitchen but first I need to make a beeline to China Town and purchase a wok, oyster sauce, and black mushrooms before I can begin. Chow, Alicia