Monday, September 19, 2011

A Few Good Ones

I've been too busy jumping in circles at the news that I'm moving to Naples to stop and blog. My calves will look awesome by the time I calm down. I've managed to stand still long enough to cook a few things, so I'll play a quick catch-up now.

Sam Choy's Southpoint Chowder (pg 16 of Hawai'i Cuisine) was everything you'd want a seafood chowder to be: creamy, stuffed with critters (mussels, tilapia, shrimp, scallops, and bacon), and with the right amount of starch--in this case, white potato, sweet potato, and corn--to get just a bit with every bite of fish. This chowder perfectly balanced the sweet flavors with the fishy.
Conclusion: Loved it. Simple to make (since I used store-bought fish stock, instead of making my own), delicious, and filling. Oh, and it's Charlie-approved. For unknown reasons, he now refuses to eat shrimp, which he used to inhale, but through this dish, we discovered that he likes bay scallops. Score!

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork (pg 48) blew every Chinese take-out version of this clear out of the water. The difference is that, although it's sweet, it's not just sweet. I never taste a sour element when I order this. Homemade, it was sweet, sour, fruity, a touch spicy, and ginger and garlic lurked in background. Also, the pork was rolled in corn starch instead of being drowned in batter, which made it crisp and meaty, rather than doughy.
I used many dishes and it took a lot of prep work, but it was well worth the effort. I marinated, then deep fried the pork. While the pork marinated, I made sweet and sour sauce with a whole hodge-podge of ingredients. I knew vinegar and pineapple juice would be used, but there were several ingredients that surprised me, including ketchup, orange marmalade, and hot sauce. Wacky. Something tells me this is not a traditional Chinese dish, despite it's popularity in the States. Ha! I added the sauce and the pork to sauteed vegetables, and had found my new favorite way to cure a Chinese food craving.

Conclusion: Loved it. I'll never order sweet and sour pork again.

My friend and I made plans for Saturday to watch Jane Eyre and whine about how much we hate Corpus Christi (despite my exciting next home, I still have to suffer another year here, and my friend will be here even longer. Blah.) Cheesecake Brownies (pg 195 of Ready For Dessert) seemed like a perfectly self-indulgent, woe-is-me kind of treat. They're exactly what they sound like: brownies topped with cheesecake.
A little bit of this brownie goes a looong way.
At room temperature or slightly cool, I would prefer to either have a brownie or cheesecake. The flavors and textures didn't really seem to gel. However, yesterday I froze the remaining brownies for some future dessert, per Lebovitz's suggestion. That future dessert came a few hours later, when I ate one straight from the freezer. The brownie and the cheesecake had frozen to the same chewy consistency. Fresh, the cheesecake was kind of light and airy, and didn't really stand up to the dense brownie. Frozen, they were equals.

Conclusion: Liked it.


  1. A bit off topic but... one of the most useful books I read before moving overseas was The Expert Expatriate by Melissa Brayer Hess and Patricia Linderman. I assume that the Navy is taking care of most of the logistics for you, but thought I would suggest it anyway.

  2. Oh man, that sweet and sour pork sounds awesome. Looks like this book is gonna be a winner!

  3. Thanks for the recommendation, oneexpatslife. The Navy handles the move and our flights and such, but we don't plan to live on base, so their usefulness sort of ends with our arrival there, apart from giving us a place to stay until we find a home. I'll check out the book. I'm sure it'll have something I can use in it!

  4. All three dishes look great! But, I especially like the sound of the first dish with the bay scallops!

  5. You are moving to Naples?! How fabulous! I'll take a little bit of each of these, please. :)