28 April 2010

better butter is better

remember that butter-themed tongue-twister rhyme from your childhood that began with "betty botter bought some butter..."?

remember how she said the butter was bitter and that if she incoprorated it in her mysterious batter that it would result in a bitter batter? and that quality butter would be the only resolution for improving the result of the batter?

anyways... here's an example of some sweet sweet butter-based batter (or dough, rather) is the fancy-arse kouign amann (breton for butter cake).and oh what a cake it is! so decadently delicious dat you dare double the dosage and die.

the breton bakery where this one is from (pâtisserie kouign amann) sells them in slices like pizza. i don't think i would have the patience to make one of these things (dough, butter, sugar, roll, wait... dough, butter, sugar, roll, wait... rinse and repeat...), but i can definitely walk or run to the bakery that makes these sweet, flaky cakes of artery-cloggers.

16 April 2010

dumprings are dericious

when you're over a 13-hour plane ride from the closest chinese city, and you need a dumpling fix, you can get the real deal at qing hua, right here in downtown montreal. good gao-zhi (餃子) are hard to find in this neck of the woods that aren't made at home by chinese popos (婆婆) or maa-maas (嫲嫲)1.

freshly made everyday, the good people at qing hua know their dumplings and very likely serve up some of the most authentic ones in the city.
an and entire chowhound thread on this place means that it's worth a detour.

after they changed locales last summer from their miniscule st-marc st location to their present-day lincoln st. one, they added service staff (which is a big plus, considering that it takes on average a good 20 minutes to cook your order).

[i was skeptical of these chicken curry dumplings but after one bite, i became an instant fan.]

you can get them steamed (recommended for this type of dumpling), boiled (ok, but inferior to steamed), or fried (for an extra $1.50, i think). highly recommended are the lamb and coriander dumplings as well as the pork and anise ones. prices are very reasonable (ranging from $7.99 to $12.99 for 15 or 18 dumprings).

for the same price as on their menus, you can bring home twice as many frozen versions of the same dumplings so you can burn your mouth at home when you bite into one of these steamed pockets of yum!

1(actually, chinese families from the south don't often make this style of dumplings so to name cantonese grandmothers is slightly misleading and evil of me. however, it is occasionally permitted to be so).  

Qing Hua Dumpling on Urbanspoon

04 April 2010

oh my darling, clementine cake

anyone who would ever pass up buying one of those little wooden crates of tangerines has to be some sort of citrus masochist (or allergic to citrus, which is not unheard of...). why anyone would pass up the taste of a tangerine-burp is mind-boggling... so refreshing!

i, for one, won't pass up a crate (especially when it's on sale), but there's only so many one can eat. so with the extra ones i didn't consume, i tried cooking them in these sticky tangerine cakes following nigella's recipe for clementine cake.

i wasn't about to spend 2 hours cooking tangerines so i smoldered them in the pressure cooker for less than half the time. they came out just as mushed up as being simmered on the stove for 2 hours. then i just pulsed them using a hand blender. the finished cake(s) came out as delicately sweet and almondy scrumptious as you can imagine they would taste in the photos with just 5 ingredients (almonds, eggs, clementines/tangerines, sugar, and baking powder).

(btw, if you don't have a scale (which you should even if you weren't a drug dealer), try following smittenkitchen's version, which approximates the weighted quantity in volume).

tangerines and clementines are variants of mandarin oranges so you can use them interchangeably (the major difference between them is that tangerines often have many more seeds than tangerines).

according to chinese lore, chinese ladies who were "hip to their time" used to carry mandarins in their hands so that they would smell like the citrus fruit. (i should check the oxford companion to food for the exact reference...)

anyways, good on you, nigella, for finally producing an easy-to-follow recipe that doesn't sound wacky!

DO, however FOLLOW to the recipe when it says to use parchment paper cause these suckers stick to the pan like doody to a chihuahua's butt.