I cooked an Asian meal today

lion's head meatballs 3-16-08

Chinese dinner tonight for friends.  I guess I’m just crazy enough to make Chinese food for Chinese guests, but I figure they’d appreciate the gesture as I do when someone serves me up some Eisbein that is less than echt.  I made a couple of my favorite Shanghai-style dishes:  lion’s head meatballs, which are first fried and then braised in cabbage leaves, and pork belly braised in wine, soy sauce, ginger and rock sugar.  For some reason I also served up kare-kare, a Filipino dish of tripe and oxtails laced with annatto oil and peanut butter, just for some contrast.  It’s generally a bad idea to cook something you never made before when company calls, but I saw this in Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet on our Immigrant Ancestors (1990), and wanted to give it a go.  I love kare-kare, but you can’t eat too much in one sitting or you’ll feel like killing yourself. 

kare kare 3-16-08

Yes, I know this meal was too heavy in sum total, and I should have had a veggie or fish dish to round it all out, but we wanted to go for broke.  I didn’t even mention the potato Kugel with blood pudding dip – which sent this nothing-really-goes-together meal into depraved territory.  Yes, yes, I know Jeff Smith has been accused of terrible things and I should never use his cookbooks because that would go against the wishes of the powers that be – essentially to wipe his memory off the face of the earth, but I have no intention of stopping.  His cookbooks are pretty good.  Rip off my arms and legs if you want to.

braised pork belly

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