Monthly Archives: September 2010

old mother, pock-marked too, cooked tofu

yeah you got that right…old mothers need to eat (or drink) lots of tofu, soy, soy-based products.
here’s one from the book*: pock-marked mother’s tofu “ma po dou fu”….quite easy to make, kids love, and you feel like you’re healing yourself. or something like that.
pock-marked mother's tofu
ground pork, firm tofu cubes, and black beans sauteed with ginger and scallions and sweet rice wine and sprinkled with ground Szechuan pepper…
not much to look at, but really scrumptious over hot steamed rice; for a healthier version use ground turkey or chicken.
*Savoring China, edited by Jacqui Passmore, Williams-Sonoma.

objects of desire

yes indeed-indeedy…my craving of the moment…

on the fringe of Boston’s tiny little Chinatown is a restaurant we’ve overlooked but recently discovered when a nephew had his wedding rehearsal dinner there–subsequently also the getting-to- know-the-in-laws-dinner; we got acquainted with the Peking Duck course.
Peking Duck fixings, East Ocean City, Boston
super crispy skin, superbly flavored meat, freshly cooked Mandarin crepes, wrapped with hoisin sauce==ooh la la.

which we will get to know even better in good times to come.

husband’s family? Chinese food is every day food, so what do they have on special occasions? they do fancy Chinese banquet food, that’s what! i have counted up to 14 or so courses, some chosen for their special meanings, like when the sound or the calligraphic character of the dish symbolizes something auspicious like health, wealth, or harmony.

oh, and they also do a mean seafood soup:
seafood soup, East Ocean City
East Ocean City Restaurant
27 Beach St.
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 542-2504

at another wedding banquet/reception, for yet another nephew, (we were not able to attend the wedding but they had a reception here for their kin) there were symbolic dishes as well:
twin lobsters
couple-dom: twin lobsters
steamed whole fish
a whole fish=wholeness, harmony
Chinese character for abalone=guaranteed abundance
dragon and phoenix? chicken and shrimp
his and hers, chicken and shrimp over fried rice
mango gelatin
well…a heart is a heart

China Pearl, 9 Tyler Street, Boston

lovely, lovely laing (dried taro leaves stewed in coconut milk)

i thought all along i had a post on laing! it’s a dish of dried gabi leaves stewed in coconut milk and shrimp paste from the Bicol Region
ang laing ni Venus + lobsters
(famous for the use of coconuts and chilies in their cuisine) which i never had at home, but which i first tried at the now-long-gone Filipino Restaurant in Quincy called “The Shuttle Stop.” Aida, the chef served it topped with crab meat, which gave me the idea of topping my version with lobster meat.
i’ve made laing many times, sometimes using shrimp, sometimes just pork, and with the root crop (gabi or taro) itself, but this version made me sit up and take notice. posted by Mga Luto ni Dennis, which he in turn got from the one and only Maria Venus Raj, Ms. Philippines 2010 and fourth runner up in the last Miss Universe contest, it is an easier version to make–down to earth and lovely like Ms. Raj.
there was a hot debate raging after she lost the title, when she seemed to be a clear favorite right from the start.
i only added a few, like four!, bird chilies (siling labuyo) for that extra ooomph, and since i had some leftover grilled baby octopus and fried fish i threw them into the pot as well, and topped with steamed soft-shell lobsters. stewing the cubes of pork belly in the coconut milk seems to be the extra secret step….
thanks to Mr. Dennis Glorioso for sharing the recipe. there are lots more dishes to try over at his kitchen.