Thursday, March 26, 2009

100 Recipes Challenge

UPDATE UPDATE! FOUR YEARS LATER! This book wins the GOurmand WOrld Cokbook Awards Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the World. Patience is All. March 2013.

UPDATE: Since many people seem to be looking at this post lately, I thought I'd update. After sitting on the shelf for a few years, I took this texbook to another publisher. (Altamira, now with the title THREE WORLD CUISINES) But that meant I had to do ALL the recipes myself. Happy to say I have just finished them. Not exactly the list I envisioned over 2 years ago, but close. Nor is it 300 recipes either. The majority I've either done many times or have tested in the past months. Keep your eye out spring 2012.

Recently I was given a challenge, well really an assignment, to come up with 100 of the most important recipes from three of the major world cuisines. It's for a textbook for the CIA. The other CIA, exactly. To be called, of course, World Cuisines. I wrote the text, last year, and am now revising bits here and there. The CIA is doing the recipes, but asked me to come up with lists that will match the text.

Italy took me all of yesterday morning, but wasn't too difficult. I picked my favorites. Mexico I did today, and it was much harder. Took me maybe 6 hours or so. And of course I had to browse through cookbooks to jolt my memory. But still fell short of 100. Here's China, done this morning.

If anyone has any further suggestions, I will be happy to take them, and will even thank you in the book! Here's what I have so far in no order whatsoever, nor punctuated.


lasagna al forno vitello tonnato caponata tortellini in brodo ragù Bolognese pesto Genovese polpettone porchetta ribollita sugo di anatra cotoletta Milanese calamari fritti pizza Margherita
bruscetta/crostini carpaccio stracotto di vitello frittata torta pasqualina focaccia gnocchi di patata polenta tortelli di zucca risotto pollo alla cacciatore ravioli pasticcio di maccheroni bagna cauda
zuppa Pavese supplì al telefono pizzocheri della Valtellina (buckwheat) tagliatelle fagioli all’ucelletto spaghetti carbonara carciofi all Guidia battuta spaghetti con le vongole farinata
cippoline marinate finocchi salad ucelli arrosto insalata Caprese lattuga ripiena melanzane ripiena radicchio al forno fiore di zucchine fritti baccalà all Vicentina pesce spada in umido sardine alla griglia cacciuco anguilla ai ferri scampi fritto misto agnello scottaditto tonno alla marinara (tomato and olives) arista (pork loin) bistecca Fiorentina osso buco saltimboca cotechino bollito misto passatelli insalata di mare grissini Torinesi triglie al cartoccio frico con patata strangolapreti filetto alla Rossini Pesce in saor fegato alla Veneziana Rise e bisi canederli (dumplings) bomba di risa alla Piacentina papardelle sull la lepre fagioli al fiasco bucatini all’Amatriciana fave al guanciale panzanella farsumagru zabaglione funghi trifolati sbrisolona
mostaccioli biscotti tiramisù trippa alla Romana torrone stracciatelle taralli zucchini ripiene
coppa di testa granita pandoro/pannetone amaretti canoli ossi dei morti mostarda di frutta
cotognata (quince)


masa for tortillas tacos de Res (beef) pico de gallo chilaquiles salsa of tomatillos (mole verde)
totopos (chips) guacamole cochinita pibil quesadillas quesadillas con huitlacoche nopalitos
burritos (flour tortillas) chimichangas (fried) menudo carnitas (pork) pollo encacahautado (peanut sauce) mole de almendras segueza (stewed rabbit and corn) pozole gorditas de chili con queso churros chocolate atole mixiotes (chicken wrapped in maguey leaves or banana, steamed)
buñuelos sopaipillas camarones al mojo de ajo pepitas tamales de puerco tamales con queso
carne asada escabeche (fish) ceviche (raw) cabrito (barbacoa) aquas frescas (jamaica, limón)
capirotada papas y chorizo picadillo (gr. beef w/ raisins, olives, almonds) semitas (rolls)
arroz con pollo arroz rojo huevos revueltos con chorizo mole poblano con guajalote (turkey)
frijoles en olla frijioles refritos chicarrónes sopa de tortilla empanadas enchiladas verdes chalupas with shredded chicken chili relleños sopes verdolagas (purslane) for tacos lengua estofado for tacos albóndigas chalupas Poblanas (masa canoes) fajitas sopa de lima (Yucatan) flan margaritas
sopa de fideos pan dulce chapulines (fried grasshoppers) papadzules (tortilla w/ egg and pumpkin seed sauce) birria (stew w/ pork or beef, chilies) horchata adobo de achiote flautas
chayote con rajas y elote pipián verde w/fish empanadas de platanos quelites (sauteed) calabacitas con chiles verdes jicama w/ chili and lime huevos rancheros sopa Xochitl (squash blossoms) enchiladas verdes de mariscos red snapper veracruzano (huachinango?) ropa vieja
tres leches cake pan de muerto turron de Alicante esquites (corn on cob) caldo Tlapeño (Jalisco)
champurrado (chocolate atole) rosca de reyes huraches (stuffed cactus)


baozi and mantou xiaolongbao steamed pork dumpling from Shanghai wonton soup Chao Mian (fried noodles) la mian (pulled noodles) fan (rice steamed) Fried Rice (Chao fan) Peking Duck (Beijing Op) and panckaes (Bok Bang) Tea Smoked Duck (zhang cha ya zi) Kung Pao Shrimp (Kung Pao Ming Har) Kung Pao Chicken (gong bao ji ding) Drunken Chicken (Joi Gai) (Zoy Gai)
Moon Cakes Tai Bai chicken (tai bai ji) Chinese Broccoli, stir fried Ma Po Doufu Mu Shu Pork (Muk See Yuk) Red Cooked Pork (Jau Yau Tai Pong) (hong shao rou) Sichuan Beef (Chau Ngau Yuk) Fried Whole Red Snapper Buddha’s Delight Shark Fin Soup Sichuan Hotpot (si chuan huo guo) Beggar’s Chicken (Hot Yee Gai) Jook/Congee Spare Ribs (Siu Pai Guat) Hangzhou Braised Pork Belly (Kau Yuk) Jellyfish (Hoi Jit Pei) Shrimp Ha Gau Dumplings Pork Siu Mai Dumplings
Glutinous Rice Dumplings with pork (Tong Yuen) 1000 Year Old Eggs Steamed Egg Custard
Stir Fried Asparagus with Shrimp (Lo Suun Chow Ha) Claypot Braised Seafood Rice Bundles (Hom Zoong) Bok Choy stir fried spring rolls fung jau (chicken feet) loh bak goh (turnip cake dim sum) scallion pancakes Lion’s Head Meatballs (See Ji Tau) Winter Melon Soup Hot and Sour Soup West Lake Fish (Carp from Hangzhou) Sweet Red Bean Soup Braised Abalone (Bau Yue)
Sesame Balls (w/ glutinous rice flour and bean paste) Sweet and Sour fish Salt Baked Chicken
Lemon Chicken Beef with Oyster Sauce Fermented Bean Curd with Greens Yard Long Beans Double Cooked (Sichuan) Singapore Noodles (rice) Ants Climbing Trees (Sichuan) ma yi shang shu Wheat Noodle Soup (Char Siu) Gai Seung Tong (Chicken Stock) Bamboo Shoots with Pork
Stir Fried Egg and Tomatoes (Fan Qie Chao Dan) Mao-Style Red Cooked Pork from Hunan
Twice Cooked Pork (Hui Guo Rou) Stir Fried Water Spinach (Chao Kong Xin Cai) Guo Tiao (Fried crullers) pickled vegetables (si chuan pao cai) dan dan noodles (dan dan mian)
pot stickers (ji zhi guo tie) bang bang chicken (guai wei ji si or bang bang ji si) deep fried peanuts (you su hua ren) Tofu with fish fragrance (yu xiang dou fu) Cross the Bridge Rice Noodles (Yunnan) Bai Yun Zhu Shou (White Cloud pig’s feet) Lao Po Bing (Lo Por Bang) Winter Melon Pastry Shanghai Wine Chicken Peking Beef Heng Yang Spicy Scallops

Monday, March 23, 2009

Langer's Pastrami

This is not exactly a charming neighborhood, but I was committed to tasting what has been touted as the best pastrami in the country during my recent trip to LA. All, of course as a prelude to making my own pastrami. My pals Andrew and Damon facilitated the pilgrimage.

The interior, as you can see is vintage 1975. The real thing, not touted up or reinvented. The waitstaff were original (see upper left), the banquettes, plastic coated menu, and even the nice Jewish man who took this picture for us. He self identified as such, even though I suspected he was paid to sit there to lend authenticity. We tried the brisket, corned beef w/ sauerkraut and the famed pastrami. Fries came with, and I had a cream soda.

Here is the sandwich, drawn and quartered. The coleslaw, I must admit, threw me a bit, and I think it would have been better without it. The pickles were a little younger and tamer than I like. And the whole maybe a little too soft and yeilding.

Here I am scrutinizing he contents. I have to admit, on it's own it is quite possibly the best pastrami in the country. Maybe the universe. But I saw no Martians.

Ok, it was indeed pretty damned amazing. But here is what I intend to do differently. I'm not sure if the meat was smoked or not, but I think it should be. This was not terribly different from the corned beef, which as a sandwich was actually superior. I am a toast freak, and I love sauerkraut. So that's what make that sandwich work. But if you took pastrami, on toasted rye, a little more sour and not so soft, and left off the cole slaw, added mustard instead. Nothing else. Then I think it could rank up there among the celestial blessed sandwiches. Samachisa bootifa, samachisa fine, I like samachis, I eat them all the time. I eat them for my dinner.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Food Culture of Pets

I got to thinking just now, after reading a little facebook message from Warren Belasco about how his pets might influence his writing habits. Interesting idea. Sure, typing accidents. Random inspiration. Then I came home. Sadie asked me for dried Japanese Cuttle Fish. Seriously. She asks for it in Japanese. Since I don't speak Japanese I assume she's saying it correctly. Mi'aou-ah. I shared.

But this then got me seriously thinking. This here is Ray Bolger. When he was a kitten, he looked just like the Scarecrow, danced well too. He came into my house, started eating then and hasn't stopped since. But take a look at what this beast is doing.

He actually scoops his food from the bowl. Messily, we admit, but usually lands it right into the water bowl. Leaves it there for about 10 seconds, decides that it's soaked enough, and deftly scoops it out with his paw and puts it daintily in his mouth.

Unlike the other cats, he eats nothing but this. And has a such a strange ritual that no one could possibly have taught him, I think we should seriously be thinking about food culture beyond the parameters of our own species. Obviously, he shares this with no one, but decided on his own weird preference, and insists on dunking. And has become masterful at it. Don't you find this perplexingly thought-provoking? We assume society gives us our eating habits, but here is something he shares with no other cat or human in the house, and figured it out on his own.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I'm currently writing a paper for the Renaissance Society conference next week about 3 cookbooks from the 1540s and the mutual influence among Italy, France and England. Anyway, I came aross this recipe that appears virtually the same in two of them called variously soupe capilorde or suppa di capirotta. Both are ultimately versions of an older Spanish dish called Capirotada. But it just dawned on me as I was writing that this is a version of the souped up (literally) grilled cheese ideas that have been floating around lately among food bloggers. Except this one is literally floating around.

Just try to imagine this. Roasted capon breast taken off the bone and shredded. Think leftover chicken here. Then take slices of good toast and fry them until crisp and brown. Then take a bowl and put down a "sop" of the bread, cover with some chicken, some cheese and a whole mess of spices. Especially cinnamon, some sugar and ginger. More IS better. And make layer after layer of these ingedients. Then pour good broth over it into the bowl. A floating chicken grilled cheese sandwich. I think I may just have to make this tonight.

Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, it's descendant is the capirotada of Mexico, a sweet cheesy bread pudding. And incidentally I have seen baroque recipes for this that are also then baked so the cheese all melts and the bread really soaks it up, and then it's garnished with cockscombs, testicles, circles of marrow, ambergris, gooseberries.

"Lambs and slothes and carp and fruitbats and orangutans and breakfast cereals.... skip a bit brother." Who can name the source of that feast?