Monday, December 31, 2007

Free herb jars

Got mayo, got herb jars. Well call me cheap. I needed a new set of containers for my herbs and spices but when i went out to look for some the prices gave me sticker shock.
For years i have been saving mayo jars for screws, nuts, bolts and such, then it hit me, they are even more perfect for herbs and spices. At first i was annoyed when the mayo jars switched from glass to plastic but after dropping a few i realized that they were even more perfect, food grade plastic and unbreakable. Although the smaller jars of mayo are somewhat more expensive, they are the perfect size to hold a good amount of herbs that can be used up before becoming stale.
Once you have your empty jars, design and print up some labels, tape them on with a clear plastic tape wider than the label so that they clean up easily and you are in business....a matched set of herb jars and the price is right!!

Friday, December 14, 2007



Lagostinas are one of the several types of South American lobsters. I cannot imagine that these critters have many, if any natural enemies. They are totally covered with killer sharp spines. There is meat inside the small claws, but it can be painful to break them open as only your fingers seem able to do the job. The sweet mother load inside the body is a bit easier to get to. Break off the head then grab the tail in the middle and break in half by snapping the tail segments apart side to side. One kilo of lagostinas barely feeds two people. Steam and eat just like their northern cousins.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chinese comfort food

Mandrin pancakes

One summer in the early 70's i opened a leather craft shop, Master Leatherworks, in Ocean city for the summer, across the street a new Chinese restaurant opened. I began eating my lunches there every afternoon and soon i was working off the price of my lunches working in the kitchen during the evening dinner rush. Displaying an aptitude for cutting all sorts of foods, many i had never seen before, into uniform bite sized pieces, the master chef, Mr Lee, took notice of me and started showing me how the pieces went together and were cooked into meals, thus began my life long affair with Chinese cuisine.

Most often when we think of Chinese food rice comes to mind, but in the northern region of China we see more pasta, pancakes and dumplings. One of my favorites are mandarin pancakes. Wrapped around Moo Shu pork or almost any other stir fried dish they define Chinese comfort food for me.
Mandarin pancakes
1 cup flour
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil mixed with 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Mix the flour and water into a dough and kneed on a floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes.
roll into a log and cut into 8 equal pieces.
flatten the pieces with your palm and using a rolling pin, flatten out into 6" diameter pancakes. they should be very thin.
place 4 pancakes on your work surface and brush with the oil.
press the other 4 pancakes on top.
brush a hot fry pan with some of the left over oil and fry the pancakes, 30-60 seconds, on each side,
brown spots should form.
set aside to cool. separate and they are read to use.

Tomorrow i will post a simple and delicious version of the classic Moo Shu Pork that can be cooked by anyone in any kitchen, so stay tuned.