South China- Week 5

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This week our class was split into two parts; south and west China. My group was South China. We had two groups of 4 in South China and both groups had to make the full Southern menu. I scooped up the fortune cookie recipe right off the bat since I had been wanting to make those for several weeks. I also ended up with tea infused eggs. At first I was a little iffy about my dishes because they both seemed relatively short but the fortune cookies are surprisingly time consuming.

First I got my tea infused eggs going. Basically this dish is hard boiled eggs whose shells are cracked and then boiled again in a green tea mixture that contains star anise, soy sauce, and rock sugar. The eggs are then cooled and peeled. It leaves a very pretty pattern on the eggs but doesn't change the flavor much. The Chinese are big on garnishes and presentation so I turned mine into a caterpillar.

The fortune cookies were difficult. People had troubles with them last week, too. My first batch cracked a ton because I left them in too long. They were JUST starting to brown on the edges. I learned that I needed to pull them out when they were JUST set. I found my StoryPeople fortunes that I had made previously and was able to make use of them. Basically, fortune cookies are made from a loose batter like dough. You spread this into rounds with an offset spatula and then bake them. You fold them in half and then drape them over a dowel or side of a pot to make the curvy shape. Because you have to work so quickly when they come out of the oven, you can only make 2-3 cookies at a time. I also found it easiest to cut circles out of a piece of parchment paper and use the sheet part that wasn't cut to spread the batter over and then lift the paper and I had perfect circles left. So much easier than trying to shape perfect circles by hand. Once you make a few, you pop them into the oven to brown up again. I left mine a couple minutes too long. They tasted wonderful, though! Next time I would add a little more butter and possible use pastry flour instead of all purpose flour.

Jimmy made a stir fried squid dish that was absolutely amazing!!! I actually got a plate and that was my lunch. The sauce was the perfect mixture of sweetness and saltiness. The fried squid pieces gave it a crunch and the larger pieces were chewy. There was fermented bean paste in it, too, which came through in just the right way. That dish was perfection...but the photo sucks.


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