Monday, July 03, 2017

Kung Pao Shirmp

We invited Tom and Scott over for Kung Pao Shirmp. This was another recipe from our new go to cookbook: Lucky Peach. We started with a Nectarine Salad with Speck and Burrata Cheese. The Kung Pao Shrimp was excellent. We purchased them from McCall’s Meat and Fish. I had to shell and devein them but they were beautiful. I liked the recipe (like all of the ones that we have tried from Lucky Peach Cookbook). It was a warm night and we ate outside. Ice Cream and Cookie for dessert, followed by a Scotch. We even had some July 3rd fireworks to watch.

Kung Pao Shrimp
Lucky Peach
Peter Meehan

2T     water
1T     soy sauce
1T     Shaoxing wine
1T     Chinkiang vinegar
1T     sugar
1t      sesame oil
1t      cornstarch
+       pinch of white pepper

3 T    neutral oil
10     small dried red chilies
1t      Sichuan peppercorns
2t      minced garlic
2t      minced fresh ginger
½      red bell pepper, cut into ½” pieces
½      green bell pepper, cut into ½” pieces
2       celery stalks, cut into 1” pieces
1lb    large shrimp, shelled and deveined
+       kosher salt
2       scallions, cut into 1” pieces
½C    roasted unsalted peanuts
+       cooked rice, for serving

1.   Make the sauce: Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
2.   Make the stir-fry: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok over high heat Add the chilies and peppercorns and stir-fry until they puff and brown slightly, about 5 seconds. Add the garlic, ginger, and bell peppers arid stir-fry until the peppers are browned in spots and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to a plate. Add the celery to the pan and stir-fry until heated through and charred in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the peppers.
3.   Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the wok. Season the shrimp with salt and add to the wok. Stir-fry until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Return the peppers, celery, and spices to the wok. Add the scallions and peanuts and toss to combine everything. Add the sauce and cook, stirring, until it bubbles and thickens. When the sauce is thick and the shrimp are cooked through, remove from the heat Serve with rice.

Rung Pao (or gung bao) dishes are a celebration of texture, a cascade of crunchy, slippery, and crisp that keeps every bite interesting. We've made two tweaks to the classic: We dialed the heat all the way down and swapped out the more common chicken for shrimp. The shrimp substitution we stand by; the chili heat is your call and very easy to ramp up.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cumin Lamb

We decided to make another dish from Lucky Peach Cookbook. This time we tried Cumin Lamb. It like all of the other recipes that we have tried was both excellent and easy. Recommend both the cookbook and this recipe.

Cumin Lamb
Makes 2 to 4 servings

2 Tbl cumin seeds
1 Tbl Sichuan peppercorns
1 Tea kosher salt
½-1 Tea chili flakes
1 lb boneless lamb leg, thinly sliced
2 Tbl neutral oil
2 C thinly sliced white or yellow onions
1 C sliced scallion, whites and greens
1 Tbl sliced garlic
2 Tbl soy sauce
2 TBl Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1 C roughly chopped cilantro

  1. Toast the cumin seeds and peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pulse in a spice grinder until broken into pieces, but not finely ground. Mix the spices with the salt and chili flakes.
  2. Toss the meat in the spice mixture. making sure every piece gets a good, even dusting of the spices.
  3. Heat a very large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the oil. and when it emits wisps of smoke, add the onions and cook, tossing, until translucent around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Scoop the onions out of the wok and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add the lamb and any residual spices to the pan. Cook, tossing, until the meat begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions, garlic, soy sauce, and wine, and bring to a brisk simmer. Keep tossing to coat the lamb in the sauce. After 2 to 3 minutes, when the lamb is just cooked through and coated in sauce, return the onions to the pan and toss everything together. Remove from the heat and fold in the cilantro. Serve hot

Cumin and lamb are cozy bedfellows in a number of cuisines, but if they were putting together a scrapbook of their times and travels together, I think they'd choose this Chinese-style preparation as the goldenest of their golden years. It brings together so many old friends—garlic, onions. Sichuan peppercorns, dried red chili—but, like a great reunion episode of a sitcom, nobody lingers too long or tries to steal the spotlight.