February 27, 2019
Home Cooked Asian Meals

This issue is teaming with recipes for our favorite Asian recipes. And, here is a list of some of the best ingredients to get you started cooking.

We start with the freshest produce, meat, seafood, and bean curd to ensure optimal flavor for quick, high-heat cooking. Then we add our best-quality spices from Morton & Bassett. And, if you are looking to purchase smaller quantities, reach for the little, green Spicely boxes.

Rather than grating a lot of fresh ginger, we like to keep a jar of The Ginger People's Organic Minced Ginger on hand as a time-saving option. And, if you are looking for a spicy mustard, Beaver Brand Extra Hot Traditional Chinese Mustard is our favorite.
We have the three basic kinds of Asian Noodles covered. Dynasty Brand makes amazing, traditional Rice Sticks as well as Bean Threads. They're great in so many dishes including stir-fries, salads, and for deep frying to a crunch.

Nanka Seimen Chow Mein Udon Noodles can hold up in a stir-fry and have the ability to absorb the flavors of complementary ingredients like vegetables and meats.

Skins & Wrappers
Also from Nanka Seimen, we have Egg Roll Skins, Wonton Wrappers, and Gyoza Skins. These are strong, flexible, and have the ability to make a secure sealing. They cook up to a light and delicately crispy texture.

If you are looking for ready-mad dumplings for when you don't have time to do your own, we carry Ling Ling Potstickers in both Pork with Vegetable Dumplings and Chicken with Vegetables. They also come with their own savory dipping sauce and are delicious and simple to prepare. You can find them in our freezer case.
Ready-Mades Sauces
These simplify cooking for weeknights and quick and give you leeway to experiment with flavors. Here is a list of some of our favorites. It is a great idea to have a few on hand for variety and inspiration.

  • Lee Kum Kee Chinese Barbecue Sauce
  • Wok Mei Hoisin Sauce, Plum Sauce, & Oyster Sauce
  • Jade Sichuan Peanut Sauce
  • Maggie Gin's Traditional Stir Fry Sauce
  • Kee Kum Kee Panda Brand Sauce for Broccoli Beef & Sauce for Mongolian BBQ Stir-Fry
News & Events

Monet: The Late Years just opened last week at the deYoung. Featuring nearly fifty paintings by Claude Monet dating mainly from 1913 to 1926, the exhibit is dedicated to the final phase of the artist’s long career.

During his late years, the well-traveled Monet stayed close to home,inspired by the variety of elements making up his own garden at Giverny, a village located about forty-five miles from Paris. With its evolving scenery of flower beds, footpaths, willows, wisteria, and nymphaea, the garden became a personal laboratory for the artist’s concentrated study of natural phenomena.

The exhibition will focus on the series that Monet invented, and just as important, reinvented, in this setting. In the process, it will reconsider the conventional notion that many of the late works painted on a large scale were preparatory for the Grand Decorations, rather than finished paintings in their own right. Boldly balancing representation and abstraction, Monet’s radical late works redefined the master of Impressionism as a forebear of modernism.

A Staff Favorite

We've loved using Nanka Sieman Golden Dragon Wrappers for years—they make it simple to create your own wontons in your home kitchen.

Golden Dragon Wrappers follow a traditional process using a rich, egg yolk formula that is blended in small batches to makea strong flexible skinwith secure sealing and a light delicate crispy texture. Each skin is lightly dusted with a specially imported potato starch rather than standard corn starch for trouble-free separation.

In 1905, Nanka Siemen, a family noodle shop opened in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and eventually grew into a family business that produces fresh traditional noodles and wrappers to customers all over the U.S., Mexico, and Europe.

A Cookbook Recommendation

By Fuchsia Dunlop 
The food of the Sichuan region in southwest China is one of the world's great culinary secrets. Many of us know it for its "hot and spicy" reputation or a few of its most famous dishes, most notably Kung Pao chicken, but that is only the beginning. Sichuanese cuisine is legendary in China for its sophistication and astounding diversity: local gourmets claim the region boasts 5000 different dishes.

Fuchsia Dunlop fell in love with Sichuanese food on her first visit to the province ten years ago. The following year she went to live in the Sichuanese capital Chengdu, where she became the first foreigner to study full-time at the province's famous cooking school, the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. Now she has given us a cookbook gathered on the spot from the kitchens of Sichuan, filled with stories and colorful descriptions of the region itself. Useful for the enthusiastic beginner as well as the experienced cook, Land of Plenty teaches you not only how to prepare the Sichuan recipes but also the art of chopping and to appreciate the textures of dishes.

Among this book's unique features: a full glossary of Chinese terms; Chinese characters useful for shopping; a practical introduction to the art of cutting; detailed lists of the 23 recognized flavor combinations and 56 cooking methods used in Sichuanese cuisine; 16 color pictures of the ingredients and finished dishes; double-page maps of the region; and Chinese characters for every recipe.

It is a very long time since I saw a book which is so
patently an absolute must.
―Alan Davidson, author of The Oxford Companion to Food
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

I like my Chinese food spicy, which is a good thing because most of the different regions of China come with their own brand of mouth-numbing heat. If I had to pick my favorite I’d probably go Sichuan over, say, Hunan or Cantonese. But, that’s mainly because it is what I have been exposed to the most. Plus you can never go wrong with a Sichuan Hot Pot.

I have written before about my personal challenges with Chinese cooking. It’s like I have a mental block when it comes to cooking with a wok. This is why, when I am craving Chinese food, I will generally leave it in the hands of the experts and order take-out. There have been a number of favorite establishments over the years that have helped me sooth my spicy cravings. And, there are a couple I frequent currently—but there is only one that remains head and shoulders above the rest.

Back in the dark ages, WAY before my husband and I started dating, our group of friends frequently dined at Emeryville’s Public Market. It was the perfect place for a large group to meet and eat because you could satisfy everyone’s appetite. You could get anything you wanted. Ginormous burritos? Yep. Afghani cuisine? Check. Noodle Bowls? Check. Hofbrau? Of course. Nine times out of ten, though, I found myself in the long line at The Crispy Fry for their Gung Bo Chicken, extra spicy. It was the perfect dish of spicy and saucy served over a huge mound of steamed rice. It was the ideal ending to a hard day of work or the best answer to a hard night of partying. And if the craving struck mid-week for lunch? You knew you had to get there early ‘cause the line started forming the minute the doors opened to the market.

When they remodeled the Public Market and the Crispy Fry ultimately closed, I was distraught. I have been searching for a replacement that is just as good ever since but have not had much luck. So, I have been forced to face my demons and try to do it myself. It’s been a process though I have had some success. This recipe for Gung Bo Chicken comes close but I am quickly coming to the conclusion that nothing could ever take the place of The Fry.

So, we may not get hurricanes in Oakland, but we sure get rain. We are celebrating our latest atmospheric river with this classic, Southern cocktail, The Hurricane.

This Hurricane first became popular in the 1940s in New Orleans at Pat O'Brian's bar. It was named after the hurricane lamp-shaped glass that it is served in.

This drink is simple to make and has a delicious blend of passion fruit and orange juices. Plus, it is perfect for serving on Mardi Gras which is only a week away.

From our recipe blog, The Kitchen Table

Most people when they are learning to cook start off simple. Scrambled eggs. Roast chicken. Pancakes. The first things my daughter taught herself to make were pork dumplings.

To be fair, dim sum and all other Chinese dumplings are basically her favorite food. So, it makes sense that this is what she would want to know how to make. And, this is pretty much her M.O. She finds something that she is interested in, become obsessive about it, and then sets off to master it. And, once she has, she moves on to the next thing. Her current obsession? French Macarons. And there is now almond flour on every surface of my home…

As luck would have it, our cookbook club was cooking through a Chinese cookbook at the time she wanted to learn about dumpling—and there happened to be a wonton recipe that we decided to try. So I figured it would be a fun day of bonding with my daughter and teaching her a new skill. Little did I know I was about to be schooled…

Making the filling for the dumplings is fairly uncomplicated. All you are doing is just mixing the ingredients together. The difficult part of making dumplings is in the folding of the wrapper. They can be tricky and it takes some practice to get it right. The first few that I produced were misshapen and scary and the filling kept squishing out. My (at that time) ten-year-old daughter’s? Perfect. So perfect, in fact, she had to show me and my many years of cooking experience where I was going wrong. I have no idea where she learned to do it, but apparently, my daughter is a dumpling prodigy. And I, a mere mortal, bow to her greatness.

We did end up having a great time working together and the dumplings were so good. The best part was sitting down after it was all done to devour them with spicy chili sauce…

News & Events

Noise Pop Festival is an annual week-long music and arts festival that takes place throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1993, Noise Pop Festival has provided exposure to emerging artists, many of whom have gone on to widespread acclaim.

Noise Pop Festival began in 1993as a "5 bands for 5 dollars show" at the Kennel Club (now the Independent). It has expanded to an eleven-day festival across nearly every major and independent venue in San Francisco. There are over 160 bands comprising 85 events at over 25 venues.

Featuring non-stop music from electronic to jazz to good ol’ rock n’ roll, the festival offers an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the celebration. Complemented by art shows, film scores, talks, happy hours, after hours and more.
Noise Pop is a true champion of independent culture.

Through March 3 at various venues.

A Staff Favorite

Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon just flies off the shelves at our store!
Their exceptional center-cut uncured bacon is made in small batches and slow smoked over real Applewood to give you an authentic smoky flavor with no artificial colors or additives. They add just a touch of turbinado sugar for a perfect balance of sweet and salt.

Niman Ranch began in the early 1970s on an eleven-acre ranch in Bolinas. They now make some of the tastiest meat we have tried. And, they support the nation's largest network of family farmers and ranchers-more than 725. Niman Ranch hogs are humanely raised on small, family farms according to the strictest animal handling protocols. and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. They never use gestation crates or farrowing crates. They also never give their hogs hormones or antibiotics.

Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon makes everything taste a little better. Here are some of our favorite recipes highlighting the salty deliciousness of bacon:

From our Blog, The Kitchen Table

Valentine ’s Day is a pretty low key affair in my house. Not that I wouldn’t be thrilled if my main squeeze bucked tradition and went all out. It would be great and I would be completely surprised but I have learned after almost 20 years together that the old adage about aging dogs and new tricks is true. To be fair, I am not looking for a grotesque "Hallmark Store just threw up" type of display. I don’t need five dozen roses. I’m always up for a nice dinner (but you have to fight the crowds). I’d be totally happy with a book and an hour or two of uninterrupted silence and solitude. Throw in a hot bath and I’ve hit Nirvana…

However, one dude in my house is putting in some work this Valentine’s Day. One of my 14-year-old sons was very adamant about getting his girlfriend (Did I really just type that? Girlfriend? Yikes!) a gift and I have to give him credit, he did it because he wanted to not because he was pressured. AND, he did it all on his own with no help from me except for the use of my Amazon Prime account. He’s planning to present his gift and spend the evening with her on Thursday which means he will be missing out on our Annual Valentine’s Day Ice Cream Sundae fest. I sense he isn’t all that broken up about it. Can’t imagine why…

I’ve decided I’m gonna change things up and get a little crazy this year. The others can do their mountain of ice cream with sprinkles and fudge and nuts and whipped cream. This year I’m going to make one of my all-time favorite desserts, Affogato. If you’ve never heard of it, Affogato is basically vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso poured over it. It’s absolutely simple and incredibly tasty. It’s even better if you use a vanilla chocolate chip gelato and then sprinkle more chocolate chips on top…yum! Of course, you can use whatever gelato you want—coconut would be really good. Or maybe something boozy. You can never go wrong with boozy…especially with a little of your favorite poured on top…Bailey’s anyone?

A quick search online can yield a number of yummy Affogato possibilities…

Asian & Asian-Inspired Recipes
From Our Archives

We have been perusing our blog for Asian and Asian-Inspired recipes to share with you this month—and there are some great ones! So, here is our list, some contemporary recipes and some traditional. We hope you enjoy them.

Chinese Cantonese

Chinese Sichuan





Vendor of the Month

This Chili Garlic Sauce is a thick, chunky-style hot sauce with a hint of garlic flavor. It's perfect for adding heat to all your favorite Asian dishes. It's made from sun-ripened chili peppers with a touch of vinegar, which adds acidity. And, it is not as sweet as Huy Fong's ever-popular Sriracha sauce.

Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce is Vietnamese in origin, but we use it whenever chili paste is called for it a dish—and not only in Asian recipes! It is a great substitute for hot sauce in spicy meatloaf, in dipping sauces for wings, fried chicken, and fried potatoes. It's great on eggs and to add a kick to your marinade. And, you can mix it with mayo to give your sandwiches a kick.

It's history
Hot sauce creator, David Tran, began his chili making in 1975 in Vietnam. His first hot sauce called Pepper Sa-te was filled into recycled glass baby food jars and sold and delivered by family members via bicycle. In 1979, he left Vietnam on a Taiwanese freighter named Huey Fong—the namesake of his company, Huy Fong Foods.

In 1980, he started his chili legacy near Chinatown in Los Angeles by selling to local restaurants. And, his sauces spread like wildfire becoming one of America's most beloved brands.

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Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.