Cuisine

Michelin Changes it up a Bit

In March, Michelin debuted their South America guide. Surprisingly, this is Michelin's first venture into the Southern Hemisphere! Brazil was the only country on the list, with 16 restaurants featured.

Alex Atala's Sao Paolo based D.O.M. received two stars (equivalent to "excellent cuisine, worth a detour") and was the highest rank awarded. Rio de Janeiro featured six restaurants; all receiving one star (equivalent to "A very good restaurant in its category"). The restaurants are Lasai, Mee, Olympe, Oro, Le Pré Catelan and Roberta Sudbrack.

You can be sure that we will be visiting them on our upcoming tour of Rio for Carnival.

Chinese Dumplings, Fresh From the Source

One of the greatest joys of traveling is trying new dishes, authentic to the destination. Even better, is when we have the opportunity to learn how to make these dishes ourselves.  

For instance, on our trip to China, a woman we know named Mrs Woo invites us into her home and teaches us how to make traditional Chinese dumplings, or Jiaozi.  Here is a recipe that we adapted a bit in the Zoom Kitchen. Perhaps this recipe can become a special addition to your next dinner or cooking party!

Ingredients

Jiaozi dough:
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling:
* 1 cup grated carrot
* 1 TB soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 TB Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
* 3 TB sesame oil
* 1/2 green onion, finely minced
* 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
* 4 tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
* 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
* 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

Preparation:
Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the grated carrots, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.

To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter.

Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.

To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If desired, they can be pan-fried at this point.

Travel Makes Everything Taste Better

Is cappuccino really better in Rome? Is ceviche really more tasty in Peru? 

Sometimes, when I am home, I get an uncontrollable yearning for food just the way I had it somewhere else; usually on a sunny beach, a 2,000 year old piazza, a crowded fragrant market, or in the kitchen of an attentive cook. My yearning is usually followed with the conviction that we just don't know how to make a ceviche like they make it in Peru! Is it that the fish was literally caught hours ago off the coast of Lima, or is it that the limes used to cure and cook the fish, were grown in the Peru terrain and taste differently, or is it that my table was overlooking a 2,000 year old pre-Inca pyramid, and all these things came together at that one moment to heightened my senses, create an emotional response that triggered a tastier, more memorable ceviche than the overpriced version I can get at the fancy gourmet eatery in my home town?