A Sort Of Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse Couple weeks ago, I was at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. I went there looking for fruits but left with a heavy bag of fish heads. I couldn't help it, they were free! Such an impulse thing to do. As I was walking back to my apartment, I kept going through a list of things I can do with the fish heads. Though really, the only thing to do with fish heads is to make stock. When I got back to my apartment and finally saw what was in the bag, I freaked out a little. I didn't think I would react this way. Seeing two lifeless heads with their bones and fins and tails still attached, kind of grossed me out. But there was stock to be made! I grabbed the big stock pot available and dumped the heads in. After cooking the fish heads with few carrots, I ended up with 2.5 quartz of fish stock.

Okay, another question popped into my head, what to do with all this fish stock?

Bouillabaisse

Thanks to Camille Becerra, she gave me the idea to make bouillabaisse.

Traditionally a bouillabaisse is made with many types of fish and is tomato based. Can the dish I made be called bouillabaisse? Probably not. When I was picking up ingredients, I totally forgot to get tomatoes. Well that and also I only bought 1 type of fish, perch. I really need to write down what I need to buy. Like just the other day when I walked into CVS for toothpaste, medicine, tissue, and paper towels. I walked out with everything except the toothpaste. Anyways, we can call this a "sort of" bouillabaisse or maybe just a plain ole seafood stew.

Bouillabaisse Serves 3-4

Dozen clams Dozen shrimp 1/2 lb perch (or whatever fish you like) 4 medium sized potatoes 2 tablespoon miso paste 1 onion Few cloves of garlic Peas Salt + pepper Fish stock

Fish stock Put bones from 2 fish into a large pot, along with few carrots and couple daikons. I used already peeled frozen shrimp for the seafood stew or else I would've added the shells from the shrimp into the pot as well. Add enough water to cover everything. Turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 30mins or so. After that, strain the liquid. You can freeze whatever you're not using for later.

Fish stew Add oil to a tall pan or pot or Dutch oven. Throw in diced onion and garlic and cook till fragrant, then add the diced potatoes. Saute for about 15mins and add in a quart of the fish stock. Bring it to a boil and lower the heat to let it simmer for another 15mins or until the potatoes are soft.

Stir in the miso paste to dissolve. Add the shrimp, fish, and clams and cover the pot. Leave the lid on for 5mins before checking if all the clams have opened their shell. Some of them may still be closed. If so, put the lid back on for another minute or 2. Add more fish stock if you want more liquid in the stew. Season to taste.

Turn off the heat. Add creme friache or heavy cream if you like and a handful of peas. Give the stew a good stir. Serve it with slices of thick toasty bread.

Scrambled Eggs With Shrimp

Eggs and shrimp I love eggs. I go through a dozen a week. Poached, fried, sunny side up, over easy, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled, omelettes, and steamed (think chawanmushi). One of my favorite dishes to get at Chinese restaurants is the scrambled eggs with shrimp.

When I was still living in Hong Kong (oh.....pre-1985), every time my family got take-outs there would always be scrambled eggs with shrimp. Besides the baked pork chop rice, the scrambled eggs with shrimp was probably my favorite thing to eat. It's a Cantonese classic dish and thankfully I can get some really tasty ones here in NY (and in LA). Ever since I learned how to cook for myself, I've been trying to replicate this dish but I can never get it right (texture and taste wise). My mom said the cooks add MSG to the dish and obviously uses a wok.

Check out my recipe for scrambled eggs with shrimp and peas. I use my mom's method of cooking eggs. Instead of using salt, she adds few squirts of Maggi seasoning and undercooks it so it doesn't dry out.

Serves 1

2 eggs 8 shrimp (Cause it's a lucky number?) Handful of peas (Or no peas if you hate peas) Salt and pepper Maggi seasoning (No Maggi? Try a splash of soy sauce)

Put a frying pan on medium flames and add oil to the pan. When the oil and pan are hot, add in the shrimp. While the pieces of shrimp are frying, crack 2 eggs into a bowl, add few dashes of the maggie seasoning and pepper. Beat and whisk the eggs till none of the egg whites are visible.

When the pieces of shrimp are pink, throw in the peas. Season with salt and pepper. Give the shrimp and peas a good stir and cook for another 30seconds. If the pan is a little dry, add some more oil.

Pour in the egg and let it sit on the pan for a moment. Let the egg set around the edge a bit before stirring it. Stir and turn the egg mixture until it's done but still a little bit runny. You want to leave it runny cause it'll keep cooking itself afterwards. You don't want dry scrambled eggs.

Other variations: My mom usually cooks eggs with just slices of plain onions or whitebait or yellow chives. They are all delicious.

Funny fact: When I was around 7, almost every morning my mom would make scrambled eggs over toast for me for breakfast before going to school. I'm not sure why but I remember hating it. BUT, when she makes it over the weekend, I couldn't get enough of it. Weird.

Spring On A Plate

Asparagus Shrimp Miso Pasta You know, half the time I have no idea what I'm doing. It's really more like experimenting with ingredients than actually cooking. Cooking for me means you know what you're doing and that the final product will be delicious. Most of the time I just dump everything into a pan and cross my fingers that it'll be edible. And this is the one reason why I don't bake.

How much salt did I use? A pinch? How much is a pinch? Not sure. How much pasta did I really boil? I know 1 serving isn't enough for me so I usually make a little bit more. Is it 3 ounces? How long do I saute the asparagus? Eh....*shrugs. Medium heat, high heat, low heat. I should pay more attention when I cook so that I can be consistent every time. Some days my dishes turn out pretty darn good and some days they're underseasoned. I guess like everything else, it's just practice practice practice.

This is difficult but I'm going to try to be better at this. This whole recipe writing thing.

Anyways, check it out, spring is finally here. I found asparagus (sorry kale) at the farmer's market and decided to cook it for lunch. Luckily I had stuff at home to cook a pasta dish with the asparagus. It was like spring on a plate.

Asparagus, Shrimp with Miso Pasta Asparagus Shrimp Miso Pasta

Serves 1 ----------- 2 ounces pasta 4 stalks of asparagus cut into inch long pieces 8 shrimp 1.5 tablespoons miso paste A handful of tarragon leaves (save the smaller ones for garnish afterwards) Half and half (you can use cream or pasta water really) Oil 1 knob of butter Salt and pepper

Get a pot of water boiling for the pasta. When the water begins to boil, add salt and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. I used fusilli and boiled it for 11mins. While the pasta is boiling, put a pan over medium heat. Add oil and the knob of butter to the pan. When the melted butter starts to bubble, add in the asparagus. Saute the asparagus for about 7 minutes or until cooked through but still has a nice crunch. 5 minutes into cooking the asparagus, add the tarragon leaves. Stir. Throw in the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until they just about to turn pink. Season with salt and pepper. Add miso paste and enough half and half to create the sauce. I used half and half because that's what I have at home. A dollop of creme fraiche works well too. Try and dissolve the miso paste into the half and half. You might want to lower the flame a bit here or else the half and half gets cooked off way too quick. Add the pasta and mix well. A little too dry? Add couple tablespoons of the pasta water. Finish the dish with some fresh tarragon leaves.

Do you like asparagus? What's your favorite way to eat them?