Del Posto Shadows and Lights
Happy New Year 2016!
Picture is a bit blurred yet has its charm
Wings on a Mission, here's a first recipe excerpted from The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook (Ecco-Anthony Bourdain, November 2015) by Danny Bowien with Chris Ying.
Chongqing Chicken Wings
It’s well known that the sign of a great dish is its ability to silence a large group of noisy people, enraptured by what they’re eating. All you hear is slurping and crunching, silverware against plates, chopsticks clicking. When the dish in question is la zi ji, the predominant sound is a soft rustling, like dry leaves skittering across a sidewalk. It is the noise made by diners sifting through a monstrous pile of chiles in search of golden brown bits of chicken hidden in the sea of red.
I’ve encountered versions of la zi ji, a dish most commonly traced to the Sichuan city of Chongqing, that are 95 percent chiles, 5 percent chicken. Some people balk at the idea of going to a restaurant and paying for a plate of food that is mostly inedible. To serve la zi ji at Mission Chinese, I needed to up the chicken-to-chile ratio.
Chicken wings to the rescue.
I’ve been pursuing the ideal chicken wing for most of my career. I’ve dabbled in all manner of elaborate wing practices. I’ve cured wings, confited them in chicken fat, smoked them, and sous-vided them. I’ve been close a few times, but I’d never really settled on a method until I spoke to a friend whose mom worked at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. The Anchor Bar is the supposed home of the original Buffalo wing. I prodded my friend, trying to get her to ask her mom for their secrets. Eventually I pried out of them that the key to a perfect chicken wing is to treat it like a French fry: parcook it, freeze it, and fry it. The freezing causes the liquid in the skin to expand and burst the cell walls, resulting in perfectly thin, crisp skin without any breading. Once I learned this technique, I never looked back.
This is how a lot of things work at Mission Chinese. We talk to people with a history of doing things right, and we learn from them. Then we consider how we can add something to what they’ve taught us, improve on it, make it our own. In this case, the addition of fried tripe to a plate of chicken wingsis giving your guests 110 percent. I like mixing proteins and layering similar textures. Here, on the same plate, you get the crackly skin of chicken wings, still juicy on the inside, as well as the crunchy chew of fried tripe. Plus the papery toughness of those chiles, which, I should mention, you don’t eat. Please stop coming to the restaurant and eating the chiles.
Note: You need to parcook the wings a day ahead, so don’t start this recipe on Sunday morning thinking you’ll have wings in time for football.
3 pounds chicken wings (either mid-joints or whole wings)
¼ cup kosher salt, plus more as needed
½ cup vegetable or peanut oil, plus 8 to 10 cups for deepfrying
½ pound honeycomb tripe
½ cup cornstarch, for dredging
4 cups dried Tianjin chiles or other medium-hot red chiles, like chiles Japones
About ¾ cup Chongqing Wing Spice Mix (recipe follows)
Chongqing Wing Spice Mix
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
2 tablespoons whole Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 star anise
2 black cardamom pods
1½ teaspoons whole cloves
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Mushroom Powder (page 299)
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
This is the gentleman’s MSG. It’s umami incarnate, in powdered form. It makes dishes more savory, but since it’s made primarily of powdered dried mushrooms, it lacks the stigma—unwarranted or not—of MSG. You can find mushroom powder at Asian markets or online, usually from Taiwanese producers. But a slightly less potent, and less mysterious, version is easily made at home. I wouldn’t recommend making this in a large batch, as the flavor dissipates over time.
MAKES ABOUT ½ CUP
1 (1-inch) square dashi kombu ½ ounce stemmed, dried shiitake mushrooms
( * Recipe excerpted from The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook -Ecco-Anthony Bourdain, November 2015- by Danny Bowien with Chris Ying)
Heaven in my Glass last Friday at Del Posto
Amarone Mater della Valpolicella, Domini Veneti 2008 from Cantina Negrar, a coop...
Not every American will go for their 'Fish Head Soup' recipe yet I am sure every one of them will find something to be awed by in Hartwood 'Bright, Wild Flavors from the Edge of the Yucatan' (Artisan Books, Fall 2015) by Eric Werner and Mya Henry.
The couple decided to leave their New York restaurant jobs and pack up their bags for Tulum (Yucatan, Mexico) to build their dream restaurant open to the skies.
Here's a cocktail from the book to make you thirsty for more.
Makes 1 drink
A marocha is a woman with dark hair and smoky coloring; it’s also slang for a party girl, the one who’s always going out and hitting the dance floor. This drink tastes how a marocha looks: earthy papaya (which becomes buttery when pureed) paired with smoky mezcal and brightened with orange juice. It’s also what a marocha might drink to get the night going.
2 shots papaya puree
1 shot smoky mezcal
¼ cup fresh orange juice
Pour the papaya puree into a glass, then fill the glass with ice. Add the mezcal and orange juice and stir well.
(*Excerpted from Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers)
Edinburgh 10 Do's and Don'ts
-Dine at the very best at a reasonable price
We have 4 Michelin starred restaurants in the city., the Kitchin, 21212, Restaurant Martin Wishart (below) and Number One (at Balmoral Hotel) , Go for lunch and you can eat Michelin starred cuisine for less than £30
-Use public transport (Lothian Buses), free WiFi on all buses
We have an amazing transport system of buses and a tram. You can go all over the city for just £4 a day. There are night buses to most areas too. Download the app to buy tickets (so you don't need to find change) and discover bus routes and timetables. It's one of the very best of its type.
-Take an Edinburgh Tour bus
It's a great way to get a flavor of the city. Choose one that has a live guide and you'll get lots of great stories including spooky ones!
-Explore Edinburgh's drinks
Gins and beer made in the city? There are many. Head for One Square that has 60 gins to try or Edinburgh Gin Distillery. And if you're here for a longer stay, you can even brew your own beer at Stewart Brewing, say a Popcorn Pilsner! The mixologists in our bars love nothing better than creating unique cocktails with ingredients created in the bar itself.
Go to the dark side
Edinburgh has some very dark secrets. Go on a ghost tour with The Cadies & Witchery Tours or visit Mary King's Close, the underground streets frozen in time since the 17th Century. and the Surgeon's Hall Museum [https://museum.rcsed.ac.uk/] has fascinating and some gruesome exhibits, includes Pathology Museum and Dental Collection.
Take in the culture
Hop on and off the museum bus to discover our two Modern Art galleries, the National Portrait Gallery and National Galleries. Fascinating exhibitions inside and out and renowned cafes in each one. "Starting at the Scottish National Gallery the bus runs a circular route to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. A voluntary donation of £1 is requested." Current exhibit at Gallery of Modern Art is Modern Scottish Women | Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965 which opened on November 7 and runs until June 26, 2016.
Climb Arthur's Seat
Our very own extinct volcano Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park is worth a climb. The views from the top are astonishing and if you look hard you might see where the sea once lapped.
Try haggis, neeps and tatties
If you like sausages, I assure you, you will love haggis. It's even better with a dram of whisky!
Don't assume it will be warm or dry in summer. Always bring layers and good walking shoes – we have lots of hills!
Bring the kids
Edinburgh is great for Kids. You can even entertain them for free! Pay a visit to Gorgie City Farm. The animals will keep youngsters amused for hours. Visit the Museum of Childhood on the Royal Mile and show the little ones toys from years ago. Ever seen a million pounds? You can at the Museum on the Mound.
Don't just visit in August.
We have amazing events all round including a Science Festival (March 26 to April 10, 2016) and Christmas and Hogmanay (New Year Festival) in addition to the Festivals during August. Check the list on Edinburgh Festival City in addition to the Festivals during August
Don't delay booking accommodation
The population of the city swells by a million during the August Edinburgh Festivals. Book your accommodation long in advance – unfortunately it will be pricey.
Don't miss the outdoors
We're the only European capital that has a park on one side of its main street. It's a leafy city, greenery everywhere you go. The Royal Botanical Gardens are a true oasis of peace. And when it's chilly pop into the palm house to warm up!
Don't park in the city
Parking is extremely expensive and limited. You don't need a car to get around town. If you do, download the RingGo app so that you can park without needing cash.
Don't rely on printed guides to eating out
We have more restaurants per head than any other city (allegedly). Follow some of the local bloggers from 2 The Kitchen via Jelly & Gin to The Usual Saucepans... to see which restaurants are up and coming. Fantastic ones open every week and the guides will be out of date.
Don't assume you can always get a table
Edinburgh is a small city and we love eating out. Always book the restaurant of your fancy as far in advance as possible. Often you'll find the best restaurants just off centre or down in Leith.
Don't skip the markets
A great place to find street food and the finest local produce, Markets listed on This is Edinburgh are held across the city, mostly on the weekend with special ones at Christmas and during August.
Don't think that whisky isn't for you
The story goes that there is a whisky for everyone and it's true! Visit the Scotch Whisky Experience as a starting point and you will be surprised.
Don't forget we have different money in Scotland
You'll find that bank notes can look very different to those found in England. Although they are legal tender in England, sometimes you may encounter difficulty.
Don't wait to come back!
Once you've visited you'll be smitten. We'll see you soon.
(* Photo credits: Restaurant Martin Wishart dining room (top) from their website, Modern Scottish Women from Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Scottish Bills from Visit Scotland website, all others from their respective Facebook page's photo album)
Giuseppe Mascoli is the man who started Franco Manca in Brixton in 2008...
Wild Mushroom & Tea-Smoked Cheese Pizza
Smoked cheese makes an interesting alternative to mozzarella on pizzas, and you can purchase great smoked cheeses from
many producers. If you want to try smoking cheese yourself, and you do not have a wood smoker, try tea-smoking in an
ordinary domestic oven. We have suggested a way to do this, on page 23.
INGREDIENTS, PER PIZZA
1 dough ball (see page 16),
left to rise for
11⁄2 to 2 hours OR
dough 2 for sheet pizzas
flour, for dusting
For the Wild Mushrooms (Makes enough for 4 baked pizzas)
6 ounces wild mushrooms
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ounce tea-smoked cheese (see page 23)
2 ounces mozzarella fior di latte, torn into 5 chunks
4 basil leaves, torn
Prepare the wild mushrooms: Rub the mushrooms with a damp towel to remove any dirt. Do not soak them in water or they
Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over low heat and sear the mushrooms for about 3 minutes, seasoning with a pinch
Place a rack on the highest shelf of the oven and turn the broiler to its highest setting. When hot, place a greased 10-inch cast-
iron pan on the stove, set to medium heat.
Sprinkle a little flour over your hands and on the work surface and open the dough ball by flattening and stretching the dough
with your fingers, or by rolling the dough with a rolling pin.
Pick the pizza base up and gently stretch it a little more over your fists without tearing it. Drop this onto the hot pan, and allow
it to start rising.
As soon as the dough firms up, drizzle the olive oil over the base.
Add a quarter of the mushrooms, then scatter the smoked cheese, mozzarella, and basil on top.
Cook the pizza on top of the stove for about 3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the broiler for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Serve whole or in slice.
For the Sheet Method
Follow the recipe instructions on page 19. The whole process will take about 90 minutes. Heat the oven to 500°F and stretch
the dough to the edges of the sheet. Be sure to spread your sauce right to the edges before adding toppings. The sheet pizza
dough serves 4, so quadruple the ingredient quantities. Bake for no less than 10 minutes.
(* Recipe excerpted with permission from Artisan Pizza, To Make Perfectly at Home -Kyle Books, November 2015- by Giuseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo, Photography by Philip Webb)
Something to Save for Cold Evenings, Comte Cheese Fondue from Luke Nguyen's France (Hardie Grant, October 2015).
FONDUE AU FROMAGE DE COMTÉ, COMTÉ CHEESE FONDUE
Comté cheese is a hard cow’s milk cheese, named after the region in which it is produced. To take the stakes to truly decadent, try melting it down and combining with a delicious chardonnay for dipping pieces of crusty bread. You will need a good-size fondue pot for this recipe.
1 garlic clove, halved
250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) Chardonnay
200 g (7 oz) comté or Swiss gruyère cheese (see glossary),
cut into small cubes
1 baguette, torn into small pieces
Rub the garlic halves around the inside of the fondue pot, to imbue it with flavour and stop the cheese sticking to it.
Pour the wine into the pot and warm over medium heat until simmering. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
Reduce the heat to low and transfer the fondue set to the dining table. Place pieces of baguette on fondue forks,
dip into the melted cheese mixture and eat!
Comte does come from Franche-Comte not neighboring Alsace. Both regions being in Eastern France.
(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Luke Nguyen's France by Luke Nguyen -published by Hardie Grant- October 2015....Photography by Alan Benson and Suzanna Boyd)
Get your chile going, moving beyond divorce, after Divorced Chilaquiles from Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera (Phaidon, $59.95, October 2015) , the first English language cookbook by chef from restaurant Pujol in Mexico City.
Suckling Lamb Barbacoa Taco, Taco de barbacoa de cordero lechal
Chile Poblano Tortilla
2 cups (480 ml) corn oil
1 chile poblano
1 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
½ cup (20 g) cilantro (coriander)
½ cup (140 g) Corn Dough (pg. 39)
Chile Guajillo Adobo
1 pound (500 g) lamb bones
2 cups (100 g) chiles guajillo
1 large garlic clove
¼ white onion
1 heirloom avocado leaf
1 tbsp. corn oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ agave leaf
1 white onion
1 large garlic clove
1 heirloom avocado leaf
1 pound (500 g) boneless milk-fed lamb egg
1 tsp. fleur de sel
4 cups (960 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) Chile Guajillo Adobo
1 Hass avocado, peeled, halved, and pitted
½ cup (105 g) frozen peas
Thawed leaves from 2 sprigs cilantro
½ chile serrano, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 pea shoots
20 cilantro criollo sprouts
8 cilantro criollo flowers
4 squash blossoms
Chile Poblano Tortilla
Place the oil in a small pot and heat to 375 °F (190°C). Fry the chile for 3 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. Drain and remove the skin and seeds. Bring 2 cups (about 500 ml) water to a boil in a small pan and add ½ teaspoon salt. Blanch the cilantro, drain, and transfer to an ice bath. Blend the chile, cilantro, and the remaining salt and strain. Mix with the dough and adjust the salt. Divide into 4 (1-ounce/25 g) portions and shape into balls. Using a tortilla press, form into tortillas. Cook on a comal over low heat, turning 3 times, for 35 seconds on each side for a total of 1 minute and 45 seconds.
Chile Guajillo Adobo
Roast the bones on a baking sheet in a 355°F (180°C) oven for 1 hour. Core and seed the chiles and soak in 2 cups (about 500 ml) hot water for 10 minutes, then drain and blend. In a large pot, sauté the garlic, onion, avocado leaf, and roasted bones in the oil over medium heat. Mix in the guajillo paste and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add for cups (960 ml) water and cook over medium heat. Adjust the salt, strain (sieve) and cool.
Toast one side of the leaf directly over a gas burner set to medium heat. Place it in a baking dish and add the onion, garlic, avocado leaf, and lamb. Dissolve the salt in the water and combine with the adobo. Pour the adobo over the lamb and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Roast in a 475°F (250°C/Gas Mark 9) combi oven for 40 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 195°F (90°C/Gas Mark 0), with 65 percent humidity, and roast for 10 hours longer. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Remove any connective tissue from the lamb and return the beat to the Chile Guajillo Adobo.
Using a blender, combine the avocado with the peas, cilantro, and chile until homogeneous. Adjust the salt. Place in a pastry bag or squeeze bottle and refrigerate.
Arrange 4 tortillas on plates and place the lamb on top. Place 3 large dollops of guacamole in a triangle on each tortilla. Place the shoots, sprouts, and flowers over the lamb. Finish with the squash blossoms.
(* Reprinted with permission from Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera -Phaidon, October 2015-Photo by Araceli Paz)
A first and playful excerpt from Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera (Phaidon, $59.95, October 2015) , this first English language cookbook by chef from restaurant Pujol in Mexico City is worth buying just for its appetizing visuals.
In a pot, heat the oil to 355°F (180°C). Add the totopos and cook until browned. Drain on paper towels.
Place all the ingredients in a pan and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes. Blend and adjust the salt.
Place all the ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes. Blend and adjust the salt.
Place all the ingredients in a pot; add 2 cups (about 500 ml) water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth, cool slightly, and shred it with your hands.
Heat the oil in a large pan over low heat. Crack the eggs, one by one, into the oil. When the egg whites begin to turn opaque, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with the salt.
Divide the chips among 4 bowls. Cover half of them with the green salsa and the other half with the red salsa. Top with the chicken and the fried eggs and finish with the cheese, crema de rancho, and onions.
(* Recipe excerpted with permission from 'Mexico from the Inside Out -Phaidon Press, October 2015- by Chef Enrique Olvera...Photo by Araceli Paz))
2 PM at Taberna del Volapie, restaurant-bar,
Calle Cervantes, No 20...Segovia, July 22