Christmas with the Tings!
There is no way I could write about memorable meals and good food experiences without describing some fantastic food with my family. Not to get all Freudian, but they are largely responsible for making me the food obsessed person I am today. This past Christmas, Shef and I had the good fortune to spend several days with my parents in Taos, New Mexico. My sister Cheryl (you might know her from such posts as Chinese New Year or empanadas) my bro-in-law Cameron and my awesome niece and nephew, Maia and Dylan were also in Taos visiting from Oakland so it was extra sweet to be in Taos with the family. We spent our time hanging out, enjoying wintertime activities like sledding, snowboarding, skiing and of course cooking and eating. Here are some photographic highlights, with captions of course.
This was kind of a casual affair. I think we had leg of lamb, some roasted winter squash and salad. My dad is kind of a pro when it comes to preparing the perfect leg of lamb. It always comes out perfectly cooked – rare to medium rare – juicy and delicious. This time he marinated it in pomegranate juice salt, pepper and garlic.
Hot Wing Dinner
Cheryl and Cam decided to treat us all by preparing the most gourmet of meals: hot wings. Alright, so Cheryl used some sort of prepared buffalo wing marinade we bought at the grocery store. But she did make her own blue cheese dressing using blue cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce and other things I can’t remember. I made ratatouille that was good, but a bit too rich in flavor for the kids because I used what I thought was tomato paste but which turned out to be Italian paste (?) and also used burgundy wine left over from when my mom had made boef bourguignon a couple days before. Fortunately, the hot wings kind of kicked ass. How can you not love chicken wings?
One of my fondest food memories of childhood was what we called dah bean loh or hot pot. It’s always been a favorite of mine because – well obviously it’s delicious – but also it’s a really communal way of cooking and eating and it probably has something to do with my deep enjoyment of both. How it works is each person sits around a table laden with raw food at the center of which is a single big pot of boiling water. Each person has his/her own personal basket in which to put either beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, tofu or whatever else needs to be cooked. Properly loaded, the basket is plunked into the pot of boiling water already loaded with vegetables and cilantro in order to lend flavor to the broth. Nothing takes more than a couple minutes to cook and when it’s done, the person takes his basket with their steaming morsel out, dunks it into a dipping sauce of their own devising and plops it into his mouth, taking care not to burn it of course. In this way, because everybody is constantly cooking and eating, the meal can last for couple hours while conversation flows and competitive juices flow especially if a stray shrimp pops out of a basket into the bubbling water and becomes in my mom’s words “free game.” It was our last meal in Taos and our best because it was a true family meal where everybody, including the kids got to cook.