Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'm still wearing part of tonight's dinner

...just a few little bits of it on my shirt, I guess it was good.

Tonight I dug back into the recipe archives to one of the first recipes I posted on the the blog. It was the second recipe!!!

This really is a simple recipe and really tasty. I highly recommend it. One of the early things I did and am starting to get back to doing again, just need to plan and think...was a "special event." I called it Cooking Without Borders, for lack of a better name. The purpose was to gather a group of friends and readers from all over to have the same dinner, on the same night, in different locations. I'd post a recipe a few days in advance. Then a shopping list, and on a set night, everyone who wanted to play, would get together and make the same recipe and the next day we'd all come back together and post their comments...sharing their experiences, likes and dislikes. Long story short, this was the first recipe that we tried this with and the results were generally glowing. Everyone who tried the recipe liked it, with a few moderations here and tweak there. (HERE is the first event.)

In keeping with varying the recipe, tonight I added an onion, extra garlic, jalapeno, hoisin, sesame oil, both sherry and rice vinegar. It was great! Love it.

I'd also like to share a little info on Sesame Oil. It was not even two or three years ago when sesame oil in or on food grossed me out. Now I like it...I don't want my food swimming in it, as it is a strong flavor, but I do like it. I use it here and I have a few other recipes where it comes into major flavor play.

Also known as gingelly oil and til oil. Sesame oil is a very ancient ingredient. The Assyrians, more than 600 years BC, used it as a vegetable oil. It was expensive, however, and a hundred years later it is recorded as being used only by the rich as food, ointment and medicine during the reign of King Cyrus of Persia (559-529 BC).

Still used as a medicine in India, oil pressed from the raw seed is used as a massage oil in Ayurvedic medicine. In Burma and some parts of India, sesame oil has long been the universal cooking medium and is what gives the typical flavour to foods of those regions, although fairly tasteless in itself. It may be a clear or golden colour compared to the darker, more aromatic oriental sesame oil used in China, Japan and Korea, which is pressed from toasted sesame seeds. If gingelly oil or til oil is unavailable, use the cold-pressed sesame oil from health food shops mixed with 20 per cent oriental (toasted) sesame oil or use one part oriental sesame oil to 3 parts other flavourless vegetable oil such as corn oil, grapeseed oil or light olive oil. This is a reasonable substitute for the til oil or gingelly oil called for in recipes from India and Burma.

Asian sesame oil derives its dark amber colour and nutty flavour from hulled sesame seeds, toasted prior to pressing. It is used in Chinese and Korean cuisine, not as a cooking medium but generally added at the end of cooking in small quantities as a flavour highlight. There are quite dramatic colour variations in sesame oil, depending on its source. Cold-pressed sesame oil is almost colourless; sesame oil from an Indian store (probably labelled gingelly or til oil) is golden; and sesame oil from a Chinese shop is dark, almost red-brown. Cold pressed sesame oil, however healthy, has none of the flavour of oriental sesame oil since it is pressed from raw, not roasted seeds, and will therefore not produce an authentic result if used in an Asian recipe.



Dancer in DC said...

Sesame oil is yum. And so is this dish. Unfortunately he snagged the leftovers for his lunch.

Jon said...

Scott, I think you should start up the Borders feature again. I think that's a fabulous idea -- I'd totally go in on it, as I'm sure some of your other regular readers would, too!

Lady Brandenburg said...

Good idea to do CWB again - the first time we did it, it was just our small group who participated - now that your are a world famous blogger - we could get input from the outside world!

And PS, we make this recipe a LOT. Love it love it.

Stef said...

it sounds tasty again, the second time around! I want to second all the comments that congratulate you on including photos now, it makes such a difference and makes everything seem even more mouth-watering! :-)