Up to All Good

It's been awhile since my last post.  Like many people, the holidays can become very hectic.  For me, I was busy with not just the holiday festivities, but I have been busy eating, cooking and traveling.  In the last month, I have experienced some amazing food adventures which I haven't find the time to document on my blog yet.  As some of you knew, I was busy traveling and eating my way around Tokyo, Hong Kong and Macau.  As the new year began, I was doing what I love which was eating, and sharing many meals with friends as well as families whom I haven't seen in years.

Before I left for my trip, I also reflected on all that happened in 2012.  I was grateful to those who have been there for me as it has been a trying year.  I take all that I've learned and continue to move forward.  I also realized I haven't been cooking as much in 2012, but ironically I was asked to cook a private dinner for two just days before I left for my trip to Asia.  In the end, it was one of the most memorable meals I made last year.

This was a menu I created for this lovely couple who found me on Kitchensurfing.  It was a great experience to be able to conceptualize a menu based on the likes of this couple.  I took some of their favorite ingredients and created this dinner for them.

The first dish was inspired by a dish I ate at Yunnan Kitchen.  It was a spicy tofu ribbon herb salad.  The Thai chile gave this dish some heat.  Along with the cooling cilantro and mint, it was a great appetizer to awake the palate.

Spicy Tofu Ribbon and Herb Salad
The second course was Shrimp and Thai Basil wontons.  These wontons were steamed then lightly poached in a shrimp stock that I made with shrimp heads and shells.  I extracted a lot of the delicious umami flavor from the shrimp heads which also made the stock a vibrant red color.  The red color stock gave a wrong impression that this dish was going to be spicy as it reminds me of spicy Szechuan wontons.
Shrimp and Thai Basil Wontons
Third course was Pork Belly two ways.  I originally wanted to plate both of the pork belly onto one plate.  However, I decided to feature the two completely different texture and mouth feel of the pork belly skin so I plated them separately.  The first pork belly was red-cooked which was braised in a soy-based sauce.  The pork belly was cooked until the fattiness of the skin is melted in your mouth.  The roasted pressed pork belly was oven-roasted, then pressed overnight then roasted again to create this amazing crispy skin.  I made a creamy kabocha puree with some grated ginger.  I also sauteed some beautiful wild mushrooms and added a hoisin reduction to balance some of the sweetness of the puree.

Red Cooked Pork Belly with Bok Choy 
Roasted Pressed Pork Belly with Kabocha Puree, Wild Mushroom and Hoisin Reduction
I had so much fun making this meal, and as I was in this couple's Soho kitchen cooking for them, it confirmed how much I enjoyed cooking.  I also loved how creative I can be with ingredients and plating.  I can't predict what will happen in the coming year, but one thing I know is that I hope to continue to have opportunities to make more dishes like these.  If you live in NYC, and want me to cook at your next dinner party, you can contact me through the Kitchensurfing page above or email me directly at margaret@savorysweetliving.com.  Happy cooking and eating in 2013!


  1. Welcome back! Its great to hear what you have been up to! And now, I want pork belly!

    1. Thanks! I'm always craving for pork belly too. :)

  2. Can't wait to taste your pork belly!

    Also looking forward to creating that joint event with our mutual friend on 7th St...


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