Pressure Cooker

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Used a pressure cooker for the first time today.
Made a Chinese “Red Bean Soup”.


  • 1 C of adzuki beans (red beans)
  • 6 TBSP of brown sugar
  • 8 C of water
  • 1 TBSP of small tapioca pearls (they’re about 1-2 mm in diameter)
  • 1 TBSP of vegetable oil (i think that this reduces the amount of foam in the pot…if it foams too much it can clog the vent pipe…and there would be no pressure release and you would have a dangerous situation on your hands!)


  1. Add all ingredients into the pressure cooker.
  2. Place lid on pressure cooker and lock into place. For my pot I place the lid on and rotate until the handles match…that seals it. (warning: follow directions for your pressure cooker. I’m listing the steps that I used for mine)
  3. Place the pressure regulator on top of the vent pipe at the center of the lid.
  4. Heat until the pressure regulator starts to rock. (On my pot, there’s a lock valve that lifts up when the pressure builds up in the pot.) Turn the heat down a bit, but make sure the regulator still rocks.
  5. Cook for about 5 – 6 minutes. (I followed the directions in the pressure cooker cookbook and cooked for 3 minutes and the beans were al dente. For the soup, it needs to be a lot softer.
  6. Turn the heat off
  7. Let the pot cool down by itself on the stove. When the lock valve drops back down, that means there’s no more pressure in the pot. You can now safely open the lid buy rotating the lid. (warning: again, follow the directions for your pressure cooker)

Blue Ribbon (Brooklyn)

Friday, April 7th, 2006

Wednesday, Rachel and I dined at Blue Ribbon (on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn.)  We both enjoyed it very much.  We decided to go because of Brooklyn Dining week(most of the restaurants are offering $20 pre-fixe meals…some even cover two people for that price!)

We ordered one of the $20 pre-fixe meals and selected Duck Terrine, Beef Brisket, and Bread pudding for our options.  We also ordered the much talked about Bone Marrow and Oxtail marmalade, and Grilled Catfish so we would have enough for two people.

The highlight of the meal for me was the Bone Marrow and Oxtail marmalade.  This was brought out on a large oval plate…and on the plate were 3 cross sections of bone with the marrow still inside.  Surrounding the bones on the plate was the Oxtail marmalade and pieces of toasted Challah bread.  The barrow was opaque white with the consistency that was a cross section of gelatin and fat.  The marmalade was a reduction of beef broth with small chuncks of Oxtail meat.  So, I first tried the marrow by itself and it was very bland.  I then spread some of the marrow on a piece of bread and followed it with some of the marmalade, and finally sprinkled a bit of coarse kosher salt on top.  This tasted amazing!

I know the name and the description of the plate doesn’t do it any justice.  You’ll just have to experience this yourself.  I’ve heard from my friend Mark that when most restaurants close for the day, the chefs and the staff frequently make their way to Blue Ribbon in Manhattan and order this dish.  Now, I know why!

Bitter Melon with Beef Recipe

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Here’s my attempt to re-create what my mom made from time to time when I was a kid. I use to hate it because the bitterness was too much to handle, but now it’s what I usually order when I go to Chinatown. (Supposedly, as one grows older, one loses taste buds. Maybe this explains why I can go beyond the bitterness and actually enjoy this dish.)

Here’s the recipe..


  • 2 bitter melons (aka bitter gourd; the greener the less bitter; don’t buy any with yellow coloring because it means the melon is old)
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 pound of thin (maybe 1/4 in.) slices of beef
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP chinese cooking wine
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 inch of ginger (julienned)
  • 2 TBSP black bean sauce


  1. Cut the bitter melon in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds and the white pithy center
  2. Cut the melon into 1/8 in. slices
  3. Put the melon pieces and the salt into a bowl and mix well (this will help draw out some of the bitterness. Let this sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Slice the beef into 1/4 in. strips and put it into a medium sized bowl (we’re going to marinade the beef in this bowl)
  5. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, water and cooking wine
  6. Stir in the cornstarch and mix well
  7. Pour the mixture onto the beef and mix until the beef is well coated. Put in fridge to let it marinade
  8. Rinse the melon in some water and drain well
  9. Heat the canola oil in a wok or frying pan
  10. Add the ginger and sautee for 30 to 60 seconds
  11. Add the bitter melon, a pinch of salt and sautee for a few minutes until the melon is just a tad soft on the outside but is still crisp on the inside (if you want the melon to be softer, you can blanche the melon first before you sautee it)
  12. Add the beef and the black bean sauce
  13. Sautee until the beef is done…probably a couple of minutes
  14. Add salt to taste

Just put a serving of this over a bed of steamed white rice and you’re good to go! Enjoy.


Friday, March 24th, 2006


  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Chocolate pieces

James’ GORP

Friday, June 10th, 2005

Ah…Good ‘ol Raisins and Peanuts, affectionately known as GORP.

Here’s my little mix. I first had a taste of this when preparing for a hike in the Grand Canyon. I purchased a name brand version of this and loved it.

1/3 cup of each these ingredients
roasted and salted pepitas
roasted and salted peanuts
roasted almonds
roasted walnuts
roasted cashews
Sunspire Candy Coated Chocolates (all natural…no artificial colors or flavors)

1/4 cup of each of these
golden raisins – california
raisins – black thompson seedless

I live in Brooklyn, New York and I prepared this for my friends before embarking on a hike around the perimeter of the island of Manhattan. All the ingredients came from the Park Slope Food Co-op.