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Lab's B'day Review Dinner - Printable Version

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Lab's B'day Review Dinner - cjs - 02-01-2010

Well, I gave him an hour to start this review and I guess he's sleeping, here goes.

I'm giving my second "10" on a review dinner for this stew -

It is absolutely outstanding!! And darn, we only have one little bowl left to fight over today. But, we did send one bowl to the neighbor who loves spicy foods, but doesn't get at home, we didn't eat all of it ourselves.

I'll certainly be making this over and over and over!!

Now, to the Green Onion Pancakes - after wondering how 1 cup of a.p. flour could weight 8 1/2 oz., and checking out the original recipe on King Arthur site, the darn batter was so thick, it was ridiculous!!

I had to thin the batter down to almost double the liquid - so, I'm really glad I only made half the recipe to start with! I thought these were o.k., but nothing to shout about. Roy absolutely loved them and wants an egg over a couple for breakfast this a.m.

But...that stew was just so darn good!! Good choice, Labs.

Now, are all you February b'day people ready to go with your choices, so we can continue on?????

(sorry about the blurry pix of the stew - I think my camera got put on a different setting and now I have to study the darn instruction book again! )

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - Harborwitch - 02-01-2010

We were going to half the recipe - but decided to go for the gusto. OMG This got a solid 10 from both of us - and Bob would like it really frequently. I certainly agree.

Because it was a long day in town (the day we made this) I skipped the scallion pancakes. We had brown rice instead.
I am anxious to try this recipe for them - to compare to the Irene Kuo recipe I've been using for ages.

I can't say enough good things about this stew; colorful, lots of textures. (I didn't have green bell pepper so I used pea pods - they were great). The leftovers were great too.

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - farnfam - 02-01-2010

Loved the stew!!! 9YUMS
Didn't know what was wrong with the batter, so I thinned it. We loved these, and they were perfect with the stew.
Altogether a big success!

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - labradors - 02-01-2010

Well, I was typing in the review, early this morning, and the power went out for a couple hours while they replaced a transformer across the street from me. Fortunately, I didn't lose what I had typed, and was able to pick up from that point. Here's my review:

For this review, I chose the Asian-Spiced Pork Stew with Scallion Pancakes recipe that Billy had posted from the King Arthur flour website.

To make it easier to save the recipe in a format I like to use, I copied it directly from the King Arthur site, instead of from Billy's message, so I missed the fact (which Jean discovered) that Billy had mistyped the Scallion Pancake recipe, and that it had said only one cup of flour, when there should have been two. If anyone else plans to make this, remember to use TWO cups of flour - not just one.

Despite that error, I had just the opposite problem with the pancakes, but that may have been due to my local ingredients. Of course, I don't have ANY King Arthur flour, let alone the specific one from the recipe, so I used my usual flour (which is closer to a bread flour). In addition, yellow cornmeal isn't very common here, so I used what IS common, and that was Maseca (the white-corn masa for making corn tortillas). Whether those ingredients were the problem, or whether it was just something inexplicable, the pancake batter came out more like a dough ready to be made into dinner rolls, so I just added more water (almost another full cup!) until the mixture was the consistency of pancake batter.

Even with all of that, the scallion pancakes were easily a 10, so instead of trying them again with different flour and with yellow cornmeal (on the occasions when it is available), I have just edited my copy of the recipe to say "2 cups (16 ounces) boiling water (Plus more, if necessary, to make the batter the right consistency for pancakes.)"

As much as I wasn't impressed by the earlier Winter Pork Stew, I thoroughly enjoyed this Asian-Spiced Pork Stew.

For one thing, I discovered that one of the supermarkets has an orange version of the camotes which, although not EXACTLY regular sweet potatoes (these camotes have a thinner skin), is MUCH closer than the red-skinned, white-fleshed version (whose pictures I posted in my review of the Winter Pork Stew).

At first, I was a little concerned, since the recipe called for coating the cubes of pork with three TABLESPOONS of soy sauce, which seemed like a LOT of soy sauce, in contrast to what one typically uses in most recipes. Instead of making the stew super-horrendously salty, all that soy sauce added a wonderful additional dimension of flavour, resulting in a 10 for this recipe.

Absolutely, I shall make this again, but with a couple slight changes: not as much sweet potato (maybe only 2 cups), but more of the red and green bell peppers (probably 3 cups of each). Also, as I mentioned earlier, for this kind of recipe, even though the recipe said the sesame oil was optional, I consider it mandatory. That's often the missing ingredient when people wonder why their Asian foods don't taste as Asian as they expected.

One other note: the recipes said to serve the stew WITH the pancakes, but it was just the right consistency (not overly soupy) that I served it ON the pancakes, and really enjoyed it that way.

Originally, I had not specified a dessert, but when Jean re-asked what I had chosen for my review, I posted a recipe for a Moravian Cake that I had just made. For years, I have been looking for a recipe that would match the Moravian Cake of a particular Pennsylvania bakery, but none have really been the same. This one is the closest one, so far, and I think that a couple adjustments to make it a little denser would probably make the difference. I'd give it an 8, but it just COULD become a 10 if those adjustments work out (whenever I decide to try this again).

Edit: Glad everyone liked this. Guess I'm not the only one who wants to add this to a regular rotation. Funny that we all had the same problems with the pancakes (even though they still turned out well after we thinned the batter). You would think that since that's the one part of the recipe that uses flour the King Arthur site would get THAT part right. Considering the similarity of our experiences (and that it's not just from my use of locally available ingredients), I'm going to send a comment to the King Arthur site to let them know that something is wrong. If I get any reasonable response, I'll post it back here.

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - cjs - 02-01-2010

" the pancake batter came out more like a dough ready to be made into dinner rolls, so I just added more water (almost another full cup!) until the mixture was the consistency of pancake batter."

exactly my problem - thank heaven's I only made half the recipe!

"couple slight changes: not as much sweet potato" - nope, I thought the amount was right on.

"the sesame oil was optional," - I loved that the sesame oil was called for as a 'drizzle' rather then included in the dish. Just perked everything up.

"You would think that since that's the one part of the recipe that uses flour the King Arthur site would get THAT part right." - my thought exactly - how could they allow a screwed up recipe like that on their site...bad choice.

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - Gourmet_Mom - 02-01-2010

Okay, my turn! We LOVED THIS STEW! William has given another 10, and he doesn't give that score very often. I made the recipe as written, except that I just used what peppers I had in the freezer: red, green, yellow, and orange. I disagree with the amount of sweet potatoes being changed. I think it was a perfect balance of flavor for us. Like Sharon, I'm so glad I made the whole recipe. I got 2 dinners (for two) and 2 lunches (for one) out of this. This will be making it into the regular rotation here, also.

EDITED TO ADD: I totally forgot to comment on the sesame oil! I almost didn't use this, but after tasting it with a little on the stew, William went back and got the bottle to put on the table! I just hope I have enough for the Gordon Ramsey Baked Sticky Drumsticks for dinner tonight!

As for the Scallion Pancakes, I DIDN'T discover the flour mistake, so I made them with the one cup of flour. They were fine. I was a little disappointed with the flavor. I would have expected more scallion flavor. Although, my scallions were tiny, so maybe that was it. About the flour, I wonder if the mistake wasn't a good mistake. I LIKED the texture of the pancakes with the ratio of flour to cornmeal. So I'm thinking that instead of adding more water, just use one cup of flour to begin with. They were very similar to how we make fried cornbread in my family, except it's all cornmeal and no flour. The next time I make it, I'm going to try adding scallion.

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - labradors - 02-01-2010

I called King Arthur flour (gotta love Vonage). They sounded very concerned and gave me an email address to use, instead of the recipe comment section, since that will allow them to get back to me (the comment/review would have been anonymous). In the email, I not only mentioned that the dough-thick batter had been a problem for other people, but also included a link to this thread so they could see the comments that others had posted.

So be on your best behaviour, now. LOL!

On a more serious note, though: we have discovered a great recipe that we all enjoyed, but we never would have even known about it had Billy not posted it in the first place. Thanks, Billy!

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - Gourmet_Mom - 02-01-2010

"On a more serious note, though: we have discovered a great recipe that we all enjoyed, but we never would have even known about it had Billy not posted it in the first place. Thanks, Billy!"

You are exactly right!

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - foodfiend - 02-02-2010

Wow, very nice job, all! I didn't make this because we don't eat pork, but the reviews and photos are great.

Labs, you really have to do a lot of improvising with ingredients for certain recipes, don't you? But I'll bet that you (mostly) enjoy the challenge.

Re: Lab's B'day Review Dinner - labradors - 02-02-2010

Absolutely! I'm very resource oriented, and thrive upon the challenge of the research. In the process, I learn a lot of things I never would have known had I bought the original, pre-made item or made an easy (but inappropriate) substitution with no other thought behind it.