Thursday, February 21, 2013

Burmese Green Tea Leaf Salad and a Lobster Death


I am lucky. Yes I am. I am lucky but my name isn't Sam. I am lucky because I got fermented tea leaves from Burma (ok ok Mynamar. Burma sounds more exotic)

Ok ok...

So I am lucky because my pal Sharon Miro actually went to Mynaburma (hey, that is a compromise)...does Burmyn work better? Shit, I digressed again...anyhow I asked her to bring me fermented tea leaves. She did! She is the best.


There is really no cooking involved. It is just an easy and amazing salad. I didn't really use a recipe. I just read up on the salad and based it on the one I loved so much at Burma Superstar in Northern California.

This salad is so simple but so balanced that it is a treat to the tastebuds. It is also a delight in the fact that it crunches in just the right way. It is balanced. It is Zen. It is other adjectives but I am boring even me. I will give you instructions for the salad but first let me come clean.


I made a soup to go with this salad. A catfish soup with banana flower, egg, and a catfish. All of it swimming around in a tumeric(ie) broth. EWWWWW. I know this will be the next big "thing". Afterall pig snout made it big. Everyone is all:

Everyone: "We went to a fabulous new restaurant"

Everyone's friend: Oh yeah? What is the name of it?"

Everyone: "Catfish Soup"

Everyone's friend: "What did you have?"

Everyone: "A phenomenal Catfish soup with Catfish swimming around in a Tumeric(ie) broth. We also had an equally pretentious cocktail to go with it"

Everyone's friend: "Oooooh, blog about it!"

Ok ok, so you get the point.


Yeah. So, NOT good.


Action shot of Rich obliterating stew beef. You heard me right. This dish of obliterated meat would have been good if:

A) Meat was not as dried out as a piece of beef jerky and
B) Someone (no, not ME) hadn't used Tablespoons of salt instead of teaspoons. Not mentioning any names Dr. Food.





So you ready for more? There was my Valentines fiasco. I boiled a lobster and made seafood stock out of the shells.


Really an experience. I swear I heard the scream.



This seafood risotto was fantastic. I loved it and more importantly Dr. Food loved it. It stuck in my craw that I got the recipe from Martha Stewart but Martha came through on this one. She didn't even have me make a centerpiece out of the antenna of the lobster.


Ok, that is all. Don't make the soup.

Fermented Tea Leaf Salad

1/4 cup fermented tea leaf (soak in cold water for an hour or two)
1/3 cup dried yellow split peas (soak in water overnight, drained, and then fried)
1/2 head cabbage
4 T unsalted roasted peanuts
4 T sunflower seeds
3 Tbl sesame seeds
4 or 5 Tbl of fried garlic (I used the stuff you buy packaged from Asian market)
Dried shrimp powder, to taste (optional)
2 tsp fish sauce
1 lemon
1 tomato, diced
1 jalapeno sliced thinly (optional)

Ingredients are placed on plate in piles. You can either toss all together or let people take what they want. I tossed and then squeezed the lemon over the whole salad. It was a bit bland so we put some fish sauce on it as well. Enjoy!

Seafood Risotto
recipe from Martha Stewart

1/4 cup coarse salt, plus more to taste
2 lobsters (1 1/2 pounds each)
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
12 mussels, scrubbed well and debearded
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
1 small dried chile de arbol, crumbled
1 cup dry sparkling white wine, such as Prosecco
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut crosswise into thirds
8 ounces calamari (bodies and tentacles), rinsed, dried, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought fish stock
2 tablespoons fresh chervil, minced, plus sprigs for garnish
Pinch of saffron threads
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium shallots, minced (about 3/4 cup)
2 cups Vialone Nano or Carnaroli rice
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)

Fill a large bowl with ice water, and set aside. Fill a large stockpot three-quarters full with cold water. Bring to a boil, and add 1/4 cup salt. Plunge lobsters head first into water. Return to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes (meat will not be fully cooked). Using tongs, transfer lobsters to ice water, and let cool for 5 minutes. Place lobsters on a cutting board.

Using a kitchen towel to protect your hands, twist off tail and claws; discard body. Twist fan off end of tail, and push meat out of shell. (Alternatively, use kitchen shears to cut up length of tail, and pull shell away from meat.) Cut tail in half lengthwise, and then crosswise. Transfer tail meat to a plate lined with paper towels. Separate claws from knuckles; twist and pull off pincers. With back of knife, crack knuckle end of claw. Gently remove whole piece of meat, and add to plate. Crack knuckle, remove meat from shell, and add to plate. Wipe any white residue off meat.

Place clams and mussels in a large skillet or pot, and add 2 inches of water. Cover skillet, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until clams and mussels have opened, 4 to 5 minutes. Discard any that remain closed. Using a slotted spoon, transfer clams and mussels to a bowl, and cover loosely with parchment and then foil.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chile, and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup sparkling wine, and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp, calamari, and 1/4 cup stock, and cook until shrimp just turn pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chervil. Remove from heat.
Combine saffron and remaining 6 1/4 cups stock in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter with remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until edges of grains are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup sparkling wine, and cook, stirring constantly, until wine has been completely absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering stock, and cook, stirring constantly, until stock has been completely absorbed and a wooden spoon drawn through rice leaves a trail. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting for each addition to be absorbed before adding the next, until you've added all but 1 cup of the stock. (It should take 18 to 20 minutes.)

Add lobster and shrimp mixture. Add 1/2 cup of the remaining stock, in same manner as described above. If you prefer a looser risotto, add the remaining 1/2 cup stock. Risotto is done when liquid looks creamy and grains are cooked but still slightly firm in centers. Remove from heat.

Stir in remaining 6 tablespoons butter cut into pieces, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon zest, clams, and mussels. Garnish with chervil sprigs. Serve immediately.


  1. My son made that delicious salad for me last Mother's Day and it was fabulous. I even blogged about it! Funny thing...lots of people find my blog by searching for that salad.