Chinese take-out cookbook giveaway

Stir-fried beefThis drawing is now closed. Anyone who ever reads my blog knows what a big fan I am of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. A few of the recipes have turned into my go-to standards, such as the cold sesame noodles. So I'm really happy to be holding a drawing for a copy of the book, open to anyone who lives in the US or Canada and posts a comment below by midnight on April 29th. A random winner will be chosen (thanks to the publisher for the book). About this recipe, it's the Sichuan Dry-Fried Beef, another winner. Of course I turned it gluten-free, but it was easy this time because I just had to substitute in some gluten-free soy sauce. Okay, so I also spiced it up a lot with several more dried chilies than what author Diana Kuan calls for. But besides that, it's fun to make and super easy, and of course it tastes better than anything you're going to get at your local Chinese take-out restaurant. Just don't forget to make a big bowl of white rice to go with it.

sodium girl's amazing 5-spice chicken salad

Sodium Girl 5-Spice Chicken SaladI never would have guessed one of my favorite cookbooks would be a low-sodium one. I've said it before... I'm a salt lover, like so many foodies. But when I try the recipes from Jessica Goldman-Foung's Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook, all I can think is how good they are. The absence of salt never crosses my mind. I almost wish this was an exaggeration -- the Chinese Five-Spice Plus One Chicken Salad recipe in the book is one of the best dishes I've ever cooked at home.Sodium Girl 5-Spice Chicken SaladThe trick is the chicken. You use thighs which stay tender when you roast them. They're coated in sesame oil, salt-free Chinese five-spice powder, and garlic powder. What comes out of the oven is magical.Sodium Girl 5-Spice Chicken SaladSeriously, at this point I was all set. I just wanted to eat this chicken right off the cutting board, it's that good.Sodium Girl 5-Spice Chicken SaladBut of course this is a complete recipe with a really yummy dressing and roasted almonds, served over fried mai fun noodles (so fun doing that). And don't worry too much about the greens. She calls for iceberg lettuce and Savoy cabbage, but I swapped out the cabbage because I couldn't find it in my local vegetable market. I should mention the varied textures are a big part of the success of this recipe -- crispy, soft, crunchy, and chewy, all combined into one. I'll be making this regularly.

chicken adobo... so good

chicken adoboI'm still loving This is a Cookbook. Sure this is only the second recipe I've made from the book, but I've been known to get my hands on a new cookbook, try one recipe, and never pick it up again. Add to that I've got a list of more recipes I want to try. This one is chicken adobo. If you know much about me in real life, then you might wonder how it's possible I've never made it before. Yes, there was the bacon pork adobo, but that's entirely different. In fact, in terms of Filipino cuisine, I don't exactly know what "adobo" means, except that "adobo anything" tends to taste really, really good.chicken adoboThis recipe by Max and Eli Sussman can't get much simpler. Tamari (I used gluten-free of course), vinegar, chicken thighs, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves -- the only trick is patience (and that you'll probably want to double or triple the recipe and invite good friends over for dinner). You have to cook the dish for about 1 1/2 hours to get the chicken so tender, it's falling off the bone. Totally worth it. Then serve over rice. I roasted some broccoli with garlic and tossed it with a bit of lemon juice for a complete meal. How tasty was it? Let's just say I might make it again this coming weekend. Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy of the book.

non-stop rendang -- a celebrity chef showdown

celebrity chefs at rendang competitionBelieve it or not, I don't get invited to a lot of foodie events. I don't mean the potlucks -- I usually know about those. I mean the press events. Recently I recently came to the conclusion that I don't receive many invites because I don't actually write about the events on my blog. Maybe that's because the events themselves aren't always all that interesting. Fortunately this celebrity chef showdown hosted by Malaysia Kitchen proved me wrong. The line-up was terrific, there were live demos by each of the chefs (making their interpretation of Malaysian rendang), we got to taste everyone's dish, and finally we voted for the best creation. Now that's my idea of a good time (I'm such a food geek). In fact the event interested me so much, this was where I got inspired to make the beef rendang for Jackie and Ken's Tiger Beer Chinese New Year Potluck. Kelly Choi hosted, and after we watched a demo on how to make traditional rendang, here's how things went down...Angelo Sosa rendangSpoiler alert -- Angelo Sosa won the competition with this rendang. It was really good, but the only reason I'm not sure he should have won it is because you were supposed to rate on creativity, and this seemed kind of straight-forward to me. But taste-wise, Sosa nailed it, and he's always an audience favorite.Anita Lo rendangI was betting on Anita Lo from the start. She took things to another level with not one but two components -- unfortunately for me (and likely everyone else attending), her second dish (a tartare in a soup spoon) wasn't served with the main dish, and so the whole side-by-side effect was lost. This was really tasty though, and Anita should have been a contender.Dale Talde rendangDale Talde also took creativity to the extreme. Maybe too extreme. I enjoyed watching him turn lemongrass into powder with some nitrous oxide and a blender, but as pretty as this turned out, I'm still not sure how it's supposed to be rendang.Shaun Hergatt rendangOn any other day I would have been happy to eat a nice, big bowl of Shaun Hergatt's rendang, but in this competition, I think he played it way too safe.Todd English rendangTodd English really likes to talk to a crowd.  have to give him a big vote for creativity with this meat-within-a-meatball creation. This was really tasty, but I think he pushed it a little bit too far for the audience to appreciate it.Zak Pelaccio rendangZak Pelaccio killed it (that's a good thing). Damn, he should have won. I'm not sure the photo does it justice, but trust me, this was amazing. Sadly, I'm told the rendang they serve at Fatty Crab is not the same as this, but now I'm curious to stop by and try the menu version anyway because Zak really knows his stuff.