Saturday, August 22, 2015

Recipe-In-A-Flash: Italian Prune Plum Nut Bread

It seems like the wonderful, seasonal, Italian prune plums have arrived earlier than usual, and I just had to buy some. Can't pass up the first of the season!

I wanted to make something different than my usual, so after scouring the many recipes on-line, I decided on this one from Diana's Desserts. One, because it sounded good, and two, because I had everything in-house.

 It does not specify a type of nut in the recipe; I used walnuts, which were perfect. I'm sure you could use toasted, chopped almonds, or pecans. 

The recipe makes two loaves, although I cut it in half as I only had enough yogurt and plums for one loaf. 

Buy some prune plums and make this cake. Delicious with your morning or afternoon coffee, or dress it up with a bit of whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream) and serve it after dinner. 

Sometimes early is good!

Print recipe.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Shanghai 46 - Fairfield, NJ

Steamed Juicy Buns
We paid a visit to Shanghai 46 in Fairfield recently. Owned by Kevin Lin, who also owns Cheng Du 23 in Wayne, he is passionate about the food of this region.

We feasted on a non-stop presentation of beautifully crafted dishes, starting with the famous (and one of my favorites) Steamed Juicy Buns (pork or crab), the delicate Shanghai Shepherd Purse Wonton Soup, and the perfectly crispy-outside/moist-inside Shanghai Marinated Duck. And these were just the appetizers!

Kevin treated us to many courses during the evening. My favorites included the aptly named, Lion’s Head Meatballs. Fist-sized, these delicious pork and tofu meatballs with oyster sauce were so tender and flavorful. I also loved the Pickled Mustard Greens with Pork; the delicate Shanghai Udon Noodles; Roasted Garlic Chicken; and Moo Shu Pancake with Beef. Yes, there was alot of food!
Pickled Mustard Greens with Pork

New Jersey diners have many Asian restaurants to choose from and I think most people are more familiar with Cantonese or Szechuan styles. I asked Kevin what makes Shanghai cuisine different from cooking in other parts of China. He told me that it’s much lighter, and with subtle spices. Not overwhelming or heavy. A good example of this was a truly unique dish that I’ve never seen anywhere else: Pumpkin with Salted Egg Yolk. This dish consisted of thinly sliced pumpkin coated with egg yolk and lightly fried. Crispy, delicious, and addictive!
Pumpkin with Salted Egg Yolk

Shanghai 46 also serves some of the dishes that may be more familiar to many patrons of area restaurants, such as General Tso’s Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken, along with a few “Asian fusion” dishes. We sampled the Beef with Thai Basil from this part of the menu and it was very good. But what you really want here is the authentic Shanghai cuisine. This is where Kevin and his team excel.

14 US Highway 46 East
Open 11:30am – 10:00pm
Closed Tuesday
Dim Sum served Saturday and Sunday

Note: The Cook's Tour was invited to visit Shanghai 46 and our writer received a complimentary meal.