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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

“Central Asian Favorites, Pt. XVI: The Best Chinese Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs ever made!” by James “JT” Tobiason



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COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 158 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!



STINKBUG 2012





James “JT” Tobiason

END Commentary 07-19-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,503.



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Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Thursday, July 19, 2012 by James “JT” Tobiason



CENTRAL ASIAN FAVORITES, PART XVI

 Central Asian Favorites, Pt. XVI: The Best Chinese Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs ever made!” by James “JT” Tobiason

HUMP DAY!

Bakersfield, CA, 07-19-2012 Th: Once more, we have come to HUMP DAY and friends; I have done my best NOT to be caught in the dreaded trap.  I believe I have succeeded because I have jumped on it right from the start and that leaves us free to continue with our Central Asian Favorites today featuring another Chinese dish, Sweet-and-Sour Beef Meatballs.  Everyone loves this dish, there is NO one I know who does not.  It is flavorful, features garlic and ginger, bell peppers, pineapples, chilis, and onions with some high-quality beef.  The balls are formed, cooked, and then the vegetables are added to them for a final, beautiful dish featuring steamed jasmine rice.  I love this sort of food and the thing that makes it great is that we use NO MSG, which makes the food “solid.”  One does not become hungry an hour later—the common complaint with Chinese food—because without the MSG, sure, we may lack a bit of flavor but we have a more solid dish that stands on its own.   

We will now look at the type of meat we need, preferably a leaner cut but a bit of fat is always good.  For these balls, don’t buy 30-percent beef; look for 12-percent ground sirloin or ground strip loin.  Ask your butcher, buy some New York strip loins and have him or her run them through the meat grinder for you.  Yes, it will be costly but you will be making the best there is.  In the foodservice industry, the places that cut their own meat are always superior to those who do not because they have all of the trim with which to work: filet mignon, strip loin, standing rib, even top sirloin, any of which can be combined with lesser cuts to form some of the best meat anyone has ever tried!  I feel for those of you who buy your steaks individually cut, cryo-wrapped, and from God knows where?  You are buying crap, my friends, nothing but crap! Let’s do it:

(#1672) CHINESE-STYLE SWEET-AND-SOUR MEATBALLS

This is the classic Chinese sweet-and-sour meatball recipe— it is exciting, delicious, and mind-blowing if prepared properly.  Anytime a chef can run an ethnic menu, that chef will be successful, especially if what he or she runs is better than the top ethnic place in town!  This dish will do just that: it will beat the best Chinese restaurant’s offering any night of the week!

Yield:  4 servings / Mis-en-place: 1.25 hours:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
3
#
Lean ground beef, fine-ground
Fresh is best!
2
Each
Large AA eggs, beaten

1.5
Teaspoons
Lawrey’s seasoned salt

.25
Cup
Cornstarch

.5
Cup
Water

Peanut oil

1
Large
Yellow onion, peeled and julienned

4
Medium
Green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and de-ribbed; cut into strips
16
Slices
Canned pineapple rings, cut into fourths

4
Each
Small red chili peppers, seeded and minced 

1-1/3
Tablespoons
Freshly minced garlic

2
Teaspoons
Freshly minced ginger

.25
Cup
Cornstarch

.5
Cup
Cold water

Meatball Sauce:
2
Cups
Beef stock

2
Cups
Granulated sugar

.25
Cup
Soy sauce

.5
Cup
Kikkoman rice wine vinegar

1-1/3
Tablespoons
Kosher salt

1-1/3
Tablespoons
Gekkeikan Sake

The Finish:
3-4
Cups
Steamed jasmine rice

2-3
Cups
Stir-fried vegetables

4
Each
Sprigs fresh parsley
Rinsed
.5
Cup
Slivered scallions




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! When making meatballs, the meat needs to be extra tender and this is the trick: take the meat and either run it through a meat grinder using the small holed ring or chop it with a Chinese knife atop a cutting board. Chop by knife or re-grind the meat until it is as malleable as possible; then, place it into a bowl and add the beaten and strained eggs, salt, and the cornstarch combined with the water.  Mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

2.      Combine the sauce ingredients together and heat in a saucepot to medium-warm; keep there until called for.

3.      After 20 minutes, the combined meat mixture will be somewhat pasty and are ready then to form into meatballs an inch in diameter.  Squeeze them in your hand several times each to compact them into firm balls and if any meat squeezed out amounts to much, form one or more balls.

4.      Using a large heavy-duty skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil and cook, the balls as many as the utensil can comfortably hold, taking care to turn them often.  Do not overload it nor cook them one at a time, cook them the best you can until a dark brown in color.  Remove at that time and transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry. 

5.      Add additional oil to the skillet or the wok if you need to and then add the onions, bell peppers, and pineapples.  Cook rapidly, tossing with tongs or chopsticks, return the meat balls to the cooking mode and add the chopped chilis, garlic, and ginger.  Cook rapidly.  Finally, pour in the simmering sauce, combining everything, and finish the cooking process; then, pull from the heat and prepare to serve:

6.      Use four large serving bowls or plates: place two large scoops steamed jasmine rice dead center and then cover with the contents of the cooking skillet/wok.  Heap up the balls with veggies until you have an attractive set of entrees in front of you then top with slivered scallions and serve stir-fried vegetables on the side.  Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve. Accompany with soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot sauce to complete the meal.

7.      Cool leftovers to below 45°F as quickly as possible and reheats must be heated to 165°F or higher.  Always store in sanitized airtight containers with tight fitting lids, label, date, and refrigerate and never keep for longer than 2-3 days at most; leftovers are best when used or served within 1-2 days.

Everyone loves sweet-and-sour meatballs and this dish is exciting, authentic, and delights the taste buds of every diner within the house or establishment.  You can substitute pork for beef and even fish if you wish.

--------------------------------------------

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this, as it is a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will become dedicated followers of the END.  Currently of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that we hear the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession —join us. We urge our readership to write to us, leave comments, and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously do not pay anything but give YOU full byline and that, my friends, is worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it will be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so Stinky says.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people do not care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It is sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

We made it and that means I won’t be the one doing TWO weeks in a row due to failing to mention HUMP DAY.  I do hope you are enjoying our week of Central Asian Favorites, the next time you see it; will be Asian Favorites so we can do everybody’s cuisines.  The only ones different are the Hawaiian and Polynesian Recipes as they are different much as oriental food is on Mainland America.  Things are changed by those who make it and I am sorry, whenever you have an Italian making Chinese food, there are going to be “differences” much like it is in Hawaii. 

Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by SPIRIT/ Jo Jo Gunne/ Jay Ferguson and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  Allied with them, we are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you!

“JT”

James “JT” Tobiason

Professional Baker, American Baker’s Association, Certified Working Chef, ACF, CWC

This is me back in the 1980's when I was an Executive Sous Chef at a hotel Monterey, California. I originally came from Salinas, CA, spent time in Fresno and Bakersfield, and currently am working at a fine-dining restaurant in Visalia, CA. I began cooking in 1967 when I apprenticed under a top chef working in the Napa Valley.

James “JT” Tobiason writes from Visalia, CA.

---30---

The END Commentary for Thursday, July 19, 2012 by James “JT” Tobiason

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

The one-and-only James “JT” Tobiason writes this original essay.



Recipe created by James “JT” Tobiason on February 19, 1987 in Napa, CA.

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