Chinese Chive Pockets

~ This is Day 21 ~

AKA Chinese hot pockets, if you will.

My first memory of these brings me back to a shivering, bone-dry, blistering cold, dreary winter day in Beijing. I was with my parents and we were visiting where my father went to college. We went to his school’s cafeteria, where, unlike American cafeterias, there were so many, countless, options for breakfast/lunch/dinner. These chive pockets were at the perfect temperature with the perfect bite-ratio of wrapper versus filling. This is often accompanied with congee and freshly made soy bean milk.

In my Chinese Chive Pockets, I put two different kind of Chinese chives (the flat kind and also the circular, flowering kind), shiitake mushroom, vermicelli, dried shrimp, and 5 spice powder.

Recipe: Homemade Hoisin

(One more post to end the year!)

I don’t know why I haven’t started to make homemade hoisin much earlier in my life. I made it for this past Friendsgiving and it was amazing! I used some of the leftovers the other day with steamed buns and duck breast. So good!!

So here is my recipe. It’s significantly better than the store-bought version!

  • 6 umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum)
  • 120 g brown sugar
  • 100 g soy sauce
  • 10 g rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 TBS 5 spice powder (my homemade 5 spice powder is technically 7 different spices)
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 50 g Chinese fermented black beans

Just blend everything in a VitaMix and then pass it!

Sample dishes:

5 Spiced Duck Leg Cappellacci

This is probably my most ambitious homemade pasta project for #RontiniFriendsgiving #RontiniParties because I had to marinate the duck legs, cook the duck legs, hand-shred the duck legs, mince/grind the duck legs through a meat grinder, make the farce, pipe the farce into the freshly made pasta dough, fold/shape the dough…

I decided to make the pasta a weekend before the actual date because there was no way that I could make pasta dough from scratch and do all of that in one day along with the other day-of Thanksgiving prep!

So here you have Cappellacci (meaning little hats) filled with 5 Spice Duck Leg with Celery in a Brown Butter Sage Sauce with Fennel, Fines Herbes, Cured Egg Yolk, and Fennel Fronds.

Plans for Friendsgiving 2019

I’m very early this year for my Friendsgiving menu plans! Inspiration started and I decided to just go with it. I’ve been usually doing dinner for four for the past couple of years because that means less glassware to clean but I want to do six people total this year… Here is what I have so far; I expect menu changes…

Egg on Egg on Egg
Sea Urchin • Soft Scramble • Trout Roe
Potato Foam • Pumpernickel Soil
(1st course)

Quail with Autumn Mushrooms
Chanterelles • King Trumpet • Cremini Purée
Rosemary • Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

5 Spiced Duck Leg Cappellacci
Celery • Brown Butter • Cured Egg Yolk • Fennel
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Homemade Hoisin • Pickled Cucumber • Chive Oil
(4th course)

Pear Tart
Ginger Snap • Ginger Ice Cream
(5th course)

Plans for Friendmas 2017

This is actually my first Friendmas dinner party! I haven’t had a Christmas Eve off in six years!!! It’s been a weird year and it’s weird to have both eves on a Sunday.

But since I usually go all out during my Friendsgiving dinner parties, I am going light with this dinner. I came up with this menu in one evening.

Ocean Trout Tartare
Meyer Lemon, Jalapeño, Rice Krispies
(1st course)

Duck with 5 Spice
Celeriac Purée, Pommes Fondant, Shanghai Bok Choy
(2nd course)

Cheesecake with Citrus
Mascarpone Mousse,
Streusel, Citrus Sorbet
(3rd course)


5 Spice Duck Leg Confit & Egg

As a kid, I always loved eating salt cured duck eggs with my morning congee. However, I would only eat the yolk. The whites were always too salty. And I would look for the yolks in sticky rice and in mooncakes.

But I’ve never cooked with them, raw, or uncured. I had an interesting couple of days figuring out how to sous vide them properly and perfectly.

This is a Sous Vide Duck Egg with 5 Spice Duck Leg Confit, Spring Onion Purée, Julienned Cucumbers, Spring Roll Paper Crackers, and a 5 Spice Jus.