Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hoisin Beef on Pak Choi Spoons

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Aren't food-bloggers a peculiar little folk? Always seeking for inspiration, trying hard to add something of  value and entertainment to the ever-growing  niche of online writers. And while I guess that most of us don't write for fame or fortune (ehrm...), I am always very appreciative of any feedback I get, may it be through mails, comments or in this case, an award given to yours truly by children's book illustrator, food blogger and New Yorker Melissa Iwai of The Hungry Artist fame.

Hoisin Beef on Pak Choi Spoons

It is the second time I received the award for the Versatile Blogger but I don't see why that should be important, it is Melissa who thought of me that matters. Thank you!

This award usually comes with certain guidelines - passing it on to newly discovered blogs and write seven things about yourself, to be precise - but I feel like I should skip the first one (for now) as I was too busy with life to really go on a hunt for new, exciting food blogs. This one may be kept for later. ;)

However, no matter how busy I am, there is no way I can avoid myself, so writing things about me should be a doable task, shouldn't it? So, here - slickly ignoring that self-centred Tobias just managed to use "Me, Myself and I" in one sentence - are the cold facts about the author (trimmed down to five):

  • I'm half German and Swiss, but grew up solely in Germany (being only German on paper) and have yet to step one foot on Swiss ground.
  • I almost studied cultural sciences (or creative writing and cultural journalism) but was too much of a wuss to apply for their aptitude test as I neither play an instrument (the test covers many aspects of fine arts) nor thought my writing had enough consistency. Plus, I was a bit late, anyways. Another consideration was becoming a teacher (English and German). In the end, I'm studying something called "International Information Management" with my minors being literature and psychology. If you want to know a bit more about it, feel free to drop me a mail and I'll happily respond. Besides, I like receiving emails. :)
  • One of my favourite authors is Banana Yoshimoto. I adore her poetic, easy-reading kind of style. I find reading  her books and short stories immensely soothing and if you would ever ask me for an author to recommend, it would be her.
  • Alright, another odd one: I'm really into horror films. Not the torture porn kind of gross out flicks that seem to be popular these days, but the more subtle, suspense-heavy kind. Anything with ghosts and I'll gladly watch it with you. As the Japanese Ringu has caused a wave of amazing (and not so amazing) Asian ghost films, many of my favourites originated there. This had led me to seek out for Asian films of other genres, as well, so one of my favourite filmmakers is Wong Kar-Wai. Watch "Fallen Angels" and "Chungking Express", please.
  • Hmmm, maybe I should finish this list with something cooking related? Let me think...Ah yes: I don't own a lot of cookbooks and the ones I have are mostly pretty old, bought from flea markets or thrift shops (same places I mostly get my props from). I just find that the new/good/beautiful ones are rather on the expensive side and as a University student, I try to be considerate with my expenses. Besides, what is the food blogosphere for if not  finding recipes and inspiration, right? I just wish I'd have more time to be more active in it.

Enough of me now and let's get to the recipe.
It is thought to be an appetizer but if only prepared for 2-3 people, can also be a lunch meal or light dinner. It is really easy to make yet quite the looker, in my opinion. I served it as shown in the photos, with the remaining meat and crème frâiche put in little ramekins on the table, ready to fill the pak choi left after the first bite.  Pak choi is also called bok choi.

Hoisin Beef on Pak Choi Spoons

Hoisin Beef on Pak Choi Spoons

  • 125 - 145 ml  (4 - 5 fl. oz. or 0.5 - 0.625 cup) hoisin sauce
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 350 g (12.5 oz) ground beef
  • 400 g (14 oz) pak choi
  • Crème frâiche or heavy cream/double cream
  • Pepper to taste

  1. Wash and dry vegetables.
  2. Carefully cut or pull off pak choi stems from stalk, trying not to break any. I found it the easiest when I slit them just a little at the bottom and pulled them off. Sort out any stems that were either damaged or too small to be used as a 'spoon'. Set aside.
  3. Cut onion, carrots and sorted out pak choi into very small cubes.
  4. Pan fry ground beef on medium heat, crumbling it.
  5. When half done, add and sauté cubed vegetables.
  6. Stir in 120 ml hoisin sauce, taste and add more if needed. I did this recipe with two different brands and found one to be stronger/more concentrated than the other, hence the suggestion.
  7. Season to taste with pepper.
  8. Place on pak choi stems with a spoon.
  9. Finish off with a dollop of crème frâiche or heavy cream/double cream.

28 comments:

  1. Hi Tobias,

    Congratulations on your much deserved award. It's always great getting to know the people behind the blog. So that's why your writing is exquisite;) I'm with you on the scary movies. It seems like all the new western ones are about blood and just horrible.

    The bok/pak choi looks amazing! It would make a great appetizer for a party too. Thanks for sharing and making my mouth water.

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    1. Thank you, Nancy! Oh well my writing... I WISH! ;)

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  2. I've never thought of using Pak Choi AKA Bok Choy this way. That is very creative of you! Beautiful photography!

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  3. Congrats :) these look grrrrreat! Love pak choi!

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  4. Someone's getting a lot of awards lately! And so deserving even! Congratulations! I have a couple of unread/unfinished old books of Banana that are waiting for me to read. Maybe I will take them up again when I find the time between kids, blogging, husband and chores and when the days miraculously extend to 30 hours a day. :-) Lovely recipe Tobias!

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    1. Teehee. Guess I'm on a lucky streak. ;)
      I know what you mean (not the husband and kids part, lol): I can hardly remember the last time I managed to open a book (for leisure). Think it was on a train ride...hmm

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  5. I use bok choy pretty often, but bok choy spoons never came across to my mind! You are so creative! Hoisin sauce goes well with the meat and this looks delicious!

    I never imagined to hear Yoshimoto Banana from you! And you liked Ringu?? :-O I will not be able to go to bed if I watch it. TOO SCARY! I scream and jump and you don't want to sit around me because I embarrass you. LOL!

    Congrats on the award! You so deserve it!!!

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    1. Beef and Hoisin sauce are perfect together, right? ;)

      Haha! I think I'd LOVE watching a film with you! Sounds like watching your reactions is just as entertaining as the film itself. :P

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  6. These are gorgeous! I like the simplicity of the recipe and the presentation is simply stunning.

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  7. Congrats on the versatile award again! And I don't know how you can watch horror films. When I was 12, I watched I Still Know What you Did Last Summer at a sleepover party and I couldn't sleep for months. Since then, I won't even take the chance to watch a scary movie ever again.

    Now on a food-related note, these spoons are to die for. They're incredibly cute, and so vibrant in color. Well done!

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  8. Hi Tobias - just swinging over from Nami's! Nice to discover your site and congratulations on the award. I have to say I don't share your love of horror movies. For me, the world already has enough horror in it - I prefer not to seek out more in my entertainment, so I go for wussy options like comedies usually!

    Nice looking dish - Pak choi is delicious and I suppose you can use it as spoons for all sorts of things as well! Thanks for sharing :)

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  9. I love these bok choy spoons! What a creative idea for a party - taking note of this for the future!

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  10. Congratulations on your award! It was great learning more about you with this being my first visit here. I love your Bok Choy spoons and filling! So simple, so delicate, but I'm sure - Oh so good! Gorgeous presentation!

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  11. Hi Tobias, nice to meet you! I enjoyed reading about your background, and I love this idea. A simple recipe that looks the bees knees!

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  12. This is brilliant! I love your photos too.

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  13. The awards are very well deserved. I'm so glad to have discovered your blog. I love the writing and the photography. Congratulations!

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  14. I love this recipe -- looks amazing!
    I'm glad you did write about yourself and weren't freaked out about it like I was. :) The Japanese versions of those ghost films are so much scarier than their western remakes!

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  15. Herzlichen Glueckwunsch zum Award!!! Your photos and recipes are amazing!

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  16. Congratulations on the well deserved award! And you already know about my pension for horror films, but the ghost and supernatural are always my favorites as well :) I also own very few cook books, most that I do were written by friends.
    As for this lovely recipe, wonderful! Would make such an elegant appetizer!

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  17. These are brilliant, and delicious looking to boot! The photography is amazing... I can't believe you are new to the food blog community! I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

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  18. Great way to use pak choi - really inventive idea. And a nice combo of flavor, but so simple too! Great photos. Glad I found you - I'll be back.

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  19. Very stylish presentation! You make the pak choi look so appealing even a picky eater will love to give it a bite too. ;)

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  20. I LOVE this idea! I mean, who hasn't used endive spears as "containers'' for dips and seafood salad. But pak choy? That's true genius.

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  21. Fabulous idea! What a simple and delicious way to use pak choi! Your pictures are just stunning. :)

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  22. What a brilliant idea. So stylish!! So glad to have stumbled across your blog today, now a very happy follower!!

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  23. wow it looks really fresh and delicious, such a lovely idea

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  24. t is believed to be an appetizer but if only ready for 2-3 individuals, can also be a lunchtime food or mild supper. It is really simple to create yet quite the looker, in my view. I provided it as proven in the images, with the remainin+
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