So much flavor flourishes in Liana Krissoff's "Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry," that one look just wasn't enough. Lovers of plums, who reveled in last week's sweet and juicy Muscadine and Plum Pie, will delight in this week's Chinese Plum Sauce, delicious in Krissoff's Mu Shu Pork and Mandarin pancakes dish. Made with deeply aromatic star anise, cinnamon and fennel seeds, the plum sauce recipe will make eight half-pint jars, plenty for yourself and for sharing as gifts. The pancakes, made with flour and water, are easy to make, and the Mu Shu Pork can be made with or without meat. While Krissoff's cookbook provides detailed instructions on home canning foods like the Chinese Plum sauce featured here, the excellent information found at The National Center for Home Food Preservation's website, at www.uga.edu/nchfp/index.htm, should not be overlooked. In addition, the makers of Ball and Kerr jars and canning products maintains a website, at www.freshpreserving.com, which includes canning procedures, recipes, and more. With spirited sidebars and 30 detachable gift labels, Krissoff's cookbook endeavors to make everything associated with canning a joy, be it giving, or receiving.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.
Recipes courtesy "Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for a the Modern Pantry," by Liana Krissoff; Stewart, Tabori & Chang, publishers.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine) or dry sherry
1 pint Chinese Plum Sauce (recipe follows)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces extra-thin boneless pork chops, cut into 1/8 -inch-thick slices
1/2 cup (about 1/2 ounce dried wood ear mushrooms (a.k.a. black fungus), soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained and thinly sliced
1 small head Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
6 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 (8-ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots, drained and cut into thin matchsticks
Make the Mandarin pancakes: Put the flour in a medium bowl and pour in the boiling water. Stir to combine, then knead the dough in the bowl for a couple minutes until it's smooth and not too sticky. Shape the dough into a log about 16 inches long and wrap it in plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes. Unwrap the dough and cut the log into 16 rounds. On a lightly floured surface, using the palm of your hand, flatten the rounds into 3- to 4-inch circles. Brush half of the circles with sesame oil, cover with the remaining circles, and roll out the double circles to about 6 inches in diameter. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then add one of the double pancakes and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute on each side. Peel the two pancakes apart and wrap in a large piece of aluminum foil to keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining pancakes to make a total of 16.
Make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, Shaoxing, and 1/2 cup plum sauce. Set the sauce aside. In a large saut pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat until it shimmers, then add the eggs. After about 30 seconds, use a spatula to flip the omelet over and cook just until the bottom is set. Remove to a cutting board and thinly slice. Return the pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and add the pork; cook, stirring frequently, until no longer pink, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, cabbage, scallions, and bamboo shoots and cook, turning constantly with tongs or a spatula, until the cabbage is wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Add the sauce and the eggs and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, tossing to combine, until heated through. Serve the pancakes, filling, and the remaining plum sauce for spreading on the pancakes before filling them.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1 cinnamon stick
2 pieces star anise
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 pounds black plums, pitted and coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup rice vinegar (4 percent acidity)
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, or more to taste
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar, or more to taste
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Prepare for water-bath canning: Sterilize the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot, and put the flat lids in a heated bowl. (For detailed instructions on safe canning, visit The National Center for Home Food Preservation website at www.uga.edu/nchfp/index.html.) Put the cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns, and fennel seeds in a spice bag or several layers of cheesecloth and tie shut. Put the bag and all the remaining ingredients in a wide 6- to 8-quart preserving pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the spice bag. Working in batches, pure the sauce in a blender, covering the lid with a towel to keep the hot liquid from erupting, and return it to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened slightly and a shade darker in color, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more soy sauce or brown sugar as necessary. The sauce should be quite sweet and salty. Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the sterilized jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them right on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids. Ladle the hot sauce into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it's just finger-tight. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes to process. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn't sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.
* Makes 8 half-pint jars.
*Kitchen Ade Note: Stored in a cool, dry place, canned food will keep for at least 1 year without loss of taste or quality.
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