the art of gournet cooking

I know what you’re thinking.

["She misspelled the title of this post. Should I tell her?"]

best for gournet cooking effect

I meant to put ‘gournet’ in the title–and not because this post concerns the fish of the family Triglidae (though there are fish. Shiny ones.)

A few weeks ago, my friend Dan and I galloped off to Chinatown to see his noodle dealer. I can’t show you the noodle dealer, of course, but perhaps you can ferret out the location with the background clues.

Dan with many noodles

We bought five packets of beautiful, fresh noodles.

five packs of noodles from Dan's noodle dealer

Then, a new vegetable enthusiast friend (who sets up shop on the street) gleefully packed mounds of long Chinese greens and baby bok choy for us in lucky red bags, throwing in extra handfuls for good measure–so many that the bags weighed us down as we made our way toward the fish.

baby bok choy (an abundance of them)

I like shiny things. So unsurprisingly, the fish that caught my eye were pink and shimmery.

our beautiful sparkly pink fish

Scaled and gutted, the pink fish still sparkled in my kitchen a few hours later;

scaled and gutted, our fish are ready to be crusted with salt

while Dan stirred his wonderful black bean sauce into the noodles, and we sautéed the greens, I whipped egg whites and salt to create a crust that baked around the fish.

salt-crusted fish (you flake it off)

By then, our guests had started to arrive: Dan’s sister, who lives in the neighborhood, and then my friends LJ, Sarah, Tricia, David (who lives in Mexico City), Mario, Revaz, and Dean.

such a nice group in the apt (and the party grew)

Dan, who is a gluten-free chef, made sizzling parsnip cakes with Chinese sausage as everyone shed coats and boots, and we began to celebrate The Year of the Rabbit together.

Looking at our birth years on the Chinese calendar, we read the Engrish predictions for our year ahead as I portioned out pieces of the whole fish.

In years past, my favorite part of Chinese New Year parties has been making fortune cookies with my friend Mica, but this year I decided to finally make tea eggs.

tea eggs

Boiled hard, the eggshells are cracked and the eggs simmered with 5-spice powder and tea bags, then cure for up to a few days, chilled.

Just after the eggs were Dan’s lovely individual chocolate cakes (recipe), Tricia’s pistachio macarons from Michael Allen, and raucous revelry, but before that, the kitchen went silent for a few minutes, as we unpeeled the marbled eggs and considered the possibilities in the months ahead…

tea egg unpeeled

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