My brother Alex is the best cook I know. Seriously- with out a recipe, or much planning, he can take a pile of ingredients, and turn it into the best meal you think you have ever had. He is the cook at his house, but his girlfriend Miranda does the grocery shopping, so every night is like an Iron Chef competition for them. She comes home with a pile of stuff- and he works his magic on it.
So, when they came to visit this weekend, it was like the ultimate show- Alex and Miranda came down from New York to see the farmers market I have run for the past couple of years, bringing with them some fantastic dumplings from Chinatown. Our dinner on Saturday was to be based around those dumplings.
Between us, we must have picked up everything that wasn't tied down at the market Saturday. But, oh man, what a supper.
You have got to love a man whose idea of a pre-dinner cocktail is tequila. And ice.We were calling this salad Deep Southern/ Asian fusion- battered and fried okra, raw kohlrabi, peppers, carrots, edamame, radishes, and greens with a black sesame and ume plum vinaigrette. Oh. My. Goodness.
And- the evening's centerpiece: dumpling soup. We started a broth right when we got home from the farmers' market, and boiled the shiitake mushrooms, carrots, onions, celery with star anise, szechuan peppercorns, hot peppers and salt for hours to make a rich broth. Then, we strained the veggies and Alex added sliced shiitakes, scallions and dumplings to the broth, making the most lovely, comforting and balanced soup. I wish I could tell you how- but only Alex knows.