I’m so fucking excited to do another guest post!! The last one was so long ago, I almost forgot what we made.
So I’m going to try and Cook with Others much more often so this forgetfulness shit doesn’t happen again. Besides – guest posts are a great way of meeting other bloggers, especially those whose blog you already troll and they help drive more traffic to the person(s) being featured. They’re a win-win.
I’m revamping my Guest Post episodes today by featuring Jason Zhang of Daily EZ Cooking.
I connected with Jason about 6 weeks ago through his comments on my blog and when I ventured over to his, I was just blown away.
He’s seriously a fucking genius in the kitchen.
But what I especially admire about him is that he doesn’t mind exploring with food. Some of us just cook with ingredients we’re familiar with and stay there with but Jason is branching out and it shows. His pictures are a sight to make any boxers heart flutter.
Naturally, I wanted to know more about him. Out of friendly curiosity and an eagerness to have him featured.
So I invited him to guest post but not before I bargaed him with a series with questions.
Where do you live and what do you do?
Currently in Edmonton, Canada. I work in a start-up company as a Software Engineer/Data Analyst.
Is this your first blog?
Well, definitely not the first blog, but probably the first one about cooking.
When did you realize that you wanted to blog about cooking? Was there a turning point?
My wife and I audited an open course “Child Nutrition and Cooking” on Coursera last year. It was part of the assignments to share what you made.
After that, we thought we might just start blogging for fun.
When did you get into cooking? Have you always cooked or is it a recent passion?
I would say this is probably a recent passion, but I’ve been a foody for a long time.
I’ve never cooked a thing before graduating from university. Then I came to Canada for post-graduate study and it’s just way to expensive to buy your every meal. So figured I’d better to start cooking myself.
Besides, my friends keep sharing pictures of good food back in my hometown and joking about me never getting any of those again. So I thought, I should cook some myself to shut them up LOL. Gradually, cooking became a hobby and I really enjoy it.
It helps me relax, focus and provide a chance to experiment new things.
What was your first cooking disaster?
That would be not knowing how hot the cooking oil is.
I added vegetables not dry enough and watched them quickly burn while jumping up and down in the kitchen because the cooking oil was on my arms and neck.
That was totally a “dark cuisine” experience of making something that you cannot even lay your eyes on and with such an unacceptable taste!
If you could do any recipe over again, what would it be and what would you change?
That would be eggplant stir fry. Always steam it first, otherwise it will not be thoroughly cooked and taste bad.
How do you determine what to cook? Do you plan it ahead of time or play it off the cuff?
I guess both. Cooking on the weekend is often planned ahead since we have more time.
On weekdays, both my wife and I are busy at work, so we have to improvise a bit more.
I can tell cooking is a passion of yours, so if money wasn’t an option – how would you expand on this passion?
Well I haven’t really thought about this.
I would keep writing blogs, probably get proper food photograph training and open up a small workshop to teach cooking. Maybe publish a book or two, who knows!
Thanks for asking this question! It’s always important to think about what you really want in the future 🙂
What’s something you would love to cook but haven’t tried before?
To the above response – why haven’t you tried it?
I had my first lobster when I was travelling in Cuba 2 years ago. It was perfect. I don’t want to ruin the perfect memory so I’m a bit hesitant to try.
Is there any food that you’re afraid to try eating?
Eh yeah, like in the BBC TV show “Bizarre Food”, worms… yeah no
What 3 cooking tips can you share or that you want people to know
1. If you don’t have much time, train yourself on parallel processing. Before you start, step back and think about the things you can do in parallel. Plan ahead.
2. This might sound silly: concentration. No WhatsApp, texting, Facebook, Twitter or whatever distractions. I had this problem when I just started cooking. If you don’t take the food seriously, it won’t take you seriously.
3. Do it with love. I love watching my wife eating the food I cook and nodding her head. There’s hardly a better satisfaction than that.
And with that, I’m letting Jason take over!
He provided further insight on this meal and I’ve captured it towards the bottom of this post.
Pig Feet Soup.
I crave for a pig feet dish from time to time.
Last year I made Pig Feet Stew and it’s time for another round.
I guess I fell in love with pig feet soup in high school. There was this little restaurant called “Mama’s pig feet soup” just outside the school (last time I checked it’s still there), and every time after a big exam, we students rush to the restaurant to get a bowl of the soup, eat, relax and laugh.
The first time I ordered it I was skeptical, thinking “Man, how can anyone eat all this fat?” Well I soon found out it didn’t feel like eating a big chunk of fat at all. The moment I took the first bite I knew that tenderness would stay in my memory for the rest of my life.
Turns out there’s a lot of collagen in the pig feet, which is good for your skin. At least that’s what my parents always tell me. I don’t know if there is any scientific evidences but if it tastes good, I don’t really care that much 🙂
I’ve watched my parents making this dish at home a few times. Time to do it on my own.
We’ll need the following ingredients and a slow cooker.
1. Two pig feet. Ideally, chopped. Unfortunately, we didn’t have chopped pig feet in the supermarket but I’m grateful that I could find them at all so I didn’t want to be greedy.
3. Two or three corn sticks (depending on how big the slow cooker is). Time to use your muscle to break them.
4. Two green onions, chopped.
5. The sauce. This will be covered later.
All set? Let’s begin.
1. Place all the corn sticks at the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Place the pig feet on top of the corn sticks. Since my slow cooker is a bit small, I spent about 10 minutes to chop the pig feet so they could fit in the cooker (not an easy thing to do since you need to figure out the right part to cut. But hey, if I can’t even overcome this problem, how can I claim I love this dish?)
3. Add all ginger, goji berry and peppercorn.
4. Add enough water. How much? Well just enough for the pig feet to do a diving program 🙂
5. Turn on the power and cook. 4 hours on High Heat, or 8 hours on Low Heat.
I typically choose low heat, basically cooking overnight. Nothing’s better than waking up, opening the bedroom door, taking a deep breath in and you know there’s something good out there.
Are we done? Well not quite. We haven’t covered the sauce yet.
1 tsp of my special soy sauce (covered in this post), 1 tsp of chili oil, 1/4 tsp vinegar and 2 tsp of the soup. Well, normal soy sauce will do as well 🙂
Ah! I almost forgot the green onion! It is meant to be eaten with the soup!
That’s it! Tender pig feet, plus juicy corn sticks. I can never get enough!
Alright so for us who don’t have slow cookers, is there a way to make this recipe using the traditional stove?
Hmm, in that case;
1) low heat for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
2) If you can poke through the pig feet easily with a fork or chopstick, then it’s done.
If you don’t season the corn and the pig feet initially, when do you add salt & pepper? Or you don’t need to add them at all?
Ah, sorry that I forgot mentioning that we should add salt to the soup in the bowl. Don’t add all at once but adjust to taste. The peppercorn is added to the slow cooker in step 3 🙂
Is this better eaten as an appetizer or is it better as a full meal?
Better as a full meal.
How many people does this serve?
Since we have two pig feet, it serves two. But with a good appetite, serving one is also an option.
Can you substitute the pig feet with something else, like say Oxtail or Rabbit, or are the ingredients better suited for pork?
I’m not sure about rabbit, but maybe oxtail. Let me try it out next time 🙂
Does pig feet carry a lot of meat or it is more fat and gristle?
Mainly meat and all parts except for the bones are editable after 8-hour slow cooking.
Can you serve the soup with rice or is it too fatty to be used as a sauce?
I’m glad you mentioned it. Yes, we can do that. I like eat rice with soup, not just pig feet soup.
What are some other uses of pig feet?
You can also make pig feet stew, spiced pig feet chops (that’s what we eat with beer when watching sports!), and I think I saw a German recipe of grilled pig feet last time, definitely worth trying next time!
Thanks Jason for letting me spotlight you!
If anyone else would like to be featured, I’d LOVE to have you!! Just shoot me an email on my contact page.