My husband is the best chef in the city. Yeah, screw you Curtis Duffy (I don’t really mean that … probably). Suffice it to say that he keeps me a little bit too well fed. He intensively researches each cuisine that catches his interest (not too surprising for a physics phd!) but is also so well versed in the science of cooking (still not surprising for a physics phd) that he can recognize the principles behind how each dish is prepared. This is especially handy when it comes to adapting recipes or ideas for recipes published by professionals that might sound amazing, but in practice are unbalanced or are unnecessarily complicated. The process is:
1. One or other of us goes, “Whoa this dish looks/sounds damn good.” (because we’re constantly talking and reading about and exploring cultures and food)
2. Schmoops excitedly goes off on a research mission to develop a better idea for the history and practices and common recipes for the dish. This process begins pretty much right after the thought is voiced and can take up to a day. I don’t really pay much attention unless I have to poke him and make him go to bed, he’s got work tomorrow, or he drags me over to translate something from Chinese.
3. Schmoops amalgamates recipes from famous chefs and food bloggers, decides whether a more traditional approach is sufficient or if the base concept needs to be kicked up several notches, develops a recipe, and puts it on the queue of things to make.
4. I help chop things because he’s terrible with knives. I also help season things because I am good at seasoning things.
5. We eat way too much because the food it is so awesome.
But anyway. I decided that I should document the ridiculously awesome things he cooks if he’s not going to do it himself. Behold, Beef Noodle Soup:
We started out wanting to make Lanzhou Beef Noodle soup but there’s not a precise definition for what makes that dish any different from any other Chinese / Taiwanese / Vietnamese beef noodle soup dish, at its core. Sure you have a list of garnishes it’s typically served with but that’s just window dressing. So we ended up making a deeply unctuous beef broth — you’d better believe it’s jelly at room temperature — topped it with braised daikon and pickled sour mustard bits, and dry fried the beef with some veggies and other seasonings for extra deliciousness. After spooning the beef back in to the broth, it reconstitutes a bit, and you get dry fried beef that’s both juicy and crispy. Every single component of the dish was a winner. And this is only the latest entry in Schmoops’ arsenal of unbelievable dishes.
It’s a crying shame he almost never makes the same thing twice. Unless it’s peach pie, but that’s another story.