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Monday, January 26, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Chinese New Year Cioppino Hot Pot

Gong Xi Fa Cai - Happy New Year!

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A few weeks back, Foodbuzz put out a call for proposals for another one of their "24, 24, 24" meals. Since the date would be very close to Chinese New Year this year, Annie and I submitted a proposal, focusing on a Chinese New Year theme. We were surprised and honored to have been chosen as one of the food blogs featured this month.

Time for Some Hot Pot

The Chinese in Malaysia like to celebrate Chinese New Year with a hot pot / steamboat dinner. The whole family gathers round a large table, with a pot of broth boiling in the center. All sorts of goodies (fish balls, meats, veggies, and seafood) are added to the pot, cooked, and consumed. At the end of the meal, when all the ingredients have turned the broth enticingly sweet, noodles are added and enjoyed with the broth. It is quite a gustatory experience!

Our concept was to take the Chinese steamboat and give it a San Francisco Bay Area twist, by making a cioppino broth and cooking various types of seafood like halibut, scallops, mussels, and Dungeness crab. And we would buy all the seafood from our favorite fishmonger, Pat from Mission Fresh Fish. Sounds good, huh?

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 Dinner at House of Annie

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 Dinner at House of Annie

Of course, what would such a great dinner be without great company? So we invited Carolyn the Food Gal and Michael of Cooking For Engineers, plus their spouses, over to the House of Annie for dinner. We had had Michael and his wife over for an heirloom tomato tasting last Summer, but we've never met Carolyn in person before. As fortune would have it, they were both available for dinner!

Looking for Inspiration

But now, the pressure was on, to cook up something really special for our honored guests with seriously refined palates. The main course would be cioppino, and we planned to do a tiramisu for dessert. But we had no idea what to do as an appetizer.

We thought about doing a batch of wild salmon cakes with kaffir lime, but figured that might be too much seafood already. So I was flipping through Lidia's Italian American Kitchen, and came upon her Caesar salad recipe. But how to make it "fusion", in light of our fusion cioppino hot pot? Just then our neighbor walked in.

"Whatcha makin'?"

"We're doing a hot pot for New Years, but cioppino instead of Chinese-style."

"Cioppino? Sounds interesting."

"Yeah, but we're wondering what to do as an appetizer. We were thinking about doing a Caesar salad, but don't know how to 'Asian-ify' it."

"Oh, my Thai friend showed me a Caesar salad dressing that's really good."

"I'm all ears!"

"Okay, start boiling some eggs, then I'll come back with the recipe."

She came back, and together we worked out the dressing until we were satisfied with the flavor. When our guests arrived and we got dinner started, Daniel helped to toss the salad fixings with the dressing, then plated. (We will blog the Thai-inspired Caesar salad recipe in an upcoming post.)

"Thai Inspired" Caesar Salad

After the salad came the main course. Earlier in the day, Annie prepared the cioppino broth using the celebrated Tadich Grill recipe that we've had success with in the past. But we put a little Asian spin on it by adding some minced ginger and lemongrass stalk. (We will blog that recipe for cioppino hot pot in another upcoming post!) Annie had pre-sliced the halibut, shelled the shrimp, and pre-steamed the mussels and clams. The crab came pre-cooked but we cleaned it and cut the body up into quarters.

We brought the pot of broth out to the table, set it up on a portable butane stove, and got it boiling. When it was ready, we added the fish, scallops, shrimp, crab, mussels and clams to the pot, then covered it to simmer.

Cioppino Hot Pot Boiling

 Cioppino Hot Pot boiling

Once the pot came to a boil again, we ladled out the ingredients into each diner's individual bowls.

Cioppino Hot Pot: Crab, Shrimp, Clams and Fish

 Cioppino Hot Pot: Crab, Shrimp, Clams and Fish

That cioppino, chock full of sweet, fresh seafood, was alluring and sumptuous. Slices of Semifreddi's sourdough bread helped to sop up the flavorful broth. A 2006 Ecco Domani Chianti, brought by Carolyn, was the perfect accompaniment to the meal.

For dessert, Annie wanted to keep to the Italian-Asian fusion theme and made a green tea tiramisu, a recipe she'd done before to rave reviews. (We have an old YouTube video of the green tea-ramisu making, and we will blog the green tea tiramisu recipe for it in -- you guessed it -- another post).

Green Tea-ramisu

 Green Tea-ramisu

This being Chinese New Year, Annie also wanted to share some of her homemade pineapple tarts. Michael contributed his almond-orange biscotti to our fabulous meal.

Homemade Pineapple Tarts and Almond-Orange Biscotti

Homemade Pineapple Tarts and Almond-Orange Biscotti

Of course, this dinner wouldn't have been so fabulous without our fabulous guests. Being foodies, our conversation ranged all over, from wagyu steak to perfect fried chicken to barbecue to Chef Boyardee. We shared stories, compared notes, picked up tips, and generally had a blast! Our conversation ran long into the night. Incredible as it may seem, perfect strangers became fast friends.

Thank you, fabulous friends, for sharing in the bounty of our table. And thank you, Foodbuzz, for helping make it happen! We simply must do it again sometime.

Cheers and Aloha,

Annie and Nate

If you aren't a subscriber to the House of Annie blog, be sure to do it now (it's free!) so you don't miss out on our Thai-inspired Caesar Salad, Cioppino, and Green Tea-ramisu recipes, coming soon. Sign up to receive all our latest posts in your RSS reader or your Inbox.

Hungry for more Foodbuzz-sponsored experiences? Click below:

Getting Buzzed at the Fabulous Food Festival

Getting Buzzed at TomatoFest

Getting Buzzed at Tokkuri Tei (Honolulu)

57 Comments:

Pearl said...

gong xi fa chai!

Carolyn Jung said...

As one of the lucky guests at this incredible feast, all I can say is that anyone reading this must try this fab take on cioppino. What makes it particulary wonderful --besides the incredible flavor of the broth -- is that you don't have to worry about overcooking your seafood as often happens in cioppino. This is genius. An Annie, I am still noshing on these amazing pineapple tarts. Thank you both so very much for filling my tummy with such delights and my heart with such warmth. hospitality.

pinsandthimbles said...

Hi guys, just wondering -- what brand are your lovely jade coloured bowls? I'm in love with them as much as I am with your blog, which I just found this month. Please keep up the great food writing. You two have the same attitude to food as me and my fiance -- it's great fun to read.

Superchef said...

that is a wondeful feast that you had!! congrats on being featured on the 24,24,24!!

luckytastebuds said...

Wow your dishes always look so fabulous!!! You should be a private chef. :) I'm sure someone would pay big bucks to eat all those dishes. Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Food For Tots said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Niu Year! ;)

Peter M said...

Holy smokes...I have to have the recipe for the thai caesar and the green tea tiramisu! Great east/west action!

Wandering Coyote said...

OMG - that seafood looks absolutely divine! As does that tiramisu! Great job!

sweetandfit said...

hello there! your Menu looks fabulous! I am a really big fan of fusion cooking, and kudos to you because I know that there is a very fine line in which you can either nail it perfectly or create a disastrous combination!... thanks for inviting me to your site... my favorite type of cuisine is all types of Asian food..and yes, I did mean to generalize because I love it all! I look forward to reading your blog and learning some things as well =)

PS - I barely ate any of the swiss cheese because the wrap was already very flavorful and heavy

duodishes said...

Congrats on your 24 post! Pineapple tarts are really striking our fancy!

Mrs. L said...

Looks like an awesome meal! Can congrats on being chosen by Foodbuzz. I'm not a big fan of cioppino but this looks pretty good.

juicyfruitybits said...

happy new year. have fun :)

prdtofthe80s said...

Gong Hei Faat Choi / Gon Xi Fai Chai!

Thank you for the comment! I've had the sweet and savoury "ribbon" cookies that you mentioned, although I've never seen them sold in Canada as such. Usually the label reads "fried dough" or something equally non-descript.

What a feast you've prepared! I'm looking forward to your recipes in future blogs. Have a great day!

prdtofthe80s said...

I forgot to add, the green tea-ramisu looks wonderful. My aunt made tiramisu over the holidays, and substituted a young sake in place of the rum / liquor. We did not miss the rum at all, and in fact, the sake she used subtly enhanced the tiramisu itself!

The TriniGourmet said...

OMG!! Green tea tiramisu!! That sounds so intriguing, I can't wait to see the post :) That broth also looks amazing. I can't eat shellfish, but I can imagine the aroma :D Happy New Year!

Brian said...

Thanks for the advice you gave on my site in regards to chicken stock. They were much appreciated!

white on rice couple said...

That hot pot looks fabulous! What an amazing feast you guys put on. I'm digging the incredible green tea tiramisu.
Happy New Year to you and your family!

kampungboycitygal said...

Congrats! Happy Niu Year. Wish you have a properous year ahead!

mira said...

hi!! seriously loving the green tiramisu. i went googling and saw ur post of 24,24,24! check out mine too!! :)

Lingzie said...

gong xi fa chai to you both!
what an interesting 'twist' to the chinese style steamboat! plus that green tea tiramisu looks absolutely divine! :)

shavedicesundays said...

Happy New Year to both of you. That cake looks beautiful and very doable.

CRIZ LAI said...

Congrats on the 24,24,24. Happy New Year to everyone over there too. :)

http://crizfood.com/

Nate-n-Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments! Happy Niu Year to you all!

@Carolyn - our pleasure! Let's do it again sometime!

@pinsandthimbles - Thanks for your comments. I don't remember where we got the bowls from - it was a long time ago.

@luckytastebuds - Annie *is* a private chef -- for the House of Annie ;-)

@PeterM - Coming right up! stay tuned.

spiCes said...

ohhh! that is such a lovely dinner! i wish we're neighbors, i miss hot pot steamboat! unfortunately i left my boat back home...it'd be good to do one over here, huh? and congratulations for the heads up from FB!!! gong xi fa cai!

lisaiscooking said...

What a great meal! I love cioppino, and I can't wait to hear how to make the Thai-inspired caesar salad.

Finance Foodie said...

Congrats on winning 24, 24, 24! Love the pics and Happy Lunar New Year!

nutritiontokitchen said...

Your tea-ramisu looks amazing, I want that Caesar salad, and the tablescape is so pretty! Thanks for visiting my site - Happy New Year, or Chuc mung nam moi in vietnamese!

Chef Ben said...

Wow, what a fun idea for a celebration, cioppini hot pot! What's great about the cioppini is that the nice coloring of the crab definitely is an auspicious sign for the new year, and you guys really piled on the ingredients so your pot was overflowing, another great sign of abundance for the new year. You sure started the new year right! Great job!

DCRose said...

Happy New Year!
Your site is wondeful. Glad we are friends! Fondly, DCRose

noobcook said...

I love your hot pot! :D What a great lunar new year feast. Happy Niu Year!

Dee said...

Brilliant take on an old stand-by! Our reunion dinner was at a Malay restaurant this year :)

Kian said...

Great twist for a hot pot dinner. I love Cioppino. Happy new year!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@spiCes - Maybe you can find a hotpot at an Asian grocery near you.

@Chef Ben - thank you!

@Kian - Happy New Year to you, too.

Rowena said...

Thumbs way, way up and a shaka sign to you both for this month's Foodbuzz 24 event. I've been visiting the site to see who else participated but only getting results from the previous 24 event.

This read like such a fabulous event...ha! I wish we were neighbors!!

pigpigscorner said...

Happy New Year to you!

Anne said...

I absolutely LOVE your theme and wish I could have been a guest. Everything looks perfect!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Nice job! Your spread looks delicious and I like the western take take on Chinese New Years:-)

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Rowena, Anne & Marc - thanks, fellow "24-ers"! You guys had some awesome dinners yourselves.

E. Thai said...

Just discovered your blog. Great read and beautiful pictures!

Happy New Year! I left Malaysia over 30 years ago. When I returned, most recently in 2001, I was surprised to have hot pot for dinner. In Cameron Highlands, it was a welcomed event, but in KL, it was way too hot! We were all sweating when we were done.

Where do you get your green tea powder (matcha)? I tried the Korean supermarkets in Atlanta but could not find any.

Lisa said...

Every single part of your dinner looks scrumptious. I'm a huge fan of cioppino, so I would have been in heaven with that dish. And the green tea-ramisu? L.O.V.E. I.T.

Congrats on being chosen to do a dinner!

Shelly Borrell said...

You've got a great blog. Congratulations on being picked as one of January's 24!! The Cioppino looks fantastic. I would have loved to be a guest at the party. Happy New Year.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@E. Thai - I totally know what you mean about the difference between having hot pot in Cameron vs KL.

We got the matcha powder from a Japanese store here in San Jose, called Mitsuwa.

@Shelly - thanks for the compliment! We appreciate it.

Joie de vivre said...

Congratulations! That hot pot looks amazing! Happy Chinese New Year.

The Food Site said...

Oh wow. Now that is a steamboat with a difference! Great post and gong xi fa cai!
~Foong~

Brilynn said...

I was just in San Francisco a little while ago and the Cioppino I had there was awesome!
Great looking dinner!

babe_kl said...

Kung Hei Fatt Choy!!!

Jeanne said...

What a great idea - both the seafood hot pot and combining the 24,24,24 dinner with other bloggers. Looks as if you had a fantastic time and the photos are delectable :)

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

Everything looks so great. Sounds like a wonderful meal. And I love your photos!

Marija said...

Amazing post! Congratulations!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@all - thank you so much! We really had a lot of fun doing it. Some of our friends are even requesting we repeat the dinner for them.

zerrin said...

Congrats for 24,24,24 event! I love everything cooked in hot pot. Have never tasted seafood in hot pot, this one seems gorgeous.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@zerrin - thank you! I hope you get to try this recipe out.

Danielle said...

Wow! This all looks just so amazing!
I have always been intrigued by the idea of Hot Pot but never considered "Americanizing" it. Great Concept. Am looking forward to getting your Thai Ceasar Salad recipe. Looks fabulous!

pixen said...

Bouillabaisse! Bourride! Then give me Cioppino any time! Goshh... those crabs looked so... fainted... yummylicious! Reminded me of eating crabs at one of my friend's Crab Party of 8 plus 3 kids. I ate almost 3 kg of steamed crabs! Next day, the host ringed me up for another session at lunch... and black pepper crabs! :-D Love your recipes!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Danielle - the Thai Caesar Salad recipe is linked from this post.

@Pixen - thanks for coming to our blog. Hope you get to try out some of our recipes!

Aggie said...

What a fabulous menu!! I wish I could have been a guest...everything looks delicious! Great post!

Emilie said...

hey! thanks for your comment over on my 24,24,24 post. i've just popped over to cruise your blog and get inspired. i really like your twist on a chinese new year meal, what fun!