9.17.2017

ijji



九月十六號晚,Ijji Sushi。

準備入座時,排前面係一個四十歲左右嘅女人,自己食。

Joan:「想像唔到一個人食壽司。」
我:「可能係食評家呢。」 七個人嘅壽司吧枱,坐住三對男女,再加上獨食女,就坐喺我哋兩夫婦左面。

總廚Billy Kong招呼我個邊嘅五個人。獨食女介紹自己剛啱喺香港搬嚟三藩市。見佢叫咗 wine pairing,自酌自飲。

食到第九碟,可能飲咗三杯,佢一路擺舊肥拖羅入口一路對住我哋笑:"It's so good! I was waiting for this!" 搞到我唔係好欣賞到舊肥拖羅。

見獨食女咁熱情想傾偈,我哋就講起我哋係香港人,嚟慶祝生B。佢聽到好興奮,又話喺香港生活咗五年,住紅磡,好鍾意香港,又方便又多嘢食又有山有水,係佢去過公幹嘅城市裡面最特別嘅。嗰一刻,好想撳個share button俾香港嘅朋友睇。

講起香港,心裡面梗係感觸嘅。獨食女問我哋最掛住香港乜嘢食,Joan話蛋撻奶茶,我話麥太嘅味道。其實有乜嘢係唔變嘅呢,喺香港如果見到舊路牌舊舖頭竟然同細個一樣,係奇跡,要影低佢。社區變好,會掛住唔見咗嘅人情味;民風變差,會緬懷失去嘅公義良知。 「我最難忘係雨傘運動...」獨食女講到興起,師傅遞上食物,都要閘住咁cut入嚟介紹。我哋都覺得有少少煩,又冇得專心望師傅切魚,不過佢又咁想講,就由佢講。「我妹妹做記者,帶過我去睇佢哋搭營,唱歌,做功課,有見到反Cy Leung (佢真係讀 "psy leung")嘅畫,宣揚佢哋嘅意念。成件事好 hippie,好感動人!」聽到呢度,我仲感觸... 跟住又返返去食嘢話題,榴槤火龍果乜乜乜。去到呢度啲嘢食都serve完,師傅嘅神色都輕鬆好多,食客講嘢都大聲啲。最好笑係獨食女話唔知chinatown有冇榴槤賣,個幫廚搭訕話有。嗰刻好想同佢講,你可以搭車搭船搭棚搭枱,但唔好搭訕!

獨食女首先埋單走人,又攬joan,又話好開心又恭喜我哋咁。

隔咗陣人人都有單,我哋冇喎。

侍應走嚟話:「獨食女已經埋咗你哋張單喇,佢叫我喺佢走之前都唔好講。」 雖然我wing wing哋,都同joan一齊擘大個口。美國人嘅 Random Act of Kindness,總算見識過。

9.10.2017

白切雞

#做雞嘅方法系列

睇完鼎爺嘅節目,我下決心要學好廣東人煮雞嘅菜式。第一樣就係白切雞。
$16一隻生雞,仲要自己煮,不如就咁響燒味舖買嚟食算?
自己由頭到尾做一次,揀隻肥美新鮮雞,自己控制薑蔥鹽比例,係食得開心啲嘅。
最正嘅係斬雞環節。連骨斬件,再排靚靚上碟,原來都唔易。
逐件雞吮完再一舊舊骨喺枱面,喺美國人日本人眼中真係有啲核突。但係蘸薑蓉吮骨真係廣東人一大享受,希望仔女大咗都會包容多元文化啦。

8.20.2017

如何令炸雞外脆內軟

1. 選新鮮肉厚多汁嘅嫩雞
2. 預先醃漬,雞肉又軟又有味(西式用鹽水,中式用豉油)
3. 炸粉選擇因地方同口味而異(中式:薯粉,雞蛋可加可唔加,加咗會厚粉少少;西式:麵粉混合調味料,buttermilk,乾、濕、乾三層)
4. 油溫要保持於375F
5. 晾乾油份,置200F焗爐直至上枱

8.19.2017

坐月之日常

太太坐月之日常:
重覆係進步嘅唯一方法
呢一星期裡煮咗好多餐午飯晚飯
次次三餸有時一湯
廚藝好似又進步咗啲啲
喺犯錯之後好快又要做過
就會學好一個新技巧
學得特別快
以炸雞為例
呢一年裡炸咗好多次雞
由初時雞手鴨腳上粉
驚驚青青用炸鑊
到而家平時晚飯
都可以一個鐘頭就炸好
再加兩個菜小意思
花時間專注做一樣嘢就會進步
大家加油
#唔好問我點解坐月可以食炸雞
#純粹我想整嚟食
#加油練波

8.08.2017

babble

籃球使我謙卑
職場使我謙卑
閱讀、彈琴、煮飯
看著兒子時也會覺得
好多東西做得半桶水
學習一些基本技巧不難
知道竅門就做到基本60分
但之後要進步的話
時間、心機、毅力不可少
無速成、無捷徑
在重複又重複之後
才做到比較得心應手
但剩下時間又有幾多呢?
其實算不算自找痛苦呢?

7.31.2017

babble

三十多歲的人
都經歷過有些事情
會無端端消失

同齡朋友離開人世
毫無先兆失業
好友反面
拍拖十年分手

花好多心機栽培的事
被無情摧毀
從不擔心的家庭朋友關係
原來已經慢慢磨損
你會問:
如果最後都是失望
不如一開始不投放
任何感情時間心機
就不會受傷
我會答:
別人欣賞到沿途風景
恐怕你也只是看到一丁點

問自己
你的時間都投放在哪裡?
努力的目標有意義嗎?
神要你在世上的目標
是吃盡美食嗎?
是打機嗎?
是看電視嗎?
還是什麼?

7.27.2017

babble

最近很躁底
諸事不順,所以躁底
於是諸事更加不順
不經意就對身邊人
言語、行動、眼神
流露出厭惡之情

雖然理性地努力抑壓住
又明白諸事雖然不順
有諸事去煩惱已經讓我好感恩

人到早期中年
人生充滿著矛盾與苦澀
爭競與友愛是相反的
事業與家庭是衝突的
田園的美麗,無時間欣賞
打波流汗的機會,都要分秒爭取
所有事情都要努力
一不留神就沖走不見

當要發生的大事終於來到
這種苦味應該就會暫時過去
請原諒我的

7.03.2017

Kid's Menu - spaghetti napolitan

The first time I heard of this dish called "spaghetti napolitan" in the Japanese TV drama "Quartet," I kept thinking I had never seen this dish in my Italian cookbooks! Why does Napoli have its own spaghetti dish? Later I realized it is really a Japanese dish, made with ketchup instead of fresh tomatoes. Blasphemous? Yes it is, but my kid loves it anyway.

My son and I went to school today only finding out it was CLOSED! So I stayed home, watched him and made lunch out of nothing. Ketchup, olive oil, salt, pecorino cheese, cherry tomatoes. He finished it without wasting any time. #sebastianapproved

Updates 9/29: 
I found out the Italian tomato sauce thing is called tomato sauce, marinara sauce, neapolitan sauce, pomodoro sauce, etc, depending on where you are from. The most famous San Marzano tomatoes are from the region of Naples, thus the connection to Neapolitan style. And then there is an imitation of the sauce using ketchup in Japan and Hong Kong, and this style is called Napolitan in Japan.

6.30.2017

Basketball is Unforgiving

Basketball is Unforgiving.

On the court, you are stripped naked in front of everybody. People can see right through you.

Every movement by every player is observed, magnified, assessed by teammates, opponents, coaches, spectators. Second by second.
Did you see the court clearly before you made that pass?
What were you thinking when you took that bad shot?
How could you miss that layup?
Why did you not take that wide open shot?
Were you scared?

Everyone's goal is to win the game. If you are the weakest defender, your opponent attacks you. If you turn over the ball once, your teammates don't let you touch the ball. If you make the same mistake again, your coach puts you on the bench.

Why? In a game with time limit, a team has only a number of possessions, and cannot afford to lose any. Everyone is making decisions to maximize the chance of winning.
Nothing personal. Very unforgiving. You are lucky to have a second chance. Don't even hope for a third.

What should I do if that happens? You may ask.

Redeem yourself.
If you miss that layup, run back and hustle on defense.
If it is not your shooting night, drive to the rim and pass to open teammate.
Jump higher and rebound that missed shot.
Contribute in other ways.
Prove that you should stay in the lineup and you will make the next layup.

Or redeem yourself in the next game. Go practice in the gym, and improve your skills.
Basketball is a game with clearly written rules. It is simpler than most things in life.

You deserve a second chance. Only if you earn it.

5.29.2017

唔好戀上三藩市



唔好戀上三藩市
你永遠唔知道
呢分鐘隔離街係咪風和日麗
下分鐘呢度會唔會凍咗十度
你要喜歡佢嘅美麗(美食?)
就要接受佢嘅飄忽

4.27.2017

四重奏





看完日劇 #四重奏
每集劇情不太連貫
但主旨是一樣的
都是那種三十歲後
成人世界淡淡的無奈
我最喜歡第六集
兩夫婦的故事
感覺跟《逃恥》完全相反
但都一樣真實
Cavalleria Rusticana 間奏曲
在腦裏縈繞不去
還有四個演員中
我非常欣賞#滿島光
她的拉琴姿勢動作最令人信服
真是難得的好演員

3.11.2017

Hong Kong style egg tart

This makes 12 egg tarts in muffin pans.

Flaky Tart Dough per Julia Child
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 7 ounces (1 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup ice-cold water
 Custard
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3.02.2017

聽Scriabin嘅女人





如果蕭邦係French Press,Scriabin就係espresso - double shot。

一個人點解會喜歡Scriabin?鍾意澎拜情感?厚實八度重低音?複雜交織的線條?宏大嘅幻想空間?

比起蕭邦同Rachmaninoff,Scriabin有種距離感,令人不敢靠近。嗰個世界,要有鎖匙開門,先會綻放光芒。

#尋找一個肯同自己聽Scriabin嘅女人 #唔係我

2.02.2017

最感動我的貝多芬慢板之三




[最感動我的貝多芬慢板之三 - 鋼琴奏鳴曲op.101第一樂章]
[其實這不算慢板,是中板。]

調性模糊之美,在於樂譜標著A major,彈出來卻是E major,因為到處都是D#。真正的A major是在recap (?) 的時候才出現。

整個樂章都是從第一句發展,剪剪貼貼,緊密地交織出綿綿的愛意,但又到處留白,毫不突兀。

七年前,看著某新郎出發接新娘子前就是彈奏這個樂章,適合得很。

2.01.2017

最感動我的貝多芬慢板之二



[最感動我的貝多芬慢板之二 - 「大公」三重奏 op.97]
貝九是三個D minor中間放個B-flat major 慢板,大公就三個B-flat major中間放個D major 慢板,瞬間由跳脫的Scherzo進入凝固的時空。
又是一個樸素的主題,又是theme and variations。在中音區奏完主題,鋼琴雙手在高低音區開啟第一變奏,那種對比像打開了仙境之門。
數個變奏以後,回歸樸素主題,但今次玩轉調。高潮之處,小提琴和大提琴在D major 最後一次帶出主題,如泣如訴。
鄭京和、鄭明和、鄭明勳三重奏,是第一次讓我窺見貝多芬仙境的錄音,為我的冷門選擇。

1.31.2017

最感動我的貝多芬慢板之一


[最感動我的貝多芬慢板之一 - 第九交響曲]

貝多芬的慢板,沒有華麗,沒有驚艷,樸實誠懇地跟你談心。

貝九的慢板是昇華了的"themes and variations",兩個主題毫無違和的配合,變調,過渡。告訴你:生活有點苦,但我明白。

Chailly 加上頂尖現代樂團參考古樂演繹,這個錄音是快得最完美的貝九。

1.11.2017

牛油餐包

Flour 2 cup
yeast 1.5 tsp
milk powder 3 tbsp
sugar 3 tbsp
salt 0.5 tsp
water 3 fl oz
milk powder 3 fl oz
butter 3 tbsp

10.10.2016

Agrodolce

A new restaurant means a long meal and a chance to observe chaos and frustration with the staff.

We dined at Agrodolce, the new Italian restaurant with the same owner as the popular Trattoria la Siciliana. The old Italian lady and the chef, who should be the owners, display an evening of yelling at clueless, inexperienced servers while (trying to) greet grumpy, hungry customers with smiles and apologies.

Food is much better than Trattoria la Siciliana. I look forward to coming back when they have figured out the logistics.

10.01.2016

The Mak's Fried Chicken

Photo by my friend @eliphantc

With my adaptation based on Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc recipe on Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Chicken Brine
(For 2 pounds of chicken - either thigh, drumstick, or breast)
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 head garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 quart water
The Lazy Version of Chicken Brine
  • 1/2 cup salt and 2 quart water. Don't bother with boiling and chilling.
Directions:
  • Combine all in a large pot, cover, bring to a boil, let cool. Chill before using.
  • Place chicken pieces in brine for at least 4 hours, up to 12 hours.
Photo by the author
Flour Coating  
  • 1.5 cup AP flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
The Lazy Version of Flour Coating
  • 1.5 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Directions:
  • Lay out 3 dishes or bowls and a roasting pan in a row.
  • Place flour coating in 1st and 3rd dishes.
  • Place buttermilk in 2nd dish.
  • Dry all chicken pieces thoroughly with paper towel.
  • Use one hand (the dry hand) to place each chicken piece in 1st dish. Coat. Put into 2nd dish.
  • Use second hand (the wet hand) to coat in 2nd dish. Put into 3rd dish.
  • Use first hand (the dry hand) to coat chicken piece in 3rd dish. Then place on roasting pan.
  • After all is done, refrigerate for an hour to make sure coating is firmly placed on chicken pieces.
  • Heat up frying oil (Be really careful and don't burn down your house!) to 375 F.
  • If chicken pieces are bone-in: Fry drumsticks or thighs for about 15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165 F.
  • If chicken pieces are boneless: Breast or boneless thighs can be fried for about 8 to 10 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165 F. If pieces are small (like bite size) the timing can be even shorter.
  • Rest on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite sauces (optional).
Caution:
  • Do not put more oil than half of your pan height.
  • I love using my Chinese wok. A cast iron pan can work too. A small sauce pan can be used for a small portion. A fryer may work best to minimize mess.
  • Make sure your pot or wok is well stabilized. Turn up kitchen hood to max.
  • Prevent burning (dark skin) by managing your oil temperature. If it exceeds 400 F chicken pieces will burn quickly.
  • Prevent soggy chicken by managing oil temperature to drop not under 325 F.
Photo by the author

9.22.2016

吹水



網台城寨有個節目,叫怒漢推古,在粵語網台界好像是唯一的古典音樂節目。

古典樂迷聚在一起吹水,離不開幾種。

有些專講古典樂界的明星是非、大師軼事,阿邊個件衫好低好透視身材好勁,阿邊個又離婚等等。

有些專聽一個世紀前的錄音,如擁有Furtwangler貝九十個不同的翻錄版本但其實是同一個錄音,講得頭頭是道,順便踩踩當今世上無大師云云。

以上兩種過口癮還好,營養就差了一點。可惜那個網台節目只是這種程度。

討論演奏技巧的,很多時只能意會不能言傳,無琴在手就無得傾,網台更做不到。

音樂會或錄音評論,需要深厚根基旁徵博引,不然就成了「食雞有雞味」式評論,又或是祭出一堆宗教名詞如「靈氣」、「精神」,和「陳蕾士的琴箏」式的虛無飄渺的形容詞。

我就最喜歡聽樂曲本身的討論,作曲家如何鋪墊,如何埋藏旋律,發掘不同類型作品背後的心思等等。這些東西言之有物,一切盡在樂譜裡,不會太天馬行空,有實實在在增長知識的滿足感。

不過我都聽過好誇的討論,例如隻隻莫扎特鋼琴協奏曲都影響後世深遠,開拓浪漫主義云云,我只好笑而不語。

9.22.2015

Chef Mak's Prime Rib




1. how to pick the rib
  • get bone-in for better flavor. boneless lacks that extra juice 
  • get the best you are willing to afford
  • pick nice color and well distributed marble 
  • one rib is about 2 pounds and can feed 2 generously. for this time I got 3 ribs, 6 lbs total, good for 6. 
  • dont be afraid to ask the butcher what choices they have. they are willing to bring it out from the fridge. usually you can pick how many ribs to cut and which side you like. the smaller side is juicier with more fat, the larger side has more meat. ask butcher to show you both sides and pick your choice. this time I picked the smaller side thus 6 lbs. last time i picked larger side and was 7 lbs
  • ask the butcher to separate the bone and tie it together for you. see the pictures (this will save you time in cutting the rib when it is cooked)
2. how to prepare 
  • sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper generously. Garlic is optional - some people like to have minced garlic stuffed into the meat. I just spread it over. some recipes ask for more herbs to be put all over the sides too. this is for your personal preference. I find these to be less significant than real good beef. Leave it overnight.
3. how to cook
  • Bring the rib to room temperature hours before roasting. This will ensure even cooking.
  • Heat oven to 225F. Put the rib, bone-side down, on a stainless steel or cast iron pan. Remember you will use the pan to make the jus later so anything with handle is easier to use. Put the rib into the oven and cook for at least 2 hours, depending on your rib size.
  • Check interior temperature every 15 minutes after 1.5 hours. For medium rare, take it out at 120F.
  • Let the rib sit outside of oven for a while. In the meantime heat up the oven to 500F for the final roast.
  • Before serving, put the rib back into the oven and sear for 5 minutes at 500F to produce the flavorful, burnt crust.
4. how to prepare the jus
  • Leave the rib on the cutting board. Remove most of the fat in the pan but leave a bit. Pour 1 cup of red wine into the pan. Scrap up all the brown bits to be cooked together with the wine. Let it cook and reduce for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Voila! Made with Heartbrand Akaushi Beef.


References:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/the-food-lab-how-to-cook-roast-a-perfect-prime-rib.html

12.10.2014

I am going to hear the UC Symphony this Saturday evening. It's time to study the Lutosławski Symphony No.4 on youtube...

(Photo from UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra)

10.31.2014

Costume party at the UC Symphony!

10.27.2014


10.26.2014 Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA
Schubert: The Last Piano Sonatas, D.958-960 / Richard Goode, pianist

累透了的星期日,我讓自己合上眼皮,捲曲身子,半夢半醒的聽音樂會。思緒在太多的事務中跳來跳去,久久不能集中,可能這迷離的狀態才最適合聽舒伯特?老人家Goode的舒伯特輕盈無比,天使般的旋律在層層和聲中,毫不費勁地穿透出來。三首奏鳴曲的最後樂章翩翩起舞,在不強求對比和深度的彈奏裡,散發著出世的愉悅。

(Photo: Steve Riskind)

10.04.2014

Supporting UC Berkeley Symphony.

It must have been 2 or 3 years since I last attended a concert by the UC Symphony. These kids play with passion, and their smiling and nodding and glancing one another is so much fun to watch. The eruption of applause after Tchaikovsky 6's third movement was both "illiterate" and appropriate.

5.29.2014

滄桑的音樂。
Scriabin: 24 Preludes, Op. 11 / Mikhail Pletnev, piano

5.12.2014


Loneliness -
Insisting on making magnificent music even without companions.

[on hearing Tetzlaff's recital with Bach's complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin]

3.02.2014

馬勒第三


March 1, 2014

Women of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus
San Francisco Girls Chorus
San Francisco Symphony
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor

Mahler: Symphony No. 3

San Francisco Symphony 與 Michael Tilson Thomas 演奏馬勒第三,探究大自然和人的關係,生機盎然,彷如置身歐洲之田園。

11.25.2013

Shai Wosner 的舒伯特


November 24, 2013 - 3pm - Hertz Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Shai Wosner, piano

Schubert: 3 Piano Pieces, D.946
Widmann: Idyll and Abyss: Six Schubert Reminiscences (2009)
Schubert: Sonata in A major, D.664
Schubert: Sonata in B-flat major, D.960

Encore: Schubert: Hungarian Melody, D.817

聽一線明星以外的音樂家演奏,可以逼耳朵去除既有的印象成見,考考自己接受驚喜的程度。從未聽過 Shai Wosner 這位鋼琴家,但加州大學 Cal Performances 邀請他演奏全舒伯特曲目,想必有驚異之處,我這位舒伯特迷沒理由不聽。

甫出手的 D.946 已可窺見他乾淨俐落的手法,雄壯而快速,大刀闊斧地展開樂章。這更常見於貝多芬的作品,強調結構和對比,而我聽開的 Lupu 、Brendel 、Perahia 等前輩都刻意突顯舒伯特模糊的調性,和細緻纖幼的旋律。不過 Wosner 的手法就反映舒伯特和貝多芬的「師徒」連繫,舒伯特筆下的結構和對比亦更明顯。第二首 E-flat 大調的簡單旋律,Wosner 就真的很直接、天真的彈出來,沒有刻意在轉調的地方沉溺。

中間 Jörg Widmann 的現代作品捕捉了舒伯特音樂世界的精髓,第一首 "Unreal, as if from afar" 左手跟隨傳統的基本和弦,配上高音的不協調音;第三首 "like a lullaby" 很有嬰兒床上玩具的感覺;第六首 "Mournful, desolate" 引用了 D.960 ,在絕望中有天真。

隨後的兩首奏鳴曲都沿用同一雄壯的手法,難得是 Wosner 在大樂章裏更加着重結構性,音量強弱的處理恰當,那些 p / pp 音量但快速滑行的音符(可説是舒伯特的簽名!)效果非常好。只是我聽開 Brendel 和 Lupu 處理的舒伯特有很強療傷的味道,Wosner 的舒伯特少了療傷多了理性内歛的火花,也是一種驚喜。

Wosner 剛開始錄製舒伯特奏鳴曲,預計數年内錄完,舒迷可以留意。

11.24.2013

蕭邦夜曲/鄧泰山 (Dang Thai Son)



蕭邦夜曲/鄧泰山 (Dang Thai Son)
 
無甚感覺。造句、聲音都很美妙,但聽過數遍也未能集中精神。問題是我不慣這鋼琴特別的聲音,還是演奏的結構鬆散