First: Cherry Tomato Salad, Soft Tofu and Shiso
I loved the licorice-like taste of shiso leaves when I had them in Japan. But despite Kirsten's attempt to search them out, we couldn't find them at any of the major (or minor) Asian food stores or at Russo's. However, despite missing this key ingredient, this dish was perfect on a hot night. I am just discovering how much I love soft tofu and here, it was clean, pure and far lighter than the traditional mozzarella in this dish. We tried the dish with Italian basil, Thai basil and my Japanese furike salt (salt mixed with dried shiso).
Second: Brussel Sprouts with Kimchi Puree and Bacon.
Brilliance I tell you. Total brilliance. Only Chang would think to combine these flavors and they work perfectly. This may be on my next Thanksgiving menu.
Third: The Spicy Pork Sausage, Rice Cakes and Chinese Brocoli. This dish was...fine. As my foodie friend (otherwise known as Dadventures) said, it was one dimensional. Now, that may be because my attempt to create crispy shallots yielded a great big pile of burnt shallots. (I skipped the directions to turn down the heat -duh!) I upped the sauce a bit after a few tastes, by adding oyster sauce, a bit of Chinese Black vinegar and sesame oil. (All of these are used in the Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking version of a similar dish-Ma Po Tofu).