Monday, November 05, 2007

Chinese Five-Spice Powder (Page 932)

  • Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Chris
  • Recipe Rating: B+

This five-spice powder was a component of another recipe I made last week. These spice mixtures are always terribly difficult to grade. It's not as though you can really eat this plain, so you are forced to grade it in the context of something else. It's hard to eat a dish (in this case Cranberry Ketchup) and pick out what exactly the Chinese five-spice powder contributed. I can say this: it was pungent. If I knew more about Chinese cooking, I could probably comment on the balance of the five spices (peppercorn, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel) in this recipe. In my opinion, it was a bit heavy on the fennel/anise flavor. That is a matter of personal taste though. Freshly ground spices are always better than stale, bottled ones, and this certainly had a freshness and pungency that is often lacking in store-bought five-spice. It was a breeze to throw together, so if you are in need of some five-spice powder, it's worth trying out this recipe.

This recipe isn't online.

I am back in Bloomington after a weekend of conference fun! Yesterday my talk was at the early hour of 8:30am. The session lasted most of the morning, and then Mike, V, Chris and I went to grab some lunch. After lunch we still had a few hours before the next session started, and we were contemplating what to do with ourselves, when suddenly it hit me: mini-golf! On Saturday night I had seen a sign for the Go USA Fun Park (no, I am not kidding...) where there was a variety of fun, patriotic activities: miniature golf, batting cages, driving range, video games, skee ball, Go-Karts, etc... We started with mini golf. Despite an impressive hole in one early on, I lost miserably! It was tremendous fun though. I laughed so hard I could barely breathe on several holes. After mini-golfing we decided we needed to do a little Go-Kart racing. I hadn't been in a Go-Kart since I wrecked one when I was little (whoops!). It was traumatic. But yesterday I got back behind the wheel and we had a great time. If you are ever in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, I highly recommend the Go USA Fun Park.

After the afternoon session of conference talks, I drove back to Bloomington. I was sick of being in the car, and pretty exhausted, so I wasn't super-excited about driving 5 and a half hours by myself. But eventually I got into the groove of it, and I managed to make it all the way home without stopping once (luckily my car has a big gas tank!).

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