Thursday, 30 January 2020

China plans more nuanced anti-pollution measures in 2019: ministry!

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will adopt more efficient and targeted measures during its campaign against pollution next year, but will not relax the targets or ease the crackdown on violators, the environment ministry said in a statement on Monday night.

The push for new measures follows an annual meeting of top leaders last week which noted that the world’s second-largest economy is facing downward pressures.
“We will coordinate environmental protection with economic development and avoid simple and brutal forces to deal with violations,” the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) said in a statement.
The ministry urged local environmental bureaus to help companies set pollution treatment solution plans and to pay attention to reasonable appeals of companies during environmental inspections.
Beijing has ditched blanket production cuts on heavy industry as part of its anti-pollution campaign and allowed local authorities to adopt measures based on regional emission levels. However, declining air quality in the past two months in northern China has stirred concerns that the government is easing up on violations.
In China’s capital, the average concentration of lung-damaging particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) jumped 61 percent in November compared with the same month last year, the environment ministry reported on Tuesday night.
In a group of smog-prone 26 northern cities, PM2.5 readings rose 33 percent last month compared with November 2017 to 88 micrograms per cubic meter - more than double the state standard of 35 micrograms.
For the first 11 months of the year, air quality in coal mining heartland Linfen was the worst among the 169 closely monitored cities nationwide, according to the MEE. Top steelmaking hubs Tangshan and Handan were ranked fourth- and fifth-worst respectively.
“China’s environmental protection campaign is facing multiple pressures...Some regions have weakened their cognition of the significance of the environment amid economic downstream pressure and we have seen imbalanced work progress in different places,” said the MEE.
The MEE has scheduled a second round of national environmental inspections in 2019, and vowed to win the war against air pollution and promote water and soil protection.
In a separate statement on Tuesday, the MEE said it has issued 166,210 notices of penalty decisions to environmental regulation violators, with fines totaling 13.6 billion yuan ($1.98 billion) in the first 11 months this year.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

10 Best Thai Food in Pattaya!

If you really want to experience Thailand, you have to do so with all five senses. The most enjoyable of these to indulge is the sense of taste, which means eating what the locals like. With such a large expatriate population and dozens of expat-run restaurants, you could arguably do this by dining on fish and chips, though you would missing out on some excellent Thai food.
Pattaya is quite a multicultural place, attracting Thai nationals from across the country, each of whom brings the best of their region’s cuisine. A lot of people have moved here from the rural province of Issan, bringing their spicy and sour specialities with them. The coastal city also enjoys the fresh seafood of the Gulf of Thailand, making the 10 Best Local Food in Pattaya a diverse selection of flavours to enjoy. Have a look at our list below if you want to really eat like a local.

Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)

 Originally from Issan, this is a love-it or hate-it sort of a dish – almost all Thais in Pattaya can’t get enough of it, though visitors are very much divided. It is made with garlic, chillies, green beans, cherry tomatoes and shredded raw papaya and is a mix of extreme sweet, sour and spicy flavours. Popular additions include salted crab, dry shrimp and peanuts. Som Tum is available anywhere you can see the distinctive large pestle and mortar, including on some street vendor carts.

Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)

Practically the national dish of Thailand, the lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves, galangal, shallots and fish sauce flavours all add up to a spicy, sour, herby, aromatic soup. It is the smell and the taste you think of when you imagine Thai food. Fresh local prawns and straw mushrooms provide the meat of the dish which is universally popular among Thais and tourists. It is widely available at Thai restaurants throughout Pattaya.


Yum Woon Sen (Spicy Glass Noodles)

A popular salad throughout Thailand, and sometimes thought of as a diet food, Yum Woon Sen uses the relatively plain clear or glass noodle as its base. Ingredients added to this include garlic, dried shrimp, peanuts, onion, limes, Chinese celery and a lot of chilli, giving it a crunchy, spicy and very sour flavour. Ground pork is a popular addition, though it is a bit of a diet-breaker. Many restaurants also add large cooked shrimp, too.

Pad Krapow Moo Saap (Fried Basil and Pork)

 A one-plate dish popular for lunch and dinner, fried basil and pork has a full, meaty and spicy flavour. It is heavy on the holy basil, with minced pork, fresh chilli, green beans, soy sauce and a little bit of sugar. All of this is stir-fried in a piping hot wok and served on steamed rice, usually with a fried egg (kai dao) on top. The fat and juices from the pork add a wholesome extra flavour to the plain rice, making it a very moreish meal.

Gai Yang with Khao Niao (Chicken with Sticky Rice)

This dish is exactly as simple as it sounds – it really is just grilled chicken with sticky rice. It usually comes with a small collection of dipping sauces, which range from the relatively mundane sweet chilli sauce popular throughout Asia to super-spicy local dips in a disquieting brown colour. Generally eaten entirely by hand, it is filling, tasty and quite messy and generally available from wandering food carts as well as local restaurants.


Pla Pao (Salt-Crusted Grilled Fish with Lemongrass)

It is a little bit disconcerting to see a whole fish with a bundle of lemongrass sticks shoved deep into its mouth, gently grilling in a Pattaya market, particularly when that fish is a ghostly white colour. What you are actually looking at is a very popular and tasty meal, though. The colour comes from a thick crust of salt, which keeps the flesh succulent and moist under the ravages of the grill while the lemongrass infuses the whole of the tilapia fish with its fruity, sour flavour. Eaten with garlic chilli seafood dipping sauce, it is a popular evening meal.

Khao Pad Gung (Fried Rice with Prawns)

Fried rice is something of a staple of Thai cuisine, popular with Thais and tourists for its ability to fill. Topped with a fried egg in the American version, the genuine article has the egg mixed in among the onion, herbs and, in some versions, carrot and peas. While you can have it with practically any meat, the popularity of local seafood makes the prawn version particularly common. Locals and seasoned expats will often add a lot of condiments to enhance the flavour, including fresh lime juice, chilli flakes and chilli-infused fish sauce.

Khao Niaow Ma Muang (Sticky Mango Rice)

This is the sweetest of the sweets and, without a doubt, Thailand’s best-known dessert. Entire stores and wandering vendors devote their whole trade just to Sticky Mango Rice, the vibrant yellow fruits brightening up a street. It is an extremely simple dish – slices of mango with a serving of sticky rice, all coated in a thick coconut sauce – but the freshness of each component makes it a powerful flavour. Locally-grown mangos are already very sweet and the sugar-heavy sauce can make it almost sickly sweet.

Pad Thai (Thai-style Fried Noodles)

Pad Thai is another of those classically-Thai dishes which makes the cuisine so famous around the world. It is, in fact, the one they gave the country’s name to! A quick and easy preparation, it uses wide noodles, onion, egg, and a meat of your choice (prawn is popular in Pattaya) as its tasty base. Crunchy beansprouts add an extra texture dimension, as does the traditional collection of condiments, which include ground peanuts, chilli powder, sugar and fish sauce.

Khao Tom (Rice Soup)

 A fairly basic breakfast (though it isn’t that usual to find it eaten at any time of the day), Khao Tom is a rice-based broth. The base is a simple gloopy porridge made from jasmine rice. This has ginger, spring onion, lemongrass, shallots, eggs, meat and fish sauce. The popular choice of meat is pork, which can be either minced or served in balls. It isn’t particularly appetising to look at and the consistency puts a lot of tourists off, but the flavour is a welcome surprise.

Monday, 20 January 2020

angel hair pasta with raw tomato sauce

The internet might be loaded with a ga-jillion recipes, but finding the great ones can still be a little bit of a needle in a haystack. My favorite way to find new recipes is to ask a random person what their cult favorites are. Bonus points if they claim to hate cooking, because these are the people who are only going to be excited for dishes that work with airtight reliability that are unquestionably worth your time. I have found so many gems this way; Marion Burros’s Purple Plum Torte (which, if you have not made yet, shut this browser tab and get to it, please), Cook Country’s Chicken and Dumplings, Jeremiah Tower’s Raspberry Brown Sugar Gratin, this crazy simple beef braise and Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake. (If you ask me about mine, I might also up this curious tuna salad from the New York Times Magazine, this zucchini and almond saute). In more recent memory, it’s from asking around that I learned a lot people have a very deep fondness for a raw tomato sauce for a 2006 issue of the late Gourmet Magazine.

what you'll need
coring tomatoes, if you wish
I, however, had my doubts. I am very particular about pasta; I want not too much sauce and I want it to be slurped up by very thirsty al dente pasta with a splash of reserved cooking water in the last minute before you eat it, so that they become as one. I couldn’t imagine raw tomato sauce being anything but slippery, wet and probably nothing you’d see in Italy, right?
grating a few tomatoes
grating a few tomatoes
But then two things happened. First, I realized that having a new baby rather severely limits that time you might spend blanching, peeling and milling fresh tomatoes for your yearly batch of your favorite sauce, no matter how good the tomatoes have been this summer. And then, two weeks ago, one of my prime authorities on All Things Italian, or at least Roman and sometimes Sicilian, Rachel Roddy, whom I am impatiently tapping my foot for the US release of her book, shared a photo of a raw tomato sauce on pasta that was clearly eaten somewhere in Italy. The suggested topping of grated ricotta salata was an a-ha moment for me, and exactly what I realized the recipe — which suggests serving the sauce with Parmesan — might be missing. The sharp and almost pickled creaminess of ricotta salata seemed the perfect contrast to this bowl of crudo.
making the raw sauce
making the pasta
raw tomato sauce + heap of noodles
And so on Sunday, over the course of 6-plus stopped-and-started-and-stopped-again hours because that’s about how long it takes me to do the quickest of anything these days, we made it happen and whether or not you’re juggling a newborn, a bigger kid, a glut of tomatoes, or maybe that summer-specific cooking ennui when you want to eat all of the delicious produce but not actually have to stand at a stove for more than 5 minutes to do so, we quickly declared this the ultimate low-effort dinner. It is tomatoes in nearly their purest form, naturally sweet and faintly tangy, then garlic-kissed and tangled with fresh basil and the wispiest strands into everything I want in a late-August meal. Oh, and the leftovers aren’t too bad either which means tonight’s dinner is already sorted too. That’s what I call a cooking victory lap.
angel hair with raw tomato sauce
One year ago: Cold Noodles with Miso, Lime and Ginger, Apricot Pistachio Squares and Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
Two years ago: Strawberry Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles, Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts and Magnificent Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
Three years ago: My Favorite Brownies and Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes
Four years ago: Hazelnut Plum Crumb Tart and Zucchini Fritters
Five years ago: Zucchini and Almond Pasta Salad, Raspberry Limeade Slushies and Sweet Corn Pancakes
Six years ago: Plum Kuchen, Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad and Lighter, Airy Poundcake
Seven years ago: Blueberry Crumb Bars and Napa Cabbage Salad with the Best Buttermilk Dressing
Eight years ago: Zucchini Bread and Quick Zucchini Saute
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic
1.5 Years Ago: Fennel and Blood Orange Salad and Chocolate Hazelnut Linzers
2.5 Years Ago: Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese
3.5 Years Ago: Blood Orange Margaritas
Angel Hair Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce
Adapted a little from Gourmet
In the original recipe, many commenters found that they wanted more garlic; I had very new garlic from the market and found one clove to be plenty booming with flavor, but definitely adjust to your taste. Many found that they liked the sauce more the longer it marinated. I’d planned to let it just sit the 10 suggested minutes, but then real life happened and it sat an hour. It was wonderful. I realized I had no lemon (of course) after returning from the store and used red wine vinegar instead. It works just fine. Lastly, the original recipe calls for coring tomatoes and I realized that I wasn’t sure whether this mean to just remove the stem and any tough parts it attaches to inside the tomato or to do as this video shows. I did a mix of both, coring fully, then squeezing the seeds and extra juices from the core before chopping them too. I’d recommend this so the sauce isn’t excessively watery, and especially if you, like me, find tomato seeds a little bitter and bothersome in sauces.
3 pounds fresh, best-quality tomatoes (results are uneven with less fresh ones)
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste (I used 2 teaspoons total Diamond kosher salt)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional, I found this unnecessary)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 poud dried capellini or angel-hair spaghetti
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
To serve: grated ricotta salata (my choice) or Parmigiano-Reggiano and a drizzle of your favorite olive oil
Halve the first pound of tomatoes crosswise, then rub the cut sides against the large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl, discarding the skin. Core (see note up top) and chop the last two pounds of tomatoes and add to the grated tomato bowl. Add garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, sugar (if using) and pepper and let marinate at room temperature until ready to use, at least 10 minutes but also up to 2 hours if you’re planning ahead. After it has steeped for a while, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Cook pasta in salted boiling water as package time recommends. Drain then toss with fresh sauce and basil. Serve lukewarm (as it is now) or at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated cheese on top.

cheesecake-marbled pumpkin slab pie

So, I’m deep in my Friendsgiving planning for this weekend and I think I finally understand — and really, it’s about time, Deb — why Thanksgiving is so daunting, even for people who like to cook: it’s the volume.
pie season looks like
I mean, maybe you come from a small family and your Thanksgiving dinner is for 4 or 6 people. That sounds lovely. It’s still a lot of cooking but I bet your one year-old at least weighs less than your bird. (Not to self: photo op!) 20 people or more is completely the norm at our family gatherings and we’re having 16 friends this weekend in our I-won’t-even-tell-you-the-square-footage apartment because you’ll either start clucking your tongue in a completely undeserved pity party (woe is us, we live in Manhattan, said nobody you should be friends with, ever) or start sending us house listings in Montclair (coughgrandma). I’m looking at the yield on my usual recipes and then trying to multiply them by three and write a grocery list and it’s basically like: All The Butter Ever Made + A Gallon or Two Of Stock + then I burst into tears, text my husband the list and he schleps everything, in case you were ever wondering who the actual beauty/brains behind this operation actually is.
november stuff
Last week I established myself as Team Casserole when it comes to the planning of Thanksgiving sides. This week, let me also reiterate my longstanding membership in the Slab Pie Charter. Slab pies — basically, any pie you love, just about doubled and stretched into a jellyroll pan — are pie for dozen (er, a dozen and a half) and there’s nothing not to love about that. Because the filling is thinner and less weighty, I find par-baking of the bottom crusts unnecessary (praise-hands emoji) and also they bake in half to 2/3 of the time. They also are easier to store; I have this one in the freezer as we speak.
ready to cookstirred
This year’s centerpiece pie is 80% pumpkin and 20% cheesecake. (Would you like the reverse, I think this cake is just for you.) It’s as easy as… cake (gotcha) (okay, I’m sorry, that was inexcusable) but it really is very simple. We’re using more or less my go-to filling these days and marbling in some sweetened cream cheese batter. If you’d like a higher proportion of cheesecake to pumpkin, you can double it. The slices you see in photos are 1/15 but my pan was slightly smaller this time and given that there’s probably more than one dessert at your table, you’re going to be much happier with 1/18. You’re also more likely to have one to two squares left the next morning, which means you’ll get to celebrate my next favorite holiday: National Pie For Breakfast Day. Wait, this isn’t a thing yet? Let’s fix it.
cheesecake-marbled pumpkin slab pie
One year ago: Date, Feta and Red Cabbage Salad and Pecan Pie
Two years ago: Pickled Cabbage Salad and Pretzel Parker House Rolls
Three years ago: Cranberry Orange Breakfast Buns
Four years ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Five years ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings
Six years ago: Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese
Seven years ago: Raisin-Studded Apple Bread Pudding and Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin
Eight years ago: Cottage Cheese Pancakes, Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives and Capers and Onion Tart with Mustard and Fennel
Nine years ago: Roasted Stuffed Onions, Simplest Apple Tart and Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Ten! years ago: Indian-Spiced Vegetable Fritters, Dreamy Cream Scones and Chocolate Stout Cake
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Confetti Cookies
1.5 Years Ago: Mushrooms with Greens and Toast and Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake
2.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars and Five Egg Sandwiches
3.5 Years Ago: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
4.5 Years Ago: Chocolate Buckwheat Cake

Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Slab Pie

  • SERVINGS: 15 TO 18

As I mention above, this is light on cheesecake, heavy on pumpkin pie. Should you wish more of a cream cheese presence, simply double that part of the batter, using a whole egg. It shouldn’t overfill your crust, but if you’re getting nervous, you can always pour off 1 cup of pumpkin batter and bake it in a little dish for the happiest pumpkin pudding pre-game. (Melty vanilla ice cream on top plus or minus a crumbled gingersnap, not an option.)
My pan was slightly smaller this year (my correctly-sized 10×15 was being held hostage by another slab pie), about an inch shy all around. I baked the extra filling as noted above and made the extra dough into pie dough cookies. It means that my 1 /15-sized slices are smaller than your will be; I think most of us would prefer 1/18 of the regular-sized slab pie, especially with other desserts to try.
Finally, in a classic Do As Deb Says But Not As She Does, I forgot to mix the cream into my cream cheese batter, leaving it a bit thick. It still marbles, but requires more toothpick work to divide and swirl the islands and leaves them a little raised. (I’m sure everyone will object and refuse to eat it now.) Your cream cheese batter should give you less guff.

  • 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, from 2 15-ounce (425 gram) cans or homemade
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) fine sea or table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • A few gratings of fresh nutmeg (or a pinch of ground nutmeg)
  • 2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream, light cream or a combination of cream and milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy or light cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the pie dough:
  • By hand, with my one-bowl method: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.
Get ready to bake the pie: Heat oven to 400°F (205°C). Line a 10×15-inch jellyroll pan with a fitted rectangle of parchment paper.
Form the crust: On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 13-by-18-inch rectangle (i.e. 3 inches bigger than your pan). Do your best to work quickly, keeping the dough as cold as possible (and tossing it in the freezer for a couple minutes if it softens too quickly) and using enough flour that it doesn’t stick to the counter.
Fold dough gently in half without creasing and transfer to prepared pan. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Return pan to fridge until ready to fill.
Make pumpkin filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a sputtering simmer and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Scoop cooked pumpkin filling into bowl, and whisk in cold cream until smooth. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
Marble cheesecake: Whisk cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Dollop all over pumpkin batter and use a toothpick or chopstick to swirl decoratively in figure-8s, being very very careful not to drag the point of the toothpick/chopstick into the bottom crust, forming holes.
Bake pie: For 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake for another 15 minutes, until only the center barely jiggles and a toothpick inserted into it comes out pumpkin-free. (Damp is fine, but the toothpick shouldn’t have loose pumpkin batter on it.)
Let cool then chill in fridge until serving.