As children, most of us ran, full-tilt, into whatever thing was in the road before us. Peanut butter sandwiches, playground games, Halloween candy, Top 40 music, backyard mud or Nancy Drew mysteries, whatever came our way was to be tackled and experienced at full volume.
As adults, we still like to partake of all of life's pleasures, but the wisdom of age and experience tells us that everything is more enjoyable if experienced in balance with everything else.
So it is with Chinese Five-Spice Powder. This spice is a staple in Chinese cooking, and its recipe is based on the Chinese [Taoist, really] philosophy of yin and yang, of balance. Just as the mature adult knows to balance the latest "Fast and Furious" movie with a close reading of the latest issue of Foreign Affairs Quarterly, and to alternate afternoons in the hammock with mornings at the gym, Chinese Five-Spice Powder balances the yin and yang in food: warm-and-cool, sweet-and-spicy.
Chinese Five-Spice Powder recipes vary from chef to chef, but our blend includes star anise, peppercorns, cinnamon, fennel and clove - a sweet, savory, pungent flavor. Chinese Five-Spice Powder is used traditionally in recipes for Cantonese roast duck, and beef stew. Chinese Five-Spice Powder is equally fitting with fattier meats like pork, and is used widely in a technique called "flavor potting," where meat is steeped in a rich sauce over a long cooking period.
Chinese Five-Spice makes an excellent foundation for marinades. Combine five-spice powder with tamari, honey, garlic, oil, and cooking sherry to create an excellent treatment for pork. And for something *completely* different, add a pinch of Chinese Five-Spice Powder to the batter for baked goods. It'll knock your socks off [but you won't lose your balance].
Ingredients: Ginger, cloves, allspice, star anise, pepper, thyme