Welcome back to week #30. In case you haven’t been around, Mary Berger at One Perfect Bite and fellow bloggers are profiling the “50 Women Game Changers” outlined on Gourmet Online. Barbara Tropp is in spotlight this week.
Barbara Tropp became interested in Chinese culture in high school. Her interest led to PhD studies at Princeton, University, followed by two years living in Taiwan. There she became immensely interested in Chinese cuisine. After her time in Taiwan she dropped her studies and moved to San Francisco to be close to an important Chinese community. Her two cookbooks are The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking and China Moon Cookbook, which is named after the New Cuisine restaurant she owned. Barbara died at the age of 53 on October 1st, 2001—due to Ovarian Cancer.
I owe many great memories to Barbara Tropp. When Barbara’s book “The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking” came out in 1982, I was working for a caterer named Sharon Singstock. She bought the Barbara’s book, and much of the food that Sharon was cooking at the time was influenced by Barbara. Sharon’s food was remarkably delicious and as a result, I wanted to learn more about Chinese cooking, so my mother and I took a class at Montana Mercantile, in Brentwood, CA. After that, Mom and I got into the kitchen each week-end and made elaborate Chinese dinners for the family. We had a great time and lots of laughs around the dinner table. Mom and I couldn’t wait to get back into to the kitchen the upcoming week-end to experiment more with the basics of stir-frys, shu mai, won tons, spring rolls, and soups. Chinese food was in vogue and Chinese cookbooks started appearing in all the bookstores, everyone was buying woks, chopsticks, bamboo steam cookers, and other types of Chinese cooking utensils. This all came on the heels of Barbara’s book. She was a great influence, not only for Chinese food, but for the New American Cuisine movement.
About the recipe: I found this easy to make Won Ton Hamburger recipe posted at RecipeSource, and they indicated it was exported from Master Cook II. RecipeSource also indicates the recipe is by James McNair, but the title is “Barbara Tropp’s China Moon Cafe Won Ton Burgers”. At any rate, I’m doing a variation of that won ton hamburger to make a smaller amount, and to booster the flavor ingredients: ginger, garlic, and green onions. I’m also serving the burger topped with grilled onions.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4 to 5
Ingredients for the Filling
1-1/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1-½ tablespoons cilantro, Garlic
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2-½ teaspoons garlic, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, or cooking sherry
½ teaspoon hot chili oil
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
4 to 5 whole wheat hamburger buns
½ medium onion, sliced crossed to ¼ inch thickness
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1) Mix all the ingredients in a bowl being careful not to compact them too much. Just mix until all the ingredients are well dispersed. Set the bowl aside.
2) Add the olive oil to the pan and spread it around to cover bottom of the pan. Cook the onions until they are golden brown, and tender.
3) Grill the burgers three to four minutes and then flip them and finish cooking on the other side. Approximate cooking time is six minutes total. They should reach an internal cooking temperature of 155°.
4) Grill the hamburger buns if you like them that way. Place the burger on the bottom bun and top with grilled onions.
You should see the great recipes these bloggers are cooking up this week!