Pork Roast tip

Here's a useful tip when you roast pork shoulder:

275⁰F for 8 hours if you want to shred (carnitas or pulled pork)

215⁰F for 8 hours if you want to slice (pork roast)

I've done 4lbs, 40lbs, and everything in between. I've done midnight-8am or 9am-5pm. Some general rules:

  • Uncovered in aluminum tray
  • No liquids, just meat
  • Fat side up
  • Use your favorite herbs or spices, I like to season it the night before
  • Adjust to your oven (some ovens may not actually get to 215⁰F or way hotter) and figure out what time/temp works for your oven
  • High elevation (Sierra lodge) may be different and require longer cook time. 
  • This is for pork. You can do this for beef if you want a well done beef roast.

Beef Noodle Soup

This recipe comes from Kan Lee, who is currently serving at our Gracepoint Hsinchu church. The recipe looks authentic. Sorry, I won't be able to answer any questions or translate.


8-10 servings

-2 Beef (牛腱) ~2 lbs
-2 onions
-3 tomatoes
-6 sticks green onions
-2 garlic cloves
-6 chili pepper.  You can use less if the chili peppers you have are really spicy. 
Cut a little slice of chili pepper and taste it to see how spicy it is.  Chili peppers are pretty important.
粒八角 (1 bag Star-shaped thing for soups)
-1 ginger (not too big)
罐辣豆瓣醬 (1 bottle of Spicy DoBanJiang aka. Chili Bean Sauce)
It has to be
辣豆瓣醬.  this is made with soy beans which has a special flavor.
-1 chives
-1 cilantro

1. Boil beef for a few minutes.  Doesn't need to fully cook.  Rinse in cold water. Cut into chunks. Don't bypass this step.  It gets rid of blood water, and makes the soup taste clean.  Cannot stir fry and sear as substitute, I tried that and it made the soup murky and slightly smelly.   
2. Cut green onions into thumb-sized segments.  Smash ginger and garlic.  Add
八角 (Star spice thing). Stir quickly until fragrant. 
3. Add
辣豆瓣醬 (DoBanJiang/chili bean sauce) to 2. Stir fry for few minutes.
4. Add beef to 3. Stir fry for a few minutes.
5. Stir fry onion and tomatoes for a few minutes until onions begin to caramelize.
    (separately from meat)
6. Add 3. 4. 5. into pot.  Add one bowl of soy sauce (~1 to 1.5 cup).  Add water to until all ingredients are just covered.  Bring to boil. Turn to low heat.
7. Add more soysauce, salt,
辣豆瓣醬 (DoBanJiang/chili bean sauce) to taste.  You can add some sugar if stew is on the saltier side, but not too much.  Slightly too salty is much better than too sweet for beef noodle soup.
8. Stew in low heat for two hrs.  Stir every once in a while to avoid burning.
9.  When serving, you can chop up
蒜苗 (Chives), 香菜 (Cilantro) finely and put as topping on noodles as last step.  They make the soup more fragrant. 

(Boil Noodles Separately)

Mashed potatoes

 Mashed potatoes are easy to make from scratch but there is some science behind them. Most people buy and use russet potatoes for mashed potatoes. They are cheap and well suited to be mashed. I personally like red potatoes. The chemical difference is in how the glucose molecules are arranged. In russet potatoes you have long straight chains (amylose) which make it light, fluffy, dry, mealy, and starchy. Red potatoes are called "waxy" because they have glucose in chains with many branches (amylopectin). They hold their shape better when cooked and can't absorb as much liquid. If you want to add tons of butter and milk go with russet, if you want minimal butter and mashed potatoes that aren't grainy go with red.

5lb bag of red potatoes (About $4-$5)
1 [8oz] plain cream cheese (whipped or not, about $3)
1 TB salt -- kosher strongly recommended
1 tsp black pepper (add more to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder (add more to taste)
1 tsp onion powder (add more to taste)
cheese + paprika for topping

(these pictures were quickly taken with a cell phone)

 cut potatoes into quarters and boil for 20 minutes or until tender

Salt, pepper, cream cheese, shredded cheese

After potatoes are cooked, drain water to a separate bowl. Add cream cheese, salt, & pepper (garlic/onion powder too).
Mash the potatoes until mixed. Pour some of the water back in if too thick.

Sprinkle shredded cheese and paprika. Broil for a couple minutes and serve.