Considering that he grew up among Chinese relatives in Chicago, studied cooking in France and ended up in California, it's no surprise that author-chef Ken Hom has mastered the art of bridging cultures, most recently with his cookbook titled "Ken Hom's East Meets West Cuisine" (Simon & Schuster $19.95).
Hom -- who adds goat cheese to wonton soup, stuffs Chinese eggplant with a combination of ginger and spinach, and laces pork chops with hoisin sauce -- will be demonstrating his craft at Kitchen Bazaar Tuesday (noon-1:30 p.m., Seven Corners branch) and Wednesday (1-2:30 p.m., Towsontown Centre).
Both events are open to the public, although a $3 reservation fee (applicable toward the cost of the cookbook) is required in advance. To reserve a seat, call 534-0220 (Seven Corners) or (301) 337-8900 (Towsontown Centre).
Meanwhile, here's a sneak preview from Hom's book:
SPICY PORK CHOPS WITH APPLE AND PLUM SAUCE (2 to 4 servings)
4 4-ounce loin-cut pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Chinese seasoned salt*
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
FOR THE APPLE-PLUM SAUCE:
1 pound (about 2) Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup Chinese plum sauce
Dredge pork chops in olive oil. Mix Chinese seasoned salt, coarse salt and thyme in a small bowl; sprinkle both sides of the chops with spice mixture. Set aside for 15 minutes. Broil chops, about 7 minutes each side, and remove as soon as they are firm to the touch. Serve warm, with apple and plum sauce.
To make the apple-plum sauce: Place the apples and lemon juice in a medium-size saucepan. Add sugar and enough water to cover apples. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain the apples in a colander and allow to cool to room temperature. Pure'e the apples and plum sauce in a blender or food processor. Refrigerate until ready to use.
*To make Chinese seasoned salt: For the seasoning mixture, heat 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt over medium heat in a skillet. Turn heat down to low; stir for 1 minute, or until peppercorns begin to darken -- don't let them burn. Remove from skillet and cool. Coarsely grind in a blender. Place in a tightly sealed jar until ready to use.