When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for August, 2008




Easy Chinese Steamed Pork Buns

A few years back my mother stumbled upon a competition hosted by Pillsbury. I initially balked at the idea of making things from their branded biscuits. Afterall, we grew up eating fresh, homemade, healthy foods. We were the house that never, ever had sugared cereal! So when my mom stocked up on their buttery Grands! biscuits, I was secretly happy but wondered if she was loosing it? From taco shells to sticky buns, these delicious little biscuits can do anything. There’s even a tasty reduced fat version!

Without further adieu, here’s Lucy’s recipe with the store bought biscuit dough and all. They are truly delicious and make amazing hors d’oeuvres !

2 packages (10 per package) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2 tablespoons flour (for dusting the biscuits)
Canola oil or Pam cooking spray
½ cup water

½ pound lean ground pork
2 scallions, including the green top
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

Wash and trim the green onions, finely chop. Peel and finely grate the ginger root.  In a bowl, combine the ground pork with chopped onions, grated ginger root, soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt and sugar. Mix together thoroughly and set aside.

On a cutting board, separate biscuits. Flatten each with fingertips and lightly dust with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll each biscuit into a 3-½ inch round shape, approximately 1/8-inch thick.

Place the flattened biscuit dough onto the palm of your hand. Place 1 tablespoon of pork filling in the center of the biscuit and with your other hand, gather the sides of the biscuit dough around the filling, letting the biscuit dough pleat naturally. Pinch the top of the dough to seal. Tap the little biscuit bun to flatten its bottom so it stands upright. Repeat to make all the buns.

To Cook:
Spray cooking oil in a 10-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Place 10 biscuit buns in the pan, leaving 1/2 inch space between each bun. Add half (¼ cup) of the water to the pan and cover. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the bottom of the buns are lightly browned. The buns size will double.

Transfer the cooked pork buns onto a plate or lined breadbasket. Cover with tinfoil to keep them warm. Repeat to cook another 10 buns.

Makes 20 pork buns
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 24 minutes




Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

This was my mother’s most popular dish during her restaurant days. I remember customers requesting the peanut dressing recipe. Rather than letting her secret recipe out, she sold large containers full of peanut dressing. It was a smashing success!

1 whole chicken breast or two halves (boneless and skinless, about 3/4 pound)
1 small head lettuce or 1 bag iceberg lettuce (10 oz.)
1 carrot
½ English cucumber
½ red bell pepper
½ cup roasted slivered almonds
2 oz. fresh cilantros

Boil chicken breast for about 10 minutes in boiling water. Let cool. Use hands to shred chicken into thin strips. Core lettuce and cut into quarters then shred the lettuce into ¼-inch thin strips. Peel the carrot, diagonal slicing the carrot into 1/4 inch thin pieces then cut into strips. Wash (do not peel), slice the cucumber diagonally into ¼-inch thin pieces then cut into strips. Cut the red bell pepper into 1-½-inch length pieces then cut into thin strips. Wash and break the cilantro into small pieces.

In a small bowl mix ½ cup smooth peanut butter with ½ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk together until become  smooth thin paste.  Add:
2 cloves garlic (crush, peel and finely minced)
¼ cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil.
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root (peel the ginger root skin)
1 tablespoon red hot chili oil
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel.

Mix above ingredients together thoroughly (makes 1-½ cups dressing)

To Serve:
Use 4 individual serving plates. Place 4 oz. lettuce strips in each plate first, then add 1 oz. carrots, 2 oz. cucumber strips, 3 oz. chicken strips, 1 oz. red bell peppers, 2 oz. almonds and 1 oz. cilantro leaves. Spoon the spicy peanut dressing on top of the salad to serve.

*Another serving suggestion is to layer the ingredients as outlined above in a large glass serving bowl.  Serve with dressing on the side. This makes for a great presentation on any buffet table or (in my world) an impressive play date lunch!

Extra dressing keeps well in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Do not freeze.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 30 to 40 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes




Mandarin Orange Cake

A simple, tasty dessert topped with a dollop of whipped cream and YUM! Sweet Mandarin oranges are a popular Chinese fruit and this recipe is really easy! After all, it comes canned. I personally like to keep a can of Mandarin oranges handy at all times to spruce up a spinach salad but dessert is just an added bonus. This is truly a one of a kind creation meant to enjoy the wonderful flavor of the Mandarin orange.

1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ cup non-fat milk or plain light soy milk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1 can whole peeled mandarin orange segments (15 oz.) drained
canola oil or pam cooking spray
whipped cream (optional)

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs with sugar until smooth. Add milk, oil, orange peel and mix together thoroughly. Combine liquid ingredients with the flour mixture to form a soft batter. Fold in the drained mandarin orange slices.

To Bake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch round non-stick cake pan with cooking spray. Add batter to pan and bake for approximately 28 to 30 minutes (until an inserted fork comes out clean). Remove from oven and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.

Tip: If you are not planning to serve the cake right away, cover with tin foil while warm to keep moist until ready to serve.

Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 28 to 30 minutes

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