ABOUT
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 October, 2008

28

Oct

2008

Mu Shu Pork (and hold the “Mu Shu” please)


Because we are the “All-American” Chinese cookbook we have developed a yummy recipe that takes the “mu shu” out of the Mu Shu Pork. In case you are wondering what makes mu shu, it’s dried wood ears, cloud ears and lilly buds. While it’s all very tasty, your local grocery store may not carry these items (and from my experience, your kids may pick them off of their plate anyway). So give our variation of this popular Mandarin dish a taste which may also be substituted with chicken or beef. And while you can buy a package of flour tortillas to substitute the homemade pancakes – we strongly suggest that you check out our homemade Mu Shu Pancake recipe to complete the dish!

1 pound lean pork
½ pound head cabbage (8 oz.)
4 scallions, including the green top
½ red bell pepper
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
½ cup hoisin sauce*
Homemade flour pancakes

Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar

Preparation:
Slice pork against the grain into ¼ inch thin pieces and then cut into 1-½ inch long strips. In a bowl, combine the pork strips with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Shred cabbage into thin, 1 inch long strips. Wash and trim the green onions, slice diagonally into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Cut red bell pepper into thin, 1 inch long strips. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl.

To Cook:
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, pour in the beaten eggs and lightly scramble until firm. Transfer the cooked eggs into a bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add the pork strips and stir-fry for approximately 2 minutes until the pork is nearly cooked through. Add shredded cabbage, onions, red bell pepper strips and scrambled eggs into wok. Stir-fry for 1 more minute. Add salt and sesame oil. Continue to cook for 30 seconds longer.

For best results, serve immediately, before the dish becomes too juicy.

To Serve:
Place a warm pancake on a plate. Spread 2 teaspoons of Hoisin sauce on the center of the pancake. Add a  ½ cup of the mu shu mixture in the center of the pancake. Fold each side into the center of the pancake. Roll the pancake from the bottom up creating a pouch around the mixture allowing for it to be picked up and eaten with your fingers. Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 6 to 8 minutes

*Hoisin sauce is a sweet brown sauce made from soybeans.  Sold in jars and bottles at the Asian section of most supermarkets.  After opening, it can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.


28

Oct

2008

Homemade Mu Shu Pancakes

Making homemade pancakes seems like a bit of a chore. But it’s really not that bad. In fact, they are quite simple and nothing tastes better than something fresh and homemade. These light and thin pancakes can be used for all traditional “mu shu” fillings. And here’s a tip: Make them well in advance. Refrigerate or freeze and just steam when you are ready to serve.

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup boiling water
1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil placed in a small dish

Preparation:
– Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and add boiling water (the boiling water is key). Mix with a fork until combined.
-When the dough is cool to the touch, knead the dough in the bowl by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth.
-Form the dough into a rope and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a uniform ball and then flatten with the palm of your hand.
– Take two pieces (one in each hand ) and dip one side of each in the oil. Press oiled sides together and again with the palm of your hand, flatten into a 3 inch circle.
– Use a rolling pin, roll each circle into a thin, larger circle approximately 8 inches in diameter. Repeat, making three more pairs of two pancakes each.

To Cook:
-Heat a 10 inch, non-stick frying pan over low heat until the pan is hot. Place one of the four (paired) pancakes in the pan. Cook for 1 minute on each side.
-Place in a covered casserole dish and set aside on the counter.
-Repeat above steps with the three remaining pairs of pancakes.
-Allow to cool approximately 5 minutes at which point they should be soft, moist and easy to peel apart. Keep them covered (to retain moisture) in warm oven until ready to serve.

Tip: If your rolling skills need help, trim each pancake with kitchen scissors to smooth the edges for a pretty presentation.

To Serve:
Place a warm pancake on a plate. Spread 2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce on the center of the pancake. Add a  ½ cup of the mu shu mixture in the center of the pancake. Fold each side into the center of the pancake. Roll the pancake from the bottom up creating a pouch around the mixture allowing for it to be picked up and eaten with your fingers.

Makes 8 pancakes
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


28

Oct

2008

A Note From Lucy…

Hi everyone and thank you for visiting our new recipe blog! I have never done something like this before and I am delighted that my daughter surprised me with such a special and unique gift. I wanted to take a moment to share some cooking tips and notes with you….

1. My recipes use half of the oil found in my original cookbook. In order to make this happen, I ask that you only use non-stick pans and woks. It makes for easy clean up as well.

2. While most of my stir-fry recipes use medium-high heat, I suggest that you make certain the oil is hot so the food cooks quickly.

3. Preparation is key. Many of the recipes can be made ahead of time i.e., vegetables chopped, meat marinated, eggs beaten and then refrigerated. When it’s time to cook, it is best to stir-fry and steam just before you are ready to serve.

4. All of my ingredients are purchased from American, chain supermarkets such as Safeway, Vons, etc. for your shopping convenience.

– Lucy


24

Oct

2008

Tofu with Chicken

So it is our goal to provide you with wonderful pictures of the recipes we create and perfect. Tofu however is tough! Unless it’s deep fried or dried, it’s not all that attractive. And for those of you who are not big tofu eaters, you may never try this dish if we posted a pic. As an alternative, we gave a plateful to our best taste tester in the family to vouch for its yumminess. And while he’s only 19 months, he approves by enjoying two platefuls. That’s the greatest compliment any chef (Mom and Grandma in our case) can ever hope for! We think you and your family will also enjoy this light and healthy dish that is full of flavorful!

1 package medium-firm tofu (14 oz. or 16 oz.)
½ pound boneless and skinless chicken breast (about half breast)
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions, including the green top
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Preparation:
Rinse the tofu block with cold water. Cut tofu into ½ inch cubes. Slice the half chicken breast lengthwise in half then crosswise cut  into ¼ inch thin pieces. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. Wash and trim the green onions, finely chop. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together until the cornstarch dissolves and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the garlic and onions for a few seconds.  Add chicken pieces into the wok, cook and stir until the chicken is nearly cooked through, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add tofu cubes, cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir the sauce mixture and add into wok. Stir-fry for a few seconds until the dish thickens a bit and the sauce is well mixed. This is where the tofu breaks down a bit which is okay. Add the key ingredient, sesame oil!  Stir-fry for just a few seconds longer. Serve hot.

UPDATE: Here’s a recent Chicken with Tofu photo that doesn’t look so bad after all! It’s delicious.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes


24

Oct

2008

Lemon Sesame Chicken

Who doesn’t love lemon or sesame chicken? We combined the two for a tasty dish. Not intended to have a ton of sauce all over the chicken but rather a lightly coated sweet and sour lemon sauce with sesame seeds.

1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
3 cups canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 tablespoons sesame seed

Batter:
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce:
½ cup water
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ large size lemon)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)

Preparation:
Cut chicken breasts into1 inch cubes. In a bowl, mix the batter ingredients together until smooth. Add chicken cubes to batter, coating each piece well and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together until the sugar dissolves.

To Cook:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 3 cups oil in a wok or a deep fryer. When the oil is hot, drop one piece of chicken at a time into wok. Deep-fry approx. 1/3 of chicken cubes at one time until light brown. Transfer to cookie sheet and keep hot in oven.  After frying all the chicken pieces, keep them hot in the oven for up to 15 minutes or until crisp.

Use a wok or a medium size pot over medium heat. Add the sauce, cook and constantly stir until the sauce has thickened and becomes clear. Remove the crisp chicken cubes from oven and add to sauce. Quickly stir and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds over chicken. Mix well. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


16

Oct

2008

Kung Pao Chicken

Ever wonder what “Kung Pao” is exactly? Besides being one of the most popular dishes in a Chinese restaurant, it’s a classic Szechuan dish named for a 19th century governor of the Sichuan province in China. So there’s the history lesson for the day but all you really need to know is, Caution! Do not to eat the dried red peppers as they are extremely hot. And if you have ever eaten one by mistake, you know exactly what we mean 🙂

1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 small green bell pepper
½ small yellow onion
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
4 dried red chili peppers
½ cup dry roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce*
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Marinade:
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice wine or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

Preparation:
Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. In a bowl, combine chicken with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Wash, discard stem and seeds from green pepper and cut into 1 inch squares. Chop onion into ½ inch squares.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Break each of the dried chili peppers in half and add to wok. Cook the peppers for 1 to 2 minutes until darkened. Add chicken cubes and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the chicken is nearly cooked through. Add green peppers, onions, dry roasted peanuts, hoisin sauce and white vinegar. Stir-fry for another 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes

*Hoisin sauce is a sweet brown sauce made from soybeans. Sold in jars or bottles at the Asian section of most supermarkets.  After opening, it can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.


10

Oct

2008

Spinach Salad with Oil-Free Ginger Dressing

Thank you all for your kind comments and support since our launch and my mother’s surprise. And boy, was she surprised! Here’s a super simple salad recipe as we head into the weekend. More tasty recipes and All-American Chinese favorites are to come!

The Oil-free Ginger Dressing can be used on almost any salad. My mom prefers to mix it with the Spicy Peanut Dressing in her Chinese Chicken Salad to add a little sweet and sour flavor. At the end of the day, my family can always use more leafy greens in their diet and this is the perfect way to get them.

Salad:
1 bundle fresh baby spinach (12 oz.)
8 fresh mushrooms
1 can whole peeled mandarin orange segments in light syrup (6 oz.) drained
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts (2.5 oz.) drained
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup roasted silvered almonds
1/4 red onion

Preperation:
Wash spinach thoroughly and remove stems. Wash mushrooms and slice into 1/4 inch thin pieces. Cut the red bell pepper into 1/4 inch thin strips. Thinly slice the red onion.

Dressing:
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root (peel the ginger root skin)
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)

In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients until the sugar dissolves (makes 3/4 cup of dressing)

To Serve:
For a little formality to your dinner presentation…
Use 4 individual salad plates and layer ingredients in the following order: spinach, mushrooms, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, red bell peppers, red onions and almonds. Spoon 3 tablespoons of dressing over each plate and serve.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes


5

Oct

2008

Welcome To Our New Recipe Blog!

Thanks for stopping by! This is a new recipe blog of simple, healthy, tasty Chinese recipes and then some.

Years ago, my mother Lucy Chee authored a cookbook and opened a couple of restaurants, all while raising an active family. She has created at least another 100 original recipes since her published cookbook “The All-American Chinese Cookbook”. Rather than let these amazing recipes go to waste, I thought I would take action and share all her fabulous recipes with family, dear friends and new friends found on the worldwide web.

Here’s the catch…Lucy has NO idea this is out there for all to see! My father Dan and brother Jason are now in on the birthday surprise and deemed as regular contributors to the site. It’s become a family affair and a little something we can pass on to future “All-American Chinese” generations.

We hope you enjoy, email Lucy so she’ll figure out the surprise and ask her lots of Chinese cooking questions! She really is a wonderful source of information. We know she will appreciate it and genuinely enjoy hearing from you! – Melisa


4

Oct

2008

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

A popular party dish made just a bit more healthy with the ground turkey meat. Although it’s the Chinese sweet and sour sauce that really makes it!

1 package ground turkey (1-1/4 pounds)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (Progresso brand)
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root
1 scallion, including the green top
1 egg
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
Canola oil or Pam cooking spray

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water

Preparation:
Peel and finely grate the fresh ginger root. Wash and trim the green onion, finely chop.  In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey with bread crumbs, ginger root, green onions, egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and sugar. Mix together thoroughly.  In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water together and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the turkey mixture, use palm of hands roll into a 1 inch round meatball. For easy clean up, spray cooking spray onto a large cookie sheet before placing meatballs.

To Cook:
Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes.  For the sauce:  Combine  water, sugar, ketchup and white vinegar in a medium sized pot.  Stir over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add dissolved cornstarch, stir for a few seconds until the sauce has thickened and becomes clear. Turn off heat.  When the meatballs are done, add the baked meatballs to the pot and coat well with sauce. Note: The sauce will only lightly coat the meatballs for flavor. Serve warm.

Makes about 40 meatballs
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking and cooking time: 18 minutes

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