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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 January 23rd, 2009

23

Jan

2009

2009: Year Of The Ox

“Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly.” – infoplease.com

Chinese New Year is one of the longest and most important celebrations in the Chinese calendar. January 26, 2009 is quickly approaching and with it comes delicious Chinese food. I just adore the way the Chinese celebrate their holidays with food. Need a quick tutorial on Chinese New Year history and tradition? Visit here. And If the traditional New Year foods consisting of taro root and turnip cakes doesn’t tantalize your taste buds, Chef Lucy has an All-American feast she’s preparing this week so be sure to stay tuned!

Here’s a peek at her menu…

Fried Wontons with Sweet & Sour Sauce

Pan Fried Gyoza Dumplings (aka Potstickers)

Boiled Soy Sauce Eggs

Chicken Hot & Sour Soup

Mongolian Beef

Baked Soy Sauce Chicken

Oven Baked Pork Ribs

Chicken Chow Mein

Stir-fry Spinach with Garlic

Crunch Tea Cookies

Banana Delight


23

Jan

2009

Banana Delight

Many Chinese restaurants serve deep-fried bananas covered in syrup and dipped into ice water to make them crunchy. I have found that serving the bananas with a warm, sugary syrup and sesame seeds is even more delightful.

4 medium size ripe but firm bananas
3 cups canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying

Batter:

1 egg
¼ cup water
½ cup all-purpose flour

Syrup:
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preparation:
Peel bananas and slice each diagonally 4 times into 1 inch thick pieces. In a medium sized bowl, wisk the egg together with water and then add flour. Stir constantly until a fairly smooth batter is formed. Add bananas into bowl. Coat each piece thoroughly with the batter and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in wok or a deep fryer over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, dissolve the sugar into the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low  heat and boil for approximately 5 minutes until the mixture becomes a light syrup. Stir in sesame seeds and turn off heat. When the oil is hot, use a pair of chopsticks or tongs to drop the batter coated banana, one piece at the time, into the hot oil. Deep-fry 10 pieces together until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove fried bananas onto a large serving plate. Repeat and deep-fry 10 more banana pieces. After deep-frying all of the bananas, reheat the syrup for a few seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately spoon the hot sesame syrup evenly over the fried bananas. Serve warm.

Makes 20 pieces
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: total about 18 minutes


23

Jan

2009

Crunchy Tea Cookies

A light, nutty and crunchy cookie great with tea. What makes these cookies so unique: the Cashew nut!

1 large egg
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup roasted and salted cashews nuts (5 oz.)
¼ cup creamy peanut butter (Skippy brand)
¾ cups all-purpose flour
Powder sugar

Preparation:
In a large bowl, beat the egg and brown sugar together until smooth. Use a food processor to finely ground the cashews into a powder. Add the finely grounded cashews and peanut butter to the egg and sugar mixture. Mix until smooth. Add flour to bowl. Knead into a soft, workable dough. Place the dough on a floured board and divide into four equal parts. Roll each piece into a long rope. Divide each rope in half and then into quarters, totaling 32 pieces. Using the palms of your hands, roll each piece into a ball. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten each piece into a 1/8 inch thick, 3 inch round circle. The edge of the cookies will be slightly jagged.

To Cook:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cookies on 2 large ungreased cookie sheets. Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for 6 to 7 minutes, until light golden brown. Be careful not to burn. Remove cookies from oven. Cool until the cookies become crisp. Dust with powder sugar.

Makes 32 cookies
Preparation time: 20 to 25 minutes
Cooking time: 6 to 7 minutes


23

Jan

2009

Stir-fry Spinach with Garlic

This simple and easy stir-fry dish is a part of a Chinese family regular dinner menu. It’s always great to add a little tasty green to my family’s dinner menu.

1 pound fresh spinach
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preparation:
Wash the spinach thoroughly. Remove the stems if any and excess water. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown garlic for a few seconds. Add spinach to wok, stir turning the spinach for about 2 minutes. When the spinach is cooked down and soft, add sesame oil, salt and sugar. Cook and stir for 30 seconds longer. Transfer the spinach onto a plate and pour off any excess liquid. Careful not over cook the spinach. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 to 3 minutes


23

Jan

2009

Chicken Chow Mein

Growing up in California we barbecued all the time. Rather than serving the traditional macaroni or potato salad,  Mom served Chicken Chow Mein as a side dish – A delicious and popular stir-fry noodle dish.


½ package thin spaghetti (8 oz.)
6 cups water and 1-teaspoon salt for boiling the spaghetti
½ pound boneless and skinless chicken breast (about half breast)
½ can sliced bamboo shoots (2.5 oz.) drained
6 shittake dried black mushrooms (soak in warm water for 10 minutes or longer until soft)
1 carrot
½ small yellow onion
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Preparation:
Slice the half chicken breast lengthwise in half. Crosswise cut into ¼ inch thin pieces and then cut into strips. Drain the water from mushrooms, cut off the stems if any. Slice into ¼ inch thin strips. Peel and slice carrot diagonally into ¼ inch thin pieces and then cut  into strips. Slice the onion in-half lengthwise and then cut into ¼ inch thin strips.

To Cook:
In a medium-sized pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Break the spaghetti in half and put into the boiling water. Add salt and stir well. Boil uncovered for approximately 6 minutes while stirring occasionally. Drain the cooked spaghetti through a colander. Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown onions for a few seconds. Add chicken, cook and stir for 2 minutes until the chicken strips are almost cooked through. Add bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, carrots and mix together. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt and then immediately return the cooked spaghetti into the wok. Stir-fry for approximately 2 minutes until the noodles absorb all the seasoning. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


23

Jan

2009

Asian Oven Baked Pork Ribs

An easy way to make Chinese restaurant style ribs at home. This recipe is also ideal for your outdoor BBQ grill. Use the sauce as a marinade brushing generously as the ribs cook.

1 slab pork loin backribs (2-1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce:
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 tablespoons rice wine or cooking sherry wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried crushed red chili peppers

Preparation:
Wash and rinse the ribs with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix salt and pepper together. Rub the salt and pepper mixture evenly over the ribs. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients together thoroughly and set aside.

To Cook:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large pan with tinfoil, place the ribs in pan and bake for 1 hour. Remove the ribs from oven and brush half the sauce over the ribs. Return ribs to the oven for 20 minutes. Again remove and brush the remaining sauce over ribs. Bake for 20 more minutes until tender. Cut into four even portions to serve.

Makes 2 to 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes

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