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 the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

27

Mar

2009

Tofu Delight

Tofu Delight is a wonderful dish to incorporate more tasty tofu into your diet!

tofudelight

1 package firm or extra firm tofu (14 oz. or 16 oz.)
4 oz. fresh snow peas
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts (2.5 oz.) drained
6 medium size dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes or longer, until soft)
4 cloves garlic
2 scallions, including the green top
1/2 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1/4 cup chicken broth

Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 tablespoons rice wine or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:
Rinse the tofu block with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the tofu in half lengthwise and then crosswise cut into ¼-inch thick pieces. (about 20 pieces total). Wash and break off the tips of the fresh snow peas. Remove stringy edges from the pea pods, and discard. Drain water from the softened mushrooms. Cut off the stems if any and cut mushrooms into quarters. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. Wash and trim the green onions, finely chop. Cut red bell pepper into 1-inch long strips. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot. Place tofu pieces in pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until both sides are slightly golden brown. Remove cooked tofu from pan and onto a plate. Add snow peas, mushrooms, garlic, green onions and chicken broth to pan. Cook and stir for approximately 1 minute. Return cooked tofu back into the pan and add water chestnuts and red bell pepper strips. Pour in the sauce mixture. Gently stir-fry to mix thoroughly. Cook for another minute. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes


2

Mar

2009

Perfect Boiled Rice

Not every household owns an electric rice cooker. Below is a fool-proof recipe to cook the perfect white rice on the stove top. Round-grain rice is always preferred over long-grain rice. Round-grain rice is moist, slightly sweet and slightly sticky.

2 cups pearl rice (Round grain)
2-½ cups water

Preparation and Cooking:
Place 2 cups of rice in a medium size pot. Use tap water to wash and stir the rice with your hand. Rinse the rice for a minimum of three times and drain well. Add 2-½ cups of water to the pot of rice. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Keep your eyes on the pot to ensure the rice does not boil over. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook the rice for 6 minutes with cover slightly ajar (the water will be nearly absorbed). Cover the pot with the lid and bring the heat to low. Simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off heat and let the rice pot stand covered for another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 6 cups boiled rice
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


22

Feb

2009

Stir-Fry Broccoli

This is a popular stir-fry dish for everyday family meals. Goes great with meats, poultry and seafood.

1 pound fresh broccoli
1 scallion, including the green top
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
2 tablespoons water
1-½ tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon sugar

Preparation:
Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets. Peel tough outer membrane from stems and slice into 1/4 inch thin bite-size pieces. Wash and trim the green onion, finely chop.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, brown onions for a few seconds. Add broccoli, cook and stir for about 1 minute. Add water, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Cook and stir until the broccoli is tender yet still crunchy for about 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 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


28

Dec

2008

Spicy Green Beans

Szechuan-style green beans are my favorite Chinese veggie side dish. It was only recently however that I realized that those healthy green beans are deep-fried before stir-fried in restaurants. No wonder they tasted so good!?! Here’s a spicy and delicious alternative we now make at home minus the frying oil.

1 pound fresh green beans
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon dried crushed red chili peppers
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce*
1 teapsoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:
Wash and break off the stringy tips of the green beans and discard. Break each green bean in half. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, brown garlic and red chili peppers for a few seconds. Add green beans. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add water, hoisin sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until all the liquid is nearly absorbed and the green beans are tender, approx. 14 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 17 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.


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


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

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