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)
31

Aug

2011

Stir-fry Pork with Jalapeno Peppers

This dish sounds a lot spicier than it really is! Just remember to remove the seeds and white color membranes from the jalapeno peppers. You’ll then enjoy the robust jalapeno flavor and not the heat.

stir-fry-pork-with-jalapeno-peppers

1 pound boneless lean pork (prefer pork loin)
6 fresh green jalapeno peppers (6 oz.)
1 small yellow onion (6 oz.)
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or fry pan)
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt

Marinade:
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman band)
1 tablespoon rice wine or cooking sherry wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar

Preparation:
Slice pork against the grain into ¼ inch thin pieces and then cut into 1½ inch long strips. In a bowl, combine the pork strips with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Wash the peppers and remove the stems. Cut each pepper lengthwise in half and then into quarters. Use one hand to hold the tip of the pepper then use a small knife to carefully cut out the white color membranes with seeds. Slice the peppers diagonally into ¼ inch thin strips. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and then into quarters. Then cut the onion crosswise into ¼ inch thin strips.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or large fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add marinated pork strips. Stir-fry until the pork strips are almost cooked through for approximately 3 minutes. Add pepper strips, onion strips, sesame oil and salt. Stir-fry for 3 more minutes until the pork is fully cooked and the peppers and onions tender. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes


26

Jul

2011

Beef with Tomatoes

This tasty dish evolved after receiving numerous requests in my California restaurant. Tip: Be certain that the tomatoes are very firm otherwise the dish becomes too juicy.

beef-and-tomatoes

1 pound beef loin top sirloin steak
1 pound fresh ripe but firm Roman tomatoes (about 5 or 6)
4 oz yellow onion (about half medium size)
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt

Marinade:
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice wine or cooking sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root

Preparation:
Trim any extra fat from the steaks. Cut the steak into 1 ½ inch wide pieces. Slice beef pieces against the grain into ¼ inch thick pieces. Wash and slice the tomatoes lengthwise in half and then into quarters. Cut each quarter in half, crosswise (each tomato cuts into 8 chunks). Cut onion into 1 inch chunks. Peel and finely grate the ginger root. In a bowl, combine the beef with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown onions for a few seconds. Add beef. Cook and stir for approximately 2 minutes until the beef is medium rare. Add tomatoes, stir and mix well for a few seconds. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook and stir for another two minutes until the tomatoes are slightly cooked and beef is tender. Serve hot.

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


25

Jun

2011

Pineapple Pork

Crispy pork coated in a light pineapple sauce makes a wonderful sweet and sour combination. We’ve been enjoying this mild dish this summer for entertaining friends and family.

pineappple

1 pound boneless lean pork (prefer pork loin)
1 can pineapple chunks in unsweetened pineapple juice (1 lb. 4 oz.)
½ red bell pepper (about 4 oz.)
3 cups canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying

Batter:
1/3 cup flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water

Sauce:
Unsweetened pineapple juice from the can (about ¾ cup).
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2-tablespoons water.

Preparation:
Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Cut red bell pepper into 1-inch squares. In a medium size bowl, mix the batter ingredients together until smooth. Add pork cubes to batter, coating each piece well and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve 1-tablespoon cornstarch with 2-tablespoons water together and set aside.

To Cook:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 3 cups oil in a wok or a deep fryer over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, drop in one piece of pork at a time. Deep-fry approximately 1/3 of the pork cubes at one time until light brown. Transfer the pork onto a non-stick cookie sheet and keep hot in the oven for up to 15 minutes. The pork will continue cooking and become crisp. Be cautious not to over bake, otherwise the pork will become tough.

Heat ¾ cup of unsweetened pineapple juice in a non-stick wok or a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the dissolved cornstarch. Stir until the sauce slightly thickens and becomes clear. Add the pineapple chunks and red bell peppers to sauce. Stir and bring to a boil for about 1 minute. Remove the pork cubes from the oven and add to the sauce mixture. Mix well and serve hot.

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


21

May

2011

Oven Broiled Tilapia

We are making an effort to incorporate more fish into our diet as a family. So we are delighted to share with you another very easy and delicious dish with Tilapia as the star ingredient. The end result? A mild and soft fish plus a much healthier alternative to pan frying.

oven-broiled-tilapia21

1 pound fresh farmed Tilapia (4 pieces of fillet)
Pam or Canola oil cooking spray
½ teaspoon salt

Sauce:
1 scallion, including green top
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice or cooking sherry wine
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon red hot chili oil

Preparation:
Rinse the fish with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Spray Pam or Canola oil on both sides of the fish. Line a large flat pan with tinfoil (for easy cleanup). Arrange the fish in the pan, sprinkle the top of the fish with ½ teaspoon of salt and set aside. Wash and trim the green onion, finely chop. Peel and finely grate the ginger root. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together thoroughly and set aside.

oven-broiled-tilapia1

To Cook:
Preheat oven to broil. Place the fish on the top rack of the oven. There should be approximately 4 inches of space between the heat and the rack. Leave the oven door ajar, about 3 inches. Broil the fish for 5 minutes then using a spatula, turn the fish over to the other side and broil for 3 minutes. Pour the sauce evenly on top of the fish. Broil for just 1 minute more and remove from the heat. The fish should be tender and juicy. Be sure to pour the sauce from the pan over the fish to serve.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 9 minutes


13

Apr

2011

Hot And Spicy Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken is a very popular deep fried sweet, sour and spicy dish found in many Chinese restaurants. But the idea of deep frying at home is not only extra work and extra mess but who wants the extra calories? We choose to pan-fry the chicken with very little oil. And if you love spicy like our family does, in addition to using dried crushed red chili peppers, buy a bottle of Sriracha hot chili sauce from the Asian section of your supermarket. Just add a teaspoon of Sriracha into the sauce to really kick it up a notch!

hot-and-spicy-chicken1

1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon pure honey
1 teaspoon dried crushed red chili pepper
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce

Preparation:
Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. On a large plate, mix 3 tablespoons flour with ½ teaspoon of salt together. Add chicken cubes a few pieces at the time onto the plate. Roll and coat chicken well with the flour and salt mixture. Set aside. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together thoroughly and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the floured chicken cubes to pan. Use a pair of chopsticks or fork to separate the chicken pieces so they do not stick together. Pan-fry the chicken pieces for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Turn the chicken pieces over and fry the other side for another 3 minutes. When all the chicken cubes are browned and fully cooked, stir the sauce mixture and pour over chicken. Mix together well and stir fry for a few seconds. Serve hot on a bed of green leaves lettuces.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

Note: If you are still wanting that traditional General Tso’s Chicken after all, we recommend following the batter and deep-frying steps found in our Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.  Once the chicken cubes are deep fried, add to wok and stir fry with the hot sauce recipe above. Enjoy!


9

Mar

2011

Pan Fried Chicken Thighs

I am always looking for simple dishes to serve my family. In part because I am too tired to have to deal with the clean up that typically comes with a complex recipe. This is another easy chicken family dinner recipe which never goes out of style. Serve with your typical American side dishes such as rice, potatoes, vegetables and a mixed green salad.

pan-fried-chicken-thighs

6 pieces chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
1 medium size yellow onion (about 8 oz.)
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons rice wine or cooking sherry
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preparation:
Rinse the chicken thighs with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim extra fat from each chicken thigh. Do not remove the skin and bones. Mix the flour and salt together on a large plate. Coat each chicken thigh lightly with flour and salt mixture, set aside. Peel and trim the onion. Cut the onion in half lengthwise then quarter. Cut crosswise into ¼ inch thin pieces.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs to the pan skin side down. Brown the chicken thighs for about 6 to 7 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Turn the chicken thighs over and brown the other side for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sliced onions and mix with the chicken thighs. Lower the heat to medium. Evenly sprinkle the rice wine, soy sauce and brown sugar on the chicken pieces. Cover the frying pan with a lid and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken thighs skin side down again and cook for another 4 minutes with the cover on. Turn off the heat. The chicken thighs will be nicely browned and the onions, tender and slightly caramelized. Serve hot.

Makes 4 or more servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 18 to 20 minutes


3

Feb

2011

Gong xi fa cai! The Year Of The Rabbit

Happy Chinese New Year! Over the next two weeks our family and all of China will be celebrating Chinese New Year, The Year of the Rabbit. Here’s what the zodiac has to say about our furry little friend:

1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999

People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.

But of course the Chinese celebrate best with food which is why I decided to celebrate my son Chase’s 1st Birthday with a “Year Of The Rabbit” themed bash!  The full recap can be found on my blog Project Nursery but in the meantime here are some fun party pics showcasing the decorative details and food!

Here’s the big one year old himself dressed for the occasion:

Catered Dim Sum was a delicious way to keep my adult guests intrigued. The kids were kept happy munching on potstickers and eggrolls but best of all, it’s a low maintenance meal that I could simply steam and serve. Clean up was a breeze since guest enjoyed eating their finger foods with chopsticks out of Chinese take out boxes.

I had the most fun with the sweets bar however. I transformed my dinning room to make room for guests. We went with authentic Chinese goodies and candies such as Moon Cakes, Sesame Balls, Wintermelon Cakes, Lychee Candy, Haw Flakes, Candied Water Chestnuts and more!

And because the party from held from 5pm-7pm, the children arrived in their PJ’s or “Mandarin Suits”. The big kids watched “Mulan” and “Kung-fu Panda” while making Chinese paper lantern crafts. Adults sipped on fun beverages thanks to a fully stocked bar. And what one year old party is complete without a signature drink or two? Burning Mandarin Martinis were hot but I think I had one too many Lychee infused champagne cocktails myself!

If your looking to celebrate by cooking a few Chinese dishes for dinner, we suggesting incorporating some of our favorite recipes below for the occasion.

Steamed Pork Buns
Wonton Soup
Chinese Slow Cooked Short Ribs
Chinese Steamed Rainbow Trout
Hong Kong Style Crispy Noodles
Chinese Meatballs with Napa Cabbage
Spicy Green Beans
Mandarin Orange Cake

While some of these recipes are not your traditional Chinese New Year foods they do have some symbolic meaning. In China, noodles signify a long life, a whole fish suggests that you will have enough food year round, meatballs mean you will have a smooth, round year and so on…

Wishing you health, peace and prosperity in the New Year!


29

Jan

2011

Chinese Hot Pot

The Chinese Hot Pot is a popular, interactive, winter dish for family and friends to enjoy around the table. Unlike the Western oil-based fondue, the Hot Pot recipe can be made with water or with any kind of stock to cook both meat and vegetables.

chinese-hot-pot-003

Everything for this recipe can be bought at your local grocery store. All you need is a 12″x12″ wide and 3″deep electric skillet which is the minimum required to cook with 4 to 6 people. The best part? Ingredients can be prepared ahead of time by thinly slicing the meats and vegetables. Guest can then mix their own sauces which is key for a tasty meal.

For the basic Chinese Hot Pot you will need to heat the electric skillet on the table first. Be sure to cover the table top with some kind pad so you do not burn your nice dining room table (we’ve learned the hard way!). Add 10 cups of water to the pot so it is approximately ¾ quarters full. One person should be responsible for controlling the temperature of cooking.

chinese-hot-pot-006

Meats and Seafood:
1 pound chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves). Slice thinly crosswise into ¼ inch pieces.
1 pound pork loin (very lean pork). Slice thinly against the grain into ¼ inch pieces.
1 pound medium size shrimp (31 to 40 count per pound). Peel, devein and rinse the shrimp.

Vegetables:
½ pound napa cabbage. Wash and cut into 2 inch chunks.
½ pound bok choy cabbage. Wash and cut into 2 inch chunks.
1 tofu block, firm. Cut into 1 inch chunks.
½ pound broccoli. Wash and cut into small florets.
1 bundle cilantro (4 oz.). Wash well and cut into 2 inch sections.

Note:
You may use other meats and seafood of your choice such as quality beef, lamb, scallops, calamari, etc. You can also use any kind of vegetables such as spinach, regular cabbage, etc.

Sauces & Condiments: You must have all 5!
1. ½ cup smooth peanut butter. Mix with ½ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Using a pair chopsticks or a fork, mix well into a soft and smooth paste.
2. ½ cup soy sauce (Kikkoman brand), ¼ cup white vinegar and 2 teaspoons pure sesame oil. Mix together in a bowl.
3. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic (8 clove garlic), 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger roots (2 oz.). Mix them together in a bowl.
4. Bottle of Sriracha hot chili sauce. Drip as much as you wish when you mix your sauces for dipping. (Sold in the Asian section of most supermarkets).
5. Bottle of Tabasco sauce. Drip as much as you wish when you mix your sauces for dipping.

Note:
Authentic Chinese Hot Pot sauce includes sesame paste. Because you can only buy it in the Chinese market, we are using smooth peanut butter. You can also use any type of spicy chili sauce and/or BBQ sauce to mix with your sauce bowl for dipping the meat and vegetables.

Presentation and Eating:
As mentioned above, the skillet filled with water should be placed in the middle of the dining table. Large plates of meat and vegetable should be placed around the pot with bowls of sauces. Everyone should be given a large plate with a pair chopstick or fork and a small bowl for dipping sauce.

chinese-hot-pot-0071

First, spoon each of the individual sauces and spices into your own bowl. Carefully work on your sauce to make sure it is the way you like it –  mild or spicy?

When the water in the skillet comes to a boil, everyone around the table can begin to add their choice of meat, seafood and vegetables a little at the time to cook.  Cook items for no more than 1-2 minutes and be careful not to overcook your meats or seafood. There should be a large slotted spoon in the skillet to stir and pick up the cooked food for your plate. (Or, purchase little wired baskets as a fun way for your guests to cook and scoop their meal). With chopsticks, take the cooked food from your plate and dip into the sauce from your own bowl to eat. This is a very healthy meal with a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: About one hour


23

Jan

2011

Stir-Fry Curried Chicken

Chinese curry has a taste of its own. It’s not creamy like you find in Indian and Thai recipes. For this quick stir-fry dish, you may use any kind of curry powder. Depending on the type of curry powder you buy, it can even become hot and spicy. However, most of the big brand yellow curry powders here in the states are mild with delicious flavor.

stir-fry-curried-chicken

1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts halves)
1 medium size carrot
½ green bell pepper (3 oz.)
½ small yellow onion (3 oz.)
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

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

Preparation:
Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise in half then cut crosswise into ¼ inch thin pieces. In a bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Peel the carrot and slice crosswise into ¼ inch thin pieces. Cut the green bell pepper into 1 inch squares. Cut the onion into 1 inch chunks.

To Cook:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick wok or a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown 1 tablespoon of curry powder for just a few seconds. Add marinaded chicken, cook and stir to separate the chicken pieces for about 2 minutes. Add carrots, bell peppers and onions. Stir-fry until the chicken is almost cooked through and the vegetables are tender but still crisp for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon sugar. Cook and stir for another minute. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes


24

Dec

2010

Oven Broiled Top Sirloin Steaks

For an easy and simple family meal, enjoy oven broiled steaks with a mixed green salad or stir-fry vegetables.

oven-broiled-steaks

4 pieces top sirloin steaks, each piece 1” to 1-1/2” thick (about 2 pounds).

Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 tablespoons rice wine or cooking sherry wine
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

Preparation:
In a large bowl, mix the marinade ingredients together. Trim extra fat from each steak. Add steaks to the bowl and coat each piece with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer. Turn pieces at least once while marinating.

To Cook:
Preheat oven to broil (Hi). Line a large flat baking sheet with tin foil for easy cleanup. Arrange marinated steaks in pan and pour any remaining sauce over the steaks. Place the pan in the oven on the top rack. There should be approximately 4 inches of space between the heat and the rack. Leave the oven door ajar, approximately 3 inches. Broil the steaks for 7 minutes on one side then turn the steaks over. Broil for another 6 to 7 minutes. The steaks will be medium-rare and juicy.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Marinating time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 13 to 14 minutes

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