March 30, 2013

Easter Egg Natural Dye 天然染料復活節彩蛋

Easter Egg Natural Dye

easter eggs natural dye
By Published: 2013-03-30
Here's something fun and natural for Easter.  My little girl and I had made Easter Eggs for the first time last year when she was almost 3 years old.  It was really fun and we did a post about our tiny Easter Eggs, but in my heart I was a bit horrified by the obnoxiously bright fakeness of the food coloring dyes that we used and that were eventually eaten into our systems along with the eggs.  (No, we didn't eat the shells but the coloring kinda soaks in quite a bit, doesn't it?)  So I was really interested when, this year, as I was mentally preparing for Easter Egg making, to see a blog article on using natural dyes to make really beautiful natural Easter Eggs.  We tried it and as you can see the result is quite a looker and very very safe to eat for your little ones. It takes a bit more time and effort but we definitely thought the results were gorgeously worth it.

Chinese Egg Fried Rice 蛋炒飯

Chinese Egg Fried Rice 蛋炒飯

chinese egg fried rice recipe
By Published: 2013-03-30
Chinese Egg fried rice, or 蛋炒飯, is the quintessential leftover dish.  You open your fridge and you've got leftover rice, leftover char sui, leftover choi sum, etc from yesterday's dinner.  What're you gonna do?  Make chinese egg fried rice of course.   As long as you have the basics, i.e. rice, egg, spring onion, then you just chop up and throw in whatever else leftovers that you have and you will end up with a easy to make, lip-smacking and creative dish that you can serve instead of plain rice.  (Kids love this!  My dearest Grandma 奶奶 used to make this as an after-school snack everyday.)

March 28, 2013

Chinese Pickles 酸瓜

Chinese Pickles 酸瓜

chinese pickle cantonese recipe
By Published: 2013-03-28
Did you know that the Chinese love pickles too?  There are all kinds of chinese pickles, or 酸瓜, from all the different provinces of China.  In Sichuan they even have special pickling jars! 

chinese pickle cantonese recipe
Chinese Pickling Urn
(Image from The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo)

Here is the description of chinese pickling jars from the wonderful cookbook The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo (illustration also from the book):  "Home pickling was so important in Chinese households that special porcelain urns were made from the kilns of Kwangsi province.  Measuring about 3 feet in height and 1 foot in diameter, the beautiful blue-white jar, resembling a vase, was ingeniously designed for perfect functioning.  Around the neck was a deep cup into which water was poured.  When the cover, shaped like a deep rice bowl, was placed over this cup its rim was submerged in about 2 inches of water, thereby preventing air from seeping in but allowing the gas of fermentation to escape through the water as the brine aged."  Wouldn't I just love to have one of these beautiful pickling urns in my house if I could only find a couple inches of space to spare!

March 17, 2013

Chinese Red Cooked Pork 紅燒肉

Chinese Red Cooked Pork 紅燒肉

chinese red cooked pork recipe
By Published: 2013-03-17
I must confess to love, love, love chinese red cooked pork, or 紅燒肉.  This is meat cooked to fragrant, mouth melting perfection.  It is an all time favorite comfort food from my childhood, never failing to elict oohs and aahs from happy eaters.  Whenever my dearest grandmother, my 奶奶, decided to make her famous red cooked pork using the ham hock I would hover anxiously near the simmering pot on tiptoe, peeking in, fascinated to observe the beautifully huge round of thick skin, luscious fat and dark meat circling the thick leg bone slowly transforming into melt in your mouth porky deliciousness.  Let me tell you that grandmother's red cooked pork was not just food...it was an event!  I remember we had to use our biggest deepest soup bowl to dish up the pork when done and bring it to the family table.  What a spectacular sight!  And then finally, at the go ahead, everyone's chopsticks diving in and  coming away with a bit of the skin, a bit of the creamy fat and a bit of the tender meat for each bite. Yummy, yummy, yummy!!  And dearest 奶奶 made it all look so easy, just throwing things casually into the pot and watching with half an eye, but let me assure you that her Red Cooked Pork 紅燒肉 is still the best I have ever had.
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