RSSArchive for September, 2012

Spinach and Hazelnut Stuffed Mushroom

The second dish in the theme of using food in season is Spinach and Hazelnut Stuffed Mushrooms.

This recipe makes a great appetizer or a vegetarian meal when served with salad and crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 4 large flat portobello mushrooms (you may substitute with baby portobello mushrooms if price is a concern)
  • a bunch of fresh spinach, chopped, rinsed and dried (or 1 package frozen chopped spinach)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts)
  • 2 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumb
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (or cheddar)

Source: this recipe is adapted from Waitrose  Recipe Cards

P/S: Michelle confirmed that the amount of  ingredients for the filings for this recipe has to be doubled

More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

The South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors resumed in September. I missed the first session as I was attending the Multicultural Community Kitchen in Gilmore Park Church. Unfortunately, the schedule collided again.

Michelle Li who facilitates this kitchen always briefs the group before the start of the cooking. In today’s kitchen, she talked about using what is local and in season. The reasons include:

  • reduce carbon food print; did you know that the average ingredient in a North American meal travels 1.500 miles from farm to plate?
  • support local farmers
  • local food is more fresh and more tasty; i.e. they are not bred to last for the long distance travel
  • fresh food is more flavourful and more nutritional; nutrients like Vit C, Vit A, etc loose quickly once the food is harvested
  • local food tends to have less pesticides that food imported from third world countries
  • eat food that is in season when they are peak in nutrients and when they are cheaper
Here is a list of the local produce in season in fall/winter:
  • kale, cabbage, broccoli
  • beets, carrots, onions
  • apples, pears
  • mushrooms, hot house produce (peppers, eggplant)
  • hazelnuts

In line with the theme of using local food and food in season, Michelle selected a beet and pear salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch beets, trimmed and washed
  • 1/4 cup chopped natural hazelnuts (or sliced almonds)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Asian or other pear, cored and julienned
  • 3 cups greens (arugula, mache, mixed greens, etc)


Source: this recipe is adapted from epicurious.com

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Xian Day 3: Dinner

We had dinner at Master Kong upon return to the Xian railway station.

We ordered some marinated beef tripe and tendon for appetizer.

Ben had a spicy beef noodle with mixed meat for my main. It was perfect for a cold fall night.

Our noodles came with some sides; marinated tofu and peanuts, stir fried wood ears and marinated eggs. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Xian Day 3: Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum

After visiting the Terracotta Warriors site, we took a shuttle bus to the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum.

Qin Shi Huang was the first Qin Emperor and also the first emperor of China. The Mausoleum of Emperor Qin shi Huang is the largest imperial tomb in China.

Actually, there is not much to be seen here. The hill in the above picture is believed to be the site of the underground palace. However, excavation had been hold off to preserve the mausoleum. This is to prevent the same mistake made in the excavation of the Terracotta Warriors where the painted decoration quickly lost it’s colour when exposed to air. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Xian Day 3: Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors site is the most popular tourist attraction of Shaanxi.

We came across some sculptures of horses before reaching the pits where the Terracotta Warriors were found. There were 3 pits that we visited.

The site of the Terracotta Warriors was listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1987.

A mural along the way to the pits. I remembered it was a long walk before we reached the pits.

The buildings at the background house the pits where the Terracotta Warriors were found.

Rows and rows of Terracotta warriors in Pit No. 1.

Pit No. 1 is the largest and the first to be opened to the public in 1979. There are over 6,000 Terracotta Warriors and horses in this pit. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Xian Day 3: Lunch and Snack

After the visit to Huaqing Hot Springs, we continued our journey to the Terracotta Warriors site.

It was lunch time when we arrived at the Terracotta Warriors site. There are several restaurants right at where the bus dropped us. We came across the above sign which has the most complex Chinese character that I’ve seen. Apparently, it’s called Bian Bian Noodle and it’s very popular here. It must be a night mare for a kid to learn to write that Chinese character which has 57 character strokes.

Without hesitation, we ordered the Bian Bian Noodle to try. It was vinegarish and slightly spicy and there were some vegetables in it.

The only distinctive feature was the wide piece of noodle, almost like half the size of a wonton wrap. Two bowls of noodles cost RMB30 (CAD5). More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Xian Day 3: Huaqing Hot Springs

The plan for the 3rd day was to visit the Terracotta Warriors. We took a cab to the railway station to take the bus to the Terracotta Warriors. The bus ride was RMB6 (CAD1) per person.

The first stop of the bus 306 was Huaqing Hot Springs and the conductor told the commuters that this is a good place to see. We did not plan for this but we decided to get down to check it out.

We made the right decision as Huaqing Hot Springs is very scenic. The entrance fee is RMB70 (about CAD12) per person.

The willow, the man made pond and the rocks made a wonderful landscape. The mist added charm to it. Huaqing Palace is located at the foot of Li Shan in Litong county. The mountain at the background of the above photo is Li Shan.

When we came upon the above poem engraved on wood slaps. I knew why the name Huaging Hot Springs sounded familiar to me. It’s a Cantonese opera song that I’m familiar with because my mother played this song recorded by my father in a radio show over and over again during my childhood. The name of the song is “Tong Gong Hern Si” in Cantonese. It’s a song about a sad romance story of an emperor in the Tang Dynasty with his concubine. Part of the lyrics of the song is actually taken from the above poem. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Making Porridge in Less Than 15 minutes

Nanzaro had his wisdom teeth extracted this summer. He had to be on soft diet for a few days.

I received an email on how to make porridge in 10 minutes just in time for Nanzaro’s ordeal.

Here is how it’s done:

  • Rinse and soak the rice for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Drain and freeze the rice
  • Bring water to a boil; the ratio of water to rice is 1 to 10 to 13 depending on how thick you like your porridge
  • Add the frozen rice and a piece of thumb size ginger, peel and smash
  • Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add meat of your choice, I mostly use ground pork marinated with soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, corn starch and sesame oil. I added water to the marinated ground pork to loosen the meat so that the meat will not clump up in the porridge
  • Boil for another 5 minutes and it’s done
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