buttermilk biscuits and sausage cream gravy chinese orange beef toasted coconut custard tart cottage pie with beef and carrots


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archive for chinese

the winter routine

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Recipe: chinese orange beef

Each fall I return to the slopes and wonder if I will remember how to telemark ski. The first run brings painful aching to the arches and a burning in the quads, but I know that it will get better on the second run, and the third, and… Curiously, the pain seemed to be shorter lived this time. Trail running has a lot to do with that. Usually our first day on the mountain (resorts) involves a lot of crappy snow, but this year’s first day was sweet. Our mountains have received a good bit of natural snow and cold temperatures for snow-making. I’m getting jazzed for ski season and all the different kinds of skiing to be done.


powder at copper mountain



The news is aflutter with the lake effect snow storms in western New York dumping several feet in some areas, bringing back memories of my graduate school days in Ithaca. We only got the occasional big dump snow day at Cornell and there’s something about East Coast snow that is so very different from Rocky Mountain powder. Walking to and from campus through the snow, we’d have to carry Kaweah when we crossed the roads because her paws would get wet in the salted slush and then freeze. On nights when we worked late and I was too tired to cook, we’d sometimes order takeout from Ling Ling’s which required slipping and sliding up and down snowy hills in a car that wasn’t suited for winter. Whenever anyone in my department discussed ordering from Ling Ling’s, we grad students always laughed and held an imaginary phone up to our ear, “HelloLingLing!” No matter what you ordered, the restaurant always said, “OkayTenMinute.” I was a fan of the orange beef – a Americanized Chinese food guilty pleasure.

green onions, sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, white vinegar, flank steak, oranges, egg whites, cornstarch, sugar, salt, baking soda, chili garlic sauce

slice the orange zest in strips

slice the flank steak across the grain

prepped ingredients



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love your greens

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Recipe: stir-fried chinese broccoli (gai lan)

A little dusting of snow graced the ground Monday morning. It was cloudy and light snow fell outside all morning. I wanted to go out for a run, but figured I’d work and squeeze a run in after noon. Come noon, the clouds parted and the sun shone through the windows. Squinting up valley, I frowned at the brightness. I prefer to run on cloudy days – I’m just not a fan of the sun. Returning to my desk, I worked a few more hours until the shadows on the window blinds disappeared into a uniform grey. Huh, the clouds must have returned, I thought as I stepped out to the deck for a look. Not only did they return, but the house – the whole town – was enshrouded in clouds.

There were 90 minutes before sunset, so I ran upstairs to don my running tights and top. Out the door, I stepped into a cool, damp soup. The temperature was already dropping to 29°F as I pulled glove liners on. Funny how in February, 20°F feels like a heat wave, but in early autumn I have to get dialed into the cooler temperatures all over again. Mist and fog muted all of the normal sounds around me except for the crunch crunch crunch of my feet on the snow or frozen dirt and rocks. My eyes darted all over the trail – into the woods to avoid spooking large mammals and on the forested slopes above to spot any predators. Snowflakes drifted lazily down through the still air, landing on my forehead, nose, and cheeks. I like running alone on empty trails because I can zig and zag as I try to catch a snowflake in my open mouth or high-five all of the tree branches lining the trail. It’s my second favorite part of trail running. My favorite part is when I am done running.


someday soon, there will be enough snow to ski



It’s unclear how much longer we’ll be running before we can transition to skiing. All of the snow enthusiasts hope it won’t be long. The most important thing is to remain active outside, because I need to get my winter mojo back. But really, MY winter mojo has never really left. It’s all relative. Meanwhile, I’m getting my cold weather kitchen mojo on. Some dark, leafy greens like kale and chard are in season now, but I can only handle so much before I want other greens. Chinese broccoli or gai lan is available at most Asian grocery stores. It’s one of the only green vegetables they serve at dim sum and I always order a plate on principle to balance all of the fatty, starchy (and delicious) other dishes.

chicken broth, salt, garlic, chinese broccoli, oyster sauce, vegetable oil

a stalk

the floret



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always learning

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Recipe: chinese chive turnovers (he zi)

Ahhhhh, finally finally finally, the much awaited cool down arrived. It was no longer sheer misery to run or hike or even stand outside. To celebrate, I put my trail runners on and headed out early Monday morning. I never take a cool weather day for granted! The wildflowers are still going strong, but they are different flowers from a month ago. Asters, fireweed, harebells, and columbine are all out in force now. I spotted another moose too, this time a female (cow), but she was but a speck in the distance by the time I got my iphone out. On my non-run days, I hike the trails to stretch my legs and check on my huckleberries. I say “my” huckleberries because I feel like we’re all good friends by now. And I’m still naming the porcini I find because there are so very few… well, thus far there have been all of two.


me in a field of noxious weeds (ox-eye daisies?)

the single ripe huckleberry, which i ate

a lone, handsome porcini named claudio



A large storm system has been sitting over us for a couple of days, delivering a lot of rain and much cooler temperatures. That’s both good (we need it) and bad (we don’t need it all at once, please!). So far there hasn’t been any major flooding – whew! I rather love the dreary, rainy days. It takes the edge off of summer for me and makes me feel like cooking again. Last week, I had asked my parents about a Chinese snack my Grandma used to make and they immediately rattled off how to make them. I translated their instructions into recipe form. It’s one thing to know how to make something, it’s something else entirely to communicate how to make it to someone who may or may not know how to cook. They called me the next day and excitedly informed me that when I came to see them later, they would demo how to make the snacks. It was really cute.

team effort

“daddy will show you how to do this right”



These are known as Chinese chive turnovers or jiu cai he zi. Chinese chives (or Chinese leeks) have a wonderfully garlicky flavor to them. They are some of my favorite Chinese greens. You can find them in Asian grocery stores that have well-stocked produce sections. Since my parents didn’t have any on hand, they used Napa cabbage and pork for the filling, but I got the gist of it. The pastry is made from a hot water dough similar to the kind you use for Chinese dumplings. Traditionally, the turnovers are made with Chinese chives, egg, and sometimes pork and sometimes glass noodles (mung bean thread noodles). They don’t have to be turnovers either. My parents demoed the pancake style, which is equally delicious. I’ll show you how to make both.

chinese chives, full of garlicky goodness

chinese chives, salt, ground pork, flour, sesame oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil (for frying)



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