Greetings everyone; H here. Ruby hasn’t been feeling well and has asked me to update her blog. She appreciates all her visitors and wanted to ensure her postings are consistent.
I decided to make homemade Chinese soup for dinner, something simple. There really isn’t a recipe as I just threw in what we had on hand. I started with pork neck bones which I brought to a rolling boil and then drained. After rinsing well, I returned them to the pot with plenty of cold water, some dried shrimp, dried Chinese mushrooms and salt. I let the soup simmer for 1-1/2 hours before adding large chunks of carrot and winter melon. After another 45 – 60 minutes, the soup was ready to enjoy. The pork was fall-off-the-bone tender, and the soup was very fragrant.
Everyone has their version of homemade Chinese soup; let me know what yours is!
This is a very simple dish that H makes often. You can switch the chicken for beef strips or even ground pork or ground beef. It re-heats well, and is one of our favorites.
As its name states, bitter melon is bitter; but is very healthy for you. It has been used for medicinal purposes, contains anticancer compounds, and is anthelmintic, antimalarial, antiviral, and cardioprotective to name a few. No wonder I feel good about eating this dish!
Warning: Do not eat the seeds.
Bitter melon can be found in all Asian grocery stores (and most regular grocery stores). You’ll find it in the vegetable section.
Stir-Fried Chicken with Bitter Melon & Black Bean Sauce
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite sized pieces
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 1 ½ tsp light soya sauce
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 medium to large sized bitter melons, washed, dried, seeded and cut into 1 inch slices (China phenotype variation)
- 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp Black Bean Garlic Sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee brand)
- 1 tbsp light Soya Sauce
- 1 tsp sugar (try using 1/2 tsp and adjust to your preference)
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup cold water in a small bowl, set aside
- Place chicken and next 5 ingredients in a bowl, mix and set aside
- In a large deep skillet or wok, heat oil to high heat
- Add marinated chicken and stir, cook until no longer pink in color
- Place in a clean bowl and set aside
- Add 1 tsp oil to skillet
- Add garlic and ginger, stir for a few minutes, do not allow garlic to burn
- Add bitter melon slices, stir for a few minutes until lightly sautéed
- Add black bean sauce, chicken broth, light soya sauce and sugar, mix to combine
- Add cooked chicken (along with juices)
- If you are using beef, leave out until the last minute so you don’t overcook the beef
- Place lid on top of wok or skillet and continue to cook over medium heat until the bitter melon has softened, 5-8 minutes, depending on your taste (we like our veggies crunchy)
- Turn heat to medium high; add cornstarch slurry, a little at a time, until sauce has thickened
- Throughout this process, if your sauce has evaporated, add a little more chicken broth, a bit at a time
- If using beef, add it in now and stir
- Remove from heat and enjoy with steamed rice
- Sprinkle with diced green onions (optional)
H and I indulge in this pasta dish every now and then. It’s comfort food at its best! There are many versions; some including white wine, however, we like this one the most.
The pasta has to be served immediately, and you have to work quickly to pour the egg mixture onto the hot pasta, in order for the eggs to cook through.
What I like is substituting half and half for heavy cream (35%), which cuts down on calories and fat. We also sprinkle the bacon on top so it stays crispy! The recipe is super easy to make. Supplement it with a healthy green salad, and you won’t feel so bad about the delicious bacon and cheese!
Are you craving this?
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 8 slices bacon, cut 1 inch thick crosswise (or more)!
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- Set a large pot of water to boil
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 12 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate
- Salt boiling water generously; add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan, and half-and-half. Set aside
- Drain pasta, leaving some water clinging to it
- Working quickly, add hot pasta to egg mixture
- Season with salt and pepper, and toss all to combine (the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs)
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with bacon and additional Parmesan cheese
I read about Folia Grill’s amazing pitas, but was a bit hesitant when I saw their limited menu. Don’t let that fool you.
The place is quite small, but we’ve never had a problem finding a seat. The staff are friendly, helpful, and they do care about serving good quality food. The portions are the same each time we’ve been there; even after 1 year.
Their pork souvlaki and chicken gyros are absolutely delicious, or as H would say, “scrumptious and lip-smacking good! The meat is “very” tender and flavorful!
Left: Pork Souvlaki Pita, Right: Chicken Gyro Pita
Pork Souvlaki Pita
Chicken Gyro Pita
One little tip I’d like to share after embarrassing myself twice. Place a large open napkin on your lap, and with your fork, take out some of the meat before you attempt to bite into the pita. The meat is so generously packed in with a few crispy fries that it will most definitely end up on your lap!
I asked about the spices, but I got the feeling it was a secret since I received some vague feedback. I did detect Herbs de Provence in the pork souvlaki. I asked if oregano was one of the spices, and was told no (hmmm). I also detected red wine vinegar as part of the pork marinade. This means I’m going to have to experiment at home!
The thick pitas are brushed with butter, and grilled until nicely toasted. We always ask for extra crispy pitas. They’re very generous with the meat and tzatziki sauce!
The zucchini fries sound very interesting, but each time we’ve eaten at Folia Grill, we could barely move.
The pitas are $5.25 each.
It’s definitely our favorite place for pitas and souvlaki.
Note: Be careful of the toothpick at the bottom of each pita
I showed H how to make this dish last year and I have to say, his version is better than mine! Maybe he’s adding extra ingredients.
We prefer side ribs as they are meatier and depending on what slab you pick, they can be less fatty (regular spareribs have more fat). We always double the amount so we have leftovers.
The cooking time will depend on your preference; we like spareribs to be “fall-off-the-bone” tender.
Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce
- 2 – 3 lbs spareribs (preferably side) – ask the butcher to cut into small strips
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Sauce
- 1-2 tsp light soya sauce
- ½ tbsp honey
- A few small slivers of fresh ginger
- Place a large metal colander in the sink (on hold)
- Trim as much fat from the spareribs as you can, and cut each strip into bite-sized pieces
- Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil over high heat
- Gently add sparerib pieces (this is only to clean the gunk off the spareribs)
- When the water reaches a boil again, empty contents slowly into the metal colander, and then rinse the spareribs well with cold water
- Rinse and dry the stockpot (on hold)
- Allow a few minutes for the spareribs to dry out and then place back into the stockpot
- Add the remaining ingredients and combine well
- Place in a large heat proof bowl and steam over medium to medium high heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until tender. Have a full kettle of boiling water ready and check the water level of your steamer often
- After the spareribs are cooked, you can skim any extra oil off with a spoon
- We like to serve this dish with stir-fried Chinese vegetables and steamed rice