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healthy cooking

Toasted Sesame Noodles with Scallion and Ginger

Six To Eight Servings

¾ pound thin egg noodles such as spaghettini or angel hair

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

½ cup minced scallions, white part only

3 cups ¼ -inch sections scallion greens

3 tablespoons rice wine or sake

4 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

Toasted Sesame Dressing, mixed together to dissolve sugar:

7 tablespoons soy sauce

3 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 to 1 ½ tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted until golden in a dry pan+

1. Heat 4 quarts water in a large pot until boiling. Add the noodles and swirl in the water. Cook until near tender, about 8 to 9 minutes and drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to remove the starch. Drain thoroughly in a colander. (It is considered bad luck, but you may clip in half the noodles to make them easier to stir-fry.)

2. Heat a wok or a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the oil and heat until very hot, about 15 seconds. Add the ginger and minced scallion whites, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the greens, rice wine and bean sprouts and toss lightly for a minute.

3. Add the pre-mixed Toasted Sesame Dressing and the cooked noodles and toss lightly over high heat until the noodles are heated through. Add the toasted sesame seeds, reserving a little for the top. Toss lightly to coat and spoon onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Photo credit:


Dim Sum Glossary

In some dim sum parlors in Hong Kong, where ingredients
are prime and innovation is encouraged, the dim sum are
extraordinarily diverse. The chef might experiment with
the traditional recipe, creating a new variation on an old theme,
or even a completely new type. There are, however, a number of
standard classics, and the following glossary covers the most traditional
forms which will be found in all fine dim sum restaurants – in any country.

CHA SHAO BAO (Barbecued Pork Buns) airy, globular buns with a
yeast dough skin stuffed with slices of barbecued pork coated in oyster sauce.

CHANG FEN ( Stuffed Sweet Rice Rolls) squat steamed rolls made with
a slippery, white sweet-rice skin and stuffed with a shrimp, beef, or scallop filling.

CHUN JUAN ( Spring Rolls) slender, deep-fried rolls stuffed with pork,
bamboo shoots, and shrimp and wrapped in thin skins made of flour and water.

DAN TA (Custard Tarts) flaky tarts with a rich and eggy custard center.

DOU SHI PAI GU (Steamed Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce) bite-sized
spareribs coated with a fermented black bean sauce.

LO PO GAO ( Fried Turnip Cake) slices of a steamed pudding-like cake
made with shredded daikon radish, chopped Chinese sausage, and rice powder
that are pan-fried until golden brown and crisp.

LUO MI JI (Stuffed Lotus Leaves) steamed packages of lotus leaves stuffed
with glutinous rice, chicken, diced shrimp, and black mushrooms.
(The lotus leaf merely provides flavor and is not eaten.)

SHAO MAI (Steamed Pork Dumplings) open-faced dumplings with a thin
flour and water skin, stuffed with ground pork and garnished with a variety of
ingredients, including peas, chopped ham, and crab roe.

XIA JAO  (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings or HAR GAO) delicate dumplings with
translucent wheat-starch skins stuffed with chopped shrimp and water chestnuts.
Soy sauce and mustard are often mixed and used as a dipping sauce.

XING REN DOUFU (Almond Bean Curd) a refreshing almond-flavored jelly
usually cut into squares or diamond shapes and mixed with fresh or canned fruit salad.

JIAO YU (Stuffed Taro Balls) deep-fried balls made with a mashed,
steamed taro skin and a pork, shrimp, and black mushroom filling.

GUO TIEH (Pan-Fried Dumplings) crusty pan-seared dumplings stuffed with ground pork and cabbage


Wild Mushroom and Chicken Casserole

6 servings

Supermarkets now offer a wide variety of mushrooms, especially in the fall and winter. With just a few basic ingredients like mushrooms, chicken, onions, chicken broth and spinach, you can make a hearty, satisfying, and healthy meal-in-one pot.

3/4  pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as shiitake, oyster, and crimini)
2  medium white onions, peeled
1 1/2  tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup rice wine or sake
3/4 cup chicken broth, preferably low-sodium
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1  6-ounce bag baby spinach

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut away and discard the stems of the shiitakes. Trim the stems of the other mushrooms. Cut the caps into thin slices. Cut the onions in half and cut into thin slices.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy casserole with a lid over medium-high heat until hot, about 20 seconds. Arrange the chicken pieces,  in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. Reheat the casserole and the remaining tablespoon of the oil until hot. Add the onions, stir for about a minute and a half over medium-high heat, partially cover and cook until they become soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 2 minutes. Partially cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the chicken pieces to the casserole along with the rice wine, chicken broth, soy sauce and black pepper. Stir gently to mix and coat the chicken with the onion-mushroom mixture. Cover and bake about 25 minutes until tender. Add the spinach and stir together. Cover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove and serve with rice or another whole grain.

Spices of Life: Basil

It’s that wonderful time of year when basil ( and tomatoes ) are plentiful and fragrant, but did you also know that in addition to its sublime taste, basil is chock full of health benefits? For instance:

*It contains volatile oils that are anti-bacterial & anti-inflammatory.

*It’s a great source of Vitamin A & Betacarotene so it’s great for good heart health.

*It helps digestion and eases gas.

So go heavy on the basil and see the recipe section for a quick and easy ( delicious too!) Stir- Fried Chicken with Basil.



Grilled Scallops and Rainbow Peppers over Wilted Greens in a Fresh Cilantro Dressing

1 ½ pounds sea scallops, rinsed and drained

Ginger Marinade
2 Tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1 ½ inch squares
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper

6 to 8 10-inch bamboo or metal skewers (if bamboo, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour)

Cilantro Dressing
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup clear rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves only

1 pound snow pea shoots, tender spinach, or other baby greens, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons canola or corn oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon salt

1. Put the scallops in a bowl. Mix the Ginger Marinade ingredients and pour them over the scallops, tossing lightly to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the scallops sit at least 30 minutes. Alternatively thread the peppers and the scallops onto the bamboo skewers, starting and ending with the peppers. Brush the scallops and peppers with the marinade.
2. Mix the Cilantro Dressing ingredients in a bowl. Trim the wilted or any hard stems from the snow pea shoots or baby greens and place near the stove. Pour the Cilantro Dressing into a serving container.
3. Heat a wok or a large skillet, add the oil, and heat until near smoking. Add the greens and garlic and toss lightly about 20 seconds, then add the rice wine and salt, and toss lightly over high heat about 1 minute or less, until the greens are slightly wilted but still bright green. Spoon the greens onto a serving platter and mound slightly so that the scallops can be arranged on top.
4. Prepare a fire for grilling and arrange the skewers of scallops and peppers about 3 inches from the source of heat. Broil or grill about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Turning once and brushing with the marinade. Arrange the cooked scallops and peppers over the wilted greens, leaving them on the skewers or removing them. Spoon the Cilantro Dressing on top or serve on the side. Serve warm.

Snow pea shoots and snow peas are sweet and neutral in nature, so they naturally complement many foods. They are reputed to reinforce the spleen and qi and promote the production of bodily fluids, thereby reducing thirst. Cilantro is pungent and warming. Chinese doctors feels that it promotes blood circulation, and it is often prescribed internally and externally. Cilantro past is often applied for easing the discomfort of chicken pox and measles.

Easy Dinner: Roast Chicken and Tomatoes

With Thanksgiving coming up, roast chicken is probably the last thing you want to think about, but it’s always helpful to have new ideas for easy side dishes. Roast cherry tomatoes are simple to prepare and taste delicious. Use the leftovers on sandwiches or as a topping on grilled meats or seafood. Sprinkle the top with different herbs such as fresh or dried basil or oregano before baking, then toss with cooked whole wheat pasta, grated cheese, and some greens. Add cooked meat or seafood and you have a filling and healthy meal.

Enjoy the holiday!


Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.