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Nina Simonds» Quick Bites http://www.ninasimonds.com Delicious, Healthy Food for Wellness and Longevity Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:28:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.11 Ginger Chocolate-Covered Ice Cream Bon Bons http://www.ninasimonds.com/2012/01/28/ginger-chocolate-covered-ice-cream-bon-bons/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2012/01/28/ginger-chocolate-covered-ice-cream-bon-bons/#respond Sat, 28 Jan 2012 14:24:29 +0000 http://www.spicesoflife.com/?p=3377 12-13 bon bons

1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 four-ounce bars of dark chocolate with at least 56 % cocoa content*
¼ cup candied ginger, chopped finely
2 to 4 10-inch bamboo skewers

1. Line a 7- or 8-inch cake pan with waxed paper and chill in the freezer on a level surface. Fill a glass with some cold water. Microwave the ice cream for 10 seconds and, using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or a melon baller, shape the ice cream into balls, dipping the scoop in the cold water between each ball. Arrange the ice cream on the chilled pan lined with wax paper and freeze until firm, about 35 minutes.
2. Smash one of the chocolate bars on a hard surface, breaking it into small pieces. Put it in a pan over boiling water to melt. Add half the chopped candied ginger and mix thoroughly.
3. Grasping a bamboo skewer in each hand, pick up a frozen ice cream ball and dip in the chocolate. Turn it with the skewer to coat the ball and arrange back on the waxed paper. Coat half of the balls and place them back in the freezer. Clean out the bowl and repeat the process with the other chocolate bar, remaining ginger, and ice cream balls. Freeze until firm, covered with plastic wrap.

*Ghiradelli, Valrona, and Callebaut are the best coating chocolates, which are easy to use and have less tendency to seize when reheated.

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Quick Bites: Star Anise http://www.ninasimonds.com/2009/01/13/quick-bites-star-anise-2/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2009/01/13/quick-bites-star-anise-2/#respond Wed, 14 Jan 2009 03:09:58 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/?p=840

Star anise has so many great uses:
• Flavoring and braising spice for meats, such as a Star Anise Beef or Chicken Stew
• A digestive tea when smashed and steeped in boiling water, and has a terrific licorice-y taste
• Unusual and delicious flavoring in desserts such as the Poached Pears in Red Wine
• Great paired with cinnamon sticks
• And a great seasoning year-round, but especially in time for Chinese New Year

Once only available in Asian markets, you can now buy it in the spice section of supermarkets.
Happy Year of the Ox to Spices of Lifers !!


Click here for Beef Stew with Anise recipe

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Cantonese Sweet and Sour Pickle http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/06/17/quick-bites-sweet-and-sour-pickle/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/06/17/quick-bites-sweet-and-sour-pickle/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2008 21:49:21 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/2008/06/17/quick-bites-sweet-and-sour-pickle/

Secrets From Asia

When I went to Asia, my Cantonese teachers introduced me to whole new style of pickle making that was so easy, any cook can do it at home.

• Mix equal parts vinegar and sugar with a little bit of smashed ginger

• Add the vegetables and let them marinate a few hours

There you have it:


Sometimes I heat up the mixture to dissolve the sugar and speed up the process a little, but this step can be omitted.

My Dad, who is an avid cook, makes his pickles with cucumber slices.
He’s 88 and still cooking away so I tell people, if he can do it, anyone can.
Stay tuned for these upcoming videos:

• My visit to Suzhou, the lovely city near Shanghai which is known as the Venice of China

• My favorite restaurant in China and some of its specialties (Hint: It’s in Beijing!)• More Vegetable Quick Bites• A personal tour of my favorite Dim Sum Restaurant in London• Great Tips on bargain Summer Wines with Howie Rubin, from Bauer Wines

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Stir-Fried Broccolini (Quick Bites) http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/05/28/quick-bites-stir-fried-broccolini/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/05/28/quick-bites-stir-fried-broccolini/#respond Thu, 29 May 2008 01:38:32 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/2008/05/28/quick-bites-stir-fried-broccolini/

Stir-Fried Broccolini

2 ½ weeks ago, while in China I missed meeting Shao Fan, the internationally recognized designer who built the first-ever Chinese garden for the Chelsea Garden Show.

(I am writing a NY Times article about him)

So, I followed him to London for an interview and it was there that I got inspired to create a simple Stir-Fried Broccolini for this week’s Quick Bite, and to launch our upcoming videos of my trip to China.

To view a transcription of this video, please click here.

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Toasted Sesame Green Beans (Quick Bites) http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/05/13/quick-bites-toasted-sesame-green-beans/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/05/13/quick-bites-toasted-sesame-green-beans/#comments Wed, 14 May 2008 05:52:30 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/2008/05/13/quick-bites-toasted-sesame-green-beans/

Easy Vegetable Dishes

I just came back from China where I spent much time walking through markets and food stalls.

There I became inspired to simply throw fresh market food into a hot wok with a few seasonings (always chopped garlic), salt or soy sauce, and maybe some hot chilies, and to serve it hot and fast.

You could also do something like what we show in this video.

To view a transcription of this video, please click here.


Green beans remind me of my Mom’s Thanksgiving beans. She pan-fried them with onions, using a combination water and soy sauce.She first covered them with a lid until they were crisp-tender, then uncovered the pan and reduced the juice to a glaze.

I still love them – hot or cold.

This recipe is in a number of my books including:

  • “Spices of Life
  • “Spoonful of Ginger”
  • “Asian Noodles”.

Enjoy More Quick Bites and highlights from my trip to China- coming up!


Hailey Hao from Hailey
is in Sichuan video getting married. Sichuan province is where they had the big earthquake and I am thrilled to report she is okay and not affected.

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Roasted Lemon Asparagus (Quick Bites) http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/04/22/quick-bites-roasted-lemon-asparagus/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/04/22/quick-bites-roasted-lemon-asparagus/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2008 07:58:03 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/2008/04/22/quick-bites-roasted-lemon-asparagus/

Delicious Vegetable Ideas

Roasted asparagus are one of my favorite vegetable dishes.

What could be better?

They’re easy, delicious, no pots and taste great the next day.

I recently got a great tip from my best friend and cooking colleague, Debbie:


Simply add lemon zest to the virgin olive oil and voila, a smashing success.Try making a large batch, store it at room temperature, and use it as a dressing for all your vegetables.Or add soy sauce or salt and seasonings like ginger, garlic, fresh herbs.Remember with great ingredients, less is more.Enjoy!

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Exotic Chinese mushrooms (Quick Bites) http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/03/11/quick-bites-chinese-mushrooms/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/03/11/quick-bites-chinese-mushrooms/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2008 01:23:36 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/2008/03/11/quick-bites-chinese-mushrooms/

Health Giving Benefits Of Mushrooms

There are an amazing selection of mushrooms in the produce section of  local supermarkets.

  • Portobello’s
  • Cremiini
  • Shiitake
  • “dance for joy” Maitakes

Chinese mushrooms have proven health-giving benefits.

Watch the video and see additional benefits mushrooms bring to the table.

These mushrooms are especially memorable seasoned with garlic and soy and added to stir-fries, soups, stews, and to season noodles or rice.


• Spice Garlic Soba with Mushrooms and Greens

• Stir-Fried Wild Mushrooms with Snap Peas in Oyster Sauce

Don’t worry about slurping your noodles – Japanese chefs consider it a sign of appreciation.


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Healthy Chinese Cabbages (Quick Bites) http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/03/04/quick-bites-chinese-cabbages/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/03/04/quick-bites-chinese-cabbages/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2008 01:10:46 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/2008/03/04/quick-bites-chinese-cabbages/

It Is Important to Eat Your Broccoli 

Do you want to explore the world of Chinese Cabbages?

It’s all here and more, in this Quick Bite segment:

Go here to find my recipe for Lion’s Head, one of my favorite dishes in the world. 

Perfect for when there’s a chill in the air and you need something soothing to warm you up.

And, it’s even better reheated.


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The Health Benefits Of Cinnamon (Quick Bites) http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/02/28/quick-bites-cinnamon-2/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/02/28/quick-bites-cinnamon-2/#comments Fri, 29 Feb 2008 00:16:39 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/2008/02/28/quick-bites-cinnamon-2/

Cinnamon Is Healthy And Delicious

Fragrant and delicious, cinnamon is a fantastic spice to use in quick and easy desserts.

It’s a great rub for roasted, pan-seared or barbecued meats, sea foods, and vegetables.

And according to research, approved by the American Diabetic Association, cinnamon can help the body metabolize blood sugar.

Watch the video to find out more about this great spice:


Do you know a nifty way to cut ginger? 

Have a way with cardamom?

Spices of Life wants to know so we can share it with our viewers.

Send your cleverest spice tip to ninasimonds@gmail.com and you could be the lucky winner of a Curry Lover’s Gift Box, courtesy of The Spice House!

You must be a registered reader of Spices of Life, and receive the Spices of Life Newsletter in order to win.

The contest runs from Wednesday, February 27 through Wednesday, March 12 at midnight.

Winners will be notified within a week of the deadline.

Also see
Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn
Apartment Therapy

The Spice House

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The Many Uses Cardamom (Quick Bites) http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/02/21/quick-bites-cardamom/ http://www.ninasimonds.com/2008/02/21/quick-bites-cardamom/#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2008 04:01:39 +0000 http://spicesoflife.com/index.php/2008/02/21/quick-bites-cardamom/


Cardamom is one of the most important Indian spices.

In ancient times it was chewed by the Mogul emperors of India as a breath freshener and it’s still used for that purpose today.

Try smashing it and breathe in the fragrant perfume.

Asians also believe it has digestive properties and Indian doctors prescribe it for stomach disorders.

It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.


• Cardamom Steamed Rice. It’s also excellent in sweet breads, perfect for Easter. Buy it whole and try ordering it from our friends at

Go to The Spice House for a wonderful source of fresh herbs.



Also see
Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn
Apartment Therapy
The Spice House
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