Personally I don’t like serving a meal to my family that doesn’t have a vegetable with it. Whether there are vegetables in the main dish or on the side I try to make sure that it is always included. So the other day when I made my General Tso Chicken I tried to come up with a nice veggie dish to serve up along side. One of my favorite dishes in Chinese restaurants in the States was a Dry-Fried Green bean so I thought I would give it a try and see if I could come up with something similar. It turned out to be an incredibly easy dish to prepare and equally delicious.
After a very disappointing experience at a Chinese restaurant last week I decided that it was time to go back to what I do best and make some at home. For me Asian cuisine is my culinary staple, it is how I really came into my own as a cook. I always enjoyed cooking meals but I never realized how good of a cook I could be until I decided to get more into my Chinese food. It too all started from a bad Chinese food experience at a restaurant. Sadly because I grew up in Hong Kong, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to Chinese food and at the time I was living in East Texas and no matter where I tried the food was way below par. So I began experimenting, seeing if I could do better and thankfully I discovered that it came quite easily to me. Sometimes I stick to very authentic dishes, but I do also like to try and cook up some of the Americanized Chinese dishes. This time I decided to try my hand at a very American dish that normally in restaurants I avoid, General Tso Chicken. What I discovered about this dish is that not only is it an easy dish to prepare but it is so much better prepared at home then in restaurants. This dish turned from being something my husband would never eat to a dish that he will now request.
General Tso Chicken
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
Cornstarch, as needed
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons cornstarch for thickening sauce, optional
3 green onions (spring onions or scallions)
1 pepper, diced (you can use any colour)
5 to 10 small dried red chilli peppers, according to taste
Do you have a certain ingredient that you just always seem to cook the same way? I have found that I can get stuck in a rut with certain ingredients and it takes some nudging to try something new with it. It isn’t that I don’t like trying new things, just that there are some ingredients that I only know how to cook one way and I am not always as adventurous to try a new method. For me one of those ingredients has been brussel sprouts. The only way I knew how to cook them was roasting them or boiling them as a side vegetable. Now that I think about it there are probably a lot of ways I could try and serve brussel sprouts, it is just until now I had never attempted it. But after trying this creamy dish I must say I will try to be more adventurous about all of my food because you never know what you might be missing out on.
Now this is where I get really excited, because I must confess to being a bit boring when it comes to sweet dishes. I have never really liked chocolate so that has always made me the strange one. But what I do love might seem rather dull to others but I just LOVE apple desserts. Give me a plain old apple pie any day and I would be happy. So when I was blog surfing for ideas and I stumbled across a recipe the blog, A Whisk and Prayer, I knew it would be love at first bite.
So much to my husband’s delight I decided to do a dessert week and focus on pleasing that sweet tooth. While I do occasionally love sweet things my desire for them has never been altogether that strong, while my husband Chris, would eat cake and chocolate biscuits every day if he could. So on the occasions that I decide to do some baking I love to make it worth every bite. And being that we are back living in England I decided to do something a little more British this time. Millionaire Shortbread is a popular British shortbread that consists of three layers, shortbread, caramel and melted chocolate, it is more like a candy bar then a bar. This recipe is my mother-in-law’s.