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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

CHINESE PANCAKES . . . are as good as tacos!

The first time I had Mu Shu Pork and Chinese Pancakes was with Diana and Bill in Winnipeg and it was a knock-out experience.  The next time I had Chinese Pancakes was with Peking Duck . . .  again, wow!  After that, I ordered Chinese Pancakes whenever I saw them on a menu . . . which wasn’t all that often.

In recent years, crisp Iceberg Lettuce Leaves have been substituted for the pancakes, and they’re really good, but I’ve never forgotten those pancakes.  Then I came across this recipe for them . . . but it looked rather complicated . . . sticking bits of dough together, rolling them out, and pulling them apart!  I flipped to a recipe for something entirely different and easier.

Finally, I decided I’d try it.  If it didn’t work, I’d quickly cook up some rice to go with the meat.  

        But it turned out to be one of those things that just look really hard to do! 

        From The Encyclopedia of Regional Chinese Cooking: with recipes from Kenneth Lo’s Chinese Cookery School and Memories of China Restaurant

1 lb (or 1 ½ cups) white flour
1 cup (8 fl oz) boiling water
3/8 cup (3 fl oz) cold water

2 to 2 ½ tsp sesame oil

·        Stir boiling water into the flour and mix well.
·        Add the cold water.
·        Knead the dough until smooth.  (It seemed a bit sticky and lumpy but I didn’t use any extra flour on the counter and kneading it did make it smooth after a few minutes.)
·        Cover and let dough rest 15 minutes.
·        Lightly flour your working surface. 
·        Divide the dough into 2 pieces.
·        Roll one piece into a long sausage shape 12 inches long.
·        Cut the roll into 1 inch lengths.  Lay the pieces down on a cut side with the other cut side facing up.
·        Flatten each piece with your hand into a small round shape.

·        Lightly brush the top surfaces with sesame oil.
·        Stick the pancakes together in pairs, oiled sides inward.

·       Roll these out until about 7 inches in diameter.

·       Set a dry frying pan over medium heat.

·        Cook each pancake on one side for about 10 to 20 seconds until lightly browned (the top may look like it’s bubbling a little).  The first pancake will take longer if you don’t really heat up the pan.

·        Flip each pancake and cook about 10 seconds.  Check underneath for burning and lower heat a bit if necessary.  I had to take the pan off the heat sometimes.

·        Remove pancake from the pan and separate the pancakes quickly, pulling the rounds apart. 
You may find this very hot for your fingers!
·        Stack the separated pancakes in a pile, oiled sides up, and cover with greaseproof paper.

Before serving, reheat in a steamer, fold in quarters, and place on serving dish.

Serve with Red-Cooked Beef, Mu Shu Rou, or Sliced Duck, etc.  (The zucchini were nice as a side dish.)

Monday, 21 April 2014

An EASTER Potpourri . . .

Marilyn’s Easter bunny

A dove in Texas

  "Easter with Baba" by Les

Bryan’s yummy Hot Cross Buns

Kepler’s First Cadbury Creme Egg

Sophia's Basket

Marilyn's vintage platter that is only used for Easter

Hike in West Van Lighthouse Park

Vesper’s Forest Walk with her sister 

Andrew's Trip to Brazil


Diana’s friend, Susan

Diana's Spelt bread

Lunch on Lisa & Josef’s boat

Monday, 14 April 2014


Usually, I really feel like cooking, but sometimes I don’t. 

 Here’s a great recipe for one of those less ambitious days. 

It’s EASY to make and VERY GOOD to eat.

PORK GOULASH:  6 to 8 servings

2 pounds pork
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp salt
½ cup tomato paste
2 tbsp paprika
½ tsp pepper
1 cup sauerkraut
½ cup sauerkraut liquid
1 tsp caraway seeds
½ cup sour cream
Broad egg noodles

·        Cut pork into 1 inch cubes and put into Dutch oven.
·        Chop onions and add to pork.
·        Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
·        Mince garlic and add to pork.
·        Stir in salt, tomato paste, paprika, and pepper.
·        Cover and cook for 1 hour in oven.
·        Stir pork and return to oven for 30 more minutes.
·        Remove from oven.  Stir in sauerkraut, sauerkraut juice, and caraway seeds.
*Set aside until 45 minutes before serving.
* Preheat oven to 350.
* Heat pork in oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
* Meanwhile, boil large pot of water and cook egg noodles.
* Stir sour cream into pork and serve with noodles.  Green beans are a good side dish.

Diana likes pork.  “There are so many ways to cook it,” she said.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails . . .

I’m on strike.  It’s a lovely day.

And all I’ve done today is read  J

LONGBOURN by Jo Baker is about the people who get up early and go to bed late in the service of the Bennet family of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.   It’s impossible not to sympathize with pretty young Sarah who is tired of dumping chamber pots and scrubbing everything with hands cracked and bleeding from chilblains. 

Yesterday, though, Bryan and I made an excellent vegetarian pizza covered with

 oyster mushrooms

grilled Anaheim peppers

 Cherry Tomatoes

  Monterey Jack Cheese and Cilantro!

It’s from the Rebar Cookbook.

P.S.  Here’s that puppy dog we all love.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

BRUSSELS SPROUTS ROASTED and Reflections at 6 am

6:00 AM:  I woke up at 5 and soon realized I might as well get up.  I don’t really feel like reading so early in the morning but I don’t mind blogging.

So I decided to share the Brussels sprouts recipe from our dinner last night.  We had:
Pork Roasted in Milk (Arrosta di Maiale al Latte)

Apple Mashed Potatoes with a Bacon & Onion Garnish

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dates & Candied Orange Peel

The milk was supposed to almost totally evaporate and transform “into an exquisite sauce”.  Well, I figured 4 cups of milk would not evaporate enough so I put in only 3 cups, but still had LOTS of curdled liquid at the end.  The pork was very good though.

The Apple Mashed Potatoes were good, but potatoes without apples are  just as good, if not better.

The Brussels sprouts,  however, were exceptional.  I’ve always boiled them before, but roasting does work better. 

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS with Dates and Candied Orange Peel
        Based on recipe in GLOBE & MAIL, Feb. 15, 2014
1 large orange
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
¾ lb Brussels sprouts
3 strips bacon
½  tsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
3 dates

·        Peel the orange very thinly.
·        Bring sugar and water to a boil.  Reduce heat and add the orange peel.  Simmer for 30 minutes and drain.  When cooled, cut about a tablespoon of the orange peel into small pieces.
·        Trim Brussels sprouts and cut in half.  Put in single layer in a 9x9 baking dish.
·        Using a pepper shaker, sprinkle sprouts with pepper.  Also sprinkle on the olive oil and the salt.  Stir to coat the sprouts.
·        Dice bacon and distribute over the sprouts.
·        Chop the dates and add to the orange peel.  Set aside for a garnish.
*Prepare to this point and leave it until 40 minutes before serving time.

* Now, preheat oven to 375 or 400.  Either one will work so just choose according to what else you have in the oven.
* Roast sprouts, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  REMEMBER to stir in the dates and orange peel before serving.  (To make sure I don’t forget, I put the garnish by my plate on the dining table. J)

**The first time I followed the recipe – it said to roast at 375 for 40 minutes.  That’s a bit too long.
***Use the leftover orange peel as garnish the next time you make the sprouts or try it on other vegetables such as broccoli.
****If you don't like to throw away the orange sugar sauce, use it to make Raisin Self-Saucing Pudding.  Just add raisins and 1 and 1/2 cups boiling water to it when making the sauce and don't use the brown sugar and vanilla.

P. S.  Last night I found this bit about what Mom was thinking about on April 6, 1977: 

we still did not get the chicks perhaps at the end of the month Shirley is getting hers May 13th shes getting 150 chicks we if we get any we will get only 50 chick and few geese

Mom was just about the same age then as I am now, but, when she got up in the morning, she wouldn’t have had time to think about what she felt like doing.

P.P.S.  from Mom August 31, 1989

On Tuesday I was blanching broccoli and sprouts and froze them.

Friday, 4 April 2014

April 9, 1990, MOM's letter. . . and a Raisin Pudding that makes its own Sauce!

(from Diana’s in Winnipeg)
(39 cent stamp)
April 9th 1990
        I have nothing to say but you will wonder what come of me.
        Tomorrow I have to see the Doctor about my swelling of legs.  Even she gave me water pills but she said to take one pill a day so its not doing much  I do have this problem at home so I sit on recliner.  I do have my legs on a stool but its too low so today I tried to hold them on a chair I will see what that will do.

Yesterday Diana & me did 4 Easter eggs.  Will do more this week the dye was last years I only added a table spoon of vinegar and its perfect.  I am sure it will hold out for one year more.

        Did the girls do any more Easter eggs?

        I made the paska on Friday made holoptsy on Sat.

        I started to diet on Friday but today I am very hungry if I pass today it may be all right.
I will be going home 10 or 11th of May.  Bill will be going to Tisdale Sask so he said I will be able to go home then.

   I started the Begonias but none is come through I will have to phone them about them.  I did open the packet as they wrote but none is up. 
        Diana started today on her new job.  Shes not home yet I don’t know what time she will come home.  Bill is getting ready to go on a trip east.
        I was going to make pyrohy but I still want to sit with my feet up I got so many letters to write even haven’t answered one to Ukraine.
        I am knitting socks for Matt that likely what I be doing till I go home
        My sister Nellie was in Winnipeg for two weeks now she went home to get ready for Easter the whole family will be home for Easter
        For the last three year or four at Dianas for Easter I haven’t been home for Easter or Christmas I kind of miss it but I could not be able to prepare for festivals.
        I will close for now have a happy Easter all of you 
Love Mother

Until our move to B.C., I had some of the Easter eggs Mom made.  The tradition continues, however, in the family.  Here’s Aunt Nellie’s granddaughter, MaryAn, and some pysanky she just made with a friend.

P.S.  MaryAn's mother, Marilyn, commented:   I was surprised to learn that your Mom decorated Easter Eggs.  My Mom never did them, much to my Dad's disappointment.  So one year he decided we would do this as a project as his family made Pysanky.  Can't say that I had seen decorated eggs before this.  He made a Kistka using pig's hair that were tied to a small stick.   Yes, I remember this well as it was not the easiest thing to draw with.  It literally looked like hen scratches on the egg!  After this "experiment" my Dad never teased my Mom again about not being able to make Pysanky.   Mom proudly continued to add chocolate covered egg shaped marshmallow with the Fuchsia coloured icing sugar flower on top to her Paska basket!  Do you remember them?

And now, here's a recipe that's so good I can honestly say; "Last but not least!"


        Thank you to Elsie Thwaites in Saskatoon!

1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup raisins
2 cups boiling water

1 tbsp butter
½ cup white sugar
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup milk

·        Grease an 8x8 inch deep casserole.  (Don’t use a larger one.)
·        Put brown sugar, 1 tbsp butter, vanilla, raisins, and boiling water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and boil for 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

·        Preheat oven to 350.
·        Cream 1 tbsp butter with white sugar.
·        Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder in another bowl.
·        Add flour mixture to creamed butter alternately with milk.
·        Spread batter in casserole and pour raisin syrup over the batter.
·        Bake 40 minutes. 
*During baking, the cake rises to the top and the sauce is at the bottom.

Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.  YUM, YUM, YUM!