Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweet And Sour Pork With Pineapple

OK, here is the recipe I promised you yesterday.
It is the easiest Chinese recipe I have ever seen.

- pork about 1lb, you can use rib or just pork meat, cut them into 2" cubes.
- a can of pineapple, drain it, you can keep the sauce for other desert recipe.
- salt, 1 tsp
- sugar, 1 tsp
- Chinese vinegar, 1tbsp
- tomato sauce, 5 tbsp
- soy sauce, 2 tbsp
- some scallion, sliced ginger, and all purpose flour

Step 1:
Put pork cubes, soy sauce, salt, scallion and ginger in a bowl, mix together.
If you are using fresh pineapple, you can slice it or cube it now.

Step 2:
put some oil in a hot pan, (I used canola oil in a nonstick pan), on medium high. Coat the pork cubes with flour, and fry them for about 5 minutes. (I used about 1" deep oil, so had to turned the pork cubes once, so needed more frying time.) Take the pork cubes out when they are golden on all sides. Once all of the cubes fried, turn on the heat to high, and put them back into the pan and fry again, for 3 minutes this time. This way, the outside won't be too dry, and the inside will be totally cooked through. Drain them.

Step 3:
Use the same nonstick pan, this time only add about 2-3 tbsp oil. (I used the oil from step 2). Wait until the oil is hot, add tomato sauce, sugar, Chinese vinegar, and just a little bit of water. Stir, when you see the sauce is thickening, and there are some bubbles, put the fried pork and the pineapple back in. Turn them, make sure they are all covered with the sauce. Put everything in your favorite plate, and you are done.

How easy was that! And it was my first try with this recipe, it turned out sooooo delicious! This recipe is from one of my favorite Chinese recipe book I bought several years ago on sale. I LOVE IT! I will post more recipes soon. Frankly, I never follow recipes exactly. With Chinese cooking, you can adjust seasonings to your taste. It's not rocket science, just try and have fun.

I totally forgot there is a Chinese New Year celebration at my hospital lobby today, so didn't bring my camera. It was quite nice! There were two lions, a golden yellow one and a black one. During a lion dance, people always focus on the head, of course, it's very colorful, and eyelids can move, and they got to spread around the oranges and cabbages. But for me, I like to watch the guy playing the tail. It's harder, since he has to bend his body all the time, he cannot really see anything but the guy in front of him. He has to move his feet with the head guy, not exactly same speed or steps, but somehow make it look like it's a real animal, with some jumping and turning. And occasionally, he has to lift up the head guy to do some trick. When the head spins, he has to turn around really quickly, without exposing himself. Trust me, it's really hard. If there is a Chinatown in your city, please go and experience it yourself. Only then, you can feel the rhythm and the energy, and learn to appreciate it as a wonderful form of art.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

This year is the year of ox, my baby's zodiac. I read on Wikipedia, that a person born in the year of ox is "Dependable, calm, methodical, patient, hardworking, ambitious, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding." OK, mostly good. The link above has lots of great information about Chinese astrology, zodiac, five elements, etc, some of which I don't even know. You can check out what zodiac are you, and whether it was ying or yang, and what element was it for your year. And if you know exactly what time you were born on that day, you can learn more. It's a lot of fun.

Today is the first day of Chinese New Year! Read more about our biggest holiday here. Yesterday, the new year's eve, I was really in the mood of cooking, surprisingly. So, I not only made lots of dumplings (check out this tutorial I posted last year), but also cooked 4 dishes and a soup for dinner. Actually I cooked 7, but 3 of them took too long, so didn't made it to the dinner table. I tried some new recipes, and at least one of them turned out really great. I will post the recipe tomorrow, I need to scan the picture in. And we watched the national new year party, did the count-down together with millions of Chinese people. Too bad fire crackers are illegal here. =( Traditionally, Chinese people will try their best to go back home and have the big new year's eve dinner with their families. That's why around this time, there is the largest human migration, ChunYun. Since we are too far away, and don't have the chance to go back home at this time, we have to call our parents and say "Happy New Year" (Bai4 Nian2) to them before the midnight. My father-in-law is still in coma, so we couldn't call him. But he was definitely in our thoughts. This is one of the Chinese holidays that really makes you homesick.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Are You Doing On This Historical Day?

I will be working and hoping. Hoping for a safe and successful ceremony. Hoping for a better future for the people and the country! Hoping for a more peaceful world! What are you doing today?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Safe Landing

Oh, did you watch it on the news about the plane crashed into Hudson River? I watched it on TV last night and this morning. Amazingly nobody died. The pilot did a great job landing that plane on water, without flipping it, and the flight crew members got everybody out of the plane very quickly, and all those rescue people got there really fast as well. I never really read those instructions when I board a plane. I didn't know that in a water landing situation, the back doors are not supposed to be opened, because it will let the water in and sink the plane too fast. Some people I talked to this morning said they are afraid of flying now. But I actually feel safer knowing that the flight crew know what they supposed to do and can handle situation like this. This is truely an amazing survival story.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Handmade Soft Toys

Here are some cuties that made my wish list.

This cute owl is from Manic Muffin. They have so many different colors, you definitely can find one that you want to adopt.
How about these stuffed felt numbers and letters? They will come in handy when baby start to learn to count and read. They are from MiChiMa. They also have lots of stuffed felt animals that are really really cute.
This little lamb, from Judy Elizabeth's Flock, just stole my heart.
Want to make this very huggable Rhino? Or this Koala bear? Or this little monkey? These are all from Funky Friends Factory. There are so many patterns for sale there, and they said even beginners can follow the instructions. Guess I will be visit them a lot later.
Oh, how about this cute kitty pattern from DIY Fluffies. Or this little dragon?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

As Promised ...

Here are some pictures of some of my newly opened orchids.

This is my trustworthy Oncidium. Love the intensive color, and it always remind me of those fancy yellow dresses on a dancing floor. I thought I lost it this summer. The old bulbs were shrinking, and I detected rotting smell from its pot. So, I repotted it and found almost all the roots for the old bulbs were rotted. Only healthy roots are the ones on the new bulb. Now look at it! You cannot really see the bulbs in these pictures, but they are all very 'fat'.
And here is a pic of my Hawaii orchid, Blc. Mem. Bernice Foster. It had 3 spikes in summer, but only one flower opened. All the rest were chewed off by the ants lived in the pot. I flushed it and got rid of the ants. And now it is rewarding me with 4 gorgeous flowers. Two are totally opened, one is half opened, and the last one just started opening this morning. I think they are very elegant.
Oh, here are the before (summer) and after (now) pictures of my cyclamen. Remember I told you that it bloomed for me non-stop for almost two years, and then finally went dormant. I knew cyclamens do this, so didn't throw it away. It looked so dead, like a rock, for almost 8 months. But look at it now! And I just saw some tiny flower buds this morning. It will put up quite a show later.
And this is the only 'before' picture I can find, during its 'rock' stage. I cut it out from a corner of a big picture, that's why it's out of focus. But you can still see why I called it a 'rock'.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Orchids Update

Here are some pictures of AK's orchids, that are blooming in the office right now.
I actually have several orchids at home just started to open. I will take some pictures and post them when they have at least one flower fully opened. So far, 11 of my orchids are blooming or going to bloom soon. It's kind of earlier, compare to the past two winter. Told you my house is more beautiful in winter, I will have pink, white, yellow, orange, and burgundy flowers among the different shades of green. And I am pretty sure my Amaryllis will bloom again, it is the rich red color. And my cyclamen came back from dormancy, it has tons of leaves, and I think some of the leaves actually belong to baby bulbs growing around it. There is no sign of flowers though, but I believe it will bloom very heavily and happily for me again. It bloomed nonstop for almost 2 years before it went dormant, and the dormancy lasted very long, almost 10 months. I actually thought it was dead, looked like a rock. We will see.

Oh, I made some keychains last night. I was making something else for two custom orders, then I got into the mood. Yeah, I am those kind of people who's very moody, and I have to be in the right mood to create. I left the tails on all of them, in case someone like the tails. They can be easily cut off upon request. I am giving the dark green one to one of my coworkers as birthday gift, the others will be in my shop soon. I took these pictures before I left the house this morning, so the white background was the easiest. If I had more time, I would use some colorful background.