Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'Tis the season for Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes have been described by The Washington Post blogger and food writer Kim O'Donnel as "a garlic lover's nirvana". So what exactly are garlic scapes (蒜薹)?

Garlic scapes are the "flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plants. They appear a month or so after the first leaves, and when harvest young, they can be very tender and delicious. Many recipes have been written using garlic scapes, and the most popular Western recipe is the Garlic Scapes Pesto. I am going to share one of my favorite Chinese recipe by combining the sweet and savory Cantonese Sausages with the tender garlicky scapes.

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 8 Minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 Servings


2 pieces Cantonese Sausages(2 根广东香肠)
16 garlic scapes (16 根蒜薹)
2 teaspoon ginger  (2 茶勺姜)
2 tablespoons peanut oil (2 汤勺花生油)
2 teaspoons soy sauce  (2茶勺酱油)
Salt to taste (适量盐)


1.  Slice the Cantonese Sausages into thin pieces, then cut the pieces to match the width of your garlic scapes.
2.  Peel and slice the ginger.
3.  Wash and snap off both ends of the garlic scapes, and cut them into 1.5 inch sections.
4.  Heat the wok on medium-high until it's hot, then add peanut oil to the wok.
5.  Add sliced ginger and stir a few times to release the aroma.
6.  Add Cantonese Sausages and stir fry until color turns slightly dark.
7.  Stir in garlic scapes, then add soy sauce and a small amount of water to create some steam which will help to cook the scapes faster.
8.  Stir fry the mixture until desired tenderness ( I prefer my scapes slightly crunchy ), then add salt to taste, and turn off the heat.

Serve the gorgeous emerald green garlic scapes and ruby red Cantonese Sausages with rice or other grains and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tasty barbeque in a theme park

Theme parks are not just for kids, so why should they only have kids food? Zambia Smokehouse at Busch Gardens in Tampa Florida is a great place for adults to take a break from all the excitements and grab a cold beer along with a huge plate of tasty barbeque while relaxing in the shadow of SheiKra.

During my visit to the park in November I had Zambia's BBQ Sampler plater. It was a mount of barbequed ribs, beef brisket and chicken along with fries and a roll. It was the best food I had at a theme park!

Monday, September 13, 2010


SPAM, the true international mystery meat. What is it really? Beef? Chicken? Pork? Oh, who cares. All I know is SPAM makes a damn good meal when you are in the mood for some salty canned meat.

We are all familiar with SPAM burger, but have you tried SPAM chili, SPAM stir-fry, hot pot SPAM and SPAM sushi roll? Well, for lunch today I whipped up some tasty  SPAM and veggie stir-fry with jalapeno peppers. Truly SPAMalicious!
SPAM Vegetable Stir Fry with Jalapeno Peppers
served with Brown Rice

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus with Garlic & Lemon Butter Sauce

For vegetable lovers, summer is the best time to get your hands on an array of different veggies out on the market. One of my personal favorites is asparagus. These tender green spears are a member of the lily family. They grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils. Each crown will send spears up for about 6-7 weeks during the spring and early summer. Asparagus is a nutrient-rich vegetable that is high in folic acid, and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A and C, and thiamin. If you are worried about fat and cholesterol, these green spears contain none of that so it’s a great food for weight control. Asparagus is also low in sodium.

In this recipe I combined lean meat with tender asparagus and drizzled it with garlic and lemon butter sauce to bring you a light and savory summer dish that will go well with pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa or other grains. You can even make this on the grill if you want to have a smokier flavor.

Prep time: 15 Minutes
Cook time: 15 Minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 Servings

2 chicken breasts(2 块鸡胸)
16 asparagus spears (16支芦笋)
2 garlic cloves (2瓣蒜)
1 lemon (1个柠檬)
4 tablespoon/56 g butter (56 g 黄油)
2 tablespoons/30 ml extra virgin olive oil (30 g 橄榄油)
1 ½ tablespoons capers (1½ 大勺续随子)
Salt & pepper to taste (适量盐和黑胡椒)

Cut chicken breasts in half and slice each chicken strip vertically into 2 pieces. Tenderize each piece with a meat tenderizer or the back of a knife blade until the pieces are thin.

Trim the ends of asparagus by breaking them off by hand. Wash and dry the asparagus.

Place a tenderized chicken piece on a flat surface and wrap 2 asparagus spears with the chicken. Wrap all the asparagus in this fashion until finished. You should be able to make 8 wraps. Sprinkle the wraps with a little salt and pepper.

Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken wrapped asparagus in a single layer in the skillet. Pan-fry the wraps on each side for approximately 5-7 minutes each side until the chicken is golden brown.

Mince the garlic. Add butter, garlic, juice from 1 lemon and capers in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir together until the butter melts.

Arrange 4 chicken wrapped asparagus on a plate along with pasta, rice or other grains. Spoon out 2 tablespoons of garlic and lemon butter sauce over the wraps and pasta, rice or grains.

Serve the dish with a glass of white wine or sparkling water with lemon and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's been cooking in my kitchen

Cooking for me is a not only a passion but also a great stress relief.  In this world of turbulent economy, one inevitably will get stressed out from time to time, and I am no exception to that rule.  Lately I have been cooking a lot, creating new recipes and making some of my favorites from cookbooks.  These are samples of what's been cooking in my kitchen this past week.  Enjoy, and I will be glad to supply the recipe for each dish.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Chicken in Fresh Tomato Sauce

Summer is here, many of us are trying to watch our waistlines and get ready for the summer pool parties. This low calorie recipe of lean chicken breasts, whole wheat pasta and fresh tomatoes will definitely satisfy your taste buds AND help you stay trimmed in the waistline. You can follow the recipe and make 2 servings for a nice candlelight dinner, or just simply multiply the ingredients and make it for the whole party. If you are cooking for one, the leftover is even better the next day!

Cook time: 25 Minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 Servings


2 chicken breasts (2块鸡胸)
8 oz dried whole wheat spaghetti (227g全麦意大利干面)
2 large tomatoes, at least 3 ½ inches in diameter (2个大西红柿,直径至少9cm)
½ medium onion (1/2 个中型洋葱)
5 cloves of garlic (5瓣蒜)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (45ml橄榄油)
Salt & ground black pepper (盐&黑胡椒面)
Crushed red pepper (碎的干红辣椒)


Wash and dry the chicken breasts. Place the chicken pieces inside of a large plastic zipper bag, and tenderize the chicken using a meat tenderizer or by hitting it with the back of a kitchen knife until the pieces are somewhat flat. Mince the garlic and dice the onion and tomatoes.

Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO to a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle small amount of salt and black pepper to both sides of the chicken breasts before placing them into the skillet. Sear both sides of the chicken until fully cooked. While the chicken is cooking, make spaghetti in a medium sauce pan according to directions on the package.

Add 2 tablespoons of EVOO to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté minced garlic and onion until fragrant. Add diced tomatoes and a dash of salt, black pepper and a couple of shakes of crushed red pepper to taste. Cover and simmer the tomatoes for 3 minutes or until the juice comes out and becoming a chunky sauce consistence. Place the cooked chicken breast into the large skillet with the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 2 minutes, turn the chicken over and simmer for another 2 minutes while covered. Add cooked and drained spaghetti to the chicken and tomato sauce mix. Stir all the ingredients well, then cover and simmer on low heat for 2 minutes.

Serve the chicken on a bed of spaghetti and spoon the tomato sauce onto the chicken and pasta. Enjoy it with a glass of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Riesling. For the non-drinkers, I suggest sparkling water with lemon.

Boxing Cat Brewery in Shanghai

Shanghai is a modern, vivacious metropolitan that rivals New York, London, Tokyo and Paris. Just like other great metropolitans in the world, Shanghai is also a great place for finding delicious cuisines, cocktails, and microbrews. Yes, you heard it right, tasty beers freshly brewed in Shanghai!
On one of the sleepless nights, Karen and I stumbled into this award winning brewery and restaurant on Fuxing Xi Lu, near YongFu Lu in the French Concession – Boxing Cat Brewery (BCB).

BCB resides in a 3-story modernized old European style house. It has a large patio and a small dinning room on the ground floor. Two large dinning rooms and a balcony occupy the 2nd floor. In between the 2nd and 3rd floor, there is a private dinning room that can fit around 10 people. This little nook and cranny of a place could be very cozy for a gathering of close friends. The 3rd floor is complete with a pool table, dart board and a full service bar to help the game players quench their thirst.
BCB brews its own microbrews, so everyday they will have 4 special beers on tap for you to taste. For 1/2 a pint (13oz), the price is 35RMB, and for a full pint (20 oz), the damage is 45 RMB. Besides their own microbrews, BCB also serves a variety of wine, champagne, cocktails and hard liquor. BCB also has an extensive food menu. You can choose from burgers, pasta, BBQ ribs, Halibut & Oyster fish & chips and many other mouth watering items on the menu. The average price is around 100 RMB, and the portions are huge, definitely American style. If you find it hard to get to BCB on a weekday, then you must not miss their “Weekend Brunch”. They have everything from pancakes, omelet to southern biscuit & gravy and the “Big Daddy’s Steak & Eggs”. Brunch comes with choice of coffee, tea or juice, and prices range from 38 - 105 RMB.

OK, now get away from your computer, call a few friends and go check it out. You might just have found your new home there….

Enjoy, and happy eating, drinking and exploring in Shanghai!

82 Fuxing Xi Lu (French Concession)

Near Yongfu Lu, Metro Line 1 Changshu Lu Station



Tel: 021-6431-2091
Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm - 2am, Sat-Sun 11am-2am

Price: 100-199 RMB per couple