Spicy Thai Lime-Ginger Soup

From the overstuffed drawer of things that looked amazing at one time but I never actually got around to…

1 whole chicken (3-3 1/2 #), rinsed, neck and innards removed
1 6″ pc fresh ginger, unpeeled, cut into 1″ segments
1 onion, unpeeled, cut into quarters
3 carrots, unpeeled, cut into thirds
3 stalks celery, cut in half
1 stalk lemongrass, leaves trimmed and base smashed
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 sm serrano or bird chili
2 limes, halved
1 bunch cilantro stems (leaves reserved for garnish)
2 T salt, plus more to taste

Reserved cilantro leaves
1/2 c. finely diced red onion
2 small chilies, thinly sliced crosswise
2 limes, cut into small wedges
1 c. bean sprouts


1. Place chicken in a large pot; cover  with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to a simmer. Add ginger and cook about 1 hr. Add remaining ingredients except salt; cook 3 more hours.

2. Remove broth from heat; let cool slightly. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a large bowl; pour broth through a strainer and discard all solids except the chicken. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin. Using a fork, shred meat (watch out for stray bones). Season to taste with salt and arrange on a platter along with garnishes.

3. Reheat broth; season to taste with salt (this may take more than 2 T).

Have guests take some of the chicken and each of the garnishes to taste.

Soft Fried Pork & Eggs w/ Mandarin Pancakes

More from my mom’s Chinese cooking classes, also something I’ve never found in a restaurant (sadly!). Make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack. I remember asking for this a lot as a kid, and since growing up and starting to cook,  I can see that it is a bit more of an ordeal than throwing a box of Hamburger Helper into the oven (stove? what do you do with that stuff, anyway?). Anyway, this was one of my favorites, hope you like it!

p.s. I’d like to try it with some soy sausage, so that it’s vegetarian-friendly.  I think it would work well!

2 c. flour
3/4 c. hot water
1 T. sesame oil

Mix water and flour, knead, roll out to 1/4″ thick. Cut circles 3-5″ in diameter with a glass or cookie cutter. Brush one side with sesame oil, and stack one plain one on each oiled one.  Fry in a dry pan, and separate them while hot.

Soft Fried Pork & Eggs:
1 c. mushrooms, cut fine
1 T. dry wine
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. cornstarch
1 t. sugar
4 T. oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 t. salt
4 or more green onions
1 t. sesame oil
1# finely chopped pork

Mix pork with wine, soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Mix well. Heat 2T oil in wok.  Cook eggs (scrambled). Transfer to a bowl and break into small pieces. Add oil to pan and stir-fry pork 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms.  Add salt and scallions, and stir in eggs. Add sesame oil and stir.

Eat them however you like.  I like to stuff the pancakes so that you can just wrap them closed, but it is a messy sort of deal regardless.

Tian Bing Gan (Sweet Crescents)

More from my mom’s Chinese cooking classes: sweet fried wontons!

1/4 c. chopped salted peanuts
1/4 c. coconut flakes
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten

Mix peanuts, coconut and sugars. Fold wonton squares into triangles, round off the top corner with scissors. Open up to a square again, and place 1 tsp. filling in center. Moisten edges with beaten egg, and seal. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown, turning once.

Drain, cool, and store in an air-tight container.  These will keep 3-4 weeks.

Mom’s Poppyseed Cake

My mom has made this as long as I can remember — it’s the cake that we request most often, when we go home.  The texture is less delicate than a boxed cake as written; it’s closer to a quickbread, so it cuts well and makes a nice cake to put out on the table if you have guests.

1 yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. cream sherry
1/3 c. poppy seeds

Combine everything, beat 5 minutes, bake in a bundt pan at 325-350°F for 1 hour (check after 45 minutes).

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti are so easy to make, I don’t know why I’d ever buy them again. I’m not always in the mood to have them at all, but when I am, I use this recipe:
(from Joyofbaking.com, by Stephanie Jaworski)

Mix together:
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Mix together quickly (don’t overmix):
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt

Add dry to wet, then add in:
3/4 c. chopped almonds
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Put dough on parchment-lined baking sheet, form into a log (4″wide  x 12″). Bake 25 minutes at 350°F.

Let cool on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, cut into slices (about 3/4″ thick). Place these slices cut side down back on the baking sheet, and bake 10-15 minutes on each side. Let cool completely, and store in an airtight container.


Beets!! My preferred treatment? Peel, chunk, and roast at 375° with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

My preferred treatment? Peel, chunk, and roast at 375° with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

I know, the name isn’t good.  But it’s my Gram’s recipe, and I love it, and that’s what she called it! I don’t make this much anymore, given the half-vegetarian household, but it’s definitely a treat when I go home.

2-3 c. diced cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. diced celery
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 c. cooked rice
1 t. grated onion
1 T. lemon juice
1 can water chestnuts
1/2 t. salt
3 hard boiled eggs

Mix all together, place in greased casserole dish (shallow).

Cover with topping:
1 stick butter
1 c. cornflake crumbs
1/3 c. sliced almonds

Melt butter, add cornflake crumbs and almonds, and stir until evenly buttered. Put on top of casserole.

Bake at 350° for 25 min. covered and 5 min. uncovered.

Spice Tea

2 c. Tang
1 can powdered lemonade
3/4 c. instant tea
1 2/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves

Add 2-3 T. per mug.  Amazing for a sore throat!!

Gram’s Granola

5c. rolled oats
1/2c. almonds
1/2c. sesame seeds
2c. sunflower seeds
1c. coconut
1c. powdered milk
1c. dates
1c. raisins
1c. honey
1c. vegetable oil

Heat honey and oil. Combine the rest (except raisins) with the honey-oil mix, spread on cookie sheets, and bake at 250 for 1hr until slightly brown.

My gram has made this since my mom was a kid, and I’ve spared you the soy nuts and soy flour (she had a wheat allergy).  The calories are off the charts, as written, so it begs for some adjustments. Or not – enjoy!

Cha Siu, Bow

My mom took some Chinese cooking classes from a neighbor when I was a kid, and we were treated to some dishes that haven’t been matched in any restaurant since. This is a particular favorite.

Cha Siu:
2T chicken stock
2T soy sauce
1/2 T. salt
1 T. dry sherry
2/3 c. sugar
garlic powder & ginger
2# boneless pork

Cut pork into 2” strips. Lay strips flat, and cut them in half lengthwise. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a shallow pan and add the pork. Beat mixture into the pork by stabbing the pork with a fork. Turn often.

Marinate 3 hours or overnight if possible.

Preheat oven to 350. Hang pork strips in oven from top rack, over a large pan of water. Roast 45 minutes.

Turn heat up to 450 and roast 15 minutes more.

Cut strips paperthin, and serve hot or cold.

Cha Siu filling for Bow:
2T oil
1# Cha Siu, finely chopped
1T sugar
2T soy sauce
2T cornstarch in 3T water

Heat oil until it smokes, add Cha Siu, and fry quickly.

1 package instant dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Dissolve 1/2 yeast cake with sugar in warm water. Add baking powder and flour. Knead about 20 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place in mixing bowl, cover, and leave in a dry, warm, draft-free place until dough doubles in bulk (about 3 hours).

Punch down dough and knead about 5 minutes.

Knead 5 minutes more and it’s ready to be stuffed. Divide Cha Siu filling and dough into 24 portions. Flatten each dough ball, roll out into a 4” circle, leaving centers thicker than the edges. Place filling in center of each, wrapping the sides around the filling, twisting dough to close.

Place on a 2” square piece of wax paper, twist-side down.

Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled. Brush with egg wash (1 beaten egg white, 1 t. water, 1/4 t. sugar).

Steam 15 minutes or bake in a preheated 350 oven 20 minutes.