Thursday, January 28, 2010


This vegetable side dish goes in my “Catch 22” category:  it’s so easy, you barely need a recipe; but without a recipe, you may not even think about trying it.  I liken it to some of the extremely simple dishes from one of my all-time favorites, The Barefoot Contessa.  Less than 5 ingredients, and virtually no time or effort to prepare.  Gotta love that. 

Many national supermarkets carry the large heads of bok choy, which you could also use.  But Trader Joe’s carries the smaller, more tender (and cuter!) baby boy choy.  Make this along with any of the other Dragon Lady recipes (like Barbecued Pork) to complete your meal.  If you’re watching the carbs, skip the steamed rice altogether and add a vegetable dish like this!

Serves 4-6
1 ½ lbs. baby bok choy (about 8 small heads)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/8 cup cold water

Trim about 1” off the base of each head of bok choy, which will separate all the leaves.  Rinse each leaf well; place in colander to drain.  Heat oil on high heat in a wok or deep sauté pan with lid.  Add bok choy; stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle in water; stir and cover.  Let cook for 1 minute; stir, cover and cook for 1 more minute.  Salt to taste; transfer to serving platter.
Note:  if using regular-sized heads of bok choy, it will be easier to eat if you chop each leaf into 2" pieces before stir-frying.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


If you enjoy long cocktail hours like we do, you need hearty hors d’oeuvres like barbecued pork to keep the crowd going.  This also works well as an entrée for dinner, with a little rice and stir-fried vegetable on the side.   

Serves 8-10 (as an appetizer)
Two pork tenderloins (1-1 ¼ lbs. each)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (found in the Asian food section of most supermarkets)
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (found in the Asian food section or regular spice section of most supermarkets)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Chinese hot mustard (available as a dried powder in a can, just add water; found in the Asian food section of most supermarkets)
Toasted sesame seeds

Trim any fat and membrane from pork loins; rinse and pat dry; transfer to a large, heavy-duty, sealable plastic bag.  In a small bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, wine, five-spice powder and garlic; add to pork bag; Press out any excess air and seal bag;  turn to coat pork well.  Refrigerate overnight; turning bag once or twice during marination.

Remove pork loins from bag; let excess marinade drip off and place pork on a plate.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of marinade in a small bowl; whisk in honey; set aside. Discard remaining marinade.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Heat vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over high heat.  Add both pork loins to pan; sear for 2 minutes.  Repeat the 2 minute searing process for the 3 remaining sides of the pork.  Transfer pork loins to baking sheet lined with foil.  Brush all sides with the reserved marinade honey mixture; bake for 10 minutes.  Turn pork loins over; baste with remaining marinade and bake for 10 minutes.  With a clean brush, baste pork loins with pan juices; bake til thermometer diagonally inserted 2 inches into center of pork registers 155°, about 10 minutes (total baking time for pork loins will be approximately 30 minutes.)  Remove pork loins and let rest 5 minutes; cut into ¼” slices on the diagonal.  Baste pork slices with pan juices; serve with Chinese mustard, toasted sesame seeds and ketchup.  

Note:  you can serve the barbecued pork warm; or make it in advance, refrigerate and serve as a cold appetizer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Tasty and light.  Colorful and healthy.  Simple ingredients, and even simpler preparation.  

Baby corns, sliced carrots and bamboo shoots add extra flavor and texture.  But if you don’t care for any one of these, simply omit.  It will still taste delicious!

This makes a nice, little dinner for a weeknight.  For heartier appetites, or even a dinner party, make this dish along with the "Stir-Fry Beef and Broccoli" recipe to round out a Dragon Lady-style meal.

Serves 4-6
1 ½ lbs. shrimp (size 26-30 count/lb.), peeled, de-veined
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cornstarch + 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white wine (optional)
1 lb. fresh pea pods, tips of ends trimmed
1 cup sliced bamboo shoots (canned, in Asian food aisle)
12 baby corns (canned, from Asian food aisle), cut in half at an angle
1 medium carrot, peeled, sliced thinly at an angle (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

Steamed white or brown rice

Cut an incision down the back of shrimp.  Rinse and pat dry with paper towels, then place in a shallow bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk egg white, then stir in 1 teaspoon corn starch.  Pour over shrimp and turn to coat evenly; set aside.

In a small bowl or cup, dissolve ¾ teaspoon of corn starch in ¾ cup of cold water; set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil on high heat in a large wok or sauté pan.  Add shrimp and stir fry for 1 minute; sprinkle in ¼ teaspoon of salt and white wine; cook 30-45 seconds more, or until shrimp is about 80% cooked; remove from wok into a clean bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to hot wok; add pea pods; sprinkle in another ¼ teaspoon salt; stir-fry for 1-2 minutes; remove from wok and place onto a large serving platter.

Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to hot wok.  Add bamboo shoot and baby corns; sprinkle another ¼ teaspoon salt; stir-fry for 2 minutes; add carrots and continue stir-frying for 1 minute; add the peapods and the shrimp back into wok; continue stir-frying for 1 more minute; sprinkle in soy sauce.  After about 30 seconds, add corn starch/water mixture; stir-fry for 1 more minute.  Transfer to a large platter and serve with steamed white or brown rice.

Note:  I used sugar snap pea pods; you could substitute snow pea pods, but they'll cook faster.  Cooking time will also vary, depending on your stove, and preference of  crunchy vs. soft vegetables.  I keep a little crunch in mine!  So increase cooking time if you like them more tender.