Dorothy Ng's blog
It is the peak of autumn as we embrace the stunning flora of leaves changing from summer green to brilliant orange, red, and golden colors. Mimicking the colors of fall as well is the season of harvesting pumpkins, winter squash and gourds. Squash comes in all varieties of shapes, sizes, and colors but one of the most popular squash is the beloved pumpkin. These bright orange spheres are iconic spectacles beckoning to be picked from the patch for the holidays. Pumpkin can be used in so many ways.
My father was the chef in our house as we were growing up. He was a great cook and taught me both Chinese and American cuisines. I remembered standing by his side as he was cooking, watching the measurements and portions he used. Without any recipes, you learn what it means to add “a little bit of this or a handful of that”. Whenever I make his classic meat loaf, a pork roast nestle on a bed of roasted vegetables or the uniquely tasting spaghetti made in a wok, sweet memories come back to me. Yet, it was his fried rice that I remember with a nostalgic comfort. My Dad’s fried rice was the best.
Summer is soon over…no more leisurely hikes under the umbrella of solitude in the woods, nor feeling the gentle waves at the beach serenely stroking the tensions away. Fun-filled days of vacation are winding down. It’s that time again! We have started the fervor of getting the kids ready for school. We hunt for school supplies and backpacks, shopping for clothing they have outgrown, arranging our schedules to align with work and school, and thinking of ideas for the kids’ lunches and snacks.
Kale is so healthy and delicious, full of vitamins and antioxidants. The word is out as its popularity continues to grow about its health benefits. However, I resisted trying this luscious curly forest green vegetable with its coarse texture until my son convinced me of how great the kale salad he has been having for lunch. As a result, I found there are many uses for kale with various techniques in preparation as in salads, in soups and stuffing, and kale chips. The kale chips are a blast to make with their light, wispy-like quality. Stir-fry kale with garlic is exquisitely delicious in its simplicity. It is a great substitute for spinach in many recipes. Its sturdy texture doesn’t fall apart as easily as spinach does. I like it in my quiche for its chewier texture!
The delectable quiche is making a comeback! It is one of the most versatile dishes that can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. With an addition of a bright green leafy salad, it becomes a complete and satisfying meal. Made into bite-sized portion as mini quiches or cut in tiny squares, they are wonderful as appetizers for cocktail parties or eaten as snacks. It can be eaten hot or cold and perfect at room temperature which makes it conveniently portable for traveling or outdoor entertaining such as picnics, beach party, and road trips. Quiche can be dressed up elegantly to serve for formal occasions as well as casual get-togethers like potlucks. It is great in whatever season!
The holiday season has begun and I look forward to creating my holiday menus. I would love to bake some artisanal bread for the holidays but it involves a lot of prep work, kneading and waiting for the bread to rise. A wonderful alternative is the unassuming yet spectacular-looking popover. It is delicate and crusty, so delicious when slathered with butter, cream or jam. It surpasses that crusty loaf or those dinner rolls with its versatility for the upcoming holidays as well as for afternoon tea, breakfast or dinner. Despite its elegant appearance, they are fun to eat and kids love them!
When October arrives, the excitement is not about Halloween, costumes, and candy. October is apple season time and I can’t wait to go pick the best varieties to start my baking. I wonder which types of apples will make a “perfect” combination for a great tasting pie this year. There is so much to consider since the textures and flavors of apples vary from tart and crisp to sweet and soft. Just looking at the honey crisp, ginger gold, gala, granny smith, and golden delicious start those creative juices in me to dive into making those baked goods we especially enjoy in the autumn and winter months.
Ever since my colleague Nancy introduced Access Video on Demand, the database she recently acquired for our New City Library patrons, I was excited and curious as to what kind of videos and films there are in the area of cooking. I was immediately drawn to the Home & How-to category to see the variety of videos from cooking shows to how-tos, from regional cooking to cuisines of foreign cultures of various countries and ethnicity. There are hundreds of videos under the heading of Cooking with the following subjects: Drinks & Beverages, Elements of Food, Popular Cooking Shows, Regional & Ethnic Cuisine, and Styles,Techniques & Basic Skills.
The best thing about summer is the beautiful produce in full bloom. I love going to the markets to see and smell the variety of fruits and vegetables in season. I especially hunt for a favorite of mine - those Rainier cherries. As I gaze greedily along the aisles my “eyes become bigger than my stomach”. I want to try all this fresh luscious bounty knowing I would not be able to eat it all.