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Dorothy Ng's blog

What's Cooking?: All About the Sides

When the leaves shimmer against a slightly overcast autumn sky, a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold beckons the entry of Thanksgiving Day.  Many of us are getting ready for the feast ahead preparing an extensive menu that disappears all too quickly as it is consumed.  Of course, some believe the star of the holiday is that big fat turkey gracing the dining table.  Turkey does not sit on a pedestal in our house pretending to be the center of it all.  The main attraction in our home is those faithful side dishes that we look forward to every Thanksgiving.

What's Cooking?: On the Road...

Are you captivated by food shows like I am?  When there aren’t any good films showing on television, I always surf the food and travel channels.  I seem to gravitate toward food shows that go on the road or travel through exotic places and cultures such as Bizarre Foods, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and The Great Food Truck Race. One reason why I don’t tire from watching is the coverage of such diversified foods from the familiar to the unusual. It is just fascinating to observe the creative cooking that abounds in humble surroundings. 

What's Cooking?: Amish Friendship Bread

It is the end of the summer season.   No more 90 degree plus temperatures, nor sweating through a heat wave, nor being drenched in the humidity.   Yet amidst the sauna like conditions, I was crazy enough to bake my way through the whole summer with this one recipe - Amish Friendship Bread.  Everyone loved it!  It spurred me on to fire that oven even through those hot days.    

What's Cooking?: A Cup of Tea

We’ve all had those hectic days that never seem to end.  Sometimes you just need to get off that carousel of life for a breather and get back on again.  Whenever I feel this way, I reach out for a soothing cup of tea to calm me, creating a temporary oasis.  There is something about slowly sipping that hot cup of tea that seems to unwind the tensions.  Besides its relaxing effect, taking the time to drink it provides a needed moment to be quiet, be centered, and clear your head so you can regroup to face the obstacles before you.

What's Cooking?: Breakfast Lovers

Do you love breakfast more than any other meal? There is nothing like waking up leisurely to the smell of freshly brewed coffee with the sound of sizzling crisp bacon, fried eggs over easy and well-seasoned home fried potatoes. Added to this dreamy breakfast are baked blackberry muffins with a pecan streusel topping, flaky orange cranberry scones and decadent cinnamon sticky buns floating out of the oven onto the table. This picturesque meal beckons me to come out of my luxurious sleep.  Maybe I'm still dreaming…

What's Cooking?: Cooking 101

Have you ever felt you were all “butterfingers” in the kitchen (excuse the pun)?  Is preparing a meal for yourself or others more intimidating than skydiving or bungee jumping?  Recently I watched a program The Worst Cooks in America on Food Network.   This series shows the learning progression of contestants who were selected as the worst cooks.  They were taught how to cook by two professional chefs in the show.  As competent as they were in their own professions, they were lost souls in the kitchen.   A professional ballet dancer who performs before thousands of people was terrified behind a stove.  An interior designer had a fear of knives.  A doctor was dismissed at the second show.  I must admit it was hard to watch.  At the last show, it was impressive to see the two finalists, who started out as bumbling fools, battle to become the best cook from this competition, preparing an exquisite 3-course meal judged by elite chefs.  Kudos to them!

What's Cooking?: The Luscious Elegant Cream Puff

This past weekend, I was invited to a dinner party and offered to bring dessert.  What to bake?  I just love small bites so I decided upon a medley of bite-sized desserts consisting of pumpkin tartlets, rainbow (tricolored) cookies, chocolate banana bread mini cupcakes, and mini cream puffs.   When the kids were young, cream puffs were always a favorite.  As a matter of fact that was the last time I made them.  As tempting as the other desserts were, the mocha cream-filled cream puffs were a big hit even though it wasn’t as puffy as I would have liked.  No one cared.  Who can resist this light airy cream-laden delight?

What's Cooking?: Happy Lunar New Year 4011!

Chinese New Year is the most celebrated holiday in many Asian countries where shops are closed for two weeks to a month. Created for the purpose of counting a 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar, each year is represented by twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac:  rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.   This Chinese Lunar New Year on February 10 is the Year of the Water Snake. Throughout Asia and Chinatowns in the western nations, the streets are lined with people watching the festive parades with lions and dragons dancing to the beating of heavy drums and clanging cymbals, and "embraced" with a relentless spray of firecrackers to scare away malevolent spirits from spoiling the chance of a prosperous and hopeful year.

What's Cooking?: Shape Up!

The overindulgent holiday feasting is finally over and the New Year projects the familiar resolutions we’ve come to know every year in regard to our health and fitness.  Where we recently were enticed by the seductive sweets that surrounded us during the holiday gluttony without any guilt, we must now discipline ourselves to withdrawn from this temptation.  After stepping on the scale to see the damage, there will be no delay in cutting out the homemade cookies, banana breads, chocolates, and apple pie that are all sitting in the kitchen within reach.  It is certainly the right time to go back to eating smaller portions to whip us into shape. The bounty of nourishing healthy recipes provides variety and interests.  Never a dull selection.  Although correcting our eating habits to maintain a healthier diet is not easy, there are many sources to help us support a healthy lifestyle eating. 

What's Cooking?: Holiday Wintry Drinks

As the holidays approach, preparations get underway as we think about what to serve at seasonal get-togethers.  We check our menu list of appetizers, main and side dishes and desserts.  We tend to overlook those inviting wintry drinks to welcome family and guests, taking the bite out of the cold.  There’s nothing like being greeted with yuletide cheer of toasty mugs filled with spiced cider, mulled wine, or a hot toddy.  Before my guests arrive, I prepare a big pot of mulled spiced cider simmering ready on the stove filled with rich apple cider, cinnamon sticks, orange peels, and whole cloves inserted in wheels of orange slices.  The aroma fills the house luring travelers to the comfort of home.

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