Monthly Archives: July 2012
As if by fate, I stepped out of my apartment and bumped into Herri, my friend and neighbour from Germany on his bike, on the sidewalk going to the bank and for some shopping at the wet market. We walked together and he introduced me to some wonderful new food products that without an explanation in English I would never take a second look at. He was going to show me where to buy fresh sheep’s milk cheese at the new section of our local market.
Sheep’s milk cheese with no additives, cured and lightly spiced pieces of pork tenderloin, and a special Chinese sausage, neither sweet nor sour or spicy were my special purchases. I sliced the cheese and the pork tenderloin and had the ingredients for my lunch today, topped off with some sweet and crispy Hami Melon, which is only grown in XinJiang Province in the West of China.
These are the little finds that make living in China so very pleasant and interesting.
I think this is amazing. My friend Leslie made this dead fish carcass (after being filleted with a filleting knife sharpened with a sharpening iron) for presents for a miniature luncheon some of my friends are going to in Niagara Falls. It’s customary to bring a little miniature project as a gift to an event of all miniaturists. There will be forty people at the event.
For those of you who were wondering, in China restaurants serve the fish whole and you take off the meat in bite-sized chunks from the bones at the table.
As you may already know, I have been working on my Memoir for several months now. First I got the theme – that I have ended up in a good place despite all the turmoil of my family life when I was young. Then I wrote down a list of all the good memories and the bad memories of my past. Next I elaborated on each memory and put them into life chapters. That was more or less free writing. Not a lot of consideration to voice and style, just getting the memories out. That process started off slowly but quickly I picked up momentum, my deeply buried thoughts coming up to the surface.
When that was done I was ready to intertwine my lovely China life together with my past. I have been putting parts of my letters into my memories, I’m about one quarter through my letters and realize I need a way to know what ideas have been covered so far and what hasn’t.
My computer is set up on my bamboo tea table and chairs, on my screened in patio/balcony, looking out over the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in the distance and this is where I get my inspiration to write each day.
Today I took another leap in my memoir. This is the chapter outline of the China part. The points within each chapter or page on the door is an interesting fact/idea/etc. about China that I want meshed into my memories to demonstrate the sheer difference between life before and after China. Now I can see at a glance what points have been covered and which haven’t, as I insert the excerpts in the book. By now checking off points as I go, this may help. May not. Will see….
One of the fathers came to my class for the first time and after we were almost done doing our lesson on vegetables at the local wet market here in my neighbourhood in Kunming, he bought us all a big bag of some kind of nut or seed, I thought it was some kind of pumpkin or sunflower seed…nope, I was wrong. It was pine nuts.
I haven’t seen them much in China but I have a favourite recipe for Broccoli, Cheese and Pine Nuts that I like to make to go with chicken – I can’t cook it much. Now I know what to look for, of course the time consuming part is getting the seeds out of the shell….not as easy as other seeds. I did a little research and these are Asian Pine Nuts either from Korea, Siberia or the Himalayans. And yes, there come from the pine cones of pine trees.
You might be surprised by who and how many sing it.
Enjoy! Roz x0x00x0x
My Chinese Cookbook
My Chinese Cookbook is in the hands of my editor who will go through the book with a fine-toothed comb and suss out the errors in my manuscript. As soon as she is finished her work it will become an ebook and hopefully sell millions of copies, worldwide. Yes worldwide. It is being translated into Chinese and Spanish.
Tentative Book Title: The Secrets of Chinese Comfort Food – Everyday Chinese Cooking
With over 65 original recipes in 10 categories and using commonly found ingredients, this cookbook is sure to “Simplified Chinese Food [while serving up] – Authentic Everyday Chinese Cooking”. You can create delicious Chinese dishes that are bound to wow your guests or your family. Take the list of Chinese ingredients to your local food market and it will help you find exactly the right ingredient for every delicious dish. You’ve even got the Chinese characters to help you out in your local Chinatown or Chinese supermarket. All recipes focus on high in taste, are low in calories and are a feast for the eyes – including familiar favourites along with tasty traditional delights that are easy, quick and ever so affordable. Refer to all the original photos to guide you a long in the cooking process, so that you know exactly what your finished dish should look like. There are even many tips to help make your Chinese meal an authentic experience.
Having published my first ecookbook over 10 years ago, titled My Family’s Favourite foods, it’s now time to do it again. Living in China since 2005, I have learned the secrets to Chinese cooking from the experts, the people of China, from my Chinese boyfriend, from the Chinese cooking school where I took three classes, and from the friends like Dave who I have cooked with over the years in China. During these times, I stood by watching the cook and carefully, with pen and paper in hand, like a stenographer, wrote down the recipes according to Western recipe writing style and format!
Now it’s time to share these secrets and these recipes with you, over 65 recipes in 10 food categories. Not only that but I have included sample menu for a Chinese dinner for four and five people. I hope you enjoy your trip to Chinese cooking without even leaving your own kitchen. All you need is a few common Chinese condiments, a wok and the freshest of ingredients that you can find….oh, I forgot to mention the one other tool of the Chinese kitchen that is used for all food preparation, the famous Chinese cleaver! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll never go back to a Western kitchen knife.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Note About the Author, Roz Weitzman…….. 6
Tips for Chinese Cooking Using the Recipes in this Cookbook…….. 7
The Basics of Chinese Meals…….. 7
The Traditional Chinese Meal…….. 8
Menu for Chinese Dinner for Four…….. 8
Menu for Chinese Dinner for Five…….. 8
Cold Dishes……. 9
Asparagus Salad, Chinese Style…….. 10
Fresh Cucumber Salad Chinese Style…….. 11
Fresh Baby Cabbage Salad Chinese Style…….. 12
Cold Tofu Salad Chinese Style…….. 13
Chinese Cabbage, Cilantro and Red Pepper Salad…….. 14
Introduction: Note About the Author, Roz Weitzman
I have lived in China for many years and learned my Chinese cooking skills from the people of Beijing. Beijing has been the ”seat” of Chinese cuisine since the time of the emperors who lived in the Forbidden City in Beijing and set the standard for good Chinese food.
My friend Jake taught me the correct way to slice, dice, sliver, and stir fry the ingredients and how to wash and cook them. He’s an amazing cook – not a professional chef though. The recipes are his food – I helped him cook all the while writing the recipes at his side. He can make a meal for two – 2 dishes, a rice or noodle dish and soup – in 45-60 min. He’s just that good. Only a single wok is needed to do all the work preparing the dishes with colour, size, and texture in mind. He taught me that Chinese meal must have balance, look beautiful, and taste great.
Jake and I cooked together, he with the famous Chinese cleaver as his only tool, and me with my notebook and pen in hand, writing down the steps, asking him what amounts he used, and then enjoying hearty and yet low calorie, delicious meals, served with lots of yummy vegetables, small portions of protein, and not a hunk of meat in sight.
Once I got the hang of the Chinese method of cooking from Jake, I took a series of lessons from a famous cooking school in Beijing. The lessons taught me about the different styles of cooking and about what to look for in good seasonings. We toured a Chinese Wet Market to learn the staples of vegetables and herbs. I also learned techniques from my friend and wonderful cook, Dave Wei. We traded Chinese cooking recipes all the time, even cooking together on some Western dishes. This gave me more insight into the secrets of Chinese cooking, to the point where I now am able to assemble and prepare a complete Chinese meal from scratch. I have even eaten dishes in restaurants and then recreated them, with delicious results. These include such memorable dishes as Rainbow Crystal in Lettuce Folds, Singapore Noodles, and Cold Tofu Salad, to name a few.
The secret to successful Chinese cooking lies in the preparation before the actual cooking starts, and to lightly cook all dishes to keep the colours of the ingredients looking very fresh and crisp.
All of these recipes have been cooked at least twice or more, to ensure accuracy of the ingredients and the right taste for each dish. The guests, foreigners and Chinese alike, at my many dinner parties have critiqued my cooking. This cookbook has also been edited thoroughly, and I would like to thank Rosemary Irwin for her services in this regard. But if you find any error or have an opinion to share, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to send you a revised edition at no cost.
I enjoyed writing this cookbook, and I hope you will enjoy your foray into the world of Chinese cooking which this book offers. You will no longer feel the mystery surrounding delicious Chinese cuisine. Enjoy!