Thursday, November 27, 2014

Last Minute Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Table Decoration

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Floral Centerpiece

If you are spending too much time cooking the Thanksgiving food and thus leaving you no time to decorate the Thanksgiving table, then just simply put some big orange and bronze flowers in a few glass vases and put them all over the dining table for a last minute beautiful and festive Thanksgiving table decor.  It's amazing just how a few bunches of flowers can make a beautiful difference.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Minestrone Soup

Content contributed by: Jane Ong
Quick and Easy Minestrone Soup

I usually get turned off by a recipe that has a long list of ingredients that I have to go to the store to get before I can cook it.  So after my mother-in-law gave me the recipe for this minestrone soup that my husband loves so much, I have been sitting on it for a very very very long time.  All these dried herbs, canned items and Italian sausages are usually items I don't have lying around and I have to specially remember them so I can grab them when I'm grabbing the usual grocery items during my usual shopping trip. I had never even heard of  Ditalini pasta until I saw this recipe.  But I have to admit, this soup tastes much better than any I had tried in restaurants. It makes a great meal when served with toasted garlic bread. I also love that the soup freezes extremely well (without the pasta).

Serves 6

  1. 3/4 cup uncooked Ditalini pasta 
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  3. 1 (4-ounce) link Italian sausage, casing removed
  4. 5 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1/2 large yellow onion, diced 
  6. 1 cup diced carrot 
  7. 2 celery ribs, diced
  8. 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
  10. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  11. 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  12. 1 (15-ounce) can roasted diced tomatoes, undrained 
  13. 4 cups organic low fat chicken stock (I used Trader Joe's) 
  14. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  15. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. 
  2. While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add garlic, onion and next 6 ingredients; cook 10 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta, salt, and black pepper; cook 1 minute. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Delicious Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

These Hong Kong style mini egg tarts are one of the very popular Dim Dum dishes at the Chinese Dim Sum restaurants. They are actually very common breakfasts and after school snacks for many children in Hong Kong.  Nobody should finish off their brunch at a Dum Sum restaurant without trying these mini egg tarts. They are very good when they are freshly out of the oven.  The quality of these egg tarts may vary in various dim sum restaurants in the USA.  But we discover a Dim Sum restaurant in Lomita, CA that actually makes pretty good mini egg tarts.  They probably are about $3.00 to $4.50 for a dish of three but we aren't quite sure because the restaurant uses a score-card system to keep track of the dim sum bill at each table. We didn't see a menu with prices but since the score-card categorizes each dim sum in category A, B, C, etc, these must be between $3.00 to $4.50 because we guess this was probably category B. But this is another of our agenda during our next visit, i.e., to figure out the pricing system of the dim sum there.   You can certainly ask before you order it off from the Dim-Sum ladies, but we were so distracted by the traffic of the Dim Sum carts that we forgot to ask.  These egg tarts are really delicious and we highly recommend them.  If you don't see them on the Dim Sum carts, just tell the waiter to get you the "Dan Tat".    Remember to pronounce the "a" sound like you speak Spanish, and you will see that the waiters will be very impressed by your ability in giving out orders.

Restaurant: PV Palace
Address: 2166 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717
Phone:(310) 326-3228
Hours: Friday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm

Friday, November 7, 2014

American Grown Sweet and Juicy Comice Pears

It's pear season and we recently found Trader Joe's selling  Harry & David pear gift boxes at only $5.99.  These are Comice pears grown in Medford, Oregon.  Except for one pear that wasn't so great, all of the pears in this box we bought were very sweet, juicy and delicious. We loved the creamy texture. These pears were so good that we are going to Trader Joe's to get another box.