Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The hardest things are two-fold. The first is that when cooking for a crowd, you really do need a side dish that is a carb or the meal seems lopsided. We had a dinner for an out-of-town guest and the people who invited him to come this week and my spouse took a large scoop of risotto before he realized that is off the list of acceptable foods. Oops! The other is that eating in restaurants can be a little tricky. Interestingly, the higher end the restaurant, the better the choices. In some places, salad is the only real option. In others, where there are good low carb meat options, but you can get caught. I ordered scallops and they came with a bit of bread crumbs on them. I ate them, because I am not going to be a crazy woman when it comes to all this, but my first thought was "what??". And my second thought was that the prosciutto and spinach deviled eggs were delicious and that I am going to have to make them at home.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
In one garden we were in, I saw people getting photographs of loved ones that utilized these beautiful frames for the portrait.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Williams was a songwriter and a performer with equal parts talent at both. He wrote memorable songs with his own stamp on them--but the drink is what took him down, and he died at the young age of 29 years. I had no idea the scope of what he wrote that I like, and no idea that he died so young.
Monday, April 17, 2017
2 oz. Vodka
1 Tbsp. Cherry Preserves
1/4 oz. Elderflower Syrup
1 oz. Meyer Lemon Juice
4 Sage leaves
Add ingredients to an ice filled cocktail shaker, saving two of the sage leaves out. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into ice filled glasses and serve.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
The thing that I do not know is how does a person rate such a dwelling, versus those that live in more modern but also more congested apartment buildings. I would be far happier myself living with less newness and more tradition. Here, amidst China's impressive surge of urbanizing its population over a very short time period, there are still vestiges of the way things used to be in the 1930's heyday of Old Shanghai.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Friday, April 14, 2017
Thursday, April 13, 2017
After Austria’s annexation to Nazi Germany in March 1938, the 185,000 Jews there were subjected to what amounted to terrorism, which resulted in intense pressure to leave the country. In order to do so, the Nazis required that Jews have entry visas or boat tickets to another country. However, the majority of the world’s nations refused to budge from their restrictive immigration policies.
Unlike his fellow-diplomats, Ho Feng-Shan, who served as the Chinese consul-general in Vienna during 1938-1940, issued visas to Shanghai to all requesting them, even to those wishing to travel elsewhere but needing a visa to leave Nazi Germany.
Many of those helped by Ho did indeed reach Shanghai, either by boat from Italy or overland via the Soviet Union. Many others made use of their visas to reach alternate destinations, including Palestine, the Philippines, and elsewhere....
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
This is more of a technique than a recipe.
- Cut a section out of the tail. You can do this on either side, but you want them to lay flat in the broiling pain and to have an exposed surface. Sprinkle pepper and a seafood seasoning mix evenly over the exposed tail meat. If you don't have seafood seasoning, you can use salt and paprika instead. Then put about a clove of garlic, minced, on each tail, and top with a tablespoon of butter thinly sliced over each tail Some of this will melt and roll off, but a lot of it will coat and flavor the tail as it cooks.
- Broil 8-10 minutes.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over each tail and serve.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
This little museum to the ever so brief time that Jews lived in Shanghai during WWII and left when Mao came to power. This was not the first time that Jews lived in China. They were there as early as the 7th century, and had a trading presence through the Song, Tang, and into the Qing dynasties, but always as little communities and often times assimilating. Jews who came from Austria worked to learn the language and be a part of the immigrant rich Hong Kuo neighborhood. They were largely accepted as well.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Two thoughts from me on this. The first is that human trafficking is a very real thing for women from impoverished countries. Some are imprisoned as sex slaves, some are sold into it, but slavery is not over for everyone on the planet. That is a very bad thing.
The other is that given the totalitarian nature of our current government that we should not take our own freedoms for granted. The rise of racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and the open lack of tolerance for differences is just bad for us. It gives us nothing and it takes away a lot. So speak out, support democracy, say something when you see something. The time for silence is over. And Happy Passover to all!
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Chicharrón either, but that can be done and maintain it's ketogenic appeal. The thing that I was incredulous of was that the steaming liquid of butter and water would get absorbed, but it does and it is delicious.
This is both very easy and very quick to make, so a perfect week night side dish.
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
1 large head or 2 medium heads broccoli (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, for shaving
This is both very easy and very quick to make, so a perfect week night side dish.
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut broccoli tops into 3-inch-long spears of approximately equal size. Cut off thick stems of broccoli and save for another purpose, such as soup, or peel them and make them into sticks and use them.
- Put a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter, add broccoli and season with pepper and salt. Add 1 cup water, turn heat to high and cover skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Cook rapidly until firm-tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes. The broccoli should absorb all the butter and water. (If there is any buttery liquid left, spoon over broccoli just before serving.)
- Transfer broccoli to a serving platter or a large wide shallow bowl. Sprinkle shaved Parmesan into rough shards and scatter over the top if desired.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Friday, April 7, 2017
There are great statues of well known and well respected Chinese writers on this street, Doulun Lu, which is dedicated to them. Pictured at right is Ding Ling and on the left is Lu Xun and colleagues (plus my nephew and sister-in-law).
Thursday, April 6, 2017
1 pound mushrooms
2 c. mild flavored oil
1 c. white vinegar
1 T. salt
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 c. chopped chives, sliced scallions, of small diced red onion
1 tsp. Lemon juice
Put mushrooms in a jar, whole if they are smaller and halved or quartered if they are larger. Mix the other ingredients together and pour over. Let stand at least 24 hours, then try them. If fully flavored, discard the marinade and serve. If not, keep testing them.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
The story goes that an Acapulco playboy has a ten month old baby dropped in his lap by her mother. He has not intention of taking care of her, but on the journey to the United States he falls in love with her, so that when he can't find the mother, he gets a job that will allow them to live comfortably. He cares very much for her, and over time he is mostly a good parent to her as well. The mostly part is that he is more of a friend than a parent who manages the rules. then the mother comes back into their lives and their happy equilibrium is permanently disrupted. Lots to think about, and enjoyable.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
H wrote int he 1920's, a much romanticized time in Shanghai. He did not feel optimistic that radical social change would occur in China, and he did not project idealized revolutionary heroes or situations in his fiction. Yet he also did not offer descriptions of the sufferings of the Chinese people. Instead, through vivid analogies and exaggerated characters, he presented his personal vision of Chinese society. The intensity and darkness of this vision makes reading a Lu Xun story a moving and disturbing experience.
Monday, April 3, 2017
- 2 pounds fresh mussels
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp yellow onion
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
-Add mussels, cream, wine, chicken stock, lemon, salt, thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir a few times, cover and and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until mussels open.
-When mussels open, turn off heat and transfer mussels and some of their broth into a serving bowl. Top with fresh parsley.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Krall is the bad guy, for a long time it looks like he is going to have his way with them, and you know how that is going to turn out. It is all in the telling, or really, the watching, but bear in mind that Simon Pegg is not only Scotty, he is also the script writer. We have just a few Oscar nominees left to watch, and this one amazingly did not win in the category it was nominated in, Best Makeup and Hairstyles. So while I have seen two out of three of those nominees, I have yet to see the winner.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
The lion dance is a traditional Chinese dance that is performed on big occasions, such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) for good luck, as it is believed that the lion is an auspicious animal.
Performed in a lion costume, accompanied by the music of beating drums, clashing cymbals, and resounding gongs, lion dances imitate a lion's various movements or demonstrate martial arts agility, depending on the style.
Friday, March 31, 2017
I had my very first taste of Xiaolongbao, the famous Shanghai soup dumplings, here, and so my love affair with them began. Thankfully he taught me how they were supposed to be eaten, which I tried to comply with but it takes some practice. So practice I did. You hold the dumpling with chopsticks in one hand and a spoon under it in the other. Now comes the tricky part. It is challenging to bite into the dumpling *and* get the soup at the same time. So you bite and inhale so as to (with some practice) suck the soup into your mouth along with the bite. If you are not successful, that is what the spoon is for. The catch what might fall out so that you don't loose it completely. And that is really the key to hte thing. It is just delicious and fun and a little bit challenging.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
It is a very noir story, beginning with the ending, which is a man face down in the pool. So from the very beginning you know it is not going to end well, and then the story unfolds. An aging silent film star is sequestered in her decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard when a hard up script writer happens upon her. One thing leads to another and he is in so deep that he can't see a way out. It is painful and slow and beautifully filmed. Step back to another era for a couple of hours with this movie.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
What is there to like? For one thing, I am very enamored with the pagoda. It has such graceful lines, and while the inside may be sparsely furnished and have little in the way of storage space, the way it fills the air is truly graceful. The other is the additional ornamentation. All the lanterns and lovely paper sculptures that grace the sky above our heads walking through the crowded market place is festive. It is hard not to feel celebratory in such environs. Finally, the narrow alleyways and small stores all crowded together is something that I love. My favorite was the medinas in Morocco, but Shanghais are well worth exploring.
The old parts of Shanghai are quietly and quickly disappearing and high rises that are well outside the means of the folks who currently live there are replacing them. So if you want to see old Shanghai, you better be quick about it.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017
4 c. stock
1 1/2 pounds of broccoli
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery rib, celery diced and leaves chopped
2-3 garlic clove, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
Aromatics: 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 bay leaf, 1 pinch of dried thyme
1-1 1/2 cup cream, or reserved cooking water from cooked broccoli (optional)
2 cups shredded sharp cheese (aged gouda, cheddar, a mild chevre are all possibilities)
- Separate the crowns from the broccoli stems, then separate the crowns into florets. You should have at least 4 cups. Thickly peel the stems, quarter them, and chop them into small pieces, yielding a cup or so. Bring a 4-5 cups of water to a boil and add 1 scant teaspoon salt and the broccoli florets. Cook for about 3 minutes, then scoop out the florets, reserving the water. Rinse under cool water and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the onion, celery, broccoli stems, garlic, and cayenne. Cooke over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, then pour in a quart of stock, or use the reserved water from the broccoli, saving any remainder. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer 10 to 12 minutes. Add the milk/cream/broccoli water if needed to thin the soup. During the last few minutes, add the florets and allow them to heat through.
- Remove the bay leaf and then puree the soup using an immersion blender (you could use a blender and when you are done, return the mixture to the pot). Taste for salt and season with pepper. Just before serving, stir in the cheese, but don't let the soup boil or else the cheese will toughen.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The only high key tea culture that I have spent time with before is in England, where afternoon tea is more about the meal and the desserts, all doled out in very small quantities, and less about the tea (although that too is important). In China, the tea is front and center, and the snacks are a distant second, and the emphasis is on salty and savory more than on sweets. At the tea house in the Yuyuan Garden there were two memorable nibbles that came with the tea. The first is tea soaked hard boiled quail eggs. These were so delicious that they bordered on addictive. The smallness of the quail eggs makes the flavoring more pervasive in the overall flavor, which is a very good thing. The other was a very firm and slightly salty tofu snack, which had a distinctive flavor that was at first unfamiliar but quickly became hard to resist. The tea is spectacular. The herbal options hydrate beautiful flowers that float like under water anemones in the pot, and the flavors of all the teas are fresh and robust and unusual.