chinesegrandma

Chicken and veggie lettuce cups

I picked up a wavy green head of butter lettuce at the farmers market last weekend, fully intending to make salad. But as I washed its ruffly leaves, the neatly cupped shapes begged for something warm and savory to hold. I felt like the mouse in the kids’ book, If You Give a Mouse a []

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Chicken Marbella revival

When you have 87-year-olds over for dinner, even hip and cool 87-year-olds like our family friend Bob, it doesn’t seem right to serve quinoa for dinner. So this weekend I broke out some old-school favorites that wouldn’t require explanation in a buffet line: roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, wild rice salad, warm lemon-dijon potato []

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Breakfast-for-dinner salad

It’s the sounds, not the clock, that tell me when it’s time to get dinner on the table. The creak of cabinet doors opening and the firm slam of them shut. The suction release of the refrigerator door tugged, then the electric hum as its contents are casually contemplated, with no regard for the cold []

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Chicken adobo – a one pot wonder

Main course recipes don’t get any easier than this classic Filipino dish. Throw chicken and simple seasonings in a cold pot, then stick it on the stove and simmer until you have a glossy brown succulent chicken to serve steaming hot over rice. The sauce is a piquant mix of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, []

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Baked pasta (cheater lasagna)

It’s not sexy food, but done right, baked pasta is cheesy, meaty, tomatoey contentment. A good baked pasta communicates caring – soothing tastebuds, filling tummies, and showing love with warmth and abundance. It’s just what I want to be eating on a cold winter’s night, and everyone loves it just as much for lunch the []

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Chinese takeout chicken (less the grease/guilt)

You know you’re more American than Chinese when you’ve succumbed to the cheerfully sweet, garlicky appeal of those fried nuggets of chicken lacquered in shiny amber sauce sold in Chinese-American eateries around the country under names like “General Tso’s” or “sesame.” Hard then to resist this smart, simple recipe for “mall chicken” from Lucky Peach []

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Pasta salad with tuna, celery and olives

This fresh, easy pasta salad has been a lunchtime favorite of mine for years. My lifelong friend Edie dropped off an enormous bowl of it after I had a baby, and I enjoyed it for days and immediately set about making more. Combining crisp bits of celery and onion with earthy flakes of tuna and []

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Chinese mini meatballs

There’s a whole genre of Chinese cooking involving ground meat – dumplings, won tons, steamed meat buns – that is full of juicy bite-sized goodness but is also preparation intensive. These cute little Chinese meatballs do away with the laborious wrapping of all those nuggets of filling and feature the meat for what it is []

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Kung pao (gong bao) chicken

For once I have a recipe that will not cause a casual visitor here to wonder why this place is called chinese grandma. I may have four kids, but I’m no grandma; and I’m the kind of American-born Chinese that took Spanish in school and is rendered apologetically mute when a real Chinese grandma comes []

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Pasta with butternut squash, sausage and sage

A lovely butternut squash, at once elegantly elongated and voluptuously curvy, kept me company in my kitchen for a couple of weeks as I wondered what to cook with it. Fresh produce items generally demand immediate attention, wilting petulantly to show their impatience, but butternut squash waits serenely, saving its soft golden sweetness for when []

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Macho salad

I love this hefty-not-heavy salad, featured in a number of Hillstone restaurants, in spite of its goofball name. I’m not sure what makes it macho – lots of dates; very corny? And shouldn’t a macho salad be beefy, not chicken? But name aside, it’s the mix of flavors and textures – greens, chicken, chopped dates, []

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Oven polenta – and breaking bread

I’m all about breaking bread these days. Not necessarily in a literal sense, since no one but me seems to eat wheat anymore. But in a figurative sense, breaking bread is increasingly how I like to think of eating with loved ones in my home. It’s the antithesis of entertaining. No elaborate preparation, stress or []

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Chinese braised beef noodle soup

For Chinese New Year – the year of the dragon begins Monday – I have one more recipe from my mom’s kitchen: a long-braised beef shank cut thinly and piled in a bowl of steaming noodle soup. It’s a celebratory meal for the new year, as long noodles symbolize long life, but it’s also comfortably []

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Orzo with zucchini, lemon, mint and feta

Bright flyers from my kids’ backpacks keep reminding me that summer is almost here. But I wasn’t feeling it until one of my favorite summer dishes floated back into my consciousness this week: orzo salad loaded with well-roasted vegetables and feta cheese, dressed with bright lemon juice. I live on this dish in the summertime, []

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Easy brunch: Egg, cheese and sausage strata

I love having people over for dinner, but too often I don’t actually sit down and eat with them. Brunch is a different story. Kids can help themselves to bagels, scones and fruit, and adults can dig into this savory egg, cheese and sausage strata. I make it the night before, and all I have []

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