Thursday, May 5, 2011

a simple chinese home meal

i go to my cousins' house for, in cousin daisy's words, 'a simple meal at home.' check this out. two dishes out of an eight pound snow flower fish - which americans call, i think, ring cod. braised fish head with shittake and bean curd bamboo. and steamed fish tail. by the way, our american friends would wonder, what happens with the fish body? well, according to our chinese taste, that part of the fish is a little too fibrous. so as i savor the creamy fish cheek and buttery fish tail i realize this works out perfectly in the global village. americans love fillets. chinese love head and tail. everybody is happy and nothing goes to waste. fantastic. another by the way is this. for me the yummiest part of the braised head dish is...bean curd bamboo. they soak up the essence of the dish. so i quietly chopstick one piece after another into my mouth. unfortunately midway thru the meal cousin tommy announces, wow, this bean curd bamboo is the best part of the dish. so there goes my monopoly. an opportunity for me to learn to share.

the veggi dish stir fry chinese summer squash with dried scallop and green onion sounds and looks simple. it is actually not easy to pull off. either squash gets overcooked or scallop is tough and chewy. here, the biased cut squash pieces look refreshingly misty jade green and crispy. scallop is tender. the unique briny oceany aroma of dried scallop is not overbearing. the gentle squashy flavor shines through beautifully. needless to say i am the one to clean out the dish.

the classic steamed chicken with ginger sauce is fabulous although i forget to leave room for it what with the fish head and all that.

o yes, the soup. tah-dah. american ginseng and black bamboo silk chicken. i down two big bowls. not so much because of the highly acclaimed nutritional and medicinal values of these two ingredients. but because it's simply heavenly flavorful.

while i am preoccupied with cleaning out fish bones cousin kar wai tells us about his work. he is doing amazing things in human rights. really helping people, touching their lives, one at a time. and he does it in such a sweet and gentle way with quiet dedication. we are so proud of him.

speaking of pride, our real dessert, while spooning out lemon sorbet and vanilla ice cream, is a power point presentation from byron, our twelve year old nephew. he dedicated spring break to create a power point on a renaissance painter. his dad says, i could not have done what you do when i was your age and it's not because of technology. true. the little big guy has obviously put in a lot of work and thought into it. he presents it with poise and clarity. now, that's hope we can believe in. bravo, byron.

as i type this a box of giant, aromatic mangoes sit in the coolest part of the house. somehow i think cousin daisy has read me blogging about digging mango out of compost bin and she decides if i love mango that much i deserve some more. i agree.

really, there's nothing like having great food that are prepared with so much love and enjoying them with people i love. the food, i promise you, really taste that much more deliiiiish.

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