Project Food Blog 2010: Challenge #2 – The Classics

Jess

“I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” Sally Field’s famous words were the first to come to mind when I found out that ‘My Baking Heart’ had moved on to Challenge #2 in Foodbuzz’ Project Food Blog 2010. Many, many thanks to those who took the time to vote for little ol’ me. I am incredibly honored! Get ready to vote again on Monday, September 27th – I’ll be reminding you, so keep an eye out! 😉

Project Food Blog

The 16th anniversary of my Uncle Ben’s untimely death is next month, and since I’ve been thinking about him quite a bit lately, I knew it was fitting to cook a few of the dishes that he was famous for. The recipes below are ones I’m definitely comfortable eating; heck, he fixed them almost every single time we visited (which was pretty often). However, before this challenge, I had never made them. Not even once. And since this second task calls for us to cook a regional dish that’s outside of our comfort zone, these were perfect.

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Along with my mom and dad, I sat down to enjoy these yummy dishes. We spent an hour talking about Ben and the first time that he and my parents had met. We laughed at several different memories and discussed the things that made him such a great man. He was an incredible chef (one who rarely followed a recipe), but he was also a brilliant silversmith. Uncle Ben left this world entirely too soon, but I feel that if he were here today, he would be extremely proud of this meal.

Hot & Sour Soup, Fried Rice and Chicken with Plum Sauce

Hot and Sour Soup, Szech’uan Style
Source: The People’s Republic of China Cookbook

3 dried mushrooms
Seasoning mixture:

  • Pinch of MSG
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp thin soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp Chinese red vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper or 3/4 tsp Szech’uan hot bean paste

4 c chicken broth
3/4 c chicken breast, cut into shreds 2 inches long
2 tbsp canned bamboo shoots, cut into shreds 2 inches long
1 tsp water mixed with 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c cubed bean curd
1 large egg, beaten

Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain, dry well, remove the stems and quarter the caps. Combine the ingredients for the seasoning mixture. Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot. Add the chicken and cook for about 1 minute over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. After 2 minutes, add the seasoning mixture and stir a bit. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce is thickened. Add the bean curd and the egg. Stir several times and transfer the soup to a serving bowl. Serves 3.

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Hot and Sour Soup

Fried Rice
Source: Ben S. & Momma G.

2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
1-1/2 tbsp garlic powder
2 eggs
4-5 tbsp soy sauce, or more to taste
1 c peas & carrots mix, frozen
3 c steamed rice, cooled completely

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic powder until onions are pale, about 2 minutes. Transfer cooked onions to a bowl and set aside. Add eggs to skillet and scramble. Add onions back to skillet and cook with eggs for another minute. Add rice to skillet. Mix thoroughly with onions and eggs, then add the peas & carrots mix. Pour soy sauce over rice and stir. Add a bit more oil, if needed, and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

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Hot and Sour Soup 2

Plum Sauce
Source: Family friend, Sharon M.

1 small jar of plum jelly
1 (5 oz.) can of crushed pineapple
1-2 splashes of white vinegar
1/2 c pineapple juice
1 tbsp cornstarch

Heat all but the pineapple juice and cornstarch over low-medium heat. Stir the cornstarch into the pineapple juice, then after about 4 minutes, add to the pot to thicken. Boil until thick and clear. Serve warm on chicken.

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Here’s to you, Uncle Ben… we miss you!!

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