April 4, 2010 · Recipe · Comments Off on Chilly Day Bean Soup

Due in part to the recent cold, rainy weather in Chengdu and in part to the need to use up the foods in our freezer and pantry, I decided to make a soup this weekend. We had dried kidney, black and garbanzo beans as well as chicken apple sausage. With a few modifications to recipes found online (they all called for canned beans) and the addition of a few stray vegetables, I ended up with a good soup. While I had never heard him talk about it before, I learned that my husband loves bean soup and found mine delicious enough to eat 3 large bowls. A rough recipe follows.

Bean Soup with Apple Sausage

  • Dried black beans (approximately ½ cu)
  • Dried kidney beans (approximately ¾ cu)
  • Dried garbanzo beans (approximately ¾ cu)
  • Bay leaf (1)
  • Butter (1 T)
  • Olive oil (1 T)
  • Garlic (4 cloves)
  • Onion (1 medium)
  • Carrots (2 small)
  • Bell pepper (1 small)
  • Chicken apple sausage links (about 3)
  • Summer squash (1 small)
  • Basil (½ t dried or 2 T fresh)
  • Broth/water (as needed)


  1. Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight.
  2. After soaking, add bay leaf and bring the beans to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until beans are tender (about 3 hours).
  3. Mince garlic and chop onions.
  4. Chop carrot, bell pepper and squash.


  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a dutch oven or soup pot. Add garlic and onions. Cook until tender.
  2. Add carrots, bell peppers, sausages and basil. Cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Add broth or water. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. When beans are cooked, drain and add to pot along with squash.
  5. Simmer until broth is thick and rich.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
April 4, 2010 · Sichuan Cuisine · Comments Off on Meal Out

Last Friday we called up the babysitter to head out for a meal at a delicious Sichuanese restaurant. With friends David and Liyan leading the way, we feasted on an amazing meal that included old favorites as well as new dishes and twists on traditional ones. One of the most intriguing twists was Hui Guo Rou with the addition of bread. The bread was deep fried, very thin and crispy- almost like chips. It provided a wonderful texture contrast to the chewy twice-cooked pork. As always, the saltiness of the pork and fermented beans with the spicy bite of the leeks  was amazing. The dish was the first to be finished, and discussed well into the night. Our complete meal included…

Hui Guo Rou (Twice-Cooked Pork) with Bread

Shuizhu Niurou (Boiling Beef Slices)

– Yu Xiang Qiezi Bing (Fish-fragrant Fried Eggplant Fritters Stuffed with Pork)

– Hupi Qing Jiao (Tiger-skin Peppers)

– Fanqie Niu Rou (Meat with Tomato)

Guoba Rou Pian (Sliced Pork with Crispy Rice)