September 30, 2010 · Weekly Menus and Recipes · Comments Off on Catching Up

Gnocci with leftover pumpkin sauce for lunch

A friend of Ian’s from Peace Corps came to stay with us for about 10 days, so I am just now catching up on menus. It was wonderful to have a guest, and meant that we went out to eat a couple times (though to the same place both times!) A long list of menus:

  • Onion Soup
  • Baked Quinoa with Spinach and Cheese, Sausages and Salad
  • Hongtang (Zhu)rou Mian and Fanqie Jidan (Tomato Egg)
  • Mung Daal and Cauliflower, Potato and Cabbage Curry
  • Cheese Tortellini with Pumpkin Sauce, Salad and Garlic Bread
  • Chicken, Peppers and Onions with Black Bean Cumin Rice
  • Pasta Shells with Tomato and Basil
  • Spaghetti with (Store-bought) Bolognese
  • Pizza
September 14, 2010 · Recipe · Comments Off on Lemon Soup with Meatballs

Recipe submitted by Pascaline Perdikas to 2010 CIWC cookbook

  • 1/2 kg ground beef
  • Onion, 1
  • Rice, 1/4 C
  • Olive oil, 2 T
  • Eggs, 2-3
  • Lemons, 2
  • Flour
  • Salt


  1. Finely slice onion.
  2. Separate eggs.
  3. Juice lemons.


  1. Mix meat, onion, uncooked rice, salt and 1 T olive oil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in flour.
  3. Bring 5 C of water with 1 T olive oil to a bowl. Place meatballs in water and simmer for 30 minutes (up to 50 minutes for brown rice). Remove from heat when meatballs are firm.
  4. Beat egg whites until firm. Fold yolks into white delicately.
  5. Slowly pour lemon juice into eggs, stirring constantly.
  6. Slowly add 10 spoons of meatball water to the egg/lemon mixture, stirring continuously.
  7. Add egg/lemon mixture to pot with meatballs. (Make sure it is NOT boiling.)
  8. Leave on low heat for 10 minutes (do not allow to boil) and serve hot.

Mix meat, finely sliced onion, uncooked rice, salt and 1 T of olive oil.

September 14, 2010 · Weekly Menus and Recipes · Comments Off on Surprisingly Good

This week I tried a soup recipe a friend submitted to the Chengdu International Women’s Club cookbook. The cookbook has come in handy in a number of ways because it includes international recipes based on simple ingredients that can be found almost anywhere. The recipe for Wednesday night was Lemon Soup with Meatballs. It sounded delicious and filling but light.

The meatballs were simple to make. They included ground beef, onions and rice. I  used brown rice over the white that the recipe called for because it was what I had on hand. The “soup” was made by simmering the meatballs in water and olive oil. The tricky part came in adding the eggs and lemon. After separating the eggs, beating the whites and folding in the yolks, the recipe called for lemon juice to be added to the whites. The next step was to combine the meatball liquid with the lemon mixture. The technique used was to add 10 spoons of the meatball water into the lemon mixture, and then slowly add the lemon to the pot. My “soup” ended up more of a fluffy, white liquid somewhere between scrambled eggs and a loose sauce.

I thought the dish looked nothing like a soup and served the meatballs with a bit of the sauce on a plate with olive bread. I was skeptical about the whole thing but Ian loved it and couldn’t get enough (I should have made at least twice as many meatballs!). While cleaning up, he tasted the “broth” remaining in the pot and loved that just as much. He even insisted on saving it to use (somehow?) in another meal. Apparently, I had the flavors right on, and should have ignored the appearance and served the dish in bowls.

I’d like to do some more research into added eggs as thickener to soups and see if I can’t figure out the technique. Regardless, I will repeat the dish again, this time with more meatballs.

Evening meals for the week:

  • Tuna Stuffed Avocados and Spicy Relish for Cheese with Bread
  • Lesco (Hungarian Peppers and Tomatoes with Sausage) with Rice
  • Greek Lemon Meatballs with Olive Bread and Salad
  • Pesto Gnocchi with Fresh Mozzarella
  • Chicken (purchased from a van) with Roast Vegetables
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Onion, Mushroom and Ham Pizza
September 7, 2010 · Recipe · Comments Off on Spicy Relish for Cheese

Recipe from Berenice Garcia in the 2009 Chengdu International Women’s Club cookbook.

  • 500 g plums
  • 500 g apples
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 T ginger
  • 1 small Thai chili
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • 200 g/ 1 C white sugar
  • 75 g/ 1/2 C raisins
  • 250 ml cider vinegar
  • 3-4 dried figs (optional)


  1. Peel and chop apples and plums.
  2. Chop onion, ginger and chili.


  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer on medium heat for about 40 minutes.
  3. Serve with bread or crackers and cheeses.
September 7, 2010 · Weekly Menus and Recipes · Comments Off on First Roast Chicken

For my birthday, Ian gave me a large cast iron dutch oven. I had been talking earlier in the summer about having the free time to perfect roast chicken, so I thought I give it a try in the dutch oven. I have never roasted much of anything and tend to steer clear of chicken because it dries out so easily. However, after some research on the Food Network, I felt up to the job.

I kept the preparation simple. First I cut beets, potatoes, carrots and cauliflower into large chunks and placed them in the bottom of the Dutch oven. I added a lot of whole, peeled garlic cloves and then mixed all the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. I stuffed the chicken with more garlic and a whole lemon cut into halves. The final step was to rub the chicken with butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit of rosemary.

I place the whole dish (uncovered) into an oven preheated to 220 C and roasted for about an hour. In the meanwhile, I prepared accompanying sauteed fennel and garlic.

The end result was a simple, tasty and surprisingly juicy chicken. However, the vegetables were inconsistently cooked with some (especially the carrots) ranging from soft to almost raw. Next time I will forgo the Dutch oven (at least it served as inspiration) and roast in a wider, flatter roasting pan.

The best part of the entire meal was the soup I made the following day with the carcass in the same Dutch oven. Completely healthy and delicious, every time I tasted it I wished I’d remembered to write down how I did it! The basics were: leftover roasted vegetables (excluding the beets which I saved for salads), juices from the chicken that were left in the Dutch oven, additional carrots and potatoes, mushrooms, celery plus a lot of celery leaf, and brown rice.

My evening meals for the week were:

  • Fennel Salmon over White Beans and Shells with Salad
  • Leftover Chicken Soup with Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chicken, Peach, Raspberry and Walnut Salad over Arugula
  • Spaghetti