Day Seven
Wednesday August 11, 2004
Woke up to another chilly, windy and wet morning.

I packed China-Li a double lunch of chicken, (Again? Hey! it's her favourite!) and shredded vegetables in sun-dried tomato tortilla wrap, fresh vegetable chunks, chocolate cupcake, cantaloupe and cheese strings. After she finishes work at the hospital, she will head to a small town called Onanole as a St. John Ambulance volunteer. Not sure if you non-Canadian readers are familiar with the R.C.M.P. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) ceremonies. They are performing their precision musical ride (all on horseback) at the country fair this evening. BTW, I am also a member of the R.C.M.P. WAIT!  I am not an officer, but I am an advisor on the Commissioner's Cultural Diversity Committee.

Because of the weather, we will be eating comfort food today. Breakfast for the two of us was a bowl of hot Red River cereal. This is an unadulterated mixture of three whole grains -- wheat, rye and flax, which originated in Manitoba's Red River Valley. It is a great "cleanser" after food binges ;-)  I ate mine with brown sugar and milk. Bill must have his pushed into a mound, and the milk forming a moat around his porridge.

Some days, I feel like I am back in time; back in the restaurant! I barely got through my cereal before the phone started ringing. One of our old customers called up for my "bad cold fixes."  I used to dispense this foul herbal tea to my customers if they have a cold, the flu, or just a hang over ;-)

They also asked for some of my kick-ass hot 'n' sour soup. It comes with a guarantee to clear up sinuses! So, out came my soup pot, Chinese mushrooms, wood ear, bamboo shoots, chili paste, vinegar, ginger and chicken stock.

While that was simmering, our grandson Soulin called and asked for his favourite lunch stuff: mini-pizza swirls. He's at mini-university (a day camp for kids at our alma mater and place of employment, Brandon University). At least my kitchen got warm and cozy :-)

I took a snack break with papaya while the pizza dough was rising.  Only half of the fruit was ripe, so I saved the green parts for soup this evening. 

Soulin likes pepperoni, green peppers and cheese on his pizza. These were easy to make up, baked for 20 minutes in a moderate oven, and I put some in the freezer for China's lunches.

For lunch, Bill and I had savory tang yuen. As I was getting the ingredients together, the phone rang again. It was CyraCom International, an interpreter service out of Tucson, Arizona.  Even when I don't log on, the calls come through automatically as I am their only Toisanese interpreter on the roster. Most of the calls are from hospitals and immigration at ports-of-entry. By the end, I was pretty distracted. This always creates problems.

Turning back to make lunch, I reached blindly into the pantry for the glutinous rice flour to make the dumplings. The daikon was julienned and boiled. What a foul smell, but oh so essential and delicious in this soup. After removing the daikon, I dropped in the dumplings.

Half an hour later, they still hadn't floated to the top. I took one out, cut into it, solid!  I threw those out, thinking I didn't add enough water in making the dough. The same thing happened with the second batch. :-(  Then I got the bright idea to check the date on the flour package.  Guess what . . .  I had grabbed the ordinary rice flour and not the GLUTINOUS rice flour.  Even if I boiled them for another hour, they would still not be light and chewy. LOL!

I made the new batch with the proper rice flour. This time, the dumplings floated in just a few minutes. I added the lap cheung, dried shrimp meat, silkened lean pork and the cooked daikon. The tang was worth waiting for. It's one that will stick to your ribs. Bill was able to tackle about six dumplings . . .  with help from Atticus ;-)

For an added crunch, I opened my last package of "instant jelly fish."  I don't know why I love this stuff . . . rubber bands with chili/sesame oil. Bill doesn't like them, and even Atticus turned up his nose!

I finished the hot 'n' sour soup with silkened sliced chicken, BBQ pork, shrimp and tofu. The cornstarch rubbed into the chicken was enough to thicken the soup.  It was picked up shortly after.

I have some chicken pieces in the fridge, tofu, ground pork, leftover wood ear, mushrooms, and the green papaya. I think I see supper forming up . . . 


With this cooler weather, and the way I've been using chilis, banana and habanero peppers, one would think I was stoking up my internal stove for winter. ;-)

One chicken thigh and a breast were hiding in the fridge. These I browned quickly in a small cast iron casserole. I added a splash of cooking wine and light soya, the leftover wood ear, Chinese mushrooms, gum choy (lily buds), and some chicken stock. The dish went into the oven at 350F, with the lid on. There really wasn't enough for three people, so I decided to save this dish for China-Li as a late night supper. She's not back from her volunteer job yet.

For Bill and myself, I made ma pao tofu with ground pork.  Wow! This is the second item we've eaten today that didn't require much chewing, and I still have all my teeth. LOL!

I had saved some green papaya from the early afternoon snack. The bone from a piece of pork butte steak was used to make a clear broth. After simmering the bone while the rice cooked, I added a few slices of pork and the papaya. Even though it seemed a shame to cook this beautiful fruit, it did make a nice soup that is beneficial for the lungs and digestion.

With the now boneless pork butte steak, I sliced it into thin strips, added seasoning, cornstarch and oil and put it into a shallow bowl. On top of this, I added chopped preserved mustard greens (mui choy) on my half, and thin slices of preserved turnip (ham choy) and habanero peppers on Bill's half.  ;-)  I steamed this in my wok.  I know, I know. You are not supposed to use your wok for steaming, but I do. razz!

Vegetables are a must for me. Tonight, I had a dish of bok choy, stir-fried with garlic and slivers of ginger.

A dish of chocolate ice-cream was our last dessert!

This has been a hectic week for me, but made very enjoyable by the opportunity to share my cooking with you.

I already have a Web site dedicated to many food-related topics:

The experience of doing this blog was so satisfying that I have adapted it to Web page format for display at:

I've thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with other eGulleteers that this medium has provided. I look forward to an ongoing interchange with fellow foodies.

Dejah has left the building . . . 


Copyright 2004/2013
Bill and Sue-On Hillman, Inc.