Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chinese New Year - Year of the Horse

The "Chinese New Year" was on January 31, 2014 and it is the "Year of the Horse."  I'm late as it is the 11th of February.  But the "Year of the Horse" is a whole calendar year and we can celebrate it throughout.

In the USA, Chinese food is one of the 3 most eaten ethnic foods.  Mexican and Italian are the other two. Just like the Mexican and Italian food, Chinese food has been Americanized.  Yes, you can find authentic food of all 3 in the USA, but it is not the norm.

In fact, one of the most popular dishes eaten in the USA is "Crab Rangoon."  I'd say 90% of all Chinese Restaurants in the USA offer this dish.  It is not of Chinese origin.  It has several claims to where it came from but no one knows for sure.

The Chinese do not have "Cream Cheese" in their ingredient pool.  One of the claims comes from Burma (from when they were under English rule) and the English don't have that ingredient in their pool either.  The other claim comes from the restaurant chain, "Trader Vic's" from around 1956 in San Francisco.   It really doesn't matter where it came from, just that it is loved by so many.

I have included a recipe for "Crab Rangoon" this week and it will be on the blog tomorrow.  In fact, it is just in time too.  February 13th (Thursday) is "National Crab Rangoon Day" in the USA.  For those of you from around the world that read my blog, if you haven't tried it - you need to have one or two.  It's very hard to only eat one.  If you don't have access to cream cheese, try Neufchatel, Mascarpone or Boursin cheeses.

Also, "Crab Rangoon" is know by other names in the USA.  A few are "Crab Puffs", "Crab Pillows" and "Crab Cheese Wontons."

The second recipe this week is for "Fried Rice" and is extremely versatile.  It's a great source for using up some leftover foods. First item is rice.  Anytime you cook rice, you always want to cook more than you need rather than less or right at the required amount.  So using leftover rice saves you the step of cooking more rice.  Leftover proteins are great too.  Cooked chicken, pork or beef can be diced up for the fried rice.  The same holds true for leftover vegetables.  The recipe I'm giving you this week is one that can easily be changed to adapt to ingredients on hand.  In fact, the fried rice doesn't have to be the entree.  It could be used as a side dish to go with something you've already planned for a meal.

Actually the same can be said for any "Stir-fries" you make.  There is the recipe to follow and then when needed, leftovers to use up.  It changes up that item too from it's original style of dish you made.

Well, enjoy the "Year of the Horse" and trying Chinese food from time to time.  "Happy Cooking" until next week.

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