I love the interview article with Ruth Reichl in the Spectrum from the weekend SMH as part of the upcoming Crave Sydney Festival. Ms Reichl talks about how we need to get back into our kitchens and cook. And in turn change the way kids eat these days. And the message isn't about shoving vegetables into our kids diets or going into every diet-health-fad-bandwagon. Its about eating together, sharing meals and connecting.
Much to my frustration, I used to do just that. Cook and prepare meals with vegetables, only to have teeny tiny bits pushed on every side of the plate. So I've stopped. Vegetables are now served as is, with meats and chicken, or in pasta, in salads and they just get when they want. The rule is, don't say you don't like it until you've tasted it. And it works, for the most part. But we're not rushing. We share meals every day, and in the weekends. Although sometimes it can get animated, more talking from the young ones than the grown ups, its a happy place to be. Reichl says, "... the power of dinner, for me, is not so much that it has to be the greatest meal, but that you hear about what's going on in everyone's lives." Enough said.
Now speaking of vegetables, let me introduce you to this simple classic Filipino dish. The base is mainly vegetables, but there's variations like adding chicken strips or prawns. Usually served as a side for meat or chicken dishes, or part of the main. Quick. Simple. Easy. You can make this for a weekday dinner or lunch, or make big portions for a party.
To make chopsuey:
(Print the recipe)
(Print the recipe)
1 carrot, sliced into discs
1 red capsicum, sliced into squares or strips
1/4 cabbage, sliced
1 pack (about 100-150g) young corn
150g snow peas
150g button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoon corn starch
salt and pepper to taste
6 pieces cooked/boiled quail eggs, shells peeled
In a shallow pan or skillet, heat the oil and saute the garlic and onions.
Add all the vegetables and half the water. Bring to a boil.
Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
With the remaining 1/2 cup water, dissolved the corn starch.
Add to the vegetables, then let simmer until vegetables are cooked and sauce has thickened.
Add the quail eggs and turn off heat.
For variation: Add about 250g of chicken strips or prawns. Add this after sauteing the garlic and onions and let simmer until cooked before adding the vegetables.
There are other ways to make chopsuey, but this version is the easiest I've ever made. Sometimes, we just have to rely on the taste rather than the process of how its traditionally prepared. As long as its shared with family and friends, over stories that will be heard and shared in years to come.
Ruth Reichl will be one of the food industry experts at the Crave Sydney World Chef Showcase first weekend of October 2012. If you're in Sydney, check out the program here.