Thursday, August 31, 2006

Durian Pie

Now, I've read many times of the 'King of Fruits', the Durian, how its hard outer shell with spikes combined with its size and weight could seriously injure or kill the harvesters, if it were to fall on them, how, when it was ripe, it exuded this odour akin to pungently foul sweaty socks that pervades the whole house and drives some out of their home on smelling it, yet, despite these limitations to harvesting its fruit, when you actually overcame these obstacles, its custard like flesh revealed a wonderful experience and taste. So, I've been intrigued for a long while as to whether this was true. I've seen the whole fruit, frozen, in Chinese Supermarkets, though have been loathe to bring it in to my home, not knowing if I would be one of those it drove out of home, and suspect that like other fruits, being frozen, changes its qualities, and have had Durian shakes, and now, tried this Durian pie, but somehow, it doesn't quite live up to the romance and mystique one would expect of the 'King of Fruits'. Don't get me wrong, it's tasty enough, though I have yet to experience either the rotten smell or the custard-like qualities of the flesh. I would say that, like any fruit, one has to go to where they grow, and go about the time they ripen, and experience the qualities of this exotic fruit. For now, until I can accomplish that, I'll settle for trying it in various baked goods and other dishes.

Red Dragon Fruit

When I saw the name of this, I knew I had to try this. This fruit comes from Thailand, and, as you can see from the outside, looks quite interesting, very different from any fruit you can normally find in supermarkets or fruit vendors, though I have seen it in a regular supermarket. I bought this at the new T&T in Mississauga, it was one of the things that I picked up. Slicing it open, I wondered how interesting it would look on the inside. As you can see, it's far more interesting on the outside than on the inside, kind of disappointing in a way, I envisaged bright red flesh with large seeds, well, I don't know what. This kind of resembles to me, a kiwi fruit, how the flesh is, not the colour, but the consistency of the flesh and the tiny seeds. It smelled somewhat like a melon or cantaloupe does, and tasted pretty good, a subtle sweetness that is different than other fruits. I wonder if this would go well in a shake or smoothie, or perhaps in a jam. The fruit is definitely expensive, the one you see cost over $5, though that is likely due to shipping costs and the scarcity of it. Well worth a try, if you're in to exotic fruits.

Banana Honey Cake

I found the precursor to this recipe on a blog somewhere, in looking it up again, I believe it originally came from a magazine from the BBC (BBC GoodFood Magazine's 101 Cakes and Bakes), and was called Devonshire Honey Cake. Now, I really like this cake, it's become my current favourite, and I wouldn't want to change it for any reason. You can google the recipe, it's easy to find.

So, I was thinking the other day, what would it taste like if you added bananas. I know, I said I wouldn't want to change the recipe for any reason, but that's how a foodie's mind works. I wanted to make a new recipe. I have some in my freezer, you see, and am looking for ways to utilize them. And, I thought, this would be a good way, because I like banana cake, and caramel-toffee cake, which is what this honey cake kind of tastes like, with bananas, could be quite good. Well, it turned out well, a nice banana flavour throughout the toffee cake, though I would say that it needed a little more time for the centre to cook through, so watch that, perhaps up the time to closer to 55 minutes. Too, it seemed to puff up higher than the Honey cake. If you don't have or can't get muscovado sugar, you can substitute demerera sugar, I have done that, or perhaps even brown sugar, but the muscovado has a better flavour. When you boil the honey, butter and sugar for a minute, you are caramelizing the sugars, giving it a nice toffee flavour. The smell coming off this when it comes out of the oven is divine! A great afternoon coffee cake, or even for breakfast, like I had it this morning!

Banana Honey Cake
225 g sweet butter
250 g runny honey
100 g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
300 g (2-1/4 cups) self-rising flour
2 large very ripe bananas (3/4 cup)
2 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt butter, honey, and sugar slowly in a saucepan. Boil for one minute. Leave to cool (caramel will thicken).

Beat in eggs one at a time in the saucepan. Whisk in flour into egg caramel mixture in two batches. Mash ripe bananas; mix well into the flour mixture with a whisk.

Pour into the greased pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

Turn out the cake onto a wire rack. Warm 2 Tbsp honey in a small saucepan and brush over the top of the cake to glaze. Leave to cool.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pu'er Tea

My sister and her husband gave me this package of Pu'er Tea for my birthday. Pu'er tea is a special green tea, different from all other teas, in that it actually gets better the longer it ages, like a fine wine. The tea leaves come from Yunnan Province in China, in Banshan Mountain. The leaves are black on the top and maroon on the bottom. Pu'er tea is different too, in that they package the leaves in bricks, rather than the normal loose leaves. You break off a small piece, 2-3 grams, and pour 100 degree C water over it in a pre-warmed cup. The taste too is different, mellow with an earthy taste, and a long pleasant aftertaste. According to this package, this Pu'er tea is not only a healthy product, but it will create unlimited grace and colour in your career, and will purify your soul. Sounds good to me!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mississauga T&T Chinese Supermarket

I drove by on Thursday, and noticed it was finally open! It looks like they are already having parking problems, too many people coming, though perhaps they have Grand Opening specials that are attracting the people.

Five Novi Chocolate Bars

I decided to try these five different chocolate bars from an Italian chocolate company called Novi, in existence since 1903. I have never tried Italian chocolate before, and was interested in seeing the difference between how they make it and other European chocolate makers. The ingredients look good, mostly natural ingredients with cocoa as the main ingredient with cocoa butter and paste, followed by sugar, soya lecithin and vanilla. If it is true, I like how they use the natural vanilla instead of the artificial vanillin that appears in many chocolate bars. The three bars in the one picture show their "Le Terre del Cocao" or "World of Cocoa" line, one from Grenada, with 80% cocoa content, one from Ecuador, with 75% cocoa content, and one from Ghana, with 65% cocoa content. The other picture shows two chocolate bars with hazelnuts in them, one with whole hazelnuts and extra bitter chocolate, the other with the Gianduja-type hazelnut paste. The cocoa within there is a mixture of African and South American cocoas. Each of the bars was between $3.50 and $4.

I have tried one of the bars, the darkest 80% chocolate from Grenada, and it tastes pretty good, it melts properly in the mouth and hand, indicating that it does have cocoa butter in it.

Ginger Chews

I bought these wonderful ginger chews, made by a company in California who call themselves The Ginger People, they make several products with ginger in them, including crystallized ginger made from Australian baby ginger and cane sugar in ready-cut sizes for easy incorporation into baked goods. These ginger chews are sweet and spicy hot, the recipe for these comes from Southeast Asia. They recommend too, trying the ginger tea you can make just by pouring hot water over a couple of the candies and stirring, but I think it loses its hotness this way. I find the cartoon on their packaging funny as well, the anthropomorphized ginger-person eating its own kind in candy format is ludicrous in a way! These seem to be more available in specialty food stores than in supermarkets.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chinese Sweet Red Bean Paste Bread

I invented this recipe, after trying the white bread version I bought from T&T, an excellent Chinese grocery, they have several locations in the Toronto area, including a brand new one less than five minutes away from me, I can't wait till they are open. I normally don't eat white bread, used to as a kid, though I would need five or more slices to fill my growing body, as opposed to 2 or 3 of the whole wheat versions, though I still like it as toast, with butter, but this bread is different, if I didn't tell you there was cheese in it, you wouldn't guess, but you would know if was different than normal bread. I think the sweet red bean paste, which you can buy in Chinese groceries, or make your own, which I did, works well with the dough. I have used this dough to make other similar kinds of breads, both savoury and sweet, which also worked well, I'll write about them in later entries.

Chinese Sweet Red Bean Paste Bread
150 g Quark Cheese, liquid removed (or ricotta, or pressed cottage cheese)
6 tbsp Milk
6 tbsp Oil
75 g Sugar
3 tsp Vanilla Sugar
pinch salt
300 g Flour, sifted
3 tsp Baking Powder
sufficient sweet red bean paste to cover whole surface of rolled dough (1 to 1-1/2 cups)

Remove most of the liquid from the cheese (Note: weight of cheese is without liquid). Combine cheese, milk, oil, sugars and salt. Stir until smooth.

Combine flour and baking powder. Add half the flour mixture by tablespoonfuls to the cheese mixture. Knead in the rest of the flour mixture.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle of 30x40 cm size (the short end must fit into a bread pan). Spread bean paste evenly over the whole surface of the dough. Roll up the dough by the short side and place into a greased bread pan. Score the top several times to a depth of 1/2 cm. Bake at 350F for approx. 45 minutes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Green Bags

On one hand, having fruit and vegetables last more than a month is very tempting, often I've taken food home, only to have it go bad in three or four days, on the other hand, having food last that long makes me think that there's something not natural about it. And, given that during the summer months, there is always a surplus of delicious goods available at the market, more than you can usually eat, you almost have to gorge yourself sometimes, the amount that the farmers give for the small amount of coin you hand over, having that food last more than a week or two is great. So, I was intrigued by the idea of these new kind of bags, Debbie Meyer's EvertFresh Green Bags™, they were on sale on The Shopping Channel, which are made of a natural mineral that absorb and remove the ethylene gases responsible for ripening, and ultimately rotting, fruits and vegetables and flowers. Apples give off the most ethylene, you can put an apple in with your other fruit, and they will ripen quickly; too, bananas naturally ripen because they are dosed with ethylene gas. Just wrap your fruit in a bag, and keep it on your counter, or in the crisper, and it will keep much longer than normal. The bags are also re-usable, up to eight times. Now, I've had mixed results so far, the bananas I put in, seemed to collect water and could have gone bad faster; but I was able to keep farm fresh tomatoes for several weeks, they tasted pretty good still when I ate them today. The list of fruits and vegetables that you can put in these bags is quite long, you can also put cut flowers in there, and they'll stay fresh much longer. I'll have to experiment more, to find out just how effective they are.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fried Cabbage

My sister makes this occasionally, and it's always well received. The cabbage turns out quite tender, and the acidity of the vinegar balances the sweetness of the cabbage and the sugar. Use a more firm apple, like a Golden Delicious, otherwise the apple will turn to mush.

Fried Cabbage
2 Tbsp butter or oil
1 whole medium head green cabbage, core removed and shredded
1 apple, cored and cut into chunks
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter on medium heat until melted in large pan or electric griddle, then add shredded cabbage and brown sugar. Cook for 10-30 minutes, until soft. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, halfway through time.

Guinness Cake

The blog that I got this off, called this cake The Dark Lady, and I believe it originally came from a Nigella Lawson recipe for Guinness cake. Either way, it turned out quite fantastic, dark and moist and delicious, definitely a cake I will make again. My brother-in-law had one negative comment, in that it needed more beer. But, he's not one for sweets or cake or chocolate, really, beer is his thing, I imagine he would have liked drinking the Guinness I made it with, rather than eating it in a cake.

Golden Nuts

Likely, I will find chocolate bars with hazelnuts and dark chocolate few and far between. This milk chocolate one, from a Gold-medal winning German Chocolate company, in operation since 1895. I like the fact that it features whole hazelnuts, you can see them in the picture. It only has 30% cocoa, unfortunately, but was only a little over $2.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hong Shao Rou - Chairman Mao's Pork

This recipe is also called Chairman Mao's Pork, as it was one of his favourite dishes, and comes from his hometown. Every family has their own recipe. In China, the pork used has several layers of fat, it comes from the hip of the pig. They enjoy the fat and oil and often put lots of sugar in there as well. It is very similar to the Xinjiang-style chicken recipe that I posted last week, it is a very versatile recipe, you can use any type of meat. Normally, this recipe does not have any vegetables in it, but my brother-in-law and my sister prefer and make it that way. The vegetables apparently will soak up a lot of the oil. We also had cooked lemon balm with it, it was drizzled with a Chinese sauce. Lemon balm is good for lowering the internal heat of the body, and is thus often eaten during the hot summer months. It has a wonderful slight lemon smell to it, and tastes lemony, as well.

Chairman Mao's Pork
Pork tenderloin (with fat attached)
Sichuan peppercorn (approx. 20)
Star anise (5-6)
3 tbsp. Oil
2 tbsp. Sugar
2" piece ginger, sliced
Cooking alcohol, splash
2-3 cups hot water
Soya sauce (optional)
Salt to taste
6 medium potatoes
one whole head cauliflower

Cut the meat into bite sized pieces. Pour oil into wok and heat till it smokes, then add sugar and allow it to caramelize, swirling the oil and sugar in the wok (the wok will smoke a lot at this time). Add the pork and cover immediately, keeping on high heat. After a minute, uncover, then stir pork till all the pieces are browned. Add a splash of alcohol. Continue cooking for a minute or two, then add the hot water.

Add the ginger, the szechuan pepper and the star anise. Add splash of soya sauce at this time, if desired. Cook covered, for one hour, stirring occasionally, and reducing heat to medium low. Add water, if level of liquid gets too low during cooking time.

Prepare potatoes, cleaning and removing eyes, but not peeling the skin off, into medium chunks. Clean and cut cauliflower into large pieces. Add salt when 60% through cooking time, sprinkling over top, then stirring it in. Add cauliflower pieces when 75% through cooking time, stirring the meat and vegetables together.

Add cubed potatoes at one hour point. Cook till soft, mixing in the potatoes with the meat, about 10 minutes.

Cooked Lemon Balm

Take a large bunch of lemon balm, and clean it well in cold water. Bring an inch of water to boil in a pot, then submerse the lemon balm for 30 seconds to one minute, until tiny bubbles form around the leaves. Drain water from lemon balm in colander. Make a sauce of 1 Tbsp soya sauce, dash of sesame oil and a dash of oyster sauce and drizzle over.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

One more pic of the La Mian Noodles

My sister wondered why I didn't post a pic of myself, so here I am, showing off my talents making the pulled noodles.

My new pepper grinder

My sister-in-law has one of these, at least the salt-grinder version, and I thought it was kind of cool, and I was looking for a pepper grinder, so I bought one. It's designed to be a one-handed pepper grinder, and works quite well.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Shrimp with Eggs and Ginger

On Monday, a holiday in Canada, my talented brother-in-law worked up a quick lunch for all of us, essentially scrambled eggs with shrimp and sliced ginger, to give it a kick. Quite tasty and easy to make. The shrimp was already cooked, peeled, deveined with the tails on, bought frozen. He first warmed them up by putting them in warm water. The shrimp and eggs were served over short-grain rice, the kind that is found and used mostly in Northern China (long grain rice is normally used in the South of China), he also cooked them with a little extra water to make them sticky. My sister asked me if she thought it tasted like crab, as apparently shrimp and eggs together is supposed to taste of crab, but I don't, or didn't, get that.

Xinjiang Style Chicken with La Mian Noodles

On Sunday, my brother-in-law made a special Chinese dish from the Northwest of China. He also made the special La Mian or Pulled Noodles, from a recipe that his mother showed him. It was the first time he had made them, and they turned out quite well. You can see him pulling a noodle in the one picture. It's a technique that requires a lot of practice, I think. We all tried our hand at it, and got fairly good by the end. The sugar added at the beginning gives the meat and sauce colour and flavour, this is done in the North of China, while in the South, they prefer the chicken to have no added colour. Too, the wine reacts with the sugar chemically to give it colour and flavour. You can buy Chinese cooking wine that works well, but use your favourite wine, anything you have on hand, if you don't have any. The star anise is not traditionally part of this dish, though I did google one recipe of a Xinjaing-style chicken that did have it, so omit if you don't like the taste or don't have any, and feel free to add more, if you like it. This dish is not hot at all, at least to my tastes, I thought it would be, given the number of dried chili peppers and the Szechuan pepper, but it was not really hot at all. Of course, if you like it hot, feel free to add more. Szechuan pepper may be hard to get in the States, as it's been banned due to it being a vector for a Citrus virus. We have no problem getting it here in Canada. You can always replace the whole chicken with boneless breast or thighs, cutting down the quantities of the other ingredients, or just use breast or legs or thighs on the bone, and don't chop them with your cleaver. If you do use the whole chicken, be careful of the chopped bones, there could be sharp edges, too, there are small chicken bones that you could accidentally bite on or even swallow. I would think that this would be a dish that most North Americans would have a problem with, for one it includes the bones and skin, also, the bones are broken, allowing some of the marrow to cook out. But give it a try, the taste is wonderful!

Xinjiang Style Chicken with La Mian Noodles
1 whole chicken
2 Tbsp oil
2-3 Tbsp sugar
splash of wine
2 cups water
soya sauce, optional
5 star anise (more if desired)
tsp szechuan pepper
dried chili peppers (to taste, 5 to 10)
8 medium potatoes
4 medium tomatoes
2 tsp salt
La Mian noodles (recipe below)

Cut whole chicken into bite-size pieces, chopping through bone with a cleaver. Take care in removing shards of bone. Pour oil into wok and heat till it smokes, then add sugar and allow it to caramelize, swirling the oil and sugar in the wok (the wok will smoke a lot at this time). Add the chicken and cover immediately, keeping on high heat. After a minute, uncover, then stir chicken till all the pieces are browned. Add a splash of wine. Continue cooking for a minute or two, then add the water. Add the szechuan pepper and the star anise. Add splash of soya sauce at this time, if desired. Cook covered, for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally, and reducing heat to medium low. Add water, if level of liquid gets too low during cooking time.

Prepare potatoes, cleaning and removing eyes, but not peeling the skin off, into medium chunks. Slice tomatoes into large wedges.

Add tomatoes to meat, about halfway through cooking time; stir in.

Add salt when 80% through cooking time, sprinkling over top, then stirring it in. Add cubed potatoes at one hour point. Cook till soft, mixing in the potatoes with the meat, about 10 minutes.

Add La Mian noodles at end; cook till soft, about 2-3 minutes.

La Mian Noodles
2 cups flour
warm water

Mix flour with enough warm water to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough, using the heel of the hand to push the edge into the centre of the dough, rotating it as you go. Cover with a wet towel for one hour. Continue kneading, until dough begins to soften and become more elastic. Cover with wet towel until ready to use. When ready, cut off section of dough, then flatten with rolling pin, and slice off long sections of dough. Pick up with two hands and twirl the dough, stretching, or pulling it, hence the name, until it is 1-1/2 times the beginning length. Make sure all parts of the length are thin. Repeat with remaining dough.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Weird things you ate as a child

A friend of mine told me at work, that as a child, he would take brown sugar, about a handful, and add to it vanilla, mix it up, and eat it with a spoon. It tasted kind of like fudge, but how bizarre, and how does one think of that? It got me to thinking, we all ate things as a child that we would never think of eating as an adult, conversely, as an adult, usually our tastes are more refined, we eat a lot of things we hated as children. I'm not talking about ethnic food here, either, what is normal for one culture is weird in another. I eat lots of ethnic food these days, more so than traditional German or North American foods, Indian and Thai/Vietnamese, among others. Likewise, what we eat for breakfast here, could be eaten totally in different time of day in another country. And parts of the animal that people in North America turn their noses up to, like kidneys, or liver, or brain or tongue, are eaten with relish in other areas of the world. Well, even in North America.

I remember eating brown sugar sandwiches as a child, just buttered white bread spread with brown sugar, awesome! Honey, what would you like to eat tonight? A sugar sandwich, please! Not happening. An old friend of mine said he used to broil his brown sugar sandwiches for a moment or two, the sugar melted and caramelized. Now, that would have been interesting. My brother used to eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches, though his twist was putting a slice of salami between the peanut butter and the honey. I have tasted that, and it was fairly good, but I can see how others may have found it quite strange. I witnessed this fellow put Orange Quench, this fruit crystal drink, in milk! Orange milk! He drank it, and suffered no ill effects. My best friend as a child used to love gravy sandwiches, just white bread smothered in beef gravy. Any number of highly sugared breakfast cereals, which turned the milk red or blue or green or brown, I thought this was great as a child, I can't bear nowadays because I find them too sweet. Too, they're not at all healthy. For the longest while, I ate this concoction, well, more as a young adult, a healthy breakfast that included rice polishings, wheat germ, carob, lecithin, spirulina, dulse powder and nutritional yeast, with yogurt, it ended up being a brown goop, that tasted, at least to me, great.

What are some of the weird things you ate as a child?

Double Chocolate Oat Cookies

This recipe comes from The Quaker Oats Company, the book I got it from is called The Quaker Oats Treasury of Best Recipes. The people at work like it, especially one lady, who asked for the recipe. She either made it at home, or brought some of mine, because her family, particularly her young son, liked them too. Her son liked them so much, he thought that he'd try to make them himself. So, she came home one evening to find the smell of freshly baked cookies filling her home. But, and you knew there was a but, she soon discovered that the young amateur baker, had used salt instead of the sugar called for in the recipe! And, he ate them anyways! Now, that's how good they are!

Really, though, they make a good chocolatey oatmeal cookie, chewy and soft in the center, and dead easy to make.

Double Chocolate Oat Cookies
12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate pieces, divided, about 2 cups
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Heat oven to 375F. Melt 1 cup chocolate pieces in small saucepan or double boiler; set aside. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy; add melted chocolate, egg and vanilla. Add combined flour, oats, baking powder, salt and baking soda; mix well. Stir in remaining chocolate pieces.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

Elderflower syrup from IKEA

I came across this interesting syrup in the food part of the IKEA store, I have tried other kinds of elderflower syrups and drinks that were great tasting, and wanted to compare this. That it came from IKEA was an odd thing, I kind of had mixed feelings as to whether it would be good at all. I like the golden yellow colour of the syrup in the bottle, and the ingredients were simple and looked to be pure, but I knew that it would be not as good as others I had tasted, simply because of the ingredient citric acid listed. Citric acid is what gives a lot of lemonades its sourness, it also can be found on sour candies. But I prefer the sourness to come from the lemon rather than a cheap shortcut. I was disappointed by the flavour of this elderflower drink, the colour of it was really pale yellow, and, while it did taste a lot like the elderflower drinks I like, the underlying citric acid ruined it for me. Overall, not bad, but I don't think I'll buy it again.

Interesting footnote, it tasted much better when we tried it with sparkling water.

Two interesting Chocolate bars

I came across these two chocolate bars made by the company Tschibo in Germany, known more for their fine coffees, so I was intrigued by the type of cocoa the two were made from, I knew I had to try them. I had heard about cocoa from Venezuela, that it is supposed to be some of the best in the world, so I was pleased to see that one of them was made from cocoa from the San Vincente region in Venezuela, and that I could try some finally. The San Vincente chocolate bar contains 42% cocoa, so it's definitely a milk chocolate, for those who prefer dark chocolate, like me, and it's described as Full-Cream Milk. The packaging on the back talks about the cocoa from the San Vincente region, A gift of nature, nurtured in the best plantations of northern Venezuela's San Vincente region: premium cocoa made for sheer milk chocolate indulgence.And indulgence it is, it is definitely creamy and quite tasty, melting in your mouth easily like a good chocolate should. I wonder if the San Vincente region is located within the Andes, the mountains that travel the length of South America, and separate Venezuela from Colombia. I have not read or heard much about cocoa from Santo Domingo, an island in the Caribbean, and can only go with what it says on the back of the packaging, Bursting with the natural riches of the Caribbean, ripened on the island of Hispaniola in the sheltered southern valleys of the Carenero region: sheer dark chocolate indulgence from superb quality cocoa.This chocolate bar has 54% cocoa, and also has coffee-crisp in it. I like the greater amount of cocoa in this bar. I found both of these bars in Shopper's Drugmart, odd, they seem to be branching out, I saw too some chocolate from France and Switzerland that I will try out to.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yellow Mountain MaoFeng Green Tea

My sister brought me this new tea from China, they've arrived to stay in Canada to stay for the rest of the year. It comes from the Yellow Mountains in China, known for spectacular views from the heights, rolling fog and humidity, steep rock faces, hot springs and small mountain pines. And that you can't see the ground because of the clouds from the top. The Rockies in the West of Canada would be very similar, I would think. My sister tells me that Mao Tse Tung recommended it, and I have read that it is one of China's Ten Famous teas. The leaves are picked in the Spring when they are young; they only contain a bud and a single unfolding leaf. There are no broken leaves, apparently, as they are picked out during processing. That there are whole leaves and no broken parts is a mark of a great tea. The tea itself tastes quite good, again a little bitter in the first steeping, and more sweet in the second. The scent of the fresh green tea leaves when opening the package is quite strong and invigorating, and I like how the leaves unfurl after being steeped, you can see how thin they look all curled up. Not as dramatic as one tea I have, those have huge leaves.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

My brother met his wife when they were together in the government Katimavik program in the early 80's, it's a program designed to give young people experience, not only in living in a number of different places, but in different societies too. They live part of the time in the Yukon, part of the time in Saskatchewan, and the rest in Quebec. One of the main things that they did learn, was to cook, they rotated in who would do the cooking. There was a lot of vegetarian-style meals served, as there was little meat to go around. This recipe is one that survived past the experience, the two of them made it several times after that, but soon graduated to a bread maker when they got their own house. Potato water is the water used to boil potatoes, you keep it instead of pouring it down the drain. You must make sure not to heat the water-oil-honey mixture too hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast. The bread itself is quite tasty, fairly solid, and good when toasted. I imagine that it could be adapted to a bread maker style recipe, but it's easy enough to make, with good results that can be duplicated.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups whole wheat bread flour, plus 1 additional cup
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 Tbsp salt
2 pkg. dry yeast
3 cups water or potato water
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp oil
4 to 4-1/2 cups white bread flour

Heat in saucepan until warm, the water, honey and oil.

Combine in mixer bowl, the 3 cups whole wheat flour, dry milk, salt and dry yeast.

Pour warm (not hot) liquid over flour mixture. Beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes.

Stir in additional cup of whole wheat flour and white flour.

Knead 5 minutes, using additional white flour, if necessary. Place in a well-greased bowl, turn to coat dough, and let it rise in a warm place until it is double in size. Punch down, then divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in greased 9x5-inch bread pans. Cover and let rise 40-45 minutes. Bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes.