Classic Saltimbocca

Classic Saltimbocca

Classic Saltimbocca

This Italian specialty has a number of variations, but the version pictured above captures the essential elements of the Classic form. Here, thin slices of veal are rolled around Prosciutto and fresh Sage leaves, then pan-fried and finished in a sauce incorporating Marsala Wine and Butter.

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A serving of Classic Shepherd's Pie

A serving of Classic Shepherd's Pie

Classic Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

When I was a kid growing up in England, Roast Lamb was a very popular Sunday dinner. In many households, that Sunday dinner would invariably be followed, sometime later in the week, by that old leftovers stand-by, Shepherd’s pie.

Nowadays, of course, many people use ground Beef instead of Lamb but, strictly speaking, that is a Cottage Pie. The basic pie traditionally consists simply of ground cooked Lamb, usually with added Onion, baked under a topping of mashed Potato. Naturally, there are endless permutations on the theme, but the recipe here represents the most basic form of this classic dish.

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Three-Cup Chicken - 三杯雞

Three-Cup Chicken - 三杯雞

Three-Cup Chicken – 三杯雞

In Chinese cuisine, a ‘three-cups’ dish is one in which the main ingredient, traditionally Chicken, is cooked in a cup each of Soy Sauce, Rice Wine and Sesame Oil, although, in actual practice, any volume of each can be used as long as they are in equal amounts.

The dish apparently originated in Jiangxi Province in Southern China but is nowadays more closely associated with Taiwan where the basic recipe has been enhanced by the addition of fresh basil leaves towards the end of cooking. That enhancement is employed in the version you see pictured above.

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Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

This dish certainly has its roots in Chinese cuisine, but it is very much a Westernized dish, especially with its use of Broccoli florets, and a somewhat heavily sweetened sauce.

 It is so popular that it can be found in most Chinese restaurants in the West, even those with more traditional Chinese dishes on the menu, and there are probably few people who have never had it at least once. Indeed, this easy to prepare dish is so common and widely enjoyed that it can now be regarded as a genuine classic.

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Veal Piccata

A Classic Veal Piccata Recipe

Veal Piccata is one of those classics of Italian cuisine that most people have heard about and which almost always appears on the menus of the more upmarket Italian restaurants. Essentially, it is Veal Scaloppini dish in which the thinly sliced veal cutlets are pan-fried and served in a lemon and caper pan-reduction sauce. It requires a deft hand for frying the thin cutlets, but the basic dish is pretty simple to prepare.

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Homemade Ratatouille
Homemade Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a famous braised vegetable preparation from Provence in the South of France. The main ingredients typically include Eggplant, Tomato, Onion, and Bell Peppers, but Zucchini and Fennel often appear, with Mushrooms and Black Olives being added in some versions. It can be served as a hot, as a vegetarian casserole or vegetable side dish, and, once cooled, can be served as a relish, or used as an ingredient in more complex preparations.


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Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs - 番茄炒蛋
Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs – 番茄炒蛋

Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs – 番茄炒蛋

I have heard, or read, a huge number of Chinese people, cooks and non-cooks alike, who claim that 番茄炒蛋, or Eggs gently scrambled with Tomatoes, is the first dish they ever learned to prepare themselves. It is certainly a popular dish amongst students, and at modest family meals, not only because it is delicious, but because it so incredibly simple to make. The humble meal may consist of nothing more that the requisite Tomatoes and Eggs, along with maybe a pinch or two of Sugar, or it may get considerably more complex with all sorts of other additions, much like an Omelet, or Scrambled Eggs in the West. The recipe for the version here is a touch more complex than the most basic form of Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs, but it is still remarkably simple.


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Vichyssoise - Cold Leek and Potato Soup
Vichyssoise – Cold Leek and Potato Soup

Vichyssoise

Two things… First of all, the name of this Classic Soup is pronounced ‘Vishee-SWAAZZ’. Many North Americans pronounce it ‘Vishee-SWAH’, as though omitting the final consonant were the truly refined and properly Frenchified pronunciation. It isn’t.

Secondly, thick soups of pureed leek and potato have been around forever, but the version created in the early 20th Century and named ‘Vichyssoise’ has traditionally been served cold, often at very formal meals. Personally, I like this type of soup served nicely chilled, but I also love it served piping hot with crusty bread. In French cuisine, a hot ‘Vichyssoise’ would more properly be called a ‘Potage a la Parmentier’.

Of course, you could always just call it ‘Leek and Potato Soup’


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Imperial Concubine Chicken
Imperial Concubine Chicken

Imperial Concubine Chicken

According to Chinese culinary tradition, some emperor or other once had a favorite mistress who enjoyed a particular chicken dish so much that it was eventually named after her. Now, it may well be that there were hundreds of imperial concubines running about with favorite chicken dishes of their own, or perhaps there was just one with highly diverse gastronomic tastes, because there are many, many versions of this classic dish.  One version, being chicken braised with rice wine, bamboo shoots and mushrooms, is reproduced here…


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Enoki Beef Rolls
Enoki Beef Rolls

Enoki Beef Rolls are a common addition to Japanese Restaurant menus (here in Canada, at least). Basically, they consist of Enokitake  (Enoki Mushrooms) wrapped in thin slices of beef and then grilled with some sort of sweetish glaze. Commonly, the glaze is some variation of a Teriyaki Sauce, but I have used a commercially prepared Eel Sauce from Kikkoman in this recipe.


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