Celebrate Summer – Grill It!

The weather personnel warned people that it is going to reach 100 degrees today, pretty much like the past couple days. Yesterday was 101 degrees, which was unbearable. We were warned not to fire up the grill outside. But we have already made plans to have a barbecue lunch with friends today. Summer is always hot anyway. And we can’t grill in the winter. What is it going to be, grill or no grill?

Of course I take the extreme heat warning seriously. That’s why we decided to start the grill early in the morning. By the time the sun was out, we have prepared the meat, chopped the vegetables. By about 7 o’clock we were already cooking in our backyard. Our neighbors woke up and smelled barbecue. No, it was not a dream.


Asian barbecue pork chops. 


Grilled chicken in two flavors. 


I love the basket, can’t grill without it. No more dropping food to the bottom. 


Now we can enjoy the food inside. The man who invented air conditioning is my hero.


The sweet cherry tomatoes and long beans were picked in our garden. Fresh!

Our friends came over and we had everything ready to put on the table. Everybody loved the grilled vegetables. That gave me an idea to create a recipe for the next cookout. Yes, I am always thinking even when I am eating. We had a great time celebrating 4th of July ahead of time. Red, white, blue.


Flowering Chinese Long Beans

The best part about vegetable gardening is you get to see how plants grow from seeds to seedlings and then mature into crops. It is really a good experience watching the entire growing process. It makes you appreciate vegetables much more.

This year we (me and hubby) are growing the Chinese long beans (豆角 in Cantonese) for the first time. I asked my father for some seeds so we can learn how to grow them. We did not know what to expect since we have never done it before. But thanks to the gardening experience we have had the past few years, the beans are doing really well. We planted eight seedlings, only one did not survive. Their flowers are so pretty. The dark green beans have purple flowers. Light green beans have white flowers. I did not know the flowers only open for a few hours in the morning when the sun comes out. They develop into bean pods in the same day and continue to grow. It takes 60 days, from sowing to pods. Matured long beans hang in pairs. Learn more about long beans here.


Dark green long beans have purple flowers.  


Bean pods are always in pairs. 


Light green long beans have white flowers. 


Lynard made a video for me. It shows the bean flowers developed into bean pods. 

Wake Up, Smell the Beans

The Chinese long beans grow so fast we have to check them everyday so we can pick them at their best when young and slender. They are crisp and tender when picked before they reach full maturity. They begin to get dry and tough when longer than 18 inches. So far we have only picked five long beans, not enough to make a stir-fry. I had some tasty homemade char siu left in the refrigerator. Perfect to make bean and char siu fried eggs for breakfast.


Making Breakfast

Diced char siu and chopped long beans. Chives are optional.

Beans and eggs are deliciously good for you.

Bring out the cutting board and knife. Ready, chop.


Beans and Char Siu Fried Eggs  (豆角叉燒煎蛋) 

1) Cut the beans into 1/2-inch sections. Dice the char siu. Chop some chives, optional.

2) Beat 3 large eggs in a bowl with a small pinch of salt. Heat some oil in a frying pan, saute the beans first until tender.

3) Add meat and chives to the pan, season as needed. Cook until hot. Stir the eggs and pour over bean mixture.

4) Use a fork to quickly scramble the eggs from under, to blend with the beans and meat. Remove from heat when golden brown.

5) Serve with whatever you want. Long beans are high in protein, low in calories, no fat. Taste delicious. This is going to be a good day. I can feel it.

A Magnet Means A World To Me

I don’t remember when I started collecting magnets. I ask for a magnet every time my friends go out of town for vacations. Lucky me, they all remembered to bring me back a magnet. Some people even told me the reason why they chose the magnet for me. I remember all the stories and who gave me the magnets. I love my friends. And I love my magnets.

My refrigerator door looks like a trophy wall to me. After I retired, I lost contact with some of the best people I know. But the refrigerator magnets always remind me of them and the time we spent together. I count my blessings everyday for the new and old friends I do have. You never know how things may change in the future. People move around rather quickly.

Recently my friend from Hong Kong sent me three magnets and a book. It means a lot to me that we became friends. I wanted a Hong Kong magnet for a long time. Somehow it never happened, until now. I especially like the one with the ferry. It reminds me of home, a long time ago. Thank you for the wonderful gift. I can’t wait to check out the book too.

I grew up in Hong Kong. Now I live in the United States. I got home sick looking at the picture.

I added the new magnets to my collection. They look beautiful.

This is a conversation piece. People like to touch and ask questions about the magnets.

A Day In The Garden

Spring is for gardening. After a long busy month, we finally got a chance to buy some seedlings for our backyard garden. However, we had to grow the long bean seedlings from seeds ourselves. We like to try something new each year. Now we have the seedlings, let’s plant them in the garden.

We bought tomato, bell peppers, chives and cilantro.

Here, we are growing long bean ( 豆角 ) seedlings for the first time.

The Roma Tomato is looking pretty good.

We are planting cilantro for the first time.

Southwind Park

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March 14, it was still winter. But the temperature reached 80 degrees that day. No complaint from me. We decided to go out and visit the new park. Southwind Park is built 100% handicapped accessible. The park is nicely done so far. But it still needs a lot more work. They need more trees. We plan to go back this summer. I want to see the beautiful fountain.

Mums on Parade

October is my favorite month of the year. The weather is perfect. Apples are abundant.
Mums are blooming like they are on top of the world. The mums in my garden
come back every year and have the prettiest color you can imagine.

To celebrate the fall season, I have made a fabulous dish using apples. I could not resist
buying them since they are just absolutely gorgeous, at half the regular price.

Apple-Onion Pork Chops

2  boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick
Salt, black pepper, grill seasoning
1  tablespoon olive oil
1  small onion, thinly sliced
1  tablespoon sliced ginger strips
1  Fuji apple, slice into wedges
1/2  cup apple juice
1/2  tablespoon brown sugar

Season pork chops with salt and pepper, grill seasoning, and chili powder, optional.
Pan fry until golden brown. Dish out and put aside. In the same pan, saute onion,
apple and ginger, season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until combined.

Stir in brown sugar and apple juice. Cook until thicken a little. Return pork chops
and juice to the pan, mix with apples. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 3-5 minutes
until apple sauce thicken and pork chops are fully cooked.

Delicious!

Chicken Soup

Bitter Melon Chicken Soup

 

Today I continue my efforts to search for a home remedy to help get rid of my cold. I am willing to try anything. Thanks to our small vegetable garden behind the kitchen, we have fresh bitter melons readily available. All I need is some canned soup to make my job easier. Here is the recipe I created:

 

 

1  cup diced bitter melons (better if ripen a little)

1  small onion, chopped

1  tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger strips

1  can (10 oz)  Campbell’s Chicken with White and Wild Rice Soup

2  cans water  (or more)

Salt and soy sauce as needed

Mix soup and water in a small pot, cook on medium heat until boiling. Add bitter melons, ginger and onion. Cover the pot partially and cook until boiling again. Lower the heat a little, cook 5 more minutes. Season with salt and a few drops of soy sauce if needed. Serve with toasts. Good for a bad cold, like the one I have now.