My father gave me some sage advice when I began substitute teaching. "Steal whatever you can" he whispered. He did not wish for me to steal copy paper, number two pencils, or text books. What he was suggesting I steal were ideas. Any lesson, child management technique, room arrangement, roll taking system... etc etc. It was good advice. Good teaching isn't magic, it is really a set of skills most anyone can employ, and pretty much everything has been done before. What my father was telling me really boiled down to "there ain't much new under the sun and no sense in beating your head against a rock trying to invent everything yourself."
When a local business called and said they had guests from China, no seafood, and they weren't too fond of our American Diet (and I make pretty horrible Chinese food)... I remembered my brother and his wife. They both lived in China for nine months and they make some great Chinese food. It is always light, fresh, clean, and wholesome. I immediately recalled a dish they made for us the last time they were in town, lionshead meatballs. A perfect blend of ground pork, ground shirmp (omitted for our seafood phobics), garlic, ginger, green onions, soy, and chili flakes, simmered in chicken stock with sauteed napa cabbage. Here is a picture (yes its blurry, yes it looks gross, and yes it is very difficult to photograph a dish of this nature with a shaky camera phone... and my brother and his wife would have been proud.)
The rest of the stuff we made was non-chinese, but chinese-friendly. Sauteed broccoli raab and garlic with hot peppers, beautiful green salad with soy ginger dressing, fresh fruit spiked with mint, and steamed rice.
Its been a pretty chill last few weeks here. Mom and Dad and Grandma have been in town. And we have had some time to play in the home kitchen. My latest obsession has been ribs. And as always, pizza.