Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Can Sing

My Mother-in-law calls me Mrs. Barnes. She said I am the only Mrs. Barnes in the family. Wow, that makes me proud. It is pretty cool, don't you think? I should do something to honor that title. Let me think... how about a blog! Yes, I like that idea very much. Now I can talk all day long nobody can stop me.

I have this song playing in my head all day. So I went and checked it out on the internet. And I have been singing this song called More Than I Can Say all day, while my husband is at work. I have fun since nobody is listening.  

woh woh yeah yeah
I love you more than I can say
I'll love you twice as much tomorrow
oh ooh love you more than I can say

woh woh yeah yeah
I'll miss you every single day
why must my life be filled with sorrow
oh ooh love you more than I can say

don't you know I need you so
tell me please I gotta know
do you mean to make me cry
am I just another guy

woh woh yeah yeah
I love you more than I can say
I'll love you twice as much tomorrow
woh woh love you more than I can say

Today is the Chinese Moon Festival. There is a beautiful story about this festival. But since I am not prepared, I can't tell you the story. I'll instead share a classic Chinese dish with you. My Chinese friend gave me a moon cake last week. I couldn't wait any longer so I ate it yesterday, yummy. I'll have to settle for apple pie today. It's sugar free.

Bitter melon is a staple of Chinese cuisine. Chinese people love bitter melons as much as the Americans love tomatoes. Home grown bitter melons are much appreciated in Chinese cooking. We grow bitter melons, peppers, basil and parsley in our backyard garden every year. We stopped growing zucchini and tomatoes because they got too big for our small garden. We share our vegetables with friends and family, along with recipes. Everybody enjoys the home grown bitter melons because they are not as bitter like those in the store. Once you acquired the bitter taste, you will love the unique flavor in soup, stir-fries and stews. Even though people are very creative and come up with new ways to cook bitter melons, they always come back to this dish: Bitter melon with black bean garlic sauce. You can use chicken, beef or pork, always delicious. I love the creamy, rich flavor.

Bitter Melon Chicken Stew in Black Bean Sauce
Recipe by Leslie, 2010
Makes 4 servings

2  pounds chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
3  big home grown bitter melons, about 2-3 lbs
1  large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4  cloves garlic, chopped
1  sweet bell pepper, thinly sliced
2  tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
4  tablespoons black bean garlic sauce, divided
3  tablespoons oyster sauce
1  cup water, as needed
Olive oil, garlic salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mix in with
2 tablespoons water to thicken sauce later

Cut each bitter melon into 4 pieces lengthwise, remove seeds, slice into half inch pieces.

Cut chicken into bite size, season with garlic salt, black pepper and 1 tablespoon black bean garlic sauce. Marinade in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, stir in chicken. Don’t cook it too long, keep stirring. Cook until brown on the outside, about half way done. Remove and put aside. In the same skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 3 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce, quickly stir fry for about 10 seconds. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and bitter melons. Stir fry for 5-10 minutes, season with oyster sauce, cook another 10 minutes over medium high heat, add 3/4 cup water. Return chicken and juice, mix well with bitter melons. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, cook for about 20 minutes until bitter melons are really tender and juice thicken. Check once and stir to cook evenly. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and black pepper. Slowly stir in cornstarch mixture to cream the sauce, mix well. Serve with steamed rice.


We grow bitter melons in our garden.
The Benefit of Eating Bitter Melons

Bitter melon is member of the squash family, native to southern China. Bitter melon is rich in iron, and has twice the beta carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, and contains vitamins B and C. Its bitterness comes from the high concentration of quinine. Studies suggest that bitter melon may be one of the best herbal medicines for diabetic management. Eating bitter melon regularly helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It can also lower bad cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, and enhance the immune system.  

Bitter melons grow on vines, from May to October in zone 5. We had good crops this year. 

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