We had thirteen women at the table today, which added up to fifteen dishes, plus rice and tea. The daughter of one of our members recently returned from China, of which she said, people basically eat rice with small bits of dishes to flavor it, and when we started going through the cookbook, we realized the portions were too small for everyone to get a taste. We suspended one of our rules for this session and everyone doubled recipes to make sure there would be enough to go around.
I was able to use my new "summer" dishes, Coastal Breeze Blue from 222 Fifth. I found the dishes a few months ago at HomeGoods, but my initial decision to purchase only eight place-settings was a mistake because we usually have at least 10 people over for dinner on Sundays. With the help of Replacements, Ltd., I got the balance of dishes to make sixteen place-settings.
The menu for lunch:
|Hot & Sour Soup (vegetarian version) made by Laura Brennan|
|Slippery Wood Ear Salad with Cilantro made by Nan Cohen|
|Northern Stye Boiled Dumplings with Ginger Pork Filling in Schuanese Chili Oil sauce made by Catherine Fleming|
|Xian Pot-Sticker Dumplings made by Lisa Klink|
|Tuzi's Slow-Cooked Ribs with Red Fermented Tofu made by Christine Valada|
|Stir-Fried Garlic Stems with Bacon made by Mary De Longis|
|Stir-Fried Garlic Stems with Mushrooms by Mary De Longis|
|Schuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans (vegetarian version) made by T Valada-Viars|
|Smoky Eggplant with Garlic made by Michelle Heinig Resnick|
|Pock-Marked Old Woman's Tofu made by Liz Mortensen|
|Bear's Paw Tofu made by Julia Roberts|
|Chinese Broccoli in Ginger Sauce made by Sharon Baker|
|Spinach in Ginger Sauce made by Liz Mortensen (foreground)|
|Cold Chicken with Spicy Schuanese Sauce made by Laurie Perry|
|Mussels with Black Bean Sauce made by Amie Brockway-Metcalf|
I was delighted that Amie decided to make the Mussels with Black Bean Sauce. I love mussels, but the cleaning takes such a long time. She told us that her vendor provides them already scrubbed. They were terrific and I would have been happy to make a whole meal of them.
We had two tofu dishes, plus fermented tofu was used to flavor the ribs. The Pock-Marked Old Woman's Tofu contained fermented black beans while the Bear's Paw Tofu was fried. The Pock-Marked Tofu got better and better as we sampled leftovers after lunch was over. Lunch was actually heavy on vegetarian dishes with the string beans, broccoli, spinach, and eggplant.
All of us agreed that it was a particularly good cookbook. I am likely to try more of the recipes because it makes Chinese cooking very accessible and the portions are good for the three or four of us on a weeknight.