Since we arrived in China, I have been craving pancakes. Pancakes are hard to come by in China, so if you’re craving them, you have to make them at home. In my opinion, pancakes should be everywhere in the world, because they are sweet and scrumptious. I don’t eat or make them often, but when I do, I like to try new flavors.
Due to my limited knowledge of spices that are available in China, and ones that would go well with pancakes, I chose to use my favorite spice, cinnamon. Cinnamon is a very versatile spice, and it reminds me of Fall. In my opinion, cinnamon just adds positive notes to a dish.
So, why glazed pears for this dish instead of apples? Well, yesterday I went to the grocery store, and I was set on buying some “apples”. I don’t really eat apples here, because they are a little pricey. While at the grocery store, I saw some “apples” on sale for less than a dollar per kilo. Little did I know that they actually weren’t apples. They were Hosui pears. The pears were light in color, so I thought they were Golden Delicious apples. Anyway, I had to change my original recipe from ” Glazed Apples” to ” Glazed pears”. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The pears added a flavor the was crisp and sweet.
Eringi mushrooms are a great alternative to meat. They have no flavor, but they fry well. For this recipe, I only used the stems and not the mushroom caps. You can use the whole mushroom, but I’ve found that the stem fries better than the caps. What I’ve been doing is removing the caps and using them for a different vegetarian recipe the next day.
6-8eringi mushroomsdiced ( I used the stems and not the caps)
2tablespoonsFrontier Co-op Taco Seasoning
2-3tablespoonsgrape seed oil
First, mise en place your ingredients
Next, place a medium-sized pan on medium heat. After about one minute, add the grape seed oil to the pan and swirl it around. It should coat the whole pan.
Add the mushrooms, turn the heat to low and coat the mushrooms with the oil.
Next, turn the heat to medium-high and sautee the mushrooms. Make sure to turn the mushrooms every thirty seconds until they are golden brown. Continue to stir the mushrooms every thirty seconds for five minutes.
Once the mushrooms are golden brown, turn the heat to low and add the seasoning and salt. Coat the mushrooms with the seasoning and salt.
Finally, turn the heat up high, add the lime juice and quickly stir the mushrooms for about ten seconds. Then, take them off of the heat.
Mise en place- prepping you ingredients in bowls before cooking
Ayyeee the first recipe! Okay, deciding which recipe to cook first made me anxious. I didn’t know where I wanted to start. Should it be chicken, red meat or vegetables? Should I bake something instead of using the stove top? These were the questions I asked myself. I decided to make something kind of simple and not very time consuming. I made sauteed chicken with a lemon caper sauce.
First of all, the dish was delicious, but it could have been better. I did a quick brine of the meat, but honestly I should have skipped the brining process. I was only able to brine the meat for fifteen minutes and it needed more time. I did not cut everything before hand so my mise en place was a mise en mess. The cookbook says that you should prep your ingredients ahead of time in order to cook the meal efficiently and to avoid mishaps. I am usually pretty good about this, but it’s a little difficult when you have limited space and a limited amount of prep bowls. So, I made a note to myself to get more bowls.
Some other things that I learned are reading while cooking is difficult and buying fresh is necessary. I had to throw away a whole pack of chicken, and it was only two days old. I was so upset.
Anyways, check out this cool little video I made while cooking. You might be able to see how frustrated I got. Bye!
Ugh, cooking has been a little difficult for me over the past month. It was partially due to changes in my schedule and not knowing what to cook. Have you experienced this? Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I love trying new recipes and experimenting with old ones, but this past month has been full of recipes that were just okay. I had some good vegan recipes, such as my vegan taco bowls that I need to post the recipe for, but I’ve had some not so good recipes too. I’ve been a little afraid to fail and show my cooking failures.
Last week, I posted on my Instagram that I wold cook through The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School cookbook. I’ve never really used a cookbook. I made a few French recipes from a cookbook that my boyfriend bought me when I was in high school, but that’s about it. To me, cookbooks are scary. I don’t know how to use them properly. It’s like reading an encyclopedia.
I chose this cookbook because I liked how technical it was. I am good at cutting vegetables and fruits. Seasoning meat doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’ve found a few good mixtures that work well. I always salt my food and add fresh herbs when needed. However, I’m not the best at layering flavors and knowing what works on the technical side of cooking. It’s something that I have to learn how to do. I’ve been avoiding it for a while now, and I wish I would’ve started earlier but it’s okay.
All of this to say, I will be posting about these recipes I’ve tried from The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School cookbook. Some will be successful and some won’t, but that’s okay. Let’s see how this goes!
The first time I told my friends and family that I was moving to China many people were ecstatic. I’ve always expressed my desires for living abroad so when it came to my dad…he tried to deter my enthusiasm my recanting all the dangers happening in Asia at the time. However, after realizing that his efforts were futile he helped me book my tickets.
I think a big fear for people of color who decide to take the plunge into living abroad, is the idea that they’ll be alone. Many make the move to experience something new, find new opportunities, some even in the pursuit of a “less” toxic environment.
I’ve found one of the best resources for meeting like minded people, to actually be through Instagram. I’ve met alot of great women and have also had women moving to Asia (especially China) referred to me. It feels great being able to help someone. Three years ago, when I was preparing to move abroad, I didn’t have anyone to advise me.
Behind a lot of vivid pictures of beaches and life many seem not to need a vacation from, are genuine people, enthusiastic in sharing the good and “real” side of living abroad.
When I moved to Shanghai, China, I was pleasantly surprised to have another, black, female coworker. I didn’t expect to have one. She has connected me to literally hundreds of other black and brown expats and even other expats who are not people of color. They added me to groups that had people who could help me find hair products, great places to eat or even someone who were free during my random schedule to go shopping.
The Expat community, especially in Shanghai, is one of the densest and unique I’ve come across through my travels. I have truly made my transition into being a black expat here. It’s been one of the best decisions of my life.
If you are a POC and thinking about moving to Asia, here are some pieces advice:
1. Start decluttering your life & be open.
Don’t pack more than you can carry. For me, I use two checked bags and a carry on. Regarding decluttering that goes for your mental and spiritual well being as well. Don’t anticipate moving to another country and expect to have the same “luxuries” you would at home. Traveling in general is a very humbling experience, especially when you find yourself trying to order vanilla ice cream not knowing that “vanilla” doesn’t translate.
2. Do some research but don’t overwhelm yourself.
You can spend literally hours on the internet trying to find the most informative post on what to expect in your new city or new country. I did this but don’t do it! At the end of the day everyone has a different experience abroad. However, knowing whether or not you will need a VPN to access the internet and social media needs is something pretty useful to know. You don’t want to be scrambling at the airport before your flight trying to download one.
3. Use social media to connect.
This is actually very important, like I’ve mentioned earlier. The best way to have your questions answered is to ask them directly. Many expats are still connected via Instagram and are usually willing to help “induct” newbie’s into the expat club.
4. Don’t skimp on grooming purchases.
Don’t expect to find all of your daily hair and body products abroad. I personally like to pack my favorite toiletries and hair products in “semi” bulk before traveling for long periods of time. If all else fails, and your nerves and anxiety begin to completely take control of your life, at least you’ll smell fresh and be well groomed.
Most importantly, keep your expectations low and your spirit and enthusiasm for life high. Moving abroad is a big deal so the best way to go into it is to enjoy the process as well.