Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner – must have lucky food

It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve today, we called it 團年飯, and traditionally you should have the dinner with your entire family, in order to end the year altogether. It is important for Chinese to gather the entire family together for important event like this one, but I think it’s important for everyone, like Christmas Eve for Western, Thanksgiving dinner for American, and etc.

One thing funny about what we used to eat for CNY’s Eve dinner, we should have something means lucky to us. Meat somehow is a must, as that means you are rich enough to have meat. Fish is also one of the choice, as fish 魚 Yu, sounds like 餘 Yu, meaning extra. Of course we would like to have extra money! Shrimp 蝦 Ha, sounds like 哈 Ha, the sound of laughing, so shrimp is also a popular dish for CNY.

So, I’ve made a Western style year-end dinner for us, with shrimp and salmon (fish).

Garlic, Chili and Lemon Shrimp. Heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, put minced garlic in, then put the lemon slices and chopped red chili pepper, fry a bit then put all shrimps with shell in the pan, cover with lid and cook until they all turned pinkish. Season the shrimps with salt, ground pripika and parsley flakes. 

Creamy Salmon Penne Pasta. Put one pot of water to boil, add a good amount of salt and cook the penne pasta according to the cooking time of the package. For the sauce, heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, put the minced garlic in, and then put the chopped asparagus and sliced mushroom. Fry them until they turn soft, add some lemon zest and squeeze in lemon juice, then pour in the cooking cream, let it simmer and then add some cheese. Could be a mix of Italian cheese, like parmesan, romano or pecorino cheese. Let it simmer a bit more, then season it with a bit of salt and ground pripika. Mix the sauce with the penne pasta, and serve it with a touch of black pepper.

Sunday simple dinner – Chicken and Asparagus Penne

I was planning to cook this simple pasta on Saturday night, and was thinking to cook something more complicated on Sunday night. But then, I ended up with something else on Saturday night, so I have to save the ingredients for Sunday dinner. Not bad, so I get more time to do other things, like shower my two dogs.

What we need for this dish is chicken fillet, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, garlic, red chili if you prefer spicy, parsley and penne pasta. I do prefer to get the bigger version of asparagus, but I could not find it and I have to go for the smaller / thinner version.

Boil a pot of hot water for cooking the pasta, get a sauce pan ready on the other hand by heating it up with some olive oil. Start it off with the mined garlic, and then add the asparagus, cook them for a while until they started to turn soft. Add the chicken into the pan, let them fry a bit to get the surface cooked first. Then, stir fry them and add red chili, season them with salt, pepper, rosemary and ground paprika. Cook until the chicken is done, add the cherry tomatoes and more olive oil for the pasta later on.

When the penne pasta is done, drain the water and mix the pasta into the sauce pan. Add parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, then mix everything well together. You can serve the pasta with some more parmesan cheese and parsley on top as garnish and extra flavour.

 

Grilled Mussel with Penne Pasta


Long time no see is a Chinese idiom, so long time no cook……. I was away two weeks for business trip, I miss my cooking, of course can’t wait to cook something tonight!

I watched Jamie Oliver’s show the other time, and he was cooking this grilled mussels that go with tomato soup. I was thinking to cook that a while ago, but I guess today I want to do it, but instead of tomato soup, I will make it with pasta.

In order to grill the mussels and penne pasta at the same time, I tried to get both ready almost at the same time. Before cooking anything, it’s better to get everything chopped and ready. First of all, let’s prepare the breadcrumbs for grilling. Mix the breadcrumbs, some Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, some olive oil and a pinch of salt in a food processor. So that’s ready for the grilling part later on. Now to chop everything, garlic, red chilli, onion, celery, tomatoes and coriander, and ready for cooking.

To boil a pot of hot water and cook the penne first, because the cooking time is around 11 minutes. On the other hand, heat up the sauce pan with butter, and put the minced garlic, then chopped onion, fry until the onion turn slightly brown, then add chopped celery and tomatoes and red chilli. When everything is kind of cooked, pour some white wine in, and then add some water or you can add chicken stock. I always think water is good enough already. Then, put the mussels in the sauce pan, and cook for 4 minutes with lid on, then cook it without lid for another 2 to 3 minutes. When all the mussels are opened up, that means all cooked.

Now put the cooked pasta in a bake tray, and pour some stock from the mussels in the tray and mix with the pasta. Then, remove one of the shell from the mussel and let it just sit on the other half of the shell and place it on top of the pasta in the tray to create a layer of mussel. You can let those onion, tomato and celery sit inside of the mussel. After putting all mussels on top of the pasta, then put the breadcrumbs on top of each mussels. And place the tray inside of the pre-heat oven under 190C for around 15 to 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs turn brown.