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Bear and Fish Family Cookbook, The

by: Yabin and Tian, Jialin Yu

Poquoson WA: Jayca Inc. 2009, $33.95, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-615-27627-4

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2010 Issue: 17(2) page(s): 20 and 21

This book's name represents meanings of the primary author's paternal and maternal names, respectively. It is a collection of family favorites, most Chinese, all simple and healthy, a few elegant, and a few fusion and non-Chinese ethnic dishes. She says they are all family favorites.

The pictures are lovely, the tastes terrific. Green Onion Flatbreads are crisp when turned frequently, and they are very tasty. Many recipes have some pre-prep time, time to be ignored, and more time thereafter. Two such are the Oven-roasted Duck, easily doable at home with prep and then on to something else, then roast the bird for about an hour, and finally serve this delicious delight. The Braised Pork Spareribs are simply super and even simpler. Pre-boil, then when ready that day or another, cook them on the grill or in the oven (our idea) or follow theirs and boil them again a mere fifteen minutes in order to savor them. We especially like them with the optional ingredient. She calls it 'red yeast rice' and you may know it as 'red wine lees.'

There are many marvelous vegetable dishes, all named simplistically–stir-fried this or that, quick to do and tasting terrific. They alone will expand your delicious healthy food repertoire. Kudos to Beijinger recipe guru Yu, and to pastry and pretty Tianjin designer Tian. Both are trained in electrical engineering and in tasting and recreating top-of-the-line terrific top-notch Chinese and Chinese-inspired great food, vegetarian or otherwise.
Green Onion Flatbreads
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring bowl and board, as needed
3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons chopped scallions, finely chopped
4 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Put flour on a work surface, make well in the center and gradually add three-quarters cup lukewarm water working from the center outward until all is well mixed. Then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface turning and folding until it is a medium soft dough (this takes about ten minutes).
2. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for half an hour.
3. Put half the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out until there is a twelve-inch by sixteen-inch sheet about one-eighth-inch thick.
4. Spread half the lard, sprinkle one quarter teaspoon salt all over it as well as three tablespoons of the scallions. Roll up jelly-roll style along the long edge and twist the dough making a spiral. Cut into four pieces, stand one upright and push this down making a round circle, the cross-section of the spiral facing up. Repeat with the other three pieces and then do the same with the other half of the dough and ingredients.
5. Heat one teaspoon oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and brown lightly (about one minute) then turn over and repeat back and forth, about five to six minutes total. Stack them and repeat until all are made.
6. Now serve them. Everyone can tear theirs into pieces before eating them.

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