Summer has finally left Texas.  I have been enjoying the cool and dry weather lately, have you?

And of course, good weather means BBQ in the backyard!

This time I smoked some Asian style sausages.  They turned out great; golden brown and crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.  The reason it is called Asian style is that seasonings used here are all Asian seasonings.  And the ground pork would be whisked/ beaten along with seasonings and corn starch until meat mixture is elastic and glutinous.

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If you have been to Dim Sum place before, you might be familiar with shiu mai already.  It is made with super thin wheat dough with fillings inside.  There are so many kinds of fillings for shiu mai.  They vary from area to area.  Pork and shrimps are a very popular choice in southeast part of China.  In the north, lamb, beef, and even sweet rice can be found in shiu mai fillings too. 

Each and every one of them is very tasty.  I personally prefer the ones made with sweet rice. 

 It is quite easy to make them at home too!  With a pack of store-bought wonton wraps, we can easily make a large batch of shiu mai.

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Porridge, also known as congee, has a long history in China.  It was invented when the food was scarce and very limited.  People added a lot of water to the pot with very little grains like rice, barleys, or millets.  The porridge cooked this way was thin, bland and tasteless.  But it fed a lot of hungry bellies when time was hard.  

Nowadays, people continue to cook porridge for its health benefits.  By adding different ingredients, porridges can be quite nutritious and tasty too!  And the combinations are endless.  You can put pretty much anything into porridge to make it sweet or savory.  If you like dim sum, that is a great chance you have already tried some porridge or congee already. 

I recently discover that millets and pumpkin can be a really combination for porridge too!

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Zucchini became an important vegetable when we were still living in a small town in Michigan.  We were far away from Asian grocery stores.  So I shop at the local farmer market a lot to get fresh produce and sometimes grass fed steaks, which, by the way, were super tasty and amazing. 

Leafy greens thrived in early summer.  When July came, most vegetable booths begin to sell local zucchinis, peppers, potatoes and corns. 

That was when I bought so many zucchinis and learned to develop different ways to cook them.  Besides stir fried zucchini, my favorite way is to dry them first a little, chop them up and then put into dumplings.

Chinese dumplings are like Italian pasta.  The ingredient and flavor combinations are endless.  Any ordinary ingredient like zucchini could be used in dumpling fillings and shine like a flavor star. 

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Fresh fava beans are such a culinary delicacy.  The fresh beans come with light green color and a mild grassy, earthy and refreshing scent and taste.  When cooked, they become a bit sweet and starchy. 

For those who have never had fava beans before, they are very similar to what young lima beans taste like.  The skin on the outside is a little bit firmer than lima beans.  And they are both very tasty!

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When it comes to BBQ, what Asian people have in mind is quite different from American style BBQ.  We prefer to grill skewed meat over hot and smooth flames coming out from burning charcoal.  People gather around the table where the meat is being grilled drinking, talking, laughing and waiting for the meat to be ready.  That is how we do BBQ O(∩_∩)O~

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I grow Jerusalem artichokes every year.  Well, to be more accurate, they pretty much raise themselves over the years.  All I did was to plant two young plants in the field which was a gift from a loving close friend.  They grew like crazy and I harvested a lot of Jerusalem artichokes the first year.  That encouraged me to grow them every year after that.

 Besides, they are perfect for pickling. Jerusalem artichokes are very crunchy when pickled.  And they have a mild flavor so that they go well with most other pickled vegetables.  I did Sichuan style pickles with my home grown Jerusalem artichokes first year. (it was posted here: https://www.yankitchen.com/english-blog/sichuan-style-pickled-jerusalem-artichoke)

I harvest more Jerusalem artichokes than ever this year.  After sharing them with friends and families, I still have a lot left.  Besides Sichuan style pickling this year, I also try sweet and sour flavor.  You know what?  They are a hit too!

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Passion fruit has beautiful name in China.  We call it “fruit with a hundred fragrances”.  It is true.  Passion fruit deserves that name.  When you closely smell a passion fruit, you can pick up the scents from pineapple, mango, pomegranate, strawberry, lychee…and dozens of other tropical fruits.

It is indeed an amazing and delicious fruit.  Besides eating it with a spoon, I also love making all kinds of drinks with it.    I posted “Iced Tea with Passion Fruit and Berries ” before.  And we are making passion fruit and lemon water today. 

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Recently I have been more enthusiastic about pork ribs than before. 

Asian grocery stores in Houston area are very customer-friendly.  They sell pre-cut pork ribs in the shape of long thin strips so that you don’t have to go through all the trouble to cut them yourself.  They also help to custom cut the meat of your choice.  Such a life saver! O(∩_∩)O~

I always bring back a few rib strips from my trip to Asian grocery stores.  What I am cooking today is short pork ribs braised in soy sauce. Yum!

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We love blue crabs too, as much as people in Louisiana and Maryland if no more.  The most popular way to cook blue crabs in United States is to boil them with spices, potatoes, and other seafood.  When done, buckets of crabs and seafood are unloaded onto a table in front of customers.  All you have to do is to crack them open and eat!

But the way we eat them is slightly different from American people.  We value and enjoy the crab roe more than crab meat itself.  Most of time, only female crabs are among best sellers when it comes to seafood.

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