Good Cookin’

Last week my ayi finished a 4 part healthy cooking class offered by Sproutlifestyle, after all she is as interested in healthy and safe eating as I am and she was due for some professional development. Overall I have the impression that she enjoyed the classes, liked using all the super cooking equipment and has already offered me some advice on using my electric kettle  (change the water  often).

When people come to me for advice on improving their diet one aspect that is most often overlooked is cooking. This really is a bigger cornerstone to good health than we give credit to.  It’s simple, when you cook you control the ingredients. That in itself can go a long way in improving your diet.

Summer, with all the fresh produce around, is a great time of year to try out new recipes from the grill to the garden. Don’t know what to cook? There is this thing called the internet that has recipes and menu plans at the touch of a key. Blog sites with recipes for every taste abound.

Even more fun than using the internet is to take a couple of cooking workshops yourself.  Shanghai is lucky to have plenty to chose, from baking to Indian to Chinese to Raw food. Most recently I learned that Shanghai Young Bakers  is offering public baking classes. In fact Saturday, June 13th you could learn how to make your own baguettes. For those who don’t know SYB, is an organization that provides fully sponsored French bakery training to disadvantaged Chinese youth, providing them with the skills to find qualified jobs. Have more of a sweet tooth? The Shanghai Young Bakers final class for June, June 27th, will be a “Power Puff Tutorial” featuring eclairs, cream puffs, Paris-Brest & Religieuse . C’est bonne! Check out www.shanghaiyoungbakers.com for more information.

Since opening their new store with the beautiful demo kitchen, Sproutlifestyle has been offering cooking classes several times a week. This Saturday, June 13, they will be featuring plant based cooking, focusing on grains. Sign up at www.sproutlifestyle.com

More interested in a cultural cooking experience? There a variety of places and people in Shanghai who offer Chinese cooking classes but my personal and pleasurable experience has been with Mike on Dong Ping Lu (Address: Room 108-109, No.2, Dong Ping Road, by Heng Shan Road, 15821618151).

You may not need a cooking class to get you going but a new cookbook always inspires me.  Eat Well Shanghai distributes Ni Hao Bao Bao a bilingual cookbook by two Shanghai expat dietitians. This little book is great for parents and kids as well. Cooking together is a great way to spend time with your children, having fun and surreptitiously reinforcing healthy eating habits! The best part is Ni Hao Bao Bao is now on sale! So save some money and get this gem from Kate& Kimi delivered right to your door.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!

Eat Well Shanghai Update

Tai tai leave is upon me and I will be making my annual voyage to the West. Not to worry Eat Well Shanghai will continue to update you on the latest Eating Well news in Shanghai.

As of this week we have replenished the bookshelves of your favorite online grocer Kate& Kimi (www.kateandkimi.com) with the Eat Well Shanghai: Your Guide to Eating Well at Home and on the Go  Tell all your new expat friends that they can have their copy delivered with their weekly veggie and fruit orders.

If you already have a copy of EWS then I highly recommend expanding your Shanghai library with Ni Hao Bao Bao, also available from Kate&Kimi. Ni Hao Bao Bao is a wonderful bilingual cookbook that will make planning those weekly dinners for the family a breeze. The book was written by registered dietitians with your Shanghai family in mind.

Be sure to head out to the last Jiashan Market day for this summer on Saturday June 21st ( THAT IS TOMORROW!) There are always some new vendors to surprise you as well as the familiar favorites like Amelia’s and Emil’s Coffee Roasters.

Enjoy the Shanghai Summer!

Eat Well. Live Well, Have Fun!

Books & Recipes

This seems to be Eat Well Shanghai’s month for books. As of today you have another reason to order from the fine grocers at Kate& Kimi.  Kate & Kimi will now be carrying the Eat Well Shanghai  book, Eat Well Shanghai Your Guide to Eating Well at Home and on the Go!  Kate & Kimi also carries Ni Hao Bao Bao, the fabulous bilingual cookbook for families living in Shanghai ( see blog from last week). Many thanks to the folks at Kate & Kimi for their support of us little local guys.

Now the recipe part of today’s blog. Lately I have taken the time to prepare some delicious dishes.  I don’t know exactly where the inspiration comes from but I do know that I was tired of eating the same old thing. With the hectic pace of life in Shanghai it is quite easy to get in to an eating rut. It’s faster and easier but after awhile it is boring and not healthy. Remember variety is one key to good nutrition!

There was the Saturday morning of whole grain waffles topped with bananas, a dollop of plain yogurt and a drizzle or real maple syrup  and then a few days later for lunch the open face sandwich; toasted bagel spread with hummus a slice of tomato and melted cheddar cheese. Hmmm… Finally one rainy night I remembered my homemade mushroom soup recipe that always hits the spot.

Trust me these dishes were not hard to make. What helps and what I can’t emphasize enough is having a well stocked pantry. All the ingredients for these dishes I had on hand in my kitchen. It makes it so much easier to get motivated when you don’t have to run out to the store for one ingredient ( or all of them!).

To get you started I will leave you with my easy mushroom soup recipe.

Eat Well Live Well, Have Fun!

Homemade Mushroom Soup (from epicurious.com)

  • 6 tbsp/75 g butter
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces/340 g button mushrooms ( I use a mix of different mushrooms)
  • 4 cups/900 ml light chicken stock or broth (vegetable stock is fine too)
  • 1 sprig of flat parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces/56 ml high-quality sherry (don’t use the cheap grocery-store variety; it’s salty and unappetizing and will ruin your soup)

Method
In the medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons/28 g of the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms and the remaining butter. Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn’t take on any brown color. Stir in the chicken stock and the parsley and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.

After an hour, remove the parsley and discard. Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender’s lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom purée to erupt all over your kitchen?

When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again. Add the sherry, mix well, and serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Eat Well Shanghai Update

Eat Well Shanghai will now carry the fabulous bilingual cook book:  Ni Hao Bao Bao!       

Ni Hao Bao Bao, a very helpful cook book authored by two local dietitians, Midge Crist ,RD and Stephanie Zhang, MS,RD, has western style bilingual recipes that are geared for families living here in Shanghai. Along with 52 delicious recipes, there are helpful extra  chapters, including a section on common kitchen tools and appliances with the corresponding Chinese name, great for communicating with your ayi, and a great section on how to make your own baby food.

For more details on the book and the authors check the Eat Well Shanghai blog post of 8/19/2013. Since that post the books have been selling like “baby” hot cakes and not just for families with young ones. Even people with older kids are finding the book helpful !

Books can be ordered from Eat Well Shanghai at info@eatwellshanghai.com  or from www.nihaobaby.com .  There is also an  ebook version of the cookbook that can be downloaded.
The hard copy is RMB150.

So now even babies can Eat Well and Live Well in Shanghai!