This post was sponsored by Ling Ling, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Ling Ling Asian Food
Last Monday, Logan and I were so excited to drive down to Boston to take part in an event with Ling Ling Asian Food and Chef Katie Chin, at The Kitchen, located inside the Boston Market. We had an amazing time preparing two recipes, sampling a variety of Ling Ling products, and learning more about the traditions behind Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year delightful customs and superstitions include the following:
- Refrain from using foul language or bad words on NewYear’s Day or they will follow you throughout the year!
- Washing hair is not allowed because you will wash away your good luck for the year. I’ve also heard this about washing clothes, dishes, dusting, and sweeping/mopping floors, so clean the day before and/or the day after!
- Greeting friends with oranges or tangerines during the New Year will ensure that your friendships remain intact. However, not just any orange will do. It should be one that still has the leaves on because the leaves represent wishes for long life and fertility.
- Stepping into new shoes on New Year’s morning to start your year off on the right foot. Hello, new shoes!!!
- Distribution of Red Envelopes (signifying Joy and Luck) filled with money to start the year with prosperity. Chef Katie told us Chocolate candies or $2 bills are a very popular gift for those who are unmarried, and many people can collect hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on how many envelopes they are gifted!
- We also learned that the number 4 is very superstitious. If you choose to include chocolate candies inside red envelopes, make sure you put in 3 or 5, not 4!
We thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the history of Chef Katie’s family and how her mother came to own and grow her restaurant chain over many years, eventually working with Ling Ling to develop the recipe for Pot Stickers. She went on to talk about how she later moved to California but forgot how to prepare the Chinese dishes she grew up with. One day she called her mom for help with instruction on how to cook for a dinner party, her mother ended up purchasing specific ingredients and flew to California to help her in person. They went on to host a cooking show on PBS together, and Chef Katie has several cookbooks available. During our drive home, Logan was very inspired and excited to continue to help me in the kitchen, so we ordered some of her cookbooks and can’t wait to try out some new recipes! I hope you all have the opportunity to test out some of the recipes we prepared at this event, I’ve included them below. If you need some quick, easy, and delicious weeknight meals, be sure to check out the Ling Ling Website for more information on their family of products, and WHERE TO BUY so you can pick some up at your local grocery store!!!
To start the event, we made dessert first, so it could chill while we prepared the main dish and ate. We made Caramel Glazed Brandied Oranges. It is so easy to make in about 10 minutes, with just 3 ingredients!
Caramel Glazed Brandied Oranges
3 large navel oranges
1 Tbsp. Brandy
1/2 cup sugar
To begin, use a vegetable peeler to remove 3 inch long strips of peel (about 3/4 inches wide). Cut those strips lengthwise into very thin slivers.
Slice the top and bottom off of the orange so it will sit flat on the cutting board. Cut away the remaining peel and white pith from the oranges. Turn the orange on its side and cut into thin slices (I got about 6-8 per orange). Place the thin slices onto a serving platter, overlapping slices. Sprinkle orange slices with brandy and orange peel (you can omit the brandy for a non-alcoholic version, I let Logan eat some non-brandied oranges, other tables added extra brandy to theirs, so feel free to adjust amount to your preference).
In a skillet, cook sugar over medium heat until it melts and becomes a deep amber color, stirring to dissolve any lumps. Drizzle caramelized sugar over oranges. Serve warm at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled.
Serves 3-4. Total prep, about 5 minutes, Cook time, about 5 minutes.
Asparagus Stir Fry with Shitake Mushrooms
This was such a fun recipe to make. Chef Katie gave us some great tips for cooking with kids while we prepared the dish. Logan was a superb sous chef, helping me with each step. He snapped off the bottom of each Asparagus Spear for me, then I cut them into 2-inch pieces, on a diagonal. He snapped off the mushroom stems, then I thinly sliced them. Chef Katie came over and gave him a spoon, and taught him that kids can easily peel ginger with the back of a spoon! Chef Katie also reminded us that when preparing a stir-fry, it’s important to have all ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. A great tip for kids is to let them label each step with sticky notes (1, 2, 3, etc) so as you need each item, they can quickly & easily locate it and help you add it to the wok.
Asparagus Stir Fry with Shitake Mushrooms Recipe
2 tsp all-purpose cornstarch
2 tsp cold water
1 tbsp neutral oil, such as canola (not olive oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces on a diagonal
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz. fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water.
Heat the oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic, ginger, asparagus, and salt.
Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute.
Stir in the oyster sauce and chicken stock and heat to boiling.
Pour in the cornstarch mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and all the ingredients are nicely coated, about 30 seconds.
*Note: To make this vegetarian, you CAN purchase vegetarian oyster sauce (it’s made from soy) and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth.
Next, we headed over to a beautifully decorated table, with several Ling Ling Asian Food dishes prepared & ready for us to enjoy.
Overall, we enjoyed the entire event, though the favorite part had to be cooking together. Logan has a passion for Ramen Noodles, and before this event that is probably the only thing he’s learned to cook on his own. He tried Potstickers for the first time, and he was hooked. It was a toss up for him to choose between the favorite fried rice and noodles – simply because he loved all 4 so much. He ate 3 platefuls at the table, and was first in line for the leftovers that were boxed up, then ate those on the drive home! Teenage boys can eat! We brought home a box of Drunken Noodles and I added some diced chicken to it when I served it to the family. If you are looking for a quick & easy weeknight dinner – THIS IS IT. I prepared 2 bags in one pot on the stove top, ready in 10-12 minutes. When we have nights filled with running practice for Cross Country & Track, Basketball games & practices, and Karate lessons, we frequently need meals ready in under 20 minutes, so the Ling Ling items meet our needs while tasting delicious!
Be sure to visit the Ling Ling Website for more information on each product, including WHERE TO BUY, Like the Ling Ling Facebook Page, and Follow Ling Ling on Twitter!