I discovered a very useful low fat cooking technique a few weeks ago that I’ve been wanting to share with all you pasta lovers out there. (Well, with those of you that haven’t succumbed to the low carb craze yet).

pasta.jpgInstead of using loads of heavy cream for your sauce base, reserve some of the water you cooked the pasta in and use that for the base of your sauce. True, it may not be the rich and creamy pasta sauce that you know and love so well, but there are hundreds of ways to kick this water-turned-sauce up a notch–especially for summertime cooking! (And it’s certainly better than no sauce at all!). Throw one tablespoon of butter or some of your favorite cheese into the hot water to thicken and add a bit of flavor–and always season everything!

One of my favorite healthy sauces consists of freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh basil leaves (it’s all about the quality fresh ingredients!), mushrooms, garlic, tofu, and large-dice vine-ripened tomatoes. It’s a great, quick, healthy, easy summer meal!

Dipping Delight

Need a great dipping sauce for those Chinese Dumplings you’re making for dinner tonight? Here’s a recipe for Chef Ken’s Favorite Garlicky Soy Dipping Sauce–sure to satisfy all of your dumpling dipping needs. Other than Mom’s SuperSecret Dumpling Sauce, this the best dumpling dipping sauce I’ve ever tasted. (Maybe if we’re lucky we can get Mom to share hers too…) Enjoy!

Small, pointed pleasures

dimsum.jpgHave you ever seen or tried any of the neat mini-dishes that some Chinese restaurants serve? Well, here’s some trivia for you; these little dishes, which are favored by the Cantonese, are collectively known as dim sum (loose translation: “dot the heart” or “tickle the heart”). Dim sum are little snacks usually associated with yam cha, the Chinese ritual of tea taking. Yam cha is a tradition in which business men or families gather for a long, leisurely morning of tea sipping, dim sum nibbling and warm conversation. This usually occurs very early in the morning (read: even as early as 5AM), and is most popular in Guangdong and Hong Kong.

Looking to enjoy some small, pointed pleasures yourself? There are hundreds of them! Dim sum are usually steamed, deep fried, or boiled and are mostly savory. They are wrapped in all sorts of different leaves–
lotus leaves
, banana leaves… If you’ve got a sweet tooth like I do, there are a few sugary dim sum available: water chesnut cake, coconut snowwballs and thousand-layer sweet cake with egg topping. (If you’re really ambitious, you can make your own sweet dim sum by following this recipe courtesy of a chef in Honolulu. President and Mrs. George Bush enjoyed these exact dim sum during one of their visits to Hawaii!). China is also home to a large variety of delicious teas: black tea, green tea, oolong tea, chrysanthamum tea, pu’er tea, etc. Green tea is especially good for digestion and may even help you live longer! When going out to try some of these tasty breakfast treats, keep in mind some of these important courtesies and tactful behaviors to follow when dining in a traditional Dim Sum restaurant.

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