Steamed Chicken in Clay Pot

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Steamed chicken with black mushrooms, chestnuts, Goji and Ba-wang-hua. This dish was concentrated with lots of chicken and medicinal flavors.
 
I bought this yun-nan style clay pot when we were in Toronto’s Chinatown. If you have followed my cooking posts, by now you must have cleared about my obsession towards cooking tools and cooking gadgets.

The Shops

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They built a very nice mall five minutes away from our home on the Bruce B. Downs (Tampa, FL). I am not a devoted shopper, and most of time I shop in Marshalls or Amazon. But it is very nice to walk around in that mall, neat, clean, upscale, convenient… lots of cute stores to look around, and lots of nice restaurants and cafes to relax in. I can say I love this mall…it is the best walk-around place in our area. I hope it survives this economy downturn.

More information of this mall:
The Shops at Wiregrass
28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 100
Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

website: http://www.theshopsatwiregrass.com/

Crispy and Succulent – Soft-shell Crabs

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Went to Maine Avenue Fish Market before leaving DC, we bought 4 live soft-shell crabs (4 dollars each, plump and fragile). Carefully packed them in the cooler I specially brought with us from FL for this purpose.

Back to home in Florida, I cleaned and trimmed those crabs, froze two of them, then battered and deep fried the rest two right away.

I can not tell you how good they were, I only can tell you that I gorged those two within 60 seconds.

If you know any stores in Tampa Bay area sell fresh soft-shell crabs, please let me know.

Address of Maine Avenue Fish Market:
1100 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

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If you plan to visit this George Washington’s home in DC, you better to get there early, otherwise you may wait for quite a while for the tour in the house.
 
Alan and I entered the estate shortly after it’s opening, so the waiting time was bearable. The whole property was nice and huge, and visited Washington and his family’s humble graves was quite something.
 
The house which he and his family had lived in wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be. From the outside it looks quite cute, but rooms inside were tiny and had low ceilings (of course, at that time). It wasn’t a comfortable house to live in, for such an important person in history, in my opinion. Though on the other hand, it makes me respects him much more.
 
More information of Mount Vernon: mountvernon.org

Chinatown DC

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Attended a relative’s wedding in VA, then we stopped in DC for 2 days. DC is one of my most favorite cities in the States. I always try to stop by there whenever we can.

DC’s Chinatown is the smallest Chinatown that I have been to, but its arch is the most gorgeous one.

Lotus seed paste with double salty egg yolk mooncakes

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I made total 4 mooncakes this year, each weights 170 grams. One of them broke after I took it off from the wooden mold. I had to throw it away.
 
So, these three are the only ones succeeded. There was lots of efforts had put in to make these mooncakes…

Made my own salty egg yolks, the process took total one and half month.

The special syrup which took me one and half hour to complete.

The lotus seed paste made from dried lotus seeds took me 4 hours to complete.

The dough wrap was the easiest part, took one hour.

The ratio of dough wrap to the filling is 2:8 which means 34 grams dough wraps 111 grams filling plus two egg yolks.

But all the efforts was worth for when Alan and I enjoyed those golden brown, rich and tender goodies the day after.
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Clockwise: inside look, the homemade syrup, the wooden mooncake mold.

P.S. for a party a month later, I also made a patch of Shanghai style mooncakes, they were delicious and desired as well.