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From the introduction of Easy 'n Healthy Cooking:
"People often think of Chinese cooking as difficult and complicated, when in fact it’s merely a matter of having the interest and the willingness to try a different method of cooking. I introduce many variations to several themes which translate into different ways of presenting dishes once a master recipe is learned. I have companion dishes which can be made the next day once the ingredients for an entrée are prepared, so that the next day’s light meal requires just 5-10 minutes of assembling to create a brand new dish. This method makes meal preparation really easy, healthy, and interesting because one can enjoy foods presented in myriad ways with minimal effort.
While using traditional
methods of Chinese cooking, I make a deliberate effort to cut down the use
of oil in stir-frying and avoid deep frying altogether. I use a lot of vegetables
with lean meats and seafood which give a healthy nutritional balance.
I use the same nutritional and health-conscious philosophy when it comes to Western cuisine using lots of whole wheat flour, very little sugar, and lots of fresh fruit in many of the desserts. I measure meticulously when baking, but rely much more on my eyes, nose, and taste buds when it comes to cooking other dishes.
When I have dinner guests, menu planning often includes a mix of hot or cold Chinese and Western appetizers. Chinese dinners usually include more than one dish and they can be steamed, braised, or stir-fried. I favor make-ahead Western desserts. So the menu is quite eclectic, as Chinese food blends well with Western cuisine. For this reason, I have included Chinese, fusion, and Western recipes. I like to surprise friends with innovative ways of fusing Asian ingredients into Continental cuisine, as in the Filet Mignon with Chestnuts en Croûte and Medallion Chicken with Jeweled Rice en Croûte. Baked in a crust, these entrées look dazzling and seem to appeal to cosmopolitan tastes.
The reader can use the section on Garnish, Ingredients and Cooking Tips as a quick reference for a specific preparation or cutting method. The short paragraphs on Basic Cutting and Cooking Methods in Chinese Cuisine will be especially helpful to novices. Some of the recipes have a long list of ingredients, some of which require advanced soaking or preparation, but they are easily tossed together in the wok at the last minute with terrific end results. The Easy and Delicious recipes are highlighted in bold letters. It’s a good idea to start making the Easy and Delicious and Easy Gourmet recipes first to build confidence. The reader-cook will make these dishes over and over again and build a repertoire of quick favorites. There are many gourmet II recipes which will appeal to experienced cooks who want to make deliciously impressive entrées and appetizers. These may take a little more time but are surprisingly easy to make. There are many vegetarian and seafood dishes that are tasty, colorful, and nutritious. The Vegetarian recipes and the ones that have particularly healthy ingredients, appealing to health conscious eaters, are marked with hearts. The desserts range from low-calorie and healthy to rich and irresistible. A theme throughout is the importance of eye appeal and presentation as well as great taste."
Diana Chan is a creative innovator with a passion for cooking and baking. She was born in Shanghai, China and grew up in Hong Kong and Brazil where she watched her family’s Chinese chef prepare simple daily meals and elaborate banquet dishes. Watching the chef was a natural way for her to learn the basics of Chinese cooking which facilitated her transition into Fusion cooking later. Diana has a knack for analyzing favorite dishes, replicating them, or creating innovative variations of her own and enjoys having family and friends over to sample her new creations. She and her husband are docent trainees at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. She loves art, music and dance and plays the piano to relax and to get inspirational ideas for cooking. She did most of the photography and all the illustrations for the book which began as a small collection of recipes for family and mushroomed into a full-scale cookbook.
yam leaves at the farmer's market.