Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe for Happiness... and Chai Tea

My amazing friend, Laura Lavigne, founder of the Happiness Sprinkling Project, recently shared a recipe from her yoga friend Pam. Making homemade Chai Tea... what an aromatic scent to fill one's home with in the process of brewing a batch. Then again by a crackling fireplace breathing in and sipping a steaming cup of Chai while curled up reading a good book. This year, my favorite of the culinary books I read was Yes Chef a true story with a happy ending. If interested, check out a book I read this year that continues to have the greatest impact on my life and sustaining level of happiness.

And if not now but later, when you are back here at your computer with your second cup of Chai Tea in hand, please take time to watch and enjoy this delightful 16-minute video presentation"Go for Joy!: Laura Lavigne at TEDxSkagitValley."

Join Laura Lavigne along with a host of others around the country, and soon around the world, to be a Happiness Ambassador in your community! Gathering and making friends to sprinkle happiness wherever we go, now don't you think this is the best recipe for happiness there is?

"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crabfest & Dungeness Crab Egg Foo Young

As the gray clouds of the past week peeled away their canopy, we breathed in the crisp air as the sun bounced it's light off the waters of Puget Sound and poured it's warmth upon the fall leaves, displaying their glorious amber and crimson leaves as we drove up Highway 101 to Port Angeles for the 12th annual Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival.

Under the bigtop, food vendors lined the perimeter to serve up their offerings hot off their grill or ladled from industrial size cook pots. Some folks, even whole families stood in line for an hour for the crab feed, ordering either a whole or half crab with drawn butter, corn on the cob and coleslaw for $29 or $15 a plate. We preferred to sample a variety of seafood dishes - chowders, scallops and crab. 

Me sampling "World Famous" crab cakes.*(see links below)

The Blackball Ferry was churning out droves of Canadian tourists from Victoria and beyond along for the waterfront Crabfest - many there to see their favorite culinary celebrity and his wife, Graham and Treena Kerr. Graham, Treena and family were there to give attendees and opportunity to meet Graham, buy books, and attend events where he gave a talk, judged the first annual chowder competition, and watch his cooking demonstration. Unfortunately, we had to head back home before Graham 's time came to give his cooking demonstration on Sunday afternoon. However, we did have the good fortune of listening and watching Chef Les Chan, cooking instructor in Victoria B.C.

Chef Les Chan's delightful sense of humor entertained us while we watched his cooking demonstration and waited to taste his two dishes - Dungeness Crab with Black Beans and Crab Foo Young. Both tasty, relatively quick, if you don't try to talk and cook at the same time, and easy to prepare at home. The perks for staying through to the end of each demonstration was to taste the dish, and take a copy of the recipe, which I did for both and share with you here.

Dungeness Crab with Black Beans


8 Crab Leg segments, cracked
4 Tbsp Thai Basil, chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Ginger Root, minced
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
1 tsp Chinese Chili Sauce
4 dried Chinese Peppers, crushed
4 dried Chinese Black Beans
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 tsp Peanut or Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp Sherry
1/4 cup Water
Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, soak fermented black beans in warm water and set aside.
  2. To hot wok, add oil.
  3. When oil is hot, coat the sides of the wok and add garlic, ginger, drained black beans and crushed Chili peppers. Cook for one minute.
  4. Stir cornstarch into the water until blended smoothly.
  5. To wok, add water and cornstarch mixture, and chili sauce. Cook two minutes.
  6. Add crab legs, sherry, and Thai basil. Cook two minutes until crab is hot.
  7. Serve on a warm platter family style.
  8. This is finger food, so don't be afraid to use your fingers. Enjoy.

Crab Foo Young


8 Eggs, large
1 cup Fresh Bean Sprouts, minced
1/2 cup Green Onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup Bamboo Shoots, minced
1 cup Fresh Crab Meat
1 tsp Light Soya Sauce
2-3 tsps Cooking Oil
1/2 cup Water


  1. In a large bowl, combine eggs, crab meat, soy sauce, and vegetables.
  2. Heat 2 tsp of cooking oil in a non-stick skillet, coating sides.
  3. Add 1/3 egg mixture and fry as you would a pancake, cooking until lightly browned on bottom. Carefully turn over to cook and brown the bottom.
  4. Keep warm while cooking the other two pancakes.
  5. Add more oil to the wok, if needed. Cook, and keep all three pancakes warm while making sauce.
Foo Young Sauce

1/2 cup Chicken Broth (if vegetarian, substitute with vegetable broth)
1 tsp Light Soya Sauce
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp White Vinegar

1/2 cup Water
2 Tbsp Cornstarch

  1. In small pot, combine cornstarch and water with Foo Young Sauce.
  2. Cook and stir until slightly thickened.
  3. Serve hot over stacked Egg Foo Young, family style.
*If you  are in search of a great crab cake recipe, click for my crab cake blog post here. For Graham Kerr's Crab Cakes on Mixed Greens with Peanut Vinaigrette, click here.