Bourbon Salmon

Fish ingredient

6 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

1 piece of cilantro as garnish for each fillet 

Marinade ingredients

6 tablespoons brown sugar

6 tablespoons bourbon

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger

3 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 garlic cloves, minced 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salsa ingredients

2 Mangoes (in season) 

3 scallions, finely diced (the ones in photo are not sliced finely enough)

1 Tablespoon whiskey

1 Tablespoon sweet white balsamic vinegar 

1 Tablespoon lime juice

1 Tablespoon diced fresh cilantro  

Finely minced jalepeno pepper, to taste 


Combine marinade ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add fish to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally. 

While fish marinates, prepare the salsa: 

Peel mangoes, score vertically and horizontally, then slice so that the mango is in small cubes. Combine mango with about 1 T whiskey, 1 T sweet white balsamic vinegar  (I use cranberry pear balsamic vinegar when I have it), diced onion, and diced cilantro. If you only have non-sweetened vinegar, add 1 teaspoon brown sugar if desired. Add some finely diced jalapeño pepper (only if desired). Mix and set aside for flavors to blend. 

 30 minutes before serving time, preheat broiler and lay fish in a broiler pan, skin side up. 

Reserve the marinade into a small saucepan, and use it to make a sauce, as follows:  Blend 1 Tablespoon corn starch into the cool liquid. Stir until well mixed and there are no lumps. Then place over medium low heat and cook to thicken, stirring occasionally. Sauce is done when it bubbles and turns from an opaque to a translucent shade. 

20 minutes before serving time, place fish under broiler. Broil for 8 minutes, but watch to make sure it browns and does not burn. (Exact time of cooking will depend on your particular oven.) 

Turn fish over, and broil another 8 minutes or until done. 

After fish is done, pour some sauce over it, garnish with salsa and a sprig of cilantro.

This fish recipe pairs well with any kind of rice and something green. My family prefers salad, stir fried greens, or (as shown on this page) asparagus. 


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I made vegan chili tonight for my church’s annual chili cook off. Each year, we have a chili cook off to raise funds for a worthy charity in our local area. I look forward every Fall to the fun of sampling all the delicious types of chili  that people bring to share (some of the samples this year included venison chili, barbecue style chili, taco soup style chili, meat lovers chili, and turkey chili). I also enjoy the opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause. This year, our fundraising efforts will benefit the program “Drive For a Ride,” through which Cooperative Ministries supplies cars to people who have no other way to get to work. 

For this year’s chili, I hoped to make a vegan chili that was so good it would inspire people to consider the possibility of incorporating more vegetarian food into their regular diet. A plant based diet  is not only healthier for us, it also is better for the environment and contributes to peace in the world by enabling a more sustainable lifestyle.

For my particular recipe that I am sharing here,  I was inspired by my oldest daughter’s excellent vegan chili. She first made vegan chili for our family about 10 years ago, while we were living in China. She uses various types of beans and also veggies such as carrots, celery, onion, and pepper.  Her chili is as colorful and beautiful to look at as it is delicious to taste! 

I also looked at some other recipes today, including  the Forks Over Knives recipe called Three Bean Chili For a Crowd and another five star  recipe called  Best Vegetarian Chili in the World from Then, using these as inspiration, I made my own. 

 What differentiates my chili is that I use lemon and cilantro to give it a special zing, and I add some curry powder to add depth on the palate.  (I also wanted a chili that had a bit less tomato than the Forks Over Knives recipe and a bit more veggies and more variety of beans than the recipe.) Even with the amount of dried pepper and jalapeño pepper that it contains, this recipe comes out relatively mild. If you like your chili more spicy, start with the amount of pepper I’ve listed, and then add your favorite type of hot pepper to get the heat you desire. (For my friends who are Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, or Indian, you would hardly be able to tell there was any spice in this at all!)

Here is my recipe, with two notes: (1) today I used canned beans, but it is quite simple to use dried beans and soak them overnight. And (2), I note that chili pairs well with broccoli cornbread. My recipe for broccoli cornbread is also on this blog, although it is not vegan. 

Now for the good stuff:


One 26 ounce can of black beans

One 16 ounce can of pinto beans

One 16 ounce can of garbanzo beans

One 16 ounce can of kidney beans 

 One 28 ounce can of low-sodium diced tomatoes

One 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
 One 15 ounce can of whole kernel super sweet corn

One large yellow onion, diced 

Two large orange or red peppers, chopped

Three or four jalapeño peppers, chopped (more if you like your chili more spicy, lots more if needed)

3/4 cup carrots, chopped

One cup celery, chopped

Eight cloves of garlic, chopped

One cup fresh cilantro, chopped 

Juice from one half lemon, with grated zest from the lemon also

Several Bay leaves

2 Tablespoons ancho chili pepper powder

3 Tablespoons ground cumin, to start (May need to add more to taste)

1 tablespoon curry powder

Optional Ingredients:

Veggie “meat” crumbles. This is what I used today: 

Vegan cheese. This is what I used today: 

Vegan sour cream. This is what I used today:


Sauté together the onion, garlic, peppers, celery, and carrot. May either use a separate skillet, or use a large cooking pot if you plan to cook everything in one pot.
While these ingredients sauté (or after they are finished sautéing if you are using just one large pot), drain all the beans into a colander and rinse them with cool water. 

After the beans have been rinsed, add all the beans, the canned tomatoes, and the dry spices into a large cooking pot and bring it all to a simmer. (Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. If it does stick, it may mean that your flame is set too high.) 
Add in the sautéed veggies, bring back to a simmer. 

Add in the “meat” crumbles, if you are using them. 

Taste the chili and add salt to taste. Tonight, I added a tablespoon of salt, but I had used a low sodium tomatoes. 

Based on your taste test, you may also wish to  add more powdered pepper or cumin. (I personally like more cumin than the amount specified above, but I suggest that this is a matter of personal preference and it is better to start with less and then add more if you find you like it.)

Next, add in the corn, bring back to a simmer. (Because all these ingredients are already fully cooked and you don’t want them to be overcooked, there is no need to add the corn until the very end.)

When you are satisfied that the chili is done, turn off the heat and then add in the lemon juice, the lemon zest, and half of the chopped cilantro. (The flavor from these last ingredients is best when fresh and uncooked.)

When you serve the chili, garnish it as desired with veggie cheese, vegan sour cream, and the remaining chopped cilantro. 

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Cashew Pineapple Pork

I was just looking back through old photos from my time living in China.   One of the delightful things about living in China was the confluence of other cultures and the exposure to many different types of cuisines.  This, in turn, influenced my own cooking palette.  After having this dish, not only did I make it myself, I decided it was good enough to document by way of photos.  Since a picture is worth 1000 words, I will post the photos and explain how I cooked it.  Because there are no quantities for ingredients and no specific cooking techniques, I suppose this is an intermediate rather than a beginner recipe.  Also, I imagine it goes without saying that this dish can be made vegan by leaving out the pork.

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Vegan Peach Cobbler

Someone recently posted the rhetorical question, “What do vegans even eat?” The answer is, “pretty much anything they want!” Almost any of my favorite recipes can be modified to be vegan. This simple and delicious  peach cobbler is one example of how to modify a recipe.  Continue reading

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Lib’s Fourteen Day Pickles

Lib was my grandmother, and this recipe was handed down to me by her.  You can’t buy pickles like these in a store.

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Fresh Gingered Cranberry Sauce

Thanks to Tracy from North Brookfield Mass for use of this image from Wikimedia Commons!


Growing up, I took my mother’s home made cranberry sauce for granted at Thanksgiving.   Pork was always served with cooked apple or pear, and turkey was always served with fresh cranberry sauce.   It wasn’t until we moved to China that I learned that cranberries and Continue reading

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Cross Cultural Jokes

require fluency and familiarity with cultural context in both languages …

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January 29, 2012 · 2:35 am

Does Nonviolent Direct Action Work? Yes.

Nonviolent direct action was employed by Martin Luther King, Jr., to effectuate change in the USA, and modeled on the writings and work of Gandhi in South Africa and India.  These are two examples of successful nonviolent change.  But are there others?  Does nonviolence really work?

The answer is, yes.

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Video “Welcome to China”

Ready to go?

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Talking about Responsibility

  This blog entry still holds true! 



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