Whidbey Recipes

"Romantic, charming, sensuous, handsome/beautiful, intelligent, alluring, amusing, sexy, fashionable...who could resist a person who has all that to offer? Probably no one, which is why many of us fall under the spell of Snake people. They are virtually irresistible.Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Golden Snake, according to the Chinese calendar, and, as Bette Davis once said, Hang on to your seatbelts, kiddies; it's going to be a bumpy ride. Snake people have it all, you see, but loving one isn't easy and living full time with one requires great generosity of spirit. It's not that a Snake person deliberately sets out to make life messy for others; most of the time they just can't help it. Snakes want so badly to love and be loved that they find it hard to believe they can do anyone harm by spreading the love around. If you were born in late January (or, in some years, early February) of 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977 or 1989, you're a Snake person, but you probably already know it if you are one. If you're a Snake, you're popular, loved, admired, sought after and adored. Handsome if male, beautiful if female, almost always impeccably and fashionably dressed, Snake people thrive on adulation and are considered by the Chinese to be the ultimate symbols of seduction. Ah, but therein lies the trouble with Snakes - not for them, but for those who love them.Oversexed would probably be too mild a word for Snake people. Snake men believe it's their duty to love as many women as possible; snake women can't resist making all those poor, adoring males happy. Snakes truly do want to make other people happy and find it hard to understand why their lover/spouse/mate gets upset when they have little affairs, because, in spite of the flings, Snakes want the security of a committed relationship and expect monogamy of their mate. Divorce is unthinkable and certainly not just because of a little philandering. (Is ex-President Clinton a Snake person, I wonder?) You may think this unfair, but not the Snake. He/she is only doing what comes naturally (to a Snake) and anyone hitched to such a person needs to be exceptionally understanding.It might be worth sticking with your Snake, however, for Snake people are very good at making and spending money and like to shower loved ones with jewelry and fine gifts. They are also usually very creative and intellectually stimulating, fun and fascinating to be around. Unfortunately, the inspired creativity that is part of a Snake person's allure also contributes to what is possibly the Snake person's most glaring character flaw, a propensity for telling lies. From little white ones to whoppers, a Snake man or woman would rather lie than hurt a friend's feelings or make a loved one unhappy, and a Snake person often comes to believe his/her lies after telling them, becoming indignant and belligerent if accused of lying. And if your Snake friend feels you've turned on him when you catch him in a lie, you will probably never again enjoy either his friendship or confidence. Snakes can turn cold and forbidding in an instant and may remain so if they feel betrayed or insecure.As I said, life with a Snake may be thrilling, glamorous and sexy, but it will never be easy. Just ask Adam.RECIPESAs I've noted in previous columns about Chinese New Year, this is a time for new resolutions, cleaning out closets (both household and mental) and getting rid of rubbish. It's also a time to forgive old debts and wrongs, imagined or otherwise, and make peace with household gods. Set off a few fireworks, eat oranges (symbol of wealth), burn incense and red candles, share a bowl of rice with friends and family and beware of the charming Snake!It is traditional at a Chinese New Year Feast to serve three meats, one of which should be fish (usually carp). Substitute shrimp as a starter course, then serve this elegant pork dish. Red-Cooked PorkOne 3 to 3 1/2 lb. shoulder or leg of pork, trimmed5 green onions3-4 slices fresh ginger root1/4 cup light soy sauce1/2 cup dark soy sauce1/4 cup brandy1/2 cup crystal sugar (available in Oriental Foods section)1. Score the rind and meat of the pork leg with a few cuts and place, skin side down, in a large cooking pot with the green onions and ginger. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil, skimming constantly. Add the soy sauces and brandy, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1/2 hour.2. Turn the meat over, add the sugar, cover and continue cooking for about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and reduce the liquid by boiling rapidly for 5-10 minutes.3. To serve, lift out the meat and place on a deep serving platter, skin side up. Discard the ginger and onions and pour the reduced sauce over the pork. The meat should be tender enough to tear with chopsticks, if desired. Serve with hot/sweet mustard on the side.And there must be rice, long-grain white or jasmine, sticky short-grain pearl or calrose, or crunchy brown - your choice, topped with any combination of a little fish, meat and vegetables. since some fish is mandatory for the New Year, try Rice with Crab and Snow Peas3/4 lb. edible pod peas, such as snow pea pods3 T. oyster sauce or soy sauce2 T. cornstarch4 t. rice vinegar2 cups low fat chicken broth2 t. salad oil2 T. minced fresh ginger4 cloves garlic, minced2-3 small dried hot chilies1 lb. fresh cooked crab meat (or use peeled fresh shrimp)6 cups hot cooked rice of choiceThinly sliced green onions1. Rinse peas, drain, string and cut off stem ends.2. In a small bowl, blend oyster sauce, cornstarch, vinegar and broth.3. Using a wok or large frying pan, place over high heat and when pan is hot, add 3 T. water and the peas. Cover and stir often until peas are bright green and just barely crunchy tender (only 2-3 minutes). Drain into a bowl; set aside.4. Return pan to heat and when pan is hot, add oil, ginger, garlic and chilies; stir until chilies begin to brown (1-2 minutes). Add crab (or shrimp, or combination of both) and the broth mixture; stir until boiling. Stir in peas. Scoop rice into warm bowls and spoon the crab mixture onto each portion. Sprinkle with some of the thinly sliced green onion and serve immediately, with additional soy sauce to taste. Happy Chinese New Year to all you slinky, sexy, slithery Snake people and good fortune to all the rest of us. May the Kitchen God smile on your culinary efforts all the year long. "

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 22
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates