April 24, 2014

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Well, I can tell you now, I’m back from my visit to the state of Virginia. My daughter flew into Peoria two weeks ago, rented a car and came down to take me and puppy back with her. We weren’t sure how the dog was going to do on such a long trip. He’s never been anywhere except to the vets or Beardstown when he was little.
Next week will start the story of The Country Dog in the City.
My kids showed me a wonderful time during my 10-day stay. We went to the ocean at Virginia Beach, and I got to walk in the surf and gather sea shells.
We ate at a beach-front restaurant, and the food was excellent. All the places we ate were very good. One night we dined at an old Tobacco Co. factory converted to a restaurant. Really good food and service you don’t see around here.
We went to a tea room while antique hunting. They made their own pastries, all kinds of tea sandwiches, homemade soups, and if you wanted tea they brought a wooden box with rows of different teas to choose from. They made you a pot of tea from your choice, not a cup of hot water and a Lipton tea bag. I noticed they did that for tea drinkers in every restaurant we went to.
We went to Colonial Williamsburg on my last day there. Lots of walking and I found out I’m not as energetic as I thought. It was a good time at that.
We sat on a bench and listened to some men dressed as military officers greet each other and talk about events of the day, just as though they were back in the days of the Revolutionary War. I enjoyed it probably more having been an interpretor in costume at New Salem.
One day we went to the big Yankee Candle shop. There must be 20 rooms in there, each selling something different as well as all their candles. One room had a ceiling that looked like the night sky with all the stars twinkling, and every 20 minutes it would snow.
Just as it finished while we were watching, a jolly old man in a real white beard and white hair came by. I asked him, “Just what would you be, an elf? - Santa’s helper?” He said he was Santa. So I gave him a big old bear hug, which I got back in full, and whispered in his ear, “Don’t forget me this year.” He responded with, “Have you been good?” I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Ahh.” He just laughed his big jolly laugh and said have a good day. Sure was fun. The weather was great both for traveling and while I was there.
Enough of me. Here is your recipe and have a great week! Miso-chicken ramen: 2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided; 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated; 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 tsp. ginger; 4 cups water; 3 tbsp. white miso; 1 1/2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce; 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed into bite-size pieces; 8 cups chopped bok choy; 4 ounces dried Chinese noodles, broken in half; 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (2 cups).
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large saucepan over med.-high heat. Add scallions and ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add water, miso, soy sauce and the remaining oil. Bring to a boil. Stir in chicken, bok choy noodles and mushrooms. Cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat to med. and cook, stirring until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 3-5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens. Serves 4. See you next week, behind The Garden Gate.