Friday, January 28, 2011

Pork Chops and Bacon Kale over Congee

I have had people asking about ways to serve congee and also ways to serve pork, so here is one of my favorite meals combining the two: pork chops with bacon kale over congee (a recipe for congee is here:

In addition to the congee you'll need thin cut pork chops, olive oil, one bunch of kale, 2 slices of bacon (all natural preferably), raw walnuts and, if you like, umeboshi paste.

To prepare the pork chops heat up a large pan to medium with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, rub the chops with olive oil and then add the chops to the pan. Brown them for a couple of minutes on each side, then turn the heat down and cover them until they're done, turning them occasionally. Once they're done take them out and cut them into strips.

To prepare the bacon kale, chop the bacon into small pieces and cook in a pan or wok. Chop the kale while the bacon is cooking. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from the pan and set aside, and add the kale to the pan. Stir-fry the kale until it is done and then stir the bacon back in.

For the garnish, dice 1 or 2 walnuts and toast them in a pan or oven. The umeboshi paste can be purchased at an asian market or health food store (you'll only need a tiny bit of the paste per serving - about the size of a dime or so depending on taste).

Most of the prep and cooking can be done simultaneously - it should only take about 20-30 minutes total (not counting the congee, of course).

Serve the pork chop strips and bacon kale over the congee with the garnish on the sides.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm Internship

Peggy Schafer is going to be starting up the 2011 medicinal herb farm internship in March - I'll be teaching there in the mornings. Here is the announcement:

Would you like to gain understating and deepen your relationship with Chinese herbs through their cultivation? Perhaps you are concerned about losing access to herbs and thus are interested in being a part of the development of Chinese herbs as a domestic emerging market? How about access to better quality herbs than is commonly found in the marketplace. Or maybe you are a grower seeking to diversify your production? Besides offering seed and field grown herbs the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm operates as an experimental farm to explore these possibilities as well as aid herb conservation. Our internship program allows those interested in hands on knowledge and experience in all aspects of growing and harvesting Chinese herbs with the guidance of Peg Schafer; educator and nationally recognized Asian herb grower.

This program will follow the seasonal progression of growing herbs from seed sowing and pot culture in the nursery to field production covering soil management, planting, cultivation, harvesting and drying of leaf, flower, seed and root herb crops.

Sean Fannin, an accomplished practitioner from the Center for Traditional Health Arts will start each session with Medical Qigong. This introduction and ongoing practice will develop Quiet and Moving Qigong practices while gaining practical understanding of the theories.

The eight session program runs from March through October, the second Saturday of the month. Hours are from 9-3. Interns should be in good physical shape and be prepared and committed to work to the best of their ability. The program is $400. If you are interested please email Peg at
We will hold two open houses in February to get acquainted. A visit to the farm is mandatory for intern consideration. Please email a short blurb describing what you are looking for and why you are interested, and any agricultural experience you may have, as well as any health considerations.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Meeting of Classical Chinese Medicine Study Group

We had our first meeting of the new Classical Chinese Medicine study group last Saturday. It is a really nice, diverse group and we had a great initial meeting. This first session was primarily overview, with discussions on how to analyze characters, and applying that to the characters for yin, yang, tian (heaven), di (earth) and Dao. These characters essentially form the first line of Chapter 5 of the Suwen, and we had a good group discussion of the meaning of that first line as well.

Our next meeting is set for Saturday, February 26th from 9:30-11:30. If you are interested contact me as there is room for a couple of more people and this would still be a good starting point.