A mission statement

Hello, and welcome to My Kitchen and I. Every year I choose a cuisine to explore. This year, it's the year of the Snake! And I'll be continuing to cook mostly Asian foods, particularly Chinese dishes. Have I finally found the best cuisine in the world? Come explore and cook with me and let's find out. Please feel free to share your stories and comment on anything you see here, and thanks so much for visiting. Hope you enjoy the Year of the Snake in food!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Sweet and Sour Salad #letslunch Farmer's Market Post

As I write this, I am actually on a plane heading to see a friend, and then off to Paris, which I like to think of as the Farmer's Market of the world. I have heard so much about the food in France and particularly the Farmer's markets, I cannot wait to at last see them for myself, and of course I will post some pictures once I return.

Farmer's markets are a wonderful thing, regardless of which country or community you are in, and my local Farmer's Market right now is all about the tomatoes. They are literally at every table, and they all look so gorgeous.

But tomatoes are one of the last things I think of when I think of Asian cuisine!
So I was surprised — pleasantly — a couple weeks ago when a Chinese friend presented me with a nice bag of garden grown tomatoes from his garden.

Ooo la la! It is nice to have friends, and it is even nicer to have friends who have garden tomatoes.

We both agreed that store bought tomatoes aren't worth eating, and that it was only garden-grown for us.

And so, inspired by this gift, I started reading about tomatoes and China, and discovered that after all, Chinese people do know and like this vegetable, even though their term for it is, quite literally, foreign eggplant.

(I will look up the pinyin and characters later, but presently I'm posting this from a plane, (believe it or not) and the quarters are close so it is a little bit inconvenient to do that right now.)

I found lots of recipes online that said the Chinese use tomatoes with scrambled eggs, and suggested it is a summer "cooling" dish primarily from Beijing, but most of the hardcopy cookbooks I own pegged the tomato as s soup or braising ingredient. In fact the book Mastering the Art of Chinese of Cooking by Yin Fei-lo has a delightful sounding chicken soup that I'm going to have to try soon. 

She mentions in the recipe that tomatoes are commonly eaten in salads, though she doesn't say what kind. 

That was actually just fine with me, because I felt such a fine gift of garden grown tomatoes deserved something special and unique. So, I am calling this creation Sweet and Sour Salad. It is largely inspired by my first, favorite Chinese dish, Sweet and Sour Chicken, probably because the friend who gave them to me owns a Chinese restaurant. His place always make me think of that childhood favorite, which my mom and I used to share along with an order of crab rangoon.

This is a beautiful salad that would work well at any picnic or potluck, and really any cuisine, despite the predominantly Asian flavors. It's got a wonderful sweet-tart taste that will make you want another bowl, but lucky for you, this is a healthy dish. You can enjoy that second helping guilt-free.

Iff you need more great ideas to use up the last of summer's garden goodies, see the other fine creations by the #letslunch bunch which will follow the recipe. 

Bon appetit!

Sweet and Sour Salad

Dice into bite-size pieces:

2 tomatoes
1 red onion
half a fresh pineapple
half a green pepper
2 green onions

To this add:

one-inch piece of ginger minced fine
2 T sesame oil
2 T honey
3/8 cup vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
2 T minced cilantro

Mix the ingredients well and allow it to season for a few hours or even overnight. Very light, very refreshing, great for any picnic, barbecue or any dinner where you need a colorful salad.

Summery Mexican Chicken Stew from A Tiger in the Kitchen.

Annabelle‘s Mixed Berry Shortcakes at Glass of Fancy
Charissa‘s Curried Roasted Cheddar Cheese Cauliflower Soup, Gluten-Free at Zest Bakery
Grace‘s Yellow Watermelon with Red Chile at HapaMama
Joe‘s Peach Jam with Lemon Basil at Joe Yonan
Juliana‘s View from Les Halles Farmers Market at Chicken Scrawlings
Linda‘s Farmers’ Market Fruit Galette at Spicebox Travels
Linda‘s Zucchini or Cucumber Quick Pickles at Free Range Cookies
Lisa‘s Eveleigh Farmers’ Market (in Australia!) Winter Salad at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy‘s Sweet Auburn Curb Market (in Atlanta!) Tomato Gravy at A Cook and Her Books
Nancie‘s Carrboro, N.C., Farmers’ Market Vegetable Plate “Nicoise” with Spoonbread at Nancie McDermott
Patricia‘s Kim-Chi-Style Corn at The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook
Renee‘s Sweet and Sour Salad at My Kitchen and I


  1. What a lovely salad. I like the idea of pineapple and tomato together. Happy travels!

  2. What a great idea for a summer salad. Would work perfectly well on a hot summer's day with a good Aussie barbeque.

  3. Love this dish! I was thrilled to see pineapple in the recipe; I would never have thought of that but it makes me say 'Yes!' as soon as I do. And the dressing sounds lovely. I want this in my fridge daily to round out any summer lunch or supper plate. Eagerly awaiting your Paris market photos and tales.

  4. Interesting combination! It's never occurred to me to try tomato and pineapple together before.

  5. Oh, I hope you have a wonderful trip and do take a lot of pictures. I wished we'd explored them more, but mostly we made bee lines to the bread and cheese stalls. :)

    This dish looks bright and fresh, and I bet it tastes the same.

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