Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Pesto Caprese Penne with Mozzarella Perline

Our basil is growing quickly in the summer sun and we're challenged to come up with dishes that use it as fast as it grows.  One of my favorites is the Ligurian specialty:  Trofie With Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans.  However, I made that a few days ago and, in my search for other basil/pesto recipes, run across a recipe for Pesto Caprese Penne Pasta which I tweak a little, using the pesto recipe from the trofie dish.

Pesto Caprese Penne with Mozzarella Perline

I make a double portion of the pesto, saving half for this recipe and freezing half for later.  I start with about 120 freshly-picked basil leaves, which trims our plants a little

 Basil plant (after trimming), picked and ready to clean

Two tablespoons of pine nuts are toasted on the stove, then added to the basil along with 8 or so cloves of garlic, in a food processor.  Once the assortment is well blended, we add about two tablespoons each of grated Parmesan Reggiano and grated Pecorino Romano cheeses, along with a pinch of salt.  After a little more combining with the cheeses, olive oil is blended in to create a light creamy texture.

 Toasting pine nuts, other ingredients

 Starting to blend, pesto complete

To make the dish for two, 1/3 pound (150 grams) of pasta is cooked until al dente in a large pot of boiling water, then added to 1/2 cup (120 ml) of cherry tomatoes, 4 ounces (114 grams) of mozzarella perline (small round mozzarella pearls), the basil pesto, and a little fresh basil chiffonade (thin sliced).


 Adding the pesto to tomatoes and mozzarella

 Adding the penne

Buon appetito!

This dish is simple, with a great combination of ingredients and tastes and is truly delicious!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Ships in Hong Kong Harbor

My hotel room looks out over Victoria Harbor from Central, facing Kowloon across the harbor, and I spend time watching the boat traffic in the harbor.  Victoria Harbor is about 1 km (.6 mile) wide and 9 km (5.6 miles) long, is sheltered from storms by the mountains on Hong Kong Island, and is deep enough for the largest ships.

This was once one of the British Empire's largest military and trading ports and is now one of the world's busiest commercial ports.

I just watch the huge variety of ships come and go.

Ships passing by

The harbor is incredibly busy and, sitting at one spot, there is always something interesting passing by.  I site mesmerized for long periods just watching it all.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Food and Dining in Hong Kong

As I stroll through the streets of Hong Kong, I stop often to admire the fresh food available in the neighborhood shops.

 Neighborhood shops

Many of the shops also cook and serve the food they sell, offering great meals for those without the time to take it home and prepare it themselves.

 Dining in

Alongside the food shops are small stores with the kitchen equipment needed to enjoy this great fresh food at home.


My meals in Hong Kong are generally simple plates of noodles, fish, and dumplings.   One dinner is sui mai (shrimp dumplings), beef balls, cuttlefish balls, Shanghai noodles, and Thai-style fish cakes.

Noodles, dumplings, meat and fish balls, and fish cakes

Another assortment is sui mai, beef balls, Japanese fried dumplings, fried rice with vegetables, and a spring roll.

Shrimp, beef, fried ride, dumplings and spring roll

And, there are a few more variations on this theme.

More dinner assortments

As a treat for lunch one day, I head over to a famous roast goose restaurant, Yung Kee, where I dine on one-quarter roast goose and broccoli stalks (I ordered steamed vegetables, but ended up with broccoli stalks, which also worked well).  Yung Kee has been making roast goose the same way since 1942 and, in 1968, was named one of the top fifteen restaurants in the world by Fortune Magazine.  The goose is cooked on charcoal to give the skin a dark red color and intense aroma, accompanied by a secret marinade and a homemade plum dipping sauce.  It is delicious!

 Yung Kee, goose on display

 Goose with dipping sauce, asparagus

 I dine well in Hong Kong and enjoy both viewing the products in the market and eating the meals that are derived from them.  My only regret is that I couldn't shop in the market and prepare some of the great offerings myself!