Tag Archives: Ginger

Pork Wontons

Just a quick ride on the el or a short drive to University City, lies the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. The Penn Museum is home to about 1 -million artifacts covering existence anywhere from Ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire, Native American tribes and everywhere in between. Though the most intriguing items are viewable to the public behind glass cases, Museum researchers and scholars are involved with research projects all over the globe that could, literally, dig up something new for the Penn Museum visitors.

In addition to the intriguing permanent collections, the museum regularly features special exhibits. Until March 28th, the exclusive, and highly anticipated, Secrets of the Silk Road exhibit is open to the public. Through artifacts, relics, and even well-preserved mummies, the exhibit tells the story of life in the Tarim Basin desert, located in Central Asia. Spanning from Europe to Eastern China, the Silk Road is a network of trade routes connected through this region, responsible for modern trade, cross cultural exchanges and the growth of many items we still use today.

The Penn Museum has designed interactive components for visitors of all ages, further exploring the language and textiles of those who lived in the Tarim Basin region. Additionally, visitors can experience the Silk Road from the perspective of a princess, merchant, entertainer, or horseman of that time period by participating in an activity provided at the beginning of the exhibit; with a paper map in hand, participants discover more about their chosen character by unlocking answers with a decoder throughout the exhibit.

The interactive nature of the exhibit continues with lunch at The Pepper Mill Café, inside the museum. Until June, menus focus on a specific country along the Silk Road, rotating weekly. From China to Vietnam, to India and Greece, the catering staff spent two months researching and developing traditional foods of the region. The exhibit itself shows visitors what the people in the Tarim Basin ate; displays include an ancient, excavated wonton, spring roll and fried dough. Free recipes available inside the exhibit allow visitors to experience the Secrets of the Silk Road at home.  This recipe, for wontons filled with pork, probably tastes a little bit better than its thousands-of-years-old version in the exhibit. Read More…

Pear-Ginger Muffins

I’m really bad at cross-referencing ingredients for baked goods with what I have in the cabinets. For that reason, I have enough flour to last me well through the holidays of 2010, and plenty of sugar to spare (granulated white, confectioners, light and dark brown.) The silver lining of my stocked baking cabinet (other than, of course, having a stocked baking cabinet) is that I can respond to a spontaneous desire for homemade chocolate-chip cookies when the mood strikes.

My refrigerator has been stocked with pears since they came in season, and I’m perfectly happy to enjoy them just as they are; pears are a great source of Vitamin C, and a provider of about 15% of daily required dietary fiber. According to USAPears.com, pears are considered a “nutrient-dense” food, meaning they contains few calories but provide vital nutrients. The high fiber and water content of nutrient-dense foods is useful in curbing appetite and giving the sensation of one being full; perfect for a mid-afternoon snack.

Last week, I decided to join the forces of my well-stocked baking cabinet and my ample pear supply and concoct these moist, warm, seasonably appropriate Pear-Ginger Muffins. Read More…

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