Don't despair if you didn't celebrate the Chinese New Year Monday. Chinese New Year festivities continue for 15 days, so you have plenty of opportunities still to welcome in the Year of the Dragon with long noodles (for long life), oranges (for prosperity) and fiery foods (for dragon breath).
Ying Stoller, a Chinese chef, cooking instructor and founder of Ying's Kitchen in Gurnee, created her chile-infused Dragon Beef exclusively for Daily Herald readers. The recipe calls for five whole red peppers, but if you think it might be too spicy, tame the recipe by removing the seeds and membrane from the peppers before adding them to the wok, or just don't add as many.
If you like her Dragon Beef, chances are good you'll like her line of high fructose corn syrup-free Asian cooking sauces, marinades and batter mix (great for tempura). Her products are available at Mariano's, Sunset Foods, Valli Produce and other area grocers. Check out yingskitchen.com for store availability plus tips and recipes.
Say 'hello' to Ellie: Ellie Krieger, host of the Food Network's "Healthy Appetite," joins USA WEEKEND Sunday as its new CookSmart columnist.
A registered dietitian, Krieger has helped out with first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign and has teamed up with the New York City School Food initiative, where she created healthy, delicious menu items for students citywide.
You'll see her Sunday on the cover of USA WEEKEND when she shares tasty, easy-to-prepare, healthy recipes for Super Bowl parties. Her newest book, "Comfort Food Fix," came out last fall and contains 150 soul-satisfying recipes for favorites like chicken potpie and meatloaf that contain fewer calories and less saturated fat than their traditional counterparts.
Want to win a copy of her book? Friend me at Facebook.com/debpankey.dailyherald by noon Friday. I'll send my copy to one random friend.
Im-port-ant news: Have a passion for Port? Or do you want to get better acquainted with this luscious ruby-toned fortified wine? Join the global, virtual tasting on Friday, Jan. 27.
Sponsored by the Center for Wine Origins, Port Day encourages the celebration of this unique wine that only comes from Portugal in an effort to raise awareness about the need to protect the Port name.
There are many fortified and dessert wines, but true Port only comes from the Port appellation in Portugal, one of the world's oldest regulated and demarcated wine regions. Port grapes are grown in the Douro Valley, located about 60 miles from the city of Porto, where Port gets its name. The Douro Valley is surrounded by rugged mountain ranges that produce a hot, dry climate. The climate and soil make Port unlike any other wine. That's why its name can only be used on a label if the grapes and the wine are produced, under strict controls, in the Port appellation.
Today the Port name is misused on wine bottles across the world and particularly here in the U.S. When shopping for Port, make sure to look for the seal of approval and confirm that the wine comes from Portugal.
You can join Port Day online by blogging, tweeting or posting about this wine by using the #PortDay hashtag. Consider inviting a few friends over or stopping by a local wine bar for a tasting. You can stay up-to-date on the most current news regarding Port Day or register an event at http://bit.ly/vUenZr.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 427-4525. Be her friend at Facebook.com/debpankey.dailyherald or follow her on Twitter @PankeysPlate.