saturday thoughts + anise spiked dried lily flowers and sliced pork soup

by Chen

What does an ideal Saturday look like?

I’m living in a mystery that on one hand, it’s an opportunity to catch up with any material I missed in class; however, I tend to have a sluggish feeling on Saturdays. Here I’ve summarized a (not so complete) list of what I don’t and do WANT for this day.

Dress up
Brush my hair

Wear sweatpants and oversized tops when going out
Stay in my flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers if at home
Watch some good animations

While I try to follow all my do’s, the only thing I can do for the don’ts is probably not to dress up, by which I mean my occasionally semi-formal weekday apparel. Maybe the best part of my Saturdays is to make some good food to ease my stressful life.

dried lily flower and sliced pork soup
Makes 4 servings

6 oz pork shoulder, thinly sliced
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tsp soy sauce

2 cups packed dried lily flowers (available in most Chinese supermarkets)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth (6 cups for thinner soup)
4 dried dates
2 whole star anise seeds
2 large slices fresh ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and white pepper

Soak the lily flowers in warm water for 10 minutes. Wash and drain well.

Whisk together the cornstarch, wine, and soy sauce. Toss the pork in the mixture until evenly coated. Set aside.

Add the broth, dates, anise, and ginger along with a pinch of salt to a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the drained lily flowers. Cover and cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir in the pork and cook until it is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not over cook the meat. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.

By the way, do NOT eat the anise or ginger.