The Dining Insider: A blog about Chinese for Christmas, grilled cheese at World Cafe Live, Christmas Eve at Harry's and New Years at The Blue Moon

A Different Holiday Dinner

If you’re living your very own version of “A Christmas Story” this year, you’re looking for a good Chinese restaurant. The Insider can help. Recommendation No. 1: The Crownery in Hockessin. No place makes fresher Chinese food. Our choice: Peking duck—boneless, sliced duck served with shredded cucumber, scallions, pancake wrappers and plum sauce. 239-3825, Choice No. 2: Yi Palace in North Wilmington. Its Mongolian beef gives a pleasant heat that will warm your day, as does its sliced lamb in a hot pot. If you’re daredevil enough to cook Chinese at home, Yi offers its recipe for beef with broccoli. (The secret, they say, is to marinate the beef in a bit of oil.) 477-6900, Here goes:


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1 egg
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cooking wine
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water

1 1/2 tbsp. oil

Main Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. broccoli, flowerets removed, slice thin on a diagonal
1 cup cooking oil
2 1/2 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
3/4 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
a few drops sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. cornstarch

3/4 lb. lean beef, sliced thinly into bite-sized pieces

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Slice beef. Separately, mix marinade ingredients. Add marinade to beef, then marinate for 30 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to beef, mix thoroughly, then marinate beef for another 30 minutes. While beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables.

Heat wok. Add 1 cup of oil. When oil is ready, add beef and stir-fry until it is nearly cooked. Remove beef and set aside on a plate. Drain the wok and wipe clean with a paper towel.

Add ½ cup water to wok and bring to a boil. Add broccoli. Cover and cook until broccoli is cooked through. Drain the wok.

Heat wok. Add about 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add vegetables and beef. Mix. Make a well in the middle of the wok, then add the sauce ingredients. Add cornstarch, stirring to thicken. Mix sauce with other ingredients. Serve hot.

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There you go. Who says you need to serve ham or turkey on Christmas? Enjoy.

A Holiday Stress Buster

So you’ve stretched your shopping till the last minute. Now that you’re done, the last thing you have time for is cooking. Hit one of the Harry’s restaurants for dinner. The Savoy Grill will offer a special dinner menu 2 p.m. till 10 p.m. Harry’s Seafood Grill will serve from the regular dinner menu from noon until 9 p.m. Relax. Start celebrating. And don’t forget half-price oysters at the Harry’s Seafood raw bar on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Forget the Tomato Soup

If the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is slow and you haven’t had enough holiday partying yet, here’s an event we love: the grilled cheese and craft beer tasting at World Cafe Live at the Queen. The menu? We have no idea yet, but, with offerings like Yards Saison with Old Bay cheddar and mini-crab cake on brioche, you won’t be disappointed. Perhaps you’d prefer Cacio de Lazio with tomato and kalamata olive purée on Herbes de Provence bread washed down with a New Holland Brewing’s Golden Cap Saison Ale? No worries. The point is this: anything-but-the-expected grilled cheeses made with locally sourced ingredients and craft beers from around the world. What better meal on a cold winter night? Dec. 27 is the date, starting at 6 p.m. 994-1400,

A Weekend to Remember—If You Can

Should you find yourself in Rehoboth Beach around New Year’s Eve and day, the Blue Moon is the place to be. Celebrate the eve with a four-course dinner for $95. Leading the list of four appetizer choices is beet-root cured Scottish salmon caviar with horseradish dill and vodka gelée. Choose between a salad of mixed greens with pear, spiced pecans, bleu cheese and balsamic vinaigrette or a bisque of sweet potato and Maine lobster. Your choice of entrée includes local rockfish with crispy seared skin, sweet potato hash, Brussels sprouts and buerre rouge, but there are other delicious options as well. Of course, there’s dessert. The next morning features a New Year’s Day brunch, with special prices on what may be a much-needed bloody Mary or Mimosa. Beginning at 9 p.m. a closing party bids adieu to the season. The soirée promises to be epic. 227-6515,

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