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Peters Township Public Library takes patrons on culinary world tour

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Pier Lee (left), director of the Peters Township Library, and Shuping Liu will be the guest chefs at the next Peters Township Public Library Cooking Club Taste the World meeting. Lee is holding stir fried chicken with fresh mushrooms, and Liu is holding Chinese pork dumplings.

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The library is looking for guest chefs to teach about the food of other countries. To participate, email the club at ptplcookingclub@ or sign up at the library circulation desk. For more information about upcoming events, visit

The library will accept registrations starting in mid-February for its next program, slated for 7 p.m. March 7. Those interested can register through the library's website.


(Stir-Fried Chicken with Fresh Mushrooms)

2 whole chicken breasts, about ¾ pound each

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 egg white

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, or pale dry sherry

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

¼ pound fresh mushrooms

2 slices peeled fresh ginger root, chopped

For the marinade

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons cold chicken broth or water

Cut meat from breast, and pull out and discard tendons. Lay meat flat and cut into into paper-thin slices. Cut slices into pieces that are 2-inches long and 1-inch wide.

In large bowl, combine chicken and cornstarch, and toss chicken about with a spoon until lightly coated. Add egg white, wine, and salt, and stir with chicken until thoroughly mixed.

Set skillet over high heat for 30 seconds. Pour 1 tablespoon vegetable oil into pan, swirl around, and heat for another 30 seconds. Turn heat down if oil smokes. Add mushrooms and ½ tsp. salt, and stir-fry over moderate heat for 1 minute. Transfer mushrooms to a platter and set aside. Add remaining 3 tablespoons vegetable oil to pan, and heat for 30 seconds. Drop in ginger, and cook for 30 seconds.

Immediately add chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until pieces are firm and white. Return mushrooms to pan.

For the marinade, mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch in the 4 tablespoons cold chicken broth and water and stir just to mix. Add to pan and cook, stirring constantly for a few seconds until ingredients are coated with a light, clear glaze.

Move contents from pan to platter and serve at once.

As a main course, the recipe serves four. Served family style, it serves six to eight.

— Pier Lee

By Rachel Weaver
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Peters Township Public Library is reaching out to community members through their minds and stomachs.

The library's cooking club introduced a “Taste the World” series this year, featuring guest chefs who teach making authentic dishes from countries around the world. The group's first session on Thai food was held in January. Another one focusing on Chinese cuisine is slated for Feb. 7.

“I'd been thinking about the library's role in society being different than just books,” said Pier Lee, library director and one of February's featured chefs. “It's more like a social place now, and we can enjoy culture together.”

The program is perfect for Peters, with its diverse population, she said.

“It is a melting pot in this area,” she said.

Cooking Club members have met once a month for the past two years at the library to share knowledge about cuisine, discuss cooking trends and share food samples.

The new series features recipes as well as on-site demonstrations and tastings. Other library resources, such as travel books and DVDs, complement the program.

Upcoming programs will feature Irish, Eastern European, Polish and Latin America cuisine. Library staff are accepting suggestions for other countries.

Lee's “Taste of Chinese” event will coincide with the Chinese New Year celebration, which begins on Feb. 10. The evening will include a hands-on cooking demonstration and a display of Chinese costumes.

Lee, who grew up in Hong Kong, plans to prepare mo-ku-chi-pien, or stir-fried chicken with fresh mushrooms. Registration for that event is closed, but the library will be accepting sign-ups for its March program in mid-February.

Jennifer Garrett, 46, of Peters, said while she's always loved to cook, the program has helped her learn tips and techniques she never would have considered otherwise.

“Nobody is a professional cook in any way,” she said of the group. “We're just a bunch of home cooks. But everybody has their own style of cooking. You can learn a lot.”

Garrett plans to teach a class based on her Irish heritage for the “Taste the World” series.

“You always pick up a few little things you didn't know,” she said of the club. “It's kind of nice that we can interact and learn from each other.”

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or

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