The last class I was able to fit in during my Chinese New Year holiday was The Basics. Different than other classes, instead of cooking three dishes, we spent the time learning about different ingredients. We received a 7 page packet of information detailing uses, origins and pairings. I was heart broken when I arrived home and found that my neighbor and I accidentally swapped packets, leaving me with nearly blank margins. I hope he is enjoying all my notes.
This is a wood ear fungus and a lily flower. Putting something called fungus in my food doesn't sound appetizing, so let's call it a mushroom. If you are not put off by the name or the interesting appearance, you will find that they are quite tasty and added a lot to our one dish of the class -- Mu Xu Ruo or what we might call Mu Shu Pork. Wood Ear Mushrooms and Lily Flowers are essential to Mu Xu Ruo. Although I've never been tested, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to lily pollen. I decided to try them anyway, no effects that I noticed.