Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Arugula Salad

Oh wow, so it's been more than a month! So sorry for the unexpected hiatus, but I guess summer got to me. Well, I just moved into Tulane and after a full week of driving down south savoring lots of barbecue and of course the local New Orleans fare, I must say MAN DO I MISS MY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! So here's a recipe for the first meal I made in my new home in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's a salad with a little bit of sweet, a little bit of savory, and a little bit of bitter. This dish is perfectly designed to balance out the muggy weather and the unbelievable amount of fried food I've been eating of late. 

Summer Arugula Salad 
1/2 cup arugula
1/2 cup cantaloupe, chopped
1/4 cup blueberries 
2 tbs roasted walnuts
2 tbs roasted macadamia nuts 
1 tbs olive oil 

1. Toss together the arugula and cantaloupe with olive oil
2. Top with blueberries and nuts 

✓ fruit
✓ vegetable
✓ fiber
✓ unsaturated fats
✓ protein

Notes: If you're not into arugula, try substituting it with baby spinach. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday's Grocery

From the makers of Yardbird comes Sunday's Grocery, a "casual" corner store concept with everything ranging from import frying pans to overtly hipster magazines to an absurdly wide range of nice Japanese whiskeys. Despite the distracting random assortment of goods and the fact that we had to sit on crates to enjoy our meal outside the adjacent building, the food was absolutely delicious. 

Between three people, we shared the original fried chicken Sunday special, a roast pork sandwich, a bahn mi, market chips, and veggie sticks. 
  • The fried chicken was all dark meat and fried with a thin layer of batter. It was satisfyingly juicy, though I wish it were cooked just a tad longer so that the cartilage would come off easily. 
  • The roast pork sandwich was tender fatty pork slices topped with Kewpie mayo between crispy bread, reminiscent of a thin Cuban loaf. 
  • However, it was easily overshadowed by the chicken bahn mi that was bursting with flavor. Num Pang, step aside, because Sunday's Grocery has got the bahn mi game down strong. It's prepared with Yardbird's liver mousse and the necessary pickled vegetables. Seriously, I would trek all the way back to Sai Wan just for another piece of this bahn mi. 
  • The market chips were basically fresh Terra chips, which are the best, so no complaints. 
  • And finally, the veggie sticks were fresh cucumbers, daikon, and carrots that I chose to pair with a miso sauce. 
All in all, I was pretty surprised with the quality of everything I tried given the random location and its grocery store front. But if you want a solid sandwich, it's worth the 30 minute $2.30 tram ride.  

Pro tip: grab a box of matches on your way out. 

Sunday's Grocery
66-68 Catchick Street
Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DIY Dumplings!

Everyone loves dumplings. Steamed, boiled, pan fried; I want them all. So when I needed to throw a going away party for myself, I thought, what could possibly be better than a dumpling making pow wow? All you have to do is prep the filling the night before, and when the party commences and the dumplings are wrapped, someone always jumps in to help do the cooking. Quick prep time, hands on fun, and great party food.

Napa cabbage shiitake mushroom pork dumplings (serves 6-8)
60 circular Shanghai style dumpling wrappers
4 cups napa cabbage, diced
2 cups shiitake mushroom, diced
1 egg, beaten
1/2 lb ground pork

pork marinade:
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1/3 cup shaoxing rice wine
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1. Prepare the marinade and marinate pork for at least an hour or prepare the night before.
2. When ready to make dumplings, mix together ground pork, napa cabbage, and shiitake mushrooms in a large bowl.
3. Fill each individual dumpling wrapper with about 1 tbs of filling.
4. Line half the circumference of each wrapper with a smear of egg and seal the wrapper. Be sure that the dumpling is not overstuffed, otherwise it will burst when cooking.
5. Either boil until it floats in water or pan fry with canola oil until golden brown.

If you need some sauce, check out my shallot sesame dipping sauce.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Toasted coconut banana cream pie

Happy July 4th! And what can be more American than a cream pie? Using an instant pudding mix, Cool Whip, crackers, bananas, and coconut flakes, you too can make a semi-homemade dessert that is guaranteed to please your guests and make you cringe a little on the inside. But hey, though the ingredients aren't the most natural, this is definitely an extremely time saving and surprisingly low calorie dessert choice. Go America.

Toasted coconut banana cream pie (serves 8)
8-10 whole wheat digestive biscuits, crumbled
2-3 bananas, sliced
1 1/2 cup low fat milk
1 package vanilla flavor instant pudding (fat and sugar free)
2 cups Cool Whip
1 1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil and mix with crumbled digestive cookies and 2/3 cup of the coconut flakes.
3. Press evenly to a 8x8" square pan or 9" pie plate and bake for 10 minutes.
4. In the meantime, mix the milk and the pudding mix in a large bowl. Incorporate 1/2 cup of coconut flakes. 5. In a pan, toast the remaining 1/3 cup coconut flakes on low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. (Be sure to keep an eye on it because they burn easily.)
6. Once the crust has slightly cooled, line with banana slices. Then cover with pudding mixture and finally spread the whipped topping.
7. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Optional: stir in a small can of crushed pineapple into the Cool Whip topping for an extra tropical twist!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Theo's Cozy Corner

In celebration of the FIFA World Cup (Go Neymar!), I’m going to share with you this Brazilian gem snuggled in Boston’s North End, Theo’s Cozy Corner. It’s only opened until 3pm and most people go there for weekend brunch and homefries, but really those people are noobs for not venturing on to the Brazilian menu. 

What you have to try at Theo’s is their house special muqueca, a tomato and coconut milk based boneless fish stew that is slow cooked in a terra cotta pot. It’s flavorful, aromatic, and Theo’s portion seems like a never ending tub. We ordered ours with shrimp and it went perfectly with rice. I’ve also had the stew at Muqueca out on Cambridge Street in Somerville, and I must admit that Theo’s does it better. We also had steak and onions, which came with a heaping bowl of beans, and garlic shrimp which were large and succulent. Definitely get there early because it gets crowded and keep in mind that it’s cash only.

Theo's Cozy Corner

162 Salem Street
Boston, MA 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nutty Banana Oatmeal Cookies

You have ripe bananas on your kitchen counter. You're craving something sweet. You need something on the go for breakfast tomorrow morning. You need a snack. Now. What do you make? Banana bites. Here's a fool proof gluten free heart healthy recipe that will leave you drooling when you're preparing it and guiltless while you're chowing down half a batch. 

Nutty Banana Oatmeal Cookies (makes 12-15 large cookies) 
3 ripe bananas
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped 
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins 
1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
2. Mash bananas in a large bowl.
3. Fold in oats, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. Mix well.
4. If batter is too runny, add more oats a tablespoonful at a time. 
5. Line on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

✓ whole grains
✓ fiber
✓ fruit
✓ unsaturated fats