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Recipes that include vegetable oil

Red Cooked Fish

Monday, November 24, 2014

At the risk of making this sound like a joke, Chinese people will “red cook” anything.  The thing is I’m serious. Whether it’s pork, beef, squid, tofu, or eggs, we can red cook it. On a basic level, that means cooking in a mix of soy sauce and a sweetener (sugar, rock candy, or honey). The recipes vary a little depending on what you are cooking. Sometimes you add ginger, garlic, scallions, orange peel, cilantro, chilies, or a combination of those things. While the ingredient list is so similar, many of these Red Cooked dishes come out tasting very different. (Try Red Cooked Pork Belly and Cuttlefish or Red Cooked Tee Pong.)  Right now, let’s talk Red Cooked Fish. It is a classic you’ll find in the home of most Chinese families. It’s also commonly sold at “real” Chinese restaurants. It’s a must know recipe!

Red Cooked Fish on grey

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Squid with Ramps in Black Bean Sauce

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ramps are in season and though they are not traditionally found in Chinese food, they make perfect sense in Chinese food. I think of ramps as sweeter, fatter, less pungent Chinese chives. I would bet you could successfully substitute ramps for any recipe that called for Chinese chives. Next, I want to do some dumplings with ramps!

Last week, I was in a rush to make dinner. I knew I had some fresh squid and ramps in the fridge and wanted to make something with Chinese flavors because Chinese food is definitely Caya’s favorite and she has really missed it while we were in Martha’s Vineyard. This is the dish that somehow made it to the table after two minutes of thought, Squid with Ramps in Black Bean Sauce. Caya and Lon loved it so much that a few days later, I made it again. Caya devoured it and so I made it again…

Squid with Ramps in Black Bean Sauce title pic

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White Chocolate Banana Bread

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lon LOVES bananas and always wants bananas around. The problem is when you buy a bunch, the first one you eat is a little under-ripe, the next few are perfect, and then there’s always some over-ripe left. It would be so wonderful if they sold bananas in bunches with different stages of ripeness. Anyways, so…I’ve made a lot of banana bread over the years and tried tons of different recipes. This White Chocolate Banana Bread, which is a variation of one I posted over four years ago, is the one I always end up coming back to over and over again.

White Chocolate Banana Bread title pic

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Three Cup Tofu

Saturday, June 8, 2013

There’s this pretty well-known Taiwanese dish called Three Cup Chicken. The flavorful dish of dark meat chicken is flavored with sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil with a strong dose of Chinese/Thai Basil.  My mom came up with a vegetarian version, Three Cup Tofu with the same flavor profile and it’s even easier to make. I was planning on posting Three Cup Chicken first, since it’s the original dish. That would have made more sense but alas, my body was just not willing to work with me on this…

Three Cup Tofu 3

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Shrimp & Peas

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I enjoy making somewhat elaborate dinners nightly, though that really doesn’t happen every night. Lunch is a different story. I try to maximize Caya’s morning play time (in the park, a class, or play space). We usually rush back just in the nick of time to allow five minutes to prepare lunch before she needs to eat; because soon after, it’s nap time.  I’m confident that having a kid is not required to have a limited lunch time.  Also it likely doesn’t take being two years old to have a short window between hungry and about to cry. It’s a daily stressor.

Shrimp & Peas is one of my saving dishes. It helps that Caya loves shrimp so much, we call her little shrimp monster. Do you see this plate of shrimp?  Try to count the pieces… I got to eat exactly one piece; Caya devoured the rest. You’re going to love the heck out of this dish too, especially when you realize that it could be the fastest, easiest, least clean-up dish you now know. If you buy already cleaned shrimp, this couldn’t take you more than three minutes to make. You don’t even need a knife or cutting board. How crazy is that?

Shrimp & Peas

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Red-Cooked Pork Belly and Baby Cuttlefish

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Very early readers may remember that I was a professional figure skater in my early life. (Lon too! I swear. Isn’t that crazy?) In my early 20s, I joined a hip-hop and breaking crew. My 30s seem to be shaping into my partner dancing era. I am in love with Argentine Tango and I also enjoy some salsa, bachata, cha and cha, and hustle. Just last night, I went to a workshop for BachaTango and it was wild! You dance on the count for Bachata with Tango moves thrown in. In the beginning, it was a little bit of a mind game for me not to switch to one or the other but once I got the hang of it, it was super fun. It seems to be growing in popularity in Europe and I hope I see more of it here.

BachaTango reminded me of this lovely Red-Cooked Pork Belly and Baby Cuttlefish dish because it fuses two elements, a surf & turf of Chinese sorts. Red-Cooking is a classic Chinese cooking method. In a very basic sense, it’s a sauce base of soy sauce and rock candy. How can that go wrong, right? Nearly anything can be red-cooked if you ask a Chinese person. We’ve done a Red-Cooked Picnic Shoulder in the past, a traditional dish called Tee Pong, and we’ve even done a Red-Braised Pork Belly on FoodMayhem. Don’t be surprised if you see more in the future! Here, we’re Red-Cooking rich little chunks of pork belly with plump baby cuttlefish. Double the textures, double the fun!

Red-Cooked Pork Belly & Cuttlefish 3

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Triple Mushroom, Lotus Root, and Soybean Skin

Friday, April 5, 2013

I kind of really fell off the planet for almost two years. Becoming a first time mom is tough, at least it really kicked me in the butt. It took me a long time to get back in the game (I hope you’ve noticed the new regularity in posting!) and then I realized: things had really changed since my “maternity leave”. What are all these new social media platforms? Panic! It was really daunting at first, especially because there was so many. I stalled several times yet once I did it, it quickly became habitual to take pictures of Caya on Instagram and plan out future home reno projects on Pinterest. And, thanks to the encouragement of Jackie and Blanca, I’m on Google+ now too. (I’m still a little lost on G+ but Chef Dennis Littley has a very helpful Community Education Series). So follow me on Instagram and Pinterest, and circle me on Google+. I’m back from the dead!

New social media platforms can seem scary to approach at first and so can unfamiliar ingredients. This beautifully earthy dish has some not-so-standard ingredients. Don’t fret; I’m here to walk you through.

title picture: mushrooms, lotus root, soybean skin

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Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon

Thursday, March 28, 2013

When I had extra Meyer lemons to use up, I decided to preserve them. My intention was to try that famous Moroccan chicken dish with olives and preserved lemon. Well, life got in the way, and that has not happened yet. It will.

Something even better happened though! The Moroccan inspiration was definitely in mind one night when I threw together a last-minute meal for some friends. I had a beautiful leg of lamb that had to be eaten before we left for a trip, so I called some friends and said my friends’ favorite five words, “please, come eat my food.” That’s the kind of generous friends I have. In a pinch, they’re always ready to lend a helping stomach.  I needed a side-dish and out of my head popped Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon. Of course, having kale that I also wanted to use up guided my inspiration. The dish worked so well though that I immediately tried to replicate it when we got back from Sanibel and Captiva.

Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon 5

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Chorizo and Butternut Squash Hash

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I’m really into roasting potatoes with some fennel and sweet bell peppers and when I’m not serving vegetarians, little bits of ham or some bacon can add some smoky saltiness. Then one day, I wanted to turn that side dish into more of a meal. I crumbled some sausage in instead of the ham/bacon and threw an egg on top. Last weekend, my cousins came over and I mentally prepared to make that dish but when I started prepping, I realized we were out of potatoes. I dug through my fridge and thought maybe butternut squash would work. It did! The added sweetness counters the saltiness of the meat perfectly and the pop of orange color makes the whole dish so vibrant. I now wanted to write a recipe and post it so badly. I had more of all the ingredients except for the Italian sausage. That’s when another swap happened. This time I tried it with chorizo.

IMG_2861

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Salted Fish & Chicken Fried Rice

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One of the most common misunderstandings of Chinese food is that soy sauce is in everything. It’s not! Further, nearly everyone that talks to me about making fried rice thinks there’s soy sauce in that (even if they know soy sauce is not in everything). There are many different types of fried rice so while the minority may contain soy sauce, the classic/basic version and most do not. Where does the brown color come from? It comes from frying the rice which browns it.

One of my all time favorite kinds of fried rice is Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice. Please do not put soy sauce in it.

salted fish chix

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