A super-processed food recipe! Special exceptions must be made for once-a-year-events. Happy lunar new year! Special thanks to my mama, and also to my co-conspirator Sarah, for providing her grandma-made childhood memories and decisive nature to help with quality assurance, with decision-making, and for even loaning me a steamer.
Other names for this dish:
Lo bak gao (phonetically in Cantonese dialect, often found via dim sum restaurant lingo)
Carrot cake (in Singapore)
蘿蔔糕 (Luo Bo Gao written, traditional Chinese)
萝卜糕 (Luo Bo Gao written, in Simplified Chinese)
Why no shrimp? I tried this labor-intensive recipe at home because lately when I go to some Chinese restaurants in the States, they’ve sprinkled their radish cake with bits of shrimp so I can’t eat it unless I want to risk anaphylactic shock (re: crustacean allergy, i.e. shellfish that has an exoskeleton). This is one of my favorite standard dishes for dim sum both in the U.S. and abroad, I especially love when they get the outside just-right crunchy, and a soft, squishy inside.
蘿蔔糕 (Luo Bo Gao)! Radish Cake!
Makes: 2 medium steamers and one rice cooker 4″ x 4″. Enough to serve a dozen ppl as a small side Overall Time: 60+ Minutes to Multi-Day
1.5 long daikon/Chinese radish (2lbs), skinned & shredded
2-3 chinese sausages, thinly minced into tiny pieces (for vegetarians: you you’ll still get umami if you just do the mushrooms and no sausage)
16 oz. rice flour
3-5 shiitake mushrooms, minced (you can also used dried, but fully rehydrate it before cutting, at least 1 hr or overnight)
1.5 teaspoons salt
Finally over it, but I caught a cough a few weeks ago and fought with it for almost two weeks. Started a new job, so it didn’t seem like I could really just call in sick my first day. It was downhill from there. My friend Yvonne recommended making this tasty concoction to mix in with hot water and drink. After a week or so of drinking luo han kuo (a.k.a. monkfruit) beverage* and so much pho I felt pho’d out, it was nice to try something different. It was really nice on the throat, and I just wish I’d managed to get up the gumption to start making it sooner so my sore throat could enjoy it for longer.
Lemon, Honey, and Ginger Soother for Colds and Sore Throats
Originally from Lana Stuart’s blog.
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 24 hours
1″ piece fresh ginger root**
1/2 to 1 cup honey
I pretty much winged it on the portions here to taste. Continue Reading
You guys, I finally gave in and tried making home made almond milk! Blame it on that Monday MLK holiday, and a big bag of expensive-feeling almonds from Cash & Carry. As a lactard, I ordinarily drink almond milk at home en lieu of regular milk, when I’m not indulging with coconut milk to lace my coffee, so it’s already a staple in my house. It was delicious, and I can’t believe it took me so long to finally try making it, especially as I was gifted with a powerful Vitamix last year.
Is it Fall? Is it windy with a risk of power outage in the Pacific Northwest? Are the daylight hours narrowing into a tiny sliver of hope/despair? Did I just go to Facing East and have stewed pork after a 7 mile hike a few weekends ago?
Time for some long-stewing braised pork! Check out the new gif below.
Below is a combo of my old friend Jenny’s roast pork recipe plus another recipe she sent me (photo from a book). You can generally find five-spice powder at your local Asian grocery store, or online if you don’t want to make it yourself. I’ve known Jenny longer than I haven’t, and she’s been a long-time co-conspirator for cooking tons of food to overfeed people. I’ve learned a lot from her, in cooking and life. Even though we grew up together, she’s one of my favorite role models for living courageously. Thanks a bunch for this recipe, Jenny!
3.74 lb. pork (pork shoulder or butt, bone in)
2 cups water
1 cups soy sauce (for gluten-free, use tamari sauce)
1 cup wine (sherry)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons five-spice powder*
1 large onion, diced
7 slices of ginger
1 green onion, sliced lengthwise
Optional (see steps 3-5):
your starch staple choice of brown rice, quinoa, white rice, etc.
3 carrots, chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled Continue Reading
I staged another upo squash battle, so stay tuned for another installment of the upo trials soon. But for now…
Here’s a first for the blog: a recipe trial based off a magnet! Specifically this one, which I bought from my home state long ago and always meant to use. With Autumn in full swing, the slight chill in the Pacific Northwest air puts me in mind of the Midwest Fall, with its brilliant, last-ditch burst of colors before the real cold sets in. With that, comes the impulse to make hot mulled cider (which I brought to spectate a Spartan Race the other weekend), and making tons of soup.
You will note there are some vague parts in this recipe, like, you can use 10 slices of bacon, OR and indeterminate amount of chicken. Continue Reading
I wanted to give my friends a housewarming gift that would not add to the giant pile of things they just had to move into their new home, so I tried my hand at some rustic, thick crusty bread. I doubled the portions but the bread was a tiny bit wetter than I’d like so I didn’t adjust the portions below for the double portion.
WARNING: this is one of those crazy multi-day recipes. The trade-off with no knead is waiting for the air bubbles and yeast to develop. And no, this was not something I did last night, it’s from Sunday. You know, that day you have time to do crazy things like bake bread..
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I did a mix of dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots and golden raisins)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I used toasted almond slices)
Zest from one orange (I used lemon rind, didn’t have an orange on hand)
1 1/2 cups water (water does not have to be warm)
Before more recent whirlwind adventures to a wedding in Vermont, K____ and I took a brief respite to camp in the North Cascades National Park. The votes are in, and the top winning option for next blog post was Campfire Cooking Methods! Special thanks to Logistikris for the unique comment entry of ‘Campfire chocoraspberry cake.’ I’ll try to cover chocoraspberry cake next. We were only there a couple nights, or: “as long as my back will take tent sleeping,” and “that’s how long the giant cooler of ice and frozen meats lasts to a safe-ish temp.”
Method Part 1: Pack it!
If you were a compulsive planner like me, you might list what you’d like to eat on your camping trip, and portion out ingredients as you pack up the accompanying junk food (in my house any road trip merits a hiatus from healthier eating). This time, I had in mind..
chocolate raspberry cake
and traditional sausage-bacon-egg-potato breakfast foods
In retrospect, it was too much in one night’s work to prep everything and also make spam musubi, but yeah, that’s what I did (even with lots of help from K___). If you are NOT a compulsive planner like me, I leave it to you to wing it like you do (i.e. like a BOSS). Really, I only measured things out for the first two items listed there, and I cheated with box chocolate cake mix. It’s camping, not the Iron Chef. I also made a little mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil which came in handy as dressing and marinade.
Method Part 2: Fire, not for backpacking -especially in high-fire-prone areas.
With the exception of marshmallow roasting, you want a low, even fire with plenty of coals. K____ and I treated fire-building like a team sport, with him as captain. We spread the logs out pretty wide for cooking, to make room for an even surface for the tools. Want more on this? Let me google that for you... Don’t forget to read up before you are out of cell phone reception zones. Obvi, if you are backpacking, all this “camping” is a whole different ball game.
Method Part 3: Tools
Here’s what the latest full-scale carried-a-little-too-far Wong Way of camping entails for cooking tools:
Tool 1: Cast Iron Skillet
-Needs: high temp cooking oil or butter, don’t forget the metal flipper!
-Good for bacon and all-purpose random cooking, especially when you snag the last possible campsite and it turns out to have no standard grill rack.
-Bad for open-flame potatoes.
-Obviously a bad idea for for light-weight packs.
Tool 2: Dutch Oven
-Good for making cake, probably good for a lot else too, like stew. It really holds the heat in.
-Bad for your back. This thing is so heavy. At least that means the squirrels can’t mess with it, only Yogi Bear.
-ditto on the backpacking
Tool 3: Aluminum Foil
-Good for..tubers, if you can get coals. Much better to wrap potatoes than expose them in cooking on a skillet. It was useful to shape handles on top of them for easier maneuvering.
-Also good for fashioning makeshift plateware and utensils, for that one time when you forgot sporks.
Tool 4: Percolator. Just add water!
-Good for coffee, tea, hot cocoa
–Hot toddies (basically, pre-mix everything but the water and lemon).
-Easy mac & cup noodle.
-Thermos + raw chicken noodle soup to cook over time.
Surprise Winning Tool: Percolator?!
That’s right, folks. While I’m grateful for the delicious breakfast K___ served up via skillet, and the fully-baked cake thanks to how well the dutch oven holds heat in, the percolator was the one I was most grateful to have, both to stave off a caffeine headache in the morning with coffee, and to keep me really cozy in the evening with hot toddies. It also felt like the easiest, most versatile one with endless possibilities. Maybe my opinion is swayed too strongly by how precious having water was on this trip since they hadn’t turned on the taps on the North Cascades yet. Oops.
Second Runner Up: Dutch Oven! This one is getting googled some more for the next camping trip. I’d probably rather just cheat directly with hot cakes’ take ‘n’ bake for smaller portion sizes on cakes, but I think you might get a good stew out of the dutch oven instead. They even come with campfire directions!
Safety Notes: on meat thermometers and a giant cooler on wheels..
-It’s definitely good to not poison yourself (see: safe cooking temps for meat).
-Tried to store meats on the bottom of the cooler, separated by ziplocs for extra OCD-style care.
-Tried to cook the more salmonella-prone items first, like eggs.
Nobu’s Miso Marinated Cod from the Kitchn. Important Note: you need at least 3 days before whenever you want to cook this, to marinate the cod!
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons sugar
4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each
Two to 3 days beforehand, for the miso marinade:
Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste, and whisk. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
To cook the fish:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stovetop. I like cast iron. Lightly wipe off any excess miso from the fillets, but don’t rinse it off.
Film the pan with a little oil, then place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes.
Flip and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Serve with rice.
First tried February 2015: cod stuck to cast iron and fell apart, flavors were pretty good though! I used vodka instead of sake. Scaled the portions down to one fillet to serve two.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting, and worth trying again to figure out how to make it without letting it fall apart. Bonus: good for your health! Likelihood of Repeat: 65% Lesson learned: Maybe next time use sake, and a griddle, or broil in oven option?
Last week was the lunar new year. Happy year of the sheep, friends!
My spouse and I had a few friends over to make and eat pot stickers. My parents used to do this when I was a kid, back in the day when frozen pot stickers were not readily available in Asian groceries in the Midwest. Making these on your own turns tedious and feels unrewarding fast, but getting a bunch of people together to take turns at it and eat them together is much more fun. Turns out when you get a handful of adult friends in on it, they get kind of competitive with the folding. We wrapped about twice as many as we were able to eat that night!
Without further ado, a recipe from my lifelong friend Jenny. It was nice that even though she couldn’t make it, her recipe was still there to help. I doubled it and split the difference between cabbage and spinach-based filling –but it’s not worth bothering with that.
Fried Dumplings (a.k.a. Pot Stickers)
Two packages of frozen wonton or gyoza wrappers (12 oz per pack, about 30 pieces each, available at asian grocery) -this is the 10% non-homemade part
1 pound ground beef or pork
1 package of shredded cabbage (iceberg salad mix works, or half a flat chinese cabbage + 1 medium carrot) OR use 1 pkg defrosted spinach
1 bunch scallions – I did a mix with garlic chives with this
1/4 teaspoon minced ginger OR powdered ginger
3T Sesame oil
2T Soy sauce (gluten-free)
2T soy sauce
1T sesame oil
1/2 t rice vinegar
dash of garlic powder and sugar, to taste
1. Place 5 cups of cabbage in a large bowl. Add 1T salt and mix. Let stand
for 1 hour to de-hydrate and soften the cabbage a bit. Squeeze out excess
water from cabbage. If using spinach, drain and wring out as much as possible.
2. Combine cabbage, ground meat with 1 egg, 2T soy sauce, 3T sesame oil,
chopped scallion, minced ginger, 1/2t ground pepper and 2T cornstarch. Stir
and mix the content. Add more cornstarch if the mixture seems loose.
3. Place 2T packed filling in the center of each wrapper. Wet the edge with
water, and then fold over to make a half-moon shape. Pinch edge together to
form small peaks along the round edge using the thumb and index finger of
4. Spread out 2T of cooking oil on a large frying pan. Set stove at medium
high heat. Arrange dumplings tightly but not overlapping. SautÈ until
bottoms are golden (3-5 minutes, depending on how many you put in). Add 3/4-1C water (depends on pan, 1/8″ deep). Cover and cook until water has
evaporated (bout 8-10 minutes). Place a serving plate over the pan and invert
the pan quickly.
5. Serve with dumpling sauce.
Storage tip: you can freeze the raw pot stickers after wrapping, being careful to let them freeze on a dish lightly dusted with flour to prevent them from freezing in one clump, then cook as usual plus a couple minutes.
Yes, i made two attempts at gluten-free pot sticker skins with varying result. One: per Broke Ass Gourmet‘s recommendation for rice paper wrappers. A second: per Food and Wine‘s recipe for from-scratch wrappers. I was lazy and used only Pamela’s gluten-free flour mix, no rice flour. If I tried it again I might try it with rice flour and egg and/or xantham gum.
Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 5 of 5 stars.
The base recipe is best, it’s not even worth trying to get fancy since the starting point is so good. The novelty lies in the fact I only bother trying it out around once a year or so. Likelihood of Repeat: 100% Lesson learned: Rice wrappers are even more sticky and frustrating to use as pot sticker wrappers than for summer rolls.
Also: “these aren’t meatballs, they’re naked pot stickers.” That’s what you’ll hear if you roll leftover filling into balls, bake them at 350 until they are sufficiently crisp and reach safe eating temp of 160, and serve them. The meatballs turn out pretty darn salty too.
The butternut squash planted late last spring is finally yielding ripened fruit. Due to the surprisingly longer processing time, i try to remember to only to roast butternut on a weekend, otherwise i end up eating around 10pm. With a solid sized squash like the one pictured, there’s always extra leftovers that can be frozen or portioned out for the week to put in salad, pasta or other meals.
Sunday Squash Roast
* 1 small (about 1.5 pounds) butternut squash, see below for cubing tip
* 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
* 6 medium red potatoes, cubed
* 1 red onion, quartered
* 1 carrot, chopped in chunks
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 475°F.
Shortcut: stab w/fork several times, microwave for 2-3 minutes, slice off outer shell, cube and de-seed. This also cuts the original recipe’s roasting time by about 10 minutes (to the 25-30 minute range).
In a large bowl, combine the squash, carrot, sweet potato, and red potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces and add them to the mixture.
Note: it is very important to mix this separately before combining with the vegetables, otherwise the oil and vinegar don’t distribute for an even caramelization: in a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
Roast for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.
A derivative of “roasted vegetables with fresh herbs” from a random King County employees recipe listing.
Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 1 of 5 stars.
I may have been making variations for four years, so it’s nothing new –but it has a pretty consistent and tasty result so I figured I’d post it here. Likelihood of Repeat: 100%
So convenient as a filler for new leftover combinations, you can put it on salad, or add it to soup for more oomph, or eat it atop rice with a protein.. Lesson Learned: Fighting to slice the butternut squash into cubes is always a little more tedious than you expect, even after you microwave it to tenderize a little. I made this on a Sunday, but didn’t even really get to eating it until the next day because the processing + baking time took so long it missed the other dinner items that were done earlier at a decent time. You also don’t get a crisp a caramelization factor if you microwave it before baking. This always makes much more than I expect out of one butternut squash, too. I had enough to eat all week, plus a few servings to freeze for later. Thus, the title of this post.