Tag Archives: ginger

Radish Cakes

蘿蔔糕 (Luo Bo Gao)!

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 to my co-conspirator Sarah, for providing her grandma-made childhood memories and decisive nature to help with quality assurance, decision-making, and even loaning me a steamer. Thanks also to my fellow food-obsessed friend Candace who gave me a tip on the rice flour type, and Angel Wong of Angel Wong’s Kitchen for her nice tutorial video that (a)confirmed the preferred rice flour type, and (b)filled in a few gaps in specifics for the recipe procedure. Note: another reason to try this labor-intensive recipe at home: lately when I go to some Chinese restaurants, they’ve sprinkled their radish cake with bits of shrimp so I can’t eat it unless I want to risk anaphylactic shock.

The finished product: take 2 post freezing and thawing.
The finished product: take 2 post freezing and thawing.

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The Lemon Concoction You Want to Try Next Time Your Throat Hurts

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

Ingredients
2-3 lemons
1″ piece fresh ginger root**
1/2 to 1 cup honey
I pretty much winged it on the portions here to taste. Continue Reading

Butternut Squash & Coconut Milk Soup

I love soup. Did I mention I love soup? Predictably, my household caught the sniffles after all that holiday activity and travel, and my mind was filled with thoughts of healing soup. It’s a great way to take a lot of fluids and help you get better. There was this one day where I made two vats of soup for the week, went out to eat for another soup, and made a quick mug of noodle soup before bed. Just soup-er.
This one is creamy despite not having dairy, “thank goodness,” said the lactard. I also did away with the shrimp to eliminate my risk of anaphylactic shock, and took a shot frying tofu on the side. *I had to go to two different stores to get a red curry paste without shrimp paste in it (thank you vegan options), so if you’re going vegetarian check the ingredients listing before buying that. Entertainingly, the original recipe I riffed off is from Whole Foods Market via an Instacart link, see Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Shrimp. If you choose tofu as your side protein, read up in step 1 beforehand and adjust your task times accordingly.

The completed dish: butternut squash & coconut soup with fried tofu.
Butternut squash & coconut soup with fried tofu.

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Taiwanese-Style Braised Pork 滷肉飯
(lu rou fan)

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!

Ingredients
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

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps!

These days, my household tries to eat less carb-heavy things on a regular basis, and I’ve taken to making lettuce wraps regularly. One of the first google search results will give you a copycat of the P.F. Chang’s recipe, so that was my jumping off point. Frankly, that is where I’ve eaten most of the lettuce wrap dishes in my life. Not vouching for the authenticity of it here, going there kind of drives me nuts sometimes (okay, every time). I also halved all the sauces from original recipe for a full one pound portion of pork. You’ll want to adjust it to your taste, other people probably like more sweet, oozy sauce than me.
From there, I added things I actually wanted to eat..

Lettuce wrap close-up. I think this one is pork..
Lettuce wrap close-up. I think this one is pork..

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Lettuce wrap montage! This one is from an earlier trial, before I decided I didn't like cucumbers and instead wanted oranges in it.
Lettuce wrap montage! This one is from an earlier trial, before I decided I didn’t like cucumbers and instead wanted oranges in it.

Ingredients:

For protein base:

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken, pork, turkey, salmon, beef or tofu*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1.2 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 7-10 crimini mushrooms, diced roughly

For the sauce (portions adjusted from original recipe):

  • 2 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Sriracha sauce or red peppers, to taste

To serve with protein base:

  • 1 head butter lettuce, rinsed.
  • 2 green onions, thinly chopped
  • 1 orange, rind peeled and pieces sliced (see video below)**
  • a handful of toasted cashews, or raw cashews if you can’t find toasted.
  • 1/2 an avocado, cut in bite-able chunks

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Add ground pork and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks; drain excess fat/liquid. NOTE: adjust this time for other proteins until browned enough and reached safe eating temp.
  3. While this cooks, you can toast the cashews on the side.
  4. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha (optional) until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. It may already be salty enough before you add salt.
  5. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the pork mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, add cashews, avocado, orange and green onions, and enjoy!

*Note: I’ve tried this with ground chicken, turkey, pork, and salmon chunks so far, but you could pick any main protein base, including pressed tofu for the focus. For that reason, I’ve tagged this recipe as vegetarian, and paleo. I also marked it gluten-free -standard hoisin and soy sauce ingredients are NOT gluten-free, but you could buy or make a gluten-free version of this if you were up for it and I don’t think it would impact the taste much.

This trial picture had edamame, but I didn't feel that added much (besides good lean protein). Look at all the bright colors!
This trial picture had edamame, but I didn’t feel that added much (besides good lean protein). Look at all the bright colors!

This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5
I still haven’t made this dish enough for it to feel old hat, and every time the outcome is a little different.
Likelihood of Repeat: 80%
Also, always a different outcome if you try different proteins with it! Chopped up chicken rather than ground chicken would probably work too, and as long as you don’t get too carried away with add-ons, it doesn’t take hardly any time at all. Interested to try tofu too.
Lesson Learned: For this recipe, salmon is at the bottom of the priority list. Meh.
The portions of the recipe say four servings, and in fact it was enough ingredients that I ended up having to split it in half when sautéing -halfway through the process-, in order to get the mushrooms and onions to sear rather than boil. However, if the flavoring turns out good, you may end up with barely 1 mouthful left to put in the fridge between two hungry adults. Success! I think this otherwise could have fed a family of four if said people waited 10-15 minutes after having a few wraps, to feel full. You may also end up with leftover butter lettuce if you buy it in the live form I do, so a follow-up meal of tacos or sandwiches may be good later in the week.
This is definitely a somewhat messy affair to eat. Bring wet naps or be prepared to wash your hands after.
Also: I added the cashews for crunch, you could also try fresh, chopped daikon radish, raw carrots if you like carrots, or other toasted nuts.

**If you’d like a demo on how to cut citrus fruit to avoid the bitter pith, check out this random video I found of a charming guy with an entertaining shirt. Fight scurvy -eat more oranges!

[Broccoli & Spinach] Miso Slaw

As a kid, my mom would make steamed broccoli, and my favorite parts to eat were the little slices of tender stalk (outside bark was peeled off) that she would steam along with the usual tree-like shapes I would stick in bowls of rice to create a tiny diorama before eating. It wasn’t until years later that I learned other people don’t necessarily consider the stalk worth even cooking.  I found this combo while searching for recipes to use up the giant quantity of miso I will have left over from another one that calls for only a few tablespoons.

Miso Slaw
From The Kitchn’s recipe.

Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.
Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.

Miso dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons yellow or red miso (note: check labels to ensure specific gluten-freedness)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.
Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.

Step 1: mix everything in a blender.

Salad ingredients
4 broccoli stalks, julienned into bite-sized pieces*
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped sliced almonds

Step 2: mix dressing and salad ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with almonds and chill or serve.

Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.
Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
This was astonishingly a salad I was both happy to eat, and that I thought was good for me, and the flavors only seemed to get better on day 2 and day 3.
Likelihood of Repeat: 20% See below.
Lesson Learned: Unfortunately, being the thrifty person I am, *I did not buy “Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw,” so the amount of time it took to shred broccoli stalk myself was maddening, and did not feel equal to the amount of slaw I got out of it. Still seems weird that Trader Joe’s would sell something people often might thing to throw away, or could get out of spare stalk, though..

Cookie Mania!
Gingersnaps

Cookies Part 1 of 4.
Last Saturday night, the ingredients for baking cookies and cookie-like items started amassing on my kitchen countertop..

ingredients inventory: marshaling up the troops
ingredients inventory: marshaling up the troops

Okay, so they weren’t doing it all on their own. I did an inventory for my ideas to figure out what I still needed to get at the store.

insane inventory of ingredients to consolidate what was not already in the pantry
insane inventory of ingredients to consolidate what was not already in the pantry

Clearly, I overcommitted on types of cookies:

  • gingersnaps
  • chocolate chip
  • sugar cookies
  • sweet & spicy almonds
  • macaroons
  • almond florentines (my personal favorite)

Layer on top of that the plan to make some of the sugar cookies and florentines gluten-free and we have confirmation I was seized by that once-a-year crazy cookie spirit that happens around now. Must be the primal need to store up fat for the winter or something. I also stopped taking photos, as I suffer increasing embarrassment the more photos I take (even if the cookies aren’t asking me to stop). I conned a couple friends to come over and help (with the promise that they could also just come help eat them), thanks, friends! They were the saving grace, both from all their extra hands, baking expertise, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough (thus enabling me to abandon my non-GF efforts of that), and even a special macaroon recipe (thus allowing me to entirely cede any claim to making the macaroons with my own hands). 4 out of 6 ain’t bad. I often forget the particulars of baking things since I don’t bake year-round, so it was nice to have a few more brains in the mess. Hopefully they didn’t feel trapped at my house into baking hell..

A few rules I try to remember:

  • Always set the time for a little less than prescribed so you can check the food, or check it a little before the time.
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients separately before putting them together, so they distribute well.
  • Scale your recipe to the amount of the key ingredient you have.
  • Get other people to eat too so you aren’t sick later from too much sugar.

Less words, more food pr0n!

Since I overcommitted on the cookies in one day, I’ll be more reasonable here and post one recipe at a time (4 total) during this special holiday weekend. Let’s start with the gingersnaps, since it is a pretty enduring recipe I pull out every year, after that initial year when a certain ‘roommate’ started teasing me for baking it so many times (but that is how you get good at it!).

gingersnaps
gingersnaps

Gingersnaps
(originally from Joy of Cooking pg 707)
Makes: around 70 tiny cookies
Total Processing Time: 30-60 minutes

Ingredients & Directions
Preheat oven 325 F
(cream together..)
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar (raw sugar is fine)
(stir in..)
2 well-beaten eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp vinegar
(sift & add..)
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2-3 tsp ginger (powdered, not fresh)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Mix ingredients until blended. Form dough into dime-sized balls. Bake on a greased cookie sheet about 12 minutes. As ball melts, cookie gets crinkled surface. When cool, ice to taste (or in my case, not at all). Makes about 60 little cookies.

This one below I don’t have the recipe for, and can’t really take any credit for making..

macaroons: thanks to my friend's expertise!
macaroons: thanks to my friend’s expertise!

We had extra chocolate from the florentines (recipe in upcoming post), so we drizzled the macaroons too.

"hello! we're cookies! please eat us!"
The final product: little gift bag of cookies. “hello! we’re cookies! please eat us!”

Today’s Cookie Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
1 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 85%
I think I could bake these on a heavy dose of Ativan at this point..but it’s a nice standard recipe with ingredients that keep well in a pantry over time, and isn’t too sweet that you can’t eat more than one. It’s also quite tasty with a cup of hot tea or coffee.