Today, I share a family recipe with you!

Whew! I worked up a sweat last night. I’m not normally an active person. The most active part of my day involves walking up (climbing up) the LONG and PAINFUL DC metro escalators. Other than that, I lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle. Last night, however, I decided to pop in a Tracy Anderson Precision Toning DVD. A classmate of Charkie (shout out to Rarkie!) introduced me to Tracy’s method. I’ll try to make a separate post about that journey. After the sweat, I decided to reward myself with a little homestyle treat. It was also a good way to free up some space in my crowded refrigerator.

6) Bon Appetit!

Lotus Root Pork Patties

Growing up, lotus roots were a staple part of my diet. I never really though about what the circular slices with weird holes came from. Most people have probably seen lotus leaves/flower float above water. Who knew we could eat the roots planted underneath the water or soil? I call that cray. There are many medicinal benefits to this plant according to Chinese medicine. It is common to see people mix hot water with lotus root powder to create a sort of concoction that is supposed to be good for the body (high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin just to name a few and quite low in saturated fat). I also love pastries that are made with lotus seed paste (such as in mooncakes or wife cakes, etc). This dish here (the one that I made last night), involves slicing the lotus root into thin patty-style slices and filling it with a sort of dumpling or wonton or meat bun filling and then coating it with cornstarch and flour to prepare for deep frying. It is great as an appetizer or on the go snack! The lotus root comes out crispy while the savory pork filling gives a juicy, tender to complement.

Ingredients List

  • Lotus Root
  • Ground Pork (or minced pork loin)
  • Green Onions
  • Chives (optional, you can just stick to green onions)
  • Minced Garlic
  • Minced Ginger
  • Egg
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour
  • Soy Sauce
  • Black vinegar
  • Sesame Oil
  • Chinese Cooking Wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper Powder (optional)
1) Create your pork (or veggie) filling!

1) Create your pork (or veggie) filling!

For the pork filling, I combined minced pork (you can use ground pork, or ground whatever other meat you’d like – I wouldn’t suggest using ground beef though), chopped chives, minced ginger, minced garlic, soy sauce, black vinegar, chinese cooking wine, salt, white pepper powder, red pepper powder, and cornstarch in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.

2) Slice the lotus roots

2) Slice the lotus roots

To create the lotus root “patty buns,” you should begin slicing the lotus root, as if you were creating a thin slice. However, stop just as you feel that you are about to completely cut off a slice. Move to what would be the beginning point of you second slice and complete the slice. This way, you have two thin slices that are attached to each other at one end.

4) Flour, Cornstarch, Egg, Water

4) Flour, Cornstarch, Egg, Water

Create the batter for frying! Mix flour, cornstarch, an egg and water! You want a thick consistency for this. Think pancake batter!

3) Fill lotus roots with tasty pork!

3) Fill lotus roots with tasty pork!

This part is fun! Fill each patty with the pork filling! 🙂

5) Fry, Fry, Fry!

5) Fry, Fry, Fry!

Fry the patties! For a healthier version, you could probably stick these in the oven. Let cool on a rack/use a paper towel to blot away some of that oil. Bon Appetit!

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Today, I am hoping for a healthier heart…

I mentioned in my previous post that “prevention is where it’s at.” In trying to get that beautiful mind, let’s work on having a healthy heart! So this morning, I made sure to make some oatmeal (I opted for quick oats since ain’t nobody got time for dat actually cooking oats) that is healthy.

How are you trying to stay healthy today? 

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Okay, maybe that’s a little more than a dash of cinnamon. Teehee.

Healthy Oatmeal – Healthy Heart
Ingredients

Oatmeal (stovetop or microwave)

  • 3/4 cups quick oats
  • 1-1.5 cup of water/milk

Toppings –

  • 1 saturn peach (also known as donut peaches) –
         **use any other fruit of choice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds
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Today, I make my own version of Salad Niçoise …

I watched Amélie for the first time the other night. While food did not take a directly role in the plot of the film, food did find itself into many of the scenes in the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the film – but it left me hungry… hungry for French food!

Image via blogspot.com

I decided to ask the -arkies for suggestions of French food and tonight I finally began the process. Tonight’s menu involved just one dish.

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Salad Niçoise – There apparently is debate as to what the true salad is. Some say that the true salad does not include green beans and potatoes (both of which appear in my version… woops). I also seared my tuna to more than just a medium rare as I was afraid my tuna steak wasn’t fresh enough. But anyways, here it is. Have you made this dish? What is your  advice/tip/secret for this salad?

Vinegrette – Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire Sauce/Balsamic Vinegar (uh… I didn’t have red wine vinegar in my pantry so I just made something up), Minced Parsley, Dijon Mustard, Garlic, Salt, Pepper

Salad – Fingerling potatoes, Green Beans, Boiled Eggs, Tomatoes

Tuna  – Olive oil, chives, tarragon, Salt, Pepper
Grill each side for ~2 minutes or so.

Combine everything!
Enjoy!

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Today, I bring you Green Juice and Meatballs!

Just a quick reminder that today is the last day to enter our giveaway (beauty box valued at $140)! One winner will be chosen tomorrow… good luck! 🙂 It was great to go home and spend some quality time with mera baba (Chindi? hehe). The state of Kentucky just gets lovelier and lovelier each additional time I go back. Distance makes the heart grow fonder? Blue skies, soft cotton clouds, bluegrass in the wind… sigh. And again, fall is the prettiest season. The juicer that I got for my parents as a present (for their anniversary? Maybe? It’s a year late lols) came and so we put it to use right away. I still remember my BluePrint juice cleanse (scroll to the bottom of the link provided to see a list of their juices). We decided to make a slightly different version of the green juice.

Thank goodness for the groupon deal… because we were able to snatch the Cuisinart Juice Extractor. It’s got five different speeds and was easy enough to use and clean. It is surprisingly quiet!

Ingredients

1   lime (peeled)
1   cucumber
4   (leaves of) kale
2   medium apples
1   carrot

The order that I put the veggies/fruit into the juicer is as above. Since there are 5 speeds, I started at the lowest speed (softest fruit/veggie) and worked my way up. You can eyeball the amount of each ingredient that you want to add, but I will say that the cucumber/lime/apples are key for this juice. They are what helps to balance out the bitterness in the kale. So so so delicious. And much cheaper than the BluePrint juice that I bought! However, we were a bit sad to waste the pulp… If at some point you’ve had to experience hunger or not having enough to eat (this is, fortunately, not something I’ve been through), you’d be more aware of what happens to the food… and so mera baba was uncomfortable with just throwing all that out… so we thought and thought…

What to do with all this PULP?

We made spicy ground pork with basil noodle soup earlier that morning so we decided to use the leftover ground pork to make MEATBALLS! Teehee. It worked perfectly. Extra fibery. We added some cornstarch, an egg, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and some additional spices. The result was wonderful! The sweetness from the lime and apples and even from the cucumbers give the meatballs such a distinct flavor. 🙂

This was most certainly a success for us in the food department 🙂

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Today, I feel warm and happy… (Pork Ribs and Wintermelon Soup Recipe)

I went on a trip to the Asian grocery store this past weekend with friends. The store was selling winter melon and I instantly thought of a soup that I’ve always loved while growing up: Pork and Winter Melon Soup. It’s a very light and clear soup. We’re not relying on any spices here. Rather, we want mostly the flavor from the pork and pork bones. The winter melon is really good at soaking up the pork flavor. In the recipe I have below, I added some mushrooms in there. I didn’t have any ginger in my kitchen this time around, but I highly recommend that you throw some chunks or slices of ginger while you’re making the broth. 🙂
Winter melon – Also called white gourd and has a thick, white flesh that is slightly sweet when eaten. It is commonly eaten in the winter, hence the name (though it is HOT HOT HOT here). Can you believe that it can be stored for 12 months? Crazy, right?! In Chinese cuisine, the winter melon is most commonly found in stir fry or found in a soup with pork/pork bones. And that’s a quick summary if you’re not familiar with the winter melon 🙂
Pork and Winter Melon Soup
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Ingredients: 
Pork Ribs
Winter Melon
Shitake Mushrooms – dry
Green Onions – chopped
Ginger slices
Salt
White Pepper
Sesame oil (optional)
1. Set a pot of water of the stove top. Add the ginger slices and half of the green onions in the soup
2. Wait for water to boil, add in the pork ribs and turn stove to low heat
3. Let pork ribs simmer. Slightly cover (but not all the way) the pot
4. After about 20-25 minutes, scoop out the gunk/residue that settles at the top of the soup
5. Add the shitake mushrooms
6. Lastly, add in the winter melon cubes, salt, white pepper, and sesame oil
7. Turn the heat to medium and let the winter melon cubes cook until they’re semi soft. This should take only about 10 minutes or so
8. Scoop into a bowl and garnish with the rest of the green onions
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Enjoy~
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Today, I am thinking of Tapas! (Jaleo DC – photos)

photo (1)Some of my favorite restaurants in DC are owned by the chef José Andrés. On Wednesday evening, a friend of mine from out of town came to visit and I took her and a group of friends to Jaleo DC. I loved our table! The glass table sat on top of a Foosball Table (it’s been so long since I’ve played with these!). I helped my team score a goal on this evening! Go me! Photos speak louder and convey more emotion than words, so it’s mostly just going to be lovely photos. We then went to see a few of the DC monuments/memorials (lovely view at night)… but I’ll present those to y’alls in a separate post. Here’s the food! Enjoy~

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First up came the Mejillones Vinagreta (mussels served with pipirrana, sherry dressing and honey). These were served cold on a platter of ice. The scallions, tomatoes, vinegrette was so delightful to eat.
Jarkie’s Rating: 9/10

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Next came the Croquetas De Pollo (traditional chicken fritters) which was DELICIOUS! Anything fried is yummy in my opinion. And it was so incredibly cheesy & savory… it all just melts in your mouth.
Jarkie’s Rating: 8.5/10

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I’m not a fan of octopus–well, this was my first time trying it–so this next dish was not my favorite one. Pulpo A La Gallega Maestro Alfonso (boiled octopus with pee wee potatoes, pimentón and olive oil) – I spied some light paprika sprinkled on top … but other than that, there wasn’t much flavor. I was not a fan of the texture of the octopus. The thing that saved the dish for me? The potatoes. You can’t go wrong with potatoes.
Jarkie’s Rating: 4.5/10

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Another type of chicken this came along… this time, grilled to perfection. Pollo Al Ajillo Con Salsa Verde (grilled marinated chicken served with parsley purée and garlic sauce).
Jarkie’s Rating: 6.5/10

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We proceeded to eat the Rossejat (traditional paella‘ of fried pasta with shrimp and calamari) which my lovely company told me tasted like a popular Malaysian snack. Very good. Granted, there could have been some more shrimp and calamari.
Jarkie’s Rating7/10

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One of the highlights of the dinner was the Costillas De Cerdo Ibérico De Bellota (grilled pork ribs from the legendary acorn-fed, black-footed pigs of spain) that serves about 2-6. Whatever marinade they use is so very tasty. The ribs were tender and juicy. I wish I could have had more! Comes with rosemary (for decorational purposes?) and salt.
Jarkie’s Rating: 9/10

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There were two other dishes that we tried that are not pictured above. The Ensalada Campera (salad of conserved tuna, fingerling potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs) and the Pan De Cristal Con Tomate (toasted slices of uniquely crispy and ethereal bread brushed with fresh tomato).

I ended the night with their signature red sangria by the glass. It was a bit too watered down… but for my personal taste, it was perfect!
Jarkie’s Rating: 6.5/10

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Today, I recap my baking day!

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Getting everything prepared. I felt like I was on the cooking channel!

So the parents finally made it back this morning after a long journey and first thing they did when they came in was have a chunk of my Challah!

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Y’all this was so yummy!

The first time I tried baking this a while ago, my yeast was inactive so I didn’t get the immense size that I got this time around. I also got some wonderful texture inside the bread and it tasted like some of the best Challah I’ve bought in stores…not to toot my own horn or anything.

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The not so great aspect to this bread was that my oven isn’t good at even baking so while the top was thoroughly finished, the bottom needed some more heat and this resulted in some over baking. Next time, I will bake at a lower temperature. I also recommend doing half a recipe because this one, as you can probably see from the photos, creates HUGE loves. Oh also, if you have carpal tunnel/tendinitis like Jarkie and I do, be warned that you’ll be sore afterwards.

After I took a break from cleaning, watching soccer, and tirelessly kneading my dough, my sister and I started on the carrot cake birthday cupcakes for my mom. We chose to do half the recipe because 24 cupcakes is a lot for a family of 4. For my family, 4 cupcakes is a lot.

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I should say that even though we halved the recipe, we ended up having enough batter for 18 cupcakes. So I don’t know what we’ll do with the surplus…a food giveaway is probably not a good idea! Also, if you’re wondering, three large carrots is about 1 1/2 cups grated. Just FYI. We didn’t have baking soda (oops!) so we looked up substitutes. Google said for 1tsp or soda, use 4 tsp of powder. So we did this…with old baking powder and ended up with cups instead of cupcakes.

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 Now I know the function of baking soda! Not all of the cupcakes caved in but they aren’t as cakey as they should be. But that could also be a product of baking from scratch/not enough flour/something else going wrong. Next time I’ll try to have all the ingredients and see what happens.

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I think I would call baking day a success despite the minor  tweaks I’ll have to make next time. I’m starting to learn that  just  because I don’t do something perfectly doesn’t mean I  suck at  doing stuff and baking is a good way for me to add  patience  and perspective into my productivity. Can’t wait to  try more  stuff! The links to the recipes are below. If you make  either of    these, let us know!

 🙂

Recipes: