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 strive towards a more beautiful mind…

Tous Les Jours, Centreville location

Tous Les Jours, Centreville location

Nomnomnom! Look at those yummy pastries! I had planned for a low-key weekend, however, I ended up accomplishing quite a list of activities that were never originally on my to-do list. These include enjoying churros from a Tex-mex establishment, being introduced to psychedelic rock (with eastern influences) by a local band called Iritis, renting my very first Zipcar, relaxing at Spa World, enjoying a Green Tea Smoothie and some pastries from Tous Les Jours bakery, feasting on about half a dozen of crabs, buying and cooking food of my motherland, and studying for a math exam I have later tonight.

I’m sad that the weekend has ended, but I suppose there are more weekends yet to come! As I am still in that in-between period of not knowing what my next steps will be, I have decided to create a TO-DO LIST, as this will probably be one of those few brief periods of time until I retire that I have time/space/energy to do what I want to do. My #nofilter list (rough draft) –

  • Job search – when I haven’t got a family to think about, maybe this is the best time for me to pack up my bags and move cross country or cross country borders!
  • Learn a computer programming language (any suggestions?)
  • Create my own website (teehee, this is something in the workings, you shall see soon)
  • Work on my novel / create a small small book of short stories (Coming soon, as in maybe a decade)
  • Find an activity that will help my heart health – Daily, I’m seeing patients come in with an extensive list of medical conditions… prevention is what it’s all about now. Hiking? Dancing?
  • Smile more. Laugh more. Don’t let negative thoughts come in as much.
  • Have a more beautiful mind.

What’s on your to-do list?

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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:

Today, I enjoy solitude at the country french cafe & bring you recipe for Rice Bowls (donburi issue)….

Country French Breakfast

Breakfast

I love being with people. But I also love being alone. I love socializing. I also love going to restaurants, cafe’s, movies alone. Just add an iPad/Laptop or a great read in my purse and off I go! So that brings me to where I am now: La Madeleine Country French Cafe. One thing I love about them? Their wonderful selection of Baroque music. Wanna learn French? Just hop over to the ladies room and you can learn your Bonjour, Je m’appelle [insert your name]…, oui, merci beaucoup and all that jazz. My favorite is sitting here sipping my coffee and having some toast with jam & butter. Oh what a life :]

This past Thursday, I said goodbye to a friend over at When Babel Fell.  She is starting a new journey in Japan… and I, of course, wish her the best of luck! I must also thank her because she took me to a local Japanese restaurant (Matuba Japanese Restaurant) where I realized my fascination for Donburi, or rice bowls!

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I ordered the Katsudon and Gyoza. So delicious. I have decided to try to perfect my Katsudon-making skills. And so here’s mineeeeee.

Katsudon/Katsu Donburi [Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl]

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What you’ll need:

  • Pork chops – boneless
  • Flour
  • Panko
  • Egg – 2
  • Rice- I like using sushi rice
  • Dashi
  • Mirin
  • Miso
  • Soysauce – a little dash
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Onions (Red or Yellow)
  • Green Onions/Scallions
Katsudon!

Katsudon!

  1. Cook your rice in the rice cooker 🙂
  2. Take the pork chops and make little shallow vertical slices up top
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper and dredge with flour
  4. Crack and egg in a bowl and dip the pork chops in the egg and then into panko.
  5. Lightly fry in a pan with vegetable oil
  6. Take out of pan, cut pork up into slices and set aside
  7. Sautee onions and some of the scallions in vegetable oil
  8. Place your pork cutlets into the middle of the pan
  9. Pour in mirin, dashi (just a little sprinkle), soy sauce (the tiniest dash you can think of), a little bit of chicken broth or water, miso and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low/medium setting
  10. Crack the second into the remainder of the egg (from making the pork cutlets)… beat lightly, not all the way. Make sure the egg whites and yolk are not quite mixed
  11. Pour egg mixture gently over the pork cutlet/onions (distribute evening)
  12. Cover pan with a lid and let egg cook… when it seems almost done, turn off stove, remove pan from heat
  13. Take a bowl of cooked rice and lightly scoop out your pork/egg mix – place on top of rice
  14. Pour rest of broth from pan over the bowl of pork cutlet rice.
  15. ENJOY ~
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Today, I share with you this weekend’s nomnomnom’s!

This week’s theme: FOOD! (hahaha, what a surprise :P) I spent the weekend relaxing, occasionally working a bit, but mostly relaxing. Relaxing = cooking. Cute story:  I was shopping at the local grocery store and was in the “mexican food”/”beans”/”rice” aisle, when this old man in his little straw hat came up to me to ask me if canned beans could be consumed without requiring a stove. His explanation was that he lives in an independent living community. We said our goodbyes. The next day, I started my first day volunteering at the Independent and Assisted Living home across from my building. There was a cute little concert happening and guess who was sitting in front of me? The same man! What a small world.

Arroz con gandules 

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Rice with pidgeon peas. I first tasted this when le significant other’s mom first made this. I’ve fallen in love with this rice ever since. I’m sure there are different ways to make this but I noticed that Goya has a recipe here. My recipe is similar except I leave out the green peppers (no need to be healthy :P) and cilantro. Don’t get me wrong, I love cilantro, but I like for this recipe to be simple.

Steak and Onions (to go with the rice)

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This is a very simple entree to make… but it tastes so good! You’re going to be relying on the flavors of the onions and sazon. The main ingredients:

Heat a pan. Add oil, onions, and minced garlic. Pour the sazon packets onto the steak in a separate mixing bowl and cover the steak evenly. Add to the pan. Turn the heat down to low/medium and let it simmer for about 35-45 minutes. It’s perfect. You don’t even need to add water. The onions + olive oil will create the tasty sauce which is good with the steak and the rice.

A lovely meal! Nomnomnom

A lovely meal! Nomnomnom

Eggs and Chorizo

A photo pour toi. If we were to use Charkie’s coffee mug (see her post here)… I’m sure this would match the milky coffee. For the scrambled eggs, to make delicious scrambled eggs…

Beat the eggs into a bowl. For every egg you have, add a pinch (or a shake) of one of the Goya Adobo products (preferably the one with pepper). Spray your pan with a bit of oil and turn on stove to low/medium heat. Add in your egg mixture to cover the entire pan… as if you’re making crepes. As you see the eggs start cooking on the bottom layer… start mixing the mixture with a spatula, slowly. As the egg starts to cook more, add in a slice (or more to your heart’s desire) of American cheese (KRAFT singles are the best). And voila! The tastiest scrambled eggs!

A simple but hearty breakfast. Only thing missing ? Grits with tons of butter.

A simple but hearty breakfast. Only thing missing ? Grits with tons of butter.

Poha 

This is a breakfast dish that I LOVED while in Udaipur, India. Poha is a flattened rice that is DELICIOUS when made the right way 🙂

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A good friend of mine visited DC this weekend and brought with her a bag of poha. I eagerly went to the store to purchase the ingredients necessary to recreate my lovely dish. Unluckily for me, I did not find any curry leaves 😦 Sad. But it was still delicious. I’ll have the find the right ingredients next time! This is what it came to this time!

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  • Poha
  • Oil
  • Mustard Seeds (black)
  • Ground Turmeric
  • Curry Leaves
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Chopped onions
  • Sugar, Salt, Pepper
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime
  • 1-2 green chili (chopped)

Soak the poha in water for about 10 minutes. Drain. Heat a pan with oil, mustard seeds, ground turmeric, chopped onions, chopped green chili and curry leaves. I also added cumin seeds. Add the poha into this mixture. Add sugar, salt , and pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with some raw onions and lime! 🙂

Wish I were on vacation now… 

Some photos from my lovely friend from Thailand… makes me jealous….

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Today, I bring you two new recipes!

Monday Night. I was quite the ravenous one. I decided to make two of my favorite dishes, molding my own recipe from tastes in China, in restaurants here in the States, and from the delicious/savory meals cooked by my father. I mentioned Chinatown Express in DC and their famous duck noodle soup in a post (read it here) back in the end of May. When my parents came to visit, they bought some smoked pork (or was it roast pork?) + duck for me. I ate some at the time and froze the rest. Last night, I figured I should go ahead and use those items. Cook two meals at once 🙂  Note that the two dishes call for overlapping ingredients 🙂

Duck Noodle Soup (Serving size: 1)

  • Freshly Pulled Noodles. I bought mine from the Asian supermarket. You could use any sort of noodle you want: udon, sphaghetti (though I would stay away from this one), angel hair, vermicelli, glass noodles, ramen noodles. Anything!
  • 4-5 pieces of duck breast/leg – already cooked/chopped
  • 1 stalk bok choy peeled & washed
  • ~ 1 tbsp chopped green onions (or scallions)
  • ~1 tbsp of ginger slices
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • ~2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of black vinegar
  • a pinch of white pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • oil (see below)

Spicy Pork & Tomato Noodles (serving size: 1)

  • Sphaghetti – Again, any sort of noodles will work. I usually use freshly pulled noodles or soba noodles. But this time, I had leftover sphaghetti in my fridge
  • Chinese Roast Pork Belly (store-bought, already cooked) – cut into slices , about 1/4 cup
  • 1 stalk bok choy peeled & washed
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup of cherry tomato  halves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 1 tbsp of ginger slices
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 3 tsp of “Lao Gan Ma” Chili in Oil
  • 2 tbsp oil (any kind)
  • 2 tbsp kimchi (optional)

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Spicy Pork & Tomato Noodles

  1. Boil the spaghetti (add some salt for taste), rinse with cold water, and drain. Place in serving bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the roast pork on a baking pan/sheet in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. While the pork is baking, bring a pot of water to a boil and dunk the bok choy in the water for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pot and place in your serving bowl on top of the spaghetti/noodles.
  4. Remove pork from over and cut into small slices or chunks.
  5. In a frying/sautee pan on high heat, add crushed red pepper and ginger and sautee until you see the pepper become absorbed into the oil
  6. Add the pork and sautee for about 3-4 minutes
  7. Now add the cherry tomatoes and kimchi if you would like a kick and sautee for 1 minute
  8. Crack an egg directly into the pan (or you can beat the egg first if you prefer) and mix/scramble that into the pork mixture.
  9. Mix in the soy sauce, black vinegar, and sesame oil.
  10. Place pork & tomato mixture on top of the spaghetti/bok choy and garnish with the green onions/scallions.
  11. NOMNOMNOM.

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Prettay Egg.

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Packed away for lunch 🙂

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Duck Noodle Soup

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the duck on a baking pan/sheet in the oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove duck and set aside.
  3. Take the oil drippings and place in pan and sautee with ginger on high heat.
  4. Add in chicken broth/chicken stock.
  5. Add in the noodles and cook for a few minutes (Depending on which type of noodles you chose)
  6. Add in the bok choy and cook for 1 more minute and remove pan from heat.
  7. Add in the duck and serve in bowl, garnish with green onions/scallions
  8. NOMNOMNOM
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Duck Noodle Soup 🙂

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