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!

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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 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 made wontons with my grandma.

Wontons are a delicious staple of Chinese cuisine! My grandma used to cook a lot, but isn’t physically able to manage much in the kitchen nowadays. Folding wonton is something she can still do one-handed, though!

The ones we made today had a minced pork filling with water chestnut for an added crunch.

Here are highly schematized depictions of how we folded them. I was happy to get my Pau Pau’s thumbs-up approval for my work.

Today, I end my solitude.

My parents come back from Haiti today so I decided to cook for them to welcome them home.

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Cornbread muffins, chili, and cinnamon cookies (to be served with rum raisin ice cream).

I don’t understand how people can live alone. Even if I never talked to my roommate, the fact that someone is there is always preferable to me…or maybe I just need to find more things to do outside that will distract me enough…