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 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 bring you the [almost] perfect cup of chai!

The -arkies know my love for India, namely, the city of Udaipur. Since I left Udaipur in July 2011, I’ve been missing the times where I could expect to consume >6 cups of chai per day. The chai found in cafe’s that I went to… well that was a twist that did not give me the flavors I needed. And the “masala chai” I’ve ordered at certain restaurants in Bethesda did not bring me the taste I’ve been missing… something so simple to make… why did it not occur to me? Make it yoself!

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So that’s what I’ve been doing.

Materials: Stove, Pot, Strainer, Cup

Ingredients: Water, Milk (Whole Milk), Black Tea (bags or looseleaf), Cinnamon stick/ground cinnamon works too, Ginger slices/ground ginger works too, Sugar, Cardamom pods

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**If you’re not lazy like me, grind the cinnamon, ginger slices and cardamom. If you’re lazy like me just throw it in whole 😛 hahaha

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Everyone has different ways of making chai, kind of play around with it. Some say half milk, half water… others say 2/3 water, 1/3 milk. Play around.

  1. I bring everything, except the sugar and milk, to a boil first.
  2. Then I add the sugar (I add about 3 heaping spoonfuls of sugar for every 2cups water/1 cup milk that I use… I’m using about 3-4 teabags (I guess that’s about 3-4 spoonfuls of loose tealeaves).
  3. Add the milk
  4. Bring to a boil, turn heat down and just kind of let everything steep.
  5. Pour the chai through a strainer into your cup. Voila! Enjoy!

Anyways, a lot of this is up to how you want it to taste, just kind of play around with it. Is there anything that you do differently… do you have a good recipe?

As for me, this smell and taste of this drink brings back so many lovely memories. The only thing that’s missing is a cow … for me to milk… because that milk that I could get directly would enhance the taste of this chai that much more. 😛

I’ve been a bit busy lately, but more of Jarkies IndoChinese recipes to come! 🙂

❤ Jarkie

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Today, I am a 20 year old something cooking in a cubicle…

That should be the title of my new album, which btw, I will be recording…. Like this blog on fb and if I get 100 likes, I’ll go buy the livingsocial deal. Hehe, see what I did there? Set ridiculously high goals that I know are not attainable. Ha! Too bad, y’alls are missing out on my lovely Taylor Swift renditions. Anyways, I’m much too lazy in the evenings to prepare my breakfast/lunch for the work day and it’s like a war battle in the mornings for me to just get clothes on and get to work… so I thought, why not bring all my ingredients to work? I know I need to be more aware of what I’m consuming… my body is starting to not like me for the 20-something years of junk food (I mean 3-4 cartons of the lunchables stackers or pizza boxes at once?) is starting to show. Gotta reverse the damage!

Breakfast

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They say breakfast is an important meal. Also, I’ve noticed if I make sure I have a hearty breakfast, I’m less inclined to snack throughout the day. And I’m a happier me. So on the menu today

  1. Boiled egg – these are easy to make in the morning. I leave a pot of water overnight on my stovetop. In the morning, throw one or two eggs into the pot and let it boil while I go fight my battle (toothpaste, where are my contacts?!, clothes?!)…
  2. Cereal – you can be fancy and get those cool Cereal To Go containers but why not just use tupperware you already have lying around in the kitchen to store the milk and either leave the cereal at work or pack the dry cereal in a ziploc bag?
  3. Something of bonus – I heated up my english muffin. Spread each side with some almond butter. I packed a banana in my lunch bag and yay! Good for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Just cut little banana slices and spread them on top!

Lunch

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I love Rotisserie chicken. It’s good to just devour the juicy meat directly from the bones… or if you want to be more civil, tear some breast pieces off. Pack that in a box with some salad and tomatoes on the side. If you have some celery sitting around, that’s good too! Or grapes! Or apples! At work, I hoard little mayo and mustard packets … and little salt and pepper packets I grab from Wendy’s or McDonald’s. I also have my honey bottle sitting at work for tea. Just combine it all!

– Sandwich Thins
– ~.5 – 1 cup of shredded chicken breast
– 2 packets of mayonnaise
– Diced apple (or whatever else you have: celery, raisins, grapes, etc)
– Salad greens (spinach, arugula, etc)
– Sliced tomatoes (2-3)
– Cheese (pepperjack? optional)
– Salt, Pepper, Honey/Sugar

Mix the chicken, apples (or whatever you chose) mayonnaise, salt, pepper and honey with a fork. Top one side of the sandwich thin or bread with your salad greens and sliced tomatoes and then spoon the chicken mixture on top. If you opted for cheese, add that slice on top. And voila! We have a winner! Enjoy!

I got these photos (see below) from my good friend in Thailand. Well, we aren’t all so lucky as my current view is a Home Sharps Container and some stacks of papers I must enter. 😛 But let me just imagine I am sitting there next to her at the temple facing the lovely beach.

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Today (this weekend), I finally get to breathe…

543832_10152342487246531_1855541242_nFREEDOM AT LAST (even if only temporarily)! It seems that I have settled into this life of transitioning between Points A and B in a straight path without any stops. Point A is Bethesda. Point B is Georgetown. Yesterday was an outlier & involved time traveling back to 1997 on a family vacation to DC… OH THE CROWDS that have come to see the cherry blossoms. The amusing part, however, is that the blossoms are not in bloom. Maybe one or two here and there. Don’t let the faux-cherry blossoms fool you! Yes, there are trees that are pretending to be cherry blossoms.

Anyways, relax I shall. But a new idea has popped into my head. And it will come soon… the big reveal… the big opening, the cutting of the ribbons. But for now, here’s a preview 🙂
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stumbled upon my new favorite spa/massage/reflexology location in the Montgomery Co/Rockville/DC area (Bliss Reflexology). I actually discovered the place through Groupon… 3 massages for a very good price! Each one includes 30 min acupressure and 30 min foot reflexology. Imagine escaping into a forest (think hunger games without the hunger or the games?) in those moments after the sun has set, plopping down onto the damp forest floor and resting your feet in a warm tea bath… and that’s only the beginning. Blissful, indeed. Anyways, I suddenly had a craving for a dish I had at Spa World… and so I attempted my own version, while also borrowing (not stealing) my dad’s dishes…. make sure you cook with Taylor Swift on. It’s the secret ingredient.

– Beef Brisket
– Scallions
– Ginger
– Salt/Pepper, Random seasonings you find, Sesame Oil
– Rice Cakes
– A couple of frozen wontons (go ahead and buy the pre-made ones :D)
– Assortment of veggies (optional)
– Egg (optional)
– State of Grace, Holy Ground, Starlight, The Lucky One, 22, Sparks Fly, Forever & Always, etc  (mandatory)

1. Make the broth first! – Beef brisket + Ginger + Scallions (Green onions) … when the beef was cooked, I took it out, pulled it apart into shreds and mixed it around in some sesame oil and salt and pepper.

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2. Add vermicelli/cellophane (some sort of glass , clear looking noodles) and rice cakes into your broth. When the soup comes to a boil, add in the wontons and beef brisket…

3. Are those wontons now floating? Good! Add the optional veggies!

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4. Beat an egg in a bowl… slowly pour it into your soup. Create shapes in the soup. Figure 8? Be more creative! Remember to stir the soup while you gently pour the egg into the dish.
5. Serve hot 🙂

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