Thursday, December 25, 2008

Simple Butternut Squash Mash

Butternut squash so sweet and so delicious, I have no idea why I never make it more often!

Butternut squash is so commonly overlooked as a dish to make during the holidays.
But here is a little secret: it is quick and easy to make.

Make this dish as a side for a holiday meal, and you are sure to WOW the crowd.

Simple Butternut Squash Mash

- 1 butternut squash - roughly4 pounds
- 3 tbsp of brown sugar
- Water

1. Cut the butternut squash in half, and remove the seeds. Save the seeds for toasting later :)

2. Cook the butternut squash.
You can do this by steaming this for 30 minutes, or covering the butternut squash halfway with water, and cooking in the microwave for 15 minutes.

3. When the squash is done cooking, let cool, and peel off the skin.

4. Mash the squash in a bowl, and mix in brown sugar. You can also use maple syrup in place of brown sugar.

5. Enjoy!

Seafood Vegetable Medley

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season, filled with lots of warmth, love, and FOOD!!

Here is a dish that is much lighter than typical holiday fare: seafood and vegetable medley!
A lot more figure friendly, and it won't put you to sleep!

Seafood Vegetable Medley

- 1 pound of shrimp
- 0.5 pounds of imitation crab meat (or any other seafood ingredient of your choice)
- 3 ounces of fish, cubed
- 1 cup of chopped veggies. I picked asparagus and edamame
- 1 tsp of oil
- salt for taste. About 1 tsp, more or less depending on preference.
- 1 tsp of tapioca starch
- 0.5 cup of water

1. Heat the oil in the skillet.
2. Add all the ingredients, except for the shrimp, since shrimp cooks faster than the rest.

3. Stir for about 3 minutes.

4. Add in the shrimp.

5. Stir and add the salt.

6. Dissolve the tapioca starch in the 0.5 cup of water and add to the skillet. This creates a thickened gooey gravy.

7. Heat on medium high until boiling.

8. Serve

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Yellow + Italian Squash for Halloween

For Halloween this year, I went over to a friend's apt for a small get-together.
He was grilling chicken and sausages at the party, so I offered to bring over some type of vegetable dish (to offset all that meat!)

I decided to cook up a squash dish. I usually prefer Italian squash, however, to make the dish a bit more colorful, I added some Yellow squash too!

This recipe is very easy and requires practically 0 preparation time.
After a busy long day at work, I had enough time to squeeze into my Halloween outfit, whip up my squash dish, and head over to the party!

Yellow + Italian Squash for Halloween

- 2 pounds of squash (italian & yellow)
- 1 tbsp of seasoned salt (less if you don't like it so salty)
- 1 cup of chicken broth or 1 cup of water + 1 chicken bouillon cube
- pinch of salt

1. Peel and slice the squash into strips. I actually like to leave half of the peel on, for more fiber, without eating all that hard bitter peel.

2. In a skillet, heat up a bit of oil.

3. Toss in the squash and seasoned salt + pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly.

4. Add the water/broth and cover the skillet.

5. Let the squash simmer until they are cooked thoroughly (takes about 10-15 minutes). Be sure to stir occasionally, so all the squash has a chance to soak up the broth.

6. Scoop it onto a plate, and bring the dish over to a Halloween party!

Chicken Chow Fun/Rice Noodles

This is an Asian noodle dish, where the noodles are thin, flat, white, and made out of rice. These are usually referred to as rice noodles or "chow fun" (I think the name is derived from a Cantonese pronunciation?)

I prefer my chow fun with beef, but since I rarely cook beef in the household (I just consume beef when dining out), I used dark chicken meat instead.

Chicken Chow Fun

- 1 pound of chicken meat. Cut into strips
- 3 eggs
- 1 package of rice noodles. These are usually freshly made and warm at your local Asian market.
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp of oyster sauce.
- 1/2 cup of onions, sliced. I actually forgot the onions when I made the dish, so please do not make the same mistake
- chopped green onions (optional)
- Veggies of your choice. I chose some leftover cooked broccoli I had lying around.

1. In an oiled skillet, add the chicken strips and onions + green onions until almost cooked.

2. Scramble some eggs in the same skillet.

3. Add the rice noodles.

4. Add the veggies, soy sauce and oyster sauce, and mix.

5. Cover and let the noodles cook for 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

sloppy joes

I crave sloppy joes, about, once every 10 years.
How about you?

Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup of water


1. Ground the beef

2. Add the onions and cook until translucent

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Scoop into toasted hamburger buns

Chinese Chicken Curry

Curry is pretty good.

I love thai curries, (my fav!) japanese curries, indian curries, chinese curries... hmm. these are all Asian.
Is there such a thing called European curry?
If so, I would love to try some of that!

But for today's recipe, it is a Chinese chicken curry dish. But I think I added so many veggies, it's probably more a veggie dish rather than chicken dish!

Chinese Chicken Curry


- 8 legs of chicken meat (you can also use any other meat of your choice)
- 2 potatoes, cubed
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 3 tbsp curry powder
- dash of salt
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 of onion, chopped

1. De-bone the chicken, and discard the fat/skin. Reserve the bones in your freezer to make chicken broth.

2. Cut chicken meat into bones.

3. Cut up veggies.

4. In an oiled skillet, toss the chicken and the onions until the chicken is cooked on the outside

5. Add the potatoes and carrots and salt. Stir.

6. Add the curry powder and water. The water should cover the veggies + meat.

7. Boil then simmer for about 20 minutes.

8. All done! Phew that was easy. Enjoy with rice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shapely Steamed Buns (man tou)

I love eating steamed buns (pronounced "man tou" in Chinese).
What is also fun, is making the steamed buns.
What is even more fun, is making the steamed buns into fun shapes and sizes!

What to learn more about steam buns/man tou?
Mantou sometimes known as Chinese steamed bun, is a kind of steamed bun originating from China. It is typically eaten as a staple in Northern parts of China where wheat rather than rice is grown. Made with milled wheat flour, water and leavening agents, they are similar in nutrition and eating qualities to the white bread of the West. A similar food, but with a filling inside, is baozi.

Last weekend, I took the time to make some fresh homemade steamed buns.
Below are the proportions and instructions.

To see my Steamed-Bun-Making photos, go here:
Making Steam Buns (Man Tou)

Steamed Buns (Man Tou)

- 4 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1.5 cups of warm water
- Slightly less than 1 tbsp of yeast

1. In a cup, pour the yeast into half a cup of warm water. Sit for 15 minutes

2. Mix together the flour and sugar

3. In a giant mixing bowl, make a hole in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture, and the remaining cup of warm water

4. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.

5. Cover the bowl and let the dough sit for 15 minutes.
6. Knead the dough.

7. Return the dough to the bowl and let it sit in a warm room for an hour or two. The dough should rise.

8. Knead the dough.

9. Roll the dough into small buns. You can also make the buns into creative shapes and sizes (look at my photo gallery for my shapes).

10. Get your steamer ready by boiling some water.

11. Line the steamer with a wet towel, or paper towel, and set your buns in the steamer, about 2 inches apart.

12. Steam for about 15 minutes.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Long Is That Food Good For?

nbc has a slide show, on how long food lasts.
I recommend everyone to stop and watch it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Black Bean Chicken

As a kid, I hated black beans in my food.
But lately, I decided to buy a package of black beans to give black beans another chance, and now I am in love!

What is "black beans" anyways?
It is also called Chinese fermented black beans, and is a flavoring most popular in Chinese cuisine. It is made by fermentingand salting soybeans. The process turns the beans black, soft, and mostly dry. The flavor is sharp, pungent, and spicy in smell, with a taste that is salty and somewhat bitter and sweet.

Please note, this recipe uses actual black beans that I got from Chinatown. Not to be confused with the "black bean sauce" cheaters use. =P
Real chefs use the actual black beans...

Even Wikipedia says so! :
"In Chinese cuisine, a condiment called black bean paste or black bean garlic sauce (蒜蓉豆豉酱) is made from douchi, as well as garlic and soy sauce, a typical combination used for seasoning a dish. This paste is commercially available in glass jars from companies such as Lee Kum Kee, although most Chinese restaurant chefs prefer to use actual douchi to prepare such sauces rather than using commercially available black bean paste."

Black Bean Chicken

- 8 chicken drumsticks, or about 1 pound of your favorite chicken meat
- 3 tbsp of black beans
- 1 tsp of oyster sauce
- 1 tsp of soy sauce
- 1/4 medium onion, chopped
- pinch of salt and pepper
- optional ingredient: green bell peppers
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- sprinkle of water

1. De-fat and de-skin your chicken meat. Didn't I do a great job? :) (save the bones in your freezer. Make broth later).

2. Chop the onion and any other veggie you decide to toss in.

3. Run your knife through the black beans. You can also smash the black beans with the side of your knife.

4. Add oil to the skillet, and toss the onions and garlic until golden.

5. Add the chicken to the pan, and toss until the chicken is cooked on the outside

6. Add the salt and pepper to the chicken.

7. Add the sauces and black beans to the pan. Stir until it is evenly mixed.

8. Add a sprinkle of water, turn the heat down to medium-high, and cover. Let simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked.

this recipe goes great with fish too!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Salmon Cakes

Was my last post seriously the olive oil post from over a month ago?
Time flies...

I was fortunate last week, to find time aside to make some salmon cakes.
I've been wanting to make some type of fish patty dish for quite some time!

What better fish is there to use other than salmon?
It's high in Omega-3 fatty acids, high in protein, and high in vitamin D. yum yum.

Salmon Cakes.

Note: You can form them into large patties and serve between hamburger buns.
Or you can be like me and form them into mini patties and enjoy it over rice (I enjoy everything over rice...)

- 4 salmon filets (about 3-4 ounces each or so)
- 1/3 a large onion
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup corn or tapioca starch (I also added a few tbsp of flour on top of this too)
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- sprinkle of any of your favorite herbs
- 1 tsp hot sauce

1. Cook the salmon in the microwave (about 3-4 minutes per side). You can also broil the fish in the oven if you desire so.

2. Flake the cooked salmon, until you have a big bowl of salmon flakes!

3. Mince your onion

4. Throw in all the ingredients and mix very well.

5. Make sure the mixture is sticky, so it can form into patties. Heat up oil in a skillet.

6. Form your patties, and place them on the skillet.

7. Cook the salmon until it's golden brown on each side.

8. Line a plate with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

9. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Drop that butter! Use olive oil instead!

As much as I agree that food tastes great with tons of butter,
I really do not recommend consuming a lot of butter.

Believe me.. I've seen other people cook ...
They use tons of butter in their cooking without realizing how unhealthy it is, just because they are either:
(a.) following a recipe
(b.) that's how (insert name here) always made it.

Well, hey, guess what.
Times have changed -- your waistline and arterial walls are not as thin as they used to be.

Drop that butter! Use olive oil instead!

You can most definitely substitute olive oil for butter in your cooking and baking (yes! baking too!) without compromising the recipe.
I do it all the time.
Not only does my food taste great, but I feel a lot better (inside and out).

So please do not be afraid of breaking out of the confinements of a recipe, or how so-and-so used to make it.
Instead, just follow these easy conversions for a healthier dish!

Butter/Margarine to Olive Oil Conversion Chart

1 teaspoon butter = 3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter = 2 1/4tsp olive oil
2 tablespoons butter = 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter = 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup butter = 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter = 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup butter = 1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup butter = 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup butter = 3/4 cup olive oil

Not yet brave enough to do a full transition?
That's fine. Baby steps.
Use half-butter and half-olive oil in your cooking and slowly transition over =)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

French Toast! YAY French Toast!

Breakfast food is soo yummy.
I just wish I could get up early in the morning to actually enjoy breakfast!

French toast is one of my favorite breakfast items!

Enjoy French toast topped with powdered sugar or maple syrup. I did neither, since I really need to go to the grocery store..

Rich French Toast:

- 6 slices of thick bread (I actually used 12-grain whole-wheat bread, because I try to be healthy... kind of odd french toast in the end, but it's healthier! hehe)
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- butter

1. Mix together the eggs, milk, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.

I had trouble dissolving the clumps of flour, since I was stirring by hand with a tiny teaspoon.
Using a larger wooden spoon may help. Or use an electric mixter

2. Melt 1-2 tsp of butter on a hot skillet or griddle.

3. Dip your bread in your egg batter, for about 20 seconds per slice. Let the excess drip back into the batter bowl.

4. Lay down your bread onto the buttery skillet.

5. Flip the toast over, when it's golden

6. Cut the toast in half, diagonally and remove from the heat, when its golden on both sides.

7. Follow steps 2-6 until all your toast is used up!

8. Enjoy all that oily goodness. Don't forget the syrup and powdered sugar!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tomato Beef Stew

I never realized what a great combination beef and tomatoes are!
The tomatoes' sharp flavors combines well with beef's robust and meaty flavor.

This dish was inspired by the dish my ex-boss made recently at a potluck, and it also reminded me of a more soupier tomato and beef stew dish my Dad used to make at the restaurant he owned.

Based off those two inspirations, I created my own dish with my own input and ideas!

What I liked best about this dish, is that it's so healthy, and it can be refrigerated into tupperware containers, served over a bed of rice or pasta, for well-rounded sack lunch meal at the office! :)

Tomato Beef Stew


- 3/4 pound of boneless beef (I just picked the cheapest cut of beef at the store =D)
- 5-6 medium tomatoes (I used roma tomatoes)
- 3 oz of tomato paste
- 2 tsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of brown sugar
- 1/3 of a large onion (I used had a gigantic onion, so i used about 1/5 of that =P)
- sprinkle of olive oil
- sprinkle of salt


1. Gather all your ingredients. Be sure to rinse all your produce and meats before starting.

2. Cut the beef into thin pieces or slices.

3. Mix the soy sauce and sugar in a bowl, and marinate the beef slices in this marinade for about 15 minutes.

4. Dice up your tomatoes and onions.

5. In a large skillet or wok, heat up some olive oil, then add your onions.

6. Saute the onions, then add the marinated beef

7. When the beef is almost cooked, add the tomatoes.

8. Stir the tomatoes until the juices start flowing.

9. Stir in the tomato paste, and bring the food to a bowl

10. Turn down the heat to low, and simmer for about 40 minutes.

11. Serve your tomato beef stew over a bed of rice of pasta, or place it in a tupperware for tomorrow's sack lunch!