Refreshing Dishes for a Hot Day

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Mediterranean Wraps

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Caprese Salad

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Chilled Tomato Soup

I came home on an exceedingly warm day for San Francisco.  Audrey’s class is on a camping trip, but she is at home because we have a wedding rehearsal to attend on Friday.  She made us a delicious vegetarian lunch, which was exactly what I needed after two weeks of potstickers, pork buns and crepes. 

Audrey is a true and natural cook who does everything by feel.  A dash of this and a dash of that; a handful of this and a handful of that.  I enjoyed watching her making the dishes as much as I did eating them.  She has great instinct and a keen sense of adventure when it comes to creating food.  The home cooked lunch was the best welcome home gift I could imagine, but I am now struggling to re-create the dishes in the blog and share her recipes.  It was a good thing that she kept things very simple and here are the recipes to the best of my recollection.

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Mediterranean Wraps

Ingredients:

8 oz. French green beans, trimmed (blanched or steamed until crisp tender)

1 tomato seeded and thinly sliced

3 oz. garlic-and-herb goat cheese

3 whole-grain tortillas

21 Pitted Kalamata olives

6 canned artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

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Preparation:

Spread a thin layer of goat cheese evenly on each tortilla and line 1/3 of the other ingredients in the center of each.  Roll tortilla tightly, folding in sides.

Chilled Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups diced ripe beefsteak, heirloom or cherry tomatoes, divided

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 red jalapeno, seeded

1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

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Preparation:

Blend 3 cups of tomatoes with oil, lime juice, honey paprika, seeded red jalapeño and salt with 1 cup of water until smooth.

Pour soup into four bowls.  Top with the 1 remaining cup of the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of basil.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. 

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Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Fresh Mozzarella balls, sliced in half

English cucumber

Basil leaves, sliced

Micro sprouts

Balsamic Glaze

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

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Preparation:

Toss everything in the salad bowl with vigor!

Fringe Benefits

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Song

Playing Madame Sun Yat-sen

Song

I am filming in Tian Jin, a city that is about two hours drive from Beiing.  It was heavily colonized in the 1800s by different European countries and retained much of its colonial architectural characteristics.  Some of the government protected colonial relics have been used as sets in TV series and films and we filmed in one of such buildings today.
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St. Joseph Cathedral Church

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The first time I was in Tian Jin was when I was 19.  I came on the backseat of a motorcycle with a group of friends from Beijing.  The only thing I could remember of the trip was the yummy breakfast and snack foods that I ate.
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View from my hotel

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Breakfast on set with the director

The producer heard that I loved the local breakfast and had three plastic bags full of the special potstickers delivered to the set before I stepped into my costume.  After I finished my breakfast, I could hardly get into my qi pao.
This is one of the most European looking cities in China, but the cuisine here is thoroughly local, and delicious beyond words.
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The mung bean crepe — Jian Bing Guo Zi (煎饼果子)— is one of the most well known local snack food that can also be breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It is made of freshly ground mung bean flour, eggs, cilantro, chili and onion.  You can also add a thin sheet of crispy fried dough for a more complex texture.
Delicious fringe benefit for location work!
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Snacking on Mung Bean crepe

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Story From My Father

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With my parents in front of our house – my first winter

My father never chitchatted with me the way my mother does, but he has been very chatty with me on this trip.  At lunch yesterday, he told me an interesting little story about his maternal grandmother’s tomb.  In the late 1970s, when the government wanted to build a highway over his maternal grandmother’s grave in Jiang Xi Province, my father went with a Feng Shui master to the site to move the sepulcher.  They dug up the grave and saw 6 blind carps in the underground water around the coffin.  The Feng Shui master told my father that the fish needed to be released to the river and the children — meaning me, my brother and our cousins —  should go as far away as possible.  “That’s why your mother and I did everything in our power to send you and your brother to America,” he said.
The story reminded me of another incident that seemed puzzling at the time, but is now clear to me.  In the late 90s, a friend of mine was opening a private heart clinic in Shanghai and wanted to recruit my father and Peter to be her partners.  I was excited by the idea of moving back to my beloved hometown to be near my parents.  And Peter was intrigued enough not to call me crazy.  I thought my parents would be pleased by the possibility, but my father emphatically said, “Don’t do it.  Your destiny is not here.”  In retrospect, I believe that Peter would have been miserable living and working in Shanghai, where the medical culture and beliefs were completely different from his own.  At the time, though, I was taken aback and a little hurt by my father’s staunch opinion that I no longer belonged in Shanghai.
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My father has been a doctor all his life and at the age of 84, he works half a day everyday at his office or meeting patients at his home office.  In my mind, he would be the last one to believe what a Feng Shui master had to say.  Just as I was contemplating my father’s complex and contradictory beliefs and personality traits, he made light of his own story, “actually one could often find fish in the mountain caves of that region.  It was really nothing magical.”
Then both my parents began to talk about the different types of burials that people employ nowadays.  There was the flower burial, where you plant flowers in the ashes.  There was the ocean burial where you take a ship and scatter the ashes in the open sea.  My mother said to my father, “I don’t want an ocean burial.  I won’t be able to be with you if you scatter the ashes in the sea.”  I was surprised by the casualness and lightheartedness with which they brought up this so far taboo subject.  They had never even made a will, as if the very thought would bring upon bad luck if not death itself.  “I would like to have a tree burial — two trees side by side — in your backyard.”  My mother told me.  I didn’t know what to say for a moment when she added, “so that’s settled.”
The thought of my parents as two trees growing side by side in my backyard made me happy.  When I called Peter and told him about this, he said but what if we sell the house?

Mango Sorbet

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It was a glorious April day and the temperature was in the 70s — warmer than many of our summer days.  How could anyone be inside and working on a day like this?  I called Peter at 5pm and asked, “ Can you play a little hooky and take a walk with me?” — meaning “I miss you,” not expecting him to actually do it. 

Ten minutes later, I heard the garage door open and there he was.  “Let’s go take a walk,” he said casually as if this was an everyday occurrence.  I was so surprised I couldn’t speak. 

Peter changed into shorts while I quickly made a mango sorbet for him.  It took me less than five minutes, but he said it really hit the spot.

We walked on Union Street holding hands.  This almost felt illicit — strolling with him in the afternoon sun on a weekday.  It was as if he was not my husband, but someone else’s husband that I had stolen just for today.  It was wonderful, better than a real vacation.

We walked by a few restaurants where people were dining al fresco style on the sunny sidewalk and we decided to do the same.  We sat down at an outside table in a restaurant call Capannina.  After we ordered, I heard the lady sitting at the next table telling her young daughter about me as if I was a painting on the wall.  She said, “Remember you said you wanted to be a Chinese princess?  This lady played a princess in a film.  She is a movie star.”  The young daughter looked at me — practically an old woman — and was dubious.  The lady probably sensed that I was a bit uncomfortable and embarrassed by her admiration and apologized.

Peter and I had a delicious three course meal, and when we asked for the bill we were told that the dinner was paid for by the lady at the next table. We thanked her and walked into the setting sun.

Our impromptu date turned out perfectly.  Everyone should play a little hooky once in a while.

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Mango Sorbet

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen mango cubes

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 tbsp fresh sweet orange juice

Blend everything in a powerful blender or food processor.  I used my Vitamix.

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Spring Stir Fry with Chicken and Sugar Snap Peas

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I bought a beautiful used book by Life for 3.99 today: The Meaning of Life — Reflections in Words and Pictures on Why We are Here. Why are we here?  Life posed the grand question to 300 celebrated authors, artists, scientists and to ordinary barbers, taxi drivers and welfare mothers, and published the answers with a selection of black and white photos from the magazine’s photo archive.

themeaningoflife  meaningoflife_owens

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how the Costco roast chicken was the best $4.99 anyone could spend.  Today I found the best $3.99 that anyone can spend in this book — a feast to the mind, the heart and the eye.  You can open it at any given page and find something poignant or poetic or funny.

Here is the answer from one of my favorite writers Annie Dillard:

We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.

According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.

meaningoflife_abbas   meaningoflife_myron

And here is the answer from a butcher by the name of Carmine Pucci:

The meaning of life is listening to Pavarotti, feeling the sun on your face, drinking a bottle of wine, and then another. The meaning of life is having a safe and healthy society, a happy family life, good health, a loving wife, work that you like, smelling the smell of a new car and the ocean air, being able to hit a bull’s eye, coming home with the fish and not another fish story.

I couldn’t agree more.  We are here to bear witness, to create and to feast.

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I made similar stir fries quite often before, usually improvising and by feel, but I like today’s recipe a great deal – flavorful yet light.

Spring Stir Fry with Chicken and Sugar Snap Peas

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp + 1tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tbsp water

1 tsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp sugar

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For the Stir Fry:

1.2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced, marinated for 15 to 30 minutes in 1 tbsp of cooking wine, 1/2 tsp cornstarch, a pinch of salt and a few thin slices of ginger

2 tbsp rice bran oil, or canola

2 tsp fresh garlic, minced

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 cup sugar snap peas

1 cup carrots, sliced diagonally

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Preparation:

Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, water and cornstarch in a small bowl, mix together and set aside.

Heat a large wok over high heat. When the wok is very hot, add half of the oil, then add the chicken. Stir fry, stirring occasionally until the chicken is just cooked through and slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.

Add the remaining oil to the wok; add the garlic and ginger, stir for 20 seconds. Add the sugar snap peas and carrots, stirring over medium high heat until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.

Return the chicken to the wok, add the soy sauce-lemon mixture, mix well and cook another 30 seconds to one minute. Serve immediately with rice.

Adapted from: skinnytaste.com

Red Cabbage Slaw with an Asian Twist

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I read an article on today’s New York Times about a 78-year-old Iowa man, who has been arrested and is now on trial for having sex with his demented wife in the nursing home.  Apparently, he visited his wife almost daily, sometimes twice a day, praying rosary by her bedside and taking her to church on Sundays, and occasionally he made love to her.  According to social workers in the nursing home, the wife was always happy to see her husband and they would hold hands and talk.  Sweet old man is all I can say. 

I asked Peter if he would visit me twice a day when I am institutionalized for dementia.  He just said, “All I want to know is what vitamins he was on?”  Well, whatever vitamins he was on have brought him big trouble now.  The problem was that she was so demented that she was not deemed fit to give consent to sex.  And without consent, sex is rape.  The demented wife who was not deemed fit to consent to sex had to go through an examination with a “rape kit.”  It that even legal?  Anyway, Peter just reminded me to add in my “Advanced Healthcare Directive” that he has my consent to do you know what.

Peter, who usually doesn’t like coleslaw, loved this red cabbage slaw with an Asian twist.  He seems to believe that it contains aphrodisiac properties, and is also a cure for headaches.  So, yeah…

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Ingredients for the Salad:

1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 mint leaves, chopped or cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp minced green onion or chives

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup chopped candied walnuts or candied cashews (I used cashews)

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Ingredients for the Dressing:

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp lime zest

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp 100% pure sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce

2 tsp brown sugar + 2 tsp xylitol (you can use 4 tsp brown sugar if you prefer)

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Preparation:

Thinly slice the cabbage and put in salad bowl.  Mix all ingredients for the dressing in a bowl.  Pour the dress over cabbage and mix well.  Let sit for an hour in the fridge. 

Before serving, add everything else to the salad bowl and give it a few good toss.

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Chocolate Thistle & Chicken Soup

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A crunchy chocolate dessert high in cereal fiber

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A hearty chicken soup with whole grain and vegetables

Last week, Peter bought a Costco roast chicken as he often did when I was away at work.  Tasty, tender and versatile, Costco roast chicken is the best $4.99 anyone can spend.  Peter would usually eat the drumsticks on the first day, and then breast meat for sandwiches for the next couple of days.  If I am home, I often use the breast meat to make a quick chicken curry, or use it on top of a caesar salad.  And I use what’s left to make a stock — for porridge or for soup. 

When I opened the fridge today, the roast chicken carcass was waiting there to be transformed.  I suppose this is what home cooking is often about — improvise with leftovers.  I usually make the soup with hulled barley, but I was out of it today and made the soup with farro instead.

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Chicken Farro Vegetable Soup

Ingredients for the Stock:

1 Roast Chicken Carcass

1/4 cup cooking wine

1 inch giner, sliced

12 cups water

1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Ingredients for the Soup:

1/4 farro or hulled barley

1 cup diced carrots

1 zucchini

8 to 10 oz mushroom, sliced

2 cups chicken broth (from carton or can)

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Preparation:

To make the stock, put the entire carcass in a large pot with cooking wine, ginger, water and salt.  Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Turn off stove.  Pour the entire pot of soup over a colander into another large pot.  Discard the bone and the skin from the colander and save the meat.  Skim the fat off the top of the stock.

When the stock is simmering, cook the farro or hulled barley with the chicken broth in a rice cooker.

To make the soup, add the meat back into the stock with the cooked farro and carrots. Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini and mushroom and cook for another 5 minutes.

Peter has a sweet tooth, but he is supposed to be careful with his sugar intake.  So the one thing he missed the most when I was away was healthy dessert.

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Chocolate Thistles

Ingredients:

1 1/3 3.5 oz milk or dark chocolate bar (I used dark)

1 cup All-bran cereal (I used Kellogg’s)

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup unsweetened shaved coconut

1/4 cup dried sweet cherries

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Preparation:

Break the chocolate bar and put in a bowl.  Steam the bowl with chocolate in a steamer on low to melt.  Remove the bowl from the steamer and pour in the cereal, almonds, coconut and dried cherries.

Spoon 1 tbsp mounds of chocolate mounds onto prepared baking sheet.  Transfer to freezer to set for 10 minutes.

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Sin City Day 8 – The Petit Lady Next Door

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Audrey in the monitor – in the scene, Adeline has been left alone in the hotel room by her mother, who is gambling into the wee hours.

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Audrey wanted her hair down, but the director want her hair braided to make her look younger.

Today, we shot in the hotel where Audrey and I are staying.  The production rented three rooms near each other — one for filming, one for craft service and holding and one for equipment and prop storage.  The crew went in and out of the three rooms, carrying heavy equipments and talking to each other.  A petit young blond lady came out of the room next to craft service and asked if we could be quieter.  The producer apologized to her and promised to be more considerate. 

My scene was finished by 5pm and I waited in the craft service room in case Audrey needed me for anything.  That was when I first heard the eruption of the fight — extremely vicious, machine gun style shouting from the petit lady next door.  Her passionate high voice went on with so much intensity and velocity that it sounded like a wonderfully delivered stage monologue. Once in a while, I heard a low male voice protesting or placating, but he was inevitably drowned out by her shouting.  A few of the crew and I began to wonder what they were fighting about.  The fact that it was in a foreign language only intensified our curiosity.  We couldn’t believe that such a voice could have come from that petit woman (by now we no longer referred to her as a “lady.”)

Our DP Julian, who is from Peru, came in to get water and said, “Oh, they are from Argentina.”  Then our make-up artist JQ, who is Mexican, began to translate what she could understand for us.  It sounded like that the man lost a lot of money — thousands and thousands of dollars.  By now there was the sound of body shoveling and falling mixed in with the shouting.  We were all holding our breath for the gun shot sound that might come next.

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Then, as suddenly as it began, the fight stopped.  I wondered if one of them was dead.  After an interval of about 30 minutes, I heard the man and the woman talking again and felt somehow relieved that they were alive.  The talking quickly escalated into a second round of ferocious yelling from the petit woman.  Long paragraphs, long sentences.  How did she find so many words when she was this mad? 

After two intervals and three rounds of screaming, there came noises of struggle.  Just when I was imagining slow strangulation, someone from the crew came into the craft service room and whispered in excitement, “He is outside!”  A few of us went out to the corridor pretending to go to the set and saw a docile man in a dress shirt and vest trying to pry the door open while the petit woman gave the door one last shove.  And he was locked out.  The man waited there for about half a minute with all of us feigning nonchalance around him.  Then he gave up and walked away.

I am guilty of being heartless, but that was our Friday evening entertainment in the craft service room.  As the song goes – that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.

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Aromatic Beef Curry

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When I knocked on Audrey’s door this morning, I heard a strangely low and gravelly voice, “Who is it?” “It’s mommy,” I was taken aback for a moment, thinking I lost her to the evil spirit of the hellish hotel.  She opened the door and whispered, “I had to do this.  Last night two different drunken guys knocked on my door.  Or maybe it was the same drunken guy who came twice.  I couldn’t sleep after that.”

So, we both needed some caffeine before the rehearsal.  I tried to order an Uber to go to Starbucks, but was surprised to find out that there was no Uber service in Las Vegas.  After our morning coffee, Audrey and I rehearsed one of the most important scenes in the film, where Adeline finds out that her father is leaving her and her mother. In the script, Adeline goes through a wide range of emotions in the scene— from desperation to anger to sadness to hopelessness.  Audrey did a really good job, especially considering how inexperienced she is at acting.  We both felt more confident about doing this job together after the rehearsal.

mystere5  Mystere_Planche_Matt Beard

The highlight of the day was when Audrey got her per diem and treated us to cirque du soleil’s Mystére in Treasure Island. The buoyant energy of the show was exactly what we needed after a restless night in that dreadful place.  I enjoyed the occasional gasps let out by Audrey almost as much as I did the incredible feats executed by the performers, who often seemed to defy gravity.

As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for the beef curry.  This is part of the care package for Peter when I’m here.

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Aromatic Beef Curry

Ingredients:

1 pound beef shank, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 pound beef tendon, cut into 1 inch sections (You can use all beef shank if tendon is not your thing.)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon yellow curry paste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares

4 carrots, cut into 1 inch sections

3 stocks lemongrass, tender middle part only, sliced diagonally

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

4 slices of peeled ginger

1 large potato, cubed

1 onion, chopped

1/2 can coconut milk (or the whole can if you don’t worry about the fat content in the coconut milk)

1/4 cup cooking wine

4 boiled eggs, peeled (optional)

Salt to taste

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Preparation:

Wash and cut meat and tendon.  Boil a large pot of water and poach the beef and tendon for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Pour out and water and rinse the beef and the tendon.

Using the same pot, boil the beef and tendon with the 4 slices of ginger, the 1/4 cooking wine and enough water to submerge the meet for 2 hours. 

Heat up a wok with 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and 1 tablespoon curry paste until aromatic. Add carrots, potato, coconut milk and broth.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Pour the content from wok to the pot of beef and tendon.  Add the boiled eggs.  Cover the lid and cook for another hour.  Add green bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Serve with rice.

Coconut Obsessed Pie

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Whenever I was sick at home from school, my grandmother would unlock her small walk-in closet and get out an old leather suitcase full of goodies that were ordinarily off limits to anyone.  There were old pictorials, Linguaphone phono records, theater programs from London’s West End and New York’s Broadway.  She would then begin to tell me stories — recounting and recreating tragic sagas from Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Hamlet, or funny stories from The Pickwick Papers.  It was usually in the winter when I was sick with the cold or the flu.  My grandmother would close the thick drapery and crank up the phonograph to play Linguaphone records for me.  More than 40 years have passed and I can still close my eyes and hear the authoritative British male voice saying: “Lesson number one: My Family — my wife, my son, my daughter and I…  I am standing by the window, smoking a pipe, my son is kneeling on the floor, playing with a train…”

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It was brazen and defiant of her to have kept that suitcase and shared the content with me in the midst of the Cultural Revolution.  Most of what my grandparents brought back from abroad were either taken by the red guards or burned by my parents who feared the potentially dire consequences of owning anything foreign.

I think it was behind the closed doors of  her darkened room, with a sore throat and a fever that I first began to conjure up faraway lands and unfamiliar tongues.  Subconsciously I was made to believe that perhaps life was more than the monotonous indoctrination that I was fed in school and by society.  My grandmother’s stories balanced my education.  That she was a great story teller and charming conversationalist also helped us in unexpected ways.

In my late teens, I became a national darling for starring in the films Youth and Little Flower.  There were often gentleman callers who came to our old house in Shanghai with the desire to meet me.  According to my grandmother, they were all sons or grandsons of some high level cadres.  She said that they were trouble and I should not meet any of them.  As I sat in the bathroom or the kitchen with a book, my grandmother would be chatting with the visitor, over a cup of tea or a cigarette.  Scheherazade may have told one thousand and one tales to save her own life; my grandmother told one thousand and one tales to spare me the “trouble” and to have fun.  Some disappointed suitors would leave right away at hearing that I wasn’t home, but others would stay for quite a while chatting and laughing with my grandmother, genuinely enjoying her company.  She must have appeared quite an exciting and maverick old lady to them.  A number of them became her friends and forgot all about their initial intentions of meeting me.  Until her death, they often visited her, bearing gifts of oranges, tea or sweets.  She had many cross generational friends — “Wang Nian Jiao” in Chinese,meaning literally “forget age connection.”

The first coconut sweet I ever had was a piece of kaya toast. Kaya jam is made of coconut milk, egg and sugar.  One of my grandmother’s “forget age connections” once brought her a can of the golden luxury and it was the best thing that I had ever tasted. 

As I made this coconut pie, I thought of that first taste of the kaya and my grandmother who shared it with me.  She would have called me a genius to make such a delicious coconut cream pie with tofu.  I wish I could claim I invented this.

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Coconut Obsessed Pie

Ingredients:

For the coconut-graham cracker crust:

6 whole graham crackers or homemade wholewheat graham crackers (about 4 oz)

3 tablespoons whipped butter

3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut

For the filling:

1 teaspoon gelatin

12.3 oz package organic silken tofu, firm (Mori-nu brand)

1/4 cup milk of choice for the gelatin, I used coconut milk 

1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk

1 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup xylitol or sugar

4 packs stevia, or to taste

A pinch of salt

Optional topping:  toasted coconut flakes

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Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place the whole graham crackers in a re-sealable plastic bag and crush with rolling pin, then measure 1 cup of crumbs and discard the rest.

In a medium-sized bowl or a food processor, combine the graham cracker crumbs, xylitol or sugar, 3 tbsp shredded coconut, whipped butter and 1/2 tablespoon of water; blend until it has a texture of coarse meal.

Press into an 8-inch pie dish making the crust about 1/8-inch thick evenly all around and up the sides, evening the crumbs up to make sure there are no gaps or holes. Note: If you refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes before you bake it, this will help prevent crumbling when you want to serve it.

Bake until the edges are golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool on a wire rack, before filling.

Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatin in 1/2 tablespoon of water in a small bowl for 5 minutes.

Lightly mash the silken tofu with a fork and place it in the blender with the canned full fat coconut milk and remaining tablespoon of shredded coconut and blend until smooth, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Heat the 1/4 cup of coconut milk beverage in the microwave 40 to 45 seconds, and mix in with the gelatin until dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into the graham cracker crust and refrigerate until it sets, about 3 to 4 hours. Top with shaved coconut, if desire.

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Adapted from: skinnytaste.com