2 Spaghetti Squash Dishes That Are So Delicious You’ll Forget They’re Healthy

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We all have heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child.  Jing, our nanny of almost ten years has been an integral part of the village that raises my daughters, especially when I go away on location.  Any working mom knows how valuable a good nanny is.  A couple of years ago, I helped her when she and her husband decided to purchase a house in the Sunset District in San Francisco.  Nowadays, she often brings me things that she has grown from her garden and today, it was a spaghetti squash.  She told me that she had just picked up some seeds from our kitchen and planted them in the soil.  Simple as that.  Mother Nature did all the rest. 

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The nanny grown spaghetti squash was a different color than normal store-bought spaghetti squash, and the strands, though tasty, were short and not very much at all like spaghetti. I guess this goes to show that the produce we buy is selectively bred (and perhaps genetically modified) to make it look and taste a certain way.

Sunny autumn days are perfect for spaghetti squash dishes. I made a refreshing salad and crispy-on-the-outside-tender-in-the-inside patties with the vine ripe squash. They were so delicious that no one would expect them to be so healthy as well.

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I based my recipes on Martha Stewart Living and made a few small changes. 

Ingredients for the salad沙拉原料:

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil) 15 mL橄榄油

2 shallots, diced small 少许小洋葱

2 garlic cloves, minced 两瓣大蒜

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 一小勺百里香

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves 迷迭香

6 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash (I microwaved it) 半只鱼翅瓜

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4杯意大利香菜

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Coarse salt and ground pepper

I added 1/2 cubanelle pepper that is not in the original recipe

DIRECTIONS

Instruction:

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add squash and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in parsley and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. 把所有的香料在橄榄油里炒过之后跟瓜拌在一起。如果没有鱼翅瓜,可以用南瓜切丝在开水里烫熟后凉拌。

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Ingredients for the patties鱼翅瓜煎饼:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 橄榄油

3 shallots, minced 小紫洋葱

2 small jalapenos, seeded and minced小青辣椒

3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger姜

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin孜然

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander香菜

Coarse salt and ground pepper胡椒

3 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash, patted dry

2 large eggs, lightly beaten鸡蛋

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used oat bran)面粉

Nonstick cooking spray

I added 1/2 cup fat free mozzarella and 1/2 of sunflower seeds which are not in the original recipe

我在煎饼里加了奶酪和葵瓜子,这样我的两个食素的公主可以有足够蛋白质。

DIRECTIONS

Instruction:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots, jalapenos, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in cumin and coriander and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly, 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in squash, eggs, and flour. Wipe out skillet, then lightly coat skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium. In batches, add batter in 1/4 cupfuls to skillet and cook until pancakes are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer pancakes to oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter.

How I Quit Twin Peaks to Eat Coconut

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Twin Peaks is back after 25 years, but I highly doubt that I will be back as Josie.  I was the exotic beauty in an incestuous town, a poisonous fish out of water.  And we all know I that haven’t been these things for quite a while now.  However, a glimmer of hope still exists, for Josie was last seen trapped in a wooden doorknob.  Perhaps I can come back in one of the episodes as a doorknob witch? 

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I have made countless stupid mistakes in life and wanting to be written out of Twin Peaks was among the stupidest.  With the ignorance of my youth, and the influence of the PC factions in the Asian community, I naively rebelled against being an exotic flower.  I believed that I should want to be something more meaningful. When I asked to be written out of Twin Peaks, I didn’t realize how impossibly precious the opportunity of being a beautiful Ming vase was.  Unlike a real Ming vase, the value of which increases by the day, the human version, like a blossoming cereus, is only valuable for a few short hours.  Couldn’t I have searched for meaning after my once in a lifetime bloom?

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‘The Night-Blowing Cereus’ by Robert John Thornton, 1799

The project for which I quit Twin Peaks was called Turtle Beach, a disaster of a film that no one ever saw.  The only good thing was that it was filmed in Thailand, where the world’s best coconuts were grown.  I came to LOVE coconut during the 10 weeks of filming Turtle Beach on the balmy beach of Phuket. 

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Coconut love on “Turtle Beach”

People still walk up to me to tell me they loved me in Twin Peaks.  I would be walking on the street or shopping for groceries with a dirty face, and a stranger would begin to gush about Twin Peaks with me.  I have always been quite shocked and totally embarrassed at how people could make the connection between this slob and Josie Packard. 

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For desert tonight I served my family almond flour coconut chocolate cookies and coconut mango raspberry ice cream as I told them the story of how I ended up in a wooden doorknob so many years ago.  And how I came to love coconut.

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Sprouted Kitchen cookie recipe slightly revised:

1 ¼ cups almond meal (I added 1/4 cup of coconut flour)

¼ cup cacao nibs (I used Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened dark chocolate)

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup  muscovado sugar (I used sugar free maple syrup)

1 egg

3 tablespoons melted extra virgin coconut oil (I replaced it with non fat Fage)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

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8 ounces mango
4 ounces raspberries
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
2 tablespoons raspberry or strawberry jam
1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup non-fat Fage
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup shredded toasted coconut, plus additional for serving
This recipe was improvised based on a few online references.

I Like Chinese Food!

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I was forced to cook at the age of 11 or 12. At that time, my parents were sent down to the countryside as a part of their cultural revolution reeducation.  My brother and I were left to be in charge of our own survival.  Five families of workers and peasants had moved into our house when I was seven or eight.  It was a way for the government to redistribute housing from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat.  In the beginning, I didn’t like these people who invaded our home and occupied our best rooms.  But after a few years I became friends with the children of the invading families.  When my parents were away, they kept an eye out for my brother and me.  I don’t remember ever feeling cooking was a chore.  I wanted to cook.  The more the better.  Cooking meant there was food to eat.  There were times when I would only cook a pot of rice, and we would eat with the crispy pork lard residue.  It really sounds worse than it was.  When the pork we got from the market was too fatty, we would cut the fat into tiny cubes and make lard.  The crispy residue was truly delicious over rice.

My mother sent my brother and me letters everyday.  And in every letter she would bid me to be extra careful about hot oil splatter that could blind me or ruin my face.  That was such a deep fear in her that she continued to write about the danger of hot oil spatter to me even when I was well into my 20s.  I was thousands of miles away from her and had problems much worse than she could ever imagine, but her worst nightmare was still the hot oil splatter blinding her young daughter. 

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However, my mother’s fear was not entirely groundless.  The key to stir frying is a red hot wok and smoking hot oil.  For dinner today, I went back to my roots and cooked four Chinese dishes.  Since I have cooked Chinese food all my life, I usually do it by feel and improvise with what I have at hand. 

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Chinese Mountain Yam with Braised Tofu and Celery:

1 6 inch long Chinese Mountain Yam (山药or怀山)

1 celery heart

1/2 carrot

1 braised firm tofu or baked firm tofu

8 ounces cashew nuts or macadamia nuts

3 slices of peeled ginger

1 teaspoon of corn starch

3 tablespoon of water or chicken broth

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon or less of salt

1 to 2 tablespoon canola oil depending on how healthy you want to be

Instruction:

Slice all vegetables into desired similar sized pieces. 

Mix the corn starch, water and oyster sauce in a small bowl. 

Heat the wok on high heat, drop in the ginger, when ginger is dry pour in the oil. 

When the ginger is sizzling in the oil, put in the vegetables and stir for about 3 minutes or to desired tenderness. 

Pour in the oyster sauce mixture and stir for a few second until the corn starch is translucent.  Turn off fire and put in the nuts.

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Baby Bok Choi with grape tomatoes:

18 to 20 baby Bok Choi, washed and patted dry

4 slices of peeled ginger

4 to 5 cherry or grape tomato

1/2 cup of chicken broth or water

1 teaspoon of salt

Instruction:

Heat the wok, put in ginger, then the oil. 

When the ginger is sizzling put in tomatoes for 30 seconds. 

Take out the tomatoes and set aside before putting in the Bok Choi.

Stir for about 3 to 4 minutes. 

Pour in the water or chicken broth and close the lid for about 1 to 2 minutes.

When the broth is dry the Bok Choi is ready.

Stir in the tomatoes to make it pretty. 

Or you can skip tomatoes all together.

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Beef Shank & Beef tendon Stew with Carrots:

1 pound of beef shank, 2 tendons, or you can use just the beef and no tendon

1 brown onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 cup of spinach(optional)

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes (optional)

1 cup of cooking wine

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1/2 cup of dark soy sauce

3 cups of water or beef broth

5 star anise

5 slices of ginger

1/4 teaspoon Chinese peppercorn (花椒)

1 tablespoons of oil

Preparation:

Cut the beef shank and tendon to 1and1/2 cubes.

Heat the oil in a wok on high, put in peppercorn and ginger.

Stir and let sizzle for about 30 seconds, add onion and stir until soft.

Mix in the beef shank and the tendon, stir for 3 minutes.

Add wine, soy sauce and water/broth.

Close lid and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours before adding the carrots.

Cook another 30 minutes.  Before serving, add spinach and cherry tomatoes.

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Baked Pumpkin and Maple Syrup:

1 small pumpkin

1/2 cup of Joseph’s sugar-free maple-flavored syrup

Olive oil spray

Instruction:

Peel and cube the pumpkin into desired shape.

Spray olive oil and bake for 1 hour or until tender in a baking pan at 375 degree

Pour in the maple syrup and toss until pumpkin is coated with syrup.

This pumpkin dish is not authentically Chinese.  The Chinese way to cook the dish is to steam the pumpkin with Gouji Berries and some brown sugar.  My children prefer the baked version and their wishes are my command.

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