10-minute Tofu Salad & 10-minute of Motherly Bragging

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Today was Audrey’s karate tournament in Foster City.  We left the house at 6 am for her to help set up the arena. I was ambitious in wanting to support her and stayed until 9 when I called Peter to tell him that I am coming home because of boredom. He said the traffic would be awful because of Bay to Breaker road closures and I should avoid highway 101 and use 280 instead. Well, I got turned around on the freeway and the GPS took me to 101. It was bumper to bumper after I exited and I didn’t get home until 11:10. After an hour of rest, we drove back to see Audrey compete. She won the sparring competition, and the championship point was scored with a spinning hook kick, which was described as “awesome” by the 2 judges. She also won 1st place in form and 2nd place for open kata.  When we finally arrived home at about 4:30pm, she was exhausted but giddy with happiness. 

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Angela didn’t get back until 1:30 am this morning.  I took it to be a good sign that she had enjoyed her first prom.  She was quite anxiety ridden when she left the house, saying she was not this enough or that enough, or she was too this or too that.  In reality, she was beautiful.

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Needless to say that going back to doing homework after all the excitement was worse than no fun for either of them.

For food, I made the 10 minute tofu salad.  It is my go-to food when I am too busy or tired or both, for it is truly simple and easy, AND DELICIOUS.

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Tofu Salad

Ingredients:

1 box of organic silken firm tofu, diced

1 tablespoon minced green onion

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

1 radish, finely sliced

1 teaspoon roast sesame seeds

A dash of red pepper flakes

2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon 100% pure sesame oil

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Preparation:

Open the box of tofu and slice it into desired shape

Sprinkle the green onion, cilantro, radish, red pepper flakes and sesame seed on the tofu.  Pour the soy sauce and sesame oil on top. 

Roast seaweed strips are also good with this dish, but I don’t have it in the pantry today. If you don’t like radish, you can use a little cucumber instead.  I prefer the radish because it not only gives the salad a bit crunch, it also gives it a little kick.

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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

Tofu Mac N Cheese

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Since both Angela and Audrey are vegetarians, and since they have a Chinese mother, tofu is served four to five times a week.  I’m always on the lookout for a new way to eat tofu.  Sometimes things that sound good don’t work out, such as the tofu protein shake that I had to chuck in the compost.  Sometimes, seemingly strange ideas turn out beautifully, such as the delicious tofu chocolate fudge pie

I got this tofu mac n cheese idea from my friend Jane.  And it turned out to be a keeper.  When the girls were little they used to love mac n cheese and could eat it days on end.  They both loved today’s creamy and crispy variation on the tofu theme. 

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Tofu Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

1 cup milk of choice

1 tablespoon 100% whole wheat flour (or coconut flour for gluten free)

1/4 teaspoon or more salt

A dash freshly ground black pepper

1 bag (8-oz.) shredded 2% extra sharp Cheddar cheese

2 to 3 tbsp shaved parmesan cheese

1/4 cup panko or oat bran

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

2 1/2 box of Mori-nu firm silken tofu (12.3 oz per box)

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Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°. 

Mix flour, salt, black pepper, ground red pepper if use, and 1/2 of cheddar in a sauce pan, whisk in the milk.  Cook on medium low heat and whisk until smooth and thickened.  About 5 minutes.

Cut tofu into cubes and line them in a slightly greased 12×9 baking dish.  The tofu cubes should fill out the baking dish in a single layer.  Pour in the cheese and milk mixture. 

Evenly sprinkle the remaining shredded cheddar cheese and the shaved parmesan cheese, topped with panko. 

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

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The Many Lives of Tofu — Sweet & Savory

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When Angela first emailed me this chocolate fudge pie recipe, I was very dubious.  I had been eating tofu my entire life and had believed that I knew every which way to eat it.  I associated it mostly with soy sauce, scallion, sesame oil, spicy chili oil.  I had also had sweet soft tofu in light syrup.  But chocolate fudge? Come on, you must be kidding me!

Today I came back from Costco with a whole case of Nuri-Nu Tofu, and decided to give the chocolate fudge pie a try.  It was actually the simplest thing in the world to make.  With a blender, you can make this pie in less than 15 minutes.  However, you do need to keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours before it reaches its ideal consistency. 

The pie turned out to be an absolute winner: rich, creamy and chocolaty, without even a hint of tofu in the taste.  If you serve the pie at a party and tell people afterwards that it is made of tofu and that it is healthy, they will definitely say that you are pulling their leg.  In fact Peter still thinks that I was joking when I told him it was made from tofu.   

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No Bake Chocolate Fudge Pie

Ingredients for the Filling:

12.3 oz silken or firm tofu (I highly recommend Mori-Nu silken-firm for no aftertaste)

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk of choice

scant 1/8 tsp salt

5 oz unsweetened 100% dark baking chocolate

5 to 6 tbsp xylitol (or sweetener of choice)

optional: extracts, flavorings, or liqueurs

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Ingredients for the crust:

You can either use stored bought ready pie crust, or graham cracker crust, or no-bake crust of nuts and dates. 

I used 1 cup of walnut and 1/2 cup very soft and gooey dates.  Blend the dates and walnuts in a blender, but do not over blend into a paste.

Preparation:

Carefully melt the chocolate (I steamed mine in a steamer.), then throw everything into a food processor and blend until super-smooth.

Line a 9 inch tart pan or a pie pan with plastic wrap for easy removing of the pie when it is ready.  Press the date walnut mixture evenly at the bottom

Pour the chocolate mixture into a pan on top if the date walnut “crust.” Fridge until chilled. This gets firmer and firmer, the longer it sits. It’s also firmer if you use firm tofu and more like mousse pie if you use silken.

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Recipe adapted from:

chocolatecoveredkatie.com

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Braised Shiitake with Snap Pea (Still in season!)

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon dark rice vinegar

4 teaspoons canola or peanut oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

5 large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced

2 cup snap peas

1/2 red pepper, sliced

1/3 cup sliced scallions, divided

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Preparation:

Soak the dry shiitake mushroom in a bowl in 2 cup warm water for 1 hour.  Save 1/3 cup of the water but discard the sediment at the bottom of the bowl.

In a sauce pan heat 2 teaspoons cooking oil on medium high, sauté half of the ginger until aromatic, add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and stir for about 45 seconds.  Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and 1/3 cup reserved mushroom water.  Bring it to boil and lower the heat to let simmer for about 30 minutes.  The mushrooms are done when sauce is reduced and thickened but not burned.

In the meantime, in a wok or frying pan heat up 2 teaspoons oil on medium high and sauté the remaining ginger until aromatic.  Add snap peas and red pepper and stir for about 1 1/2 minutes.  Pour shiitake mushroom sauce and 1/3 cup of scallion in the pan and stir for 1/2 minutes.

Serve with warm brown rice and Miso Tofu.

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Ingredients for Miso Tofu:

12 oz. firm tofu, sliced

1 tablespoon miso paste

1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

2 tsp canola or peanut oil

Preparation:

Spread miso paste on the tofu using fingers.  Heat the oil in a nonstick pan and pan sear the tofu on medium high for about 3 minutes on either side or until tofu slices are slightly browned.

Serve Hot.

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Happy Year of the Ram!

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Peter’s mother gave me two porcelain New Year dolls as part of their wedding gift to us. I thought that they looked silly when I first saw them and have grown to love them over the years.

It is rare that the whole family is free for Chinese New Year celebration.  The girls are off from school for President’s Week, and Peter took time off because originally the whole family was traveling to the East Coast this week.  Peter went to play golf and Angela went out with friends (see her account of her little adventure at the end of the post) when Audrey and I stayed at home and cooked our New Year feast.

The first must-eat food for Lunar New Year is dumplings.  Audrey and I had fun making our own 100% whole wheat dumpling wrap today.  This way we don’t feel as guilty pigging out.

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Handmade Dumpling Wraps Ingredients:

4 cups of 100% whole wheat flour

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

water

Preparation:

Pour 3 1/3 cups of flour and eggs in a large mixing bowl and leave it in the sink.  Turn on tap to have a steady drip while using your hand to mix – swirl in one direction – until the dough is firm but can be kneaded.  Turn off tap.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Let it sit for 15 minutes.

In batches, roll the dough into cylinders and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Use the remaining dry flour to prevent pieces from sticking together.  Make little dough balls and then use a rolling pin to make the wraps.  The key is to turn the dough with one hand and roll as you turn.

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If this sounds all too labor intensive, there are always the store-bought wraps!

Check out “Chinese New Year Potstickers” for the rest of the dumpling recipe.

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The second must-eat food for Lunar New Year is fish.  Fish sounds the same with the word “abundance” in Chinese.  Usually people buy a live rock cod to steam with ginger and scallion, but I suppose every Chinese family wanted one today and they were all sold out.  I bought a beautiful piece of Chilean Sea Bass and used my favorite marinade.

I also made braised pork for nostalgic reasons.  This was a dish that I looked forward to having at every New Year’s Eve when I was growing up in Shanghai.

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Braised Pork with Fresh Bamboo Shoots and Shiitake

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cooking wine

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup dark soy sauce (or you can use all light soy sauce)

3/4 – 1 cup water (you may not use all of it)

1 1/2 to 2 pounds pork shank

4 boiled eggs

5 large dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked soft, drained and quartered)

2 winter bamboo shoots (peeled and tough part removed)

1 pack stringed tofu (from Chinese market, see photo)

1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

8 cloves garlic, crushed

2 inch cube peeled ginger, crushed or sliced

2 star anise

1 tbsp. brown sugar or molasses

1 tbsp. canola oil

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Preparation:

Heat the oil in a wok on high.

Put in peppercorns, garlic, ginger, star anise, sauté until aromatic.

Add cut pork shank to be seared at all sides.

Add bamboo, shiitake and boiled eggs.

Pour in soy sauce, wine, water and sugar and turn the fire to low.

Cover and stew for 2 hours.

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For the two vegetarians in the house, I made a seared tofu with brown rice medley.

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Seared Tofu with Brown Rice Medley

Brown Rice Medley Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

A pinch of salt

2 1/2 water

1/2 teaspoon dark rice vinegar

4 teaspoons canola or peanut oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

4 large dried shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced

1 cup snap peas

1/2 red pepper (thinly sliced)

1/3 cup sliced scallions, divided

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Preparation:

Soak the dry shiitake mushroom in a bowl in warm water for 1 hour.  Save 1/4 cup of the water but discard the sediment at the bottom of the bowl. 

Cook the brown rice with 2 1/2 cups water, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.

In a sauce pan heat 2 teaspoons cooking oil on medium high, sauté half of the ginger until aromatic, add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and give it a few good stir.  Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and 1/4 cup reserved mushroom water.  Bring it to boil and lower the heat to let simmer.  The mushrooms are done when sauce is reduced and thickened but not burned.

In the meantime, in a wok or frying pan heat up 2 teaspoons oil on medium high and sauté the remaining ginger until aromatic.  Add snap peas and red pepper and stir for about 1 1/2 minutes.  Pour shiitake mushroom sauce and 1/3 cup of scallion in the pan and stir for 1/2 minutes. 

Mix in the cooked brown rice and turn off the stove.

Miso Tofu Ingredients:

12 oz. firm tofu, sliced

1 tablespoon miso paste

1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

2 tsp canola or peanut oil

Tofu Preparation:

Spread miso paste on the tofu using fingers.  Heat the oil in a nonstick pan and pan sear the tofu on medium high for about 3 minutes on either side or until tofu slices are slightly browned.

Serve tofu on a bed of rice medley.

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Here is Angela’s little adventure:

To celebrate the eve of the Lunar New Year, my friends and I went out for lunch. We normally spend our free time in the Marina. Some may complain about all the yuppies in the area but I see nothing wrong with their presence, especially since I love the restaurants and stores that are targeted toward yuppies. They may be strange and overpriced, but they’re fun for window shopping.

Today we decided to go to the Castro and the Mission, where I normally do not venture. We went to a restaurant called Starbelly and then spent a few hours at Dolores Park, where I witnessed several people ingesting illegal substances and one woman emptying her bladder at the top of a hill. I have lived a rather sheltered childhood, so I was mildly disturbed by what I saw. I suppose it’s always important to be exposed to a diverse range of experiences. I am a very rule-abiding person so it was difficult to watch people violate open container laws and vandalize public transport vehicles without reporting them. At least Starbelly was good. I had a dried pea and quinoa patty and a gingered butternut squash soup with pepitas.

After returning from my little adventure, I came home to find a nice Lunar New Year dinner and some shipments of clothes that I’ll be reviewing in the next few days. Gung hay fat choy!

我今天跟同学们庆祝春节,我们去了卡斯特罗区吃饭。食品很好吃,但是我看到很多人在触犯法律,不好!新年快乐,恭喜发财,年年有余。我朋友姓余。去年,我得考中文AP考试,所以我得背春节传统,比方说喝腊八粥和吃橘子。对不起,我的中文不好。如果你有孩子,你应该让他考中文AP因为连我都考得好,而且AP很好玩儿,有写故事的部分,那是我最喜欢的部分。我为汤姆和玛丽亚写了很多悲惨的背景故事。

Like Lemonade and Tofu

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Audrey sipping lemonade from her favorite EcoJarz container

Anyone who knows both Angela and Audrey will say that they are very different. Audrey is like lemonade, sweet and universally liked. Angela is more like tofu. It’s a good sensible food, one that won’t raise your blood sugar or give you cavities. But let’s just say it’s more of an acquired taste… some people think it’s boring health food, some people think it’s hippie feed, and some people love it.

Gangnam Style dancing in public with a straight face

Gangnam Style dancing in public with a straight face. Like I said, an acquired taste.

Today, true to their natures, Audrey whipped up some lemonade and Angela made tofu. A lovely mix, really, with the perfect combination of sweet and savory.

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Just like my daughters.

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Angela chastised me for using white rice in this photo. Some childish prattle about high GI and causing diabetes or galactic implosion or something. It’s purely for the aesthetic, I told her after swallowing a large spoonful of the pure white pillowy starch.

Spiced Tofu with Spiralized Zucchini Ingredients:

15 oz. firm tofu (sliced)

2 small zucchinis

10 grape tomatoes

1 stalk green onion

2 cloves garlic

3 teaspoons sesame oil or any cooking oil

1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or “oyster-flavored” shiitake sauce)

1/4 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

1 dash red chili pepper flakes

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Spiced Tofu with Zoodles is a satisfying meal on its own.

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Preparation:

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick pan and sear the sliced tofu pieces on medium high until slightly golden, about 3 minutes on each side.  Sprinkle the chili pepper on the tofu while searing.  Set aside.

Spiralize your zucchini. If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer, you can use a vegetable peeler, mandoline, or knife to get your zucchini into noodle-like strips. Use the remaining oil to lightly sauté your garlic until aromatic. Add the zucchini and and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.  Mix in grape tomatoes and the seared tofu.  Give it a few good stir.  Turn off the stove and add the oyster sauce. Stir until well coated.  Top with chopped green onion and sesame seeds.  Serve immediately with rice.

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Lemonade, crunchy ice, sip it once, sip it twice…

Sugar-Free Lemonade Ingredients:

2 cups xylitol

1 cup hot water

2 cups fresh lemon juice (we juiced our Meyer lemons just this morning!)

1 gallon cold water

1 sliced lemon

Preparation:

Dissolve xylitol in hot water. Add lemon juice and water, stirring well until thoroughly mixed. Garnish with slices of lemon.

Three 10-minute Dishes!

The teaser for Marco Polo came out on YouTube today!  This was the first time that I saw many of the footages from the show.  I worked on the series for many months in Pinewood Studio Malaysia this year.  And I can’t wait to see the finished product in Dec. 

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I play Empress Chabi in the show

Johor, where the studio is, doesn’t really have much historical or cultural points of interest, but I discovered so many wonderful eateries when I was there.  During the months of filming, I found the best Malaysian Chinese food I’ve ever had, always redolent of intricate and complex spices or sauces.  I was dreadfully homesick when I was there, but now I often miss the pungent, fragrant and flavorful tropical dishes of Malaysia.

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I wish I had time to cook something Southeastern Asian today to celebrate the exciting looking teaser of Marco Polo, but alas, I had to whip the dinner out in half an hour.

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Tofu Skin with Shirataki

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Grilled Tofu with Greens

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So here are three dishes that take 10 minutes or less each to make!

Tofu Shirataki noodles with Hodo tofu skin:

1 pouch of spicy Hodo Yuba Tofu Skin (Costco)

2 pouches Tofu Shiratki noodle (Safeway)

1/2 organic red pepper (or any other crispy veggie you have in the fridge)

1 stock green onion (or celery)

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. fish sauce (or rice vinegar if you desire a more acidic flavor)

Wash Shirataki well, put aside.  break up tofu skin, mix in with Shirataki.  Add veggies and sauces.  Viola!

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Heirloom tomato salad:

Wash and slice and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Viola!

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Grilled tofu with greens:

1 box firm tofu

some greens either raw or cooked

1 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. toasted sesame (optional)

chopped green onion for garnish (optional)

Cooking spray

Slice tofu into desired shape. Spray hot grill with cooking spray, grill each side for 4 minutes on high.  Prepare the greens when the tofu is grilling.  Put grilled tofu in container and add oyster sauce.  Serve with the greens.  Viola!

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Piggy Sunday

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Sunday morning.  Glorious blue sky.  Everyone in the family still slumbered while I drank my tea and looked out the window at the humming birds flitting about my little lemon tree.  I must have been a peasant in my last life.  I always wake at the first light of dawn, which is something I quite enjoy.

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These muffins are low sugar and low calorie but you will absolutely love them

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Breakfast muffins inspired by the recipe from minimalistbaker.com

2 eggs

2 medium ripe bananas

3 Tbsp maple syrup

3 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup almond meal (ground from raw almonds)

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp oat flour (ground from GF oats)

I added 1 cup blueberries

Having put the muffins in the oven and the oatmeal on the stove I flipped the page of New York Diaries to Oct. 11th.  “At home all day — writing private letters.” —President George Washington was having another relaxing day 215 years ago today.  It amazes me that our founding father, who arguably has achieved more for America than any other presidents in history seemed to have a life.  Yesterday 215 years ago he was strolling in a Mr. Prince’s fruit garden in Flushing, which he described “The shrubs were trifling, and the flowers not numerous. “ Later on that day he had dinner with Mrs Washington, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Smith at a tavern.

The world was smaller then, I suppose.  Unlike today’s presidents, he had no global wars to launch, no international media damage to control.  The word China connoted mostly dinnerware and the term Middle East wasn’t invented yet.     

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This is absolutely the most delicious bread I have ever had

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Almond flour zucchini bread recipe at the end of blog

As I was reading Washington’s diary, a whimsical idea came to me: why not try something the early settlers of America ate? I couldn’t find much that sound healthy or palatable, but there was an original recipe for Pumpkin from plimoth.org I found quite entertaining.  It was written by John Josselyn,  the author of Two Voyages to New England. 

John Josselyn called this recipe a “standing dish” suggesting that this sort of pumpkin dish was eaten everyday or even at every meal.

“The Ancient New England standing dish.

But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urine extremely and is very windy.”

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Just for fun, I decided to give it a try, regardless of the warning that “It provokes Urine extremely and is very windy”.  Pumpkins are in season and they make everything golden.  So why not?

Modern version of it, of course, doesn’t take all day:

Trader Joe’s washed, peeled, cut sweet pumpkin, microwave on high with two tablespoon of water for 10 minutes.

Mash with coconut oil, a pinch of salt, 2 1/2 tablespoon xylitol, a little ground ginger and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

The result was interesting, and quite pleasant — tangy, sweet.  Almost a dessert.

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For the meat eaters in the family, I made carnitas with the recipe below.  Thank God for slow-cooker.  We were so stuck in the Blue Angel traffic that we didn’t get home until dinner time.  And the carnitas was just cooking itself for me.  The aroma of the pork was so enticing that Audrey, who had been vegetarian for over a month, decided that she would allow herself to eat meat on Sundays.

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http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-carnitas/

Angela baked miso tofu for herself.  It’s a simple dish that she has made many times. 

Spread the miso paste on the tofu and baked it at 375 F. 

Sprinkle green onion, sesame seeds and crushed chili on top.

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Isn’t she cute?

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Hydration makes you cuter, I think

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Thank you EcoJarz for sending us your jar lids! Audrey loves ’em 🙂

Almond Flour Zucchini Bread Ingredients:

2 zucchini (grated and drained)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup oat bran

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

3 large eggs

1 purple shallot

1sprig rosemary

2 sprigs thyme – fresh stems removed and leaves minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven at 350

Grate the zucchinis and leave in a bowl.  Mix in 1/8 teaspoon of salt and let sit for 10 minutes.  Squeeze the water out of the shredded zucchini.

Saute sliced shallot, chopped rosemary and thyme with olive oil 

Mix dry ingredients, and then in a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients before mixing the dry and wet ingredients.  If the dough feels too dry, add a tablespoon of milk.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes.