Hodge Podge Kitchen

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Ingredient: Garlic Chives

Garlic chives is one of those herb that we cook as vegetable as well. If you haven't had it before, be sure to take a snift of it before and see if you like the smell. I remember one time an older Chinese man had it with him on a bus, A LOT pf people had to stay away until he got off. A common use for the garlic chives is in dumplings. The other dish I'm used to is a stir-fry of garlic chives and pig's blood. Now, even through I do still eats it occasionally, the thought of actually buying a tub of blood and figuring out what to do with it is a little too much for me to tackle. Therefore, I used chicken and oyster mushrooms instead and simply flavored it with oyster sauce. It was quite good. The garlic chives became quite mild. I think I do need to trim off more of the chives, it could be quite tough and stringy. And just in case, I did make sure to have something else to bring for lunch at work the next day.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Food Blogger Global Map

This is just too cute...map

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dried Roses

When we were in Hong Kong earlier this year, my Mom and I were planning on getting a big bag of dried roses we've seen in the store everywhere. Alas, we never had time to actually get it. So when my Mom went up to Vancover last month, she brought back a big bag for me. I've been enjoying them in tea with black tea leaves. Although I have to say that I used more dried roses than tea leaves.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Sometimes your taste change gradually. And other times, it seems to just change overnight. Yogurt is in the latter group for me. For the longest time, I've been eating the same mass produced stuff in your local supermarket. Then suddenly, almost overnight, they all taste very fake and overly sweet to me. It's not until then that I started to explore other options out there. I tried the French yogurt Spega and found the flavor to be much more natural. It is a bit pricey for everyday though. I love the Total Greek yogurt with the honey on the side, but the fat content on those are a bit too high for everyday as well. The Mamie Nova French yogurt (in Lychee flavor!) is really, really good. Also very expensive and I could only find them at the Made in French/Village Import warehouse that's open once a month. My final solution ended up to be a mixture of all the components that I like about all the yogurts I tried. I get the Trader Joe's Organic Fat-Free Plain yogurt and topping it with different stuff. My favorite topping is honey and roasted almonds, inspired by the Greek yogurt. Second is mixing in chopped up canned lychees for a fruity flavor. I think I managed to get the flavors and texture I like without spending too much. Did I mention it's also very healthy?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Ingredient: Water Spinach

I believe it is also called Morning Glory in Thai cuisine. That taste is quite mild and does resemble spinach. I've been in a little cooking ruts lately and haven't really been inspired. Instead of going out and try some new ingredients, I decided to go back and visit some things that I grew up with but somehow never made a regular appearance in my own kitchen. Water spinach is one of those. I still have them when I visit my parents, so it's not like I haven't had it in years or anything. It is, however, the first time I cooked it. I even went the traditional way my Dad cooks it, with Chinese fermented bean curd. That's another thing I don't keep in my pantry. For those who haven't had fermented bean curd before, it's a pretty strong ingredient by itself. When cook with other things, it mellows out, similar to how fish sauce works in a dish.
Water Spinach in Bean Curd Sauce
2 lb water spinach, trim off the tough ends and cut into about 3" length
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
3 tbs fermented bean curd, mashed
2 tbs rice wine
sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
Wash the water spinach really well, at least in 2 changes of water. Drain in colander. Mix the mashed bean curd and wine together. Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium-high, add the oil and garlic (also the red pepper flakes if using); heat until the garlic start to get light brown. Add the water spinach, be careful, it will splatter. Finally, add the bean curd mixture and cover to cook over medium heat until the water spinach is tender.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Rustic Green Tea Macaroon

I'm calling these 'rustic' because I didn't use almond paste or fine almond powder. But now I'm thinking about it, I think I have something else in my pantry that might work. (I'll post on that when I get around to trying this again.)

1/4 lb almond meal
1/4 lb sugar
2 extra-large egg whites
2 tsp green tea powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the dry ingredients together. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the dry mixture a little at time. The mixture will yield about 10 cookies. Bake for about 20 minutes. Eat right after it cools or it turn soft. (Not that it's unpleasant though.)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Protein Boost

Protein power dinner! Just came back from the gym and craving a hearty meal! I got this meal idea from L&L's Hawaiian drive thru. Just Kal Bi with a fried egg (+ 1 boiled egg because I'm a big eater). There were veggies in this picture but it was cropped out... HONESTLY. I fried up the short ribs on the cast iron pan and the whole apt smelled of yummy ribs all week. Anyway if anyone is interested... the ribs were derived from a basic recipe I found online.
beef short ribs
1 1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbl honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbl rice wine vinegar
3/4 can of asian pears (food processed) plus syrup from can
1 tbl minced garlic and ginger
1/2 chopped scallion
1 pinch white pepper
1 tbl garlic chili sauce

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The Lovely Trio

Clockwise from top right:

Taiwan Beer- marinated chicken
1 can Taiwan beer
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbl brown sugar
1 tbl minced ginger and garlic
salt & pepper before baking

Sweet Chili Chicken
1 splash rice wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbl honey
1 tbl minced ginger and garlic
-Bake and brush with sweet chili sauce even 5 mins after first 20 mins

Red Wine Chicken
1 1/2 cup "2 buck chuck"
1 tbl honey
1 tbl italian seasoning
1 tbl mince garlic
2 tbl salt
- Before baking add 2 tablespoon butter, 1 tsp italian seasoning, and 1 splash lime juice in pocket under skin of skin. Season with salt, pepper, then honey in last 15 mins.

All a random mix of flavors I know. I was just experimenting with different combinations and marinades. I'm starting to really appreciate red wine and chicken, and I find I do not like beer much for anything. Not very surprising but good to know. Chicken can be so much fun!
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Good Eats!

Ok this isn't really about a dish or even something I made, but LOOK it's Alton Brown! Marvel at his genius! He was recently down at San Diego's Fashion Valley mall for a demo. Contrary to popular belief, he is NOT holding what he would call "Good Eat". The evil mess in the tin on his left hand would be what he might consider the perverted treat one would call an Apple Pie. He, of course, had another vision also known as an apple pie. Alton Brown's lighty fried, hand-sized, and sturdy version of an apple pie left the audience in awe. Now thats "Good Eats!" Posted by Picasa

Salmon burgers!

Ummmm burgers. Yuck! salmon burgers? Well they can be pretty good eats too you kno. I'm all about big, juicy beef patties anyday, but this time I mixed my seafood craving with the burger craving and Tada! Patties were just:
blended salmon filets
a beaten egg
half a chopped red onion
one chopped green onion
almost two table spoons of mince ginger and garlic
one tbl Worcetershire sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
tsp paprika
tsp chili powder
half cup italian bread crumbs
pinch pepper
salt to taste

Topping: Cuccumber mayo
1 peeled, seeded, food-processed cucumber
pinch salt
pinch pepper
splash lime juice (probably not necessary)
pinch sugar
1 cup mayo
3 tbl horseradish sauce
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Messy mix

Ok honestly I'm not much for presentation, but come on... this dish speaks for itself. The sweetness of the green beans blends with the fermented bean curd and the black bean marinated ground pork in perfect harmony (Yes I've been watching Iron Chef again). Just for fun, I kicked it up a notch with a small helping of garlic chili sauce, pinch salt, splash of chicken broth, and a bit of honey while stir-frying this modest piece. I'm a big meat-eater so this dish seemed healthy to me. =-) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Rice Porridge

This is what Cantonese comfort food is all about. It's one of the first food we're introduced to when we were babies. It's what our mother cooks when we're not feeling well. There is a big difference between the home cooked version and the ones you usually get in restaurants. Generally, the ones made at home are thicker, like a 1:6 rice to water ratio. This is especially true if you use a rice cooker that have a 'porridge' setting. The ones you get in the restaurants are made with a 1:12 ratio. And the big surprise you might not know about the resturant version? They soak the rice in oil overnight to enhance the flavor and also helps the rice to break apart easier. So while it may not look oily, it is. As much as I like the resturant versio, when I'm sick, I prefer something a little lighter. I keep containers of chicken broth in my freezer, so I could make rice porridge with very little efforts when I need to. (Of course, water could also be used in place of broth.) I uses my rice cooker, adding a little more water than recommended. You could pretty much put anything you want in there to make it more of a meal. Previously frozen, grilled eel is shown here with a saute of bok choy and a sprinkle of dried bonito flakes, seaweed, and sesame.