I recently read over some of my lasts posts and noticed a theme. The template seems to go like this: I lament over the fact that it’s been so long since I last posted and entry, I spew a few excuses and promise to be more diligent and write more regularly. I admit it, I am horrible at finishing things (except a plate of good food). I have actually been taking photos here and there of things that I’m cooking but that’s where the process ends. It seems it’s time to have a discussion with myself. I’ve seen this same theme reoccurring  in other parts of my life as well and frankly, I’m getting tired of it. You’ve probably heard of the disorder I speak of. It’s one of those strange subconscious behaviors that PhD s write theses about. Eventually it gets turned into a self-help book endorsed by the Oprah book club and everyone can now use it as an excuse for why they are horrible at finishing things.

Last week I got sick with a demon of a virus and was coughing is uncontrollable fits for days. I was not soothed when I went to a doctor and she immediately ordered chest x-rays to check for pneumonia. I am feeling better now but, while I was sick and unable to do much, I missed being able to do more. Rather ironic that I do so little when I am healthy only to long to do more when I an unable.

I suppose this is another one of my template posts but here is the difference, I will make no promise to do more. I am not going to satisfy that part of the template only to break my promise later. This will be an opportunity to create a regiment rather than a broken record.

I am feeling better everyday, although my doctor and friends tell me I may have this cough for several more weeks. I have amazing new cooking tools and toys that have been given to me over Christmas and I acquired at amazing bargains. I have new cookbooks and recipes along with increasing daylight with which to take more photos. But here’s the thing, I also have a job, I am studying for the GRE, I have volunteer opportunities and friends that I’ve missed. So with all of this, I will make no promises. I will make a plan, a goal and try for a consistent behaviors and create a more productive template. Here’s to the plan.


I have got to get a rope on this blogging thing. I wanted to turn over a new leaf and post regularly but alas, I’ve fallen into very familiar habits. I’ve definitely been cooking (girls gotta eat) but its the taking photos and getting to the keyboard that I regularly forget about. Well, let’s try to kick this together shall we? I cook, photograph, write, post and you read. How ’bout that? Here we go!

winter at 920

This actually happened a few months ago but the memory lingers and I want to apply the final step of the shampoo mantra – Repeat! We gathered at the home of some beautiful friends at their house high on a hill – literally. There is always a faint smell of burning rubber after we’ve scaled the incline at the bottom of their street. They have an amazing view of the Salt Lake valley from their front door and they have turned this out-dated, wood-paneled, disco era house into a sophisticated, modern marvel. One of the crown jewels of their efforts is the kitchen….sigh. I heart their kitchen.

Our hosts, Marian and Justin, had concocted the idea of making our own pizzas. Making our own pizzas was quickly becoming one our favorite dinner plans. We had made pizzas while we were in Sweden as an alternative to the inflated expense of eating out in a western European country. And we discovered we were really good at making pizzas! We got together with friends after we got back and had another pizza making party. But this? This was intense.

Marian, displaying amazing powers of planning and execution had assembled an impressive list of ingredients for our pizza masterpieces. She bought 4 bags of raw pizza dough from the local Whole Foods and a smorgasbord of toppings. Italian sausage sautéed with bacon, fresh basil leaves, Boursin cheese, fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese, arugula, homemade tomato sauce, thinly sliced potatoes that were sautéed in truffle oil with fresh rosemary (my favorite), and many more things I just cannot remember. Another couple, Tom and Sofia, brought homemade sun-dried tomatoes, fresh from the garden. Their huge kitchen island was covered in containers full of amazing toppings, seasonings, sauces and veggies. As we prepared to assemble our pizzas we noshed on puff pastry pinwheels stuffed with caramelized onions, chicken and cheese, and little plates of Caprese salad. Yeah, that’s how this couple rolls.

rollin the dough

Each couple got to make their own pizza pie (with some gentle guidance from Marian). We rolled out dough, ladled sauce, sprinkled on cheese and arranged toppings. We ended up with 4 different, beautiful pizzas. Combinations ranged from a loose interpretation of a Margherita pizza to an ‘out-of-control’ sausage and potato pizza that was mind-blowing, verbage courtesy of our hostess. As we dug in,  it was very apparent that all of us had a gourmet pizza chef that was inside just waiting for the right opportunity and grocery list to emerge. Our pies were delicious and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with marveling at your handy work is soooo satisfying.

potato sausage pizza

veggie pizza

Bottom line: make your own pizzas! Get some friends together, buy some dough, and some toppings. Wait, let me correct that – buy a crap load of the craziest gourmet toppings you can think of and have your friends bring additions they love. You get to see your friends and let them tap into their creative side, you get to have really good pizza for dinner, your house will be warm from the oven and you get really good pizza – did you get that? Add a few bottles of wine and beer and you have more than just a dinner party – you have Pizza Magnifique.

There seems to be a lull going on right now. I can’t really put my finger on it. Things are calm right now, slow and mild but I can feel that it is temporary. Something is on the horizon, life just seems like its on the cusp of inaction and action. I wouldn’t say I feel anxious but there is this creeping sense of anticipation nagging at me. It may be the seasons changing, the anticipation of fall. We’re having some pretty warm weather for this time of year and I am ready for the cooler days and big bowl of soup weather to come.  Maybe that’s what’s nagging me. Hopefully I can exhale once the leaves turn. I’m not necessarily excited to see summer go, its just time for scarves, sweaters, boots and that crisp morning smell of autumn leaves, wet grass and dew. Okay, maybe I am a little excited.

One thing that was great about this summer was the massive garden project that developed in my boyfriend’s backyard and in his family’s backyard. The yards were a stones throw away from each other so you could say it was just one big garden compound. My boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law were the green thumb geniuses. They planted several tomato varieties, squash of all kinds, beans, herbs, gourds, greens – we pretty much had our own produce section this summer. I did a lot of cooking but didn’t take a lot of pictures. I’ve mentioned a certain distraction that I’ve had over the last few months, it applies here as well.

I’ve been meaning to post recipes for weeks now. I’ll cook something and midway through eating it, I remember the little red camera sitting unused on the desk in the office. I have resorted to leaving the camera in the kitchen to remind myself to take photos for recipe posts. I talked about restarting the engine and – by George, I am going to do it!

I found a recipe online for a roasted zucchini. I love roasting vegetables, it makes them so sweet, tender and delicious! I added squash to the recipe, made some modifications and used fresh herbs from the compound garden. You can use dried herbs as well but just remember that dried herbs are more concentrated so, use sparingly. There are still plenty of zucchini and squash in the garden still so, this may be a side for dinner again soon.

Roasted & Herbed Zucchini & Squash

2 medium zucchini

2 medium crookneck, summer or yellow squash

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 sprig fresh rosemay (1/8 tsp dried rosemary)

2 sprigs fresh thyme (1/4 tsp dried thyme)

2 sprigs fresh marjoram (1/8 tsp dried marjoram)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 F

Slice zucchinis and squash in half length wise, remove seeds. Cut up into 2 inch pieces. Strip herb leaves off stems and finely chop. In a large bowl toss zucchini, sqaush, herbs, garlic and olive oil together. Pour mixture on to a large baking sheet or baking pan. You don’t want to crowd the veggies or they will steam instead of roast. Place baking sheet on top rack of oven and let roast for 5 to 7 mins. Check to see if edges are browning. If they are not, add 2 or 3 mins. and check again. Remove once edges have browned and crisped and place in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

I had planned to post new entries with recipes on Thursday night but my stomach had other plans. On Wednesday night I had some of my favorite girls over for dinner and a movie. It had been such a long time since we had a girls night together and it was very much needed. I made a famous 3 ingredient tomato pasta sauce, we had ‘the best broccoli of your life’ (from the Amateur Gourmet), an amazing spinach and berry salad that my friend Jessica brought, baguette with olive oil and balsamic, crispy baked kale chips (from steamykitchen.com) and for dessert, a peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream (courtesy of Maureen). (I will be making the pasta sauce and posting the pictures and recipe later on, so watch out for that.) It was an awesome meal and it was so good to have them come over. We ate until we were near drowsy and then watched Sense and Sensibility. (‘Does she care for olives?’)

I wrapped up the night and still went to bed at a reasonable hour. I got up at 5:30 the next morning to get ready for work. I felt exhausted but just chalked that up to so much activity the night before and dismissed it. I got to work and 10 mins. into my second conference call it hit like wave crashing against me. I doubled over my keyboard and fought back the surge of saliva and bile that began to creep up my throat. I finished the call, acting my ass off to make sure that the other participants didn’t know I was ill. As soon as the receiver hit the cradle, I threw off my headset and lunged for my garbage can. I didn’t actually throw up but it was such a painful wave of nausea, I couldn’t sit straight up for fear of wretching all over my keyboard. And I had four more calls scheduled. Not good.

I fought my way through another call and went in to see a superior, maybe she had something for nausea. She took one look at me and told me to go home. I fought it for a bit but she finally convinced me to reschedule my calls and go home for the day. I packed up and as soon as I got down to my car, I called my girls. I thought, ‘dear god, I’ve doomed them to food poisoning.’ They both seemed fine and thus, I determined it wasn’t the dinner from the night before. My significant other seemed to be unaffected as well. So what the hell was going on? (And no, not preggers here!)

I went home and sat on the couch for a bit, dazed and weak. I finally got up and went to bed around 10 or 11 am. I woke up from a completely black sleep and looked at the clock. It was just after 4 in the afternoon.

I lay on the couch until Tennis Mike (roommate) came home and saw me, “Are you okay?” The sweetest look of concern on his face. I told him about my day and he was sympathetic. On his way out to play tennis (go figure), he offered to bring me food. I had eaten breakfast at 6 am and that was it. I really needed to eat something but there is only a short list of things that I want to eat when I feel this way. Most of those things are made by my mother, only 2 or 3 are not. Since my mother was nowhere nearby I had a smaller list to choose from. I squeaked out my request in a pitiful tone, “They have the most amazing, real Japanese ramen noodle soup at Koko Kitchen, would you get that for me?” Puppy dog eyes are inevitable in these situations. He went bounding down the stairs and said he would also bring me a 7-Up for my upset stomach.

Awesome roommate.

He came back a little while later with the steaming gingery, garlicy broth and springy egg noodles that was my ramen. He also had a bowl of curry udon noodle soup for himself. This ain’t your poor student version of ramen. Real Japanese ramen is an art and this was no exception. Their broth is a rich, velvety, savory, steaming bowl of comfort in it’s purest form. This is one of the few things that I will eat when I’m sick that isn’t made by mom. Moms generally have the market on feel good comfort food. I sat at the dinner table, wobbly and slightly sweaty from the nap earlier and slowly slurped my noodles. Yeah, I slurp my noodles when I’m sick. What of it? The soup and the Sprite (they didn’t have 7-Up) made me feel so much better. I snapped a few photos after I felt like myself again.

As the days get cooler, a huge bowl of steaming noodle soup is the perfect food for the season. If you have the opportunity I would definitely head over to Koko Kitchen and order a bowl of their ramen. Unless you have a Japanese mother that has her own amazing recipe for ramen, your eyes will be opened.

If you’re adventurous enough to make your own steaming bowl of noodle soup, check out these recipes on steamykitchen and momofukufor2.

Mmmmm…. a big bowl of happy.

I just had to post this article about Thomas Keller’s restaurant, French Laundry. I have mentioned before my admiration for Thomas Keller and his amazing work. You’ve probably observed his work if you’ve seen the Disney animated movie Ratatouille. You know the ratatouille that was served to the food critic at the end of the film? The little bundle of food heaven that transported the food critic back to his mother’s kitchen and left him reveling in flavor? Yeah, that was Keller’s work. He advised on the movie and helped them get a real feel for how a kitchen works and provided the visual example for the headlining dish.

His food looks and sounds amazing and he is an advocate of sustainable, local and organic food. His recipes can range from simple and delicious to complex, deconstructed and delicious. What’s great about this article is that it takes you inside the workings of his tightly run kitchen. The standards at this establishment is a commentary on the level that his food is on. We’re talking stratosphere here.

Definitely take a look, it’s impressive to say the least. Here is that article again: Inside French Laundry

Disappointment is never a fun feeling to talk about. Because it is actually a multi-step process to get to a feeling of disappointment. There is anticipation, excitement, analysis and finally, whether you like it or not, the disappointment creeps in. The shadow of it starts at you brow and works it’s way down your face where a grimace at the mouth is the end result. This was my first experience with dragonfruit. Now granted, I may have had a hand in my own disappointment and because of this I am not of dragonfruit for good, but this is not the way to start a relationship with a new food.

What is dragonfruit you ask? It is a rather alien looking pod-like food that grows in warmer, temperate climates like Mexico, South East Asian and even San Diego. It is a bright magenta fruit that grows at the end of a cactus plant. It is popular in Asia and has worked its way in to specialty food shops and Asian markets in more urban areas. When you slice it open, it takes on an even more peculiar appearance. The edible part of the fruit is white, with a grainy feel to it. It feels like when you bite into a pear or a pithy apple. It is also dotted with little black seeds. The first time I saw a dragonfruit cut open, it looked like it was animated or something that was fictional, like what unicorns would eat. It has a very slight, sweet scent and it’s not very juicy.

Isn’t this thing crazy looking?! I had read about dragonfruit on another food blog called whiteonricecouple, they grew them in their backyard and even provided a recipe for the fruit.  After that I began noticing more and more articles and pictures of this freakish looking fruit. It is touted as a superfood, dense with antioxidants, vitamin C and such. A new exotic miracle food like Acai or Gogi berries. I happened to see them for sale at my local Asian market shortly after reading about them. After turning it over in my hands several times and marveling at the site of the thing, I decided it was worth a try. Since I live in an area where it’s not ideal to grow dragonfruit, the cost of the thing was a little steep. I figured it was a rare experience and my curiosity won over my pocketbook.

I brought the thing home and immediately showed it to my boyfriend. He was just as surprised and slightly horrified by its appearance as I was. We had plans for that evening so we had to forgo exploring it until later. This may be where I foiled my experience with dragonfruit. The days got away from me, work and study soon took over my thoughts and I forgot about the alien fruit in the fridge. I forgot! How horrible for me to admit! Such excitement and fascination put on hold for mundane life. Such a waste.

I found it in the fridge a few days later and although it had aged a bit, it seemed like it was still edible. I took it out, set it on the counter, marveled a bit more at it and reach for the knife.

Even though I had seen pictures of the fruit, it was still a shocking sight. I cut it into wedges, sniffed a piece for a bit and took a bite. This is where the disappointment began to creep up into my brow. It was grainy, and wet but overall, it was pretty flavorless. There was a slight citrus, melon-like taste to it but it was very faint. I put down the piece and reached for another, thinking ‘maybe I just got a bad piece’. Nope. The next wedge had the same wet, indistinctly sweet hint of flavor. The websites had suggested that they were ‘mild’ in flavor but this was near blankness. Did I leave it for too long before I chose to eat it? Did I not pick a good one? Was it still not ripe? I felt like I had been slighted. The look of the fruit was far too flamboyant and exciting for such an absence of flavor and the cost of the fruit made it even worse.

I cubed up the remaining fruit and stored it in the fridge. I shared it with my boyfriend and his roommate and they shared my reaction. How could such a crazy, colorful exotic fruit be such a tease?

I nibbled on the remaining fruit for the next few days but ended up throwing away about a 1/3 of it. I guess I now have the distinction of saying I’ve tried dragonfruit, but I can’t say it without a pang of disappointment. Perhaps I will try it again later and love it. Perhaps I did do something wrong with this one. Either way this is just another example of an important life lesson: Don’t judge a book by it cover. Or, in this case: Don’t be a sucker for packaging.

I have so much to write about, but this is the 4th attempt to form an update on the last 9 months and I still can’t get it right. A lot of things have changed, but most importantly, my perspective on food and cooking have changed. Hopefully, they have evolved. Food has become more than just something to consume and create with. It is a political topic, an issue of public safety and a path to health or health problems.

It all started with a doctor’s visit back in January. It had been a while since I had been to the doctor, and it was time to have blood drawn and tests taken to evaluate my overall health. I wasn’t in the worst health but I could definitely stand an improvement. The next day I opened an email from my doctor with my blood test results. It was a fair shock to my system. My cholesterol levels were pretty high and were a concern to my doctor. I thought I was too young to have to be concerned about something as out of sight as high cholesterol, but I knew I had it coming. My tiny mother, who ate mostly rice and vegetables everyday, had always struggled with her cholesterol. She made changes to her diet, took vitamins and supplements and then was later put on a medication. The feeling of panic began to creep up on me. Was that to be my fate as well, a pill everyday to keep everything in check? I made a decision that week. Things had to change.

I began to study about food, not just drool and fantasize about it but really study it. My years as a student and all around poorer individual have helped me to become frugal with food. I’ve learned how to seek out bargains, cook with whatever scraps I had in the fridge and the pantry and shop economically but frugality can sometimes be more about gain and less about benefit. Food was meant to nourish and if I really understood and researched food, it might be able to help me avoid the health issue that was beginning to plague me. Don’t get me wrong – I still drool and fantasize about plenty of food creations and anything delicious, but now it was getting personal.

As I began to study about food, I began to learn more about how food had a darker, dirtier and scarier side to it. Sure, I had heard of Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock’s documentary on America’s addiction to low-quality fast food and how it was slowly killing us. Yes, I had seen video clips of Jamie Oliver’s crusade to improve school lunches for children in England and how his campaign was becoming international. But with food recalls of everything from eggs to spinach and ground beef to jalapeno peppers, is was becoming apparent that food was now a political issue. Government had always had a role in making food safe for people and establishing dietary guidelines but now it there was so much more to regulate, monitor and enforce. Despite many political issues, food was something that effected everyone, worldwide, despite any other external factors. If you are human, you eat. A new kind of hero was added to my list of admired chefs, food bloggers and foodie celebrities: Food activist.

As I attempt to continue this journey with my foodblog, there will be a few more things added to the mix. I’ll still be frugal as hell, that has been ingrained in me since childhood. Good, healthy food can be made on a meager budget but no amount of monetary savings will ever shield you from poor health and the damage that can come from misinformation or absence of information. Thus, in addition to keeping with the original theme of this food blog: healthy food on a budget, I want to add more nutrient-rich recipes and pass along food news that will effect your pantry as well as your well-being.

Here’s to your health, may you never have to take a pill to keep things in check.

Origin date: January 16, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from my sister (of Chinese Bear fame) and after a few moments the underlying motivation for the call was revealed, “I really want cookies.” She wanted to bake a fresh batch of cookies from scratch and was looking for a recipe. I could totally sympathize with this notion. With all of the scariness of trans fats and the strange, un-pronounceable additions to the baked goods found in stores these days, the only way to go is to make the delectable treats yourself. But what recipe to use?

As a regular peruser of many different food blogs and admirer of many much more talented foodies, I knew just where to look for a reliable, fool-proof recipe. SmittenKitchen has been an early favorite food blog for me. When I was completely new to the whole concept of food blogging, I found this little gem almost by accident. I was looking for a recipe for ratatouille that looked like the dish in the movie ‘Ratatouille‘. The animated film had advisement from one of my favorite chefs, Thomas Keller. He actually just whipped up a ratatouille recipe for the producers in his restaurant kitchen and then they used the finished product as a model for the dish in the film. SmittenKitchen had a great adaptation of the ratatouille recipe. Anyway, I’m getting way off topic…

I searched SmittenKitchen and sure enough, I found this great Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

My sister brought over these delicious, milk chocolate chips that were gigantic! They were almost too sweet for this recipe but ‘too sweet’ is easily over-looked for such an occasion. We began our toiling in the kitchen as my roommate looked on in anticipation.

My sister always has a knack for suggesting activities that sound like a hassle at first but she is the model of persistence, or obnoxious depending on the tone. At first, I had a knee-jerk reaction: “You want to make cookies now? But its getting late.” Her response: “Getting late? What are you a senior citizen?” How do you argue with such a challenge? She pushes, none too gently, for these activities and it always seems to work out for the better in the end. This instance was no exception to her, somewhat pushy, talents of persuasion.

After all our hard work, which was REALLY not that hard, we had these amazing cookies that we ate warm out of the oven and that filled my little apartment with the most heavenly aroma of vanilla, chocolate and brown sugar. We curled up on my couch and watched Gene Kelly strut his stuff in ‘
Singing in the Rain‘, with a cookie in each hand and blanket wrapped around us.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, my sister is BRILLIANT! I definitely suggest you spring an Impromptu cookie night on your sibling/ loved one/ friend/ roommate. And DON’T TAKE ‘NO’ FOR AN ANSWER! It was the perfect end to a hectic Wednesday night. I’ve already got plans for another Impromptu cookie night that involves Vanilla Almond cookies and maybe It Happened One Night. You in?

Here is that Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe one more time, courtesy of SmittenKitchen.com.

Origin date: January 5, 2010

I have been psyching myself out for this entry. I have been trying to prepare myself for all of the stuff I want to include on this entry. It’s going to be recipe heavy and light on the photos. Fewer photos because I am such a bad photographer and heavy on the recipes because this is a whole MEAL we are talking about folks!

I’ve been entertaining a new companion currently and as a special event, such as New Years was quickly approaching, I felt that some meager flexing of my cooking skills was in order. Okay, so I am making this a bigger deal than it was. The meal is not even close to the most complicated stuff that I’ve made but the feature is one of my most favorite comfort food dishes. Roasted eggplant tossed with pasta, tomato sauce and fresh basil. *sigh*. And for the protein freak in me, I cooked up some spicy Italian chicken sausage to serve over the top.

I made this dish all summer long thanks to a scrappy little eggplant plant that flourished in my humble little garden. It was small, but boy did it sprout an amazing amount of vegetables! I also had a basil plant that, surprisingly, has survived in my cave of an apartment and was a welcome addition to the meal. So, without further delay, the final meal of 2009.

We also had a whole bulb of roasted garlic that served as butter for our tuscan bread. A really great salad with baby greens, spinach, dried cranberries, bell peppers, sunflower kernels and some homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The Best Broccoli of your life, and one of my favorite Italian red wines.

It was a really great meal and the company wasn’t that bad either….

So, I want to share the recipes of the evening and I hope they are as delicious, satisfying and comforting for you as they are to me. Definitely share this meal with others, as it will win you praise, garner you new friendships and secure connections. Well, it should at least get you a hug or two!

Roasted Eggplant Pasta

I used my favorite jarred pasta sauce because the sauce that I had made with my own tomatoes over the summer ended up with freezer burn. 😦

1 large eggplant, cut into large cubes

3 Tbsp good olive oil

1/2 lb. fettuccine or linguine pasta

Salt and Pepper

Your favorite jarred pasta sauce

1-2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn

Olive oil for tossing pasta in

Preheat oven to 375 F

Toss eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast in oven until edges begin to crisp. About 30 mins.

10 minutes before eggplant is done, toss pasta into well-salted, boiling water to cook. Heat your pasta sauce in a saucepan just before serving.

Drain pasta, toss pasta with a little good olive oil. Add roasted eggplant, pasta sauce, toss and serve with freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

Just too easy and way too good!

Roasted Garlic Bulb

1 to 3 whole bulbs of garlic

Good Olive oil

Aluminum Foil

Preheat oven to 375 F

Cut off the top , maybe, 1/3 or 1/4 of the bulb so that you can see the individual cloves. Place bulb on a square of foil, cut side up. Drizzle with good olive oil. Wrap up bulb securely. Repeat with additional bulbs. Place on a cookie sheet or in an oven proof dish. Roast in oven for 45 mins. to an hour.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Carefully unwrap each bulb. Be careful because these little bundles are angry pockets of steam on the inside!

The garlic cloves will be soft and fragrant. You can just pop out a few cloves and toss them with your pasta or spread it over bread like butter.

It’s betta than butta, baby!

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1/2 cup good olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Put all ingredients into a tightly seal-able container, shake, shake, shake. Taste and adjust flavor as desired. Store in refrigerator for up to a month.

The recipe for “The Best Broccoli of your Life” can be found here.

Hopefully this dinner will do all the things that I promised and more! Happy New Year!

Origin date: December 30, 2009

I figured that I should post something about the past holiday before another holiday presents itself.

Earlier on Christmas day, my dad gave my sister and I little figurines of teddy bears dressed in Chinese garb. He said ” So that you don’t forget where you come from.” My sister (who is actually pretty brilliant) stared down at the little bear with a puzzled look on her face. After a few seconds she said “OH! It’s wearing Chinese clothes!” To which I responded ” Well, we didn’t come from bears…” Had to share that, I’m sure I’m going to catch shit for this later…. Love ya sis!

Well, we didn't come from bears...

For Christmas dinner, we all gathered at my mother’s house for a feast that only my mother has the vision for. If you’ve read the previous post about my mother and Thanksgiving you’ll understand that my mother re-fashions holidays and holiday meals into exotic culinary creations that top the old stand-bys. This Christmas dinner was pretty much on par with previous holiday feasts, it was phenomenally delicious.

So, here are a few more details about my mom: she laughs heartily at her own jokes, she loves hideous plastic table clothes with busy floral patters and she can cook you under the table…


She made her famous Asian style turkey that is cooked with asian vegetables such as bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, and lotus roots, dates, asian spices and potatoes. We also had a huge platter of noodles stir fried with bok choy, red and green bell peppers. She also made a salad with wheat meat, and a soy ginger vinaigrette.

the spread
We all dug in and ate like fiends. My mother also served mung bean stuffed lotus roots and for dessert she served a sweet soup of coconut milk and sweet potatoes. It was decadent.

Here is my plate before…

And my plate after….

This may be a little belated but I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and a very Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas dinner was as good as mine, if not, next year just come over to my mom’s house. She’d love to gloat about her amazing food and share an a story or two with you (which she would laugh at and you’d laugh too but for different reasons).

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