Nov 27, 2010

Cheesy Couscous

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Couscous with corn, green onion and pecorino romano. This is the last dinner I made before leaving. Couscous really comes to handy when there is nothing to cook. And it tastes good with the salty cheese. The pan I cooked with is the new cast iron pan I got the same night. It becomes my new favorite.

Nov 15, 2010


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Last bit of food in the fridge before I leave. In the bento: soba with stir-fried cabbage, egg with corns, pan fried salmon, tofu, cauliflower.

Nov 11, 2010


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soba with cabbage, butternut squash with soybean salad, meatballs, boiled egg, cauliflower, pan-fried tofu.

Nov 10, 2010


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Tier on the left, leftover carbonara with peas from Cheesecake Factory. Tier on the right, meatballs, cauliflower, butternut squash and soybean salad, stir-fried cabbage.

Nov 9, 2010

Apple Maple Upside-down Yogurt Cake

When I was baking this cake, the house smells like heaven. In a crispy cold autumn day, the warm sweet smell of maple and apple is simply comforting. Did I tell you I LOVE maple syrup? I didn't grow up in a country where it is popular, but after the first time I tasted it, nothing can pull me away from it. It is beyond amazing!
The cake is the combination of two recipes. One for the cake part I already used days ago to bake the cranberry yogurt cake. The other part is for the maple syrup apple on the top. This time I cut the cake measurement into half and didn't over bake it. It came out moisture and tender, perfectly match the apple slices soaked in maple syrup on the top. Although I don't care dessert with cooked apple, this is a winner. I will definitely make it again.


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Soba noodle, teriyaki meatballs, pan-fried tofu with tomato sauce cauliflower, stir fried cabbage, butternut squash, sliced egg.

Nov 8, 2010

Millet Porridge with Squash

My stomach feels sick again today. It is a genetic issue from my mom's side that most of her brothers have weak stomachs, and I seems to get it too. Although not that bad like others, it tortures me from time to time. The annoying thing is that it never gives me a sign when it is not happy, when it comes, it comes.
One day I learned that winter squash seems to be very good for stomach. The pectin it contains will form a nature protection for the stomach wall. And the millet is mild enough to eat together. Now this porridge becomes a good friend of mine. Especially now is the season for those beautiful squashes.
- 1/2 cup of millet
- 4 cups of water
- pinch of salt
- pureed squash (butternut of other kinds you like)
I am not very strict when comes to cooking. Most time I cook from scratch. This one is the same. The amount of squash added depends on personal taste. Boil water together with millet, lower the heat and simmer until the water reduced to half. Stir in squash puree and cook for another 15 minutes. Season with salt.


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The same content as yesterday's lunch. Only substitute quinoa for the rice.

Nov 7, 2010


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In this bento: meatballs, cauliflower, corn pudding, cabbage, butternut squash, black bean brown rice, and pumpkin pie.
Yes, there is a small piece of pumpkin pie here. It's not rare to have dessert in bento boxes, but I hardly do this. Because this week I didn't prepare the rice, the leftover is not enough to fulfill the tier either. So slipped in a piece of pie into my lunch ^,^

Japanese Style Scotch Egg

For the group meeting tonight, I made scotch eggs. The first time when I made those, I forgot to take pictures. So the top one the the left was those eggs before going into the oven. The bottom one is how they look like when cooked. The Scotch egg is very bento friendly. I can make bunch of them and freeze for later use.

- ground pork
- hard boiled eggs
- Rosemary, green onion (or any herbs you like)
- garlic
- ginger
- salt & pepper
- BBQ sauce (depends on your taste)

Basically, there is no set ingredient to flavor the ground pork, really. Depends on what I have at the moment, I would add pureed squash, or egg, or mushroom or etc to the meat part. Once the meat is seasoned and the eggs are boiled, take the egg shell off and wrap the meat evenly around it. Bake the wrapped egg in the 375 F oven for about 20 minutes.

Nov 4, 2010


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Nori tamagoyaki, meatballs, cauliflower, tomatoes, butternut squash, brown rice with black bean.

Nov 3, 2010

Cranberry and Pineapple Yogurt Cake

This was supposed to be a Pear Yogurt Cake based on the recipe. But I like to make changes depends on what ingredients I have. So my version became  Cranberry and Pineapple Yogurt Cake, since I still have some cranberry and pineapple left from baking other stuff. I have never baked any cake using just yogurt in my life, so I was a bit surprised to see that only yogurt was used here. I have some "year-long" yogurt in the fridge (it's sitting there and I completely forgot it) so it's a perfect recipe to use it up. The cake rose up surprisingly high, almost flow out the pan. The result was that the center of the cake was completely raw after 30 minutes baking. I extended 10 more minutes to let the cake set in the oven. the top was brown though it still came out a bit runny in the middle. The texture was spongy like but slightly dry, guess I let it sit in the oven too long. However, the taste was pretty good. I love the tart and sweet combination from the fruit topping.


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This is almost an identical bento to today's lunch. The only difference is that I added tamagoyaki into this one. For the same bento box, I got hungy not long after lunch today, very hungry. Soon it started to distract me from work. It was annoying. I figured out there wasn't enough protein in my today's box so more protein was packed in this twin. And it amazed me how much stuff can be packed into such a small space.

Nov 2, 2010


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Black bean brown rice, cauliflower, terriyaki meatballs, tomato, ginger butternut squash, stir-fried corn with bell pepper.

Oct 31, 2010


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Black bean brown rice, boiled egg, cauliflower, baby eggplant, tomato, green pepper, salmon.

Oct 30, 2010

Avocado Ice Cream

There are several avocados sitting in the fridge for a while but I don't plan to use them for sushi at the moment. Before they turn rotten, I decide to make the avocado ice cream. The recipe was found online by a Taiwanese lady. This is not a typical ice cream recipe because there is no egg added. Although it's  milk based, it is more like sorbet, avocado sorbet.

I don't usually have heavy cream at hand, no exemption this time. So I tried whole fat milk instead, and surprisingly, it turned out pretty good. The only problem was that I didn't use an ice cream machine so I have to stir it every 30 minutes before it set. But it all worth the effect. The final product is smooth, creamy, and so avocado...the bonus is the color of the ice cream-I love the light green presentation!

Oct 29, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

I never made a Hummingbird Cake before. Several times I browsed the recipe but felt too much trouble, or missing some ingredients. However, days ago I saw a beautiful Hummingbird Cake online and that inspired me to make this longtime-eyeing cake. After baking, I realized that actually it was not fuzzy at all. In fact, the required baking time is shorter than other cakes I made. I guess the reason I didn't try earlier might just because of being lazy.

Recently I only make cake when there is a social event, so this has been long that a cake was baked just for fun. Partly because of that, I spent quite some time doing all the components required by the recipe. Which means I didn't skip a single step, even decorating the cake! (usually I don't care too much about decoration) It was a lot fun! I am very happy about how this cake looks like at the end.
Frosting with cream cheese is always my weakest cake skill, but this time, it went on smoothly and was even on the cake, no cracking or messy, yeh!

The recipe is here.

Oct 28, 2010


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Herb quinoa, kabocha, tamagoyaki, ginger pork, baby eggplant, tomato.

Oct 27, 2010


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Herb quinoa, curry veggie, cauliflower, stir-fried pepper, ginger pork.

Oct 26, 2010


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Thai curry couscous, ginger marinated pork, veggie curry, boiled egg, stir-fried purple pepper.

Oct 25, 2010


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In this bento: Thai curry cauliflower, terriyaki perch, stir-fried purple pepper, peas, pan-fried ginger marinated pork, fried rice.

Oct 24, 2010

Black Ba Bao Fan

Black Ba Bao Fan, or we call it in Chinese 血糯米八寶飯,is a dessert very popular in Shanghai, served after dinner, usually at the Chinese New Year. Usually they are made with white sticky rice, but I like the black version because I love the black sticky rice :) Eating it simply reminds me the cheerful memory with my family. It's fairly simple to make this dessert. (1) soak 1/2 cup of black sticky rice and 3/2 cups of white sticky rice in water for 3-4 hours. (2) steam them until cooked (rice cooker will do the same) (3) mix in sugar while the rice is still hot, amount of sugar added depends on how sweet you want it to be (4) put a thin layer of rice in a buttered bowl (lard will be preferred if you have it), along side the edge of the bowl (5) use store bought red bean paste to stuff the middle (home made bean paste is also good, just too much work) (6) cover the top of the bowl with the rice left. (7) steam the rice together with the bowl in low flame for another 2 hour. (8) once done, let it cool before unmold it from the bowl.  

Oct 20, 2010


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Sweet and sour lotus root, teriyaki white perch, stir-fried cabbage with carrots, peas, tomatoes, inari sushi.

Oct 19, 2010


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Black Sweet Rice inari sushi, green onion tamagoyaki, sauted shrimp with peas, stir-fried carrots with cabbage, tomato.

Oct 18, 2010


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Stir-fried cabbage with carrots, steamed shrimps, broccoli, tomato, brown rice mix.

Oct 17, 2010


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Brown rice mix, stir-fried cabbage, broccoli, red pepper, tomato, squash with shrimps.


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Inari sushi(brown rice, black sweet rice, mung bean, mullet, job's tear), stir-fried cabbagee, broccoli and red pepper.

Oct 11, 2010


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In this benton: eggplant, shrimp, stir-fried broccoli and red bell pepper, cabbage, pasta with squash and green onion.
This week's cooking is done with the finish of this bento. The rest of the week I will be in Chapel Hill for a conference. So see you all next week :)

Oct 10, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

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I picked two big fresh pumpkins from the Cherry Crest Farm yesterday. My first time hand-picked squash experience :) The only idea I can come up to use this jack-o'-lantern rather than craving a monstrous face is to make a pumpkin pie. I never made pumpkin pies before, not even mention to make the pie filling from the fresh pumpkin. So I spent 3 hours this morning cooked the squash, scooped out and pureed the flesh, made the pie crust, flavored the filling, and finally baked the pie. I was very careful watching out the baking time to avoid the crack of the top of the pie.Since I never made this pie before, I can only compare it with the store brought one, with the canned puree filling.  The final product came out beautifully with the shinny amber color and a smooth top. The crust is deliciously buttery and flaky. And the fresh filling really tastes good and healthy, without those canned food additives. With the successful first time experience, I have enough pumpkin left to make three more pies :) The recipe I used is here.


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Eggplant, stir-fried broccoli, carrots, shrimp, pasta with mushroom and green onion, tomatoes.

Oct 5, 2010

Teriyaki White Perch

In cold days I sometimes will crave for teriyaki dishes, like today. The weather is becoming cooler, the smell and the taste of the sweet and savory teriyaki dish can remind me best of the warm feeling of home. Honestly, I am not good at teriyaki, but this time, I made it. The flavor of the fish comes out perfectly the way I want. It's just like sitting around the table having dinner with family, but by myself now.
It's fairly simple to make this dish, I made it from scratch though. Saute scallion and ginger while the oil is hot; lightly brown two sides of the fish; remove the fish from the pan, add wine, soy sauce, sugar, a bit water to simmer; reture fish back to the pan; cover the pan until the fish is cooked through. Yup, I should send this picture to my mom :)


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Indian bitter melon, stir-fried carrots, teriyaki white perch, Chinese eggplant, cherry tomato, broccoli, brown rice with black beans.

Oct 4, 2010

Apple Streusel Cake

Fall is on the way. That somehow inspires me to use more apples in baking. However I am never a big apple person. It's weird that I like the crispiness and juiciness of real Fuji (not those called Fuji at the local grocery store here), but sometimes annoyed by the crispiness, which make my gum hurt. Also, it has been a long time question I have which is why to bake fruit that eat perfectly lovely when fresh. It seems normal in the west that people bring the freshest fruit home, and bake it. Very interesting. Anyways, I was going to make an apple streusel cake, trying to see if the taste of the cake can provide me the answer. Well, my question is still there. The cake is good, but not good enough to show me why to bake an apple while eating fresh tastes much better.


Salmon, Indian bitter melon, stir-fried mushroom with corn,
canned bean, tomato, brown rice with black beans.
I am at home today. The weather has changed a bit fast but my body doesn't seem to follow up. The whole weekend I was tired, sleepy, with runny nose, plus toothache. I hope can come back to normal before it's getting busy this month.

Sep 30, 2010

Cranberry Galette

Dried cranberry is so easy to get addicted to snack on but fresh cranberry is too tart to eat directly. I passed by this galette recipe one day when I was craving for some buttery sweets and it reminds me the bag of cranberry there in the freezer sitting for a long time. Perfect timing to use the fresh cranberry for something simple and satisfying. The recipe uses all the ingredients for one galette but I divided them into two because I know I will quickly eat the whole thing without giving a thought that it contains so much calorie. So I baked one last night, together with a spaghetti squash in the same oven. And I don't feel guilty to have a big piece for breakfast :)

Sep 29, 2010


Brown rice mix, stir-fried red pepper and broccoli, shrimp, basil corn, canned beans, tomato, braised pork.

Sep 27, 2010


Stir-fried red pepper and broccoli, sauteed corns, braised pork,
shiitake, canned beans, steamed white perch, brown rice mix.
I went fishing with friends last weekend and we got a lot fish, most of them are white perch. I spent hours cleaning them and because of my hard work, the fish tastes even better :) The only way I cook perch is steam, the same method my grandma and mom use. The heat of the steam quickly cook though the fish which keeps the meat juicy and tender. Steam is the best way to keep the original flavor of the food.

Sep 26, 2010


Stir-fried broccoli and red pepper, pan fried egg, tomato, braised  rib, shiitake, brown rice mix (brown rice, mung bean, adzuki bean, black bean, and job's tear, ).

Sep 24, 2010


These two bento boxes are almost twins. I am not working tomorrow, but gonna spend the entire day outdoors. It might be better to bring my own lunch instead of stopping at the McDonald's, in terms of both taste and health. Also, I volunteered to bring my friend a lunch box too, since I don't think she ever has a bento like this. It was fun to arrange the same food into two different boxes, my is more slim and the other is more for a regular lunch portion. I will see how my friend like it :)

Sep 23, 2010

Onigiri and Salmon Rolls


There was a time that I was so fascinated by onigiri and addicted to make sushi rolls. I could roll a full plate for lunch and when comes to dinner, made another plate with different fillings and ate them all. Also, I made a lot of onigiri (rice balls) for breakfast. Now the passion has faded away a bit but sometimes, I still like to make these for fun, after all, the presentation of sushi roll is pretty and the shape of onigiri is simply adorable.