Squid with Ramps in Black Bean Sauce

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ramps are in season and though they are not traditionally found in Chinese food, they make perfect sense in Chinese food. I think of ramps as sweeter, fatter, less pungent Chinese chives. I would bet you could successfully substitute ramps for any recipe that called for Chinese chives. Next, I want to do some dumplings with ramps!

Last week, I was in a rush to make dinner. I knew I had some fresh squid and ramps in the fridge and wanted to make something with Chinese flavors because Chinese food is definitely Caya’s favorite and she has really missed it while we were in Martha’s Vineyard. This is the dish that somehow made it to the table after two minutes of thought, Squid with Ramps in Black Bean Sauce. Caya and Lon loved it so much that a few days later, I made it again. Caya devoured it and so I made it again…

Squid with Ramps in Black Bean Sauce title pic

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posted by jessica at 10:06 PM No Comments » Add a Comment
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Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

For the last few months, my brain cells were being lost to lack-of-sleep so needless to say, having a newborn around is not one’s most creative time. Luckily, we have thousands of recipes to fall back on. I also look for new recipes to try, ones that take less time to make! Since Remi was born (he’s four-and-a-half months already!), this is the best recipe I’ve tried: Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings! Holy cow, are these delicious. Not surprisingly, it’s from the owner of the famous Thai restaurant, Pok Pok, in Portland. I adapted the recipe to suit my tastes and stuck with his super easy three ingredient marinade, just fish sauce, sugar, and garlic. It’s so simple, yet unbelievably good. It’s pure genius!

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings title pic

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posted by jessica at 10:20 AM 7 Comments » Add a Comment
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Chinese Pork Stock (Stove and Slow Cooker Methods)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hello! I’m back from my self-granted maternity leave and I’ve missed you! Hopefully we’ve been keeping in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As I ease my way back into food life again, I thought that this Chinese Pork Bone Stock would be the most suitable post. After all, I have drank a lot of this in the last few months because the Chinese believe that it helps build your breast milk supply.

Chinese Pork Stock is so easy that I debated if it warranted it’s own blog post for a long time. It’s such a no-brainer and the exact measurements are not even that important. I’ve given some here for those that like to measure and feel secure yet you should know that I eyeball this one every time I make it, which is all the time. It’s more of a pantry item that I always need to have around. As easy as it is to forget about this as a “recipe”, it’s a crucial and important one to know because it’s the base to many many other soups and dishes. While this is technically a stock, the Chinese translation is just “bone soup” and it can be drank as is (with a little salt and pepper). I had mugfuls for the first few weeks after Remi was born. And, when you make stock, you get soup bones…I love picking through for bits of meat and dipping it in a mix of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Yum!

soup bones title pic

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posted by jessica at 11:04 AM 5 Comments » Add a Comment
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FoodMayhem’s Latest Ingredient: Garam

Monday, November 18, 2013

When we named our first child Cayenne; it really separated — not the men from boys, nor the whites from the eggs, but rather — the foodies from non-foodies. Those who inquired, “Like the Porsche?” revealed quite a lot. “Cayenne” refers to a hot pepper, a well known spice, used fresh in cooking and also often dried and ground into powder.  The name is from the French for “hot spice.”  For us, it was a name we had on our minds from our honeymoon; even though we weren’t planning kids, we loved the idea of that name and never forgot; and now with Caya, we never will.

When it came time to name our new little boy we considered various names and received some pretty fun ideas including Chuck (like the steak) and Caesar (like the salad). However, we fell in love with the name Garam. It derives from garam masala and from Hindi translates as “hot spices”, the plural of cayenne, how wonderful! And, guess what spice is frequently found in dishes with garam masala? Cayenne! An interesting note is that in French cayenne refers to the spice (or capsaicin content) level; while in Hindi garam refers to the intensity of the spice, not the spice.

We always wanted names with nicknames. Cayenne has the nickname Caya from the front of her name. With Garam we took the latter half and went with the nickname Remi.

Welcome to the world Remi!

posted by Lon at 06:45 PM 10 Comments » Add a Comment
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Chinese Borscht

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fusion food sometimes sounds new and modern, like a fanciful restaurant theme. We forget that borders between countries and cultures have existed since far back in history, where ingredients, flavors, and recipes have been shared.

Chinese Borscht Title Pic

My late grandma Olia (on the right, below) grew up near the border of China and Russia, where she ate lots of this Chinese version of Borscht. She taught my mom how to make it and my mom taught me. My mom admits removing the potatoes and sour cream from the version Grandma Olia taught her (most Chinese versions don’t include sour cream) and I’ll admit, I made a few changes too. My mom always used canned beets and since I’m not a fan of canned products (due to the BPA in the adhesive), I use fresh beets. I also cut the veggies into smaller pieces just to make it easier to eat. (Caya obviously in mind.) The result is a healthy and hearty soup with meat and veggies that glow pinkish-red (which totally amuses Caya). It comforts to the core and I get nostalgic every time I take a sip.

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posted by jessica at 07:21 PM 9 Comments » Add a Comment
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Kale Salad with Grapes and Toasted Hazelnuts

Monday, October 21, 2013

For my mom’s birthday (in September), we threw a casual dinner party and had family over. It’s my mom’s ideal way to celebrate. She’s the biggest fan of my cooking (maybe tied with Lon) and I know what she likes which makes it easy to impress her. We started with pizza as an appetizer, topped with crumbled sausage and green peppers. The main course was bouillabaisse served with fresh baked crusty bread. There was a side of Balsamic Drenched Portobellos, a safe winner that I’ve made for my mom so many times. And, the salad stole the night! I made the most gigantic bowl of Kale Salad with Grapes and Toasted Hazelnuts, a combination I dreamed up just that day, and it was devoured. Everyone raved! Even my dad, a no-veggies kind of guy (especially salad) took seconds. Even as dessert, a Peaches ‘N Cream Pie, was served, the last few bites of kale salad were being polished off.

Kale Salad with Grapes and Hazelnuts (title pic)

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posted by jessica at 09:08 PM No Comments » Add a Comment
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3 BIG Reasons Restaurants should Welcome Diners with Kids

Friday, October 11, 2013

I get it. Space is tight, especially in New York. Kids can be noisy, though frankly, most NYC restaurants are so loud, I can’t imagine you can hear the kids over the crowd at the bar. I know the kids don’t look like money makers to you restaurants but here’s three very solid reasons, you want to start welcoming us: the diners with young children. Yes, go out of your way to make us feel at home! It will pay off.

Caya's messy eating

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posted by jessica at 08:59 PM 10 Comments » Add a Comment
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White Chocolate Banana Bread

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lon LOVES bananas and always wants bananas around. The problem is when you buy a bunch, the first one you eat is a little under-ripe, the next few are perfect, and then there’s always some over-ripe left. It would be so wonderful if they sold bananas in bunches with different stages of ripeness. Anyways, so…I’ve made a lot of banana bread over the years and tried tons of different recipes. This White Chocolate Banana Bread, which is a variation of one I posted over four years ago, is the one I always end up coming back to over and over again.

White Chocolate Banana Bread title pic

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posted by jessica at 03:30 PM 5 Comments » Add a Comment
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Date Nut Squares (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lon’s been going light on dairy for a long time and as his intolerance grew more severe, he had to get more strict. At this point, he’s 99% dairy-free. While battling his digestive issues, he spent 6 months being gluten-free to see if it would help. It didn’t seem to benefit him so he is now eating gluten again. Earlier this year, while he was both gluten and dairy free, we went to the NY Produce Show and sampled a date nut treat at Devik International’s table. They market the Delilah brand of Medjool dates. They smartly had the recipe cards ready to give out and Lon made sure to take one.

Date Nut Squares title pic 2

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posted by jessica at 02:29 PM 10 Comments » Add a Comment
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Pork Belly & Kimchi

Friday, June 21, 2013

Knock on wood, Caya has rarely been sick and when she is her symptoms have been unusually mild. She’ll continue playing happily through light fevers and they’re typically gone in a day. Not this time: she got Coxsackie virus and it has been miserable, for all of us. Poor baby had 103 deg F for a day and half and after it came down, blisters filled the insides of her cheeks. Between the temperature and pain, she’s been up several times a night (also a rarity since 8 weeks old) and mom and dad are pooped!

What really freaked me out though was that she wasn’t eating. If you’ve been following my instagram, you know how much this kid usually eats. Seriously, our two-year old can out eat some full grown adults. Between Wednesday morning and this afternoon, she had eaten less than what she usually eats in one meal. Our pediatrician assured me that it would be fine as long as she stays hydrated yet I couldn’t help but FREAK OUT. Fortunately, she finally ate some food for dinner this evening: Sausage, Peppers, and Onions, one of my go-to’s when I have zero time to cook. When Caya is sick, she won’t let me leave her side for one millisecond. The tears start flowing at the thought that I might get up.

While we suffer you can benefit.  A perfect setting for another barely “cooking” dish. There’s hardly any prep, fully ready in about 4 minutes, and only two ingredients.   Pairing two ingredients that are a match made in heaven – Pork Belly & Kimchi.  Your friend will think this took all day.

Pork Belly & Kimchi title picture

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posted by jessica at 10:31 PM 5 Comments » Add a Comment
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