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

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

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

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

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

Three Cup Tofu

Saturday, June 8, 2013

There’s this pretty well-known Taiwanese dish called Three Cup Chicken. The flavorful dish of dark meat chicken is flavored with sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil with a strong dose of Chinese/Thai Basil.  My mom came up with a vegetarian version, Three Cup Tofu with the same flavor profile and it’s even easier to make. I was planning on posting Three Cup Chicken first, since it’s the original dish. That would have made more sense but alas, my body was just not willing to work with me on this…

Three Cup Tofu 3

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posted by jessica at 05:02 PM

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For as long as I’ve been baking, or cooking at all, I’ve been baking chocolate chip cookies. Isn’t it one of the first things kids learn to do in the kitchen? Warm chocolate chip cookies just minutes out of the oven have always been a favorite treat of mine. Even the simple original Nestle recipe on the back of a bag of chocolate chips hits the spot. That recipe got a lot of use in my college days and even when I moved on to using better chocolate and dark chocolate, I still used that basic recipe for years. Then I started trying tons of different chocolate chip cookie recipes, some fancy, some not, with and without nuts. I enjoyed them all, truly. Yet, I think I’ve found my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, as hard as that is to admit.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

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posted by jessica at 10:40 PM

Basic Wontons (with Video)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Boy, have we come a long way since 2008. Some of you have been with us since we got married and we’re about to celebrate our Five-year Anniversary! Since then, we’ve definitely moved away from doing as many restaurant reviews (though worthy ones will still appear) and focused strongly on the recipes. It seemed that’s what you, our readers wanted. As we continually look to improve I sometimes backtrack to important recipes like this one where I feel compelled to improve the content. I originally posted this basic wonton recipe on October 29, 2008 and all I wrote was this:

“The traditional basic wonton is made with a pork filling and I decided to do just that, nothing fancy or inventive, just a good basic wonton.”

Basic Wontons title pic

…and of course the recipe followed, which I left basically unchanged (just a little wording adjustments and changed pics). I still use this exact same recipe all the time. It’s a classic. I wanted to update the old photos as I often do and more importantly, I needed to add a video to better illustrate how to fold a wonton. The video is so much better than words in this case!

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posted by jessica at 07:55 AM

Shrimp & Peas

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I enjoy making somewhat elaborate dinners nightly, though that really doesn’t happen every night. Lunch is a different story. I try to maximize Caya’s morning play time (in the park, a class, or play space). We usually rush back just in the nick of time to allow five minutes to prepare lunch before she needs to eat; because soon after, it’s nap time.  I’m confident that having a kid is not required to have a limited lunch time.  Also it likely doesn’t take being two years old to have a short window between hungry and about to cry. It’s a daily stressor.

Shrimp & Peas is one of my saving dishes. It helps that Caya loves shrimp so much, we call her little shrimp monster. Do you see this plate of shrimp?  Try to count the pieces… I got to eat exactly one piece; Caya devoured the rest. You’re going to love the heck out of this dish too, especially when you realize that it could be the fastest, easiest, least clean-up dish you now know. If you buy already cleaned shrimp, this couldn’t take you more than three minutes to make. You don’t even need a knife or cutting board. How crazy is that?

Shrimp & Peas

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posted by jessica at 10:32 PM

Red-Cooked Pork Belly and Baby Cuttlefish

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Very early readers may remember that I was a professional figure skater in my early life. (Lon too! I swear. Isn’t that crazy?) In my early 20s, I joined a hip-hop and breaking crew. My 30s seem to be shaping into my partner dancing era. I am in love with Argentine Tango and I also enjoy some salsa, bachata, cha and cha, and hustle. Just last night, I went to a workshop for BachaTango and it was wild! You dance on the count for Bachata with Tango moves thrown in. In the beginning, it was a little bit of a mind game for me not to switch to one or the other but once I got the hang of it, it was super fun. It seems to be growing in popularity in Europe and I hope I see more of it here.

BachaTango reminded me of this lovely Red-Cooked Pork Belly and Baby Cuttlefish dish because it fuses two elements, a surf & turf of Chinese sorts. Red-Cooking is a classic Chinese cooking method. In a very basic sense, it’s a sauce base of soy sauce and rock candy. How can that go wrong, right? Nearly anything can be red-cooked if you ask a Chinese person. We’ve done a Red-Cooked Picnic Shoulder in the past, a traditional dish called Tee Pong, and we’ve even done a Red-Braised Pork Belly on FoodMayhem. Don’t be surprised if you see more in the future! Here, we’re Red-Cooking rich little chunks of pork belly with plump baby cuttlefish. Double the textures, double the fun!

Red-Cooked Pork Belly & Cuttlefish 3

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posted by jessica at 10:41 PM