Korean Raw Spicy Crab (Yangnyeom Gejang)

If I had to choose what’s my favorite type of seafood, it would be blue crab, hands down! It’s great steamed, boiled with seasonings, made into crab cakes, or raw. I can’t remember when I first had raw spicy crab, but I remember I got it at a local Korean supermarket in NYC. This was many years ago, and I’m glad to say I am experienced enough with preparing food that I can make a pretty decent yangnyeom gejang.

Korean Raw Spicy Crab

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 dozen blue crab (live or killed–I’d suggest killed so you don’t have to struggle like I did to keep them from scurrying away or dueling with your tongs)
  • low sodium soy sauce
  • half a head of garlic, diced
  • scallion
  • a touch of sesame oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • cayenne powder
  • a medium onion, diced
  • sugar

I’ll be honest here, as you all know by now, I really eyeball the amount of each ingredient, and focus on the taste to let me know if my seasoning or sauce is on point. I can give you my best estimates for the proportions! 🙂

Steps:

  1. Separate the head from the body if it’s not already separated.
  2. Pull off the lungs and antennae.
  3. Scrub the crab down thoroughly to clean off the dirt and mud that’s on the shells.
  4. To let the flavor seep in, break the crab’s body into quarters.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the crab as you work on your marinade. **I usually just marinate the bodies and steam the heads, but that’s entirely up to you!**
  6. Pour approximately half a cup of low sodium soy sauce, some cayenne powder and pepper flakes (based on your tolerance for spice), 1/4 tsp of sesame oil, and sugar to taste.
  7. Dice up your garlic and onion into fine pieces and add it into your marinade.
  8. Put the crab either in a large bowl or ziploc bag, and pour in your sauce (after you make sure you like the flavor!!). Stir it around so all of the crab pieces have touched the marinade.
  9. Cover it again and let it sit for a couple of hours, flipping the crab to let all of the pieces get thoroughly soaked.
  10. Leave it overnight to marinate, and you can eat it the next day!

DISCLAIMER: Remember that there’s always a risk of eating raw foods, so this is a recipe that you should eat at your own risk! I have a pretty strong stomach that can handle raw foods, but if you don’t have a stomach of steel, you might want to pass on this recipe :X

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

The farmers’ market is BACK and I’m so excited! This past weekend, I did a mini-haul and stocked up on produce for the week, including sweet potatoes. I’m normally not a fan of sweet foods as part of a meal (unless it’s breakfast or dessert) but I decided to be adventurous and try it out…not to mention sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, potassium, and dietary fiber!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Since I usually don’t eat baked potatoes, I figured I probably wouldn’t eat baked sweet potatoes either. I decided to make sweet potato fries since it would last for a few days and they would be more “fun” to eat haha.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 sweet potatoes
  • diced garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper (optional)

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Scrub and rinse your sweet potatoes.
  3. Slice them into french fry slices, or in wedges if you prefer!
  4. Line a baking tray with oil and spread your fries evenly across the pan.IMG_7405.JPG
  5. Sprinkle any seasonings you want to add extra flavor–less is more in this case!
  6. Pop them into the oven for 30 minutes and you’re done!

Now you have a healthy alternative to greasy french fries with this recipe! Enjoy 🙂

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March for Science

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the March for Science in Washington, D.C. with my fellow Johns Hopkins classmates. This demonstration sends a clear message to the Republican Administration that science plays a role in everyone’s lives and has given us so much as a society and in the world. Without science, we wouldn’t have life-saving medicines or vaccines. Without science, we would not be able to discover new cures and treatments for diseases.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world gathered on April 22, 2017, Earth Day, to celebrate science! There were scientists, researchers, doctors of different disciplines, supporters of science (young and old) that came together for the purpose of advocating for science. The March for Science page states:

Science protects the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children, the foundation of our economy and jobs, and the future we all want to live in and preserve for coming generations. 

We speak up now because all of these values are currently at risk. When science is threatened, so is the society that scientists uphold and protect.

When I was growing up, I watched Bill Nye the Science Guy and ZOOM, and had the chance to create that ever cliche paper mache volcanos that erupts with baking soda and vinegar. I knew I wanted to be involved in helping other people, and ended up in Public Health. It was evident that science and research is paramount to making advances towards innovations that would lead to better health outcomes, even when I was a little girl and to this day.

I hope we continue this open dialogue about science and that my fellow colleagues will continue to fight the fight to promote science and support organizations such as the NIH and EPA to protect our planet and our populations’ health. I hope that PBS continues to get funded so the programs can continue to inspire the younger generation to be inquisitive, eager to learn, and get involved in STEM.

Check out photos from the march here!

DIY Toothpaste & Deodorant (Same Recipe Base!)

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Hey everyone 🙂 A loooong time ago, I wanted to write a review comparing different kinds of deodorant since I wanted to eventually move away from the ones that are filled with aluminum compounds, parabens, triclosan (FDA labeled this as a pesticide) propylene glycol (also known as “non-toxic” anti-freeze, guys!!), and more, many of which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions, and have potential links to cancer… Not to scare you guys away from reading, but it’s important to be informed what you put on your body, especially since deodorants get absorbed through your skin and goes into your system! There are a whole bunch of lymph nodes that reside in the vicinity of your underarms, and can become inflamed and swollen from the toxic additives that are in your deodorant.

I’ve been following many zero waste vloggers and bloggers, and quite a few of them have switched to more natural, zero waste alternatives for deodorant, such as making their own! The tubes that your deodorant and toothpaste are packaged in are often made from plastic that can’t be recycled, so if you want to make a more conscious decision to produce less waste, you can consider making your own deodorant and toothpaste! I’ve just made my first mini-batch of both deodorant and toothpaste, and wanted to share my experience with you.

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Ingredients:

  • baking soda
  • coconut oil
  • essential oils (for scent) – the brand I use is Calily
  • Stevia (for toothpaste)

Steps:

  1. Mix 1 part baking soda, 1 part coconut oil into a container. **I had done 1/2 cup of each, but I would recommend using less coconut oil since it just sits at the top and doesn’t mix very well!**
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  2. Add an appropriate amount of essential oil (the scent of your choice) to the baking soda/coconut oil mix.
  3. Since I was making both toothpaste and deodorant, I separated them into two containers since I wanted different scents for each.
  4. I added peppermint essential oil into the toothpaste mix, and tea tree oil into the deodorant mix. **I put in about 6 drops in each set, but if you want to add more or less, that’s up to you! I’m not a fan of mixing scents, but if you’re adventurous, go for it ;)**
  5. (So I didn’t have Stevia…BUT I highly recommend you invest in some for your toothpaste)

When I tried using my toothpaste sans Stevia, I have to admit, my mouth just felt really greasy from the coconut oil, and salty from that strong baking soda flavor! If you can handle that overwhelming taste, then there’s no need to get Stevia, but I am going to hold off on using my mix for brushing my teeth until I get some… 🙂

For the deodorant, many bloggers have mentioned that your body will take some time to detox and get used to not having chemicals block your sweat glands from producing sweat, so I’m being patient and waiting for the magic to happen! It’s important to mention that sweat should not smell bad; it is the bacteria that would cause an unpleasant odor, so make sure you wash your underarms thoroughly and pat dry after you shower, before you put on the deodorant! Another important tip is if you’re going to transition to your own DIY deodorant, it’s best to do it during the fall going into winter, or in the spring before the summer, that way it’s still cool enough that you won’t produce much sweat, and your body gets enough time to adjust!

There are some people who say that baking soda can be really irritating for their skin, but so far I’ve been okay (maybe it’s the coconut oil that protects my skin!)

Be sure to create only small batches since there’s really no sure-fire way of keeping out random bacteria from creeping into your products, and you don’t want to create a whole vat of this mix only for it to be unusable–coconut oil ain’t cheap, y’all!

Hope you all enjoyed reading 🙂

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Recipe: 4-Ingredient Lentil Stew

Happy spring, everyone! It’s been a while since I posted a recipe… my apologies! I haven’t experimented with any new recipes lately so there wasn’t much to update you on, but here’s another quick and simple soupy recipe (can you tell I LOVE soup and stews yet?)

This tomato-based lentil stew is surprisingly filling and tastes pretty good, and I love how you can customize the flavor to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups of lentils (this will give you about 4 meals worth, depending how large your portions are!)
  • 1/2 can (or 12oz) of pasta sauce **I would definitely recommend you use fresh tomatoes and mash it up so it’s a richer flavor, but pasta sauce works just as well**
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5-6 white mushrooms

Steps:

  1. Sift through your dried lentils to make sure there are no rocks!
  2. Rinse your lentils, and then soak them overnight.
  3. The following day, pour your lentils and about 1 cup of water into a pot and wait for it to boil.
  4. Rinse and dice your onion and mushrooms into fine pieces.
  5. After the water has boiled, add your onion, mushrooms, and pasta sauce into the pot and lower the fire.
  6. For seasonings, I used paprika, oregano, garlic salt, seasoning salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes. You can customize to taste so you get enough salt or spice in your stew.
  7. Let it simmer for about half an hour, and it’ll be ready to eat!

Recipe: Vanilla Panna Cotta

Hello everyone! I apologize for the long hiatus from WordPress! It’s applications time for me right now, so I’ve had more on my plate than I already do in grad school 😦 Thank you for being patient with me as I take longer periods of time to put something together for you to read ❤

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Today, I want to share a dessert recipe that I made! Have you ever had panna cotta before? It’s an Italian dessert made with sweetened cream and thickened with gelatin so it has that nice firm, but melt-in-your-mouth texture. It’s deeeeeeelicious, I promise! For the recipe I used, I actually made two batches to see how it would taste and how firm it would get, so feel free to experiment!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of skim milk
  • 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 envelope (whatever that means), or .25oz of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar (I’m sure you can use cane sugar or brown sugar to be slightly “healthier”)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

According to this recipe, it can make 6 servings! I followed that recipe blindly and ended up making a HUGE sweet batch that I just could’t finish in one sitting! Even my roommate helped me, but it was just so sweet… so I tweaked it and the modified recipe is below (to make approximately 2-3 servings):

  • 2 tbsp and 2 tsp of skim milk
  • 3 tsp of lemon jello mix (Yes, you got that right…I couldn’t find unflavored gelatin at my grocery store, so I had to improvise! Since I only used a little bit, it barely affected the flavor, thankfully)
  • 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (My first batch was SUPER sweet, so I wanted to tone down some of the sweet factor)

I always thought panna cotta was super difficult to make since it’s often served at higher-end restaurants that I’ve dined in, but it actually wasn’t too bad! There are generally 3 steps (the 2nd step is the longest), which I’ll list out below:

  1. Pour the milk and gelatin into a bowl and mix it together as best you can to dissolve the gelatin powder.
  2. Turn on your stove to medium heat, and add the heavy cream and sugar into a pot and stir them together.
  3. Cover the pot and watch carefully until your mixture has started to bubble! **You don’t want one or two bubbles, you want the whole surface to start bubbling**
  4. Add the milk and gelatin mix into the pot and stir it vigorously for a full minute.
  5. Quickly remove the pot from heat, and add the vanilla extract.
  6. Pour the mixture into whatever containers you like. **the recipe calls for ramekins, but I used stemless wine glasses since it looks fancy heh**
  7. Let the panna cotta mix cool, uncovered, until it gets to room temerature.
  8. When it’s cool, cover it up in saran wrap, refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. For best results, leave it in the fridge overnight and enjoy it the next day!
  9. BONUS: As an added touch, if you have any berries lying around, you can heat up a small pot, add the berries, a bit of water, and some sugar, and let it simmer until it turns into a berry sauce. Drizzle that on top of your now-cool panna cotta and enjoy the sweet and acidic sweetness of your berry sauce!

Hope you enjoyed reading and will try out this yummy recipe 🙂

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Recipe: Homemade Fried Rice

I know I’ve posted before about a healthier alternative to fried rice…but I thought I’d share this recipe with you all that’s been passed down from my childhood days when my mom used to cook it! It’s nothing like the takeout fried rice, and it can be pretty healthy if you’re mindful of the ingredients you use. I decided to keep it simple with just white rice and mixed vegetables, but you can definitely customize and add meat if you wish! My mom’s version of fried rice always included diced pieces of chicken teriyaki 🙂

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Ingredients (makes about 3-4 servings):

  • 2 cups of white rice (or brown rice, or any other rice you have on hand)
  • 1.5 cups of frozen mixed vegetables
  • soy sauce (I used light soy sauce)

Steps:

  1. Use a rice cooker and cook your desired amount of rice, about one phalanx (which basically means if you put one finger into the rice, add enough water to reach the first joint), add water to the outside of the rice container, and wait for your rice to be fully steamed. **If you don’t have a rice cooker, don’t fret! You can put rice into a non-stick pot, do the same thing with the finger measurement for water + extra, and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your preference for texture**
  2. Heat up a frying pan and add some cooking oil. Throw in the vegetables to have them defrost, and add the rice in and stir it all together.
  3. For flavor, add some soy sauce to taste! If you aren’t a fan of soy sauce or are allergic, you can use chicken boullion powder or salt and pepper to taste.

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