Hope everyone in the Northeast US stayed safe from the bomb cyclone this past week! Those of us in NYC experienced heavy winds and snow, and temperatures that felt like it was below 0 degrees Fahrenheit 😦 These record cold temperatures and extreme weather events we’ve been seeing over the course of 2017 are likely due to climate change and humans’ neglect for the role we play on our planet. But I’ll save that spiel for another time…
Since my family and I were stuck indoors, we decided to make some homemade veggie dumplings! When I was in grad school living away from home, I had already moved towards a less meat-centric diet, but when I lived in Mexico and Cambodia, I found it very difficult to regulate my diet when I was living with a host family and also living on a budget. Now that I’m finally (mostly) permanently back home in NY, I’m introducing more vegetarian-friendly meals in the household and sharing some of the benefits of eating less meat i.e. so we can eat healthier and make a lesser environmental footprint as a family.
Ingredients (quantity of each is up to your preference–we had an equal proportion of carrot, tofu, lettuce, and mushroom):
extra firm tofu
1-3 eggs (as a binding agent for your dumpling filling)
Soak the Chinese mushroom in water. As the mushroom is soaking, scrub the carrots realllly well.
Shred the carrots and lettuce using a grater.
Dice up the tofu and mushroom into small pieces, approximately the same sizes as the grated carrots and lettuce.
Mix the carrots, tofu, lettuce, mushroom, and eggs together to make your dumpling filling 🙂
Lay out some plates and dust them with corn starch.
Pour some water and corn starch together (they act as the sealing agent for your dumpling skin).
Lay the dumpling skin open in your hand and put a small dollop of filling in the center, dip your finger into the corn starch water and trace the edges of the skin, and seal the dumpling.
**Tip: You can seal it by making folds by hand and overlapping each fold, or you can cheat and take the easy way out by folding the skin precisely in half and using a fork to press the edges firmly until it’s completely sealed!
Repeat the process until you’ve used up all of your filling or skin. You can save the filling to make some stir-fry dish with noodles or soup! Depending on how many dumplings you’d like to cook, you can put the rest in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
Boil a small pot of vegetable stock and throw in your dumplings and keep an eye on the pot, stirring occasionally so the dumplings don’t stick together. When you see the skin start to become transparent, you’ll know they’re ready! Since they are fresh, unfrozen dumplings, they should take approximately 3-5 minutes to cook.
You can now enjoy your healthy, homemade veggie dumplings in vegetable broth on a cold winter day 🙂
When you’re home for the holidays, it’s the perfect time to prepare something delicious with your loved ones. This weekend, my mom taught me how she makes candied bacon with just three ingredients! Fair warning though, it can be quite sweet, so ration your sugar intake for the day or week if you’re gonna be snacking on this 😛
1 pack of thick sliced bacon
To drain as much fat from the bacon slices as you can, we lined a flat plate with paper towels and stacked the bacon and microwaved it for about 5 minutes, in 2 1/2 minute intervals. We let it sit so the fat could drain.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While you wait, prepare a baking tray and line your slices. Pour brown sugar and maple syrup to your liking!
Pop the tray into the oven and keep an eye out for it…we waited about 10-15 minutes, took it out, flipped it so both sides could be evenly marinated, and stuck it back into the oven for another 5 minutes.
Get another baking tray (a deeper baking tray is preferable), line it with aluminum foil to catch extra fat or sugar, and put a cooling rack on top. Place the bacon slices onto the cooling rack, and pop them back into the oven again.
Now this is entirely up to you how long you want to leave it in the oven, but watch for it to change to a nice golden brown. Be careful because sugar can burn easily so you don’t want to end up with burnt sugar bacon (unless that’s what you’re going for!)
When you are finished, shut off your oven and take out the baking tray to let your bacon cool individually so when you take them out they aren’t all stuck together.
Despite the consistent 90+ degree weather in Agua Caliente, I was never able to give up my love for soup! My host sister prepared this really simple noodle soup and it only took 3 ingredients: onion, tomato, and pasta noodles!
Here’s what you’ll need:
2-3 tomatoes, depending how tomatoey you want your soup to be
1 touch of cooking oil
Making this soup is so easy that I think it’ll be my go-to whenever I’m craving a quick and easy noodle soup made with readily available ingredients while I’m here.
Dice your onion and tomatoes into small little cubes.
Heat up your pot and add a bit of oil.
Throw your pasta noodles into the pot and let it turn golden brown while you stir it so it’s evenly tanned.
Add the onions, tomato, salt into the pot and stir together with about 1-2 cups of water, depending how much soup you want when you’re done.
Let it simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat, stirring every 5 minutes.
Ever since getting back from Mexico, I’ve been wanting to eat less meat and go back to my old routine I set for myself at school eating as little meat as possible. This past weekend, I was craving some mixed greens with quinoa, topped with a honey mustard dressing that my bf had learned to make. It tastes pretty good and can be pretty filling with the quinoa, if you’re afraid you don’t have enough protein in your meal.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
a box of mixed greens
1 cup of quinoa
2 bell peppers
a box of cherry tomatoes
a box of white mushrooms
4 tbsp honey **use agave syrup for a vegan alternative**
4 tbsp whole grain mustard
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Rinse the avocados, tomatoes, mushrooms, mixed greens, and bell peppers and drain.
Use one cup of quinoa and two cups of water and bring to a boil, and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Mix the honey, mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste to make your dressing.
Slice up your bell peppers and mushrooms and set them aside.
Dice the avocado into small pieces (cut one for two servings).
Put a bed of mixed greens and top it with the peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado, and quinoa (decide how much you want since it’s a LOT).
Drizzle the dressing and you’re good to go; a perfectly healthy and vegan meal ready to enjoy 🙂
Hey everyone 🙂 I learned another recipe from my host family this past week: ceviche de coliflor, otherwise known as vegetarian ceviche. This recipe replaces seafood with cauliflower florets shredded into fine pieces and is great as a meal when the weather is suuuper hot! My host family likes to prepare this because it’s really quick to prepare and because my host brothers are even willing to eat this despite the lack of carne (meat) in the dish haha.
1 head of cauliflower
(optional) 2 cucumbers
Chop off the leaves from the cauliflower head and break it apart into smaller than fist-sized florets.
Soak them in salt water to disinfect for at least 30 minutes.
Shave the skin off of the carrots and use a grater to get fine carrot strips.
Repeat Step 3 for cucumbers if you have them.
Peel the outer layer of the onion and dice into fine pieces.
Dice the tomatoes into fine pieces.
After the cauliflower has been soaked thoroughly, drain the water and grate the florets. You can also grate the stalks or save them for cooking something else (avoid food waste)!
Mix all of the vegetables together and squeeze the lime juice into the mix and add pinches of salt to taste.
While I’m in Mexico living with a host family, I’m determined to learn as many dishes as possible! Tacos dorados don’t seem too difficult to make, and might not be the healthiest (because it’s deep fried in oil), but I felt like sharing it with you in case you wanted something different from the typical tacos and burritos that you know Mexican cuisines for :3
lots of tortilla skins, corn (maiz) or flour (harina), your choice!
3 medium-sized potatoes (papas)
1 onion (cebolla)
2-3 tomatoes (tomates)
(optional) meat (carne) such as chicken, pork, or beef
(optional) a few cloves of garlic (ajo)
cooking oil (aceite)
Scrub down your potatoes and boil them for 15-20 minutes and let cool.
If you’re going to cook with meat, steam the meat until it’s tender and then shred it into fine pieces.
Dice the tomatoes, onion, and garlic into fine pieces.
Heat up a pan and add a touch of oil and sauté the tomatoes, onion, and garlic until they’re a paste-like consistency.
Peel the skin from the potatoes and mash them.
Add the potatoes (and meat) to the paste mix until they’re thoroughly mixed together.
Pour cooking oil into a pot until it’s about 5-8 inches filled and heat the pot at medium heat.
Take a tortilla skin, lay it flat, and spoon one spoonful of the tacos dorado mix into the center and fold it flat. Repeat until you used up all of your mix!
You want to use a lasa (string) to stagger stack six tacos on top of each other at a time and tie them up firmly.
Take each stack of tacos and place it gently into the oil, making sure it’s fully submerged. Depending on the size of your pot, you can put more than one stack at a time.
Keep an eye on each stack and flip them maybe after 5-10 minutes, depending on the heat of your oil, until you see a nice golden brown tortilla skin. When you get the color you want, take it out of the pot and lay it on paper towels to drain some of the oil.
After it cools a bit, you’re ready to eat tacos dorados! This makes for a great party dish since it can make so many tacos to feed a large group of people 🙂 Hope you enjoyed! Buen provecho!
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.
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
a touch of sesame oil
red pepper flakes
a medium onion, diced
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! 🙂
Separate the head from the body if it’s not already separated.
Pull off the lungs and antennae.
Scrub the crab down thoroughly to clean off the dirt and mud that’s on the shells.
To let the flavor seep in, break the crab’s body into quarters.
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!**
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.
Dice up your garlic and onion into fine pieces and add it into your marinade.
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.
Cover it again and let it sit for a couple of hours, flipping the crab to let all of the pieces get thoroughly soaked.
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