Mar 29, 2011

Simple Pasta with Small Organic Plum Tomatoes

Our neighbor gave my parents some small organic plum tomatoes the other day -

Even though these tomatoes are not as large as the regular plum tomato,
These tiny jewels still look so full and yes, they are indeed very juicy!

Tomato is considered as a "cold" ingredient when you eat it raw,
What do I mean by "cold?"
Well, try it yourself,
If you eat a lot of uncooked tomatoes, your body temperature will actually drop a few degrees, thus make you feel - cold.

That's why my mom gave me half of the tiny plum tomatoes,
But I don't wanna get that chilly feeling after munching on it too, so that's how this dish was born, simple pasta with small organic plum tomatoes -

*Tomatoes can actually make you feel "warmer," by raising your body temperature if they are cooked, preferably with olive oil!

Ingredients (4 to 5 portion)?

1 package/500g of any type of short pasta
1 small bundle of thin asparagus
1 small lemon
2 cups of small plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of chicken breast
1 cup of corn
1/2 medium sized onion
1 tablespoon of drained capers
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Some olive oil
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Some parsley


Let's prep the ingredients first,
Peal the onion and cut into small bite sizes,
For the asparagus, discard the bottom stem part and cut the remaining into smaller pieces,
Cut the plum tomatoes in half,
Cut the chicken breast into small bite sizes,
Finely chop the parsley and set aside.

Bring a big pot of water into a boil,
Toss in few pinches of salt, pour in the pasta and cook according to the package instruction, al dente preferably.

Meanwhile, have a big pan ready,
Drizzle some olive oil, toss in diced onion, sprinkle some salt, pepper, and red chili flakes,
Cook till the onion turns slightly burned on the edges, add the chicken.

Toss in all the tomatoes when the chicken is about 70% cooked through,
Season with more salt and pepper, cook for couple minutes.

Now we can add the asparagus and corn, give the whole mixture a quick stir,
Add 1 tablespoon of ketchup and a little bit more salt,
Mix it up, let it cook till the veggies soften,
Don't cook for too long if you prefer a more crunchy texture for the asparagus.

Few more final steps,
Add in the capers and juice of 1 lemon.

The pasta should be ready by now, drain well and pour into the sauce mixture,
Mix well and cook for another minute or two,
Serve with chopped parsley.

This is my hearty brunch!
The tomatoes are fully cooked through and blended into my sauce mixture,
Chilly tomatoes no more!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Mar 24, 2011

One Way to Utilize Your Leftover Egg Whites - Scrambled Eggs

Do you always end up with lots of egg whites especially after baking bread or cakes?
So what do you do with it?
Don't tell me you just throw it away or pour it down to the sink,
Let me show you what I did with "excess" egg whites from making my unsuccessful bread the other day...
(That was one big failure, the bread turned out nice and pretty...but taste-wise...totally the opposite...)

Scrambled eggs with Asian pickled radish -


Some leftover eggs/egg whites (at least the amount of a small bowl)
1 stalk of scallion
2 to 3 tablespoon of pickled radish
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Some olive oil
Some sea salt
Some Sriracha sauce (if you like it spicy!)
Some freshly ground black pepper


Beat the eggs and/or egg whites first,
Chop the scallion and pickled radish into smaller pieces -

Drizzle some oil to the pan and turn to medium high heat,
Toss in chopped scallion, sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Let it cook till the edges turned slightly brown,
Don't be afraid if you gonna over-cook it,
The key here is to drive out all these simple ingredients' aroma,
Rather burned than sorry (at least that's what I think!).

Toss in pickled radish and cook for about another minute,
Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and give it a quick stir,
You might need to adjust the amount of soy sauce depending on how saltiness the radish is.

Pour in the egg mixture and cook it just like all other regular scrambled eggs,
I prefer the eggs a wee bit burned on the edges too, but it's totally up to you.

Serve with Sriracha sauce if you like it SPICY!

Well, even though my bread was miserable,
At least the leftover egg whites turned into something delicious!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Mar 15, 2011

My Very First Cicada...Followed by Even More Cicadas...

What is the weirdest thing you've ever ate?
Bears? Snails? Crocodiles?
Organs? Brains? Testicles?
Well, being a local born Taiwanese plus spending numerous years in America,
I can proudly say that I'm very familiar with the above mentioned items,
However, there is still that one category of semi-popular ingredients around the world that I have not ventured into - BUGS!

Bugs can be a rare find in the states,
However, they are one of the stable ingredients in other parts of the world,
Some are used in alcoholic drinks,
Some are made into candied sweets,
Some are deep fried and served as snacks.

"Luckily," I got my bug-fix last weekend at a restaurant serving Hakka food,
It was fried cicadas that I ate -

There're supposed to be a whole plate of fried critters instead of a few from a paper cup,
Apparently I was the only person from our table that is willing and daring enough to try,
So my generous waitress actually secretly grabbed a few from the kitchen and let me try for free.

The thoughts of eating fried cicada was indeed frightening,
I actually had to turn the bug with the back facing my eyes, so that I won't see so many legs while downing the protein-packed snack.

This is how I conquered my psychological barrier,
Cicada is just like shrimps or lobsters,
Seriously, they both got many many legs with bodies wrapped inside segments of shells,
Don't you think?

I've got to embrace this opportunity and carefully savored the bugs, especially chances of having friends tough-it-up to try the critters with me or running into nice waitress handing me small samples all the time are slight...or more so - impossible.

Even better with peanuts! -

The texture is  just like tiny soft shell crabs, or small fried oysters with fish scales on,
You can kind of imagine what I'm talking about right?
Taste-wise, not as earthy as I expected,
Basically there's no strong aroma present, I can only taste the seasoning and the fried crumbs, and it was in fact...pretty good!

Will I order it again? Probably not,
But will I eat it again? I actually don't mind at all,
Maybe fried tarantulas next time?

Mar 10, 2011

Spaghetti with Bacon Chunks and Cream of Mushroom

The prices are going insane (roar!!) !!!!!!!
Gas, airplane tickets, movie tickets,
Even kitchen stables such as flour, vegetables, and meat,
This is crazy, even the fat around my belly does not grow out that fast!

Dining out seems to be cheaper than cooking nowadays,
But reluctant to eat most of the unhealthy and maybe not so clean food all the time,
I guess it's time to be an even smarter grocery shopper, looking for discounts and bargains.

When there is a will, there is a way,
After "stretching" my eyes and "squeezing" my brain power for the whole 30 minutes at the supermarket,
There I have it, some pretty awesome shopping deals:
1 giant box of Japanese hiratake mushroom for $2 U.S.
1 whole bag of carrots for $3 U.S.
6 packs of spaghetti for $5 U.S.

Well well well, let's get cooking!

Ingredients (3 to 4 portion)?

1 cup of hiratake mushroom (even better with wild mushroom)
3/4 cup of bacon chunks (thick slices of bacon cut in small cubes)
1/2 medium size carrot
1/2 medium size onion
3 garlic cloves
1 can of cream of mushroom
1 teaspoon of red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika
Some spaghetti
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Some heavy whipping cream
Some chicken stock
Some olive oil
Some parsley for garnish (optional)


Have a big pot of boiling water ready,
Pinch in some salt and start cooking the pasta till al dente,
Meanwhile, let's prepare other ingredients.

Drizzle some olive oil onto a big pan and turn to high heat,
Toss in sliced onion and sprinkle some salt, pepper, and red chili flakes,
Cook till the onion gets slightly burned on the edges,
Add finely chopped garlic and cook for another 10 seconds.

Toss in thinly sliced carrot and hiratake mushroom,
Sprinkle some paprika and more salt, cook till the veggies turn soft,
You might need to drizzle more olive oil here because the mushroom tends to soak up all the juices.

Add in bacon chunks, cook till that bacon aroma comes out,
Pour in 1 can of cream of mushroom and mix well,
Add some heavy whipping cream and chicken stock to dilute the sauce mixture,
Personally, it's about half cream and half chicken stock for me,
Don't forget to add more salt here, we wanna season every layer while cooking this dish.

Bring to a boil and turn to medium/low heat,
Let it simmer for couple minutes,
You can taste the flavor at this moment,
Add more salt if needed,
Remember we gonna add the pasta later so the sauce should be slightly on the salty side.

The pasta should be ready by now, drain well and pour into the sauce mixture,
Give it a quick stir and let the whole thing cook for a wee bit longer, so that the entire flavor can be absorbed by the spaghetti,
Garnish with parsley before serving.

This is definitely healthier than dining out,
At least I know all the ingredients have been cleaned thoroughly,
All the seasonings are organic (purchased earlier),
And most importantly,
This dish was made with lots of................L-O-V-E...............................for my tummy!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Mar 4, 2011

Taiwanese Breakfast Style Cheese Omelette (iPhone 4 Pictures)

Taiwanese style omelette is one of the staple dishes you will find in a typical Chinese breakfast joint,
The two main ingredients for a TW style omelette are the soft tortilla-like wrap and eggs.

Besides the simple style omelette made with only the wrap and some eggs,
There are also numerous variations for the stuffing ranging from chopped scallions, corns, all the way up to as crazy as tuna or hamburger meat.

Today I'm showing you my favorite omelette flavor, with loads of cheese! -


1 frozen Taiwanese omelette wrap
1 or 2 eggs
2 cheese squares (cheddar preferably)
Some olive oil
Some salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Some soy sauce


If you have a small/medium sized round shaped pan that'll be wonderful -

I usually heat up the omelette wrap before use,
Just remove the wrap from the package and heat up in a nonstick pan,
About 20 seconds for both sides, once done, remove from heat and set aside.

Here're the key ingredients for my ultimate favorite TW omelette -

Sprinkle the egg with some salt and pepper, beat well,
Remove the cheese from the plastic wrap and tear each into 2 strips.

Drizzle some oil in the pan and turn to high heat,
Pour in beaten egg once the oil gets really hot,
Evenly lay the cheese strips on the egg before it's fully cooked through,
Immediately transfer the wrap onto the egg & cheese mixture and press it down with a spatula.
Wait for few seconds then carefully flip the whole thing to the other side -

Cook for another 10 seconds or so, roll up the omelette and transfer onto a plate,
Drizzle some soy sauce before serving,
Yes you heard me, cheese and soy sauce are actually a pretty genius combination - 

See all that cheesy goodness?
That's what I'm talking about, definitely a great start of the day!

Cindy's Rating: 8