CONDIMENTS THAT GO BEYOND CHIPS AND SALSA
The last condiment of our Cinco de Mayo condiment series, guys!!! The sweet & savory, with a little bit of a kick, ‘let me get you acquainted with’ Tropical Fruit Salsa. Mangoes, Orange, Cucumber, absolutely (tropical), divine!
CONDIMENTS THAT GO BEYOND CHIPS AND SALSA
Yes, Cinco de Mayo food’vaganza is going on over here in Denver guys! As I mentioned in my last post, this week I’m doing 3 kind of salsas that are not only yu-mmm, but can be “nimbly” consumed. Yes, we’re talking about slathering over some chunk of meat, chicken, fish or crunchy carbs other than your typical tortilla chips.
CONDIMENTS THAT GO BEYOND CHIPS AND SALSA
Hi guys! After a long month of being buried under a dune of design projects, which secretly (or maybe not so secretly) I love,… I dig myself out – and there I see a beautiful sunny day. Chirping birds, green grass, blue sky – my crab apple trees are in full bloom, especially the one with pink flowers. And you know what friends, this weekend, a super storm is coming. If you believe what those fancy weather casters say, we’ll have more than a foot or two of snow. Yep, as usual spring feels somewhat so short-lived here in beautiful Denver. Sigh. Two feet of snow, really? Sigh, again.
PSPDA (Read through, you’ll get it.)
What do you do post St. Patty’s Day? Well, the luck should not stop the minute the drinking, eating and partying are over, right? Not for me at least 🙂 I got the chance to come over to my friend Lisa’s house. You guessed it, … for more food and laughter. How great was that?
HONEST GATHERING. SOULFUL HOUSE. DIVINE MEALS.
Oh, hi there! “Where have I been, you ask?” Well, friends, like the last time I was absent for a little while, I was… well, busy. Glued to my chair to complete a series of my studio’s project deadlines, I was gasping for air towards the end of last week. I needed a break. Bad. To see my friends. To recharge. To “gather.” All summed up in the word ‘play.’ Who doesn’t love to play, right?
THE PROOF IS ON THE DRESSING.
When Eric and I were just dating, we didn’t really have much. There were many evenings we wanted to go out and have a great restaurant meal, but just couldn’t afford it. I lived in a small, old apartment close to the downtown area and leased a pseudo sports car. I said “pseudo” sports car, because it really was 😀 And Eric… He swam in a sea of student debt.
NOT MEANER, BUT DEFINITELY LEANER… AND CLEANER.
There are so many different renderings on one of the Phillipine’s most beloved dish: Adobo. Adobo, in short – so I don’t bore you too much – is a cooking method to keep food longer, by cooking meat immersed in vinegar and salt. However, I’m not going to do it the traditional way. I want this dish to be as complex as the authentic Pork Adobo, but don’t want to completely immerse the meat in an ungodly amount of salt or vinegar!
BE READY TO GET LASSOED
Heads up friends… This would be my most picture-packed post. Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, so why not have sweet pictures to go along the sweet treat my sweet friend Cindy made, right? That’s taking sweetness to a whole new level! Sweet 🙂
NO RICE FOR YOU?! THAT’S NOT NICE…
Okay, what’s with the name: Forbidden rice? Right? Well, many moons ago in China, legend has it — this ancient grain was only consumed by their emperors and royalty. The masses were pretty much “forbidden” to eat it due to its superior nutrition, therefore ensuring longevity and enriching health. Well thank God, those days are over!
HERE FISHY, FISHY, FISHY…
Hey guys, Chinese New Year is in less than a week! Yes, it falls right after the Super Bowl. So, does a “cleaner” meal after all the fun, calorie-loaded game food sound good? It does to me. So, here’s a simple, but deliciously complex tasting; clean but thoroughly satisfying Asian influenced-meal for the week after the testosterone-filled day. You’re welcome.
Happy Hump Day you guys! We’ve been having great weather the last few days here in Denver. (Sorry my friends in the East Coast). It’s wonderful, therefore my spring fever has kicked into high gear. Yep, spoiled 🙂
CALLING ALL ANCHOVY KILLJOYS…LET YOUR MIND BE TRANSFORMED
Transformation of the mind. Sounds serious doesn’t it? I see people religiously wearing their Fitbit™, the first couple months of the new year. Coming from a different country and culture, I observed that Americans — at the end of every year without fail, set a big resolution for themselves. To shed 30 lbs. To run a marathon. To go back to school. To eat healthy, and therefore cook more at home, etc., etc. Interesting.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
MUCH OF IT COMES NICELY PRE-PACKAGED.
Okay, this one particular recipe is especially for all my friends who think this dish is magical. Forgive me, but it’s not 🙂 At all. I was so embarrassed for years to share this recipe, because it’s way too simple. So easy it almost feels like cheating… Especially, when almost all the ingredients come “pre-packaged.” Yep, we’re talking canned and boxed ingredients. Ugh…
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
CAN’T STOP THE NAUGHTINESS.
Okay, to be totally ‘transparent’ with you guys, I’m making these bars because:
1. We’re invited to a Christmas Eve eve party tonight
2. I don’t have that much time on my hands right now
3. It’s somewhat safe: adult and children will love it. Except for those who have nut
allergies (I guess it’s not that safe after all)
4. I have all the ingredients in my pantry AND fridge
5. It looks and tastes fantastic!
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
I KNEW IT… YOU MISSED BEING NAUGHTY.
Guys, over the years, I’ve ’collected’ a good amount of Weck jars. They’re ohmygosh so adorable! I love love love them! I have them in different shapes and sizes. They’re totally versatile, cute to boot, and completely reliable. They’re like… well… my PIE (Partner In Everything,) Eric. I’m sure he’s so smiling right now as he reads ALL my posts. Well, what can I say he’s sort of my editor, you know 🙂
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
IT CAN BE LESS PERFECT.
I have to be totally honest with you friends, I’m EXHAUSTED. It’s almost Christmas, and here I am with a mountain of tasks I’ve generously given myself to complete. I set a few goals that I’m not even sure I can reach. Have you ever felt like you’re simply ‘done’? Isn’t a Christmas break supposed to be time to reflect, recharge, refocus, and reboot?
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
DEFINITELY NICE AND DELICIOUS!
Last summer, Nate’s buddy Scott was raving about the Chicken Roti he had on his trip to St. John’s, USVI. Well first of all, lucky kid! How awesome is that to have a trip to the Caribbean? But secondly, finding a resto serving West Indian dishes. One word: Curry. I love love love curries!
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
COME IN SANTA, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE.
Goodness… Do you realize there are only 2 more weeks to Christmas? Unreal! This year has gone by so very fast! I went out with a friend last night to do much needed shopping (well, I lied, let’s say much wanted shopping, instead 😉 And ah… all the bright red color accents everywhere. Gorgeous! Red tableware, bakeware, aprons, small appliances, pots and pans… All of them yell, “Take me home with you.” All right, all right, I hangout at a cooking shop, yet again 😀 I thought I already have most of what’s in there, but no, I managed to come home with more items. Classic Fedra.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
LET’S NOT HAVE SANTA SEE A DENTIST BEFORE HE GETS HIS JOB DONE.
Here’s the first one on the ‘nice’ list: Asparagus and Quinoa Salad! A little extreme? Well, there’s no lettuce involved in this salad. So, turn that frown upside down people!
PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTS AND TRY THIS ALREADY 😉
I’ve been moping around lately. I’ve been in such a need of vacation, I almost feel like I’m about to go batty. Well, let me correct myself, I need a get away! You know, a maximum of 3 nights, 4 days kinda get away. I just want to clear my head. Reboot. But, I can’t. It’s hard sometimes to be an adult, isn’t it? So, the last couple of weeks, I’ve been checking out air fares. Having Frontier (airlines) throwing $19 one way trip emails left and right, every darn day, doesn’t help either.
EASY. HEALTHY. COMFORTING. WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT?
A couple of days ago we had some heavy snow. A foot of it to be exact. It was great to receive a call from the school announcing that it was a snow day. That means, it’s a snow day for everybody… Hurrah! Getting another hour of sleep is definitely nice. To make Eric and Nate coffee and breakfast lazily in my jammy is awesome. Somewhat it feels like a Saturday morning that we almost forget we ever had. We’re not racing to take Nate to school for practice after a Friday Night Light game.
THE ALMOST CARBONARA. THE ALMOST ASIAN NOODLE BOWL. AND THE ALMOST VEGETARIAN DISH.
I know right? Talking about having an identity crisis 😀 Well this dish I concoct, my friend, is worth a try. Why? Because it’s made with love. What?! It is… AND this meal is inspired by pasta carbonara. Did I pique your interest now?
NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE.
Growing up, I observed my mom’s massive collection of international cookbooks. From appetizer, to main, to dessert, and everything in between was there – neatly standing side by side on her built-in book/nick-nack shelves – regularly dusted and looked at… by me.
PANTRY RAIDER CHICKEN – ASIAN STYLE
THIS IS BETTER THAN FOODCOURT CHICKEN!
Well, hello guys… It’s been uhh… 5 days since my last post? The reason why I haven’t been so ‘on it’ this week is because I’ve been busy doing some other ’creative’ projects for my little creative studio, Atria. We only have so much time on our hands, and… I don’t want to just post “so so” things. What good comes out of it anyway, right? Right. I know you haven’t forgotten me 😉
OVER THE TOP SEDUCTIVE
Hey-yo… How could you not be intrigued to check out this post, right? For the longest time the rivalry between brownie and blondie has been fierce. Are you a brownie addict or are you a blondie hound? You have to know which side you’re on. Loud and proud for the longest time, I declared I was an unshakable brownie junkie – but today my friend I must confess: I’m rather… uncertain.
FRIENDSGIVING’S SIDE GIVING EXTRAORDINAIRE
Today. 2 weeks. Thanksgiving.
Unbelievable! It’s almost that time of year again. Get your fat pants ready people!
Did you ever find yourself rushing into the store to grab one thing, and one thing only: Rotisserie Chicken. Yes, usually that means that you don’t really have enough time to cook dinner. For some reason you got stuck in traffic, or a meeting went a little longer than expected, or maybe you just want to slack a little bit 🙂 It’s all good, no one’s judging. Well today is one of those days for me; I admit it, I want to slack on dinner. But I still have a desire to doctor up my rotisserie poultry. I need some flavor injection in that bird!
WHAT CAN I SAY, IT’S APPLE SEASON . . .
Happy end of October you guys… Let’s seal this beautiful Autumn month with something sweet, something apple and… something easy. All of us somewhat need to get used to having the days shorter and cooler, and the work heavier and more serious. We crave for, well, spice induced comfort.
ONE SIMPLE WORD: SIMPLE 🙂
If I were a dish, I definitely would not be this dish. Like I said (in case if you didn’t read the headline, so here it is again 😉 it’s simple. It’s that kind of meal that you makes think, “how can this be so yummy yet so simple, I almost feel guilty for being already done.” But yes people… It’s that simple and that delicious.
SUPER APPETIZER FOR SUPER LAZY WEEKEND ENTERTAINING
Happy Monday you guys! I gotta tell you this weekend dinner with friends was super laid back. Everything on the menu was simple yet fabulous. The reason being is that we had a very busy week. So, to preserve my sanity fair – although in my mind, sanity, seriously, is for the weak 🙂 – I went with ‘no fuss no mas’ dishes.
KICK THAT CHICKEN UP A NOTCH!
I know I’m dating myself here, but… I used to love Emeril Lagasse’s The Essence of Emeril show on Food Network back in the mid 90’s. Whoa… I know… we’re talking about a show back in the nineteen hundreds. Totally vintage! I loved the energy he brings – smashing down the cooking intimidation factor – the idea that cooking can be fun, and all the sound effects he makes, “Bam!”
IF ONLY GARLIC BREAD & A GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH HAD A BABY
Ah the joy of parenthood. There are a lot of Saturday mornings that we spend our time at Panera Bread. It’s not because we’re creatures of habit — nor chain restaurant lovers 🙂 It’s simply because we take our son Nate to his high school football practice, which usually takes a little over 2 hours. Did I tell you that we live 45 minutes away from his school? Yep. Rather than go home just in time for pick up, we park ourselves at the school’s nearby Panera. We get some pastries, have some hazelnut coffee, and order their Asiago cheese bread — to go.
YES SOUP FOR YOU!
Okay… I know I’m still having the ‘everything pumpkin‘ kick. But truly I don’t want you to think I’m just out-of-control obsessive about it that I would cook and bake with pumpkin until the end of Fall! No, of course not… Com’on have a little faith now. However, this recipe utilizes pumpkin’s slender, shapelier, and fraternal sister: Butternut Squash.
PURELY LUSCIOUS AND INCREDIBLY ADDICTING PUMPKIN CAKE
I profess: Every year around this time, (beginning of Fall) I have a recurring feasting obsession — “everything pumpkin.” I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this. I went to Starbucks the other day, and of course was ordering a grande PSL with soy milk, sans whip cream and a heavenly slice of their pumpkin bread. Yep, I went home feeling overloaded with the “everything pumpkin.” But I’m sure the next time I go there, I’ll order the same stuff again.
HEAVENLY MEXICAN DEVILED PRAWNS
Hi guys! If you’re a fan of seafood + spicy Mexican dishes + easy cooking + not necessarily on a budget 🙂 — this is your recipe. I love this dish! This is the kind of dinner meal that makes you look impressive, but not snooty. The kind of dish that your friends think you’re not going cheap on them, yet doesn’t make them feel intimidated to touch and eat. And another bonus for you, it’s quick and simple to make! Entertaining is stressful enough, so why kill yourself in the kitchen if you don’t feel like it, right? 😀
ATYPICAL DISH FOR ATYPICAL TAILGATING
It’s football season and I’m getting ready for tailglamping with a bunch of ladies whose sons are on our high school football team. So, I’m thinking the menu should be a little more, . . . well, “glamorous.” I’m excited, let’s get cooking! Chicken Saltimbocca on a French hamburger bun (you can have it with any bun you fancy, I definitely like mine soft and airy.) No fork, and no knife needed. Beautiful!
ASK YOURSELF REPEATEDLY: “AM I ABOVE INSTANT NOODLE BOWLS?”
I DON’T THINK SO . . .
What does ‘instant ramen noodles’ mean for you? Whatever your answer would be, instant noodles in many countries (and some continents), is associated with being broke. Not for me it’s not! I grew up in Asia eating instant ramen and we were definitely not poor, … or broke. And just so you guys know, a lot of instant noodle brands are endorsed by celebrities over in that side of the world until this day! Really, I’m not kidding. When you think about it, what’s not to love about this precooked noodle block? It’s easy, convenient, cheap, an absolute pantry staple, and back in my day didn’t even have an expiration date. Yep, and I’m still breathing 😀
LET’S GET THAT CHICKEN DRUNK,
VIKING STYLE . . .
I’m hopping on the fun wagon, celebrating the largest volkfest in the world… Oktoberfest! It’s always been amusing for me to observe the festivity — the stout-hearted dishes and of course, the drunkards 😀 This year, instead of hanging out downtown; (drinking beer, eating wurst & pretzels and clinking steins) – I’m going to cook for my friends. There’s nothing better than having an Oktoberfest in your own backyard when the weather is still nice! You’re surrounded by (and getting loud with) people you love. You don’t need to dress up and you don’t need to call Uber. Liberating!
DARK, WONDERFULLY COMPLEX, AND RICH
DRY BEEF CURRY
Well, if you haven’t met Beef Rendang, it’s time for me to introduce you to one of the best dishes in the world!!! Originated from West Sumatra, Indonesia, Beef Rendang is a ceremonial / holiday / wedding / honor your guests must have meal. It’s definitely one of the most celebrated foods in Indonesia as well as its closest neighbors; Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. But okay, . . . let’s not nerd out on the historical side of the Rendang, I really don’t want to put you to sleep. Instead, I want you to get hungry along with me. So let’s talk about how great this meal is!
END OF SUMMER BEAUTY HOOKS UP WITH EARLY FALL HUNK
Even though we are closing the door on a bright and intense Summer bounty, we welcome the abundance of early Fall produce. The combination of the rich flavored tomatoes and the newly harvested broccolette are blended harmoniously in this dish.
CHOPS THAT DON’T REQUIRE ‘CRISSCROSS APPLE SAUCE’
Did I mention that I love Vietnamese food? I love it for its flavor, depth and complexity. I love the freshness of vegetables that complement the spiciness of many of its dishes. There’s also an influence of French cooking which quietly mingles and expands its cuisine. Everything, for me, feels and tastes balanced in my mouth.
FANCY DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN FUSSY.
AT LEAST NOT TODAY.
Hey guys, have you ever had one of those get togethers that requires you to linger for awhile? For example, a family gathering at your in laws (not that my in laws have ever done it 🙂 You’re invited to come at 2 o’clock, but the dinner doesn’t start until 6 kinda get together? … Never? Lucky.
IN A BOWL OF MAC N CHEESE
“Seriously?” I said to my wonderful husband of 17 years with a slight condescending tone as he ordered his entrée. “You seriously just ordered mac ‘n cheese?” I reiterate my already painful, snooty, teetering on unkind retorical question. I rolled my eyes, as if he didn’t already get my disapproval.
END OF SUMMER PICNIC WITH LISA
How do I describe my going on 20 years friend Lisa? She is someone that I can give the key to my house, license to use my kitchen, permission to help with my kid — that kind of person. Trustworthy. Loving. Nurturing. Highly creative. Salt of the earth. Soulful. She sees through people. You get the picture. She is somebody that you would want to be more like and to have in your life.
IF YOU MAKE THEM
YOUR FRIENDS WILL COME
Many moons ago I thought the combination of chicken and waffles was just wrong. I know I wasn’t alone on this one. However, like anything else in this world, if you haven’t tried it, you simply can’t judge. So, I gave it a shot. And I have to say, I was so wrong! … and those Southerners just know what good food is all about.
BECAUSE LIKE ANYTHING ELSE,
THERE’S DEPTH IN LOVE
Have you ever been sick of baking the same cookies over and over again because people think that your chocolate chip cookies are just the best? I was flattered that for so many years my chocolate chip cookies are so well loved. But come on… I just had to branch out. So I searched for a different way of making it. I wanted them crunchy, instead of chewy like how I used to do it. This recipe is taken directly from Sarah Copeland’s The Newlywed Cookbook, “Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies.” OK there’s really not that many layers, so don’t get discouraged.
I SAY GALBI, YOU SAY KALBI
My first encounter with (in my book) one of the finest, if not THE finest Korean grilled meat was over 20 years ago. I was still in college … Australia. (Oh how I miss you Gold Coast!) One of my good friends Benny, a native South Korean, one day took me to a hole in a wall Korean restaurant for lunch. “Try Galbi, I think you’ll love it!” he said with a big smile.
SHOW OFF AN ATTITUDE
I’m not the best scheduler ever. I don’t know why. Is it because I’m naturally a born islander (?) – mothered by a super punctual, ‘right on the dot’ woman — who made me care less about organizing my days? I’m not sure, there’s that constant battle of nature vs nurture. Maybe I just don’t like to see a list of things on my day planner. Or may I say iCalendar. One word: Restricting. Therefore, I have Eric – the master organizer, super punctual, always-on-the dot guy. It sure is weird that I somewhat married my mom? Well, it’s proven time and time again, that I need to be managed and supervised by an adult… Sad.
CERTAINLY, IT’S HEALTHY:
GREEK YOGURT, ALMONDS AND BANANAS . . . COME ON . . .
How original, right? But I love banana bread. And since this is my numero uno post, I thought I should make something my family and I love. I make this recipe often not only because our ‘foodie in the making’ son loves it, but because it’s the kind of comfort food that you can consume pretty much anytime of the day.