Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Roasted Artichoke, Mushrooms, Chickpeas Pasta

A simple one-bowl salad of everything, combines two cooking techniques in vegetables preparation -via roasting and steaming. The cauliflower and broccoli could have jolly well been roasted to charred-smoky deliciousness; but personally, I prefer my fresh cruciferous vegetables - steamed e.g. Steamed Purple Cauliflower, or stir-fried e.g. Stir-Fried Broccoli with Beech Mushrooms. Steaming, in this case, retains maximum nutrients using shorter time (10 mins or less), and lower cooking temperature 100degC steam-temperature.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sardine Ricotta Cheese Spread/ Pâté 沙丁鱼里科塔奶酪酱

When it comes to sliced cheese, I usually go for Swiss. How about you? With sliced cheese, the fastest (proper) lunch ever, will be two slices of whole-wheat bread, sandwiching Swiss cheese and organic microgreens.

Well. talking about trying something different, I got my hands on a little tub of whole milk ricotta cheese for the first time! From Trader Joes. The ingredient list seems acceptable: whey, acetic acid, salt. Of course, there was something in my mind that I wanted to make.

Canned sardines was mashed into this creamy ricotta cheese to make a protein-packed spread or pâté. A spreadable paste that can be used as easily as...just like lathering creamy peanut butter on bread/toast and crackers. Now, with this homemade sardine-cheese spread, I can have another super-quick sandwich option besides a basic sliced-cheese sandwich.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Luffa (Chinese Okra/ Singua) with Fresh Mushrooms 香菇炒丝瓜丝

These baby shiitake mushrooms are lighter-tasting (less earthy flavors) compared to their larger-size shiitake counterparts. They did not overpower the natural subtle sweet flavor of luffa (also known as Singua or Chinese Okra) when cooked. The other good mushroom alternative that may pair well with luffa, are beech mushrooms, that in my opinion, are also lighter in their earthy flavors when cooked.

On the day I cooked this dish, the other one was asking the reason why I like to cook luffa. Well, I have cooked many other vegetables many times but never asked this question. So I thought: he was complaining about the dish; he did not like luffa. However, I became clear-headed as I sort out my thoughts and reasons.

I do not have a special inclination towards luffa though I must admit I have cooked luffa in several different ways - steamed, in stir-fries, soups, salads. Yes it is a nutritious and healthy ingredient to cook with but so are the other vegetables and squash. I use luffa more often in summer because these are the few months that luffa is at their prime, or more accurately - very fresh and tender. Other times, luffa tend to be fibrous, so I don't even buy them. Luffa is not easily found in the grocery stores.

This Asian squash is usually only available in the Chinese grocery stores/supermarkets and in the context of this round-type of luffa, only available in the summer's farmer market. That is why I make use of their limited availability, and cook it as often as I can.