Monday, October 20, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower with Basil 烤花椰菜

My goal in the kitchen has always been consistent - to simplify cooking as much as possible, yet the kind of quick and easy cooking that yields the best possible flavors.

This year, our small-space garden has transformed from a previously "vegetable-centric" garden to one predominant with herbs and chili. Basil, thyme and rosemary are three herbs that has grown quite well in our garden space. In addition, basil is very easy to propagate by "cuttings", so naturally we had more than enough basil to spare for what my cooking (or rather, my pesto) can accommodate.

As the essential oils e.g. eugenol in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the herbs near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor.

Okay, to step out of the pesto-zone, I am going to try something else today, with basil.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Garlic Kabocha Squash/ Pumpkin Rice 蒜香南瓜饭

Of the fall/autumn squashes, kabocha squash is my favorite. When cooked, this Japanese pumpkin with deep green skin and vibrant orange flesh taste more like sweet potato and is less buttery than the other edible pumpkin varieties. Like most fall/winter squash, kabocha squash can be roasted, steamed, stir-fried, pureed as soup, cooked in stews or curries, or even cooked with rice or rice congee.

A quick and delicious recipe is Stir-Fry Kabocha Squash, with garlic, and green onions - a dish with moist and fluffy squash, its sweetness well-complimented with fragrant sauteed garlic. If you are looking for a bowl of warm winter comfort, this Kabocha Squash Rice Congee/Porridge will soothe you on a chilly evening.

I came up with this simple and basic squash-and-rice recipe when rice was running low in the pantry, so the squash cubes can bulk up as the "carbs"; at the same time, skin-on squash constitutes more fiber, and offers Vitamin A (nutrition and health) and flavor (taste) to the otherwise plain (boring) rice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Roasted Organic Rainbow Carrots 香烤彩虹萝卜

These organic rainbow carrots are so attractive and I was instantly drawn to them. Though carrots are available all-year round, fall/autumn is supposedly, or officially, carrots season.

Before roasting

Other than the regular orange carrot we all know, there are also purple and yellow carrots in this organic rainbow bag (available in my local Sprouts Farmer's Market @$1.99/2-lbs bag). Rainbow carrots is a breed of heirloom carrots naturally created from heirloom yellow and purple carrot seeds, and known to be sweeter than regular orange carrots.

Roasting, with a light drizzle of olive oil, came to mind when it came to meal preparation. Not only it is a quick and easy way to make available the fat-soluble beta-carotene and polyphenols in carrots, the roasting process also concentrates the sugars and brings out the natural sweetness.