Sunday, January 14, 2018

Winter Pinto Bean Soup 花豆浓汤

Nothing beats fresh produce. Though flash-frozen vegetables have been said to have nutrients locked at source and comparable to fresh vegetables in terms of nutrition, frozen vegetables often end up as back-ups, reserves or for emergencies especially when one is pressed for cooking time e.g. Artichoke and Pea Pizza using frozen vegetables.

Likewise for beans, the texture, taste (and price) of dried beans cannot beat their canned counterparts. But let's say you have 30 minutes to whip up something quick? Something quick like a creamy bean soup, perhaps? And 30 minutes starting from prep. to a done dish.

With dried beans, that can never be achieved. Eliminating the step that dried beans usually needs to be soaked overnight, cooking pre-soaked beans to tender already takes at least 20-30 minutes. In that sense, canned beans do come in handy, very handy. Well, making homemade bean soup in 30 minutes or less, is an intermediate solution - for those who do no have time (or plan) to make the soup from scratch using dried beans; and for those who does not succumb to ready-made canned bean soups which often (and in many cases) are high in sodium and may contain a list of undesirable ingredients.

So, get a good quality (e.g. organic, low sodium) canned beans - that is surely an easier task to finding a good quality canned soup and make a good enough tasty chunky bean soup using some of these cheat-sheets tips e.g. (1) adding some salsa or pasta sauce to create some flavor complexity and intensity; (2) adding fresh tomatoes, onions and garlic and even fresh herbs for...FRESHNESS, (3) pureeing part of the soup for "creaminess" and (4) keeping some beans whole for texture profile. Then think about it, all these found in a soup made in just about 30 minutes?  Bonus, bonus AND bonus!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Garlic Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranate 蒜炒甘蓝

As temperatures dip with the surrounding fall/winter foliage, I look forward to seasonal Brussel sprouts and pomegranate. What is better than combining the green and red holiday colors in a single dish.

This side-dish is very easy to prepare. The flavors are bright and refreshing as the savory garlic brussel sprouts complements with a surprising burst of sweet-tangy pomegranate.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Chicken Quinoa Bowl 蔬菜烤鸡藜麦主食沙拉

Store-bought or roasted at home; freshly cooked or leftovers; thigh meat, or breast meat. You can work in any meat (or meatless) protein options into this platter or bowl of food which is often gloriously called - salads; or simply a one-dish meal.

From start to finish, this delicious and nutritiously balanced meal took only about 30 minutes to complete, with the help of good-quality store-bought rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods Market.

Not only it saves time, store-bought rotisserie chicken is also budget-friendly if you regularly prepare meals for a small family of two to four. Typically, a whole roasted chicken can be used in two-three meals for a family of two. The drumsticks and wings consumed on the day itself, and leftover chicken (thigh meat and breast meat) used throughout the week in sandwiches/wraps and in dishes such as Asparagus, Cauliflower, Chicken Quinoa Bowl, and Asparagus, Chicken, Potato Bowl.