Secrets of Pickling


Last Wednesday, June 19, 2013, due to the fact that I was able to cook Siomai (at around 1 am in the morning for my husband’s lunch) for tomorrow, worked 6.5 hours for a side-line and then headed to Edmonds Community School by bus (for the first time) to volunteer for another Burnaby Food First hands-on workshop (Thank you dear path-finder ^^,) I felt very, very productive. IMG_9815
From 6-8pm, we joined the savvy Andrea Potter- a Red Seal chef and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist-and learned how to make pickled foods using fermentation.
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I thought it was great!
We talked about how fermentation (more commonly known as “pickling”) traces its roots way way back in time!
From the Korean “Kimchi” to the Japanese miso soup, Greek yogurts and classic Hamburger pickles, it sure has a special place in our palates.
It is also good to know that the “probiotics” in these pickled foods not only are good for your digestive system but they also fight off germs and viruses.
After our mini lecture, we then proceeded to our ‘hands-on session’.

Yup yup yup! We had take home samples!
Thank you for the fresh local kohlrabi, carrots and radishes Urban Digs Farm!
In about 2 weeks or so…
we will see how these “pickled” veggies turn out (=

Sushi Party: Care for some “Tofu” Sushi?!


It wasn’t until Joseph and I went to an “all-you-can-eat sushi” restaurant called Robson Sushi that I realized “inari” (tofu sushi) and tomagoyaki” (egg sushi) existed.

Inarizushi. Definitely a favorite (=

Inarizushi. Definitely a favorite (=

After a few clicks here and there, I found out that Inarizushi is also known as “stuffed sushi.” It uses tofu instead of vinegar rice on the outside and usually contains the vinegar rice on the inside. The tofu “pouch” is deep fried to create “aburaage,” or fried tofu bags.

At first, I improvised using “tofu puffs”. I found out that you could make more sushi using these kind than to get the real tofu packets from the store. (Tofu puffs are less expensive and they form a solid base after you cut it in half.

These semi-homemade recipe came together quickly and most satisfactorily. Considering that the rice was prepared in a rice cooker and the tofu puffs were sold prefabbed, the only real work was measuring the dressing, toasting some sesame seeds, and assembling the whole package.

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package tofu puffs (cut in half)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • scallions (finely chopped)

Tofu Puff Seasoning: 6Tbsp sugar, 6t mirin, 1T soysauce

Directions:

1. It is crucial to wash the tofu puffs with hot water so as to remove the excess oil in it.

2. Toss the Tofu puff seasoning and let the tofu soak for a bit and until it boils. (2-3 min.)

3. Drain the excess seasoning and lay the pockets on a plate.

4. Take a spoonful of cooked vinegar rice and place it into the pockets, making sure it is snug.

5. Garnish with  scallions and sesame seeds.

6. Okay… now it is time for some Sushi party ^^,

The Plan

The Plan

Looks like...
Looks like…

it was...
it was…

"approved" (=

“approved” (=

 

D.I.Y Whimsical Wedding Headpieces


Ten months ago, I married the most wonderful man I could ever have! And while I have to agree that wedding prep is super exciting and is so much fun, I must also admit that it takes a bit of time, has a lot of work involved and can be hefty on your wallet.

And so, I made a decision to make most of our wedding stuff handmade.

It wasn’t the easiest route, but all the details, the personalized ambiance and the emotional connection that you and your guests will feel before, during and years after the wedding ceremony is over; that is priceless!

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My model-material bridesmaid in her Element.

As a countdown to May 4th,2013 I am going to devote this blogpost to share our small, simple Seaside themed-Wedding.

My hope is to inspire all women and all bride-to-bes when their special day comes as well as to convince everyone that it is possible to maximize your small budget and not compromise the quality of your wedding day. (=

Okay, let’s get started. One of the favorite wedding projects I have done is our headpieces.

This is not as hard as you might think. The trick is to have a solid vision of what you want, how you want it to look and where to get your materials.

Materials:

Grapevine wreath (available at craft stores like Michael’s)

a variety of seashells

Mini plastic pearl beads/ garland

teal ribbons

tulle flowers

hot glue gun

glue sticks

raffia

Directions:

1.Measure the head circumference of your bridesmaids, flower girls by putting the grapevine 2 or 3x around their heads.

2. Sketch a picture of how you want all your shells/ ribbons/ starfishes to be laid out. In here, the secret is to be creative. You want your pieces to look just right. Not lopsided or over the top. Balance is key.556105_3350770921260_1101257503_n

3. Using the hot glue, secure all your pieces together, holding it firmly after about 30 seconds.

4. Glue one end of the pearl garland at the front right. Coil twice and secure with a dab of glue gun.

5. Repeat Step 4 twice until you have a cascading pearl garland on both sides and at the back of the grapevine wreath.

6. Try it with your girls and adjust the wreath if necessary.

7. Store in such a way that it won’t get squished. In my case, I placed it in a ginormous green cookie jar. (=

They look like sea nymphs!

They look like sea nymphs!

Side view of the cascading pearls at the back.

Side view of the cascading pearls at the back.

Lovely Megan

Lovely Megan

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Aren’t they lovely?! (=

Healing Foods, A Multicultural Potluck


This was another of my homeworks in the Coursera on-line class that I am taking right now. I thought it was really fun!

I had to identify a food from my own culture that has purported effects on health promotion or disease prevention and “actually” prepare it at home, do an independent nutrient analysis, provide visual documentation of the final product, and then share the health-related significance that this cultural dish has.

So, I made…

My Homework: Arroz Caldo!

Arroz Caldo! ^^,

After reading the assignment details, the first thing that came to my mind is the traditional Filipino thick rice porridge called lugaw (loo-gaow).

This dish can be cooked in different variations like the one I made called Arroz Caldo – a lugaw made with chicken and ginger. It is often thought to be a European dish because of its name but is actually a Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish colonial settlers who patronized Chinese restaurants in the Philippines.

I chose this primarily because all the ingredients in this dish are readily available at my pantry and I don’t really want to go to the Superstore again after doing grocery the other day =)

When I was young, I can often remember people favouring this dish (I even watch it on telenovelas) where they would serve lugaw for someone who is sick particularly those who have a cold,fever or an upset stomach.

It’s remarkably comforting, warming from the inside, soft, and easily digestible. They say that when you’re feeling unwell, one of the last things the body needs is to expend extra energy digesting and the higher fiber content of unrefined rice can upset the stomach. So it actually serves a purpose.

Also, this dish has a lot of herbs like garlic, ginger and onions.

Garlic, which according to Wikipedia has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Ginger on the other hand contains chemicals that may reduce nausea and inflammation. Researchers also believe the chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, but they may also work in the brain and nervous system to control nausea.Last but not least, onions contain chemical compounds with potential anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and anti-oxidant properties, such as quercetin and glycosides.

Here are the ingredients to prepare this recipe:

Ingredients:

Chicken Broth (adapted from Simply Recipes)

  • Leftover bones and skin from a cooked or raw chicken carcass
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrot
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1. Put the leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add veggies like celery, onion, carrots. Add salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper.

2 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer uncovered at least 4 hours, occassionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface.

3 Remove the bones and strain the stock.

Arroz Caldo (adapted from sarahlynnpablo.wordpress.com)
3 cups jasmine rice
3-4 cups Chicken broth, or a substitute like vegetable broth
3 eggs, hard-boiled
4 thumb sized, ginger, cut lengthwise
*one chicken breast (optional)
1/2 lemon, juice
1 whole onion,diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and fresh-cracked black pepper (catered to your taste buds)
green onions, chopped+fried garlic for toppings

Procedure:

1. Cook 3 cups of jasmine rice in a rice cooker. Using cooked rice speeds up the process than if you started the recipe using raw rice.

Spoon the cooked rice into a large pot on medium heat. Start with as much broth as it takes to meet the top of the rice.

2. Stir to over cook the rice without burning it. Once the broth-rice comes to a simmer, lower the heat, and stir every 3-5 minutes.

3. Dice four cloves of garlic and half of a medium-sized onion. Warm a little vegetable oil in the bottom of a pan on medium heat.

4. Using the fresh or frozen ginger, cut into thumb-sized pieces that are more manageable.

5. Saute garlic, onion and ginger and add it to the rice.

6. Stir everything together approximately 30 minutes.

Easier additions to lugaw include hard-boiled eggs, fresh-cracked black pepper or salt, fish or soy sauce, basically anything.

What I really like to do is add a generous amount of fresh lemon, green onions to give it crunch and color!

Nutrient Analysis:

  • Serving size = 1 bowl of Arroz Caldo
  • How many servings your instructions in Answer 2 makes = 6 servings
  • Calories = 362 calories
  • Total fat (grams) = 10 grams
  • Saturated fat (grams) = 3 grams
  • Sodium (milligrams) = 1522 mg
  • Carbohydrate (grams) =51 grams
  • Dietary fiber (grams) = 5 grams
  • Sugars (grams) = 0 grams
  • Protein (grams) = 18 grams

I arrived at this numbers by plugging in an estimation of the amount of ingredients in a bowl of arroz caldo. I used the Super tracker to adjust the servings and calculate the nutrients of each food. I did the nutrient analysis of my Arroz Caldo using the Super Tracker Software.

After 3 consecutive meals of lugaw (dinner, brunch and dinner tonight)…my husband and I finally finished eating them!

I guess all the effort was worth it, but I might not do this dish for the next 2 years. ^^p

Whole Wheat Stawberry Pancakes


Weekend Mornings aren’t complete without this lightly-browned fluffy creatures lying on your breakfast table.

Like many “health and fiber-conscious” people,  I don’t really want to use the “empty” refined all-purpose flour. Remember, the dietary expert and my Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention instructor Katie Ferraro MPH,RD, CDE said that “fiber” is the future!

Therefore, the more fiber you add in your servings the better off you will be.

And so, here is a recipe that will satisfy that premise.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pancakes
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Servings: 7
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Organic Whole Wheat flour 
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • sunflower oil
  • Nutella spread (for a little swirling only!)

Directions:

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots; don’t over-mix.

3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Lightly coat it with oil and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter.

4. Wash strawberries, cut the top part off and cut them lengthwise.

5. When the pancake starts to bubble, you may add your strawberries if you wish. (or you can add them on top of your pancake tower later)

6. When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes.

7. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

8. Get that fork and dig in! ((=
Makes 14 pancakes.

Calories: 171.7 • Fat: 2.1 g • Carbs: 31.5 g • Fiber: 4.9 g • Protein: 8.9 g • Sugar:2.5 g
Sodium: 561.4 g

Yummie Raspberrie Smoothie


Who is ready for Summer?!

Yummy Raspberry Chocolate Smoothie

Summery Smoothie

Summery Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh raspberries (or frozen)

3/4 cup low-fat milk
6 ounces non-fat vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup or semi-sweet dark chocolate bits
3 ice cubes (only if using fresh berries)

Directions:

1. Combine the berries, milk, yogurt & chocolate in a blender

& process until smooth, then (if using fresh berries) add the ice cubes & again process until smooth. 

2. Pour into 2 glasses & enjoy!