summer

more summer love..

Hello there!  I've gathered a few more recipes with some more summer flavors.  Many friends ask me where I get my veggies and I've finally managed to get the contact from my mom.  Well, honestly, my mom and her helper do most of the grocery shopping in this house.  I am grateful for that.  The only time I run out to do shopping myself is when I need some particular international food produce.  That's because she doesn't know where to get them.  So I prefer to do it myself.  Ha! ;) 

Anyways, to go back to where we get our fresh greens, the farm is called New Life Organic Farm located in Kam Tin, Yuen Long.   Thankfully, we can get these green genies' from their vegetable stand in the heart of Yuen Long.  They have a reasonably wide range of vegetables depending on what is ripened that day.  So eating fresh and local isn't so difficult for us.  Plus, their prices are very reasonable.  Mom told me that their main distributions are for the 4-5 stars hotels in Hong Kong.  So yeah, if you are a residence of Yuen Long, you might want to check out this vegetable joint.  :) 

Knowing where our food comes from is very important and knowing that our plate of food can also contribute to the local community means even more.  Enough yapping, and let's get to my recipes now.   

Enjoy your weekend and stay cool....  xx

This summer salad is light and fresh.  Perfect for the busy bees.. :) 

Servings: 1-2 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1-2 capsicum, julienned

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 corn cob kernel, cooked and kernel removed 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1-2 shallot, finely chopped

1 - 1.5 bowl cooked quinoa(in miso)

1 bowl fresh greens

1 bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/2 chili, seeded, finely chopped

1 fresh lime juice & zest

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Grilled the capsicums and onions on a griddle with a little oil.  

2) Mix everything in a large salad bowl, season, and add 1-2 boiled eggs if you like.  

bean pasta with a hint of spiciness..  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients: 

100-150g french beans, halved

100g pasta

1/2 lemon zest

1/2 chili, deseeded, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup vegetable stock/cooked pasta water

1/2 cup parsley pesto*

1-2 tbsp grated pecorino

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta according to its packaging label.

2) Preheat a sauce pan with 2-3 tbsp olive oil, cook the french beans on medium-to-high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Put a lid on to avoid the oil spattered.  Stir occasionally to avoid burning the beans.  

3) Add garlic and chili.  Cook for 3-5 minutes,  Reduce heat if the fire is too strong.  

4) Add vegetable stock and simmer for 1 minute.  

5) Add the cooked pasta to the saucepan.  Mix well.  Season.  Heat off.  

6) Add parsley pesto and mix well.  

7) Serve the pasta with some grated pecorino, fresh lemon zest, and a twist of lemon juice.

* Parsley pesto is made of chopped parsley, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil.  Season.   

this is a vegetarian version of shepherd's pie.  

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients: 

2 baked potato

6 brown button mushrooms, thinly chopped

1/2 onion, thinly chopped

1/2 carrot, finely chopped

2 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 cup milk

1/2 glass white wine

1-2 tbsp butter

3-4 roasted almonds, finely chopped

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1 bunch sage, chopped

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Cook the potatoes in a salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes.  After they are cooked, let them cool down then remove the potato skins.  

2) Preheat a small pot with butter on medium-low heat, add the potato, carrot, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, roasted almonds, chopped shallots, and milk.  Mash everything with a potato masher.  Heat off when the potato turns mushy.  Season.  

3) Add the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Mix well.  Set aside. 

4) Heat up a frying pan on medium heat, add onion, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, and sage.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  

5) Add mushrooms and white wine, raise heat to medium-high.  Let the alcohol evaporates.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Let the mushroom cook for 3-5 minutes with a lid on.  Heat off.  Season.  

6) Use a little butter to coat around inside of the two ramekins, add the mushroom and onion mixture to the bottom.  Then layer the top with the mashed potato.  

7) Sprinkle a little more breadcrumbs and cheese on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200ºC.  

8) Let it cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.  Add a twist of lemon juice if you desire.  

Happy Fourth of July.. :)

Well, July First has just swung by (with its annual protest) quickly in Hong Kong and July Fourth is just around the corner for those in the US.  Honestly, I am not here to stir up any controversial topics as I am not keen on sharing too much of my thoughts.  I might make a few comments here and there only when I chat with friends in person.  Besides, I don't read much news and this is something that I should really start doing - just to know what is going on in this world.  One thing I learn throughout the years of encountering numerous mistakes is that I learn to shut up.  When I say shut up, I mean both physically and digitally.  I have no problem with people sharing online.  Every now and then, there are some who might annoy me a bit with their destructive and deviated posts.  I usually hide their feeds so I don't have to read them.  Perhaps, that's why I find blogging rather tough because I get too self-conscious with what I say.  I often contradict myself and start doubting my thinkings.  I don't want to spread the wrong message and end up causing a dispute with anybody.  And most importantly, I don't want to make a fool out of myself.  In fact, I feel like I already am.  ;-)  So yeah, coming up with words has become extremely cautious for me nowadays.  This is what I'm aiming to do and that is being responsible with my words.  It's not easy sometime and certainly requires a lot of mindfulness.   

Instead of voicing out so much of my thoughts, I turn to creating things and that is with cooking.  I would rather use my meals and photos to speak for me.  I love it so much and I can't stop doing it.  I also love staring at those beautiful food images that are posted by the other food bloggers.  That's probably the biggest joy I find in everyday - checking out and getting inspired by the other bloggers.  Just give me a bit more time to get comfortable at rambling on my blog.  One thing at a time.   

So I spent the entire week messing around with Lightroom and consolidating a few awesome recipes and images as a celebration for the coming Fourth of July.  I hope these recipes can inspire some of you out there.  Happy Birthday America!

This salad is spicy and minty.  The taste suits perfectly for the summer.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1/2 block grilled extra-firm tofu, quartered/halved* 

1/2 carrot, julienne

1 bowl mixed greens

1 bowl cooked soba, drained after running with cold water

1 handful chopped fresh mint leaves

Dressing Ingredients: 

1/2 garlic, finely chopped

1/2 chili, finely chopped

2-3 thin sliced fresh ginger, finely chopped

1-2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp honey

1/2 lime juice & lime zest

2-3 tbsp water

1 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

spicy & minty string beans crostini

Servings: 2 pieces

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

100g-150g string beans

1 bunch of mint leaves

1-2 eggs

2 slices of sour dough bread, grilled

Parmesan, shaved

1 lime, halved/quartered

1 tbsp butter

Pesto: 

1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped

1/2 chili, finely chopped

1/2 garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven at 200ºC.  Place the string beans on a baking tray with olive oil and season.  Bake for 20 minutes.  

2) Use a halved garlic to brush the grilled breads' surface, spread butter and place the string beans on top.  Add chopped mints and shaved parmesan.  Drizzle with pesto.  Serve with an egg of any style you like on top with a twist of fresh lime juice.  Bam!  Easy and pretty.   

what do you do when you have one potato and 6 little mushrooms?

Servings: 1-2 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 baked potato

6 brown button mushrooms, stem removed*

1/2 carrot, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic, finely chopped

1/2 chili, deseeded, finely chopped

1/4 cup milk

1-2 tbsp butter

3-4 roasted almonds, finely chopped

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1-2 tbsp grated cheddar

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1-2 tbsp sour cream

1 lemon juice

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Boil and cook the potato for 20-25 minutes in boiling water.  Let it cool down.  

2) Cut the potato in half and scoop out the inside.  Set the potato skin on the side and transfer the flesh to a mixing bowl.  

3) In a mixing bowl, add potato flesh, chopped mushroom stem*, carrots, shallot, chili, garlic, almond, and parmesan.  Mix well.  

4) Heat up a small frying pan on medium-low heat, add butter, milk, and potato mixture.  Use a potato crusher to mesh the potato mixture.  Heat off as soon as the milk and butter blends with the potato.  Add breadcrumbs and season.  

5) Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  Brush oil on the halved potato skins and mushrooms(inside and outside).  Season.  

6) Transfer a tablespoon full of potato mixture onto each mushroom bottom.  Lay the mushrooms on a baking tray.  Drizzle oil on the surface to avoid sticking to the tray. 

7) Sprinkle a bit of cheddar cheese on each top.  Bake for 20 minutes.

8) In the midway of baking the mushrooms, add the potato skins to the oven and bake each side for 5-10 minutes.  Keep checking to avoid burning the skins.  Heat off.  

9) Garnish with some chopped parsley and serve with sour cream and lemon juice.  

* I chopped the mushroom stems and mix them with the potato for a more mushroomy taste.  This way, we are not wasting any parts of the mushrooms.  :) 

crispy tofu, chickpea & quinoa salad

I notice that when a couple spend a lot of time together, their taste for food would come to mergence. I say this because I notice my drastic change in food preference throughout the years.  This goes for my boyfriend as well.  I still remember those early days of our relationship, we were both quite deterred from the taste of coriander (but not cumin) and tofu.  And now, it seems like we can't get enough of it.  Whenever we stay in for dinner, he would suggest Asian meals over Italian.  So that's how this quinoa salad came to light.  Notice that I am still using a lot of accessible ingredients because I want to be sure that I can get them when I'm in Italy/New York.  

This is a fairly easy recipe and only require a few extra steps.  I guess that's the great thing about cooking, a few mere tweaks can surely elevate a dish's taste.  One other change I noticed is that I am adding a lot of citrus taste to my food these days.  Maybe one day I will snap a photo to show you what's in my fridge and you'll see that lemons and limes are definitely my must-have items.  Hey, those little sour bombs are awesome.  I can't get enough of them.  I consume at least 2-3 each day.  Maybe that's also why I noticed them getting more expensive lately...  Hmmm..

this is definitely a tasty and healthy protein rich dish for this HOT summer..  

tofu, quinoa, and chickpea -- this is definitely a protein boost salad

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

salad: 

150g extra-firm tofu, squared or triangled 

1 cup cooked quinoa, seasoned

1/2 can chickpea, drained and rinsed

1-2 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic, finely chopped

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 chili, seeded, finely chopped

1 egg, whisked

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 bowl fresh mixed greens

1 handful chopped spring onions

1 bunch fresh coriander

dressing: 

1 lime zest

1/2 lime juice

1/2 chili, seeded, finely chopped

2 tbsp soysauce

2 tbsp mirn

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp honey

1-2 tbsp olive oil 

INSTRUCTIONS: 

1) Mix breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, 1/2 chili, and sesame seeds in a medium size bowl. Season.  Mix well.  

2) Whisk an egg in another bowl, coat the tofu with egg first then follow by coating with breadcrumbs.  Set aside. 

3) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium heat, cook the tofu for 1-2 minutes then turn to the other side and cook for 1 minute.  (Make sure you don’t burn the tofu.  If your oil is too hot, then reduce your heat) 

4) For the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a small dish.  

5) Get a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa, mixed greens, shallots, sesame seeds, and chickpea.  Mix well. 

7) Place your crispy tofu on top of the salad and garnish with some chopped spring onions and coriander.

8) Serve with a twist of lime juice and the spicy lime dressing on the side.