Monday, January 26, 2015

Chao Mi Fen

The more I record my steps to make recipes for this blog, the more I realize that it is so difficult to make exact recipes for dishes! There are so many variables in cooking- how powerful is your stove? How thick are your 'julienned' carrots? How big is one dried shiitake mushroom versus another? What type of salt? Even just for kosher salt, Diamond brand versus Morton brand have different sized flakes of salt- Morton brand is noticeably saltier per pinch of salt (try it!). Some soy sauces are super salty (cough Kikkoman red), and others are not as salty (Pearl River Bridge, for instance). I aim to provide as good of instructions as possible, but there are some variables I can't account for. 

With that being said, please use the recipes I post, but also use your tastebuds and intuition to guide you, even if that means straying from the exact amounts and such!

Stir-fried Thin Rice Vermicelli
炒米粉
chao mi fen (tsao mi fen)
help from: YTower and 李梅仙老師
Makes 4 hearty "carb" servings

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Taiwan Eats I of V: Taipei Part 1

I'll be sharing about some of my food experiences in Taiwan in this 5 part series. It will mostly reflect our most recent trip (Oct 25- Nov 8), but will also talk about some places I went to on my second trip by myself, back in 2011. I didn't capture all of the places we went to, but I did my best! We spent time in Taipei, Gaohsiung, Hualien, Yilan, then back to Taipei. I'll post in order of where we went.

Don't worry- recipes will still be posted!

If you are traveling to Taiwan with USD, you will feel rich. Note that T and I prefer mom and pop, no frills places, with some exceptions for fancier places. Taiwan is like a culinary mecca, so I know there are thousands of restaurants and food stands we missed. It would probably take a lifetime to explore them all, and have enough stomach to try everything! Do you have a favorite place to eat in Taiwan?

Breakfast

阜杭豆漿 fu4hang2
Hua Shan Market, 2F
台灣台北市忠孝東路1段108號2樓
(02) 2392-2175

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Finally, a recipe

I'm back from the (blogging universe) dead!

Today we had a busy day; it started out with my husband T not going to play airsoft outdoors because it was 25 degrees out, so he went to the gun range with his trusty friend K instead.

I had choir practice today until 4, then visited the new Penzey's at the Bourse (Independence Hall East and Randstead)- my first time at a Penzey's, ever! It was nice but I decided to stick to purchasing "Western" food spices, because some of the non-Western spices like Sichuan peppercorns, were not only much more expensive than I'm used to seeing, but not as high in quality. (They contained quite a few of those black crunchy seeds) My favorite aspect of the store was being able to smell all the different spices. Something that I actually would have preferred would be the ability to scoop out whatever amount you desire, instead of just buying previously portioned out amounts, like 1, 4, or 8 oz, etc. I bought 4 oz each of cayenne pepper and Hungarian paprika, and each was around $5. Not bad, considering they will last me a very long time.

If you are looking to buy spices, I have had good experiences with myspicesage.com. They also sell stuff including matcha powder (it's from China, so I am a little skeptical- though it has good customer reviews), spinach powder, beet powder, and tons of other types of powders, if you want to use them to color your frostings naturally. Lots of spinach powder can actually make your food taste like matcha, strangely. I speak from experience- I used it to color the frosting on my mom's wedding cake, and people were asking if the frosting was green tea!

I came home and had some chicken leftovers, but needed some vegetables. I had bought a big napa cabbage, and had soaked mushrooms already, so it was easy to think of what to make.

Braised Napa and Shiitake Mushrooms
大白菜香菇
Da bai cai xiang gu
Makes 2 hearty vegetable servings

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

To blog, or not to blog..

So I come back to check on this blog to see if anyone still reads this thing, and I noticed a crazy spike in the Beef Noodle Soup / Niu Rou Mian traffic.For funsies, I decided to Google it:

#2! Not bad. Maybe I should continue posting stuff here...maybe not? Blogging was fun, but I felt pressure to always measure stuff, which I wouldn't do otherwise. It's safe to say that most of my cravings are for Chinese food, though, so at least I wouldn't be running out of ideas for what to write. We shall see.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Move

Due to some unfortunate circumstances, we moved yet again! I am thankful for friends and co-workers who graciously gave up their Saturday morning to help us.

Those of you who have had to move know that it's a pain in a butt to pack everything, and also know that the number of boxes representing the kitchen area seems to always outdo boxes from any other room. I am trying to pare down the 'stuff' I have...do I keep my shaved ice maker? The Taiwanese in me screams yes! And, after our trip to Taiwan (less than 72 hours to go!!), I am sure I will be re-inspired to make shaved ice.  

Does anyone want a stovetop waffle iron? It's a gift from my mom, but after 2 waffle sessions, I realized that I didn't have the patience to make waffles over the stovetop and have to babysit them. (Sorry, Mama!) I am looking for a good home for them, so inquire within. Obviously, you must be able to pick it up from me..no deliveries ;)

Before the move to our current place, I went through a sad period of about 1-2 weeks where I didn't feel much like cooking or baking. It's hard to feel inspired to create when you can't feel like the place you are living in is your home, for me, at least. It's also hard when lots of your kitchen stuff is still packed away in boxes! By the time I snapped out of it and realized that I had to resume my routine for my sanity's sake, it was just about time to move again..

I am thankful to be living in our new place, where we really like it. We have just gotten settled, and almost all the boxes have been unpacked or moved to closets. I am excited to cook!......when we return from Taiwan. We're leaving on Saturday....sooo excited! We will be back in 2 weeks.

We bought a Costco-sized pack of AA batteries for my camera in preparation for our trip. We plan to take pictures of everything we eat, and maybe pictures of some scenery and people here and there ;)

I'm excited for many things in Taiwan, but I can't deny that the food is one of the top things I'm excited for. Taiwanese people really know how to make great snacks, sweets, and food of all sorts! I can only pray that I can learn to re-create a few of the delicious morsels we will feast on in one of Asia's best places :)

In the mean time, here are some Taiwanese/Chinese recipes to transport you to Taiwan while I am gone!

Lu Rou Fan (The most popular recipe on this site, believe it or not!)

Yan Su Ji (Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken)

Jiu Cai He Zi (Chinese Leek Boxes)

Garlic Chives/Pork/Shrimp/Dumplings

Spicy Pepper Stir-Fry (Make it as a side for your dinner tonight. I will be making it to go with our steamed fish!)

Homestyle Tofu

Sweet Red Bean Soup with YuanZi