It has been, what seems to me, like a million years since I last posted on my beloved blog. Let’s just say that life has been a bit eventful.We had a baby! (who is now almost a toddler), and we bought a house, then we sold the house, and then we moved across the ocean :D. A change can do you good, they say. So we, the three of us, huddle, stick together, and embrace this adventure with open arms.
Our future house is still in the works. So I am sharing a kitchen at my mom’s house. After months of eating out, I started missing cooking. Now, I have been returning to it little by little. It feels good to cook, to create, to produce again. I hope to resume and sustain this good habit here in our new world.
Last night, I cooked up a storm. But of course, I forgot to take pictures of the main dishes. I did remember to take pictures of the desserts. Oh well, let this post and the next be about sweet stuff.
Mung Beans is pretty popular in the South East Asian countries. I love having it cooked in coconut milk mixed with palm sugar. You can have it hot or cold. Either way is delightful. So here is my simple recipe for 4 people:
- 2 cups of mung beans
- 1 cup of palm sugar
- 1 cup of coconut milk (if using the light coconut milk, you can use the whole can)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 or 2 inches of ginger
- 6 cups of water
- In a medium size pot, bring water to a rolling boil
- Add mung beans and ginger. Let it cook for 5 minutes
- Turn off the stove and cover the pot.
- Let the mung beans sit for an hour in that covered pot
- After an hour, see if it needs a bit of water. If so, add enough to immerse the beans
- Turn on the stove again and add sugar. Stir well
- While stirring, add the coconut milk. Keep stirring until it starts to come to simmer again
- Turn off the stove, let it cool down, and enjoy
- Refrigerate the rest and try it cold for the next day
“Make me sweet again, fragrant, fresh and wild, and thankful for any small gesture.” -Rumi-
Speaking of sweet, fragrant, fresh and wild, here’s another easy side dish recipe. Thought I’d share before 2013 ends. Happy 2014 to all, may our new year be sweet and filled with gratitude.
The fresh, cute, and candy-like grape tomatoes always make wonderful salad and snack. A recent eat-out at, an oldie but goody, Italian restaurant gave me a delicious alternative on how to enjoy them: roast and drizzle them with balsamic! Oh, how they became even sweeter!
Here’s how I did it:
- 10 oz. of grape tomatoes (halved)
- 4 garlic (whole or minced doesn’t matter)
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (add more if you want)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place the halved tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle a little bit of salt, and mix with both hands
- Roast for 15 minutes
- Let them cool down for a five minutes
- Place them in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar
- Optional: Make it peppery by adding arugula!
- Great to serve together with Spaghetti ala Puttanesca and Roasted Portobello with Breadcrumbs
Thanks for stopping by…
Other source of recipe idea: Roasted Grape Tomatoes Recipe by Claire Robinson
Simplicity in cooking is key this week. The days between Christmas and New Year can get tricky for me. With the holiday mode running high, I feel like eating out everyday and enjoy the festivities. That may have been due to a family tradition. Growing up, my family used the holidays to break daily routines and go on family trips. Many Indonesians do that. My friend puts it best, “We always thirst for vacations.” That’s why tourist destinations like Bali, Jogjakarta, Bandung, etc. get jam-packed during national holidays.
Jeff and I decided to stay put for the holidays this year. We went out for Christmas eve dinner, for the weekend, and will repeat for tomorrow’s New Year’s eve. Not much cooking this week. But I did make these crispy Portobello and thought I’d share. Wonderful to serve alongside Spaghetti Puttanesca and a bowl of roasted grape tomatoes in balsamic. Simple but delightful.
We will need:
- 10 slices of large Portobello mushrooms
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix egg with a little bit of salt and pepper, beat
- Dip each slice of Portobello into the egg mixture
- Coat each mushroom with breadcrumbs
- Brush a baking sheet with olive oil, place the mushrooms on it, and roast for 8–10 minutes
Thank you for reading. Have a happy and healthy 2014!
Looking for an easy way to cook vegetables and make them more flavorful? Sauteing is my answer. My mom does it a lot with a variety of veggies like bean sprouts, bitter melon, Napa cabbage, etc. She taught me to cook them with garlic, chili peppers, salt, and a little bit of water. Quick, easy, and tasty.
Napa cabbage has been one of my faves to saute. This crunchy and mild cabbage absorbs flavors nicely. It makes a wonderful side to beef, chicken, or fish dishes. (Optional: we could also make the dish more colorful by adding red bell peppers and/or mushrooms.)
Here’s my recipe to serve two:
- 1 Napa cabbage, cleaned and sliced (I usually pick a small one, just enough for two)
- 4 garlic, chopped
- 4 Thai peppers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 bell pepper, cored and chopped (optional)
- 1–2 cups of Shiitake mushroom, stemmed and chopped (optional)
- Heat up a medium pan, add oil (over medium heat)
- Cook garlic and peppers for two minutes
- Add slices of Napa cabbage and mix with the garlic and chili peppers (add bell peppers and mushroom here too, if using)
- Add salt, mix. Then add water and cover the pan with a lid.
- Let it cook for five minutes until the it simmers. (The cabbage will release its moisture and wilt. But, it will still be a bit crunchy even after cooking.) Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Serve while it’s still hot
Thanks for reading!
One recipe for two dishes is possible here. This collard greens dish uses the same ingredients as my Smoked Salmon in Spicy Coconut Milk Sauce. Serve both over hot jasmine rice, with a cup of hot tea. Let’s nourish ourselves and be content.
- 1 bunch of collard greens (Discard the stems and center ribs. Cut the leaves into thin strips)
- 3 garlic
- 3 shallots
- 5 Thai peppers (or other type of chili peppers that you prefer)
- 7 fl oz of light coconut milk (1/2 can of the regular 14 fl oz—Use the rest of the milk for Smoked Salmon in Spicy Coconut Sauce, see previous blog post)
- 1 inch cut of galangal root, smashed (No galangal root? Substitute with zest from one lemon or lime)
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil
- Chop garlic, shallots, and Thai peppers in a food processor
- Heat up a medium size pan over medium heat and add oil
- Sweat garlic, shallots, and peppers for about one to two minutes
- Add coconut milk, salt, and galangal root to the pan. Stir until it starts to bubble.
- Add collard greens into the sauce, mix, and cover the pan for five minutes or until the greens wilt. Move it away from the heat and let it sit for a while to absorb the sauce.
- Discard galangal root
- Serve with hot jasmine rice
Hope you like it and thank you for stopping by!
Got a chance to catch up with an old roommate a couple of weekends ago. Jeff and I joined her and her family at a lake house that we rented. We got lucky. October was being kind, sunny, and warm that week. Fall painted earthy colors all around us. We spent most of the time talking, eating, and running around outside.
We covered a wide range of topics that weekend. Food was one of them. In addition to exchanging cooking ideas, we also made a few dishes. Eating well was one of the activities we planned to do at this lake house reunion. My friend made red cabbage coleslaw one night to accompany her grilled lamb chops. I’ve always loved crunchy and tangy slaw but had never made it before. When I saw hers, I made notes in my mind: make coleslaw, use red cabbage and green onions, make it colorful! It was delicious. Thanks, Lal.
Feeling inspired and intrigued, I slightly adapted the recipe the other day. Here’s my version with horseradish punch:
- 1/2 of small red cabbage head (sliced into very thin shreds)
- 4 green onions (chopped)
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish
- Black pepper
I mixed and whisked the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, horseradish, black pepper, and salt in a big bowl. Tasted and adjusted the flavors. Then I added the cabbage and green onions, tasted and adjusted again. Mixed them up, covered, and refrigerated it for an hour/overnight before serving. Let the vegetables absorb the flavors. Great to serve alongside steak or lamb chops.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Baked Tempeh. My parents would probably chuckle when they read this post’s title. You see, tempeh is one of Indonesia’s staple food and a favorite of mine. Typically, we’d just sprinkle salt on it and brown it in a pan with a little bit of oil. It is delicious, simple, and humble. Now, as much as I love having tempeh, I loathe getting oil splatter all over my stove, kitchen, skin, and clothes. So, my solution to avoid such a mess: bake them in the oven. Why not, right?
Tempeh absorbs seasonings and marinades quite well. So, we could just salt it OR add more flavors to it. I like to do a dry rub with a few spices for mine. Here’s how I prepare the baked tempeh:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- I slice tempeh into thin rectangular cuts
- Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the tempeh cuts and brush to coat evenly
- Sprinkle a little bit of salt, cayenne pepper powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder
- Mix these spices with the tempeh cuts and make sure each is well coated
- Bake for 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown
They are still that delicious, simple, and humble tempeh that I like so much, even with the added ingredients and steps.
Great to serve alongside a vegetable dish and rice
Hope you like it.
I must love green beans a whole lot that they keep showing up on my blog. Here they are again—this time sautéed with peppers and anchovies. Yes, anchovies! I am one of those people who enjoy them. A lot of Indonesians use the fish in different dishes as flavor booster. These little babies make my sautéed vegetable dishes salty, savory, and smelling fantastic. And a little goes a long way, really. No need to go crazy.
Here’s what we’ll need to make this dish:
- Two handful of green beans
- 3 yellow sweet peppers
- 5 cayenne or Thai or finger hot peppers (I like these skinny spicy peppers)
- 3 shallots (chopped)
- 4 garlic (chopped)
- 6 anchovies (In a can with olive oil—I rinsed mine before cooking to lessen the salt and oil content)
- Black pepper
- Ginger powder
- Fill up medium pot with water, bring to boil
- Add string beans and let them cook for a while until the water bubble for the second time
- Remove them from the hot boiling water and place under cold running water (or a bowl of ice cold water) to stop the cooking process (I am learning from various cooking sources that this process is also called blanching)
- Heat up a tablespoon of canola oil in a large pan (medium heat)
- Saute anchovies, garlic, shallots, and peppers for about two to three minutes (until the anchovies melt)
- Add green beans, a dash of black pepper, and a pinch of ginger powder
- Mix them really well, reduce the heat, and cover the pan for a minute or two
- Serve with baked tempeh and rice
Another favorite: Tempeh
My favorite simple peasant plate
Thanks for reading. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, wherever you are.
A wholesome salad makes a great power-booster lunch. The other day, I was in the mood for quinoa. So, I combined it with a mix of sliced avocado, smoked salmon, red bell pepper, and cayenne pepper that I dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, and a little bit of honey. The taste of smoked salmon mixed with creamy avocado, crunchy peppers, and nutty quinoa blended well with the tangy and sweet vinaigrette. What a party in a salad bowl!
Here’s my ingredient list:
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of chicken stock (or water)
- 1 avocado (sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 2 slices of smoked salmon (sliced)
- 1 cayenne pepper (chopped)
- Lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of honey
- I followed the quinoa cooking instruction on its package: bring it to a boil with two cups of chicken stock and lower the heat to let it simmer for 15 minutes in a covered pot
- In a medium bowl, I whisked lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, and honey together to make the dressing
- Mixed the avocado, salmon, and peppers with the dressing. Cover and chill in the fridge
- Let the quinoa cool down for a bit, place in a salad bowl, and topped with the avocado, salmon, and peppers
Great for bring-lunch-to-work menu (keep it chilled) or as a meal after an exercise.
Have a great weekend, all!
When people find out that I cook, some would ask, “Wow, you don’t mind the effort that cooking involves?” or say, “Good for you. I am way too lazy to cook.” or “Oh, you’re such a good wife.” (I usually roll my eyes, in my mind, for the latter comment :D.) Feels like there’s this impression that a person who cooks is industrious, taking on such an onerous task, or domestic. Well, contrary to that assumption, I cook because I get bored with food a lot. I seek wonderful colors, a burst of great flavors, and pleasing tastes in food. They bring me joy, while bland food just makes me feel sad.
My curiosity of tastes and appreciation for creativity takes me on an ongoing search for things to try. Just like this recipe I adapted and simplified from a genius food blogger at Dash and Bella: Grilled Plum and Lemon Ricotta Toast. Grilled sweet plum over warm bread with mild cheese spread. Delicious. I’d like to try using apples, nectarine, or peach next time. What a great way to enjoy more fruits! Thanks, Dash and Bella.
In my version, I used:
- 4 black plums (each sliced into four cuts)
- Ricotta cheese
- I grilled the slices of plums and bread for about 1-2 minutes each side over medium heat (I didn’t mix the plums with olive oil, balsamic, and herbs as the original recipe suggested and still they tasted wonderful).
- Spread ricotta cheese on the warm bread and place the juicy plum on top (I used the ricotta plain without the lemon juice)
- Enjoy! Great for breakfast and snack
Have a great day!