Brainless Butterfly Shrimp [recipe]

IMG_3808I used to not eat shrimp. Ever. Which is funny because I’m Cantonese and Chinese, and shrimp is a staple seafood of the cuisine. Growing up, going out to eat dim sum was a frequent family event on the weekends. We’d order xiā jiǎo (shrimp dumplings, a.k.a. har gow), and I’d peel out the shrimp filling, plop it on one of my parents’ plates, and only eat the starchy rice flour dumpling wrapper. My parents joke that I missed out on “the good stuff.”

seafoodIt wasn’t until our family took a trip to Hong Kong when I was nine years old that I began eating shrimp. There, we rode a ferry out to the tiny island of Cheung Chau, which is restricted to motor vehicles. I remember biking along the water front and seeing fisherman laying out their freshly-caught scallops and shrimp to dry in the sun. Our host simply walked up to one of those fisherman and purchased seafood. She only had to go a few feet away to a restaurant where she handed over the fish and shrimp. That shrimp was the juiciest, sweetest shrimp I have ever tasted and I have yet to experience shrimp that matches that standard. Continue reading “Brainless Butterfly Shrimp 

Really Good Oatmeal Cookies [recipe]

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Ah, oatmeal.

It seems that people either love it or hate it with a passion.

I’m a fan, but oatmeal can be a divisive subject within my family.

Dad: OK, I’ll eat it because it’s a fresh, hot breakfast.

Mom: This is so healthy for you – it’s whole grains and is good for lowering your cholesterol

Younger Sister #1: Eh, not oatmeal again. It’s not my favorite.

Younger Sister #2: I think I’m going to eat waffles with whipped cream for breakfast instead.

My grandma: (nodding her head) I love oatmeal. I eat it with salted egg and dried fish for breakfast and it’s almost like Chinese rice porridge.

So, you see, even within my family everyone has their own reaction when they see a pot of oatmeal sitting on the stovetop in the morning. To each their own, I suppose.

I might do a future post about some of my favorite *healthy* oatmeal toppings, but for now, here’s an oatmeal cookie recipe that can please everybody except those people who really can’t stand chocolate, dried cranberries, raisins, and sugar. Continue reading “Really Good Oatmeal Cookies 

Egg Roll Cookies

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My family has a semi-strict rule against purchasing kitchen appliances that only serve one purpose. For example, a cherry pitter or a kiwi knife or a panini maker are absolute no-goes because they take up valuable cabinet real estate. If the device or appliance has only a single capability, we believe that more multi-purpose paring knife or just a good ol’ frying pan can do the trick. Continue reading “Egg Roll Cookies”

Weekend Cheesecake [recipe]

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Let’s talk guilty pleasures.

Okay, yes, in reality there should be no such thing as a “guilty pleasure” because we eat decently healthy 80% of the time, leaving us room to splurge about 20% of the time (the 80-20 rule) without feeling an ounce of guilt.

I don’t follow that suggestion to an absolute “T,” but I do try to eat healthy most of the time and save the not-so-nutritious stuff for special occasions.

All that goes to say that I am a dessert connoisseur — probably not in the way you were thinking. Yes, I always consider my options (and who doesn’t love options?), but I look for quality. If I’m going to have dessert, it better be worth it.  I’m not a fan of a low-fat diet food ice cream sandwich with unpronounceable pseudo ingredients. I want the  real thing made with cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla bean.

Continue reading “Weekend Cheesecake

apple banana lemon green smoothie [recipe]

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Green smoothies continue to be all the rage in the realm of healthy food trends. There’s something about drinking your greens in a tasty, cleansing smoothie that makes those vegetables much more appetizing.

In my town, we’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave this week. Because I had frozen bananas stocked up in the fridge (confession: I quite frequently eat them straight out of the freezer like popsicles), it was even simpler to whip up this cooling smoothie in a matter a seconds. Continue reading “apple banana lemon green smoothie 

Marcy’s Jewish Almond Cookies

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Believe it or not, we’re on the verge of entering a new year. It’s crazy to think that 2014 has zoomed by and in just a few hours, when I write the date I’ll have to scribble “5” on top of the “4” I’ve grown used to. It’s a struggle until February when 2014 starts to feel like the long-lost past.

Can you tell that this was supposed to be a Christmas cookie post? Okay, sorry, I am most definitely late to the (cookie recipe exchange) party.

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Nonetheless, if you’re having a major freak-out right now about what you’re bringing to the upcoming New Year’s Eve party tonight, I’ve got you covered. These cookies might have been perfectly timed for Christmas, but with their dusting of snowy powdered sugar and fragile almond bits in the middle, you can enjoy them at any moment of the year. Continue reading “Marcy’s Jewish Almond Cookies”

Can’t Get Enough Pumpkin

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Are you tired of pumpkin yet?

Me? I never get tired of pumpkin.

Before the holidays end and the cans of pumpkin puree become relegated to the lowest shelf in the supermarket, we purchase canned pumpkin in bulk and keep it in our garage. Talk about pumpkin goodness all year long.

Besides enjoying the canned pumpkin in a rich pumpkin bread with cocoa accents, I just found another way to get my “pumpkin fix.”

Cue the pumpkin pie smoothie. It’s a light, nutritious and delicious breakfast or mid-afternoon snack packed with wholesome ingredients such steel cut oats and chia seeds. Continue reading “Can’t Get Enough Pumpkin”

Cupcakes in Moderation

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or so they say. P1050204

Now, of course I’m exaggerating. In this case, the desperate time was the reality of having to go back to school. Most specifically, it was starting junior year, the year every single person I talk to says is the hardest year of high school. 

It’s a bit of a shock to transition from sleeping in until 11 a.m. to waking up before the crack of dawn (or at least while it’s still dark). 

I found myself dreading Monday morning. 

My solution to counting down the days until school began was to whip a batch of Kara Lind’s Chocolate Cupcakes. 

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If you’re not familiar with Kara’s Cupcakes, it is a business started by Cupcakes Wars second place finisher Kara Lind. Kara’s cupcakes are fluffy and light and some flavors are paired with a heavenly cloud of butter cream frosting. I’m lucky enough to go to a school that has a Kara’s right across the street which makes it the perfect place for a minimum day sugar rush. 

Of course, I was overjoyed when I’d found out that the recipe for these chocolate cupcakes was out and I could make them at home. 

Let’s just say that was a perfect way to end my summer. Of course, you can’t go wrong with cream cheese frosting following the recipe I used for the banana cake

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Enjoy! 

Bethany