Tag: fast

Quick Cooking Ideas: Zucchini and Basil Saute

I got some zucchini from one farmer fairy (thanks, Ron and Terry!), and had leftover basil from my other farmer fairy (thanks, Patti!) to use up.

-Slice some zucchini (I used 1+3/4 zucchini) into thin slices on the diagonal.
-Roughly chop garlic (I used 3 cloves)
-Add garlic to cold oil, and add the zucchini to the warmed oil.
-Add some salt and saute in olive oil until the zucchini is just tender; turn the heat off.
-Mix in sliced basil to zucchini as you transfer it to your serving plate or bowl. I used 8-9 HUGE leaves!


Spicy Pepper Stir Fry

One of our favorite places to eat authentic Taiwanese food in the US is Sinbala in Arcadia, CA. They have a dish called “spicy stir-fried with spicy” (辣炒辣, or la4chao3la4), which to my understanding means that it should contain peppers, peppers, and more peppers. Sinbala’s rendition was not very spicy, but it had a nice flavor. My dad remarked, “this would be easy to make at home!” So, here I am.

Disclaimer: I have no idea what the most “authentic” way to make this dish is. Many a google search in Chinese left me with no definitive answer. If you can eat the entirety of the amount that this recipe makes in one sitting, spicy props to you.

I am thankful to be able to take this picture in the DAYTIME with natural light! HURRAY.

Spicy Pepper Stir Fry
Makes around 1 cup


3 Tbsp chili oil or canola oil
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1/4 cup string beans, finely chopped
20 Thai chili peppers, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
3 Tbsp finely chopped dried+salted radish (luo2buo1gan1 萝卜干)- optional if you can’t find it
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce


1) Add the chili oil to pan and add ginger and garlic while the oil is still cold. Heat the oil to medium high and stir until the ginger and garlic are fragrant, or until you can smell them.

2) Add the string beans, peppers, and radish, and stir fry until the string beans are just cooked, or longer if you like them softer.

3) Add salt and soy sauce.

4) Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold, with hopefully plenty of hot rice! 

葱油餅 (cong you bing) Scallion Pancakes

I learned all my essential skills and understanding of everything food-related from my mom, who is an amazing cook+baker. Much of the time, I learned while procrastinating on homework by spending time in the kitchen. After all, who else would take over sauteeing for her when she was in the middle of cooking and had to answer the phone? 😉

I don’t know any measurements to Chinese recipes because it’s how I learned:
“Ma, how much wine?” “More…more….okay, 夠了 (enough)!” The dishes that remind me of home are the ones that I only know how to cook by feel, because I would almost always be there to watch my mom make them.

Scallion pancakes and mung bean porridge (葱油餅 cong1 you2 bing3 and 綠豆稀飯 lu4 dou4 xi1 fan4) were two staples in our house as I grew up. My mom would buy bunches of lush and green onions fresh from the Chinese supermarket (only in Los Angeles can you call the Chinese grocery stores SUPERmarkets), or sometimes she would rescue green onions from the fridge that were threatening to go yellow/brown and limp. We would make stacks of these, and my sister and I would take turns being in charge of cutting these into eighths.

My husband Tim will attest to the fact that when we go out with friends and they order scallion pancakes ($4.95) at restaurants, I try my best not to let my cringing show. Of course, I cringe because they are so easy to make at home, and with $5 you could buy enough ingredients to make you a huge stack of scallion pancakes with lots of scallions, not just a wimpy few scallions that they give you in restaurants.

scallion pancakes cong you bing

Thin dough and very little oil; cooked for a longer period of time

Won’t you try making it ? I brought these for my friends at Bistrot La Minette, and even they loved it! (To me, that is ultimate food validation, next to Tim’s validation of posting pictures of the food to his Facebook page or pretending to steal all the food 😀 )
You have been warned: Once you make this, you may also start to cringe when you friends order it at restaurants, because you’ll know how simple it can be to make at home! Enjoy!

Cong You Bing
Scallion Pancakes

Makes about 4 pancakes Continue reading

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I really wanted to bake something to redeem my ugly (and what I would consider failed) gingerbread cake, so I was looking up recipes…I wanted to make cookies, I didn’t really have enough flour (had a cup, not even maybe) so I found a recipe that is not only easy, but turns out with crackly top cookies. I LOVE crackly top cookies!
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies 
1 cup brown sugar 
1 cup peanut butter ASIDE: (all natural, please. Did you know that most commercial brands ie Skippy/Jif/generic store brand add hydrogenated oil to make their PB? After reading up on trans fat in the LA Times a few years ago, I always check ingredient labels now, and try to eat as little trans fat as possible (once or twice a month, max)What Mayo Clinic says 
Common foods with partially hydrogenated/hydrogenated oils: some tortilla chips, some chips (esp. the ones that have like sour cream and onion or whatnot), doritos, cheetos (sad), snickers, twix, peanut butter m&ms, reese’s pieces, surprisingly-NOT-in-reeses (yay!), ritz, cheez-its, goldfish, most pepperidge farm cookies, animal crackers, honeymaid graham crackers, teddy grahams, chips ahoy, bakery goods from most chains (ie pathmark, superfresh, giant, costco <–in their cookies, i know), frozen garlic bread, whipped topping <–ew, margarine/i can’t believe it’s not butter crap, most premade pie crusts, canned frosting, cake, brownie, and cookie mixes, sprinkles/jimmies, poptarts, tubed icing, corn pops =(, some granolas, some granola bars (ie quaker, kudos), hershey’s cookies and cream chocolate, toll house peanut butter and white chocolate chips,
Food(s) that used to have hydrogenated oils but now have “high oleic” or ‘expeller pressed’ oil: oreos, generic graham crackers
Safe from trans fat: walker shortbread, triscuits, wheat thins, newman-os, bear naked granola, health valley granola bars, trader joe’s white chocolate chips, ghirardelli white chocolate chips
Places that sell almost nothing that contains hydrogenated oils: Whole Foods (nothing w/ trans fat, for sure) and Trader Joes <–SOMETIMES has hydrogenated oils, but very very seldom
Yeah, I really mean it when I say I check ingredient labels! I am sorry, too, that the trans-fat-food list is MUCH longer than non-trans-fat food. I think some makers are trying to slowly change their recipes, though.  
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup PB
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix together [brown sugar-vanilla] together, then stir in chocolate. Bake for 12 minutes at 350F, until they are “puffy but soft to the touch,” then cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.
Notes: I only had…~ 3/4 cups of PB, so I used that and ~2/3 cup brown sugar. Omitted vanilla, and poured a random amount of semisweet chocolate chips in. If you don’t have a cooling rack, I would just take out all the random plates I had…or put it on some type of surface that will least retain heat

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