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Cured Roe aka Botargo

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My fabulous friend Sharon recently opened a fabulous wine bar in Taipei called Whinos, and I had the pleasure of visiting her awesome little space the last time I was around and needless to say, it was FABULOUS!  It is chic but warm, cool but inviting, intimate and private but bubbling with mingling chatters.  It was everything I look for in a little-spot-to-call-your-own that’s tucked in a city corner, and I’m totally envious happy for her.  You know how sometimes you hold a little dream but not-you, instead a friend who obviously has more guts and awesomeness to pull it off before you did, and you couldn’t help but feeling overwhelmed with envy best wishes for them?  That’s how I feel.  My utter jealousy happiness for her total fabulous-ness.

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Fried Rice Go Green

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OMG… did anybody see Tony’s Rio episode?  WHAT the hell happened to…  OK, better and wiser human beings once said that if you got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.  So I’m just going to subtly leave with – I’m post-traumatically frozen… ambushed then shocked and awed… still stumbling to pick up my jaw from the floor and maybe a few teeth… then thank Lordy that this episode was strategically aired AAAFTER his roast… and of course now totally understand why he had to leave the show because there’s a bigger crisis to attend to (I get it now, Tony).

Was that too much?  That’s all I’m gonna say…

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Not-a-Muffin Amaretto Financier

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“My colleagues loved those mini muffins…”
“There are NOT muffins!  They are FINANCIER with a silent R, as in FRRRENCH!!”
“I know financiers.  They’re rectangular.  That’s not financier.”
“…. don’t comment before you GOOGLE!  I’m getting Jiaozi a new daddy.”

OK, that pretty much sums up my recent mental-stability.  But in my defense if I may, a word on why I go a bit nuts when my slightly-retarded-in-the-kitchen husband (but otherwise awesome) tries to give “input” to my cooking given that another (and so many others like it) conversation took place just the other day:

“Hey, can you do something with that tomato?”
“What tomato?”
“THAT tomato that’s being sitting on the counter for days!”
“You mean… the pumpkin?”
“…. oh…”

So you see?  How can I take cooking advice from a man like that?  PS: Jiaozi is my Maltese!

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Sichuan Chili Oil

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UPDATES AVAILABLE: (sources for ingredients)

I love and use so much chili oil (such as here) that I decided to forge my own.  It is the basis of all things sichuan which – IF were also your thing and it better be –  is totally worth it to make your own because it tastes so much BETTER than store-bought (which I often find very lacking in flavors).  The preparation and cooking itself practically takes no time at all, and it keep FOREVER in your fridge.  I promise that it will deliver the kick you’ve been looking for and guarantee to scorch and numb your face right off.  You are welcome.

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Do Right By Stuffed Peppers

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If you’ve had Spanish stuffed pepper or Mediterranean stuffed pepper or God-forbid-American stuffed pepper or whatever-other-western-culture-style who together shares the innate calling to fill a vegetable with a hollow center, and you think – stuffed pepper is the champion (wait for it…) of the good-in-theory-but-COMPLETELY-FORGETTABLE-in-reality category – I’m totally with you.  In all the culinary-ideas out there that the world all seems to agree on and share, the west unmistakably dominates on a few things…I’ll give’em that.  They do better with a-lot-of-things-fermented like cheese, bread, cured meats and basically all-things-alcoholic.  Great.  I won’t argue with that.

But leave stuffed peppers alone.

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Bok Choy and Pork Ravioli

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Is it getting cold over there?  Wherever you are.

I woke up this morning today, and even in my post-dormancy haze I could sense the greyish tone seeping in from behind the curtains.  I stumbled into my bathroom to finish morning my wake-up routine, went on to open my bedroom door and was embraced by a slight breeze of cold air.  I let out a few sneezes, put on a pair of cozy pajama pants (and a sweater on my 12-year-old Maltese whose name is… no kidding, Dumpling) and thought, “I really want a Starbucks toffee nut latte now…”.  And just like that, summer is officially over.

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Apple++ Muffins

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Have I become unintentionally popular among neighbors?  It can’t possibly…  I never join the gathering-in-the-lobby-making-small-talks group.  I give dirty looks to kids on their bikes who, I believe, aim to kill me or at least rid me of one leg.  My french bulldog is notorious for bolting out of nowhere and mugging children’s soccer balls (ANY balls, really…), scares them off like scattering pigeons, and afterwards I return the balls with a thick coat of her extra-slimy saliva.  My maltese attacks people, period.  My youngest, adopted mutt likes to jump on people after snacking on… sh… poo.  So like I said.  It can’t possibly.

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Belly Full Pumpkin

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(Chinese versions coming soon)

I’m staring and thinking about what I’m gonna say and… drawing blank.  I wish I have personal, wild stories to share about my Halloweens but the truth is, it is scarce.  Has my life been this pathetic (don’t answer that)?  So I did a psycho-analysis on my entire pathetic peculiar life so far on how I could possibly missed Halloween and drew this conclusion. First of all, Halloween is… not very happening in Taiwan, which was unfortunately where I wasted my prime-time-Halloween-peak-ages from 2 to 10 years old.  Then I moved to Vancouver when I was 12, an awkward age where I JUST missed the boat on getting away with dressing-up-and-asking-for-candy-is-cute.  And then came the teenage years which I consider to be the dark ages of Halloween because a dinosaur costume would be adorable retarded, but a slutty-anything costume would just be… sexy let’s just say raising concerns.

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