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HOW TO MAKE SICHUAN MA-LA HOT POT ON THANKSGIVING

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WE, THE POT-HEADS, NOW ALL DO THIS…

THIS IS HOW, THROUGH NUMBING PAIN, THAT WE GIVE THANKS.

Do you know that the Chinese applies an ancient wisdom originated along the Yellow River, to an age-old question that has long plagued the minds of all mankind?  It’s the monthly family gathering next weekend…  It’s the awkward dinner with newly-made friends/colleagues…  It’s the unavoidable meal with the in-laws…  Hell, It’s the freaking birthday of Confucious!  No matter what the occasions really, we all found ourselves asking:  What should we eat for that?  True, it’s no easy question but the ancient wisdom has answers.  Yes.  Yes, we have an answer to that.  All of that.  As a matter of fact, it’s a one single answer, a last minute answer if need be, a one-pot-fix-all solution to any gatherings large or small, where no one, truly, wants to bear the responsibility of putting the foods on the table.  To that we say…

Let’s do hot pot!

It’s not overstating to call it a wisdom.  Hot pot is the perfect answer to any large dinner parties, especially where there’s equal importance to being well-fed, as well as simultaneously, feeling well-entertained.  First of all, instead of conjuring a meal of a dozen courses, there’s only one cooking to be done.  Then instead of being splattered into small groups, every guests gravitates from a feasting table with a dramatic pot of boiling stock in the center, and everyone cooks what they like -from an array of offerings such paper-thinly sliced meats, dumplings, meatballs, vegetables, even starches like noodles and fried doughs (yes!) – and how they like it, all from and in the mothership of a pot that just gets better and better throughout the meal.  Perhaps there’s something to the theatrics, or to having a “center piece” so lively and fluid… but what I can tell you is this, that strangely, the conversations around a hot pot table, is never cold.

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THE SHIT I EAT WHEN BY MYSELF – ONE POT INSTANT MC-URRY W BROKEN PASTA

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MY “HURRY CURRY”… GOT MC-DED.

YESTERDAY, rising above a sea of flaming red and orange, I pulled myself together and decided to eat like a real human being.

I ordered McDonald’s.

That’s the danger of leaving me alone with myself, in an obscured reality and a space where I have nobody to impress, culinarily or physically.  Things… can get really low.  I ordered 2 large fries and 20-pc of nuggets, all of which are items I believe to be the gooders among evil, the first being undeniably an extension of real earth-grown potatoes, and the second, … protein.  So on the couch there I was, horizontally, feeling really good about myself consuming a conscious choice of – really, when you think about it – potatoes and chicken protein, and forgot all about WHAT shits I eat when I’m by myself?  I wasn’t at all anticipating a relapse.

The downfall was that I was being too good.  In an applaudable demonstration of restrain and wellness-living, I left a whole 10 pieces of nuggets untouched.  I was practically Gwyneth Paltrow.  But today, when I walked into the kitchen to make one of my absolute favourite of all The Shit I Eats, which is an one-pot, instant-yet-homemade Thai curry with broken thin spaghettis and something legitimate like tofu and shrimps, something unprecedentedly horrid happened.

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Unprecedentedly, was the key word.  I don’t.  Do this.  Except for this time.  My “hurry curry”… got Mc-Ded.

Broken, torn pieces of what’s possibly one of the greatest invention in the history of food, thrown into another greatest invention – curry.  And they married.  I mean, literally.  In the land of curry where it yearns nothing more than substances that can soak up all its complex glory, everything that a curry could ask for, the nuggets answered.  The breading and the porous interior of the nuggets became a sponge that drank up this bowl of good brown, along with broken thin spaghetti as a hearty backdrop, this was one of the best of the worst things I could possibly do.

Just to say… people probably shouldn’t do the same.  Even I.  Don’t do this.  Except for this time.

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FAULTY HEARTS REMEDY

You know… this blog really wasn’t, even indirectly, meant to be depressing at all.  Angry?  Yes.  It’s kinda funny.  Depressing?  Is just depressing.  But what now?

I found myself murmuring these thoughts through the indifference of the keyboard, while I watched my dog sunken within a pile of blanket like a flaccid lump of meat, the very life in him crippled by the exhaustion of every hard-earned heartbeat.  His heart murmurs, the doctor said.  Why does it sounds like an expression you can put on a Mother’s Day card for God’s sake…  And what about an overgrown, sensitive big heart?  Fuck, could’ve gotten someone laid on a Thursday night even without game.  To shit with these expressions…

In reality, you can actually die of a broken heart.

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SPICY MISO RAMEN-EXPRESS

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I set out to take the first post of 2014 easy… I did.  I thought perhaps a harmless little breakfast pancake can be nice, glistening syrup under the hopeful morning light that symbolizes a new start within me…  Or, perhaps, a statement-recipe like a creme brûlée and ham french toasts-sandwich that’s simple, but flaunting and strange enough to revitalize this blog’s otherwise-subtle individuality in the year to come…  Or better yet, perhaps a complete slacker-post on a summary of everything that could and has gone wrong in my kitchen in 2013… kinda hey~ here’s a fine collection of things you probably don’t wanna eat but don’t I sound really cute talking about it?

But instead, this came out…  And believe me, although it may not look remotely that way, this is taking-it-easy, well… as far as Japanese ramen goes.

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THE WEST LAKE HYBRID

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You know… as someone who’s been gutting dead animals… chopping things… hacking and hammering in the kitchen for the past 15 years, I pride myself for the fact that I seldom, and I mean rarely burn or hurt myself inside my ruling domain.  No, it isn’t because I’m more masterful at wielding heavy machineries, but because I have a deeply-rooted, intolerated fear for pain which led to a full spectrum of obsessive precautions before any hazardous conducts in the kitchen.  But… just before I sat down for a chat with you, I though, hey, maybe it was a good idea to first finish slicing those mathafuckin’ fibrous and tough galangals for easy freezing… just to check it off my list…

Well, just like that, there goes my left middle-finger now looking tragically like a tissue paper and tape-wrapped lollipop, summer strawberry flavour.  You see?  You see me waving my middle finger in 360º just so you can see clearly?  Especially at you, galangals.

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tummy yumyum tomato soup

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Who here shares a rooted enthusiasm for heads raise their hands (… what?).  To an undiscriminating extend on varieties, I love all types of heads (… what did I say?…), duck, fish, chicken, whatever.  Not that there’d be a fight but I seize it from the table at every encounter, nose-up thinking I am the only person in the party who knows what.  I’m a head-snob.  And on behave of myself, I’m filing a complaint towards America where under-informed citizens don’t appreciate heads, or serve enough of them (I think I hear agreement of some sort…).  I go quietly fury especially when I see shrimps heads being discarded on their plates, thinking they must be CRAZY passing that intense creamy foie-gras of-the-sea that’s just one loud sucking away.  Tsk tsk tsk… unworthy of a good head.

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Soup From Yunnan

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Oh there she goes again… trying to answer the question that nobody is asking. Beef stew from Yunnan? Anybody? (zeeeeeeeeee…) Believe me… I really struggled about posting this you know. The more conforming side of me who knows better wanted to kiss it on the forehead and lovingly bury it six feet under the ever-growing queue of recipes, resting peacefully inside WordPress’s cyber data-tomb. The curry fish head? The chili braised tofu? Com’on… blogs are all about traffics (snap fingers)! Followers (Snap)! Cookies (snaP)! and CAKES (SNAP)!! Nobody’s interested in exotic affairs with the far east especially shortly following that temporary insanity fermented tofu thing… But really guys, I tried.  As I fed myself this soup, it became clearer and clearer with each spoonful that it would just be TOO WRONG to keep it away from you, traffic-tank or not. Oh selfless me.

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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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