ginger

Microwave Sweet Potato Mash

Microwave Sweet Potato Mash

I've been making Sweet Potato Mash this way since high school. Some of my favorite recipes come about from a bit of laziness. :) This method really celebrates the sweet potato for all of its natural beauty and can be made while you're making the rest of your meal. Here in my apartment in Hong Kong, I have one induction plate, vs 6 burners at home in the States. This has really changed the way I cook, especially when it comes to timing and the order in which I cook things. It's nice to have the option to prepare a satisfying side dish like this one, in the microwave while I cook something else on the induction plate.

The incredible sweetness of the flesh on its own blows my mind every time. Normally, I just prepare the mashed sweet potato with flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper, but today I'll show you how adding a bit of freshly grated ginger and a dash of cinnamon can elevate this simple side dish to something really special. There's no need to add tons of cream or fancy ingredients when the flavor of the sweet potato is so vibrant on its own.

Beef Enoki Rolls

Beef Enoki Rolls

Ooooh these are little rolls of magic! Lately I've become obsessed with enoki mushrooms. The bouncy texture, how easy they are to cook, and the way they soak up whatever flavors surround them. They are dirt cheap, and you can toss them into virtually any dish. Growing up, I think I've only really eaten enoki mushrooms when I've gone out to eat hot pot with friends. I always enjoyed them, but they were definitely an afterthought. (Hello, beef!) Recently, however, I've been eating enoki with everything - stir fries, soup, noodle dishes, even salads. Their sweet, mellow flavor is so yum. 

I was inspired by these Japanese Beef Enoki Rolls that I had as part of a lunch set the other day, and couldn't get enough of them. They are simple to prepare and the marinade is actually super versatile and can be used for cooking other protein. Beef Enoki Rolls are tender, juicy, and almost taste like beef jerky - a harmonious blend of soy, ginger, garlic, sake, and sesame oil create an incredibly savory marinade for the thinly sliced beef. Soaking the enoki mushrooms in warm, salted water allows them to soften and gain some flavor. Finally all you've got to do is wrap small bundles of mushrooms in the marinaded beef and pan fry. Searing the meat takes a few minutes, and then you're in flavor heaven. Let's get cookin!

Lychee Ginger Mint Fizz

Lychee Ginger Mint Fizz

I had a delicious Lychee Smash at a Vietnamese restaurant with my girlfriend Tracy, and it inspired me to recreate the drink at home. These flavor profiles are perfect with each other; fizzy ginger and bright, fresh mint, tart lime juice and sweet lychee fruit. This drink can easily become a cocktail with 2 oz ounce of rum, making it a twist on a Mojito or Caipirinha. Let's get drinkin :) 

Chilled Ginger Sesame Soba Noodles with Grilled Tofu

Chilled Ginger Sesame Soba Noodles with Grilled Tofu

Indian Summer is here and the weather is gorgeous out here in San Francisco. I have been craving a big bowl of cool soba noodles with tons of junk inside! The junk is often the best part of any dish. My favorite thing about this one is how bright and colorful it is. I'll show you how to whip up an absolutely delicious sesame dressing that is savory, with a kick from freshly grated ginger and lemon zest. All the veggies can be substituted with your family's favorites, but edamame, carrots, Shiitakes, and Persian cucumbers are full of nutrients and keep this dish nice and light. I love adding thin strips of fishcake and slivers of green onion to finish it all off. Let's get cookin :) 

Paleo Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Paleo Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

We all love carbs - they’re delicious and magical, and yes; not that great for you. “Everything in moderation” is a great mindset, but is often difficult to actually apply to our daily lifestyles. I often try my hardest to make most of my meals #Paleo, short for the Paleolithic Diet, which basically consists of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat. It cuts out dairy, grains, processed food & sugar, and starches. I have learned to substitute rice for more veggies, zucchini noodles, or a big salad. I’m not on a strict Paleo diet at all, but try to incorporate it into my meals as much as possible. 
I love lettuce wraps. They’re so easy to make and are so low in carbs that you can indulge without feeling guilty. My version is a twist on the typical lettuce wraps that use hoisin sauce. This recipe is packed with flavor, simple to throw together during the week, and will be a nice mix into your family’s meals. And on top of that, it’s budget friendly! What more could you ask for :) Let’s get cookin :)

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Asian Chicken Meatballs

I’ve been on this never ending quest for delicious meatballs that aren’t dry. I’ve tried turkey and beef, and never quite get the flavor and consistency I am craving. I think I’m chasing this dreamy little meatball I had while overseas in Hong Kong…it was tender, packed with flavor, and so juicy. The elusive meatball, if you will :) 
These meatballs turned out really great, and satisfied my craving for the slow heat of ginger, balance of sweet and saltiness from a homemade teriyaki sauce, and the tender texture of ground chicken. 

I frequent a variety of supermarkets for different needs. My local Asian markets for most produce and some protein, Safeway and Whole Foods for organics, chicken, and seafood, and TJ’s for when I’m cooking just for myself. I love their small serving sizes. I have never really cooked with ground chicken before, but was delighted to find ground dark meat at my local Asian market, Sunset Super. A pound and a half was an alarming $3.49. I mean, you can’t really beat that. If your local butcher doesn’t have ground chicken readily available, feel free to ask the butcher to grind up 1 ½ lb of chicken breast for you. It’s actually best to always have a butcher grind your meat in front of you. I happened to use dark meat because it was available, but this works with ground chicken breast as well. 

Anyways, these meatballs are super easy to throw together. The secret is a ton of minced ginger and crushed pineapple, which give it the kick it needs, while staying moist! Let’s get cookin :) 

Gorgeous Ginger Pear Tart

Gorgeous Ginger Pear Tart

When pears are in season, you have to cherish them, and fast. Pears seem to only flourish in their prime for a few days once brought home, scolding you if you hesitate to devour them quickly enough. My dad recently purchased an entire flat of Bartlett pears from Costco, and I instantly racked my brain for delicious recipes. Bright salads, sauces, and pastries danced around my head all day. Finally I decided to attempt baking with puff pastry for the first time. This tart is visually beautiful, wonderful for entertaining and really impressing your guests. Ginger, cinnamon, and brown sugar bring out the sweetness of the fresh pears, and they are cradled in a delicate puff pastry. 
This was my first time working puff pastry, and all I could think of was Alton Brown’s old show Good Eats, which focused on the scientific reasons behind cooking and food’s reactions to certain techniques. It was one of my favorite shows while growing up, and I remember him testing out different techniques for cutting puff pastry so as not to damage the layers. The best tool for the job was a pizza cutter! It provided even pressure with quick cuts. For this tart, you don’t need to do much cutting at all, in fact, I didn’t even need to cut my puff pastry sheet because it broke off into the size I needed when it thawed from the freezer.