Category Archives: Cooking

Teach a Boy to Fish…

My favorite hot pot restaurant in the entire world is in Shanghai and their concept couldn’t be any simpler. You pick a fish from a tank and they cut & cook everything – bones & head for soup and the meat for fish balls.

So, adding to the list of things I don’t understand – where’s the rest of the fish when you order a “red snapper” from a fancy restaurant? To find out – I bought one from the fish market and grilled it myself.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Grilled red snapper with random seasoning

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The guy from the store cut his hand cleaning this bad boy. Hopefully that’s not why its so red…

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My philosophy on seasoning is about depth over breadth and traditional over complicated – some salt & peppa & garlic and since I’m too hungry to wait for the lemon to set (I throw some slices on top). I like to do 1-2 minutes in the microwave because the meat is so thick…

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Can you cook non-meat on a George Foreman grill? Why not (aka, that’s why I microwaved it before). Lemon inside in case it dries out…

IMG_1492Which it didn’t. Brown on the outside, white and tender on the inside, with a dollop of tartar sauce on the side –> safe to say fancy restaurant sauces != better tasting fish…

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And more pieces to make more stuff with! I accidentally Oberyn Martell’d the head but whatever, I just threw in a pot and it on low-medium heat…

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And I get steaming hot fish soup. Or ‘fridge it and get some fish jelly….

More Home Cooking

There are probably only two things in the world that I think I’m truly good at. First is sleeping. Second is eating. But you can’t just always eat out or else you’ll go broke and/or get super rotund. Thus, I frequently cook my own meals and here are just a couple dishes that I’ve made recently! DSC04270 String beans with bacon stripsDSC04282DSC04311 A real man’s salad – chicken breast on a bed of arugulaDSC04319 Crabby Patties! Nah just normal beef patties from Trader Joe’sDSC04322DSC04341Probably one of my favorite dishes to cook – braised chicken wings. Pretty simple steps: 1. Heat up olive oil in pan and brown both sides of wings 2. Pour 1/4 cup soy sauce and flip the wings to make sure both sides get coated 3. Add 2 cups water 4. Add sriracha sauce to add a little kick to the wings 5. Put on light boil for 40 minutesDSC04345DSC04330 Homemade mochi! Just kidding, these were store bought but they’re so beautiful aren’t they? Green tea mochi with red bean pasteDSC04340White peach mochi so good

Sunday Morning Crepe

I may not own many possessions in this cold, hard world, but one thing I don’t have a shortage of is theories that I pulled from my a**. Why are Asian men hairless? I’ve got a bastardized evolution theory for that. Don’t know how to prioritize? Let me tell you about my pick-2-out-of-3 theory. And, why are there no repeat customers to your magic crib? I’ve got an answer and trust me, it’s not your morning dragon breath.

So here’s my Sunday Morning Theory: Saturday morning girls just want to go home and change and Sunday morning girls usually have brunch plans. So if you want to keep a girl, you just have to convince her that your eggs are better than Penelope’s eggs.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Mushroom Crepe Stuffed with Beef/Veggie/Thai Sauce

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The finished product. Yes, it looks delicious when you are done, so sit tight. Yes, I ate half of it while I was cooking it…because once you hand it over, you’re not getting any back. (Impress-factor: eating like a man)

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Skipping to the fun part – probably unnecessary, but hey if you’re not having fun cooking, you’re not doing it right. (Impress-factor: evenness)

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Alright, so first you beat those eggs into yellow oblivion. You do lift, right, bro? And add some color with finely chopped up scallions and mushrooms. (Impress-factor: arm muscles)

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Like last night, don’t go too fast in the beginning – turn the heat on medium and let the gooey liquids chill first before turning up the heat to sear the bottom. (Impress-factor: patience)

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Flip that over and work the other side too. (Impress-factor: multifaceted-ness)

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You didn’t forget to cook each part separately before the inside is just as important as the outside. So stir fry the veggies before inserting into your egg-crepe cocoon. (Impress-factor: the feels? all the feels)

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Add some flavor. I used Thai pad thai sauce but you can choose whatever adds to the flavor without taking away from the individuality. (Impress-factor: not bland)

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Wrap it, present it, smile it. (Impress-factor: finishing strong)

New Lens, New Perspective

Just got a macro lens for my camera (30mm f3.5) just so I can take better pictures of food. I am such a loser so passionate about what I do.

I made steak & brussels sprouts tonight and decided to try out the new lens. Special shoutout to Eric who showed me this recipe for cooking brussels sprouts. Before him, I was confined to the salt/pepper/olive oil combination. His way is actually surprisingly easy too.

1. Heat up pan on high heat (with no oil)
2. Place 3-4 strips of bacon on pan and let it cook til the fat melts off.
3. Take out bacon strips, put in brussels sprouts and cook for ~10 minutes or until they’re nice and brown.

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(Pork) Belly In My Belly

There’s some things I won’t ever understand. I don’t get people who roll toilet paper under, Asians who refuse to pronounce Shanghai correctly, girls who don’t wear heels (jk!), boys who complain instead of following their dreams, and eaters who take pictures of their food. But most of all, I don’t understand people who don’t like to cook.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like lighting my money on fire and I don’t like paying other people to wipe my butt. In unrelated news, I don’t like overpaying for what I can cook at home.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Red Braised Pork Bellies – Hong Shao Rou
This is a Shanghainese specialty. We men cook in Shanghai, among other things. Requires some tenderness, some patience, but most of all, requires lots of soy sauce.

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Yes, I cooked that. Yes, you can stay the night.

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Step 1:
Get some raw pork belly, but not the thin kind – you might have to brave the smell and go to Chinatown for this. Wash it and chop it up into cubes (better than I did) big enough that they can stand up on their own and still fit in your mouth individual. Save the jokes. Leave the fat. Yes, I know. Just trust.

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Step 2: I hope you bought some soy sauce in C-town, the dark kind. Douse your cubes until it gets covered 2/3 of the way up. Shanghainese people eat everything sweet, so make it authentic, mix in some sugar. To make it unauthentic, I prefer brown sugar.

How much? That’s the other beauty of Chinese cooking – there are no standard measurements, you do it by taste and experience. So just put enough to see it melt.

Let it sit for a few hours on one side with the fat and then overnight on the side with the meat. At the minimum, do 30 minutes each side.

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Step 3: Get your trusty wok and heat it up dry. If you want to be non-Asian you can add some oil, garlic, cloves if you want. But to do it right, just throw in the cubes in and toss around for a few minutes on high – the fat that you didn’t cut off should help here. Then turn it all the way down and pour in a new soy sauce, sugar mixture, cover maybe 1/2 of the way up. Cover the top and go do something else.

I’m not sure how long to cook it, I just check up on it every 10 minutes. Basically, the lower the heat, the longer you can cook it, the better it is. This is the time for your dining companion to contribute some concoctions of her own and you can add in some bamboo, tofu, eggs. Anything that tastes good when salty goes.

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Step 4: How do you know it’s done? It’s brown on the outside, it’s tender on the inside, your kitchen smells amazeballs, and it tastes like real meat but not too salty. Again, I kept it simple, but feel free to add embellishments – just add it a bit later in the process so it won’t soak up all the soy sauce-ness.

Finale: Look, like all things in life, there’s a short way to do this (just throw in more soy sauce to get taste salty) and a long way to do this (soak overnight). There’s a fancy way (pressure cooker?) and a cheap way (any frying pan will do). But either way, it’s relatively easy to prepare and clean up. You can pair it with veggies or with wine. Customize to your heart’s content. Best of all, there’s way too much meat for one person to eat, so invite someone over to eat your meat deliciousness with you.

And finally, if it’s good enough for Eddie Huang, it’s good enough for me:

Super Bowl

Last year, I watched the super bowl by myself with a super bowl of rice. This year, I decided to be more social. We had a huge potluck with ribs, wings, nachos, mac & cheese, fries, and a load of other diabetes inducing foods.

I made two batches of wings – one batch was braised Chinese-style and the other was baked Western-style.

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The first batch of wings were baked in the oven for 45 minutes. Seasoned with salt, garlic, and cajun powder. Came out extremely crispy, yet tender. Success!

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This is easily my favorite dish to make (and probably best tasting too). Braised wings. I start off by cooking the wings in oil to brown up both sides, then pour soy sauce in for the color, then add water and boil for 40 minutes. The kicker? Sriracha sauce. Feel free to put as little or as much of it in it as you want, since the spiciness will be tempered after boiling for 40 minutes. So easy, so delicious.

Fruit Bowl

I have a big sweet tooth. I once ate 10,000 calories in one day from just cake, ice cream, brownies, and more cake. Hoo hah! Unfortunately, I am also extremely cacomorphobic. Just kidding, I love everyone.  Thus, when I had a huge sugar craving last night, I did the next best thing. I made a huge bowl of fruit with a friend and ate it all. 

Ingredients:
1. Strawberries
2. Raspberries
3. Kiwis
4. Bananas
5. Grapes
6. Pineapples
7. Watermelon

Enough antioxidants to last me through flu season…hopefully. 

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Reflection and Food, Lots of Food

As the final winter break of my undergraduate career nears an end, (actually school started 3 days ago but I’m still bumming around at home), I can’t help but to look back at the last 8 years of my life in Shanghai, the greatest city in the world. Coming to Shanghai as a white-washed, narrow-minded 8th grader was no easy transition. The pushing and shoving on public transportation, the lack of hygiene, the pungent smell of public bathrooms, the hideous local girls, and the even the China man squat that I would later come to love and adore was all too much for me at first. Every day I could come up with a handful of different reasons as to why I wanted to go back to the States.

But as time went on, I found it harder to come up with reasons to leave Shanghai and easier to find reasons to stay. I had found a new home. A home that has met and exceeded any crazy expectations I’ve ever had. It’s no surprise now that when people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m from Shanghai, even though I’ve lived in America for longer.

I can go on and on about everything Shanghai has given me, but the one gift that stands above all  is that it has given me a truly global view of the world. My biggest fear coming to Shanghai was that I would miss out on all the experiences my friends back in the States were having and that I’d turn super chinky and fobby and I would forget English and start peeing on the streets (I was really cool in 8th grade). Shanghai has done the opposite for me. Going to an international school allowed me to meet people from all over the world and opened my eyes to all the different cultures, not limited to just American or Chinese, and it’s given me the knowledge and comfort to interact with individuals from various backgrounds. I couldn’t have asked for a better time and just want to thank everyone who has made this journey extremely memorable and worthwhile.

Now, to thank you for bearing with me and listening to my rant, here is a shit ton of food pictures to look at. It’s all the stuff I documented this past break. Includes food from Bali, Singapore, and Shanghai. Enjoy!

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