When kath is blogging

My version of fried rice

Posted in Food by Katharine on July 12, 2012

My fried rice isn’t the traditional type you’d find in a chinese restaurant, it is just something I put together very quick with lots of flavor. It only takes me 15 mins to make this if you don’t count the time to cook the rice. Perfect when I’m home alone and don’t have much in the fridge.

The basic ingredient includes: 1 cup of rice, some meat, 1 egg, 2 leafs of lettuce, 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce. You can build up your own fried rice from here.

and here’s what I actually cooked with today:

3/4 cup of rice (cooked)
9 shrimps
1 egg
2 leafs of lettuce

seasoning:
2 tbsp of sweet soy sauce
1 tsp of homemade Sichuan hot sauce
milk
salt
garlic powder
dry rosemary
sesame oil

1. Cook the rice.
I use 3/4 cup of rice only, as I’m not a big eater. So if you are using 1 full cup, prepare a little more sweet soy sauce for frying the rice. Also there’s no need to use leftover rice or put it in the fridge for a few hours. As long as your rice is not too soggy, it’s all fine. Don’t ask me how to cook the rice, I only use a rice cooker.

2. Prepare the meat
chop your meat into small strips, then it’s up to you to marinate it or not. Any marination is ok, basically I just throw whatever I found in my kitchen. Today I dumped in sesame oil, a bit of garlic powder and some dry rosemary on my shrimp. Otherwise, my mother usually season the meat with salty soy sauce, sugar, pepper and a dash of rice wine. Seriously, any sauce you like would work just fine. this is just to give the meat a bit more flavor.

3. Cook the meat
After the rice is cooked, start cooking the meat. I used butter to fry the marinated shrimps. After it’s just cooked, set the meat aside.

4. Egg
Depends on what’s left inside the pan, sometimes I’d wipe the excess oil off the pan first, but this time I didn’t since it’s some juicy butter…. So, beat 1 egg with a dash of milk and salt and pour it into the pan. Then it’s like making scramble egg. When the egg is starting to set, give it a stir and then put the cooked rice in. Then fry and mix everything well. Make sure there are no runny eggs insight, and the rice should get a bit drier by now. Medium heat would be fine for this step, try not to burn the egg or rice at this stage.

5. Soy sauce goes in.
I mixed 1 tsp of homemade sichuan hot sauce into the 2tbsp store-bought sweet soy sauce. If you don’t have sweet soy sauce, you can simply add honey or melt some sugar into regular salty soy sauce. (My mother don’t like fried rice to look brown, so instead she’d simply dash in salt and pepper onto the rice without soy sauce.) If you have some ginger, it’s great to mince a tiny little bit of it and add in at this time.  Keep the medium heat, then once all your sauce and seasoning goes on the rice, quickly stir fry the rice until the sauce is well blended in.  By this time, the rice should gets a little dry again: not as overly sticky and moist as when you first pour the seasoning in. The goal is to have the soy sauce well blended in with the rice evenly, so it’s adding flavor to the rice, not drinking soy sauce.

6. Meat and lettuce goes in.
Put in the cooked meat and lettuce. You can also add in some corns or beans too! Then I’d turn heat up and fry everything together until the lettuce looks cooked, about a minute. It’s great when a little bit of rice gets slightly burned, just slightly.

 

and it’s Done!

Best served with a cold beer.

Chocoholic

Posted in Food by Katharine on March 30, 2011

oh my……………

I’m not a big fan of candies, but when it comes to chocolate… I just completely lose it.
But then I don’t care about those average chocolate, hated it every time I walked pass that Hershey’s stores on around Broadway.

I don’t know what it is that makes sugar and milk taste so much better with cocoa.
my favorite? Still those little milk chocolate balls wrapped up by a light blue foil by FREY’S

i waaaaaaaaaaaaant it now.
damn.

there’s a box of French artisan chocolate sitting on the table. It’s a gift from a friend.
I really should have waited until my mom comes hom to open it… but well………
that’s a bit asking too much.

snacks

Posted in Food by Katharine on July 25, 2010

argh, i miss chex mix…………………
I remember one time when I flew from New York to San Francisco, I think they offered a chex mix cracker thing that ONLY has the cheese mix in it. I really enjoyed it bite by bite in the dark….. gosh that was the best memory on that flight. yummy…….

love chocolate

Posted in Food by Katharine on July 2, 2010

Although I never liked candies, I love chocolate. Milk chocolate in particular. I tried to get myself to like chocolate in different flavor. Some of them are good, such as mint and nuts, but never get too crazy about them. It’s nice to have them once in awhile for a little change, but I always go back to plain milk chocolate. Guess I’m just addicted.

When I was living mid-town in NY, I loved to go to this Amish grocery store 5 or 6 blocks down my place. they always import lots of good chocolate. Sometimes after work at Tribeca, I like walking up the Broadway to Dean and Deluca. They got some pretty nice selection over there as well, and it’s a convenient place to grab a gift in a hurry.

I remember there was a time when I was in collage, I got a truck load of Swiss chocolate in my closet (and no, I didn’t eat them after mid-night). I don’t even know how many pounds I put on in total after eating all of them. There was something different about swiss chocolate, great quality with a lower price tag… if you don’t count the plane ticket. Don’t even try to compare them with cheap American chocolate. It made me sick everytime I walked by the Hersey’s store around Time Square.

I like to bring a bar of chocolate to school, crack the bar under the pattern table and ate it when I’m sitting on top of my pattern. The sugar and cocoa just helped to get me through the day, and kept me focus. Not too sure how would I get by the day without them.

But what’s my favorite? It got to be the chocolate spheres wrapped in blue foils from Frey. It’s not those crazy expensive artisan chocolate, but it’s good enough for me and I don’t feel quilty killing half a bag at a time, cause it’s not that expensive. Why don’t they have it in Hong Kong………….. urgh.

The love of my life.


Lemon pie

Posted in Food by Katharine on December 11, 2009

Recently have been craving for a lemon pie, which is strange, cause I wasn’t a big fan…. but somehow the idea of something sweet, sour, cold with a pudding texture kind of turns me on.

Graham cracker
Sugar
Unsalted butter
blablabla……

So I follow the recipe exactly, and somehow the pie crust just won’t turn out the way I thought… (not to mention I burnt it a bit). This is the N times I’ve attempted in the flour and baking affair, none were successful. I guess i really suck at the baking department.

Bacons, eggs, hash browns and a pair of chopsticks. -Part 3

Posted in Food by Katharine on March 19, 2009

(continued from part 2)

After graduation, I was hired as a designer assistant at a bridal company downtown. As I started to get paid and had more money to spend, the way I eat changed. In the morning, I’d get a bowl of chocolate rice krispie for breakfast, or a bottle of drinkable yogurt. Yogurt is definitely not a Chinese thing… I didn’t get it the first time I had it. For dessert, it’s too sour, and doesn’t really fill you up, I’d rather get a cup of ice-cream, and Chinese doesn’t really eat cold sour taste thing for breakfast…

For lunch, I still went to a deli nearby where they serve food in buffet style. In summer days I get a box of pre-made sushi, 8 pieces of California with a bowl of clam chowder would do it. In winter times, I’d get some peppery lo mien, a piece of chicken, of other meat with thick sauce on it, some Chinese veggie, maybe a few piece of kimchi, one piece of sushi in Korean style and a spoonful of corn sprinkle on top of my lo mien. Usually I get out of the deli under $6.

It’s at this time that I started to cook more often at home for dinner, and always save a bit and make a lunch box for the other day. I tried to recreate the basil fried rice from Aceluck, it turned out to be something different but good. Most of the time, I fried some pork or chicken in Asian sauce and then pair it up with lettuce, an boiled egg and some croutons as a salad. I started to stock up a few bottle of salad dressing: honey dijon, Italian, red wine vinaigrette… I also bought the spray one with very low calories that was on commercial, in Caesar delight flavor. I also invested in a small bottle of olive oil with truffle in it.

During the day I wanted somehting more filling, I cook pasta. For the sauce I started out heating up some Alfredo sauce and add a tons of cheese in it and let it melt and mix together, and sometimes I also add in red chili. Sometimes i just lay the pork or chicken on top, but then I soon have my favorite combination with pasta: shrimp. Buy a bag of shrimp from wholefoods (for some reason, it’s cheaper and nicer there than food emporium), fried it up with some butter with some dried basil, or seasoned it with some asian barbeque sauce and some chili sauce. So far, I think spicy shrimp with creamy pasta is me at my best. Occasionally I’d tuck in a few pieces of roquette in it.

So when I just do the pork or chicken, I often save a few pieces and make a sandwich out of it for lunch box. Here are what I’d put in between two slices of Chinese bread: meat I cook from the night before, lettuce, organic salami from wholefoods, an egg and some salad dressing… Honey Dijon do the best here. the cheese would be melted with the meat by lunch time.

I started to buy some food magazine and book, and I just loved to experiment and cook something out of the magazine. It was definitely fun and turned into something I really enjoy doing. I’m proud of myself in making shrimp with mango in champagne sauce, and salad with salmon in miso sauce.

With more money to spend, of course dining out is another option (ok, at someone else’s expense). I began to try out more restaurants in New York. Fun Japanese restaurant in St mark’s, French fusion restaurant in Soho, American restaurant Midtown and Asian BBQ in DIY style uptown. I also ventured in Atomic Wings (suicidal, baby.), Cozi, Chipotle, Shake-shack and an awesome street food cart. The low end New York food is definitely something my brother and sister won’t dig it, but I think they’re so missing out. By the way, I made wraps at home too, and I like to add a pinch of lemon juice in my chicken…

Another thing so great about living in New York was that there are so much to do for the weekend. One of my favorite was to take the metro north train and visit a town up along the Hudson River. It’s a very scenic place and great for picnic. For this I prefer something a bit more healthy. French baguette with organic honey turkey, with some nice brie cheese, some lettuce and fresh basil leaves. This came out from pret-a-manger originally.

After 6 years of food adventure and experiment in the United States, my taste and preference changed when I moved back to Hong Kong. I cook in a more fusion way, blending the Asian and the western together. Of course I still go to Chinese restaurant for lunch with my mom for dim sum, but I don’t really appreciate it as much as my relatives thought I would, as I could get those in the states anyway. I’d still go to a European grocery store and buy some cheese, a bottle of wine for a snack at home. When my mom is not cooking, instead of Chinese food, I’d make pasta or salad. Every now and then I crave for my typical American breakfast. So here I am, eating breakfast that I just cooked: two pepper bacon, two dippy eggs and two hash brown, and I’m eating with chopsticks.

-The End-

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Bacons, eggs, hash browns and a pair of chopsticks. -Part 2

Posted in Food by Katharine on March 19, 2009

(continued form part 1)

When my relatives knows that I was going to New York on my own, their reactions were mostly : “can you cook?” I wasn’t a great cook, but at least I helped out in the kitchen. My first home was the school’s dormitory, sharing a room with 3 other girls with no kitchen. Great… all we had was a cafeteria at the basement of the building. You enrolled in a meal plan, and swiped your meal plan card when you purchased anything there.

When I first moved in, it was during the winter break and the cafeteria wasn’t opened yet. So after I made my bed and cleaned my closet, I walked around and to check out the neighbourhood. There were some nice little french and Italian restaurant around, but I felt weird to be there dining alone, besides, I was on a budget. There was Cozi and Chipotle, but then I didn’t know what to expect there. I wanted something more familiar, instead of starting out my life in New York like an idiot don’t know what or how to order my food… However I passed the McDonald’s on west 8th and 6ave.

I ended up standing in front of Go-sushi, A fast food restaurant that serve Japanese noodles. The menu looked simple enough to handle, if i couldn’t, I could just pick up a pack of pre-made sushi and go. But I wanted something hot, it was snowing, so I got myself a bowl of udon and beef. It was certainly not the greatest udon, but that’s the first thing I ate in New York, Japanese udon.

Few days later, the cafeteria opened up. pretty much nothing was labeled. I was really shy to walk up to the line for hot food, to stand there not knowing how to order as I didn’t know their name, and I wasn’t interested in having tons of people waiting behind me, when I was trying to figure it out… So what I usually got was a bowl of pre-made salad, no sauce (again, that’s because I didn’t know what sauce are there, but then I grew to love those salad without sauce).

Eventually, I started to know how to order some scamble eggs, chicken nuggets, hash browns, lasagna…… starting out by the same line, “can I have some of these? and how do you call it?” After a few times, getting used to how things work there, I started to order what ever they had on menu, trying new food, with a bottle of Snapple. Diet Snapple was something I drank a lot at school. The only reason was that, besides Snapple there were only soft drinks and Dasani at the cafeteria and I didn’t like soft drink that much. Then I started to love those little “facts” on those Snapple’s cap.

After one semester I moved out to an apartment with two friends in the hell’s kitchen. There were so many nice little restaurants around. I was surprised that it was easier to get fed then to get a bandaid. My roomates ordered their food most of the time, or microwaved food that their parents made. I didn’t have anyone to prepare food for me. So I started to shop at grocery store myself. There was a Food Emporium, and D’Agostino a few blocks away, I bought my meat and veggie there, then I googled and found a Chinese supermarket in Chinatown, bought a bag of rice and some asian sauce.

I started to recreate what my sister would cook, and then developed some different variation (and for some reason, the spicy broth with bean curd didn’t work out). Some chicken, some sausages, an egg, some rice and 1 table spoon of soy sauce, I got myself some fried rice. It didn’t taste like my mother’s fried rice, but it was satisfying. The next time, I added some lettuce in it. The third time, I added some ginger (learned form a Japanese restaurant in California, their fried rice had a hint of ginger in it). Then when I’m lazy to make all those I’d just boil 8 Chinese pork dumplings in chicken broth with tons of pepper in it, which also felt great when I was having a cold in the winter.

I walked to school every morning, a 25 mins walk. At the beginning I just enjoyed walking on Broadway, through all those theaters and billboards. It was such an experience to walk through Broadway to school everyday. However, I wanted to try something different sometimes, and I’d walk down through 9th avenue. It’s there I found a nice little french-looking bakery. It was very tiny inside, and I never get the chance to sit there and have a big cup of coffee by myself. I always ordered take out there and brought it back to school as breakfast, usually a rosemary twist and a chocolate twist.

Apart from the bakery, I sometimes got the sausage muffin with egg with hash brown and orange juice from McDonald’s or breakfast in buffet style at the New Star Cafe right next to my school. All I got would be hash brown, ham and eggs. Breakfast in this western style was very new to me, and I just get to love that comforting feeling naturally. When I was in Hong Kong, most of my breakfast was just like a chinese bun with sausage in it, or congee and noodles on the weekend.

Around lunch time, I’d either pick up buffet food (cost me only $4.50 to feed myself), or walked for another block to get panini at cafe metro, or the rather expensive but makes-you-feel-healthy Pret-a-manger. When everyone around me was talking about pret, I tried it out. Sandwich with brie, tomatoe and basil was my favorite. For salade, there I always loved the winter salad with honey dijon dressing. The taste of cranberry mixed with salad was just new and exciting to me.

Occasionally, I also walked down another block to get Ginger’s, when I craved for that spicy tofu with rice or their double cooked bacon or spicy chicken in basil sauce. The restaurant was actually one of the nicer Chinese restaurant in New York, and it was here that I got to know Chinese food in american style. I started to understand why everyone would associate Chinese food as the greasy food. I never really know why, as my mom doesn’t cook with more than 2 tea spoons of oil, dim sum can be a bit greasy, but not when you always get the steamed items. However, there I was, eating those tofu soaked with spicy sauce with a layer of oil on top. It was a taste of heaven with guilt. When I’m in a chinese restaurant, I liked to order things I couldn’t make at home, such as those greasy but tasty sauce that my tofu or chicken were coated with. Most of the time I could on eat half of it, and I brought the other half back home as dinner.

One day, my classmate also introduced me to Aceluck, a thai restaurant 10 mins walk from my school. They offered the spiciest basil fried rice with beef I’ve ever tried, if you asked them to make it extra spicy. I always went back there since then. Eventually I started to sample some side dishes there. One of my favorite was these fusion wrap with duck and sweet duck sauce in it, the other one was the thai spring roll.

This is how my diet was like during my school year, and it changed for the better, when I finished school and have a job downtown.

-End of Part II-

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Bacons, eggs, hash browns and a pair of chopsticks. -Part 1

Posted in Food by Katharine on March 18, 2009

Let me give you a brief background information about me first. I was born and grew up in Hong Kong (which I still prefer to call it “Hong Kong, Hong Kong” instead of “Hong Kong, China”.  There are differences between the two, but it’s not the point in this article.) When I was 17, I moved over to the United States. Spending a year in the sunny friendly California, and then traded it for studying fashion design in the snow-in-winter and humind-in-summer New York. After spending five years in the big apple, I’m back to where I was, Hong Kong.

Six years ago, when my relatives knew that I was going to study in California, most of them concern about my diet. “Eat more of this dim sum now, when you get there, it’ll hard for you to find this Chinese food.” However, they all think that I’d do just fine, as I was going to live with my brother and sister over there, my relatives believes that they will take care of me just fine and have my dinner at home in Chinese style. Then they’ll move on to other topics regarding living abroad.

So how my diet was like in Mountain View, California? The first big change was the big grocery time that happened once a week. It was a whole family activity. My brother grabbed his car key and we all headed to Ranch 99 in Cupertino. Buying pork or chicken comes in a pack, some Chinese sauce from brands that I’m familiar with in Hong Kong, and some asian leafy vegetables. It was interesting that I never knew a lot of those vegetable’s name until I stepped in this Taiwanese supermarket in America. When I was in Hong Kong, we always bought our vegetables from an Old lady who sold on the ground arcoss the stree from where we lived. She didn’t know how to write of course, and I remember my mom always went up to her and asked her directly how much was this and that. I never notice what those vegetables called and how would their names looks in Chinese characters. At ranch 99, we would also buy some other chinese food products like mochi and some microwaved congees. It was a little strange to see these products in a brand name that’s unknown to me, and the package design makes them look like they are not safe to eat.

We bought all these ingredient home, and my sister would cook some rice, cook the meat with some spicy asian broth (mostly with bean curd and tiny mushroom, she loves that), and then fried some vegetables. Voila, we got our dinner, AND our lunch box for the day after.

Besides Ranch 99, we also went to a Japanese supermarket to buy some funky Japanese snacks and ramen noodles in fun flavor. Of course, I had my American experience at Costco.

It was a bit of a cultural shock to walk in to this place that really presents the American way of living. Things sold in a huge quantity at a lower cost. Big pile of polo shirt that are in China, canned soup that comes in a pack of 12, cereals wrapped up together with 2 or 3 big boxes. The place is just like a giant storage. My sister would go to buy the spare ribs (which is pretty much the only time she uses the oven, and spare ribs doesn’t always appear at my home’s menu, it’s a special/luxury thing). She’ll also get some eggs, this one is in normal quantity though, and she would inspect every single eggs in the box, just to make sure none of them is cracked. I guess that make sense to be a bit more careful when buying easy breakables from a giant storage. Since then I started to inspect all my eggs in every grocery store……

So after a trip to costco, we’d be eating pork that was bought in a big pack and cut up in 4 to 6 portions by my sister at the kitchen. A few nights of pasta in alfredo sauce with sausages, and a four cheese pizza or peperoni in some occasion. For dessert, we have plain cheese cake from the cheesecake factory.

As I’ve mentioned before, we made lunch boxes. However there are times when I left it in the fridge or we had jack-in-the-box the night before and don’t have a lunch box. This is the time when I’d eat at the school cafeteria. At first I only know to say “can I have a slice of this?” and point my finger to a pizza. At that time I really wish that they have a little name card for those pizza. Pizza in Hong Kong is a bit different, with lots of ingredients on, which isn’t the case in a school cafeteria. But you get used to it, and started to associate the plain cheese pizza with dried red chilli flakes with America. The chilli flakes on pizza is on of my favorite discovery in the states. pizza hut or dominos should have start to serve those in their Hong Kong locatoins.

Sometimes, my brother and sister would take me out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Cupertino. Dim Sum in Hong Kong Style but with an American price tag. You can get the typical dim sun there, but I have to say, it does taste a bit different than those in Hong Kong. The quality is just a tad lower. But it’s the only options for dim sum, so i don’t have that much complains about it. My brother would order the fried crab claws. This is something that you will never order at a Chinese restaurants in Hong kong as dim sum. Boy oh boy, I still miss those juicy crab claws today.

So after a year of this, with more experience in Vietnames pho, some french, Italian and Greek restaurants in Palo Alto. I was off to New York. My diet experience in California was basically following what my brother and sister eat. They lived there for a few years already, and they try their best to search for good Asian food that gives them the sense of home or reminds them of their root, even being thousands miles away from home. It was my first experience to see what the Asian food culture is like in America, and how we change our diet after relocating from Asia to America.

-End of Part I-

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