Monday, September 18, 2006

More salad and salsa

With the winding down of summer, I've been having urges to make light summery meals. And I've been itching to try making a mango salsa for a long time. It wasn't as nice as the ones my parents make, but not bad. I think it's the way I cut the red onions; and the amount of jalepeno pepper I used. Next time, I would slice the onion thinly, rather than dice; and I'd use maybe half a pepper, rather than a whole one. In all, I liked the Tomato, Avocado, Corn, and Bean salad I made last week better.

Grilled chicken breast with mango salsa, corn and brown rice

Pan-fried Tilapia fish with mango salsa, corn, avocado, and brown rice

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tomato, Avcado, Corn & Bean Salad

I couldn't resist picking up this gorgeous magazine called The Best of Fine Cooking: 101 Quick & Delicious Recipes. When I quickly browsed through the magazine at the drug store, I took the drop of drool on the page as a foreshadowing of delicious meals to come.

Anyway, one of the recipes in this magazine is called "Tomato, Avocado, Corn & Black Bean Salad". After a very long day at work, and after a difficult cooking experience the night before, the only thing I wanted was a very quick, easy, light, but satisfying meal. And I got just that with this recipe. I did modify it to scale down the size. Also, the recipe called for grilling corn on the cob and red onion skewers, and manually crushing cumin seeds. (A) I don't have an appropriate grill for that (George Foreman can grill everything, I've come to realize); (B) I didn't have corn husks or cumin seeds; and (C) That would not have met either my "quick" or "easy" criteria. So, I substituted with frozen corn kernels, and ground cumin, which I had on hand already. I also didn't have black beans, but I did have kidney beans. A great alternative, as I'm sure most beans would be.

Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Tomato, Avcado, Corn & Bean Salad
Modified from Quick and Delicious 2006
Serves 2 as a Main; 4 as a Side

2 cups of frozen corn, cooked as per package instructions
1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp minced fresh jalapeno (seeded for milder taste)
1 to 2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup drained canned beans, rinsed
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into medium dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced on sharp diagonal

Combine cumin, lime juice, jalapeno, and 1 tsp kosher salt in a small bowl. Gradually wisk in the 5 Tbsp of oil to blend.

Lightly season the tomato chunks with salt. Transfer to a medium bowl and add corn, onion, beans, and cilantro. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently. Fold in the avocado. Season to taste with pepper. Garnish with the scallion and serve immediately.

Suggestion: Great as a main course with chunks of immitation crab meat, or buttered warm bread or toast on the side; or as a side dish with fish or seafood.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Little Elbow Grease and Alotta Love

Whew! Who woulda thunk making 3 chinese dishes for dinner would take so long. When you factor in continuous dish washing, small kitchen space, and recipes I'm not very familiar with...yeah, you get the picture.

Anyway, For Binh's bday, I made him some of his favorite dishes: Shrimp, Soy Sauce Chicken, and Steamed Gai Lan (chinese broccoli). I also made a blueberry pie, using a shortcut recipe from Chatelaine.

* Sorry for the blurry pics; lighting was poor.*

Steamed Shrimp with Garlic

Soy Sauce Chicken. Made with a whole free range chicken.

Steamed Gai Lan with Garlic and Oyster Sauce

Blueberry Pie with Shortbread Piecrust, and Ice Cream

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Easy Summer Pasta

Healthy. Easy. Quick. Delicious. All personal requirements that I try to aim for when I eat at home. And was totally necessary after an activity-filled weekend, including power yoga, and all the fun that comes with celebrating friends' birthdays. For dinner on Sunday, after getting some much needed rest, I made a light chicken and zucchini garlic rotini dinner, using leftover cooked chicken breast from the week's roast chicken, half a giant zuchinni from Mom's garden, and whole wheat rotini, topped with freshly grated parmesan and cherry tomatoes. I recently discovered mini parmesan blocks at Loblaws that cost between $4.00 to $6.00 a block. An economical and practical (for a small household) alternative to the expensive large blocks that I could never justify purchasing.

Chicken and Zuchinni Garlic Pasta

cubed cooked chicken breast
4 garlic cloves, minced
a few swigs of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
salt to taste
pepper to taste
a bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 to 3 cups of sliced zucchini
freshly grated parmesan cheese
cherry tomatoes, halved/quartered

In a large pot, cook pasta (like rotini, farfalle, fusilli) until cooked, al dente. While the pasta is cooking, sautee some of the garlic with the zuchinni in a large saucepan on med-high heat until lightly browned. Season with salt. Remove zucchini from pan and add olive oil. Heat until hot but not smoky. Remove from heat, and add the rest of the garlic. Turn down heat to med-low and place pan back on burner to sautee but not burn garlic. Add cilantro, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Mix well. Turn heat to low. Drain pasta, and then add it and the zuchinni to the pan. Mix well. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve on plates with cherry tomato slices, freshly shaved parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Tonight, I tried to imitate this pasta dish that I love, and that I always have when I go to East Side Mario's. Their version is called Firecracker Shrimp Bowties. I absolutely love it. Light, garlicky, and subtly spicy. Mmmm...My version suprisingly tasted very close to East Side's, save for the spiciness, and the use of whole wheat rotini, instead of bowtie pasta. Here's my recipe:

½ cup chicken broth
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 plum or roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cups snow peas
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 shakes of red pepper flakes
1 lb. medium shrimp shelled and deveined
4 cups hot cooked pasta (bowtie/rotini)
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup grated/shredded parmesan cheese

De-shell and rinse shrimp. Pat dry. In bowl, season with salt and pepper over shrimp, as well as some lemon juice. In a large saucepan, heat a tbsp of olive oil, and saute ¼ garlic, and all of shrimp over high heat. Just as shrimp turns pink, add snow peas. Stirfry for 1 minute, and then add tomatoes. Stirfry until shrimp is cooked, and snowpeas are crisp. Remove from pan.

Over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil, chicken broth, garlic, lemon juice, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and basil to the saucepan. Stir until boiling and thickened. Add pinches of salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, tomato, and snow pea mix. Combine well.

Serve over al dente cooked pasta.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rainbow Peppers

I can now say that I've used my beautiful Kitchen Aid food processor...even if it was just to make a very small amount of garlic and basil sauce for these grilled sweet peppers. It was fun!

I got this Rainbow Peppers recipe from, you guessed it, Chatelaine. It's basically olive oil, garlic, basil, S&P, and lemon juice, pureed until smooth. Grilled 1 red pepper and 1 yellow, poured sauce over to evenly coat, topped with crumbled feta cheese, and served. A must-do again. Also grilled pork chops, basted with plum sauce, and served with a side of brown rice.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mini Meatloaf

I used my usual Liption Onion Mix Meatloaf recipe to make these mini meatloafs. And, taking an idea from this old Kraft calendar I saved, I portioned them into a muffin baking sheet, instead of a loaf pan. Good for portioning, and freezing leftovers into portions for future lunches/quick dinners.

I also made brown rice, influenced by my Dad, who has been encouraging me to eat healthier. Since brown rice is not the tastiest rice on its own, I tried to add some flavor to it. I took this idea from a recipe post on, and made it with margerine, minced garlic, minced onion flakes, S&P, and chicken broth. Very tasty! The trick is to simmer the 1 cup of rice for the full 40 minutes, so that its tender.

With a side of greek salad, and paired with Vendange 2004 Shiraz wine, a very nice, healthy, and satisfying Saturday night dinner.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day Cupcakes

Sunny Cupcakes made for Mother's Day. Recipe from Chatelaine May 2005 issue.

Very easy, and great for a first time baker. I must say, I think I'm getting hooked on this baking thing...=)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spring Chicken

Wow, I've been away for a while. After having such a wonderful dinner in Montreal for my birthday earlier this month at Europea and being pretty busy as well, my meals at home have been either very boring, or very sparse (i.e. I've been eating take-out more).

This week, though, I did make a quick meal that was not fancy, but pretty. Just a light mixed salad with sauteed chicken thighs in a balsamic sauce. I've been on an anti-carb mood lately, mostly due to the very rich meals I had earlier in the month and feeling bloated, having less time to cook, and the light spring weather.

I bought a large box of spring mix for the first time too, which has forced me to eat salads like every day. I also bought a bunch of avocado as well, which motivates my hunger for salad. I love avocado.

I'm already beginning to feel the grilling urge coming on. Can't wait for corn cobs to be in season, and the fresh lobsters to go on sale!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beef and Broccoli Stirfry

My first attempt to use lighting to enhance my food photo. I cut the flash, and put a light source in the background to create texture. Better, but the lighting needs some work. I also need to work on my positioning and props. Considering these things makes quite a difference!

This beef and broccoli recipe is from Campbell's Soup, called Orange Beef & Broccoli. You know I like simple, tasty and healthy!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Simple Egg Noodle Stirfry

Well, it isn't really the egg noodle that is stirfried, it's the rest of it, which is whatever you want it to be. Tonight, I chose to stirfry chunks of chicken thighs, green pepper, and carrots. This meal is very very simple to make. And thanks to my Mom, who explained how to make it to me one night over the phone, I can now make use of the packages of egg noodles my parents so kindly bought me from Vancouver.

4 rolls of egg noodle
Oyster sauce to taste
Soya Sauce to taste
Sesame oil - just a drizzle
Olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 carrots, julienned
1 Green pepper, thinly sliced
4 chicken thighs, sliced to chunks, or strips

Marinate chicken a med sized bowl with: a teaspoon of corn starch, seasoned with salt, white pepper, a drizzle of sesame oil, and a table spoon of soya sauce.

Place egg noodle in boiling water. Stir until egg noodes break apart. Once they are all separated, boil stirring for 30 sec to 1 min. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place back into pot, and then drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add the oyster, soya sauce and sesame oil. Stir until evenly coated. Set aside.

Heat on high a large non-stick pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add onions and garlic. Stirfry for a couple minutes, then add the chicken. Stirfry until browned (2-3 minutes). Add veggies and stirfry for 5 more minutes.

Portion noodles in bowls or plates. Top with stirfried yummies.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Nice, light, tasty, healthy. Pan fried Tilapia seasoned with salt and pepper. Drizzled with soya sauce. Nice with rice and lots of veggies. Veggies here: Steamed Gai Lan drizzled with sauce (garlic, sesame oil, oyster sauce, chicken broth).

Monday, March 06, 2006


Salmon is very versatile to cook with. Not only is it quick, and always tasty, you can use so many different ingredients to give it that extra zing. It can be pricey, but if you go to Costco and buy a big pack, ranging from $15-$20, slice it in meal size portions, and freeze them, you'll have a good 4 or 5 good meals out of it (for 2 ppl that is)!

So, for a while I've been making this broiled soy-maple glazed salmon...but I ran out of maple syrup. Since then, I've made broiled salmon with store bought hollandaise sauce. Blech. The sauce was way too overpowering over the salmon. This is it before pouring the sauce:

That was a couple weeks ago. Tonight, I made my last portion of salmon. This time, I tried a new recipe from Chatelaine's March edition.

Mmmmm! I love it. A bit tangy from the lime, with a southern taste from the cumin and tobasco sauce. Because this portion was pretty small, I sauteed some shrimp and zucchini in garlic, S&P.

Chicken Chili

A great substitute for traditional beef chili...chicken chili! And this recipe is quick and healthy. From the February edition of Chatelaine magazine

This pic was from the first time I made it. I didn't have zuchinni. But, when I made it the second time, I made the chili, pretty much as per the recipe. I roasted zuchinni and green pepper before adding it to the chili sauce. It was good the first time, but doing this made it even better.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Romain Lettuce, Green Apple, Cheddar Cheese and Walnut Salad

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Tonight, B wanted to have leftovers for dinner (stirfried pork, veggies, and egg noodle). Of course, I was dissapointed, because I wanted to cook! Well, since I didn't want to cook a full four serving meal just for me, I decided to make a salad pour une. And not just any old salad. So, I turned to my trusty The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook to see what sort of interesting salads I could whip up with what I had in my fridge. What I found was a Bibb Lettuce, Green Apple, and Cheddar recipe, with their Basic Vinegrette salad dressing*. The final product is what you see above, with this really yummy multigrain rye bread that I bought for the first time.


  • Romain lettuce, instead of Bibb lettuce
  • Added walnuts
  • Added cucumber

* The ATK Family Cookbook's Basic Vinegrette is really tasty. It consists of: olive oil, red wine vinegar, diced shallot, minced garlic, salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and oregano (they also suggest other herbs you can choose from).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Pasta Alla Amatriciana

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This was my serving-size for dinner. I'm trying to hold back on seconds. This is Pasta Alla Amatriciana. The recipe used is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It was really good. Also, fast and easy. It basically consists of: chopped bacon, diced onion, pepper flakes, diced and crushed tomatoes, linguine, and grated Romano cheese.

My version: chopped bacon, diced onion, pepper flakes, sliced yellow pepper, sliced zucchini, 1 can stewed tomatoes, linguine, and grated parmesan cheese.

I think I'll go have another forkfull...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My Favorite Dessert: Mini Brownie with Ice Cream

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Warm the brownie; top with your fav ice cream (vanilla/strawberry cheesecake); and voila! The simplicity of ready-made dessert makes it all the better.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I've decided to create this blog as a special place for my food adventures. Maybe it'll turn out to be something more. We'll see...