Chinese Sesame Noodles (麻酱面)

Chinese New Year always strikes a sharp homesickness in me. Home is Beijing. And despite the vacancy of my childhood home, the lack of close family ties, and the ever-changing skyline, home is still Beijing. I have no desire to reside there or frequent the place on a regular basis, but around the holiday times nostalgic memories crowd out all the problems surrounding pollution, food safety, and the inability to find adequate cheese.

Every year I tame this longing with trips to the Chinese supermarkets, hours perusing Chinese recipes, and listening to Mando Pop (that is Mandarin Pop, and I’d say only the former two activities are worth indulging in). chinese sesame noodles.jpg
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Chocolate-Covered Almonds

I’ve been trying to practice mindful eating. It’s what would prevent me from devouring an entire bowl of these almonds in two minutes. I’m still learning. So far my strategy of refraining from mindless eating is to simply avoid all foods that trigger that primal side of me. It’s chocolate-covered coffee beans, bread sticks, chips: anything with that right combination of sweet or salty along with that satisfying crunch.
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White Wine Cookies

Baseball caps worn backwards is a fashion statement I just do not understand. It should’ve died out like the shoulder pads and the crocs, trends that we look back at in shame. But it’s still here, and whilst the shoulder pads and the crocs didn’t make it to the sports space, oh the backwards baseball cap did. Yes, I have witnessed on several occasions people wearing their baseball caps backwards as part of their gym outfit.
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Chinese Cold Sesame Noodles

I love my carbs. They’re the bane of my existence. I can cut down on the sugar, I can cut down on the fat, but if a diet calls for a reduction in carbs, it can go f*ck itself. I recall trying the Paleo diet, and after day three, I was angry, I was irritated and I was unable to concentrate. All clear symptoms of  carb withdrawal.

That’s why I can’t lose weight and my ass continues to expand. I’m trying out more exercises but that’s just making me hungrier and crave for more carbs. Nothing like some thick toasted sourdough smothered in butter for that perfect pre- and post-work out snack.
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Braised Artichokes with Vegetables & Pistou

Artichokes are a real b*tch in the vegetable world.

A lot of things aren’t worth their price at restaurants – porridge for instance, or scrambled eggs, or granola or in fact anything served at brunch. The raw ingredients + the skills required in preparing them do not justify the numbers on the menu. But artichokes – they’re expensive in restaurants for all the understandable reasons. First, you get a whole artichoke, that’s not cheap to begin with, and with a giant artichoke, the actual edble part is just 40%. Then the prepping of it is just soo labor-intensive. In all honesty, I don’t know what I hate more – paying for an expensive dish of artichokes at home, or spending a lot of money and time to cook artichokes myself.
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Fennel Seed Taralli

I struggle with mindfulness. It’s silly as my stressed out life and jammed schedules could really benefit from mindfulness but it is because of those two factors that I have no patience or time for it. The one thing I’m trying to be more conscious of is mindful eating as mindless grazing is one of my many pitfalls. These taralli are exactly something I would mindlessly eat in front of my Mac until I reach the bottom of the bowl and find nothing but shame and guilt.
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Pea Tahini Dip

Despite having grown up in Beijing with a Chinese mother, there are aspects of the Chinese culture I’ll never understand. My mother grew up during The Cultural Revolution – one of the most horrific movements in the 20th century that led to chaos, violence, deaths, f*cking mayhem –  yet she has never opened up to me about the pain and atrocities she witnessed and experienced in that time. It’s not appropriate in Chinese culture to share your misfortunes, I suppose, especially not with your children. She shares the fond memories from her childhood, like the monthly joy of receiving that rationed jar of sesame paste and smearing it on bread (plain Chinese bao bun) that’s sprinkled liberally with brown sugar. It’s like a sad PB&J. She still absolutely loves that snack.
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