Foodie Friday: Eggplant with Basil

Eggplant with basil: fried eggplant with aromatic spices I can't believe I haven't blogged about this before, but one of my favorite vegetable dishes involves eggplant. The heady mixture of sweet (brown sugar?) and savory (ginger) always delights me. Although this is often served spicy, I like it only mildly hot and more garlicky. It's usually a beautifully presented dish because of the vivid purple of the eggplant against the earthier tone of the brown sauce. I've tried multiple times to get … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Pea Sprouts

Pea sprouts: leaves and tips of the vine from a pea plant When I have a hankering for vegetables, pea sprouts are my go-to choice of greens. They're a vibrant color and offer soft leaves along with crisp stalks. When cooked fresh, all you need to add is oil and garlic for a flavorful vegetable dish. (Here's a slightly more complicated recipe, though.) With a great nutrition profile of vitamin A, C, and folic acid, they're a surefire winner for health. Pea sprouts are plentiful in the local … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Pickled Cucumber Salad

Pickled cucumber salad: cucumbers marinated in a sweet and salty mixture I hate pickles. They're too sour for me. Often, they make my mouth pucker. However, I really enjoy pickled cucumber salad. It's marinated in rice vinegar. There's a hint of tartness, but that's counterbalanced by a sweet (and sometimes spicy) flavor. The key to a nice cucumber salad is in its crispness. This salad is often served as an appetizer, and with its mix of contrasting tastes, it whets the appetite for the … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Water Spinach

Water spinach: also known as ong choy; recognizable for its hollow stalks In Mandarin, it's even called "hollow vegetable." This plant grows alongside waterways and enjoys moist soil. Although related to the sweet potato family, it's considered a leafy vegetable because of the way it can be cooked. Water spinach requires little preparation and can be stir-fried with a few cloves of garlic and some salt to taste. It has a high amount of nutrients, including phenolic compounds, which provide … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Daikon

Daikon: a radish masquerading as a large white carrot Daikon comes from the Japanese words for "big root." In fact, this radish generally grows up to 18 inches and can weigh about six pounds. The largest ones grown have been around forty to fifty pounds. It's a mild flavored root, which gives it versatility in different dishes. Although it can be eaten raw, it needs to be cooked once it's matured. My most common encounter with daikon is in soups, where it's cooked to melting softness. The … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Lettuce Wrap

Lettuce wrap: An array of meat and vegetables wrapped up in lettuce               There's mention of a lettuce sandwich in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine from 1894. It was also seen all across the United Kingdom and United States in the early mid 20th century. I'm not sure when it evolved into finding a place in Asian restaurants, but now the dish is quite common. (I even saw them offered at Souplantation … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: String Beans

String beans: long, slender strands of green beans, cooked with garlic and ginger               When I was a kid, I remember marveling at the long strands of green beans I spied in Chinese restaurants. Sometimes I saw workers sitting patiently and snapping the beans into small, edible sections. The long beans are stir-fried into a tasty dish with the addition of garlic and ginger; some recipes result in a spicier, Szechuan … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: A-Choy

A-Choy: Taiwanese lettuce               Anything with an "A" in its name is my kind of food. This vegetable is native to Southern Taiwan. A-Choy boasts very crisp stalks and tender leaves. Typically stir-fried, you can taste its freshness in every bite. It's becoming one of my favorite new vegetables, especially when I get tired of staples like bok choy and gailan. A-Choy is supposed to be easy to plant and fast-growing, too. So … [Read more...]

Your Favorite Garden

"When weeding, destroy the roots." -Chinese proverb Dandelions. I remember pulling them out in our yard as a child, trying to yank out the entire plant, so they wouldn't infiltrate our soft grass. We used the green expanse to throw around a football or pitch a baseball. Sometimes we were too lazy to deweed properly, so we just pulled out the bright colored petals. It doesn't matter so much for lawns, but weeding a vegetable garden is another issue entirely. I remember the impressive … [Read more...]