A Story of How My Daughter Won Her Case of Doubling Her Dessert Intake

cupcake.jpg

Plumster was not feeling well yesterday.  I decided to make her chicken soup, followed by one of her favorite desserts: cupcakes!  I would like to say that her favorite cupcake is the one lovingly prepared by me from scratch.  But no, she prefers the mini dozens that come in a clear box from our local supermarket.

Me: Plum, after you finish your chicken soup, you can have a cupcake.

Plum, eyes lit up: Cupcake!  The mini ones that I like?

Me, feeling triumphant: Yes!

Plum: Can I have two?

Me, now a little irritated: Two?  I give you an inch and now you want a yard!

Plum, without missing a beat: Mommy, I am only asking for two inches!  If I were to ask for a yard, I’d ask for thirty six cupcakes.

 

 

Posted in EATS, Fun Math, KIDS, PARENTING | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lean IN?

Life of a physician mother:

2pm, BOSS sees me heating up my (late) lunch in the common room, stops by to talk (me, starving, wishing I can get a minute ALONE to eat): I eat a big breakfast and big dinner, so I don’t have to eat lunch.

Wait, is he trying to tell me NOT to eat my lunch?

Me: I don’t eat a big breakfast because I don’t have time to both 1) make the breakfast; and 2) eat the breakfast.

I did not point out to him that I was at the office like, two hours before he showed up.

BOSS: When I get home, my wife has my dinner ready at 5:30. I wash my hands, sit down, and enjoy my meal. That’s the way to do it. She prepares a nice soup, and yeah, she is great cook.
Me: Well, I pick up my daughter at 5:30pm on my way home, take her home or to her afterschool activities, make sure she does her homework, then I make dinner for my husband and my daughter.  And yeah, I enjoy my meal, too.

4pm, boss leaves for home to wash his hands to enjoy his dinner prepared by his lovely chef wife while I try to get my work done.

Yup, work-life balance is a bitch.

Posted in CAREER, HEALTH, HOME, MUSING | Leave a comment

Dead in the Yard?

In the middle of the night, my husband came by my desk as I was wrapping up some work, looking alarmed:

MK: There is a dead possum in our yard. I believe our dog killed it.
Me, not fully comprehending the implication (rabies! blood gushing out! ewww!), but excited at the prospect of going outside to get some fresh night air: WHAT? Let’s go see!
MK and I walked out to the backyard and lo and behold, there was a small animal lying stock-still on the ground.
Me: How does one dispose of a dead possum? Do you think the police will laugh at us if we call them?
MK chuckled: Yeah, for sure.  Maybe it’s playing dead. I’m not going to touch it.

After silently staring at this ugly animal for 3 minutes in disbelief, both of us crouching on yard chairs, we decided to come inside in case it was playing dead.

Me to the dog: I can’t believe you killed a possum!
MK to the dog: It’s ok, I understand.  It’s in your nature.
Me to MK: but if she killed the possum, shouldn’t we have heard them?  It was so quiet!

I examined the dog, and didn’t see any blood nor scratches on her.  I fed her a Dental Chew™ as a test: if she happily chowed down the treat, she probably didn’t bite off any animal meat; but if she didn’t care for her favorite treat, then chances were high that she might have had a midnight snack (eeewwww!).

MK to the dog and me: Oh, good idea, she needs to clean her teeth!

She happily (might I add, lovingly) chowed down her treat.

Went back to the desk, googled “dead possum in yard”.  Apparently, you leave them there for four hours in case it’s not dead.  HA! So Monkey King was right.

I walked to the room with a view of the yard and turned on the outside light. A pair of beady eyes the color of squid ink stared straight back at me.  Its head moved an infinitesimal millimeter, but I wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating, willing it to move so that we didn’t have to deal with a dead possum tomorrow morning. I called out to Monkey King to come take a look.

MK: oh yeah, the head is in a different position!
Me exhaling, turned to the dog: Wait, you just let a possum come wandering into our yard without notifying us?

Back to the desk, googled: “live possum in yard.”

Do you have possums in your yard? How do you get rid of them?

Also, 30 minutes later, the possum was gone.

Posted in HEALTH, HOME | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

EATS: Blistered Shishito Peppers

IMG_6460

With our drastic reduction of meat consumption this year, I try not to overdo it with beans and fish all the time.  I started making tofu dishes (more on that later!), and looking into vegetables that we normally don’t cook at home.  When I was in the Asian market, I spotted a bag of silky Shishito peppers.  Remembering the mouth-watering Shishito pepper we had at a Ramen shop up at Mammoth called Ramenya, I decided to bring these lush velvety green treats home and try my hands on them.

Shishito pepper is mildly sweet, slender, and thin-skinned.  Shishito is short for shishitogarashi, meaning lion’s head, probably due to the resemblance of the wrinkly pepper skin to the animal’s.  Paired with a pint of Asahi beer, we were popping these green finger foods to our mouth like popcorn and had to order a second large plate for everyone to share!  Here is a recipe I came up with, if you’d like to see:

EATS: Blistered Shishito Peppers

Ingredients (serves 1-4, depending on how good you are about sharing)

  • 0.5lb whole Shishito peppers, washed, and dried
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • 3-6 Chile peppers

IMG_6501

Steps:

  • Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet in medium-high heat.
  • Lay the peppers gently into the skillet and be careful not to let the oil splashed onto your arms!  This video shows you how hot the oil has to be:
  • Turn the Shishito peppers to make sure all sides are properly blistered.  Again, be careful with the hot oil!
  • Sprinkle with salt and a splash of fish sauce to taste
  • Once all the peppers are blistered, add the red Chile peppers for the vibrant red color and heat (you can skip this if you don’t like spicy food).
  • Add the minced garlic last so as to not burn them.  Mix well and turn off heat.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

Posted in EATS, HEALTH, HOME | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Asian Noodle with Eggplant, Portabello Mushroom, Bean Sprouts, and Sugar Snap Peas

eggplant noodles 2

With my daughter being a Pescatarian, I’ve been forced to get out of my comfort zone of relying on roast chicken and bolongnese sauce, and really think about how to make vegatable dishes interesting on a daily basis.  I bought two Japanese eggplants at the farmer’s market.  With this gorgeous silky purple, I wanted to play with it and give the eggplant an Asian twist.   Right off the bat, I wanted to subsitute olives with mushrooms; be it portebello or shitaki.  I loved the briny olives with the eggplant in my previous rendition (did you?), and mushroom seemed to me to give my dish a different, meaty, and earthy taste that could be delicious.  While at the market, I spotted sugar snap peas at the end of their summer season.  I quickly grabbed two handfuls (before they disappeared!).  Then into the basket came another two handfuls of bean sprouts, a bunch of scallion, some Thai chili.  As I reached the cashier, I felt hopeful with the vague idea of what I was about to prepare.  Here is what I came up with. We enjoyed it immensely and I hope you do, too!

EATS: Asian Noodle with Eggplant, Portabello Mushroom, Bean Sprouts, and Sugar Snap Peas

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced long (see picture below)
  • 1 Portabello mushroom, sliced long (see picture below)
  • 2 handfuls of sugar snap peas, cut diagnally as shown in the picture above
  • 2 handfuls of beans sprouts, with the ends cleaned off by hand (I know it’s tedious, but trust me, the crisp, crunchy texture of the bean sprouts after you twist off the limp, watery ends is well worth it!)
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons almond butter (or Peanut butter, whichever you prefer)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • Thai chili, as much (or little) as you like; I used 5-6
  • 1.5 handful of Chinese noodle
  • 3-5 scallion, sliced both white and green parts length-wise

eggplant and mushroom

eggplants

Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Toss sliced eggplant and Portabello with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and really get in there and massage them to make sure that the they are coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast until eggplant and mushroom are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • While the eggplant is in the oven, blanch the cut snap peas and the bean sprout in batches.  You want to just barely place the veggies in the boiling water, and immediately take them out and place them in ice cold water.  This will ensure that your veggies are cleaned, but still crunchy.
  • Whisk together 3 Tsp of sesame oil, 2 Tsp almond butter, and 3 Tsp of light soy sauce in the serving bowl.  Keep mixing until the sauce is smooth.
  • Cook the noodles al dente; drain well and mix it into the almond soy sauce.  You want the noodles to be a bit warm so they will better absorb the flavor of the sauce.  You can drizzle with more sesame oil or soy sauce to taste.
  • When they are out of the oven, mix in the egglplant and the mushroom.
  • Toss in the sugar snap peas, the scallion, the bean sprout, and the Thai chili!
  • Garnish with Thai basil if you have it.
  • Enjoy!!

 

Posted in EATS, HOME | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

EATS: Mediterranean Pasta with Eggplant, Olives, Grapes, and Tomatoes

eggplant2

The farmer’s market is bustling with all the vibrant colors of summer!  What caught my eyes this weekend were the purple eggplants and yellow cherry tomatoes.  I decided to make a pasta salad dish with these ingredients because:  1) this might be a good dish to pack for lunch without having to reheat; 2) this dish might be a great dish to bring to the beach.  Come to think of it, with a cold pasta salad, I can pretty much make it ahead of time and bring it anywhere!

EATS: Mediterranean Pasta with Eggplant, Olives, Grapes, and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup grapes, halved
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsemic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup penne pasta
  • 1 bunch fresh basil

eggplant1

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss cubed eggplant and chopped olives with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet. Really get in there and massage the eggplant to make sure that the cubes are coated with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast until eggplant is tender, about 18-20 minutes.
  • While the eggplant is in the oven, cook pasta al dente; drain well and set aside.  You can drizzle it with some olive oil to prevent them from sticking.
  • Whisk together 3 Tsp of olive oil, 2 Tsp balsamic vinegar in the serving bowl.
  • When the eggplant/olives mixture is tender, toss it in the serving bowl along with the pasta and mix well
  • Toss in the halved tomatoes and grapes and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with basil
  • Go ahead, admire the color explosion, and enjoy!
Posted in EATS, HOME | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s That Summer Feeling: Lobster!

Mom took me to the holy grail of homelife shopping: Costco. I was dazzled, mesmerized, and perhaps also a bit overwhelmed by the quantity of everything there, including shoppers and cars in the parking lot tranporting the said shoppers. Under her guidance, I picked up a giant bag of almond, trash bags, ziploc bags, then as we turned the corner, I saw the fresh food section. Whoa! Korean BBQ meats? Check. Poke? Check. Birthday cake? Avocado? Strawberries? Check, check, check. Then these beautiful lobster tails caught my eyes.

Growing up on the East Coast, nothing says summer quite like crabs and clams and lobsters. Lazy Sunday afternoon, broiled seafood, corn on the cobb, simple salad, and keylime pie. Now we are talking. Here is how I made my lobster tail. Enjoy!

img_8018img_7979img_7982img_7989

EATS: Summer Lobster Tail
Ingredients:
5 lobster tail,thawed
1/2 cup unsalted butter (8Tbs)
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup honey
6 cloves of garlic
5 wedges of onion
Juice of 1 lemon
As many slices/wedges of lemon as you want to decorate
Fresh herbs: parsley, dill, cilantro

Steps:
Melt the butter with honey, garlic.
Once melted, pour in the white wine; set aside to let it cool.
Preheat the broiler
Cut the middle of the lobster tail open (as shown in picture 1) with a pair of kitchen scissors
Use your finger to dislodge the lobster meat from the shell all around
Place the tails on the oven tray
Place wedges of onion between the lobster meat and the shell
Season the lobster with salt and pepper, then ladle the melted butter mixture with a spoon
Broil the lobster until meat turns opaque. about 10-15 minutes
Squeeze lemon juice on the lobster tail when tails come out of the oven
Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh herbs
Enjoy!

Posted in EATS | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment