Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fall colors

Thought a trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park would bring me to the colors of fall, but I was disappointed. Instead, I managed to capture fall colors in the historic village of Saratoga.

When our stomachs kept growling for food at almost 2pm, we decided not to be fussy about food(and the price). This ristorante should be a safe bet, we thought, since it was quite populated even at late lunch hours. When there are people, the food must be good and should not burn such big holes in our pockets. Even the fresh bread that comes complimentary in Bella Saratoga was yumMeeee...

Fresh bread !

Italian minestrone

Asparagus linguine - lunch special for that day

It appears to be but it is not

Fried carrot cake !

Wishful thinking!
It's onion omelette. May not be a favourite of mine but think my husband will like it. The eggs have been sitting in the refrigerator for about 2-3 months (it's that long!) and I need to get them out of their comfort zone before they start to get too comfortable and begin to "rot" (does it ring a bell where you usually hear this?)

Brown or yellow onions are milder and sweeter and work well in large quantities. They are often used in omelettes to take advatange of their crunch and sweetness.

Red onions are more pungent, with a more intense flavour. They work better in spice pastes and when you are looking for stronger flavours to perk up a bland dish.

Brown or red onions, they will ALL make you cry !

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Simply porridge

For many not-so-well-off families in some cultures, porridge, with the accompanying dishes of salted fish, salted eggs and preserved olives, was considered an economical meal. However, porridge has also been made a feast somehow by complementing it with braised duck (Lor Ak) , stewed pork in soy sauce (Tau Eu Bak), steamed/fried fish topped with black bean sauce or preserved (Tau Cheo) yellow beans. Some other side dishes include salted radish omelette (Chai Po Neng) and ikan bilis fried with chillies, onions, peanuts. There are so many simple dishes that goes with porridge that no wonder it can even be made a buffet theme. Well, downing porridge is indeed very pleasurable as the plain-ness of porridge perfectly complements the intense earthy flavours of many food.

My porridge set begins at home.

Steamed meat "cake"

-0.5lb minced pork
-10-12 pieces pickled lettuce (comes in a bottle), chopped to smaller pieces
-1tbsp light soy sauce
-1tsp sesame oil
-1tsp shaoxing wine
-dashes of black pepper
-2 leaves of napa cabbage(option-as a base for the meat during steaming and adds a hint of sweetness as well)

1.Add finely chopped pickled lettuce into the minced pork, add light soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil to marinade
then further mince/chop the meat to mix the pickled lettuce in the meat
2.Mould the meat into one round "cake"
3.Place on plate/steamer,add 2-3tbsp water to the meat, start steam for 10-20 mins depending how thick the pork is
4.Halfway steaming, add the shaoxing wine over the meat, continue steaming
5.Serve immediately, with rice or porridge

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Getty Sssauce-e-y

I am one unmotivated sauce-maker, especially when it comes to western recipes. Well, there is a huge variety of sauces one can get in the supermarket these days. We are already spoilt for choices-Marinara, Roasted Red Peppers, Vodka Marinara, Three Cheeses, Tomato and Basil, Fired Roasted Mushrooms...the list goes on and on. And that explains...I usually get sauces (mainly tomato-based) off the shelves. Haha, I told you I am one unmotivated sauce-maker...

Finally, I DID make my own sauce ONCE, only because I had some fresh basil left from cooking Kai Pad Bai Kaprow, and I was not patient to work through the storage of basil , especially when I only have some few leaves left. So maybe I should try this ? Make my own pesto sauce! Most pesto sauces are made from basil leaves and pine nuts. However, since I have one handful of pistachios left in the fridge, I could only sacrifice my snacks for making this sauce. homemade pistachios pesto sauce.

Homemade pistachios pesto sauce
-1/2 cup basil leaves, rinsed before using
-1 handful of pistachios,shelled before using (as the origin of this came out from my snacks, it could only be roasted, salted, in shell)
-1 clove garlic
-extra virgin olive oil, EVOO
-Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan cheese, to taste
-freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.Combine basil, pistachios, garlic, cheese in handheld electronic chopper/blender, process to mix
2.While mixing, slowly add in EVOO till desired consistency (should have a grainy texture and less of a puree)
Mine looks like this:

3.Season with cheese and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4.Serve over sauteed/grilled fish, or over pasta (I did both! And it was surprisingly quite good!)

5.If not in use immediately, store in airtight container and into the refrigerator

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Berry superior

I am not talking Singlish here-berry is berry, it's not "very"
And I'm not talking behind the backs of any superiors (or bosses), ok ?

Goji berry or wolfberry, is the berry of the Lycium chinensis plant. Though commonly used as a herb, it is also nutritious food. Not sure if there is medical evidence to it, but wolfberry is often known to be "good for the eyes".

Hey, stop staring at the wolfberries just because I've said that Instead, enjoy their natural sweetness in tea, soups, and for me, as a natural sweetener in "superior broth".

Baby choy sum in "superior broth"
-~1.5lbs baby bok choy sum
-2tbsp wolfberries
-8 shitake mushrooms, wiped with damp kitchen towels, stalks removed, caps julienned
-1 clove garlic, sliced
-1tsp oyster sauce, to taste

1.Stack and layer the choy sum, mushrooms, garlic, and wolfberries in a deep dish or steamer

2.Mix the oyster sauce with warm water, and pour onto the vegetables
3.Steam for 15-20mins, depending on the kind of plate/bowl used. Takes longer time if it's a deep dish since the vegetables on top will take longer time to cook. (Mine was stacked up rather deep in the steamer, so it would take longer time to cook through the vegetables)

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Mee pok culture

Where can you get bak chor mee in California ? For sure (almost), you have to cook it !

Vinegar is used to accent meat-based noodle dishes in both Italy and China, plus...Italian balsamic and Chinese black rice vinegars are surprisingly similar in taste!

FUSION...this pasta a la bak chor mee I've made an attempt to, is inspired by both cuisines.

Pasta a la bak chor mee (serves 4)
-linguine or other long pasta you wish
-~1lb minced pork
-10-15 caps shitake mushrooms, julienned
-2 tbsp EVOO
-1 tbsp red chilli pepper flakes
-3 gloves garlic, finely minced
-chinese black rice vinegar, to taste
-dark soy sauce, to taste
-salt and back pepper, to taste
-fried shallots, garnish

1.Bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and a large pince of salt, return to boil and cook
2.Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in large frying pan, fry shallots till light brown
3.Remove shallots from pan, leaving oil in pan
4.Add minced meat, fry for 3-4 mins, add dark soy sauce, stirring and breaking up the meat till browned and fragrant
5.Add shitake mushrooms, lightly fry for 1-2 mins.
6.Add vinegar. If mixture looks dry, add chicken broth/water and let it simmer 2-3 mins
7.When cooked in pan, transfer to a bowl
7.Add EVOO, chilli and garlic to another pan, lightly fry for 1-2 mins
8.When pasta is done, drain well and pour into frying pan containing EVOO, chilli and garlic
9.Add portions of meat, mushroom, some vinegar, salt and peper, and toss well
10.When serving, garnish with shallots and top with remaining portions of meat and mushroom

Read this snippet while I... *slUrrp...sWoorpp...slUrrp...sWoorpp*
Mee pok is a type of Chinese noodle that is flat and yellow, often varying in thickness and width. Most hawker stalls (Singapore, Malaysia) mee pok come in two variants- fish ball mee pok (hee wan mee), and minced meat mushroom mee pok (bak chor mee).

The sauce in which you toss the noodles is an important aspect of the dish, and is often considered a representation of the cook's skill and experience. The importance of the sauce in mee pok can be thought of similarly as the sauces that accompany pasta. The sauce consists of four components: chilli, oil, vinegar and other condiments such as soy sauce and pepper.

Chili, that's what sets a good mee pok apart from a bad one, some may say. Oil is also essential for ensuring good smooth texture in the noodles. Traditionally, the oil from frying lard is used, together with the deep fried cubes of lard. However, vegetable oil is sometimes used as a healthier version, though at the expense of taste. So now, who cares about THE healthier version when you head for hawker food. I love mine with those deep fried cubes of lard, I tell ya. Vinegar is added for an added sourness, and used more extensively if it's Teochew-style bak chor mee.


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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My first Thai dish

Attempting many firsts here. First time handling fresh herb, first time doing a (authentic) Thai dish, first time substituting key/base ingredients in this Thai dish. Oooooooh...
The fresh herb I'm talking about is basil. Well, I've used basil (dried) liberally in most pasta dishes. But I'm handling fresh basil for the first time now. can't keep fresh basil "fresh" for long*.

This was what became of my basil after 5 days. I better start using them before they end up in the garbage bin.

I have not even told you what Thai dish yet. It's Kai Pad Bai Kaprow (a.k.a Thai Basil chicken)! Next to Thai green curry, this is another common one you can find in most Thai menus. Most Kai Pad Bai Kaprow recipes calls for Holy basil (Thai basil), but I've used what can be bought more easily in the grocery, that's Sweet basil, which is usually used in Italian cooking.

Kai Pad Bai Kaprow (a.k.a Thai Basil chicken)
-~1lb minced chicken (I substituted this with minced turkey)
-1/4 c fish sauce (do not have this either, so I used mixture of Wocestershire and dark soy sauce to marinade the meat)
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-4 shallots cloves, minced (you can use onions if you want to)
-4-6 thai chilli peppers, sliced (I did not have this, and used chilli pepper flakes instead)
-chicken broth or water
-1/2 green bell pepper; 1/2 red bell pepper
-1 cup basil leaves (most recipes call for Holy basil, I've used Sweet basil), rinsed before using

1.Mince turkey and marinate in sauce
2.Heat oil in large saute pan, and fry garlic, shallots and/or onions on med-hi
3.Add minced marinated turkey
4.If looks dry, add some chicken broth or water
5.If you added water, do a taste test here. Add dash of dark soy sauce if you find it too bland
6.Simmer utill the sauce is reduced
7.Add in bell peppers, fry 1 min
8.Stir in basil; ready to serve

Although I have substituted many ingredients and I should call it Sweet Basil Turkey, it still tasted like Kai Pad Bai Kaprow. I'm happy it worked !

*There are many basil storage tips you can find over the internet, including (a)layering fresh basil leaves in damp paper towels inside a plastic bag and refrigerated up to 4 days; (b)placing basil with stalks attached, in a glass of water and cover with a plastic bag secured to the glass, store in the refrigerator, changing water daily, and use within a week, not washing the leaves until you are ready to use them; (c)freezing, either whole or chopped-blanch whole leaves for 2 secs, plunge into ice water, pat dry and place in airtight bags in the freezer; or(d)put whole or chopped fresh leaves in an ice cube tray and cover with water before freezing and once frozen, pop the cubes out into an airtight bag. Sounds a whole lot sophisticated and complicated? I AGREE! I did not have the patience to go through any of these, so I just store my basil above 50°F, out in the open(3-4 days should be ok) and not in the refrigerator since when basil gets chilled, the leaves turn black.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Once upon a time...

...a natural mutation made a cabbage plant grow plenty of tiny little cabbage heads - "sprouts", around a long stalk, instead of one central large one. The name stems from the original place of cultivation-Brussels. Thanks to some adventurous farmers for their continued cultivation that this cool season mutant crop...lives happily ever after.

So eat your mutant cabbage while it is in season!

Bought a stalk of brussel sprouts while at Half Moon ended up in my kitchen 2 ways (chinese or western style?... your choice)

Steamed brussel sprouts (Chinese style)
-brussel sprouts, washed (for bigger "sprouts", cut a cross, 1/4 deep at the bottom of the "sprouts" so that it cooks faster during steaming)
-oyster sauce, to taste

1.Steam the brussel sprouts for 10 mins
2.Prepare oyster sauce; and toss the steamed sprouts in the sauce

Steamed brussel sprouts (Western style)
-brussel sprouts, washed (for bigger "sprouts", cut a cross, 1/4 deep at the bottom of the "sprouts" so that it cooks faster during steaming)
-salt and pepper

1.Steam the brussel sprouts for 10 mins
2.Place steamed sprouts in big bowl,top with some butter, and sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste. Toss it up !

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One-dish chicken rice meal

This is the second time I'm making braised chicken rice. Can't help but feel that the first time was better. I don't know why. It tasted ok, just not as fragrant as the first time. One of those simpler recipes from the stack of cut-outs (cut-outs from magazines, newspapers) that I've brought with me here. Never use them then, but turn out quite handy here. I've giving out the exact recipe from the cut-out, since I made some modifications here and there, and do not want to "discredit" the original recipe.

Braised chicken rice (serves 4)
- 1kg chicken, cut into 4-cm pieces (I use chicken thigh and cut them into bite-size)
-2 cups rice, washed
-3 cups water
-1 tbsp oil
-2 cm ginger, cut into strips
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-10 Chinese mushrooms, soaked in water, stalks removed, caps cut into halves (I substituted with crimini mushrooms)
-1 tsp salt
-1 tbsp black soy sauce

-1 tbsp sesame oil
-2 tbsp black soy sauce
-1 tbsp light soy sauce (I left this out, intentionally)
-1 tbsp oyster sauce
(p.s. added some Wocestershire sauce instead, ~ 1 tsp)

1.Mix the chicken with marinade (I did this ~2 hrs before I started to cook; then leave marinated chicken in the fridge)
2. Cook the rice and water in rice cooker (the usual way...)
3. Heat oil in pan; stir-fry ginger and garlic till fragrant (before this step, I fried some shallots so that the shallots could flavor the rice later; and the "shallot" oil could flavor the chicken as well)
4. Add marinated chicken and mushrooms; cook for 5-8 mins. If the mixutre looks dry, add water. Mix well
5. When rice starts to boil, add some salt and black soy sauce, to taste. Stir well, cover and continue cooking
6. Once rice is cooked, top the chicken mix over the rice in the rice cooker. Cover lid, and let it stand for 15 mins (Before letting it stand, I added some scallions to garnish and add flavor. Add in the fried shallots at this time too)
7. When ready to serve, you can fluff up the rice, season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

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Duck served a la mode

Before feasting on the roasted whole duck* during dinner last night, I've already kept aside a few pieces for today, because I know we hardly have leftovers unless we intentionally want leftovers. This is the no-fuss version of my Roasted Duck Noodles.

*Confession: I did not roast the duck. We bought it from the deli section in the nearby Asian supermarket. The duck went quite well with Merlot.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Soon dubu

No, this is not out from my kitchen. It's Korean tofu stew, known as "Soon dubu" served in Tofu House @ El Camino Real, Santa Clara. We love it! And will love it more in the cold winter months.

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Last minute meal can be "lazy day" food

This was something I cooked (if it justifies the definition of "cook") for a non-supermarketing week, when the fridge was practically empty, of fresh ingredients(except for some broccoli florets), and when the dreaded question came: " is there anything to eat at home ? "

How does this look for a last minute meal ?
And THIS is going to be dinner tonight as well, since I AM LAZY....

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More recipes using "double-duty" ingredients

Before you read on, let's review the shopping list I've posted previously.

Mushroom vegetable stir-try
-oyster mushrooms,wiped with wet kitchen towels
-shitake mushrooms, wiped with wet kitchen towels
-woodear, chopped into bite-size (remainder from what was used for the pork balls)
-green/red peppers (remainder from what was used for the Thai curry )
-napa cabbage, washed and julienne (remainder from what was used for the cabbage pork ball soup)
-baby boy choy, washed and cut
-minced garlic
-oyster sauce, to taste

-heat some canola oil in frying pan
-add the minced garlic to flavor the oil and subsequently the stir-fry
-add all the "fungi-related" ingredients i.e oyster mushrooms, shitake mushrooms,woodear, work them in the pan for 1-2 min
-then add the peppers, baby bok choy, and cabbage, and sitr fry for 1-2 min
-add some water and oyster sauce, stir fry all the ingredients together and let it simmer in covered pan for 3-5 mins

Ready to serve:

I have used celery and broccoli (substituting baby bok choy and napa cabbage) and enoki (substituting shitake) before for this dish. It works as well ! To spice things up, you can add thinly sliced red chilli (seeded) in the stir-fry. All the flavors blend well together.

Mapo tofu
-1 ready-packed "regular" tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
-minced pork (remainder from what was used for the pork balls)
-Lee Kum Kee chilli bean paste (a.k.a tou ban jiang)
-minced garlic

-heat some canola oil in frying pan
-add the minced garlic to flavor the oil
-add the minced pork and fry (on medium-high heat) for 2-3 mins
-add the chilli bean paste; then some water, to de-glaze the pork and bean paste from the pan, as well as for the gravy
-finally, add the tofu, mix well into the spicy sauce and simmer, covered for 3-5 mins

Ready to serve:

Yummy. This is my husband's favorite.

If you have some scallions in your fridge, yes please. Go for it as the garnish. It always works for mapo tofu.

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"RR" version of double-duty ingredients

Continuing from my post on "Whipping up 4 different recipes using 1 simple shopping list is my own Guinness Record " ...

My version of rr...not Rachael Ray, but "rest & relax" recipes.
Double-duty, as the same ingredients can be used more than once in entirely different recipes.

Thai vegetable red curry
-1 crown cauliflower, washed, blanched, and cut into florets
-1 ready-packed tofu ("regular" tofu is suitable for frying), cut into bite-size pieces
-green & red peppers (washed; with core, stems and seeds removed), cut into thick wide strips. I used ~3/4 of all the peppers I've prepared. The remaining to be packed in Ziploc, stored in the fridge, for use in Mushroom vegetable stir-fry
-Thai Red Curry Sauce (I used up the whole bottle for this dish that feeds 2 mouths for 3 days, so it's about 6 servings !)

-heat enough canola oil in frying pan (for deep-frying the tofu)
-deep fry the tofu to golden brown
-remove tofu from pan, and remove the excess frying oil, leaving a wee bit of oil in the pan to stir-fry the vegetables
-add the cauliflower and peppers to frying pan, stir fry quickly for ~ 1-2 mins; add some water to soften the vegetables if necessary
-add in the tofu to the vegetables, stir fry 1 min
-stir in Thai Red Curry Sauce to the already cooked vegetables & tofu, and simmer covered for 2-3 mins
-add in dashes of red chilli flakes if you like it more spicy

Ready to serve:

Cabbage pork balls soup
-3/4 (of 1 bunch) napa cabbage, washed and cut into big chucks
-80% (of ~1lbs) minced pork
-1 pack woodear, washed. Julienne ~ 1/4 of entire pack for this recipe. The remaining to be cut and packed in Ziploc, stored in the fridge, for use in Mushroom vegetable stir-fry
-ginger (minced or chopped, whatever), to taste
-sesame oil, to taste
-1 egg
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 bunch enoki mushrooms (option, used this as it was on sale in the supermarket), removed 1-inch of the stem from the stem bottom

-mix (marinade) minced pork, woodear, ginger, sesame oil, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl
-when water in a pot comes to a boil, roll the pork mixture into meat balls and drop inside boiling water
-then, add napa cabbage and enoki mushrooms
-add salt, to taste
-boil for 10 mins, then simmer on low for 40-45mins

Ready to serve:

The woodear added some crunch to the meat balls. The sweetness of the soup came mainly from the napa cabbage, I believe.

Well, all the above are good for ~ 6 servings (depending on your appetite). There are 2 mouths to feed here, so after I cooked this, it will be rest & relax for the next 2 days because there's no need to cook !

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Whipping up 4 different recipes using 1 simple shopping list is my own "Guinness record"

1 list, 2 double-duty meals (that's 4 entirely different dishes), lasting 5 days, feeding 2 people...
Ok, this is my grocery list:
-oyster mushrooms (2 packs)
-shitake mushrooms (1 pack)
-enoki mushrooms (1 pack)
-woodear(1 pack)
-green and red peppers (1 pack of each, each pack come in threes)
-cauliflower (1 crown)
-napa cabbage (1 head)
-baby boy choy (1 pack)
-tofu (2 packs, "regular" tofu)
-minced pork (~ 1lb)

Already in my dry pantry: 1 bottle Thai Red Curry sauce (I got mine from Trader Joes)
Already in my fridge: Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce, minced garlic, egg

This list is going to create 2 spicy dishes, 1 non-spicy stir-fry and 1 soup. The recipes will come in the subsequent postings. Go get your ingredients NOW ! I'll be waiting for you...

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Monday, October 02, 2006

The slow cooker can work miracles !

I promise a better soup recipe and here it is. Equipment needed...the slow cooker, again.

Mogua pork rib soup
-mogua*, a.k.a hairy gourd, fuzzy gourd, hairy cucumber (Peel off skin, and wash, seeded if you prefer), cut into chunky pieces
- ~1lb pork ribs
-warm water

-blanch the pork rib
-add blanched pork rib and mogua pieces in slow cooker
-add warm water to partially "submerge" the ribs and mogua
-put slow cooker to HIGH (~45mins), then turned to LOW (1-2hr)
-pinch or pinches of salt, to taste

Ready to serve:

Naturally sweet and tasty. Much much much better soup than the watercress soup. The natural juices of the mogua and pork ribs just work themselves out simmering in the slow cooker. I still can't believe I cooked this. Will definitely have this again if I see mogua in the local supermarket and feel like having soup again.

*Mogua, in its raw form

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Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not

Just the other day, I listened to a Stanford podcast in which the Executive Director of Stanford Technology Ventures Program spoke, on how she shared with her son( just about to graduate) on "What I wish I knew when I was 20". No details into the podcast. Just that one of her top 10 points sets me thinking-"Find an intersection on your interests, skills and market". Well, well, well, easier said than done, right ? It might be easier if we have known that before we turned 20 but becomes more challenging once past 30s.

My interest is FOOD (eating being the main...). I've picked up cooking after moving into the Bay Area and cooking is all on-the-job experimenting. I've never followed strictly to any recipes I've seen in books, magazines or the internet. I just look out for base and secret ingredients and the rest, they're mostly self-creations.

My skills do not limit to engineering, analytical, research, tech./project management...but whatever I could jot down, it still has nothing to do with food ? So help me out now, what is my intersection point ? If I were to find it with the associated market, then I would not be updating my blog right now (would be too busy on my career, and if lucky my own business). Oh yes, the speaker did mention that the intersection point would be your career. Or else working purely on interest would be just a hobby, and wholly on skills is just a job. Agree ? Anyway, it is just a personal opnion thingey, so don't ponder too hard about it. I did not. I just wanted to use this as a preamble to my upcoming postings on some home-cooked food recipes.

I have already missed out taking pictures on my own version of spaghetti aglio olio, spicy baked penne, beef stew, chicken stew,"braised" chicken rice (because I thought I would never need the pix anyway). But I could still share the recipes as far as I could remember the ingredients. Of course, there are those that I have taken pix of and will share the recipes as well.

I REALLY do not have many experiments and recipes. I don't cook as often nowadays because my theory of "efficiency in cooking" does not work for one-person. So, when my hubby is not in town (almost every alternate week), I don't cook.

If you will note in my future postings on my recipes, I actually don't measure the quatities of the ingredients used, thus you will not find cups, tbsp, tsb etc. being used in my recipes. Oh, I'm going to make a disclaimer about taste though ...hahahaha... since I believe taste is really up to the individual. Some like it hot, less sweet and some may like it more salty etc. Plus, I am an amateur. So, my efforts to make my food "tasty" to our liking is based on my own gut feel and judgement.

To start off, these are my soup recipes. Please get your "equipment" ready...the slow cooker, that is. Mine is a 3-litre cooker pot.

Watercress pork rib soup
-2 bunches watercress (Need to wash thoroughly to get rids of the soil and bugs. Yes, unexpectedly I found many bugs "hiding" in the watercress and decided this is the first and last time I am doing this soup)
- ~1lb pork ribs (Mistakenly used baby pork ribs because it was on-sale in the supermarket. Do stick with the "normal" pork ribs)
-warm water

-blanch the pork rib (put in boiling water for 5-10 mins)
-add blanched pork rib and washed watercress in slow cooker
-add warm water to partially "submerge" the ribs and watercress (warm so that it takes lesser time for the soup to boil)
-put slow cooker to HIGH (~45mins), then turned to LOW (1-2hr)

Ready to serve:

Outcome: Bitter, rather than sweet. Not the usual watercress soup we have tasted.

"Post mortem", what possibly went wrong:
Probably due to the stems of the watercress that were not removed. Also, did not use red dates that are normally be seen in "commercial" watercress soup.
Check out my mogua pork rib soup in the other postings. A better bet ! That worked but this did not.

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