Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Happenings

I was at a friend's opening of his new store and immediately knew these were going to be Christmas prezzies!

Finally got a pair of vintage cutlery that all my foodie buddies Insist are best for props! This cute vintage turtle is a compass and has all 12 animals from Chinese horoscope, it's for my hubby.

Got myself a beautiful red bead bracelet. Love red & prefer bracelets to necklaces. Will post food later. Experimenting with leg of lamb off the bone to stir fry with eggplant, red bell & scallions. Marinading lamb with 5 spice powder & using Szechuan peppercorns in the sauce. We're going to a gallery owner's home for dinner and he requested a stir fry!

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yin and Yang Lunch

Yin and Yang Lunch: cold salad and spicy chicken curry...

Field greens, grape tomatoes, pickled cue & radishes

Reheated leftover Malaysian Chicken Curry and dipped with whole wheat toast (too hungry to reheat frozen paratha or chipati!) Think my mom wouldn't approve, Asians like to dip with white bread. You'll read about this in my post.

Last night, I packed this same curry for my hubby's lunch, added some stir fried veggies (leftovers for the veggie curry) and topped with a wok heated chipati. Also packed a tiny tub of pickled cue & radishes to balance the spiciness.

Miami Street Food Court

Last night's street food court in North Miami was a sight! I think it's best to order small portions so you have a chance to taste from different trucks. There are not enough trucks serving food that's not deep fried!  See below for Jack of Jefe's who organized this one on 109th and Biscayne. If you live south, there's also another on 65th and Bird Road organized by Sef of Burger Beast. Do visit his site which gives daily updates of food trucks's whereabouts and if you're a burger fan, he is the 'king' of anything 'burger'! One of my fav food bloggers, Trina Sargalski's Miami Dish did a lovely story for WLRN's Under the Sun about food trucks.

If you've not experienced this, DEFINITELY do it! It's fun to see what everyone else is eating too. I'm not shy asking. There must have been 15 trucks. One tip: they should STOP cars going through cause there are kids and folks running around, distracted by gawking at the food trucks and when you back up to take photos, it's dangerous! Sorry about dark and blurry photos but gives you an idea of what to expect.

DP Gelato had a lovely flower arrangement on her counter! Of course, a woman's touch.

Xmas decoration to get into festive mood.

My friend's Grill Master 'Latin' burger, mix of beef and chorizo, interesting & tasty combo. Tried just the meat. Again bun was WAY TOO BIG in proportion to meat.

Using an ironing board for a table, spray painting it red, white, blue was such a cute idea! I love folks who think outside the box. It's what a Wok Star is all about! We like to create our own playlist!!!

This Food Court on 109th and Biscayne is organized by Jack of Jefe's Original Fish Taco and Burger.

Had to try Jefe's fish taco, not sharing with hubby next time, I didn't get any fish, just got a nice crunchy corner! The cabbage slaw and hot sauce was delish, the combo was very refreshing. Price was incredible: $2.35, can't beat that. Jack had a 'Burger Beast Approved' sticker above his menu, very funny. We scarfed the taco before I could take a photo, oops.

When Jack, the owner shouted, Eleanor to pick up my fish taco, I heard a voice next to me, 'I know you from Facebook! I recognize you from the little square of your photo.' She's a writer for South Beach magazine. Then Jack points at me and shouts, 'Wok Star!", I was one of irst who followed him on Twitter! So, be careful when you go out stuffing yourself. Isn't social media incredible?

Didn't have chance to try Korean taco, next time.

Miso Hungry (love name and cute logo), Asian fresh to go. I had Miso Box, $8 not cheap for food truck: Rendang Beef. Nice portion, not bad but way spicy even for me. I grew up eating spicy cause my mom was born in S'pore. When you have spicy, you need something to chill down, all about yin and yang. But the slither of pickle wasn't enough and the Indonesian fried rice was cold and inside was hard. Rice can make or break a dish, needs to be piping HOT

Glad to see this truck offered nice alternative to all the deep fried foods though!!!

We had Slow Food Truck's short rib hoagie which had way too much bread in proportion to pork. The pork was O.K., the flavor was only on the outside. Need some crunch and texture or a side kicker but good price for what it was. Lots of pork in it!

Very funny blow up globe with falling snow!

Well, I hope this post uploads properly cause when I 'saved', it lost all my photos so I can to do it all over again!










Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Whole Foods Market Salad Bar

Good to see Whole Foods Market in South Beach added a few more 'protein' items to their Salad Bar! If I had to eat there on a daily basis, this could get truly BORING!!!

C'mon, give us some variety! Take a look at my 5 Lunch Tips for some simple ideas.

Shrimp salad, cabbage almond slaw, quinoa lentil, feta olive orzo, plain toufu, beets, field greens.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chow Down Grill & Wok Star Christmas Lunch

Josh Marcus explains his concept of Chow Down Grill and gave the inside scoop about his South Beach restaurant slated to open February 2011 right on Alton Road/9th right opposite The Miami Ad School. Everyone enjoyed today's Chinese Family Style Lunch and just getting together. Some I hadn't seen in years, many were Wok Stars, but there were also some new people (some I didn't get photos of, boo.) Thanks everyone for celebrating with me.

If you want to join me in future HOH WOK CLUB gatherings in South Florida, sign up for my FREE newsletter so you'll get first dibs to these gatherings.

Starter: Himachi sashimi, an extra surprise Josh presented

Starter: Chow Down Chop Salad

Chinese Style Family Lunch with Mongolian Beef, broccoli and steamed chicken dumpling.

Dessert: pumpkin bread pudding and rice pudding

Why do I have a photo of Renee with jars of jams? She came bringing 3 Freakin' Flamingo handcrafted jams and I didn't get a photo of her, boo! I love supporting entrepeneurs like Josh (chef) and Renee especially when she makes jams this good, slurp. I got 2 Blueberry Mojitos and a Caribbean Cranberry. Once you've had it, you cannot eat store bought. She only does small batches, so get yours quickly before they go. Great gift idea, woo hoo!

Left to right: Ro-ann, Rick, Polita, Duba, Andrea

Front to back: Chris, Yumi, Mary, Alan at the bar

Left to right: Mary, Nina, Linda, Myriam, Alan, Jorge

Left to right: Jen, John and kids

Josh (chef, co-owner of Chow Down Grill), Wok Star Eleanor Hoh

Left to right: Linda, Jorge, Myriam

Mary (Wok Star who comes to all my events!) and Wok Star Eleanor Hoh

Gorgeous weather so some of us sat outside!

Sent from my iPhone

5 Lunch Tips

Today's Lunch, all from leftovers: chick pea curry, stir fried toufu, Sakaya's Kitchen's coconut rice; field green salad (see tip 2 below); orange segments for dessert.

Trick is to balance your protein/carb to keep your energy UP! I'm not a nutritionist but on the cusp of diabetes (inherited from my mom), so I have to be vigilant! But this applies to anyone.

Tip one: shop for seasonal veggies so you get the freshest & best quality

Tip two: buy a variety of salad fixings like field greens, baby spinach leaves, grape tomatoes, radishes, red onions, hothouse cucumbers(American ones have lots of tough seeds, after scooping out there's no flesh left!)

Tip three: texture can be pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pine nuts

Tip four: Always bring home leftovers from restaurants no matter how teeny they are! I hate wasting food (I can hear my mom)

Tip Five: make a jar of salad dressing which lasts a whole week! (simple: good mustard, olive oil, balsamic or rice vinegar or fresh lime juice, salt, fresh cracked black pepper, thwack a garlic clove) Put lid on, shake, Done!!!

Satisfying with variety, color, texture, spice - Easy, Enjoy, YUM!

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Easy Holiday Cooking

5 spice pork, wok fried veggies & soba noodles

When it's busy Holiday season and I'm juggling with sending out Christmas orders, organizing new venues and schedules for my cooking classes, I need to make it EASY on myself...
I roast a pork joint so there's enough for several meals. It's so simple, helps save time and most important, it's delicious! Also helps with cooking a batch of soba noodles, so all that's left to do is a side of stir fried veggies.

I serve the pork in different ways so it's not boring. On the first day, slice and eat, fresh out of the oven. Stir fried the veggies, tossed a little juice from pork joint on the soba noodles to give them some oompf! DONE.

I always cook more veggies, so there was enough of the whole meal for my husband's lunch box for the next day!
Only 3 seasonings for marinade paste:
Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce: 3 tblsp,
San-J Intl. tamari: 3 tblsp,
MySpiceSage Chinese 5 Spice powder: 3 tblsp
Pork butt was about 2 1/2 lbs.

Take out joint from the fridge an hour prior to roasting, use a fork and stab all over so marinade will infiltrate into joint. Slather marinade all over joint(that's why you want the marinade to be thick like a paste. If it's too watery, it just falls off) and let sit for 15 minutes. I didn't have 15 mins. to spare so I just threw it in the oven and still came out beautiful. While pork joint is roasting, I had plenty of time to prep my veg stir fry...

I found in my fridge: bok choy, yu choy, asparagus, zucchini and red bell peppers leftover from a cooking class. Added pumpkin, scallions. See how I lay them all out on my chopping board? Saves cleanup, go from board to wok. Also had my handy caddy with my Asian seasonings, everything I need to make my dinner go FAST!
Started off with heating my cast iron wok, add oil (started using Tea Seed Oil from Earthy Delight), add garlic and ginger, add firm veggies in one batch. When veggies are nearly done, add dash of tamari and sherry, squeeze of lime, EASY!
Plate the firm veggies.Fry leafy veg on its own.

Recombine firm and leafy veg in wok.

On the following day, I'll serve up pork cold with an interesting salad and red quinoa. Another day, I'll warm up the pork in my wok and eat with whole wheat pasta and different veggies to change it up. Add a side dish like my Easy Kimchi which is crunchy, light, refreshing and gives your dinner a little kick. My mom always says pickles 'open up your appetite' and helps you to digest your food. In Asia, some restaurants serve this as an appetizer, I always look forward to these, restaurants make their own so they're different.

Here are lots more ideas for your Holiday meals, all cooked in my cast iron wok...

Stir Fry without recipes

Wok Up your Own Creations

One Dish Wok Meals

Organic and Farmers' Market
It's lovely to visit farmer's markets because you never know from one week to another what produce or new ingredients they have to offer. I keep updating this growing list. I added many new links, here are 4 new ones:
Take a look at Hong Kong Market where people like to shop right before they cook their dinner!

A new virtual friend, Carolyn who's starting a 'Wok Garden' with seeds I sent her for Asian veggies! Very exciting to see their progress, scroll to bottom of page.

Peter's (Jungle Walls) new hydroponic, stand-alone plant towers enables ANYONE to grow fresh herbs or veggies! Even if you don't have a garden or green thumb, cause it's got all the nutrients and timer to water and feed them at the bottom.

Lastly, a new South Miami Green Market just launched last weekend offering up some wonderful produce.
Go check it out.

Happy Holidays, how do you save time when cooking for your holidays?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wok Star's Thanksgiving Duck

Breaking Thanksgiving tradition with Crispy Roast Duck...

Baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, scallions.
I cheated and microwaved sweet potato.

Just leave all your veggies on a large chopping board,
saves washing up dishes.Go straight from board to wok.

I love my cast iron wok and portable butane gas stove setup.
I leave these out permanently so it's EASY
to use my wok for cooking EVERYTHING.
Start off with oil, garlic and ginger.
Use oil that tolerates high heat like canola or
a new oil I'm trying: Tea Seed Oil
Tip: Don't overfill your wok, it lowers the temperature &
makes your veggies 'soupy'! I started
with just frying baby bok choy.
Next, I fried sugar snaps and red bell pepper.
Combined veggies and topped with scallions.
Add dash of tamari, sherry, squirt lime...DONE!
Bought Roast duck , stuffing and gravy which are
time consuming to make.

Plated sugar snap & red bell.
Dessert and dinner plates ready.Here's a 'before' shot of ready cooked roast duck.
Warmed in oven 325, then under broiler to crisp skin.
So pleased with result, see nice crispy golden skin!
Notice I put duck on a rack so it wouldn't be swimming in fat.
This is the leanest duck I've ever had, hardly any fat.
Another reason to buy store bought, no smoke or fat drips.

This is my husband's plate. I actually took OFF
my sweet potato, too much carbs!
No-sugar chocolate cheese cake (bought)
with fresh blueberries and strawberries.
Nice to have a 2 hour break before dessert!

This Thanksgiving Dinner goes with my whole philosophy of being a Wok Star! Cook stuff that's EASY and FUN, leave the time consuming stuff to others!

We had a very light lunch of Singapore Noodles.

Also take a look at Post Thanksgiving Duck/Turkey - 3 ways. Always with some crispy, crunchy veggies stir fried in my cast iron wok!

Wow, glad Thanksgiving is over, my body craved something light and soupy.

How did you use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey or whatever?

What was your first meal after all the leftovers were used?
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