Asian Invasion

Last week I felt like I was on iron chef.  Our friend Henry decided to have a dinner party at our house (we thought we were just having him over,  but it was really him and 4 guests!).   He came 1 hr late, and we all had to cook this Asian feast in about 50 minutes…….all in all, it was a ton of fun!  See, this is one thing I like about being back in College – Dinner parties on a Wednesday evening; what could be better 🙂

The menu:

Pork marinated in Dr. Pepper and star anise
Steamed fish with some kind of sauce
Curried vegetables
some kind of weird mushroom soup ( He swears there were no chicken feet, but something looked fishy to me!)
rice, of course!

All in all, a tasty meal, though the curry paste he brought over had 1.6g Sodium PER 2 tbsp…that is like a lifetime supply in one jar.  I was seriously guzzling water the next day.  The pork was actually pretty good, and really you couldn’t taste the Dr. Pepper…it was just to tenderize the meat (hmmm…..if it can break down meat so well, what is it doing when we drink it….).

I’m not a huge lover of Chinese food, so it was good to have somebody introduce me to some new flavors.  Henry enlightened us to the way of the rice cooker this year, so now we have quinoa/rice/spelt ready for us regularly.  I must admit, my grain consumption has increased at Davis, but its just so easy to grab pre-made rice pilaf than to whip something up at every meal….. I digress…….

here are some pics of what we made.  Sorry, I don’t have recipes and judging by the fury that Henry put it all together, I’m pretty sure these were family recipes that haven’t been written down.  Love it!

Henry and Patty in action

Curried veggie complete with lifetime supply of sodium…but tasty!




Abundance (2 recipes)

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I used to think that abundance meant having so much more than I needed, that I’d never run out.  Because I struggle the the disease of  ‘not enough-ism’, there were many days spent wanting for excess of everything: money, friends, time, activities, and of course: SUGAR!!.  It was difficult to see that what I had right now was enough.  God forbid my  cup not runneth over in excess every second of the day, right??

Thank goodness life is changing me for the better.  Nowadays I relish in the opportunities I have to find the abundance in what already lies within me and within my grasp….and my fridge.  Take this morning, for instance.  I was cooking for  a potluck tonight, and out of that experience THREE abundance opportunities found me.

Let me explain.

Opportunity #1:    When I open my mind (and my cookbooks), new ideas emerge that I hadn’t seen before.  So, this morning when  I cracked my trusty culinary companion Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison – check her out, she ROCKS!!), I nearly squealed with delight when I auspiciously opened to “Curried Quinoa” and realized I had exactly what I needed to make this dish, down to the frozen peas.

Opportunity #2: Fast forward 2 hrs and I’m stirring away in the kitchen.  I glance at my bowl of left-over carrot pulp from juicing for the quinoa dish…and a cookie recipe idea was born!!  A quick review of the pantry (yes, just enough turbinado for 1 batch….2 eggs left in the carton, the right amount of flour…..perfecto) and I was off and baking.

Perfect timing, too, becuase Matt really needed a healthy homemade treat after a hard morning.  Walking in to the smell of curry and baking cookies is enough to make any troubled soul feel welcomed and loved!

Opportunity #3:   Not so glamarous, but it saved me the $$ and energy of going out for lunch (part of that not-enoughism is wanting for things I don’t have so I can go out and buy them!).  I used the rest of that carrot pulp in my mish-mash lunch of hummus, carrot pulp, beans and avocado, a concoction also inspired by looking around at what I have and keeping my mind open.

I feel good about my kitchen finds and how much fun I had working with the abundance right in front of me.

CURRIED QUINOA (from D. Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for everyone)

2 tbsp oil or butter (I used butter)
1 onion: 1/4 finely chopped, 3/4 coarsely chopped1
1 cup washed quinoa
2 tsp curry powder
salt, pepper to taste
2 zucchini, diced into small cubes
1 cup carrot juice (I juiced 5 carrots)
1 cup peas
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

heat half the oil in a small soup pot, adding the finely diced onion and cook on med for 3 min.  Stir in quinoa, 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups bioling water and then simmer covered for 15 min.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a 10″ skillet.  Add chopped onion, zucchini and remaining curry powder.  Cook, stirring frequently over med heat for 5 min.  Add 1/2 cup water and carrot juice + 1 tsp salt.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes adn add peas adn scallions.  Cook a few minutes more, adding cilantro at the end.  This is a ‘wet’ dish.

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CARROT/COCONUT COOKIES (fresh from the brain of Rebecca this AM)

2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup turbinado
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1.5 cups spelt flour
1 cup br. rice flour
1 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and carrots.  Set aside.  Mix dry ingredients and fold into wet ingredients.  Texture is like that of sugar cookies.  I maked small balls and patted them onto a cookie sheet (1-2″ cookies).  Cook @ 350 for 8 minutes.  Keep moist by storing in airtight container.