The food-related thing that we’re talking about most at my house lately is a little impromptu orange tasting we did after dinner the other night. I sliced up a few different varieties of oranges that we had on hand and we took a few minutes to really look at them, smell them and taste them and then capture our thoughts. Beyond just being an easy and fun thing to do, it sparked some interesting conversation and it has made us all want to taste more and more more things which, it turns out, is quite different than just eating them. You could do this with just about anything carrots, jelly beans, cheese, tomatoes, soy sauce, chocolate…… would make a fun kitchen play date activity too. Continue reading
Pineapple tarts are little pockets of crumbly, buttery, pineapple-jammy goodness…… the quintessential Lunar New Year’s sweet treat in Malaysia and Taiwan. Making these cookies is a tasty little way to bring a little lunar new year celebration into your kitchen and makes for a fun collaborative cooking project to do with kids or friends. It’s true that they’re a bit time consuming to put together since you have to make pineapple jam in addition to the cookie dough, but all in all none of the steps are particularly difficult. Just make the jam and dough ahead of time and then gather your helpers for a cookie assembly party. Luca, who is 6 was able to assemble the cookies with only very little help from me — thanks to our trusty tortilla press. My little guy loved brushing the cookies with eggwash before they went into the oven.
Having delved into the world of pineapple tarts over the past weeks, I have learned that there are a variety of styles (Malaysian, Taiwanese, different shapes and decorations, filled, open face)….. which means with the basic dough and jam, you can experiment with making the shape and size that appeal to you. The kids and I started off making ovals (more of the traditional pineapple shape), but somehow decided we liked the look of round balls with pineapple-ish slashes on top, glazed with an eggwash enhanced with sweetened condensed milk to make the cookies super golden and shiny.
After making a small test batch of these, I brought some over to Simran and her family for a taste. I didn’t get nervous until I thought about the fact that Simran and her parents lived in Singapore for many years, are total foodies and would most definitely be familiar with this signature holiday treat…and I should probably also mention that they’re not afraid to call out sub-standard food when it crosses their path! So it was a bit like going in the lions den with this one. Luckily, they gave their thumbs up which means that you can feel free to make this recipe with a bit of street cred and that you really should bake some the next time you need to cheer up a homesick friend from Malaysia.
We have tried many a wing recipe in the past, but these ones by Emeril kind of win. I may be suffering from a bout of the “recency effect”, but we are definitely making these again for Superbowl Sunday. The best part is they are so easy, that my little one may be able to make them almost entirely by herself. I am sure someone will pry themselves away from the TV and help her out with getting the wings “in-and-out of the oven”. Lining the pan with foil is a must – otherwise scrubbing the sheet pan will be a total drag.
We had these for dinner and Ria and her friend who was over ended up having a kitchen playdate. You always run the risk that when you come to our house you will be “coerced” into cooking dinner with us. Plus, the kids get quizzed on how to scale recipes – and hence a free math lesson! We enjoyed these with fried rice and given how simple this recipe is, it is going to be added to our regular rotation for sure.
I am generally not a fan of the slow cooker, unless I am using it to “slow-finish” dishes I have started on the stove-top. That way I get the caramelization from the high heat and the benefit of a long-”slow cook”. Very few dishes work, cooked almost entirely in the slow-cooker, but this one does. One can dump it in the slow-cooker and then forget about it. You can pan-fry the chicken pieces if you want to, but omitting that step is totally OK too. This dish can be made on the stove top as well, but the slow cooker just makes it easier and the chicken comes out super fork-tender.
The potatoes I added to our dish were a super hit and everyone was fighting over them. Just because I always like a bit of heat, we also added about a tablespoon of Sriracha. And we prefer thighs over chicken breast, though the recipe allows for both. Enjoy with some fluffy white or brown rice and a big side of your favorite vegetables.
Our little ones are fans of this dish and Stacie and I had a great time tweaking this recipe for our bi-weekly San Jose Mercury article.
We are totally excited to share our upcoming class highlighting the flavors of Northern India. Mom has been teaching us family recipes and both of us have been diligently learning, recording, writing and practicing. I already knew most of the recipes, but the process of documenting family recipes is a tremendous feeling of connection with family, food, community and tradition. And Stacie is becoming quite the poori maker and how many “self-described born and bred San Francisco Hapa girls” can do that?
Come join us for a unique date night, girls night out, friends night out or even come by yourself – I assure you, you will enjoy the meal and community. Plus, if you have not checked out 18 Reasons – it is a wonderful opportunity to do so.
Learn about essential Indian spices, special ingredients and unique cooking techniques, while we make some of my favorite family recipes. Together we’ll cook an Indian feast: golden, puffed pooris, a trio of vegetarian curries, and some classic accompaniments. When served together, the dishes on this menu would be a typical Sunday family lunch in Northern India’s Punjab region, but each of the dishes on their own makes a wonderful addition to your home cooking repertoire. This meal is suitable for vegetarians and even vegans. For the carnivores out there, it makes you forget the “need for meat” – even if it is just for one meal.
- Ruby Mami’s Aloo
- Bodi Bhua’s Chana Masala
- Mom’s Shahi Paneer
- Kachumber and Simple Onion Pickle
- Mint Raita
Friday, February 28, 6-9pm at 18 Reasons in San Francisco (click here to register)
The munchkin and I are hoping to cook more together and I am trying to get Ria involved in making more “real food” as she gets older. This casserole is a good one to work on with kids who are learning how to use knives. We practiced the “bridge” and “claw” method of cutting the mushrooms and green beans. I helped out a little bit with the onion and potato, but next time, I will let her do more and pretty much make the whole dish by herself.
Kids love feeling “grown up” and using knives, and if you watch them closely and teach them the right techniques, they actually do quite well on their own. We just need to get over our own fears and in my experience, if you trust and empower children, they generally do well (and respect the knife). Plus, if they make it themselves, they will practically eat anything.
Roasted Mushrooms, Potatoes and Green Beans from Williams Sonoma
New Year. New Beginnings. New Projects.
We are on a brand-new mission to make daily meals easier by taking a store bought rotisserie chicken and turning it into a delicious, international-themed family meal. For our first project, we turned the rotisserie chicken into a favorite of mine: Hainanese Chicken Rice from Singapore. The whole family loved this meal – it’s tough to go wrong with chicken and rice, plus your favorite greens with some killer condiments. Definitely not as good as the real thing one gets in Singapore, but it hits the spot when the craving hits – with minimal effort. If you have any ideas on what else we can turn a rotisserie chicken into – send them our way. We are super excited about our “Rotisserie Chicken Magic” project.
Stacie and I have made Hainanese Chicken Rice from scratch before and should you want to try the “real recipe”, it is on our blog. This recipe below, we created for the San Jose Mercury Food and Wine section and they featured it this past weekend in their “Fast and Furious Weeknight Cooking” – a bi-weekly column that we write for the paper. Another project we are LOVING!