Trinidadian Food Adventures

Seriously, it has been a long time since I’ve had a cuisine that is brand new to me.  Today it was Trinidadian food!  I had roti and some yum oxtail stew.  It was all delicious, if not a little bit strong.  After that meal, I had major food coma, wasn’t even hungry for dinner!

Anyway, someday, I want to learn how to make roti, because it is yum.  After I learn a million of other things I have put in the “someday I want to learn” category.  You know.  How to skate, how to cook like Gordon Ramsey or maybe my mom, how to play piano like Tiffany Poon or maybe just improve, how to exercise like a personal trainer or maybe just exercise, how to clean like Marie Kondo or maybe just clean regularly, how to design and DIY like Grace Bonney and Joy Cho.. or maybe.. just..  the list goes on.  I don’t know what it is, this quest to be amazing, or even, just, good, at so many things.  I feel like when I was younger, it seemed there was more time to really dig into things, to actually be good at something.  And now, I feel pulled in so many directions, with information flying at me.  There is no shortage in the information, no shortage in pins to be pinned.  I see amazing things all the time, and I can pin them so fast.  But what I don’t see is the actual work that it takes to get there, where they started.

Yesterday, we had a new couple over, and we shared some of our experiences and they shared theirs.  Anyway, we didn’t know each other that well, and the wife commented to me that she heard I was a super foodie!  Oh my goodness.  I was a little shocked, because usually it’s people who actually can cook well who get that kind of name.  I guess my Yelp Elite badge has been spoken about.  I was actually kind of embarrassed.  Also, it has been awhile since I’ve tried anything really really new.  So when our new friend who has Trinidadian roots commented on how she missed the food from home, I was eager to find out what kind of food that might be, and whether we could find it.  Those are the perks of living in a place that is relatively ethnically diverse.

I also made this the other day, and it was pretty yum.  I’m digging these one-pan meals, oh yeah.

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming up!  Hubby and I will be heading to my parents’ place.  I don’t think I’ll be doing any of the cooking this year, but it’s still fun seeing what is out there.

For all my gluten-free friends or friends who have gluten-free guests, food.com put out a list of Thanksgiving gluten-free recipes.  In particular, I’d love to try the polenta but it looks lengthy.  I also want to try a stuffed mushroom recipe someday.  I LOVE mushrooms.  Anyone have any favorites?  Hello?  Hello?  Anyone out there?

 

Cooking for Guests

I WANT TO CRY.

Today was supposed to be my menu planning day.  Well it is 1:24pm, and here I am, with my bowl of macaroni and cheese, and wondering “What in the world do real adults want to eat?!” and “How am I supposed to make it?!”

Seriously.  Rotisserie chickens and salad, I’m coming for you.

What else?

I’ve been noticing a serious lack of really good food blogs about Hong Kong style food in ENGLISH.  I’ve been thinking about it from time to time, because that is what I grew up on, and now I feel like I have little way of replicating it.  I’ve asked my mom to PLEASE write a recipe book with the stuff she makes for Daddy.  My mom is very health-conscious, especially because my grandparents on both sides have diabetes, and my father has high blood pressure.  This means that everything she makes is low on sugar and salt, two things that are difficult to come by in modern cooking, I think.  We love sugar, and we love salt, and who can blame us?  I can’t say her food is the tastiest food I have ever had, and it would probably never survive in a restaurant setting, but it is home-cooking in all its authenticity and comfort.  Where do you find that?  Not at an expensive Yelper approved restaurant, and probably not on the Internet.  Mother is not tech-savvy, and I suspect many other mothers are the same.  In an age where anything less than a 4.5 star rating makes me wonder if I should even bother trying to cook it, sometimes it’s easier to just get things straight from the source without hearing other’s critiques.  And in an age where anything with a 4.5 star rating often includes heavy whipping cream and other ingredients I don’t have, well….. anyway.  I exaggerate.  The point is.  Mom’s recipes would never make it on the Internet in the way recipes are rated today–primarily by taste–but they make it in the way they make me feel after I eat them.  Healthy and nourished.  Sometimes, the combinations are plumb strange.  Mom has taught me that anything goes, as long as it’s good for the body.  Does it have vitamins?  Does it have protein?  Does it have calcium or is it good for your eyes?  Will it ward off a UTI?  Then you eat it, even if it tastes like liver, or IS liver.  Does it fit in your mouth and is it packed with antioxidants?  Then we’ll fit it in a salad.  Dear Mom, I hope you never see this.

I still aspire to someday be able to churn out amazing tasting food and chop veggies razor thin at lightning speed and be able to survive an episode of Chopped with random and sabotaged ingredients, but seriously, if I could just be like my mom and feed a family of four every day with fresh, healthy food and make it look EASY, that would be pretty awesome too.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Just want to say that having small group at our place worked out!  Mom sent me this recipe and it was easy and foolproof.  So I’m going to share here.  Great for large groups of people and when you’re short on time.  This recipe is basically three parts, the stir-frying of the veggies, the adding of the sauce, and then the adding of the meatballs.

Serves: For around 15 people–  Make a pot of rice on the side too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Onions
  • 3 Bell peppers (I used red and green ones)
  • 45 Costco frozen meatballs
  • 1 medium-sized Can of Pineapples with Juice
  • Water
  • Corn starch (Or some other thickening agent, I used flour)
  • Chicken powder (I used chicken broth)
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbs Vinegar
  • 2 tbs ketchup
  • 2 tbs sugar

As you can see, not all the ingredients have measurements next to it.  Just taste when you get to the sauce part to see how you like it.  My husband likes this dish more sour (so he adds more vinegar), but I like it more sweet.  Also depending on how liquidy you want this to be would determine the liquids and the corn starch ratio.  It’s going to be poured over rice later, but it’s not soup!

Instructions:

  1. Stir-fry onion and bell pepper together, season with salt.
  2. Add sauce: pineapple juice and pineapples, water, corn starch, chicken powder, soy sauce, salt, vinegar, ketchup, and sugar.  Bring this to a boil and taste it.
  3. Then add your frozen meatballs.  Bring it to another boil.  You should have enough liquid to cover the meatballs enough that they get warmed through.  The Costco meatballs are already cooked so don’t worry too much 🙂 Then you’re done!

Serve over rice.

 

 

Cold

Temperatures have dropped, and our gas bill went up enormously last month because of our liberal use of our heater.  So this month, we’re trying to use less.  That means that I am sitting on the couch with my fuzzy green polka dot pants, and my feet feel like icicles.  That also means that I am not really motivated to move from my warm spot, like a cat that has found that precious little ray of sunshine and curls up under it.  So now that we’re too cheap to use the gas, we might try out a space heater from Target because paying for the electricity to run it might be cheaper.  We’ll find out.

On another note, we’re preparing for our first hospitality guests.  They’ll be coming in from overseas, and we don’t know them at all, except that we do happen to be brothers and sisters in the Lord.  We’re trying to set up some curtain arrangement (i.e. sheets) to partition off our living room right now.  So today it’s a trip to find pliers to cut the wire, cause apparently scissors aren’t strong enough for the job.  Who knew?  Those IKEA setups look so easy at first glance.  Don’t be deceived, they actually require quite a bit of work!

It’s hard to write consistently like I used to in high school and maybe even college, but I’m trying to get back into it.  I must say this like every time I blog.  I feel like my days are so ordinary though.  On Tuesdays, I get the grocery store ads, and I actually sit around and look at them.  It sounds so painfully adult, something I am used to seeing my mom doing.  And yet here I am.  Eagerly awaiting the arrival of the mail so I can check what meats, veggies, and fruits are on sale.  The exciting part is going to the store the next day in the morning, before the crowd, so I can get the best pickings.  Yes, I’ve become one of those housewives.

So my days are quite ordinary and yet comfortable.  Yesterday, the hubby and I went to get shabu shabu at one of our favorite places.  Surprisingly, it has only mediocre Yelp reviews, and I generally swear by Yelp reviews (okay yeah I know I don’t swear).  It’s not loud or fancy, and we always tend to run into someone we know there.  The service is also minimal at best.  But maybe I like this hands-off approach better.  You, stay over there, until we need you, yeah?  I happily ate my hot pot in peace.  Nothing like a warm meal on a cold day where the comfort runs deep into your cold bones.  My tummy and heart were quite happy.  Maybe three-star establishments are underrated after all.

What about you?  What places do you continue to go to even though they have poor reviews?  Why?