Chinese New Year starts this Friday! Chinese holidays always make me wish that I was a kid again, at home with my family. When I feel like that, not even alcohol can make me feel better. Only food can.
So I decided to try making Chinese tea eggs. We used to eat Chinese tea eggs all the time growing up. Now, not so much. I don’t even see it very often in Chinese cafes or delis up here in the Bay Area. Maybe my tea egg radar is a little off, guiding me to the wrong places.
We bought a pumpkin to decorate for the holidays and now that the holidays are over, my frugal immigrant side can’t imagine throwing a perfectly good pumpkin away. So wasteful!
I read a lot about how decorative pumpkins don’t make for good puree, since they’re bred for their looks and not their flavor. Well, flavor can always be amped up with a pinch of this and a dash of that. I experimented with a couple of spices and the result was very holiday-y.
Now that the holidays are upon us, I’m not-so-secretly excited by the thought of eating holiday party food (cheese balls! peppermint bark! anything and everything fried! who can resist?!) but I know I need to not go too crazy if I want to feel like a normal person come January. These Strawberry Santas are going to be the secret weapon in my arsenal.
Now that the cold weather’s set in (yes, 60 degrees is cold, especially for an LA girl) I’ve been constantly craving soup. And now that the Thanksgiving eat-a-thon is over, I need something that’s satisfying but won’t trigger flashbacks of turkey-stuffing-pumpkin pie guilt.
I’ve been traveling so much that I haven’t had time to cook. Last week I was in the Midwest, a little bummed about being on the road for a long stretch. But I was perked up by the idea of trying some new places! Some of my adventures:
I was psyched that right across the street from my hotel in Chicago were three Rick Bayless restaurants! Work commitments kept me from eating at the sit down restaurants, but I made sure to mosey on down to Xoco, his counter service restaurant, to try out a torta and churro.
I ordered the Peptio torta, which was braised beef shortribs, jack cheese, black beans, caramelized onions and pickled jalapenos, served with a green tomatillo sauce. The bread was really good, all rustic-y goodness with crispy outside and chewy inside. The rest of the sandwich didn’t live up to the bread though – the shortribs were a little dry and too salty. For years I’ve been searching for a torta that would live up to the tortas we ate when we lived in Mexico City – I had hopes this could be the one, but not quite. (more…)
Last week was the Mid Autumn Festival, the Chinese holiday for celebrating the fall harvest via moon gazing and eating mooncake. The holiday was totally off my radar until I saw a Facebook picture of mooncake posted by my cousin on Thursday! I scrambled to buy mooncake that weekend but it was too late – all the good stuff was already gone. Sniff. (more…)