yakisoba thai style


The basic rule of yakisoba is noodles with vegetables. This recipe follows the rule but uses bean threads or vermicelli instead of soba noodles. And I suppose it’s Thai style because of the fish sauce or nam pla. I like this dish because it reminds me of what happens when two different cuisines interact and we get these marvelous variations. Some cooks add scrambled egg to the mix, some add chicken slivers or pork. It’s every ingenious cook’s idea of what to do with leftovers, I suppose, or a simple vegan dish that can be a main course or a side dish.

Yakisoba Thai Style
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes

2 pkg bean threads or vermicelli
2 cups cabbage, cut into 1 inch strips
2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into strips
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, cut into strips or 4 scallions cut into 1 inch lengths
4 teaspoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon dark thick soy sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce

1. Put bean threads in a large bowl. Pour boiling water on top and let soak until ready to use, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over high heat. Add the carrots and cook until all are coated in oil. Add about a tablespoon water. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Let cook about 1 minute. Uncover and remove carrots. Set aside.

3. Add another teaspoon oil to the skillet and cook the cabbage. Add to the carrots and set aside.

4. Add a third teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add the onions or scallions. Cook about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Add to the carrots and cabbage. Set aside.

4. Add the fourth teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add the drained vermicelli and heat through, turning with tongs. Add the thick soy, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Toss to coat. Return the vegetables to the skillet. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more fish sauce or soy sauce as desired.

home made dark brown mustard


There are two types of mustard in this picture. The one in the jar at the back is only slightly less brown than the mustard in the jar in front. The color is the result of using brown sugar in this recipe, or for that matter, less brown sugar in the recipe. The result is a sweet hot mustard that’s good with ham or sausages. To ramp up the heat, I would suggest experimenting by adding more mustard powder, or adding a teaspoon (more or less) of dried red chili powder.

Hot and Sweet Mustard (originally Hirscheimer’s Hot and Sweet Mustard, Bon Appetit, December 2012)
3/4 cup light brown sugar (or 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar)
4 oz or 1 cup Colman’s powdered mustard
1 cup red or white wine vinegar (use apple cider vinegar for a milder taste)
1/4 cup honey
3 large eggs lightly beaten

Red chili pepper powder, optional

Special equipment: 3 x 6-oz clean glass jars

Boil water in a kettle and pour into jars that have been washed and dried. Set aside until ready to use. Put lids in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large bowl, whisk sugar and mustard powder to combine. Whisk in vinegar and honey. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Add eggs and whisk until blended. Add dried chili pepper powder, if using.

Set the mustard mixture over a pot of simmering water (not boiling water). Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes or until the temperature reads 160˚F on an instant read thermometer. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Cook’s Note: Use a metal bowl that is slightly taller than the pan of water. This will make it easier to grasp the rim of the bowl when removing it from the heat to spoon the mustard into jars. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Direct contact of the bowl with the hot water may cause the eggs in the mustard mixture to scramble.

Just before filling the jars with mustard, pour off the water. Be careful handling the hot jars. Pick them up with towels or silicone hot pads. Ladle mustard into clean glass jars. Remove the lids from the hot water with tongs. Screw on lids and chill the filled jars in the refrigerator. The mustard will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


For a yellower mustard, use white sugar instead of brown. To make it less sweet, experiment with removing some of the sugar and adding more mustard to the mixture.

singapore jerky fried rice

DSC04256Cousins from Singapore came up for the wedding and brought us a favorite treat: roast pork jerky called bakkwa by Bee Cheng Hiang. I decided to top this vegetarian fried rice with some strips of the meat. It’s chewy and salty and sweet by itself and makes a great snack.
Singapore Jerky Fried Rice
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

4 cups cooked red-and-brown rice, room temperature (can use brown rice or white rice)
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup scallion, bias cut
1/2 cup corn niblets
Coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 squares Bee Cheng Hiang roasted pork jerky cut into slivers

Heat two teaspoons oil in a 10 inch skillet. Pour in the beaten egg and scramble it. Remove from the pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. When it shimmers, add the rice, scallion, and corn. Cook until heated through, stirring to mix well. Return the egg to the pot and combine with rice mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into bowls and top with a few slivers of the jerky. It’s salty and sweet and savory. Enjoy!

turkey alfredo with home made cream sauce with cheese


I don’t remember where I found this recipe because I forgot to bookmark it. Although the original says to use linguine, spaghetti works well, and so does shell pasta. I made my own cream sauce rather than use canned condensed cream soup. Making your own cream sauce is excellent because it cuts down on the salt and the msg. I highly recommend it.

Turkey Alfredo with Home Made Cream Sauce with Cheese
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes

1/2 of a 16 ounce package linguine, spaghetti, or pasta e.g. shell or elbow
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas or broccoli, blanched and cooled (I used broccoli and chopped asparagus and baby corn).
2 cups diced cooked turkey meat, lightly salted and peppered
Chopped scallion and cilantro for garnish, optional
Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

Cream Sauce with Cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 bouillon cube, any flavor
1 cup milk (I used whole milk but low fat or nonfat will do)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper, optional
1/4 cup cream, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh herbs, e.g. thyme, parsley, rosemary

Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.

Blanch the vegetables. This means to put the vegetables in boiling lightly salted water until they turn bright green. For the baby corn, about 30 seconds. Drain the vegetables and rinse in cool water to stop the cooking process. Drain again and set aside.

Make the cream sauce. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Whisk in the flour one tablespoon at a time. Remove the pot from the heat source. Add the milk gradually, whisking all the time until there are no more lumps. Return to medium heat and add the bouillon cube. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the cheeses, black pepper, and the chili pepper, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the cream, if desired, and the fresh herbs.

Add the cooked vegetables and the chopped cooked turkey to the cream sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat thoroughly. If desired, garnish with scallion and cilantro. Or grate Parmesan cheese on top.

carrot-ginger soup


Took a break from the turkey leftovers and made this carrot-ginger soup–without a recipe! It’s got my favorite seasonings: ginger, garlic, and scallions, the trinity of Chinese cooking. To make a sweeter soup,  add about 2 cups pumpkin. No need to increase the liquid; the additional vegetable makes the soup thicker. To make this vegan, use vegetable stock instead of chicken.

Carrot-Ginger Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

4 medium carrots, scraped and chopped into rounds that are quartered
2 medium potatoes, cubed
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used 1 bouillon cube and 3 cups water)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, slivered
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream
herbs, e.g thyme
scallions bias cut for garnish

Special Equipment: immersion blender

In a medium aluminum saucepan or small dutch oven put the carrots, potatoes, broth, ginger, and garlic. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 45 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. Insert immersion blender in the pot and puree the vegetables until the soup is smooth and thick.

Cook’s Note: Because of the immersion blender I recommend using an aluminum sauce pan.If you don’t have an immersion blender use a food processor or blender to puree the soup in small batches.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, thyme, and cream. I use a bit more than 1/4 cup cream to make a creamier soup. Spoon into bowls and garnish with scallions.