Apple Quinoa Salad with Scallop

When I was at the market and saw amazingly fresh scallops, I had to get them. This is a fairly quick dish, have your quinoa cooked, pan-sear the scallops, and make the dressing. As I mentioned before, to cook quinoa, you just need to boil the water, add quinoa, and let it cooked on medium heat for about 12 minutes. For scallops, pat them dry before sear them so you have a nice golden crush. For the dressing, fresh lime/lemon is important, please don’t ever buy lime/lemon in the bottle. I add olive oil, wine vinegar, honey, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. I use green apple for the salad because it adds a nice citrus for the scallops, add kale, romaine, and peanut to finish the dish.

Sweet Potato & Quinoa Cakes

 After having a really good black bean burger, I decided to make something similar. Sweet potato and quinoa cakes are perfect, after all, I eat sweet potato all the time. Sweet potato is my quick great snack, I just wrap it with plastic wrap and microwave it for 4-5 minutes, and it’s ready to eat. Quinoa cooks easy too, a lot easier than cooking rice from a regular pot. I just boil the water, add quinoa, let it boil again, and close the lid on medium heat, and it’ll be cooked in 10 minutes. I smash sweet potato, add the cooked quinoa, cooked red peppers and green onion, stir them together and add one egg to hold them together. After that, all we have to do is to portion them into patties, and bake them until they’re golden. You can have these as a burger or with a salad like I do.

Grilled Salmon with Mashed Cauliflower

 Here is another salmon dish again, as I eat Salmon often. My most favorite part about this dish is the mashed cauliflower. It is better than I expected, I did not think cauliflower could make such a hit as mashed cauliflower. I have seen people make cauliflower puree, which is also good for sure. Potato takes quite sometimes to get it cooked, but not with cauliflower, it cooks really fast. All I have to do is to put cooked cauliflower into a blender, season it, and it is done. I am now addicted to mashed cauliflower. I paired the grilled salmon with spinach, radicchio, and wild rice.

Wonton Soup

 Wontons are little dedicate things, yet so delicious. It is addicting to eat wontons because they are so small and you can eat a lot of them without realizing it. It is also really fun to make wontons, making them cute and as perfect as you want. It doesn’t require much ingredients to make wontons, you can make the filling pork, shrimp, or both. The only downside is that the time it takes to form a lot of wontons, yet so quick to eat, but again fun to do. The broth is simple and doesn’t need hours of cooking, some ginger, onion, and wait until you can smell the fragance, probably an hour. You can form wontons while you make your broth. You can also use the broth you freezed from making Chicken Noodle Soup or Pho if you have them, and you don’t need to make broth, making cooking easier and more simple.

Grilled Chicken with Avocado Puree

This is actually my first chicken dish, I’m surprised it is since I eat chicken often. Chicken usually takes longer to cook, and it has to be cooked well done. Chicken is very easy to be dry if overcooked. When I buy chicken breasts, some of them are small and thin,  and some are really large and thick. For the larger and thick ones, I cut them thinner before I cook them because if they are too thick, the inside are harder to be cooked. I don’t want the outside to be burned to have cooked chicken inside. I made this chicken dish with avocado puree, tomato, kale, and couscous.

Spicy Tuna Salad

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I enjoy plating food as you can probably tell, I’m always fascinated by amazing food presentations. When I watch the show Chopped on Food Network, I’m always incredibly surprised by how those chefs can make stunning food and presentations within 30 minutes. It takes me long enough to come up a dish, usually a few days, and a few try to plating. When I think of a dish, I think of which ingredients go well together, the sauce for it, their colors, the right plate for the dish, and how I would plate it. For this dish, I pair the Tuna with spicy sriracha, pickled carrot & cucumber, and Asian herb.

Chicken Noodle Soup

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One of my most favorite food in the Fall and Winter is soup. I love soup, I can eat soup all the time. Soup makes me feel so warm inside and out. I can’t never have enough Chicken Noodle Soup, when I think of soup, Chicken Noodle Soup always comes to my mind first. The hardest part about making Chicken Noodle Soup is the broth, letting the whole chicken boiled in hot water for a few hours. You get better broth than buying broth from the grocery store, and you can control what goes into your broth. I usually make a big pot of broth, and portion it in small sized containers, and freeze them. Whenever I want to eat, I just take them out, and this way I don’t need to make the broth every time.

Salmon with Vegetables

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As I mentioned before, I eat Salmon very often, so there will be more Salmon dishes, just different styles. Salmon is just easy to cook and healthy, and you can make one pretty quick. I pair this dish with asparagus and Asian radish with a ginger soy sauce. Soy sauce is very salty when I buy them, so what I do first is I add water and seasonings and make sure it tastes good first. Then I add fresh ginger to the soy sauce and have it low on the sauce pan until ginger is adsorbed. You can make more of the soy sauce with added water and seasonings and store it in the fridge, when you need to make a sauce or use it, it’s ready.

Duck with Miso Sauce

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I have been inspired by small plates menu, you get to experience the taste and the creativity behind it. More modern restaurants are serving small plates to showcase their passion and creativity, which I love. My experience in cooking is that it takes a lot of ingredients to make one dish, it may look simple, but a lot of work goes into it. So I very appreciate the creativity and the hard work each dish is served. I also like restaurants that use seasons produce and vegetables, they would change menu every season. Every season, they get fresh, in season produce, and make new dishes for every season, how cool is that? In this dish, I serve the duck with miso sauce, grilled persimmon and daikon. Miso is good for you because it is fermented, and persimmon is only in season from October to February.

Asian Herbs Salad

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I don’t really cook authentic Asian food at home often, but I love and eat a lot of authentic Asian food. My mom and sister cook amazing authentic food, plus a few of my favorite restaurants that I go often. For me, cooking is like an experience, I like to throw a little bit of this and a little bit of that and see what happens. If it’s good, I’ll eat it, if it’s not as good, I’ll still eat it. When I see well-trained chefs create fusion dishes, I want to do the same, but I realize I’m not at that level yet. I made a cold herbs salad with banana flower, cabbage, Vietnamese Coriander leaves, Thai basil, cherry tomato, and Fish Sauce vinaigrette.  Mix all ingredients together, and put them in the fridge for a little bit so that all the ingredients will absorb the vinaigrette. The salad will be super crunchy and delicious when you eat.

Whole Grain Spaghetti

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For those who asked me if I eat meat, yes I do, I just don’t cook meat at home as often. I tried to eat less meat, I even tried to become a vegetarian, but I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I crave for meat if I don’t have it for a few days, I’m too much of a foodie to fully become a vegetarian. I made a refreshing spaghetti dish here with asparagus, shiitake mushroom, and tomato. I made the spaghetti sauce from fresh tomato, tomato needs to cook for a while to have it fully cooked through. I prefer my spaghetti to have less sauce, I don’t like my food soaked into too much sauce. I seared a nice pork loin to pair it with the spaghetti. For the leftover spaghetti, I just eat it without the meat.

Scallop Salad

This is probably the simplest dish yet the best, all it takes is just a few ingredients. Scallop goes very well with citrus like orange, and I use the juice from the rest of the orange to make the vinaigrette. I use the salad mix that usually contains baby spinach, baby kale, and spinach, they are a lot of different kind that you can choose from. With a little crushed almond and fresh blueberry, this salad is simply amazing. Smaller portions with good ingredients and little preparation are all it takes to have a good, healthier meals.

 

Shrimp and Whole Grain Penne

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Pasta is my absolutely favorite, they can be addicting. I’m still practicing to make fresh pasta from scratch perfectly, many people can make fresh pasta, but it takes a lot to make a perfect one consistently. The process takes kneeling, time for the starch to relax, a perfect amount of dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Plus, learning how to use a pasta machine to make it perfect. I chose Whole Grain Penne because it is healthier, less white flour. I paired this dish with a combination of tomato, spinach, eggplant, and shrimp.

Scallop and Couscous

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Scallop is another favorite seafood of mine, they are so good and delicious. It took me some practice to cook a perfect scallop dish. I had to make sure I pat them dry before I cook them, otherwise I won’t get the nice golden crust. Scallop cooks quickly so when they’re on the fire, I do not do anything else except keeping my eyes on them. You can tell when they’re overcooked, they taste rubbery, and that’s such a waste. I paired this scallop dish with a combination of couscous, corn, peas, and sweet peppers.

Tofu and Quinoa

 As more people are eating healthier, and eating less meat, tofu has became the ideal protein to turn to. I’m not a vegetarian, but I love tofu, I have been eating tofu since I was little. You can buy tofu already cooked or you can buy it  fresh and cook it yourself. I prefer to buy it fresh, so I can limit the amount of oil that goes in there. Give your tofu a bigger cut size than you intend it to be, because it shrinks quite a bit after it cooked. I paired this tofu with quinoa, tomato, and spinach salad mix. It’s like fried rice but with better fiber and without all the sodium.

Cod and Lentil

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How refreshing is this dish? Perfect for summer or any day. So far, you can tell that I love fish. Fish is just healthy, easy to cook, and kept well in the freezer. Cod is little tricky to cook since it breaks easy when it’s cooked, the meat gets very tender when cooked. So if you want the fillet to come out in one piece, you need to put in the freezer for a little bit first, for it to get firmed. I paired this cod with lentil, and a refreshing combination of mango, cucumber, tomato.

New York Strip and Couscous

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What’s better than steak? Everybody loves steak. Every time someone goes to a restaurant, they mostly order steak. Surprisingly, I don’t really cook steak at home often, but when I go out, I would order steak. The hardest part about cooking a steak is the temperature. If you watch Hell’s Kitchen, you see how Gordon Ramsey gets when his cooks give him a raw steak or a overcooked steak, he goes nuts. I paired this steak with sweet potato puree, couscous, and satay mushroom, radish, brussels sprouts. Super healthy and delicious, and did I mention I love couscous?

Salmon and Wild Rice

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I eat salmon at least a few times a week, they’re super healthy, and packed with Omega 3. Also, they’re easy to cook and they cook really fast. Have your pan hot with oil, and you can have your salmon ready within 6 minutes. You can buy salmon that already portioned for you, or you can buy a whole long fillet and cut them in the portion you want. I paired this delicious salmon with a combination of wild rice, tomato, kale and mushroom, with the asian hoisin sauce on a side.