Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quinoa and Black Beans

Same potluck as the pumpkin bread + one more dish! I had some left over quinoa from... well, I don't know when, but it was well within the expiration date so I could still use it! ;oD I also had black beans left over from a chili I made last month. So... what happens when you combine quinoa and black beans? ... Uh, Quinoa and Black Beans, duh. ;oP

This recipe was quick and easy, and the dish tasted amazing, mostly because of the cilantro. I suppose you could substitute parsely instead but the cilantro flavor really adds to the dish. If this is your first time cooking quinoa, be mindful of the stove! When the recipe says to cook it for X minutes, you cook it for X minutes, otherwise it burns. O.o I learned this lesson not too long ago. Of course, you are free to burn your own quinoa but don't say I didn't tell you so. I was initially worried about the quinoa to black bean ratio but it ends up working out fine. And you might have overlooked it but there are onions in this dish. I can tolerate them when they're caramelized, not so much when they're raw. If you're making this for yourself, I'd say you could last for 4-5 days on it, on a one-meal-per-day basis. If you're like me and you could eat it for lunch and dinner for consecutive days, then it won't last as long. :oD It's light, refreshing, healthy, and colorful. YUM

Banana Banana Bread

Since I was in a baking rhythm and I had all the pans and tools out from the pumpkin bread adventure, I decided to make banana bread as well. There were two overripe bananas available, so I specifically searched for a recipe that used only two bananas. Fortunately, I tend to already have the remaining ingredients. :o)

I ran out of light brown sugar when I made the pumpkin bread, so I substituted 3/4 cup brown sugar with 3/4 cup white sugar. Luckily, those sugars are equal substitutes! I cut up the bananas into small pieces and mashed them in a bowl with a fork in one hand and a spoon in the other. I can't just use a spoon because the banana will perform a slip 'n slide, so I use a fork to do the mashing and a spoon to keep the banana in place while mashing. This bread is staying home. :oD

Pumpkin Bread


I have yet another Thanksgiving dinner to attend, and it's a potluck! I had a can of pumpkin puree left over from the experiment with making pumpkin fudge, so I thought I'd make something a little easier to transport and slightly more healthy. :o) Pumpkin bread!

The recipe calls for three cups of white sugar. I didn't want it to be *that* sweet, so I replaced one cup of white sugar with one cup of light brown sugar. Also, I don't have ground ginger, so I bumped up the ground cloves from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon. There's no vegetable oil in the house, so I substituted with olive oil. I really have no preference for oils when baking; it'll all turn out fine in the end, in my opinion.

As you can see, I made two loaves. The recipe calls for three 7x3 inch loaf pans. Haha, again I'm not partial to sticking exactly with what the recipe says to do. As long as the batter fits in the pan, then I'm using it! I had wanted them to look like "normal" loaves of bread anyway.

I took one loaf to a couple of friends who recently bought a house. The other loaf will go towards the potluck. If you look at the comments section, you'll find people invariably made their own versions of the same recipe. I can imagine heating up a slice and serving it with ice cream, drizzled with caramel. MmMmm...

K Family Thanksgiving

Turkey, stuffing, salad, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole 

Toll House chocolate chip pie, apple pie, and ice cream 

My friends were gracious enough to let me come to their family's Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day. (These are different Ks from the wedding I attended earlier in the month.) As is customary with Thanksgiving meals, there was too much food. Haha... I hadn't had stuffing in a while, so it was nice to have two options at the table. I'm afraid I didn't get a picture of the other one, but it included corn flakes so I'm curious about that recipe.

The dessert options were all homemade (except for the ice cream), and there were plenty of options as well. I'm afraid I hit my limits with the dessert pictured. The Toll House chocolate chip pie was a bit thick in consistency. The original recipe calls for nuts, which is probably used to cut the intensity of the chocolate. As it was, the ice cream was an excellent chocolate buffer at that time. I think if the pie had been heated to melt the chocolate a bit, it would've been even better. The apple pie was homemade by a friend of the family; she included a bit of lemon juice and lemon zest in the pie, which was a nice twist. Also, the apple slices were quite small, which I appreciated. I'm not normally a fan of apple desserts (particularly apple pie) but this version was quite palatable. :oD Many thanks to the K family for having me!


Chicken on flatbread

Baked chicken


Ox tail soup

Steamed pork ribs with black beans


Steamed red snapper

Hong Kong steak

Shrimp with eggs and tomatoes


I attended a pre-Thanksgiving gathering at a friend's place, where one person cooked the majority of the food you see in the pictures. O_O Amazing, right? Phew... he always cooks great food! There were a few dishes that were brought or cooked by others, including (obviously) the birthday cake and the other two desserts. I can only use the word "Jell-O" to describe the green one but it's not quite right... it's close though. In case you're wondering, the birthday cake came from Mozart Bakery.

Family Thanksgiving

I hope that fruit is self-explanatory. -___-"   


Something red, soy beans, and something meaty -___-;; 

Corn bread, sweet potato casserole, homemade sushi, and mashed potatoes 

Yep... a LOT of food!

Potato salad 


Green beans 

Fried rice 

  Spicy, pickled cucumbers

 More homemade sushi!

Chips and homemade guacamole 

Homemade leek pies - yum! (Available at Chef Liu, among other places.)

Tofu and veggies

Sweet potato dish #2

Salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing

Mixed veggies

My plate

Pumpkin soup

Family Turkey Day was early this year. Normally, my stepmom makes two turkeys (one American-style, one Asian-style), but she didn't have enough time this year to get the turkeys let alone defrost them. So, the turkey plate was brought from somewhere. I'm not exactly sure where, but I don't really question whenever food magically appears out of nowhere. ^_^"

As you can tell, there's a mix of Asian and American dishes. This is how it's always done in our household. I believe we had between 15 and 18 people at the table at any given time including family, friends of the family, and random strangers. (Kidding!) A few dishes were brought by others, but the majority of the cooking was done by my stepmom. Every year she says she's not going to do it again and every year... she does it again. :oD We love it!