Monthly Archives: February 2013

A Day-Old Bread, Chard and White Beans Gratin

Recipe inspired by: Zuppa di Cavolo (Italian Cabbage Soup)

bread chard white bean casseroleI have had my fair share of a rock-hard bread loaf forgotten in the breadbox, but I never minded that much as there seem to be many usages for it – Famous panzanella salad and tomato & bread soup would be obvious and fun choices, whereas I could be more practical and make homemade croutons or bread crumbs to stock up in freezer.

Then one day, with another half loaf of old bread and some leftover ingredients, I almost accidentally put this together, adapting from a variation of Zuppa di Cavolo where the soup is ladled over toasted crusty bread. It INSTANTLY became my favorite way of consuming old bread – As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I now go so far as to let the bread go stale on purpose to make this dish.

But since I sort of made it up and perhaps tend to be overexcited thus somewhat incoherent when talking about it, I have had a hard time describing this dish to others and, consequently, convincing them how good it is – Even to my sister, who is actually married to an Italian (“So… it’s basically cabbage soup?” “No, it’s more like gratin. And bread becomes like French toast, but it’s savory and baked” “So it has eggs in it?” “No, it’s soaked in broth. And I put cheese on top. It’s soooo good! Make it. Make it TONIIIIGHT!!!” “Uhh… Okay…”). Continue reading

Favorite Winter Salad – Orange, Avocado and Pomegranate

Recipe inspired by: John’s pomegranate and the trick I learned to get the seeds out

orange and pomegranate saladOne usual hectic morning, I was in my office frenetically dialing in for the next conference call that I was already late for when a big, red, round object suddenly appeared between me and my phone. I looked up, and it was my co-worker John who just walked in to join the call, with his signature gentle smile, reaching out to offer me a gorgeous pomegranate that came from his backyard. “Pomegranate!” I squeaked. “You said you like it,” said John. “Um… hello?” perplexed voice came out of the speaker phone.

John remembered correctly. I enjoy eating all kinds of fruits but have particular appreciation for seasonal ones. Among winter fruits, a pomegranate is such a bright star – I cannot get enough of juicy, zesty, sweet, crunchy goodness of this salad, but I would also eat the seeds as is, sprinkle over yogurt, or mix in with couscous and nuts for pilaf. I love how they make everything a little bit more special, and the experience starts the moment you break the fruit – Seeing the creamy white inside filled with those sparkling garnet gems overflowing out of it virtually unleashes my inner princess, although in reality I’m most likely standing by the kitchen sink in my sweat pants with Hello Kitty slipper socks. Continue reading

Macrobiotic Salmon Soup

Recipe slightly modified from: Mayumi’s Kitchen – Macrobiotic Cooking for Body and Soul (by Mayumi Nishimura)

macrobiotic salmon soupNot many people know this, but I am following Madonna’s footsteps in many ways. I mean, a few ways. Okay, maybe three. What I’m trying to say is I enjoy yoga (both actually doing it and the thought of doing it), own Tracy Anderson’s exercise DVD (very strange but surprisingly effective… a long story) and have been enjoying cooking from a cookbook by a Japanese Macrobiotic chef, Mayumi Nishimura, who was Madonna’s personal chef for a long time.

Without going into too much details as I’m by no means an expert in Macroiotics – I have always been in general agreement with its concept of eating seasonal local produce and less processed foods, not necessarily because they are healthier but because I think they taste great that way. Plus I adore M cafe, one of well-known Macrobiotic establishments in Los Angeles, and used to go there for lunch quite often while I worked in Culver City. So when I got a new job in the valley, I thought I would try cooking some Macrobiotic foods myself. Continue reading