I like blaming my 30’s for a lot of things: the fine lines appearing under my eyes, the two-day hangovers, and the inability to lose weight the way I did in my 20’s. And while I don’t have too much control over the first problem (let’s be honest, eye cream is just overpriced moisturizer), I can drink less (well, sometimes) and I can definitely make healthier eating choices during the holidays.
The idea of cookie exchanges has made its way to Shanghai, and so has Thanksgiving. For my day job, I’ve had to write listicles about turkey delivery services and where to go for the best cup of hot chocolate in the city. I’m also a food critic on the side, and it’s literally my job to eat fattening food. So I cut corners when I can.
I made this. From scratch. I am so freaking proud of myself, I want to post this everywhere.
It’s what I’m calling a “pumpkin ricotta phyllo tart,” but it should be called “the miraculous outcome of mixing and baking a hodgepodge of ingredients.”
A few weeks ago, I was selected to participate in Shanghai online grocer Epermarket‘s “Halloween Battle.” Along with a few other food bloggers, I was sent a box of mystery ingredients, and asked to create one cohesive dish. A huge fan of the TV show, “Chopped,” I happily agreed.
As you know from my latest post, one of my favorite parts of visiting St. Augustine was touring the local distillery. I mean, free booze? An excuse to buy gin and vodka? Come on.
Then, today, I got a follow-up email, containing recipes for St. Augustine Distillery’s two signature cocktails. It felt like Christmas. Or happy hour. Whatever. Either way, it was enough justification to break out the bottles and do a little taste-testing. For you, of course.
Day three in Florida, and still surrounded by the heavy fog of jet lag. My head aches, my eyes are straining to stay open, and I’ve been up since 4am.
It’s been awhile since I’ve experienced this sensation, as I deliberately keep my vacations within a few hours of Shanghai time. Actually, the last time I had to make this 12-hour adjustment was when I moved to Shanghai last summer. And before that, when I moved back from Korea, in 2011. There’s a reason for this.
It’s said that it takes the body about one day per time zone to get over jet lag. This means that if you traveled from, say, New York to California, it would take you as much as three days to get on California’s schedule. If you traveled from, say, China to Florida, it could take up to 12 days. Twelve days, people! Now, I only predict it will take me half of this time (fingers crossed), but regardless, it’s not fun. Luckily, I have my family, the sun, and pancakes.
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, boots and scarves are for sale. But now that I live in China, there’s another reason to look forward to the season: persimmons.
Starting a few weeks ago, the fruit began popping up all over the markets—showcased as the prized product by every vendor. They are being sold on street corners, in grocery stores. The woman I kindly refer to as “the fruit lady” behind my apartment complex has been shoving bags full of them into my hands, demanding that I buy them. I tell you, the Chinese have a certain charm.
Rainy weather makes me want to curl up in bed, watch cheesy romantic comedies, and eat a big bowl of something laden with butter—somewhat good for my overworked brain and underworked heart, but not so great for the hips.
Americans are infamous for this. Our idea of comfort food, depending on what state you’re from, consists of macaroni and cheese, lasagna with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese between every layer of doughy noodle, meats simmered for hours in red wine and butter, and casseroles with so much cream it makes your heart stop just looking at the recipe.
It’s winter. I get it. I should be posting pumpkin soup recipes and ideas for upcoming cookie exchanges. But fresh Vietnamese spring rolls sound so much better to me right now.
Lately I’ve had an overwhelming desire to travel. And I’m not talking about a week in the Caribbean or even two weeks in Europe. That’s not gonna cut it. I long for my backpacking days and fantasize about future expeditions: Hiking Machu Picchu, spending a month in an ashram in India, riding a camel through the Sahara. The list goes on.
Everyone’s eaten at Thai restaurants. There are Vietnamese places popping up all over. My old DC neighborhood even had a Malaysian eatery on the corner.
But what the heck is Laotian food?
I wondered the same thing before I visited Laos, the small country bordered by Thailand and Cambodia. And obviously this was the first question I asked once I got there.
The moment I returned to America I started receiving invites to parties and reunion requests. I responded by sending a mass email: “Let me sleep for five days, then the planning can commence.”
Exactly six days later, I had two of my best girlfriends over for dinner. And even though I wanted nothing to do with rice, noodles, or any other kind of Asian fare, I thought it’d be nice to cook some recipes I learned in Thailand.
I’m off the crutches and in the mood to cook! I found a really easy Dakdoritang (닭도리탕) recipe on seouleats.com and decided to make it last night. Daktdoritang is basically a really spicy chicken stew, perfect for heating your body on a cold winter night, or for clearing out your sinuses. Here’s the recipe so you can try it yourself: