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Cheddar Jalapeños Waffle Corndogs

Growing up in Hong Kong, I was never exposed to American "football" and football to me was "soccer". I also only had British schooling up until college, so I played a lot of British sports like squash, cricket, rugby and netball. Netball is this all girls game played in skirts and it's like basketball without dribbling. I'm not even sure why it's a sport! It's more of an excuse to watch girls jump around in skirts... :\ I was also highly uncoordinated in my teens and was never into sports back then. It all changed when I went off to college and decided to lose my freshman 15 (lol, more like 20). Now, I love running, playing tennis, and in fact, I was in my women's college rugby team for 2 years!
I wish I understood American football though. People around me are so pumped about game day, whereas, I'm more pumped about game day eats! This waffle corndog creation is from my love of waffles, mini corn dogs and all food on sticks! They are super easy to make and easy to eat too. Hope you guys enjoy it!
Also...who's playing this weekend?

Cheddar Jalapeños Waffle Corndogs 

makes 8-10 waffle corndogs

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
2 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely diced
5 hot dog
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl: from cornmeal to salt. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, veggie oil and egg. Mix dry and wet ingredients together 
  2. Fold in shredded cheese and jalapeños. Cut your hot dogs in half length-wise and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Poke a skewer into the cut dogs. Unless you have a pretty deep set waffle iron (but I couldn't fit mine in)
  3. Heat up your waffle iron and when it's ready, lather butter on the iron surface. Place two dogs in each iron square. My square waffle iron has 4x4 raised parts, so I placed the dogs in the trough between the 1st and 2nd and the 3rd and 4th, with the skewers sticking outside
  4. Scoop the cornbread batter so that it generously covers the dogs. Close iron and cook until lightly brown and crispy outside. It will take longer than your usual waffles
  5. Cut waffle in half and serve with ketchup and dijon mustard!
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Mochi Stuffed Almond Cookies - 찰떡쿠키

Chinese new year is just right around the corner and soon it will be the year of the monkey!! This is one of my fav holidays, because it represents new beginnings, good food and merriment with the family. Back in Hong Kong, we used to get a week break from school and the day would start with wearing new red colored clothing, taping all kinds of good omens written on red paper on our doors and walls. Then we would go about town visiting friends and families to wish them a happy new year and to collect red envelopes full of money! I never did get to see where all that money went, since my mum said she would "safe-keep" it for me :/
I really miss the CNY atmosphere in Asia. People are super happy and the whole city is decorated in all kinds of red colors including red building lights, red candles, and red lanterns. Everyone is singing CNY songs and wishing each other luck for the new year and there are lion dances and fireworks going off in the background. The typical new year foods are so so so good. Usually there is a mochi/rice cake dessert called nian gao, literally meaning "higher year" and so it's lucky for every household to eat it during cny so that their whole year will be very prosperous. I've kind of adapted the traditional Chinese almond butter cookies and added a gigantic mochi filling in the middle so that you too can have some lucky cookies for the new year :D!
Here are some blogger friends who decided to take a spin on Chinese New Year cookies. Check them out below!

Mochi Stuffed Almond Cookies - 찰떡쿠키

makes 10 cookies

1 cup flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tbsp condensed milk
1 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp butter, melted
egg wash + almonds

1 cup glutinous rice flour (mochiko)
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare greased baking tray or line with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a medium bowl, melt butter and then beat in sugar, salt, condensed milk, almond extract and lastly a beaten egg. Mix dry and wet mix together until you get a smooth yellow dough. Wrap dough in seran wrap and let it rest while you make the filling
  3. For the mochi filling. In a medium bowl, mix mochiko powder, sugar, salt and milk. Microwave on high for about a minute. Take out to mix with a heat proof spatula (be careful because it will be hot). It won't be done yet, so microwave for another minute. It is done when it looks like one block of white mochi. Protect your hand with gloves or use the spatula to cut out 10 equal sizes of mochi (or let it cool a little first haha)
  4. Once your cookie dough has rested for about 20-30mins, evenly divide into 10 balls. Flatten balls of dough in your hand, place mochi in the center and wrap around. It will take some molding with your hands to get it around the mochi. Repeat for the other cookies
  5. Make egg wash with a beaten egg and brush on top of cookies and press in an almond
  6. Bake for 10-15mins or until golden. Cool for 5 mins before eating. You can keep remainders in a ziploc bag in the fridge, but the mochi will harden and the cookies will need to be microwaved for 20-30secs to soften it again!
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Chamomile Poached Pear and Warm Granola

In continuation of my "healthy" posts, here's a recipe that can act as both breakfast and dessert. The granola base is filled with all kinds of whole wheat goodies like oats, brown rice and nuttiness from roasted pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.  I wanted to make a huge batch of this so that I could fill up some mason jars and eat it throughout the week. I made enough to fill three jars and my roommate and I have already devoured two :\. 
I've been really into tea lately, and bought a lot of floral loose leaf such as chrysanthemum, rose buds and chamomile. I frequent Chinese medicinal stores to buy these in bulk, because they are so much cheaper than buying it in some specialty tea store like Teavana. I was comparing teas and a lot of their stuff have candied fruits and added sugar, which I wasn't crazy about. My mum has also taken to drying hibiscus flowers in the oven and they make the most beautiful hue of deep magenta when steeped! The best thing about floral teas are that they are drinkable at night if you are sensitive to caffeine, since they don't contain any caffeine. It helps soothe my throat, keeps me warm and relaxed during this cold winter!
For the poached pear portion of this recipe, I decided to poach it with chamomile tea. I received a tea infuser from Dreamfarm, which is the best for steeping loose leaf tea with. It's that bright orange infuser you see in the picture above and it's called teafu. The bright orange is a squeezable silicone that splits open to put lose leaf and you can squeeze the flexible pod to infuse your tea faster. It's like how you shake your teabag about, which doesn't quite do anything, but with the teafu, it forces the water in and out and through your tea leaves. The best thing is that once you're done steeping, you just squeeze it and lift it out of your cup, unlike a teabag dribbling all over the place! (also unlike the picture above, the loose leaf does stay inside the pod! There is loose tea in the photo because....artistic flair :P) So, now I'll be having chamomile poached pears, warm granola with a drizzle of honey and sweetened coconut milk for dessert. And I don't feel guilty at all!

Chamomile Poached Pear and Warm Granola

makes 3 servings

3 forelle pears, peeled
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 tbsp loose leaf chamomile (or as much as my teafu could contain)

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup rice crispy cereal
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup shaved almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup honey
3 tbsps coconut oil (or butter)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1 can coconut milk or cream
  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Prepare a lined baking sheet
  2. Mix oats, cereal, coconut flakes, nuts and seeds together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt. Pour honey mix over oat mixture and stir to coat evenly
  3. Spread to a thin layer and press into a the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 40-50mins, or until gold brown. I used a spatula and flipped the granola half way into the baking time to ensure both sides were nicely toasted
  4. Meanwhile, place the peeled pears in a small saucepan and fill with water enough to cover the tops. Add sugar and the tea. Heat until it simmers and then gently heat on medium-low for about 1 hour or until the pears are very soft, translucent and a fork can easily pierce it
  5. To serve, mix about 1/4 cup of the chamomile poaching liquid into coconut milk. Pour this over a small serving of warm granola. Top with the poached pear and drizzle with honey if desired!

I developed this recipe for Dreamfarm; all opinions expressed are my own. I love their cute and innovative kitchen tools and especially their clever names :) Thank you for the support!
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Avocado coconut miso soba noodles

Who's kept up with their NY resolutions?? Not me >.<! I've been on a very relaxing elective for 2 weeks and I promised myself that I would actually work out erryday all day (since I come home at noon :P). I don't know what it is, but I've been sleeping like 8+ hours a day and I still feel tired haha. I have surgery starting next week, so I probably won't have time to exercise, let alone eat and drink gahh....
Since my roommate and I are on the same rotation and both end our work at noon, we've been hitting up some all you can eat Indian buffets. No exercise and gluttonous eating is a bad combo though (naan and butter chicken is soo difficult to resist :\). So, I'm trying to be more health conscious about eating and reducing my snacking. I even got a fit bit for my birthday from the BF and it's making me feel guiltier about taking the elevator or sitting on my butt all day!
Here's a totally vegan dish with healthy buckwheat soba noodles. The soup is actually very creamy from the finely mashed avocado (using the amazing smood masher from Dreamfarm), coconut milk and lots of umami from a touch of miso paste and shiitake broth. That's the water the dried shiitake is rehydrated in. I usually keep a few mushrooms in water in the fridge, because I can just add a little bit of the mushroom broth into any soup I'm making and it will add some depth to it. I even add it to some sauce bases like if I'm making spicy Korean rice cakes (tteokbokki) or steamed egg (gaeran jjim).
I made a gif!

Avocado Coconut Miso Soba Noodles

adapted from tastingtable
serves 2-3

handful dried soba noodles
1 cup mashed ripe avocado, about 1.5 avocados finely mashed
2 tsp lemon juice
4 dried shiitake mushrooms rehydrated in 1 cup water
1 cup water
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 tbsp white or red miso
salt to taste (I added about 3 tsps)
pepper to taste

1/2 firm tofu package, cubed
pinch of cornstarch
2 tsps soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1/2 zucchini, cut in quarters
rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, sliced
few slices of avocado
sesame seeds
  1. Make toppings first: In a small nonstick pan, heat a little bit of oil in medium heat. Sprinkle cornstarch on each side of the tofu cubes. Add tofu to the hot oil, and add soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Gently turn them so that the cook on all sides until golden brown. Set aside and keep the pan hot. Toss the zucchinis in there with a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Once blistered on the edges, set aside. Lastly, sauté rehydrated shiitake mushrooms with a pinch of salt as well until cooked through
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside in a colander
  3. In a small saucepan, combine shiitake water, water and coconut milk on medium heat. Using a fine mesh strainer, add the miso so that it loosens easily. Bring to a simmer
  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the mashed avocado. I used an immersion blender in the end to make it super creamy. Whisk occasionally until it thickens slightly (about 3-4 minutes). Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Makes about 3-4 cups of soup
  5. Pour avo broth into a bowl, fold noodles into it to coat. Garnish with sautéed tofu, zucchini and mushrooms. Sprinkle with black pepper, sesame seeds and serve

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Creamy Kimchi and Sausage Pasta

I'm back in Richmond!! When I first landed here, I was pretty surprised that LA had been colder and rainier than Richmond :\. I was all prepared with my down jacket, scarves and wooly hat...but when I got off the plane, I was sweating and huffing and puffing when I got to the baggage carousel haha. I actually wished it was colder so I could put some of my winter clothes to use! I totally take that back now though! I have to walk to school fairly early in the morning and it has been bitingly cold to the BONE. Like -7 celsius (still can't get used to Fahrenheit)!! As someone who has lived at the equator most of her life and now in sunny southern California, I can't get used to this freezing weather! I feel like the Michelin tire white puffy man everyday.
I'm glad my mum has packed a suitcase full of food for me before I left, yay! I can seriously say I don't have to go food shopping for a few months :D. Unless, I have to buy eggs, which I do...because eggs are life :P. I put this kimchi pasta up on instagram a few days ago and got a lot of demands for the recipe. Yes, I did make it last year...and it is finally up now :]. At that time, I really needed to get rid of my kimchi before I left for 2 weeks...but, I didn't expect it to be so good! The sausage and herbiness really goes well with the sharp bites of kimchi and parmesan. This dish is best enjoyed with friends and a hearty appetite!

Creamy Kimchi and Sausage Pasta

serves 4-5

1/2 lb bow tie pasta
1/2 large medium onion, sliced thinly into half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, finely diced (optional)
1/2 lb sausage, sweet Italian
1 cup napa kimchi (slightly aged/sour), chopped into 1" squares
1.5 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp white wine
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley (or 2 tbsp dried parsley)
salt and pepper
  1. Boil pasta according to directions on the box, but about 2 mins before al dente or your desired texture. Rinse with cold water and set aside
  2. Heat large frying pan with some oil and sauté onions, garlic and jalapeño until onions are slightly translucent. Place sausage in and break it up into bitable bits with your spatula. Add in the kimchi when the sausage isn't too pink on the outside. Heavily add pepper and a little bit of salt.
  3. After adding the kimchi and frying it around for about 2-3 mins, pour in the heavy cream and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the white wine and then the pasta. Stir to coat. The sauce should thicken in a few minutes. Gently fold over pasta once in a while until all the pasta has warmed up and is to the texture you like, sprinkle in the parsley and parmesan cheese. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan and serve hot.

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Galbi Jjim - Korean Braised Short Ribs

Happy New Year! I have about 2 more hours to finish this blog before it's too late to wish anyone happy new year (on the West coast at least :P). I've been busy packing, because I'm leaving LA today :'(  I spent new year's at home with the fam, although no count downs, since my brother was having a fit about not being able to play his stupid computer games. I've been purposefully downloading large files to slow down the internet :P. Brothers! What can I say?! The last time I ever "tried" to celebrate new year's was first year of college when I went to visit my friends who were studying in London. Let's say it involved a lot of drinking and failing to get into any clubs, because it was too darn expensive. Now, I've really become an old fart. I've stopped drinking after the second year of college and realized I much prefer staying at home and lounging in my PJs. It may be boring to some people, but I'm so much more comfortable that way!
This year has been pretty fun, since I've started rotations. I've been able to meet and work with people I never knew were in my class! I've also met some amazing bloggers and a few that are also in med school. I'm excited and scared about the new year, since I have to start thinking about what I want to do in life after med school! While I'm leaning towards surgery, I don't mind obstetrics, my BF is going to be in the East coast for sure since he's from Long Island, but I've always thought I'd end up on the West coast. All these dilemmas are stressing me out and it's only the first day of the year. Argh!
Anyway, I'm leaving home in LA with a full belly of galbi Jjim. My mum used to make this a lot when we were kids, but it's been a while since I've had it, so I had my mum make it again for me. I was flitting around her in the kitchen like a fly and I'm pretty sure she wanted to swat me away with a fly swatter haha. The short ribs get super tender from the pear juice in the marinade and then cooked until it's falling off the bone. I've written my mum's recipe to a tee, so I can make it later and for you to enjoy too! It's Korean comfort food at it's best :D. Happy new year!

Galbi Jjim - Korean Braised Short Ribs

serves 4-5

5 lb beef short ribs
1 medium sized carrot
1/2 lb radish
1/4 lb lotus, sliced into 1/2" rounds

1/2 yellow onion, finely grated
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 small asian pear, peeled and grated
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp cooking wine (like sake)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp black pepper

  1. Cut short ribs so that there is a one bone and meat attached (like how they cut galbi in Korean BBQ). Submerge short ribs fully in cold water for 3 hours to take out the blood from the short ribs. Change the water at half time
  2. Drain ribs and set aside in a colander. Mix marinade in a large pot. You can also just blend all marinade ingredients in a blender if you don't want to grate by hand. Toss the ribs in the large pot and make sure every rib is covered. Marinated for 24 hours for best taste, or at least 5 hours
  3. Cut carrot and radish into 1.5" spheres. This is so there are no edges that will smush and get everywhere
  4. Pour 2 cups of water into the pot with the ribs in it and cook on high heat until it boils. Then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Mix from time to time. Grease will rise to the top from the ribs, so use a fine mesh grease skimmer to take it out
  5. Add lotus and let simmer for another 20 minutes. Skim grease again and mix around. Add carrot and radish and cook for another 20 minutes. There will be a little bit of sauce but not that much, just enough to generously cover the ribs. If it is still soupy, cook on high heat during the last 20 minutes
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