Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Veggie Sushi

Sushi has put the Japanese cuisine on the world culinary map. Sushi is a perfect choice for the lunch box or for a simple dinner because it is a fresh, healthy and pretty -looking food. Sushi is not made just from the fresh seafood from the ocean surrounding Japan nor is there only one type. For the modern life that we have now, sushi can be a contemporary choice of meal and comes in a wide variety of styles and shapes. From what I know is that each Japanese family has their its own recipe for sushi. I do not pretend to have enough knowledge about sushi, but I can stay with simple ingredients that work well together in taste and texture and are easy to find. I believe the choices of the ingredients to create sushi at home are endless. However, I like to prepare an easy sushi recipe for myself when I know that all my fresh vegetables can be added together to create a fantastic meal.


Ingredients for the rice:
1 ½ cups of short grain rice
One 4” x 4”piece of kombu (seaweed)
1 ½ cups water
Ingredients for the vinegar mixture:
1/3 cup vinegar
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt


Put rice in a sieve and submerge it in a large bowl of water (with your fingers, keep stirring the rice to wash it). Discard the water and continue to wash the rice until there is no more milky water.

 Place rice in a rice cooker and add the kombu and water. Close the lid and turn into cook.

Combine the vinegar mixture in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Transfer the cooked rice into a non-metallic bowl (a wooden bowl is perfect) with a shallow flat bottom. Sprinkle a little of the vinegar mixture to the rice and gently mix well with a wooden spoon (if you can, use both of your hands using one hand with a fan to fan the rice). Continue to sprinkle the vinegar mixture until all the rice is coated with vinegar and looks glossy. Let the rice cool at room temperature and cover with a damp cloth until needed. Here you have perfect sushi rice.

Ingredients for vegetables:
6 nori sushi sheets
1/2 avocado
1/2 carrot
1/2 cup jicama
1/2 cup daikon
1/2 cucumber
2 tbs roasted sesame seeds
Herbs (your choice)
Soy dipping sauce and pickled ginger
Ingredients to make soy dipping sauce:
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbs mirin
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs bonito flakes
2 tbs rice vinegar
Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Turn off the heat. It is ready to serve when it cools off. Adjust the seasoning to your own taste (adding more soy sauce and less lemon juice or vinegar.

Directions for rolling sushi:
Prepare all the vegetables to cut into matchstick-size pieces.
Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch daikon and carrot for 2 minutes. Drain.

Divide the cooked rice into 6 equal portions. Place a sheet of nori (shiny-side down) on a bamboo mat with the longest end toward you.

Wet your hands, and spread one portion of the rice in an even layer onto the nori, leaving 3/4 inch of nori visible at the end farthest away from you.

 Sprinkle the sesame seeds and add a few pieces of vegetables close to you.

To roll the sushi, fold the mat over, starting at the end where the ingredients are and tucking in the end of the nori to start the roll.

 Keep rolling, lifting up the mat as you go and use gentle pressure until you have finished the roll.

 It will take  a lot of practicing to make it look nice. You are the judge, so do not worry.

To serve:
Remove the roll from the mat and cut it into 4 or 5 even -sized pieces with a sharp knife. Arrange them on a plate and serve with ponzu dipping sauce and pickled ginger.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Life Is a Choice

 Life is a choice, is also a kind of letting go. Who can do these two things,then their  thoughts will be in a very high realm, because they  understand so calmly to face it. 
life is a fresh bouquet, if enjoys delicately, one can see the beauty of flowers. Even though it is brutal quickly but the fragrant from it rest forever.
  Life is like green tea, sipping slowly one can enjoy the real taste of it . The hot green tea is easy to cool off, but the scent still lingering forever.
 A human life is like a country song , subtle listening can understand the principle of it, folk songs are usually short, but the deep attention meaning are endless . 
Life is a choice, is also a kind of letting go. People can freely choose is the  happy people. Happiness,  often born with, but this kind of happiness is also very easy to lose. Who can let go at the right time is liberation, but let go of this kind of thinking also makes some people feel uncomfortable. 
People who just can choose to  let go and also  can be calm, quiet type is the one  often makes others admire, but it is also difficult to reach that realm. In fact, the choice of means to let go, but letting go is also a selection of styles.
 A human life can sometimes occur many things fundamentally no way to explain clearly. Do not be sad, just calmly walked over to face everything. Because the path is not always the straight path. People are not always right so be calm to solve the problem. The relation ship between human must less concealed, but more frank. The truth is people need to create a trustworthy between one and another ..A human life can not always be to your liking, which can not also good. One  also should accept other people's weaknesses.
One said many course will blurted, do not  blame others. Spend time listening to others, then forget. 

Things that can disturb your heart usually is  mind "sniff". Things that can hurt you is often vicious in your heart. If you are gentle, nobody is worth hatred. If you do not go deep in to considerate other thinking, no one can make you upset.

 Humans should not be so triumphant moment extravagant, because it will generate extravagant pride, that pride will eventually certainly fail,and, is the germ of frustration.

 Disappointed at not too painful, because painful is weakness, that  will generate certain collapse .Lifetime after all needs to let go, need to get away from negative thought and the hardships. 
 What you experienced are past ,and it retained forever in your life is the enthusiasm forward to make it own aspirations.
 A human life is a choice, do not allow us to wait, relying, which need to make. The choice is right at the foot of the road, and  in the heart, that guided us towards the future. 

Life is a process, it helps us to understand a lot of things. Those who hurt you are also help you to know sometimes accidentally truth;One who help you will make you feel the sincere honesty has always existed.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Vegetarian Eggplant Stew

Currently, there are many research papers about the nutrients contained in the eggplant. Here is one of many web addresses about the eggplant’s benefits: http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/8-health-benefits-of-eggplant.html
According to this study, if we consume eggplant regularly, it will help the body fight diseases, like high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, and so on. Today, I will introduce a dish of eggplant stew with tomatoes and is very easy to prepare at home because most of the ingredients are available in the kitchen. This is similar to an eggplant dish from the North Vietnam that my mom use to make for us, called "ca tim bung". Whatever the name, this recipe is one of my easy healthy recipes to contribute every day to be certain that we can live happily and stay healthy.

1 Japanese eggplant, washed and cut diagonally 
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges 
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, your choice
1 leek, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp mince fresh ginger
2 tsp turmeric 
1 tbs canola oil
The stew sauce ingredients:
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp salt
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs cooking wine
Other ingredients:
Green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
Fresh cilantro

Wash and cut eggplant into 2 inch wide slices and soak in water with salt (this method is performed to remove some of the bitterness from the eggplant and avoid discoloring while preparing the rest of the ingredients).

Heat oil in a wok until hot. Add leek and sauté for 3 minutes

. Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric.

 Cook these spieces until fragrant (about 1 to 2 minutes). Add tomato.
 and eggplant and sauté for 3 minutes.

Add mushrooms. Stir-fry mushrooms for 1 minute.

Add stew sauce ingredients. Bring to boil and turn the heat down to simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and tender. Adjust the seasoning with more sugar or salt at this time. Add green onions and cilantro.

Turn off the heat and serve.
Other Asian herbs, such as rau tia to, perilla, or Chinese celery can be used to make this dish more authentic Northern Vietnam “ca bung”.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Quick Chocolate Cake

When friends just show up unannounced at your home, do not worry, because this recipe will come to the rescue and gives friends a wonderful teatime break. They will be amazed at how easy it is to make this cake, and while cake is baking in the oven, make some tea. I know that you will have a small tea party eventually.

1 cup self-rising flour*
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 egg

Butter and flour an 8” x 5” loaf pan (I use coconut oil to do this part).

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour and make a well in a center.
Combine milk, egg, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract in a blender (a Vitamix blender is the best). Blend for 15 seconds.

Pour all but 1/4 cup of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Mix well the ¼ cup of batter with the cocoa powder.
Pour the cocoa powder mixture onto the batter in the cake pan and use a toothpick to swirl the cocoa batter mixture to create a marble looking design or anything that your talented hands allow.

Bake in a preheated oven set to 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

I now use my NuWave® oven, and it takes 25 minutes



*If self-rising cake flour is not available, then add 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and 1/8 tsp of salt to every cup of all-purpose flour.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Boiled Cassava with Coconut Milk

Baked, steamed, or cooked cassava with coconut milk is a popular snack on the streets of Vietnam. This is a dish that I enjoyed all the time as my breakfast or with afternoon tea. Today, I will share a delicious, simple cassava cooked with coconut milk. Instead of steamed cassava with added coconut cream at the end, boiled cassava with coconut milk is much faster and easier, and, if some of fresh pandan leaves are added while cooking, it guarantees a fantastic result. This dish will warm the hearts of people and is not expensive to prepare. This recipe serves two.

1 large cassava
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
A few pandan leaves

Peel and cut cassava into 2 in. round pieces.

Soak cassava in water for a few hours and then rinse.

Place cassava in a pot. Place pandan leaves on the bottom of the pot, if using, then add cassava.

Pour the coconut milk, water, and, salt into a pot. The inserted it to a few Pandian leaves quantity of the coconut milk mixture should be 1/2 inch above the cassava (you can adjust the amount depending on the amount of cassava on hand).
Bring hot contents to boil and then turn the heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until the coconut milk has evaporated. Add sugar. Continue to cook until the coconut tries out.

Serve with roasted peanuts and sesame seeds.


To make roasted peanut and sesame seeds. The ratio that I use is;
1/2 cup roasted peanut
1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Place in a mini food processor and pulse a few times. You can add more sugar or salt for your taste site. Also, make it chunky or even coarser as your taste desires.
The left over cooked cassava can easily be turned into another dish, which is sweet rice with cooked cassava using the following ingredients and following the directions below.

2 cups cooked cassava, cut into bite-size chunks
2 cup sweet rice, rinsed
1 and3/4 cup coconut water
1/2 tsp salt

Mix cooked cassavas and rice and place them into a rice cooker. Turn the rice cooker dial to cook – that is all folks!

Serve this dish with scallion oil and sweet soy dipping sauce with chili.

To make scallion oil:
You will need about 2 green onions. Slice onions and place in a microwave-safe dish. Add 1/4 cup peanut oil or any oil that your choice with 1,8 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Super Powerful Green Soup

More and more people will choose to live their life in a better way with more healthy nutrition. The best of all is the super green food. It can be consumed from smoothies with green apples, kale, and spinach blended with oranges, carrots, and bananas for a quick breakfast or some other way. However, it is also quick and easy to prepare healthy super green soup when the kitchen has a well-stocked pantry, which allows the cook to gather the necessary ingredients quickly and efficiently when needed. Most supermarkets now have all the green vegetables, such as asparagus, peas, or broccoli, in the freezer section. Another super green choice to create this recipe is the super green salad kit, which includes baby kale, spinach, chard, etc. I am very proud  to introduce this easy healthy green soup and hope it becomes your favorite one.

 3 cups vegetables stocks*
1 cup kale
3 cups super salad kit
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup broccoli
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup almond milk
Combination of fresh herbs, such as mints, parsley, and chives
2 tsp lemon juice

Heat 2 tbs oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until tender and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper; Add broth and bring to boil. Add all the green vegetables and slowly bring back to boil. Use a handheld blender to blend the soup until smooth. Add almond milk and lemon juice and adjust the seasoning with more salt, if needed. To serve, garnish the soup with chopped herbs.

*To make a quick vegetable stock:
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 celery stalks
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 white onion, peeled and quartered
1 piece of pineapple
2 oz. daikon
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup white cabbage
1 tsp peppercorn
1 bay leaf
One 5 inch kombu
Handful of parsley and thyme
Salt to taste

Place everything in an 8 quart pot with water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and partly cover the pot for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the heat off and let all the vegetables steep in the hot water for 30 minutes then drain.

Spaghetti Squash Spring Rolls

Vietnamese spring rolls are very popular because they are made with almost all fresh vegetables. Other than the vegetables, protein sources can be included, such as cooked shrimp, pork, chicken, fish, or tofu for vegetarians. Most of the spring rolls use steamed rice noodles or vermicelli noodles, and the ingredients are endless with many choices for creation of these spring rolls. There are many dipping sauces that suit this dish, such as sweet Vietnamese dipping sauce, Thai peanut sauce, or creamy yogurt dipping sauce. Westerners are familiar with spaghetti squash. This vegetable is super healthy with loads of beta carotene and fiber. I love spaghetti squash and prepare many recipes with this wonderful vegetable. Today, I will introduce easy spring rolls with the combination of both worlds, Asian/Western, of cooking. I use the fish patties that are sold in Costco, and this dish is delicious. These spring rolls have not only a wonderful taste but also are a very healthy meal when combined with other vegetables, such as carrots, jicama, and cucumbers.

1/2 spaghetti squash
1/2 jicama, peeled and julienned
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
Herbs: mints and cilantro
4 fish patties (your choice)
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts
Salt pepper to taste or Japanese seasoning*

15 rice paper wrappers
Serve with peanut dipping sauce or Vietnamese dipping sauce

Preparing the squash:
Pierce the whole squash with a fork and then cook the squash in boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes. There are so many ways to cook squash, but this is a simple one.

 After boiling, let the squash cool off, then cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and the membranes. Use the fork to scrape out the squash “meat” or "noodles".

Grill the fish patties with some oil. Divide the patties equally among the rice paper wrappers.

Heat a large sauté pan with some oil. Start cooking the carrots and jicama (just enough to soften them).

 Season with some salt and pepper or use the Japanese seasoning (the recipe as follow or the store-bought).


Assembling the rice rolls:
Have a warm big bowl of water ready to moisten the rice paper wrappers.
Immerse each wrapper individually in the warm water. Quickly remove and spread out flat on a dry counter-top or plate. Use a paper towel to pat the rice paper wrapper to get any extra water out from the rice paper wrapper. The rice paper will become pliable within seconds. Take one tables of spaghetti squash over the bottom third of the rice paper and one table of the rest of the filling.

 Roll up the paper half way into a cylinder. fold both sides the paper over the filling. Keep rolling the paper into a cylinder to seal. Continue to finish rolling. Place on a serving plate  with dipping sauce on the side

The dipping sauce:
2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice and rice vinegar
1/4 cup coconut water and 1/4 cup fish sauce
garlic  and fesh chili
 This quick  sauce can be use for many Vietnamese recipes for the dipping with fresh rolls or eggrolls etc..
*How to prepare the Japanese seasoning:
10 seaweed sushi roll, bake in preheat oven at 350° for 20 minutes or until crispy
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass, pan fry until golden brown
2 tsp salt, panfry until golden brown
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chili flakes or caynene

Grind the seaweed in the food processor until become small pieces. Add the the rest of the ingredients and grind until they become the consistency that  you like, not too powdery.. Store in a shaker and use for many recipes that call for this seasoning.