Crab and Avocado Rolls

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il_570xn-439014654_21asMG. I did come back for another post before the end of the year. Quite pleased with myself I am. (I saw Star Wars recently; can you tell?)

I want to share that I have a goal of publishing a cookbook some day. My theme is going to be Clean Out Your Fridge. Or, Don’t Waste Food. Or, How Not to be Bored with Leftovers. Or, Transform Your Leftovers. Or, Meal Planning for Two Whilst Faking Gourmet. I don’t know yet. These are all in the same vein though, right?

Remember yesterday’s post on Crab and Quail Curry? Well, since I cook for a mainly two person household, I sometimes have leftovers or an excess of ingredients. Both Yobo and I not-so-secretly secretly dislike eating the same thing the next day. And sometimes I have a nasty habit of shoving things to the back the fridge and the next thing I know, I will find a moldy version of it a few weeks later. I really hate that because I feel really guilty for being wasteful. I’m trying to make my environmental footprint smaller.

Through Meal Planning, I made the curry, and I saved half of the crab meat tin to make an entirely different dish the next day. Instant Fake Gourmet!

CRAB AND AVOCADO SANDWICHES

  • 1/2lb crab meat (or 2 tins)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • knob of butter
  • brioche rolls (or whatever kind of bread you want)
  • microgreens (I used onion sprouts)
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or a really squeeze of 1/3 of a fresh lemon
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (Kewpie all the way, but you can use whatever brand you’d like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (not pictured)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Butter and lightly toast your bread. Cube your avocado.

In a bowl, mix crab meat, s&p, lemon juice, Old Bay, onion powder, and mayo. Add avocado, mix lightly.

Stuff your bread with the crab and avocado mixture. Garnish with greens or sprouts.

Enjoy and/or inhale.

 

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End of Year is Nigh/Crab & Quail Egg Curry

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I can’t believe it’s going to be 2016 in about 5 days (!!!). When you get older, life becomes lightning fast and the next thing you know, you’re looking at pictures taken that year, and you say, “Wow, we did that…” At least, that’s how I feel currently.

I was planning to write a post about how we pulled off our awesome wedding this year on a tight budget. I’m not sure if I’ll get around to it by the end of the year, but maybe I will by the end of January. I wanted to write it so if there’s anyone out there stressing out about the price tag of a wedding (like we were!), it can be done, girls and boys, and you will make it spectacular.

I also wanted to write a post about being a small business owner and the (hard) lessons I learned these past two years. See above paragraph on that timeline.

Soooo, if you’re here for the recipe, don’t read any of the long text at the bottom. It’s all kinda personal and very end-of-the-year-y, and after some long thought, I felt that it was okay to be vulnerable and blast it on the net.

This is a Bastardizedโ„ข recipe for South Indian inspired crab curry. There is a restaurant in Pasadena called Akbar, and their version of this is an ass-scorching wonderful curry, but it’s got tamarind in it, so Yobo can’t have any. I tweaked the recipe by adding quail eggs, because you always have to kick it up a notch. What I ended up with was a delicious legume-free version and I even licked the pan before I washed it. I’m an animal, sue me.

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SOUTH INDIAN (inspired) CRAB CURRY W/ QUAIL EGGS- serves 2-3

  • 1/2 pound crab meat (or 2 small tins of crab meat)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons Madras curry spice mix
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • quail eggs (I used half a can)
  • coconut cream
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes (not pictured)
  • pinch of sugarย (not pictured)
  • pinch of cuminย (not pictured)

Mince your cloves of garlic. On medium heat in a flat bottomed pan, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and salt and stir for almost a minute. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the pepper, ground ginger, stir to combine. Add the cinnamon, curry spice, garam masala. Once spices have become a buttery paste, add the tomato paste. If it’s too thick, add more butter.

To deepen the flavor of your curry base, raise the heat a little until a thin crust forms on the bottom of your tomato paste spice mixture. This should not take more than 2 minutes. Add the coconut cream and stir until everything has dissolved into creamy sauce. Add the sugar, cumin, and chili flakes. Lower the heat and add the crab meat, stir to combine. Let it simmer for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the quail eggs, stir, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

Chop some cilantro and add as a garnish.

Serve immediately with basmati rice or naan.

Notes:
You can easily double this recipe and use the whole (large) can/tin of crab meat. I have a two person household, so I saved the other half of the tin for another recipe.
You can adjust the level of spiciness by adding more red pepper flakes or smoked black chili pods (which is what they use at Akbar).
The use of coconut cream vs. coconut milk was a game changer. It turned my curry into a real curry if that makes any sense. Use that if you can get your hands on some, or let simmer longer to thicken the sauce if you’re using coconut milk.

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Are you still around? Nice. Hi! What I’m going to do here is write about how lucky I am. I am usually a cynical person. I have my (hopefully rational) reasons and I tend to veer into glass-is-half-empty territory, always on my guard. Read my autobiography in the near future. It will make sense. BUT, there’s another part of me whom is bubbly and effervescent, and I’m trying not to let that person get mauled by Life. Aren’t we all?

I have been making a conscious effort to always be learning from everything and everyone, good and bad. I think this is why I’m extra empathetic, even when I shouldn’t be and the other person might not deserve it on paper. Because of this, I have no problem identifying all the things that remind me not to take anything for granted. ANYWAY, I had a point before I started waxing emo.

Today and this year, I am grateful that the wedding was a resounding success. I am grateful for all of the friends who have stuck around and had good times and venting times with me. I am grateful to have a home whose clutter I can complain about. I am grateful that I have a laptop, a replacement phone, working kettle for my tea fix, and a toilet that flushes all the big shits away (people take this for granted!). I am grateful to have a cupboard full of tea and wine for impromptu guests. I am grateful for internet so I can binge watch Gran Hotel, El Tiempo Entre Costuras, The Fall, Broadchurch Season 2, and Call the Midwife. (<– I watched all these shows this year, wow!) I am grateful to have my family, dysfunctional as they are, because they fill my life with noise, our unique brand of love, and learning lessons. With this, I am grateful for my sister, who is my sister in every sense of the word, but also my Friend — which is a heavy word — and also my batty comrade-in-arms. Stories will be written about us (I’ll probably be the one writing them). And though I feel like I could do with more quality friends, no one shines brighter than BFF. I can’t imagine my life without her. She is there mentally at every stage that I envision my life, and I can’t believe how lucky I am that we found each other and became best friends. She is blissfully unperfect, whereas I try to be. She is my Personย and Family (Family does not have to be blood) and I am a more open-minded (and better) person because of it. And, most importantly, I can come home at the end of a long day and be with my husband. I feel like all of these blessings are best appreciated with him by my side. He is everything and the opposite of stunting my growth. He’s had my back more than anyone else this year and been my cheerleader, socio-political correspondent, fellow music lover, personal rock star, spider-smasher, bedmaker, heating blanket, hero, taste tester, and sofa therapist. He is one of the best people I know. He keeps me stronger, better, faster, smarter. We are a team. He is home. I am so lucky, and I don’t care how sentimental this all sounds.

Happy rest of your Holidays and Happy New Year! May you always remember to feel lucky and always strive to be the best version of yourself. And may I feel motivated enough for one more post by the end of the year, however unlikely.

Forbidden Gluten Free Banana Bread Loaves

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il_570xn-439014654_21asnce upon a time, I used to be able to eat bananas. That’s it. That’s the story. Sometime a few months back, I suddenly couldn’t eat them anymore. WTF. As an island girl who loves bananas, I find this an affront to my culinary sensibilities. It started with a smoothie containing organic bananas. Within a few minutes, some hard bumps appeared on the side of my tongue. My mouth became slightly itchy. This bumps were very painful. It lasted almost 2 hours.

When I got to my parents’ house a week later, I ate some banana chips. My mouth became itchy again. The following recipe was my last hurrah to see if bananas baked into bread would yield the same allergic reaction. I am sad to report that I cannot eat bananas in any form anymore. (Hence the “Forbidden” part of the recipe title.) I’ve heard of temporary allergies lasting just a few months (a friend had something similar happen to him with avocado), so I’m going to test the Fates again in a few months.

Side note: I made these gluten-free banana bread loaves to a) get rid of old mini loaf liners I had around, b) get rid of extra almond flour that was about to expire, c) get rid of a bunch of overripe bananas. I planned to give them to Yobo to take to work for his co-workers since I could not eat them. He had actually forgotten that there was a potluck for lunch, so he strolled in and realized that I’d baked these just in time! Life is funny like that. What’s not funny is being allergic to bananas. Boo.

Anyway, here’s the basic recipe I followed, but I replaced the yogurt with kefir (another thing nearing an expiration date that needs to be consumed). I also sprinkled the top of each loaf with leftover pie crust and it produced a nice and nutty texture. I did steal a teensy slice because the bread smelled amazing. It was worth the itchiness…sort of.

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Breakfast Sammy

It’s been pretty busy lately. I was out Friday and Saturday. I’m glad to be back home so I can wake up on a Sunday morning and clean out my fridge and make stuff like this for a late breakfast…

(No recipe. Just gratuitous pictures of oozing yolk. You’re welcome. We all know how much we like our egg sandwiches: done your own way.)

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Comfort Food When You Really Need It

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I know professional lifestyle and food bloggers hardly kvetch about their sorrows and complaints in depth. The online world is supposed to be light, shiny, colorful, pleasing to the eye, and relatable. I used to have a xanga (anyone remember those?) and I would write endlessly – as is my wont – about my trivial problems. There is something weird about writing an online diary…why not just keep a private one? No one needs to know nor wants to know the things you’re supposed to complain to a shrink about. Despite this, every so often, I quietly put myself on check, stretching out my feelers to strangers.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday. Last week pouring into Monday kinda sucked, but this past weekend sucked especially. I’m so very glad it’s over, and I’ll be even more glad when today is over. Don’t worry. No one died or got fired. In the midst of an event that was wrapping up, I was walking back to my car and just finished a phone call. I put the phone in my right jacket pocket. Some #!@#!@$@#$ in roller blades brushed past me. It took a few minutes for me to register that my phone was missing. That P.O.S. had snatched it! Anyway, it was more lame and time-consuming than usual (because of my circumstances) to have to deal with filing a claim and getting a replacement because that’s how life is. I can’t remember the last time I said, “Well, that was easy” because it never is.

I wish I could say that my phone being stolen is the main reason why I have a dark weight on my mind, but it’s not. Do you have a dysfunctional family or family member? Or someone you’ve had a troubled history with who shows their true colors during the thick of things and you’ve realized against years of denial that it’s hopeless with them? If you do, I needn’t say more. And I needn’t say more about my troubles.

Today is about comfort food. I had this last week, preparing to make a post this week about the comfort foods you eat in a bowl when it’s tits freezing outside because that’s how it’s been lately. But today, this post is about the comfort food you need for the short term when your heart has been broken and it needs time to mend, and there’s that singular comfort of the promise of nostalgia and the protection of your bed.

So last week, I baked a chicken. The drumstick and thighs went into a meal. The breast meat made it into a sandwich. The leftover bones and meat went into porridge. Growing up Asian, we had congee once every two weeks. It was the best comfort food. Nowadays, we have it as a day-after Thanksgiving tradition, and this year’s batch was glorious because our turkey was amazeballs.

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CHICKEN CONGEE

  • leftover meat and bones from chicken/turkey/whatever you want!
  • 2 cups of calrose rice*
  • 8 cups of water**
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of chicken bouillon powder or 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • a knob of ginger
*Calrose rice is nice and sticky when it’s cooked. I highly recommend it over other types of rice.
** This amount of water is really up to whether or not you like your congee thick or more soup-like. I like mine to be on the thicker side. Add or reduce water accordingly.

There is no way to mess this up. Put everything in a pot. Bring to a boil. Stir like crazy. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add water if it gets too thick. Enjoy! The sky’s the limit for garnishes.

NOTE: That brownish fuzzy stuff I put on my congee is called pork floss. It’s like cotton candy meat. I love it. It can be found at your local Chinese supermarket.

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