Category Archives: Food

The Philosophy of Burbing

What’s with all this “burping” mania? Why burp? How disgusting/funny/interesting/cool!

There is actually a very valid reason why I choose to use the word “burp.” As embarrassing as this is to confess, I am a huge burper. There. I’ve said it out loud. I burp louder and longer than any big, fat, beer-guzzling, ESPN-watching couch potato out there. I am known far and wide for my burping skills. In fact, when I left Singapore for America, my friends compiled a nice little farewell album for me, in which they all left a sweet message, and every single one of those messages included the sentence, “I will miss your burps!”

Yeah. Not my intelligence, my wittiness, or my absolute fabulosity, but my burps. I’m not exactly thrilled to be identified by my burps, but I’ve come to embrace it.

That said, I don’t burp out of my own will. Why would I ever want to be stuck with an image of social inappropriateness? They just slip out on their own. I blame my genes. Everyone on my dad’s side are burping champions. Seriously. My grandpa’s burping skills put my own to shame.

I remember the one time when I was about 12 and I was visiting Korea, and I was staying at my grandparents’ house. Before I go on, I’ll let you know that I have never been very close to my grandparents, as we lived half the continent away and could only visit once every two years at the most.

One morning, My grandma cooked a big pot of Korean miso soup for breakfast. That put a scowl in my face, because I hated miso soup. Actually, I hated any Asian food, but miso soup was just one of my least favorites, especially the stinky Korean kind. So I sat there picking at my rice and barely touching my bowl of miso soup.

But meanwhile, my grandpa was guzzling it down like it was a bowl of golden nectar from the gods. He slurped up each spoonful noisily, going “AHHH!” and “Mmmm!!” with every mouthful. The sight of him enjoying this simple bowl of miso soup so much made me suddenly crave for the same experience. What the hell is so great about miso? All of a sudden, I, too, wanted to enjoy my miso soup, so I decided to give it another chance.

I picked up my spoon and gave it a cautious taste. And you know what? It tasted magnificent. I don’t know if it was because of my grandpa’s influence or my grandma’s amazing cooking, but I finished every last drop of that miso soup, albeit with less moans of ecstasy than my grandpa.

And at the end of it, we both burped out loud in unison. My grandma shook her head in disgust, muttering, “Like grandfather, like granddaughter.” But my grandpa and I shared a secret smile, and at that moment I suddenly felt myself sharing a close kinship and bond with him.

Here’s the sad part of the story, though. My grandpa just passed away last year due to stomach cancer. Because at that time I was still severely underweight, I was unable to attend his funeral. I regret it so much and it weighs heavy in my heart that he died without seeing me fully recovered. Up until his very last breath, he worried for my health even while he himself was at his own death bed.

But I take comfort in the thought that he is now up there in heaven, rooting me on as I fight my way through recovery. Grandpa, this lunch today is in memory of you:

Miso Pilaf

The base: 1 cup cooked pearl barley

The mix-ins: 1/4 cup black beans, 1/2 cup chopped roasted winter squash, sliced crabmeat (imitation)

The dressing: miso paste mixed with water

The toppings: sprinkle of furikake (dehydrated seaweed and fish and sesame seeds) and a sunny-side egg

This is just another variation of my “Mix-it-up” bowl again, starting out by sautéing onions and garlic first, then dumping in the base and mix-ins, then the dressing, and finally ladling the mixture into a bowl with the toppings.

I have to say, no miso was ever as good as that bowl I had with my grandpa. I soon returned back to avoiding miso soups, but no longer harbored the same distaste I had for it before then.

This bowl of miso pilaf was warm, comforting, and satisfying. I kept the water to the bare minimum so that the broth was thicker and more gravy-like than normal liquidy miso soup.

It was simple, much less fancy than my other “Mix-it-up” bowl creations, but still very, very good. Highly recommended for any cold nights, or if in need of some major comforting.

Some awesome news today!

1. A friend tried out my “Mix-it-up” bowl! Hers was a Greek-Italian fusion, and these were her mix-ins: 1 cup cooked barley, splash of EVOO, 1/4 cup feta, Sicilian lentil pasta sauce, and kalamata olives. Gosh, that sounds so yummy! This is Kiki’s response to her “Mix-it-up” bowl creation: “Not attractive, but yumskies.” I beg to differ, Kiki, but yours looked amazing! Check out her blog for the delicious-looking picture!

2. And now, a huge standing ovation is in order for

JIAYING of Brownbread girl! She managed to identify

every single fruit in my header-banner! The correct answer was: kiwi, pear, dragonfruit, orange, and grapefruit! I’m pretty impressed, I must say! Great job, Jiaying!

3. I really liked the Q&A section last time, so I’m opening up to any more questions today! I might even make that every Thursday’s question of the day.

So, before you leave, guys, remember to ask me any questions you want! I promise to answer them!

Buai buai, and until next time!

P.S. Carrots and Cake is having a PURE BAR GIVEAWAY! I’ve always been a great fan of her blog, but now she’s given me all the more reason to love it even more! Go check out her blog for details!

Feeling like Spring

Back in America, Panera used to be one of my favorite “restaurants.” I loved their “You-Pick-Two” deals, and the freshness of their bread, and the variety of their sandwiches. So I was very happy to find Singapore’s own version of Panera in the form of The Soup Spoon.

We met up for lunch again yesterday, and this time she wanted to eat at someplace other than our usual Shokudo, so we chose The Soup Spoon for lunch that day. The menu isn’t as extensive as Panera’s but all the choices were appealing enough. They also had a soup + half-sandwich deal like Panera.

I wasn’t feeling for soup, so I just got the full Tikka Chicken Wrap:

“Tandoori Chicken, Mango Chutney, Mint, Cucumber, Red Onion, Romaine Lettuce”

To tell you the truth, I never really liked wraps before…because I didn’t think they were “filling” enough. I’m a carb-fiend, so a flattened piece of dough did not appeal to me. But after my delicious experience with crepes and reading all about the different yummy-looking wraps you food-bloggers have made, I was suddenly craving for one myself.

And I’m glad I did, because this wrap was a-mazing. The chicken was marinated in a myriad of spices, and I absolutely loved the smoky, spicy sweetness of the mango chutney.

The coleslaw that came with this was also really good. It was fresh, vibrant, and crunchy, with a spicy after note that made my nostrils flare, in a good way. I stole all of her coleslaw as well. >___< She ordered the soup-and-sandwich combo. She got a bowl of Velvety Mushroom Stroganoff: …and half a Tuna Mayo Sandwich: “Tuna Mayo, Red Onion, Green Salad, Honey Mustard Mayo” All I can say about this sandwich is, we both agreed my Tikka Chicken wrap was much, much better. 🙂 The soup was very, very thick with lots of mushrooms and cream. It was aptly named, as each mouthful glided down my throat, chock-full of smooth, fresh mushrooms. As a mushroom-lover, I thought it was really very good, but she did not like it so much. She found it too thick and “stewy.” I gladly helped her with her portion, dipping pieces of my wrap into it. By the way, I was wrong. Wraps are really filling. I was stuffed after finishing mine, and couldn’t even help her finish her soup! I’m definitely going to try many more wraps in the future…Meanwhile, I better brainstorm on some great fillings! Speaking of brainstorming, I got to try out another one of my “Mix-it-up” bowl brainstorms for lunch today! This dish was really interesting because it was inspired by just one thing: GREEN. As many of you already know, I love funky green foods. So I’ve been meaning to make a green dish for quite some time now. I remember I once saw a picture of a bowl of green rice. Now you know I hate rice, but that picture made me want to lick the paper, so appealing was its greenness! But that was awhile ago and I had no idea what it was that made it green. Anyway, I did not really care if I made a dish totally different from that one in the picture so long as it looked as green as it. My first thought to recreate that greenness was pesto. But I couldn’t find any basil in my local grocery store, so I picked cilantro instead. Again, I was too lazy to consult to any recipe but just threw a whole bunch of ingredients together into the blender: Cilantro “Pesto” Sauce about 3/4 cup cilantro one heaping tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese one spoonful of pine nuts one stalk green onion, chopped one big garlic clove splash of vinegar splash of almond milk pinch of salt squeeze of lime juice I just combined and blended them all together until liquefied into a nice, thick puree. I then prepared my “Mix-it-up” bowl with these components: Green Pilaf The base: 1 cup cooked pearl barley, 1/4 cup black beans and 1/2 cup chopped roasted winter squash The mix-ins: 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper and shitake mushrooms The dressing: few tablespoons of chicken broth and a bit of lime juice The topping: tablespoonfuls of Parmesan cheese, the cilantro “pesto” sauce, and a soft-boiled egg What can I say? I’m a freaking genius. Everything worked well perfectly together. I did not need another special dressing other than a bit of chicken broth to moisten the grains, as I really wanted my green sauce to shine in this dish. The cilantro “pesto” sauce was an exploding firework of flavors. The cilantro in it was bright and popping with its fresh herby fragrance, the Parmesan cheese added a lovely tang and sharpness, and the pine nuts gave the sauce depth in richness and creaminess. I’m glad I decided to top this with a soft-boiled egg rather than my usual fried egg. Somehow it made this dish seem much more impressive, and the smoothness and plumpness of the boiled egg whites was a nice change, especially together with the sauce. And of course I couldn’t resist sprinkling even more Parmesan cheese on top. You just can’t have too much cheese. I think this dish is a great way to welcome spring. I actually ate this sweating like a horse in the sweltering Singapore weather, but each bite let me imagine the fresh budding grass of spring, the new fragrance of blooming plants and flowers in the air… It’s just too bad that I miss spring this year. 🙁 But on a happier note, I received more questions! These are kind of late (I asked for questions on the last, last post!), but I’m still really happy to answer all of them…So here’s another (tardy) round of… Q & A TIME! “I have a question for you…where is the link to the original soufflé omelet recipe? Those look so MARVELOUS and creative. I want to try it. I’m very lazy though…so a link would be great 🙂 It’s probably like 3 blog posts down on your page, huh? I know, I’m lazy. Whatever, I can’t feel my toe. Have some sympathy 😉 ” My answer: “YAY! I’m so excited you’re gonna try making souffle omelets! Here’s the link to the the first time I made it, where you will find the basic steps. Let me know if you have any more questions about it. Meanwhile, have fun, enjoy, and promise me you’ll let me know how you like it! I’ll give you a nice shout-out 😉 ” “So I have a question, – do you live in Singapore with your parents? Or do they reside elsewhere? Have you got any siblings? Okay, more than one question but hey 🙂 ” My answer: “Tsk, tsk. Greedy, my dear, greedy. Three questions altogether at once! But that’s okay, it gives me the chance to talk about myself some more, so thanks for asking! (Hee) My parents are not in Singapore right now, they’re back home in America, missing me like crazy. But I’ll be seeing them again in just a month when return back to the States. Meanwhile, I’m staying at families house. They’re family/church friends and have been the most marvelous hosts. And yes, I do have a sibling…a brother, two years younger than me. He has the complete opposite personality from me (he’s mild, gentle, patient, good-natured), which is good because he can tolerate my crazy temper. I used to bully him all the time when we were younger, but now he’s all grown up…into a handsome, well-built young man, so I find myself bullying those annoying, flirtatious girls around him instead to protect him! Here’s a picture of my lovely brother: bro I love him so much, especially since he’s been so understanding and patient with me through my ED days…” “If there was just ONE food you could eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?” My answer: "Whoa! That’s a toughie. I have too many foods I love! But if there is ONE food I just cannot live without, it will have to be oatmeal…Or sweet potato. Or pumpkin. Or eggs…GAH! This is impossible!!” “What’s pistachio cheese? Is it like pistachio-flavored cheese or a cheese-y substance made out of pistachios? Either way sounds yummy.” My answer: “For those of you confused out there, Emily is referring to the pistachio cheese I had in my Norwegian Salmon crepe I had here. I’m not so sure, but I am very sure it wasn’t something made out of pistachios only. It definitely had that tang of a brie or cream cheese, and wasn’t green or sweet enough to be made entirely out of pistachios. I’m guessing it’s some kind of really creamy, rich cheese blended with pistachios. Either way, it was freaking delicious and I wis h I knew the exact ingredients and measurements so that I can have it again and again. Anybody feel like experimenting for me?” —————————————————————————————– Okay, I’ve just polished off two tuna and cheese Mr Bean pancakes (which are also GREEN!!) and a purple sweet potato for a “snack”… and now I think a nice nap is much needed…just before I move on to dinner. Sleep…eat…sleep…poop…eat… You know, minus the mental issues, recovery from ED can be quite pleasurable… So I bid you adieu with this question of the day: What is your favorite type of sandwich bread? Wraps? Pitas? Wonder bread (God forbid)? Toasts? Rolls? Hamburger buns? Bagels? Baguette? Ciabatta? Mine is a good, crusty whole grain artisan bread, preferably pressed with those lovely grill marks…mmmmmm…Carbs……

Flavored veggies

Again, going with the “gourmet” theme, I am going to share two more “gourmet” lunches that I had yesterday and today. But first, yesterday’s breakfast, because it was different.

I usually always have a bowl of fruits and a bowl of oatmeal every morning. The mix-ins may be different; sometimes a granola bar, sometimes corn, sometimes pumpkin, sometimes peanut butter, sometimes yogurt. But that’s the standard breakfast I always have. No fuss, no hassle, no need for any planning. But I woke up 2 hours later than usual yesterday! I panicked, because I knew if I had the usual breakfast I would totally still be stuffed come lunchtime, and I have quite an OCD about eating schedules especially since I’m in ED-recovery weight-gain mode right now.

So I just mixed together something that would be light on my stomach: Pumpkin yogurt with mixed fruits.

Just plain yogurt mixed with pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, grapefruit, mangosteen, pineapple, apple, white nectarine, grapes, tangerine.. Light, fast, easy, nutritious, and oh-so-delicious. Why is pumpkin so good in everything?

Anyway, on to lunch. Since my breakfast was lighter than usual, I needed something more heavy on the calories for lunch. And I knew exactly what I wanted: a burger. But not the usual beef or chicken burger. My burger was a mixture of minced pork and tofu, adapted from my mother’s recipe for Korean pan-fried patties. This is super fast and easy!

Just mix together equal parts of minced pork and extra-firm tofu (make sure to squeeze out excess liquid from the tofu first), with minced ginger and garlic, salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is too wet, add in some breadcrumbs until you are able to form firm patties with your hands. And then you can cook it however you want it! Roll it up into cabbage rolls and steam it, or dust with flour, coat with egg and panko, and deep-fry it into croquettes.

As for me, I made two variations from this pork/tofu mixture. I formed little golf ball-size patties, dusted it with flour, dipped it into a beaten egg, then pan-fried it into little nuggets. Here is the result:

For the other variation, I formed a giant burger patty, popped it into the fridge to firm up for a bit, then cooked it on a skillet until cooked through. Then I beat together two eggs with salt and pepper, and poured it over the burger and turned off the heat. The heat from the burger cooked the egg mixture to a lovely, soft, velvety consistency. And then, the grand finale: cream of mushroom sauce spooned on top. The creamy mushroom sauce is just basically some mushrooms and onions sautéed in 1/2 cup of homemade cream of mushroom soup I had made earlier the day before.

So I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, my “fancy” lunch: Pork-tofu burger in Egg bath with Creamy Mushroom Sauce~

Okay, this doesn’t look that appetizing, especially since all the colors are just different shades of brown. But I assure you,it was absolutely divine!

The burger was extremely soft and juicy, with the perfect ginger and garlic background. The egg was infused with the flavorful pork juice from the burger, and was steamed to lusciousness.

The sauce had a bold, meaty, mushroomy flavor, adding a depth of texture and intensity. Absolutely freaking amazing!

You want a bite, don’t ya? Come one, you know you want it!

On the side I also had a big salad. Man, I was stuffed after this!

But I’m even more excited to share today’s lunch with you, because I am aware that many of the bloggers in this community are vegetarians. Most of my meals are probably unappetizing to most of you because I consume so much animal products (mainly eggs, but still) so today’s lunch is a tribute to all you lovely vegetarians out there! (But it’s not vegan, sorry)

This was what was on the menu: Open-faced Broiled Cheese and Vegetable Sandwich. The fixings: Two types of cheese (herbed cheese spread and Parmesan), grilled eggplant, tomato, and marinated mushrooms and onions on whole-grain bread.

Basically, I just spread a liberal amount of herby cheese spread onto two slices of bread, topped it with grilled eggplant and tomato. Then I marinated mushrooms and onions in a mixture of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sake, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic, sautéed it in a skillet, piled it over the eggplant and tomato, topped it off with some Parmesan cheese, then popped them into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese and vegetables merged together in their delicious scents and flavors. Man, it smelled freaking incredible!

It was the first time I had a sandwich without some kind of animal product like ham or eggs, and I was bowled over by how incredibly flavorful the sandwich was. This tops all tuna/egg/ham and cheese/BLT/etc sandwiches! Definitely one of my favorite sandwiches from now on!

I also had some yogurt with those awesome sandwiches, the perfect end to the perfect lunch. Yum, yum. I can’t wait to make these again.

For afternoon snack, I had the usual sweet potatoes. And then dinner was something I had not had for awhile: Omelet with cheese and chicken hotdogs. Always good, always welcoming.

Well, that’s it for today. I kind of failed on the aesthetic part of my attempt to make “gourmet” food, but met my satisfaction taste-wise!

By the way, let me leave you with yet another question: Are you a vegetarian? If so, what kind, and what made you become one? And if you’re not, have you every considered becoming one?

Hope you all have a great weekend!