Friday, May 29, 2009

Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Mint-Parsley Sauce

This recipe is for my sister in-law R. who just spent a few days here with us in San Diego. Dear R is high up there in the skies even as I am posting this on the blog, flying back to New York. She was just here to tour her new house to be aka my weekend and vacation getaway :) Thank you R!!! Anyway, you seem to enjoy this dinner and asked for the recipe.
  • 5-6 boned in chicken breast (6lbs)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs in a large baking dish or container. Add the chickens and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.Turn chicken once or twice while marinating.

Preheat the grill to medium. Remove the chickens from the marinade, blot off excess oil, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chickens on the grill, skin-side down. Grill the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, then turn over. Close the cover and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Check occasionally for flare up and turn chicken for even golden browning on both side. Test that chicken has reached internal temperature of 165F. Let rest for 10 minutes.Serve with lemon wedges and/or Parsley Mint sauce.

A good accompaniment is Whole Wheat Couscous with Roasted Garlic and Asparagus. Grilled corn completes the meal.

Parsley-Mint Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • water to thin down mixture
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place the mint, parsley, garlic and olive oil in a food processor and process until herbs are coarsely chopped. Add honey and mustard and process until emulsified. Transfer mixture to a bowl and whisk in a few tablespoons of cold water to thin to a sauce-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whole Wheat Couscous with Roasted Garlic and Asparagus
  • 2 cups of whole wheat couscous (used Trader Joe brand)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 cup blanched asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1/2 cup roasted peppers ( from the jar or freshly roasted)
  • 1 whole bulb of roasted garlic ( top sliced off to expose bulb, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast on grill when grilling corn)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted.
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced.
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper
Dry toast the pine nuts over medium heat until golden, remove and cool. Squeeze out the roasted garlic from bulb and coarsely chop them. Set aside.

Bring the chicken stock to boil in a stock pot, together with the butter and grated zest of one lemon. Stir in couscous, roasted garlic, blanched asparagus and roasted peppers. Cover and remove from heat. Let couscous stand for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork. Stir in parsley.Taste, then season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Add more butter if desired.

Just before serving, toss in pine nuts, stir to combine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Sh..hhh for almost a year now I have been having a love affair with Robert! I see him almost everyday, if not a couple of times a day. When husband dear is away, I spend more time with Robert. He makes me so happy. He is handsome, hard working, flexible and oh co cute! Everyday, I dream of having more like him.

No, my marriage is not in trouble. Far
from it! My dear husband introduced me to Robert. Why just yesterday, he said to go ahead and get more like him. He (husband) will pick Robert and any other Robert look alike I choose, for me.

So who is Robert?? He is slim, cute, flexible and packs quite a shot! Ha, ha. Robert is an irrigation head used for drip irrigation. He is a spot spitter.You make a small hole in the irrigation line and insert the button end of the 1/8" dripline into the irrigation line. The other end is where Robert does his magic! You insert Robert up to the line above the notch end. Water sprays from the minute space between the head and the drip line. The further in you insert the Robert head up the drip line, the less the water flow/ spray.

What I love most about Robert is his flexibility! I can move the Robert head to where I need the water and I am only limited by the length of the drip line it is attached to. As the plant grows or if I replant, I can just move the head to where I need it. If a plant dies and I only longer need water in that location, all I need is to pull out the Robert from ground and reverse the direction. The end without the notch will not allow water flow. So instant stopper! You could not do that with other systems. So flexible. If I need Robert again for new plants, reverse direction of Robert and water flows again.

So ladies (and gentlemen too!), you need
Robert in your garden.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kitchen Garden 2009

Kitchen garden for 2009 is underway although I have not posted anything on it. I seeded tomatoes and other vegetables over the past few months. I'll try to keep better records next year - but I think I seeded the plants in early March 2009. I used the plastic containers you gets with the apples you buy in Costco. The bottom already had a whole in it, allowing for drainage. I used an ice pick to make another hole at the top cover for ventilation. These made mini greenhouses for the seedlings. The key is keeping the mix moist. I use the soil block maker which I purchased from Johnny Seed last year to make soil blocks. Love them! Put them in flat that I kept from past purchases from nurseries. Reuse everything. Just make sure to clean out and sterilize everything. A little bleach and elbow grease is all it takes.

Costco Reruns!

This year I built bamboo tomato tepees . Love how them turned out. I am hoping for a bumper crop. I'll be ready for those tomato horn caterpillars this year!

See these chrysanthemum flowers ! Well, they are Thong Ho or flowers of the the Garland Chrysanthemums. I discovered you can also eat those flowers. They can be fried tempura style too. As a bonus, they look so fresh and pretty in a vase on the dinning table. The over-wintered and continue to thrive. I let them flower and self seed.

Actually, I am already harvesting and eating from my garden. The artichokes were beautiful and delicious. I am leaving some to flower and grace my garden. And of course, you already knew I had those Broccoli Raab for Mother's Day. The picture shows what they look like on 3/29/09, a little more than a month ago.

I am sharing my fruits with the fellow occupants in my garden. The slugs and the birds continue to demand their 50% of the strawberry harvest. I cannot really blame them. Those strawberries are out of this world when you pick them plump and fully ripe. Sweet and juicy from the warm sun. Heavenly. Those outside the plastic bag have already been tasted and taxed!! I am getting the first of the early blueberries - wonderful in my cereal and will make my dieting much easier!

The beautiful purple flowers adorn the sage plant providing beauty and flavor. Again, I am learning to use these organically grown flowers as a bonus for my cooking. The side garden is a buzz with bees feasting on the lavender blossoms. The persimmon tree has leafed out and fruits are just setting. Spring is a wonderful time in the Lim-Ooi garden.

Birthday Seahorses

A few years ago, my son A gave me a couple of hundred dollars to buy myself some seahorses. I have yet to do so. Who will look after my seahorses when I go on vacation? I will buy them yet my son. I love you.

I have always been fascinated by seahorses since I was a little girl. My sister S said our daddy had promised her, he would buy her seahorses. But I want the sea horses!! I remember my daughter L, writing a great essay about seahorses when she was in 2nd grade.I was almost more fascinated by how her little mind worked as she researched and put together the essay. I remember we had faxed her grandpapa (my daddy) her essay and how proud we were all were of her. I could not believe that the little `seahorse' of mine could write and think like she did. I remember thinking I could not have done that at her age. At 2nd grade I do not think I could write an essay let alone do research. I do not know how well I read then!!! I was very glad that we decide to come to the United States and raise our family here. She had and continues to have opportunities I never had. Oh, to do the things the students in US school do and that we could only dream about in Malaysia.

This birthday, my sister C gave me some seahorses. Glass seahorses. As
promised here are some pictures of them. They are very pretty except for the smallest, the soft glass seahorse. As you can see, it looks like an earthworm. Kind of like the one, I would fix to the hook for fishing. That's the one I could make form the glass rods I have. The other seahorses are borosilicate - harder glass that need a kiln and a more powerful torch than I have. Where is the pattern for the Crochet seahorses? Get them to me so that I can make them. Promise to post pictures of them when done.

Rice Canyon Spa - Mother's Day Special

This year I woke up to a quiet house. A husband making breakfast.....but not for me! He did make me a cup of coffee (when I asked). Okay, admittedly I have been off coffee recently. Been trying to start on the Flat Belly Diet (more about this on later postings). Coffee had been a no no for the first part of the diet. After my breakfast of cereal and fresh strawberries we headed out to my Mother's Day Treat - Rice Canyon Spa.

You mean you have not heard about Rice Canyon Spa? My, my but it is the latest and greatest..... actually a well kept secret. As we step into the Rice Canyon, I am laughing and teasing my husband. After being married to each other almost half of our lives at this point (being married at 25 and hitting the golden 50 now) and giving him two beautiful and wonderful children I am treated, not to Canyon Ranch Spa but to Rice Canyon Spa!! Rice Canyon is a beautiful canyon that
runs through our neighborhood with walking, hiking and biking trails. For the first in a long time, I had walked the canyon with husband on Friday. We had a great time. So on this Mother's Day we did so again. We did a 4 mile hike/ walk , talking, laughing, remembering and planning our future. Being us.

We talked about our children. Dear daughter L will off to college in less than 3 months. Our Son A who will be a freshman in high school in fall........and of course his heartbreak. He is heartbroken over the breakup with his girlfriend of over 5 months. How as parents you just have to be there to support them but they have to go through these moments themselves. Of how to talk to them and hoping that some of what you say reaches them. The fuddy duddy parents we all are no matter how "cool" we think we are. Grateful for the close relationship we have with our children who talk to us. Motherhood is wonderful. While it does not define me in total, it definitely is an essense of my being.

It felt good and healthy to walk. A great start to Mother's Day. Home to children who by now are awake and hungry (ha, ha do you get a picture of hung
ry squawking little birdies greeting mommy and daddy). Since we did not make any reservation for Mother's Day at any place - typical of us, we get into the car and start driving. We decide not to go any of our regular Asian restaurant haunts in Convoy because they would be packed. We decided to go to Kanpai our neighborhood Japanese restaurant for their famous Chanpon - a soupy noodle dish and sushi. We were just in time before similarly bright thinking families filled the restaurant. Katsudon for me, Spicy Ramen for hubby, Chanpon, no ebi and bean sprout for daughter and Seaweed Ramen for Son. Spicy Tuna, Spicy White Tuna, Spicy Baby Lobster Roll, Unagi, Salmon Skin Roll and Yellowtail Sushi. Yum. Excellent! Very full. The bonus is because Kanpai is local we can go home and sleep!!!

Put on the DVR and watch recorded show. Love DVR. We now watch our fa
vorite show when we have time instead of when they come on. Liberating. We can even set the DVR to record the shows from our cell phones!!! Ghost Whisperers, NCIS, Numbers and for me, the F Word. Of course, I wake up on the comfy couch to hear by husband snoring!! Ha,ha.... I admit to earlier waking up to a start to realize that I must have fallen asleep and hoping I was not snoring myself.Good food can do this to you.

Out to REI for the sale and to buy stuff for hubby climb in the summer. Left him there and wandered down to the shops. Nothing interesting so as usual to Barnes and Noble I ended. Bought a scrapbooking magazine and Donna Kato's book - the Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques. Yes, Mom I am thinking about maybe working with polymer clay. I still have the hugh untouched stash I brought when you were last here. Hopefully, it will not just be an addition to my library and I will actually have something to show for it.

Want to guess where we went for dinner? Okay, not fair- too easy. We went to Helen's Kitchen. I grilled up some NY Strip Steaks together with some tomatoes and zucchini. But the star of the dinner came from Helen's Kitchen Garden- Broccoli Rabe. For those of you who don't know what Broccoli Rabe is, it is a Italian green, slightly bitter but wonderful. For Malaysian, it looks a bit like Choy Sum/ Sawi. It's name is misleading it is nothing like broccoli. It is a leafy green. It has flowers like Choy Sum and should be eaten just when flower shoots form. I had to harvest all of it!!! Shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt and chilli flakes. Truly Yum! The next crop of Broccoli Rabe is already in the beds. So 30 days from now, harvest and repeat!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Birthday Reflections

Where do I begin....? Intense life moments have held my life captive since my last posting. Many, many things to share but where to begin.... who am I talking to? The purpose of this blog is constanly evolving. It started out as a personal journal. As with my physical journals I failed to `journal', leaving huge gaps. Then I censor stuff, "soft focus" events or feelings. Why, when it is not really a public blog but for myself, family and a select number of friends? Not much of a personal journal to reflect upon in my twilight years. Then my sister ask if she could link my blog to a project she is working with her group of friends ,namely mothers with young kids. I said sure, why not. I think that is the real truth, I believe I have something to contribute. I really do. Motherhood has been wonderful and continues to be a wonderful experience for me. I have been through so many , " and why did you not tell me about it?" moments. Now, I just have to contribute. I will try my sister C.

Since the last posting, I have celebrated my 49th birthday. In a quiet serene contented way. No big celebration, just the way I like it. Time with family, pottering in my garden and watching my daughter and son at their Lacrosse games and my husband readying himself for the big climb Mt.Kinabalu in July. They are spectacular!! I am a very proud mama. I often reflect on how truly blessed I am to have these two beautiful, intelligent and loving kids. They are very active and competitive in sports and studies. That is why they can take a competitive mother like me!! I admit I do push them but only in the things they love and when they need that push over the `hump or funk' they are going through.

My husband is good to me. Sappy? Yeh, but he lets me be me. He works hard so that I can play, he says. Our constant separation due to his bi-coastal travel for work never gets easier for either of us but we focus on why we are doing it. Cell phones and web cam makes keepign in contact so much nicer. Getting each of us an iphone last summer was the best investment we have made..... and unlimited texting. Constant texting between family members keep us up to date with the latest and greatest in our lives, in the moment!

How close are we, dear husband and I? I was pottering in my kitchen garden,(last year's birthday present from my husband that continues to give me so much joy) reflecting and laughing to myself.....thinking to myself that my husband will say I am playing in my sand box. He made that comment to me last year that watching me pottering in my garden is like watching a kid in the sand box.... engrossed and contented, never wanting to leave it until called, and even then......I do not know why that thought just pop into my head. A few minutes later, he walks up the garden with a cup of coffee for me and say, " I am glad your enjoying yourself in your sand box. It makes me happy." Sappy! That is marriage.

He await for me to design my front yard redo for this year's gift. We are going to tear out the front lawn and grow a water thrifty garden. I am thinking of olive trees - cannot decide whether I want fruiting olives or non fruiting olives. I have to have a use for the olive or the fruit drop and birds will be a problem. Below them I want beautiful kangaroo paws, New Zealand flax, salvias and succulents. We want to do our part to cut down water consumption.

So as I move forward to the legendary 50th birthday I am contented. Life is changing. My beautiful daughter is leaving for college.....she is striking out. We will be physically and family of three, most times but always a family of four in spirit. My son will go on to high school. Husband and I will work towards our retirement career.