Monday, September 28, 2015

The little Mango Tree that could........

September 28, 2015

The weather has been horrid of late. Hot, Hot, Hotter!! Humidity also at at all time high. I have been hiding; moving from air conditioned office to air conditioned home. Finally, this week the weather let up. Yipee!! 

Yesterday, I ventured out to the garden and noticed many of the mangoes were pretty yellow. I discovered a number of my mangoes had ripen and fallen to the ground under the little tree. Luckily, it must have been recent as the fruits were still juicy and without any damage. Yummy! I decided to pluck a few more of the yellow mangoes to indulge. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Manila Mangoes 2015

August 3, 2015

Nothing like counting your Mangoes before...before they become full size! This year the Mango tree was full of flowers and many fruits set this season.
April 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mushroom Smothered Pork Chop

August 4, 2015

A week ago, just as we were pulled into our driveway, a salesman from Meat Delivery company waylaid us. Daughter was hesitant but I was ready to have another source for steaks. Plus, the fridge had been bare since our mini vacation 2 weeks ago.... and I was too busy/ lazy to go shopping. Long story short, I bought some goodies from him. I got a selection of beef tenderloin, jumbo prawns, Ahi Tuna, Kobe Burgers and Boned in Pork Chop. The latter was the inspiration for tonight's dinner. 

I have been trying to recreate this  Pork Chop with a mushroom sauce that Helen Headke, my sister-in-law's mother used to serve us. Even my sister-in-law has lost the recipe. It has been so long since I had the dish, I don't remember exactly how it taste, only remembering how good it tasted. She used to serve it alongside with her Pasta Primavera. BH who also loves Helen's pork chop asked if this was her recipe. This is first version to the  Pork Chop and the mushroom BH has said he likes!! This is a tribute to Helen Haedke.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sauteed Swiss Chard

August 4, 2015

So excited!! I had harvested the very beautiful Bright Light Swiss Chard. Tonight, I got to cook them very simply with olive oil, garlic, salt and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious. I served them with the Mushroom Smothered Pork Chops.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spaghetti Carbonara with Crab and Meyer Lemon

It was an ordinary Thursday evening until  I get an email. The email was titled "L found a pin for you." L being my daughter. I had a sneaky feeling I knew what it was. The night before daughter L had come across a recipe she wanted me to try to make. It makes use of the numerous Meyer Lemon that are strewn across my kitchen counters. L LOVES Spaghetti Carbonara; to have it combined with Crab and Meyer Lemon was near perfection to her. She also loves Crab. She calls before leaving the office to ask what I needed to make the dish. LOL. The confidence of one well love. Ha, ha. 

I am happy to report that the dish was a huge success! Everyone gobbled it up and practically licked the pan clean. A few grumbles that someone had taken too much, leaving others without any seconds. It was declared a keeper!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Say what?? - Vanilla Orchid Flowers

Recently, my husband came home with a gift for me. It was a cutting of a vanilla orchid vine that was growing in our New York office. That plant was vining itself rampantly across the ceiling of an office. Dear husband asked for the vine to be trimmed and brought me back some cuttings. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Foraging for seedlings

These days I look at my Chula Vista garden with a difference eye. I am always looking at what plants I can take with me to my Temecula garden. It pains me that I cannot take my beloved Fuyu Persimmon tree with me. I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to marcot the Fuyu Persimmon. Looks like I will have to double up my efforts and perhaps improve my technique. Time is running out as the move to Temecula is getting closer.

My curry leaf plant on the other hand, has finally matured enough to start sprouting out seedlings. These seedlings are coming out from the roots.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Potting up

At this time of year, I have a little ritual each morning before work and again when I get home from work. A cup of coffee in hand, the dogs trailing at my feet, I step out to the little side garden to check on the seeds I have sowed and the seedlings that have sprouted earlier.

The tomato seedlings are growing bigger while other have finally sprouted. Looks like five year old tomato seeds are still viable. These came from Seed Savers Exchange.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


A sneak peek of what will be in my garden this summer. I sowed the seeds two weekend ago. It was rainy and cloudy courtesy of El Nino. We had rainy two Fridays in a row. This week the rain stopped; San Diego blue skies returned and with it some sunshine.

All of a suddenly my seeds sprouted. 

First the Poona Kheera cucumber aka Loh Wong Kuah and the Armenian cucumber. Four angle beans seem to be lagging behind....
Poona Kheera at back, Armenian cucumber in middle
and four angle bean in front

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pork Medallion with Ancient Grain Salad

We have been trying to eat less white rice, particularly at night. Lots of salad topped with grilled steak, shrimp or tofu. Lately, I have been cooking lots of couscous and quinoa. I bought a bag labelled as Quinoa Ancient Blend. Essentially, is a blend of quinoa, amaranth and millet. Cooked it the same way as quinoa. 1- 1 1/2 cup of liquid to 1 cup of quinoa. Today, I used the Green Chili Adobo and Roasted Garlic marinade I have in the fridge, to flavour the quinoa salad. The quinoa blend was nuttier than plain quinoa. Somewhat more filling.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Irish Brown Soda Bread

May 27, 2015

I had a splitting headache all afternoon but still needed to get dinner together. Daughter had an early soccer game so dinner could be slightly later. Maybe, I could have a little nap first...Husband wanted a steak, salad and bread for dinner. Thankfully, I had 3 pieces of steaks I had marinated and frozen for such an occasion. Bread? None to be found. So, I thought Irish Soda Bread. So much for me wanting to avoid carbs.

I looked online and found Irish brown Soda Bread by Merrill Stubbs on Food 52. I had all the ingredients, including buttermilk. I liked that this recipe uses whole wheat flour and oats, in addition to regular flour. I omitted the wheat germ it asked for, which I am sure I have somewhere in my pantry. Too lazy with the splitting headache to go looking for it.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Corn and Poblano Lasagna

May 22, 2015

I watched Chef Marcela Valladodid on Food Network making this delicious looking alternative lasagna and was drooling. I am not a big fan of traditional lasagne; it is too rich for my taste. This lasagna I could get behind.  I love the flavor of roasted Poblano chilies. 

Then last Thanksgiving, my sister in law Katherine made it. Yum! Further more, she updated the recipe with changes she noted from comments on the website. She graciously shared the updated recipe with me. Right now, sitting in the fridge is a pan of Corn and Poblano Lasagna waiting to go into the oven for dinner. It is daughter's favorite- wanted to bake it fresh for her.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pictorial of Indulgence

May 20, 2015

After my recent trip to Malaysia and indulgence in the rich and often meaty dishes of my childhood, I had been craving something a little lighter, a little fresher. I miss salads and my daily green smoothie of greens and fruits. Son came home from college to celebrate my birthday. Daughter was ready to eat out after cooking for herself while we were gone. We vacillate between eating healthy and indulging. Now that son's college semester is over and he is back in town, expect us to do more damage. Ha, ha. Here's a pictorial rundown of some of the dishes we ate this month. 
Carne Asada and Adobada taco from Tacos EL Poblano

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"More Mexican Everyday" - Rick Bayless

May 17, 2015

To say I have a weakness for cookbooks is an understatement of gigantic proportions. Was by Costco the other day, when I spied Rick Bayless " More Mexican Everyday. I just had to have it. But I have a self imposed moratorium on buying more cookbooks.... It has to meet some criterias.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ching Ming 2015

April 12, 2015

Lovely way to introduce Ching Ming tradition to my beautiful nieces. First time at their grandpa's grave. The colors of the marble etching had faded although they told us it would be permanent. Brother HT, myself and my adorable nieces Aubrey and Amanda renewed the etching by coloring with oil pastels. Mom was delighted by our artistic efforts. Lots of laughter, chatter and questions as they colored while we told them about their grandpa as well as their grand aunt, great grandmother and great grandfather, at whose adjoining plots we made offerings too. Many thanks to sister in law Racheal for organizing and helping educate us on Ching Ming customs. I think dad was very happy. Love and miss you Dad.

Walking down to Dad's grave

Friday, April 10, 2015

Baking bread with Sifu Emilia

April 9, 2015

I have been a quest to bake Hainanese White bread, of my childhood. Lightly toasted slices of bread, smeared with margarine (butter, if you are so fortunate!) and Kaya (rich custardy coconut jam), is something to swoon about. Old fashion Kaya toast, simple in its execution and utterly comforting in its consumption. Without fail, when in Malaysia, my USA born children would order this breakfast delight when they see it on the menu. The past 2-3 years we have been a quest to find a recipe for the bread so we can recreate the experience back home. Endless googling and blogs surfing to no avail.

Meanwhile, Facebook would show mouthwatering pictures of delicious breads, baked by my cousin Emilia. It looked like a promising start to our quest. I was very fortunate Sifu Emilia was gracious enough to show me how to bake Chinese style soft white bread. It uses a roux starter called Tangzhong. It is what gives the bread its soft, pillowy texture. The bread remain soft at room temperature for a number of days.

P.S. Can I tell you, biting into the hot, freshly baked buns was delicious heaven! The butter and sugar melted, beautifully flavouring the buns. I am drooling thinking of them.....

Blood Orange Cake

Found an unposted blog article from 2014 when my garden was pumping out blood oranges. I was unable to find pictures of the Blood Orange cake but thought best to post this recipe before I lose it! Here's some pictures of my blood orange harvest instead.

June 15, 2014

I have been on a cake making kick of late. The Rosemary Pear cake is one I have made often. I love the slightly gritty texture of the pear and cornmeal in this  moist slightly sweet cake. It has become the base of my "clear the fruit basket cake." I have used over-riped fruits such as mango as a substitute with equally delicious success.