Sunday, August 26, 2012

What's for dinner? Black Eyed Peas with Cornbread 米豆跟玉米蛋糕

mi dou bian dangMy Georgia friend David knows that I like black eyed peas (the food and the music group), and so presented me with a vacuum-sealed package that he picked up here in Taiwan.

They are usually called 米豆 "rice beans" in Taiwan, and they're more popular than I thought.

In fact, there's even a restaurant in Kaohsiung called 米豆便當 "Black Eyed Peas Lunch Box" [Google Maps]

Let's cook!

Ingredients – Black Eyed Peas
1 pound dry black eyed peas
5 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 pound bacon
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Black pepper to taste

Place the peas in a large bowl and cover with several inches of cool water.
Let the peas soak for 8 hours/overnight.

Drain the peas and place in slow-cooker pot.
Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 5 cups of water and add to the peas.

Cook the bacon until browned; set bacon aside to cool.
Retain the bacon grease in the pan and add the butter.

Cook the onion until golden.
Stir the onions and cooking fat into the peas.

Crumble the bacon and add to the peas.

This was the only ham available at my local market.
Using this ham, I didn't need to add pepper—nor papper!

Slice the ham and add to the peas.

If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon—more or less to taste—of red pepper flakes or other hot spice.
Since I had recently ordered pizza, I used the Pizza Hut chili flakes that came with my order.

Cook on low for 8~10 hours.

Ingredients – Corn Bread
1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

In one bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, oil, and egg together.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into a greased pan.
Bake 20~25 minutes at 400°F (200°C), until toothpick (or chopstick in my case!) comes out clean.

Serve the black eyed peas with warm corn bread. Yummy!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's for dinner? Stewed Beef with Chinese Cabbage 津白牛肉煲

In my opinion, this is the best tasting dish I've ever made. During the workday I excitedly anticipated coming home and eating the leftovers!

津白牛肉煲 (Jin Bai Niu Rou Bao) Beef and White Cabbage Casserole

Let's cook!


For the stewed beef…

  • 600g [1½ lbs] boned beef ribs/shank
  • tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • 1½ tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced red chili
  • ½ sliced onion
  • 2 tablespoons spicy soy bean paste 
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 6 cups beef broth

    For the cabbage...
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 sliced green onion
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 400g [1 pound] Chinese cabbage, torn
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons beef broth
  • cilantro for garnish


Slice the beef into bite-size pieces.

Heat the oil in a pot and sear the beef for 1~2 minutes or until browned on the outside.

Remove the beef and set aside, retaining the juices in the pan.

In the same pot, stir-fry the minced garlic, green onion, ginger, and red chili until fragrant.

Lower the heat, add onion, and stir-fry until tender.

Add the spicy soy bean paste…

...rice wine…

...sugar… sauce… anise…

...and beef broth (save 3 tablespoons for later use).

Add the browned beef.

Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to low, and cook for 2 hours.

In another pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry the green onion and sliced ginger until fragrant.

Add the cabbage pieces, rice wine, and 3 tablespoons broth. Cook until the cabbage is tender.

Stir the cabbage mixture into the stewed beef.

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro if desired.

This recipe provided several meals for me. When the beef and cabbage was gone, I still had a pot of delicious broth, to which I added various leftover vegetables, tofu, and shuijiao (Chinese dumplings).

This recipe is from The Best-loved Everyday Dishes: Mastering the Culinary Art in One Cookbook by Cecilia Hong Baiyang.
這個食譜是從最想學會的家常菜:從小菜到主食一次學透透 作者:洪白陽 (CC老師) 來的.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Father's Day gift

August 8th is Father's Day in Taiwan, which reminded me of a gift my kids made me for a previous Father's Day—a photo collage full of heartwarming memories.

The poster-sized collage had been sitting in my closet, waiting for me to properly frame it. Today I finally got a frame at the mall, and now this precious gift hangs in my living room and brings a smile to my face every time I walk by.











Thursday, August 2, 2012

Typhoon Saola rant

Not a rant against the typhoon; heck, we got a day off because of it!

No, just some minor grumblings about a well-intentioned traffic sign that's useless as it stands now.