Dorothy Ng's blog
This winter has been very tough. The onslaught of snow storms seems never ceasing, occurring one after another. After digging out from the heavy snow and ice in freezing temperatures, I look forward to coming back into the house for something hot, steamy and full of comfort. Such foods sure hit the spot when you are in need of recovery, rejuvenation, and relaxation.
I am grateful for beginnings. The New Year allows us to start all over with a clean slate after the holiday excess of sweets, rich side dishes, succulent meats, and those celebratory high calorie beverages. It gives us another chance to begin to eat healthier with lean meats, whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits. There is an array of diets to choose from but I am terrible at following a diet, so I try to eat everything in moderation (yes, I have my white rice most every night). So, my goal is to eat smaller portions in my meals, have frequent healthy snacks, and drink more water. I have learned to not skip meals which would lower my metabolism and trick my body into starvation mode. Eating, like life, needs to be in balance.
The Christmas lights are already up on the houses twinkling in the evening calm. The brisk cold wind will be coming in soon to welcome the holiday season. Besides sipping that mulled cider heating on the stove, I look forward to some holiday baking of scrumptious cookies, morsels of pastries, and heartwarming pies. I love the challenge. As the work gets on the way, the sweet aroma of pastries baking in the oven just spurs me on. The marathon has begun!
When the leaves shimmer against a slightly overcast autumn sky, a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold beckons the entry of Thanksgiving Day. Many of us are getting ready for the feast ahead preparing an extensive menu that disappears all too quickly as it is consumed. Of course, some believe the star of the holiday is that big fat turkey gracing the dining table. Turkey does not sit on a pedestal in our house pretending to be the center of it all. The main attraction in our home is those faithful side dishes that we look forward to every Thanksgiving.
Are you captivated by food shows like I am? When there aren’t any good films showing on television, I always surf the food and travel channels. I seem to gravitate toward food shows that go on the road or travel through exotic places and cultures such as Bizarre Foods, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and The Great Food Truck Race. One reason why I don’t tire from watching is the coverage of such diversified foods from the familiar to the unusual. It is just fascinating to observe the creative cooking that abounds in humble surroundings.
It is the end of the summer season. No more 90 degree plus temperatures, nor sweating through a heat wave, nor being drenched in the humidity. Yet amidst the sauna like conditions, I was crazy enough to bake my way through the whole summer with this one recipe - Amish Friendship Bread. Everyone loved it! It spurred me on to fire that oven even through those hot days.
We’ve all had those hectic days that never seem to end. Sometimes you just need to get off that carousel of life for a breather and get back on again. Whenever I feel this way, I reach out for a soothing cup of tea to calm me, creating a temporary oasis. There is something about slowly sipping that hot cup of tea that seems to unwind the tensions. Besides its relaxing effect, taking the time to drink it provides a needed moment to be quiet, be centered, and clear your head so you can regroup to face the obstacles before you.
Do you love breakfast more than any other meal? There is nothing like waking up leisurely to the smell of freshly brewed coffee with the sound of sizzling crisp bacon, fried eggs over easy and well-seasoned home fried potatoes. Added to this dreamy breakfast are baked blackberry muffins with a pecan streusel topping, flaky orange cranberry scones and decadent cinnamon sticky buns floating out of the oven onto the table. This picturesque meal beckons me to come out of my luxurious sleep. Maybe I'm still dreaming…
Have you ever felt you were all “butterfingers” in the kitchen (excuse the pun)? Is preparing a meal for yourself or others more intimidating than skydiving or bungee jumping? Recently I watched a program The Worst Cooks in America on Food Network. This series shows the learning progression of contestants who were selected as the worst cooks. They were taught how to cook by two professional chefs in the show. As competent as they were in their own professions, they were lost souls in the kitchen. A professional ballet dancer who performs before thousands of people was terrified behind a stove. An interior designer had a fear of knives. A doctor was dismissed at the second show. I must admit it was hard to watch. At the last show, it was impressive to see the two finalists, who started out as bumbling fools, battle to become the best cook from this competition, preparing an exquisite 3-course meal judged by elite chefs. Kudos to them!
This past weekend, I was invited to a dinner party and offered to bring dessert. What to bake? I just love small bites so I decided upon a medley of bite-sized desserts consisting of pumpkin tartlets, rainbow (tricolored) cookies, chocolate banana bread mini cupcakes, and mini cream puffs. When the kids were young, cream puffs were always a favorite. As a matter of fact that was the last time I made them. As tempting as the other desserts were, the mocha cream-filled cream puffs were a big hit even though it wasn’t as puffy as I would have liked. No one cared. Who can resist this light airy cream-laden delight?