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Dorothy Ng's blog

What's Cooking?: Hearty Soups

Leaves will soon be swirling around in splashes of golden yellow, sunburst red, and candied orange in the brisk autumn air.  It brings to my mind the colorful palette of squash, carrots, tomatoes, and zucchini in a hearty bowl of vegetable soup.   Can you picture this pot of soup as a canvas where you can “paint” with your selection of favorite vegetables, meats, herbs, and spices?   How about the flavor and texture?  It can be savory, spicy, sweet, tangy, smoky or even sweet and sour at the same time.  Do you like it steamy hot or refreshingly cold?  Like it in a light broth, or creamy as in a chowder?  Similar to an artist, your creative strokes in ingredients, flavors, and texture are limitless.

What's Cooking?: Wok With Me

The wok is the most versatile kitchen cookware in the world.  It can be used for braising, deep-frying, pan-frying, stir-frying, sautéing, searing, smoking, steaming, stewing, boiling and poaching. Imagine all these methods using this one vessel.  In my opinion, every home should have one but then I’m quite biased. This conical shaped cooking vessel has been used for thousands of years originating in China at a time when fuel was scarce.  It was first invented to solve this problem as a way of making the most of the valuable fuel by its fast and efficient way of cooking.  In contemporary cooking, it suits the desire for fast and easy cooking, and much more.

What's Cooking?: Rub-a-Dub-Dub Marinade in the Tub

grilling

One of the great things about the summer is grilling and barbecuing.  It is the only time I do less cooking.  Perhaps it’s because the man of the house suddenly takes an interest in preparing the meals.  The summer heat seems to beckon the call of the wild in him.  Even with the frequent rain we’ve been having, it doesn’t deter him from cooking outdoors.   Nothing comes between the man and the meat on his grill.  And to make the food on that grill receive the highest compliments, he makes use of rubs and marinades to spice things up.  This inspires the family to offer their “ooh and aahs” as Dad is saluted for his supreme grilling talents. 

What's Cooking?: Ice Pops

I do not have a sweet tooth.  Sweets just don’t do anything for me except to add more weight.  I will quickly add that I have an affinity for savory and salty foods.  At parties, you would find me scouting for those chips; especially the kettle potato chips…love that double and triple folded crunch.  As you can see, I am getting away with the topic at hand talking about my own food weakness.  However, the sweets that I do prefer include ice cream and ice pops.  It’s hard to resist these lightly sweet treats that are so refreshing especially in the summer months.  I don't even mind it in the cool weather.

What's Cooking?: Food Allergy

Food allergy is fast becoming a public health concern.    There are 15 million people who are affected by this in our country, of which nearly 6 million are children.   The major food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.  These eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions.  Personally, it is a very serious problem in my household with several family members allergic to nuts, Crustacean shellfish, and sesame seeds.   It is not fun hunting for a tiny sesame seed on the bread or hidden inside one.  Each progressive attack can be life threatening if it is not treated immediately.   Unfortunately, we have not been strangers to the hospital for this reason.  Outside the hospital setting, food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis.   

What's Cooking?: Let Them Eat Cupcake!

Looking at the baking books that are on the scene, cupcakes have continued to grow in popularity.  There is even a cupcake competition on Food Network.  The creativity and artistry involved in designing these “little cakes” are just beautiful.  The delicate decorations and sculpting amaze me as I view the intricate and complex workmanship…and they taste good too! 

What's Cooking?: The Year of the Dragon

 

Happy Belated New Year!  Based on the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year came early this year on January 23, 2012.  The Year of the Dragon is considered very lucky especially on my father’s side where at least four generations of family members were born in the Year of the Dragon.  Our personalities seem to reflect this.  We are quite an intense lot; short-tempered, and passionate about things.

What's Cooking?: Stories and Memories

 

Have you ever had a song that brings you back to a particular memory in time?  Or a movie you watched that reminded you of an event in your life?  I have.  Whenever I hear “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles, I’m reminded by the kindness of a neighbor who bought me my first 45 rpm record. Remember those? Funny, we didn’t even own a phonograph player to listen to it, yet I loved that single.  Or, watching Ben Hur, the only movie I remember my father taking me to see in a theatre.   Well, what does this have to do with cooking you may ask?  Our lives are made of many such stories as it relates to cooking and food as well. 

What's Cooking?: The Unassuming Tofu

When I go into a large Asian supermarket in Flushing, I am amazed to see the whole length of the refrigerated aisle filled with tofu products.   This does not even include other sections with their large sheets of tofu or dried goods.  It has such a diversified use that it is chameleon-like as it takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked in.  In itself, it is rather bland but when combined with seasonings, meats, and sauces, this unassuming food becomes an essential component.

What's Cooking?: A Birthday Tradition

 

A tradition I’ve created in my family since my children were young was to let them request a special menu for their birthdays. They looked forward to suggesting dishes they would like to have for their birthday dinner.  When they were young, the menu was simpler like fried chicken, pizza, lasagna or noodles.  As they grew up, their palates and food selections also did, with the exception of my youngest who still requests lasagna.  

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