Thursday, October 24, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Soup

I swear I don't have a Seasonal Affective Disorder or anything, but this fall weather has just been getting the best of me. It was super nice last weekend, but came Monday it was all cold all over again. Whenever the weather is doing this kind of thing, I tend to find comfort in anything warm like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and soup. I've lost count on how many different type of soups I've made since the beginning of Fall, but here's another one :)

Creamy Mushroom Soup

3 Tbsp. flour
4 c. water
4 tsp. chicken bouillon
5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. portabella mushrooms, sliced
5 large celery stalks (you can tell I love veggies), diced fine

1) Put water and flour in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a dutch oven pot over medium heat

2) Add celery, mushroom, bouillon, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until celery and mushrooms are soft

So simple and so fast, yet so good and comforting. I like putting crushed pepper and herb (like cilantro) on mine for more flavor.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Throwback to RumSpringapore at Nyonya

What's up foodies! Hope your Monday is fine so far!

Last weekend, as usual, I spent my Saturday in New York City. My lunch picking this time was Nyonya, a Malaysian restaurant in between Chinatown and Little Italy. The first time I heard the name, I thought it was a Peranakan restaurant (think of Babi Pongteh, Ayam Buah Keluwak, etc). But no, they just serve regular Malaysian fare.

To start off, I ordered Roti Canai for appetizer and Penang Laksa for main dish. The server should've paid a little more attention to my Sino-Malay face, btw. He offered a "kind" advice that Laksa is a very sour and hot dish. D'oh! Didn't my face gave it enough? Didn't my Singlish accent *ahem* give even a hint?

Alas, they both came at the same time, served by 2 different servers. I didn't know whether to feel like a queen or feel like a greedy person.

Something was wrong with the Roti Canai sauce. The piece of potato in it tasted so bland, it tasted like the potato just got dipped to the sauce as I ordered.

Off to drinks and desserts. Teh Tarik was fine, but the Chendol had too many ice on it my tongue almost burned.

Speaking of service, not the best Malaysian service I know. Servers are very unknowledgeable and unflexible with customizing the dish. They asked the manager, and came back with either can't or can-but-we'll-charge-you-the-same-price (goodness gracious the one girl across my table was only asking for the broth of Mee Siam and they were gonna charge full price!). And they did hand me the bill when I was 2 slurps into my dessert. How rude!

I like how I can freely people-watch here, but I'd rather wait until another time I'm back in Philly for some Banana Leaf or Penang goodness :P

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Late Post: Yumcha with ALESN at Jing Fong

After having such great meal, I do have a bad habit of going into a food coma, which can lead into forgetting to write about it. So here it is: a post about Jing Fong, over a week later :P

I finally found an awesome group in NYC called Asian Language Exchange and Social Network (ALESN). They have volunteer teachers teaching Asian language classes at the YMCA in Chinatown. I joined the Japanese I class and loving it so far! :) As a fundraising-slash-welcome-back event, we went out for yum cha at Jing Fong in Chinatown. We were supposed to meet at 10 in front of the restaurant and I was kinda confused because 1) Dim sum places in Philly aren't opened until 11 and 2) The building was half covered in duplex board because of the construction going on next door. Any how, the ALESN team managed to get up to the restaurant at 10:30 after gathering 16 people (we parted into 4 tables).

When I got up there, I was just so shocked because the place was HUGE. I swear it can hold 3 Chinese weddings all at once.

The service was out of the world. Servers were very quick in refilling our tea pot and checking on us to see if we had "enough to eat". For all the impatient people out there, there are also walk-up stations that you can go to (bring your card to be stamped) if you know what you want but not patient enough to wait for one of these wonderful aunties to come by with the carts.

And for us a table of 6, these were what we ordered. Food was so great, very close to what I had in the streets of Mong Kok, Hong Kong. The xiao long bao especially warmed my heart as it reminded me of that rainy night getting stuck at Universal Studio in Singapore (refer back to my travel blog if you want to know more about it).

And it was very reasonably priced, $72 for the whole table, $12 per person.
I'm totally coming back. I would most likely take any visiting friend/relative who comes to town in the future.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chicken Pot(pie) Soup

Given the weather has been so cranky, I think it's time for the comforting soup season!

I've been so busy lately staying late at work, and people around me are starting to get sick. I need to build immunity through whatever I eat. This is pretty much a twist to the regular chicken potpie, without the pie crust.

Chicken Pot(pie) Soup (serves 6)

1/4 c. flour
2 c. water
4 c. fat-free milk
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can of mixed vegetables
1 lb. chicken breasts, diced
8 oz. sliced portabella mushroom
1 block of chicken bouillons
2 tbsp. thyme (I love them a lot because it gives lovely fragrance, moderate to your liking)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
**I pre-chopped some of the ingredients prior, because I knew I was gonna be so tired Sunday night

1) Combine 1/2 c. of water with flour. Whisk until blended and set aside for later
2) Pour milk and the remaining water into a large Dutch oven pot. Slowly boil

3) Add celery, onion, mushrooms, boullions, thyme, pepper, salt, canned vegetables, and return to boil
4) Partially cover and simmer on low until vegetables are soft
5) Remove lid. Add potatoes and cook until soft
6) Add chicken. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes

I've just enjoyed it for dinner just now. Not bad at all :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Catch Up Post: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This is a rather late post. I managed to make this last week despite of the crazy beginning to the 2nd half of my workplace's fiscal year. More things  to get done, more process and system improvements in the horizon, and I am so pumped to be a part of all of this.

Here's to a successful 2nd half! :)

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (serves 6)

1 c. uncooked quinoa
2 c. water
1/4 c. red onion, diced
1/2 lemon, juiced
10 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1 c. tomatoes, diced
1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1) Rinse quinoa for 2 minutes
2) Fill a saucepan with water, add quinoa and salt to taste. Bring to a boil

3) Once boils, reduce heat, cover, simmer for 15 minutes
4) Remove from heat and keep covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside in a large bowl to cool
5) While waiting for quinoa to cool, dice the vegetables

5) Quinoa must be really cooled before anything can be mixed. If not, you'll have a really mushy salad. So hang on (I did my laundry in the meantime)

6) Once fully cooled, add red onion, olives, cucumber, an tomato to the cooled quinoa. Squeeze lemon over it.

7) Drizzle olive oil over the quinoa mixture, than stir in feta, salt, and pepper. Toss well and serve chilled.

I might do another warmer twist on quinoa next. We'll see what happens. G'nite folks :)

Salad is Still In: Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Hello, hello! Hope y'all doing fine in this rather bipolar weather. I swore New Jersey was all ready for Fall last week, but it's turning up to the 80s tomorrow.

On a positive note: it's still a great time for the good old inexpensive and super easy salad. So go ahead an hit your local farmer's market (since they started popping-up everywhere as of last week) and squeeze some salad time before the weather gets too cold :)

Southwestern Black Bean Salad (serves 4 generous serving)

15.5 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained
9 oz. cooked corn
1 medium tomato, chopped
0.3 c. red onion, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 medium hass avocado, chopped
1 limes, juiced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 hand-fulls of minced cilantro (I love the smell of it but if you don't like it just moderate according to your taste)
salt&pepper to taste


1) In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, tomato, onion, scallion, cilantro, salt, and pepper
2) Squeeze fresh lime juice to taste and stir in olive oil
3) Add chopped avocado, chill in the fridge at least for 30 minutes before first serving

So delicious and perfect for work lunch or dinner  :)