Arugula-endive salad

Adapted from Food & Wine


  • 1/2 cup pignoli (we had raw walnuts)
  • 2 teaspoons honey, preferably clover
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (whole-grain is available)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 tomato on the vine, chopped
  • 1 endives (halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise)
  • 4 ounces Bocconcini or ciliegine


  1. Chop / crumble the walnuts.
  2. In a tall container, whisk 2 teaspoons of honey with the vinegar and the mustards. Gradually whisk in the oil; season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, toss the arugula with the endives, tomato, and mozzarella cheese. Break the walnuts into small pieces and add them to the salad.
  4. Add the dressing, toss to coat and serve at once.
walnuts sifted to the bottom!

It’s summertime, school’s out, and the farmer’s markets are open, so you know what that means! Fresh salad lunches. My family never normally consumed endives, but Jesse impulse-shopped these at the last market, and they were delightful.


Buttermilk pancakes

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1.5 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter


  1. Start with 2 separate mixing bowls. In the smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients well. In the larger bowl, mix well the wet ingredients.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until combined.
  3. Then cook them on a flat pan. Eat them while they are still warm.

So fluffy and good… I didn’t need any sweet toppings on mine!


Turkey pea pasta

Adapted from My Homemade Roots


  • 8 ounces TJ’s Cacio 3 Pepe ravioli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar (we used Parmigiano cheese, microplaned )
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard (we used ½ tbsp Dijon mustard)
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup frozen peas (precook if using fresh peas)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of chopped fresh herbs (marjoram, basil, thyme)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon (forgot)


  1. Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and ground turkey. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Use a spatula to break up the ground turkey and cook until lightly browned and fully cooked through.
  2. Add garlic to the browned turkey and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the butter and flour. Cook and stir gently for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chicken broth and milk. Allow the liquid to come to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low.
  5. Meanwhile, boil pasta in salted water until al dente.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, add the shredded cheese and stir until melted into the sauce. Add ground mustard, nutmeg, and peas. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce (or place in serving bowls and spoon sauce on top). Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.
  8. Garnish with lemon zest, lemon juice, and chopped fresh herbs (optional but we forgot).
So good, I ate it before I could photo it.

This recipe came out much better than Jesse anticipated, and I found it so reminiscent of sausage gravy and biscuits that I insisted on using the leftover sauce on breakfast eggs the next morning. This was a pantry cleaner, as I noticed we had leftover frozen turkey meat from one recipe, and leftover peas from another. So how best to combine them?! Voila. We forgot the lemon, but I would be down to try it next time! The mustard and nutmeg really added a nice extra oomph, and the fresh herbs from our window garden were a treat.


Sesame rice bowl with ground pork

Adapted from The Domestic Goddess

Ingredients: (about 3 servings)

  • 500g mince pork (or 1.1 lbs chicken)
  • 1 piece ginger (about 1-inch, or 2.5cm, thick), peeled and grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (sub tomato paste + red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis (sugar + soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 250g snow pea shoots (or baby bok choy), sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 sprig spring onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water, optional


  1. In a small bowl, mix together gochujang, kecap manis and soy sauce. (Alternative: 2 tbsp. tahini, 1 tbsp. honey, 2 tbsp. warm water, gochujang). Set this aside.
  2. In a skillet, saute the minced garlic and grated ginger in some vegetable oil for about 30 seconds. Add the minced pork (or chicken), salt and white pepper and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the meat is lightly browned.
  3. To this, add the gochujang/ kecap manis/ soy sauce.
  4. Stir to mix. If the mixture is too thick, or if you prefer the dish to have more gravy, add about 1/4 cup (60ml) water.
  5. Finally add the pea shoots and stir until the shoots start to wilt.
  6. Add sesame oil and stir until combined. Taste.
  7. Serve hot, with brown rice (cooked with salted water uncovered 17-19 minutes, drained).

Using up a Blue Apron gift certificate (for my mother) last year, we cooked up the Spicy tahini turkey & rice bowls, but thought there could have been a couple of improvements in flavor. Pork would have been more tasty, and what’s with all the radishes every recipe?! Instead of radishes marinated in rice wine and sesame oil, I think Japanese yamitsuki cabbage would be a nice alternative. I’m fine with using soy sauce (why coconut aminos?) because it’s “magic sauce” after all (as my mom used to call it). We didn’t have the Korean sauces, so improvised with some tomato paste, red curry paste, tahini, honey, Chinese chili oil, and water. Quite quick and easy recipe for a Sunday night — can scale up for more leftovers in the week.


Ukrainian mushroom soup

Adapted from Lavender and Macarons and Road is Calling


  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 8 oz Portobello (or Cremini mushrooms), sliced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dill (we used fresh marjoram from the garden instead)
  • 1 c half and half
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • sour cream, optional


  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick pan and over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté stirring from time to time until onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Transfer vegetables to a plate and add mushrooms. Cook stirring occasionally until liquid evaporates and mushrooms start to brown, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add vegetable stock to a large stockpot and bring it to a boil. Add potatoes, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add sautéed onion, carrot, ¾ of all mushrooms, both herbs, 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until potatoes are tender, about 5 more minutes.
  5. Add 1 cup of half and half, bring soup to a boil, add 3 cloves of garlic pushed through a garlic press and remove soup from the heat.
  6. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the remaining mushrooms and serve with a crusty baguette. Sour cream optional
with a side of grilled (Brie) cheese and topped with freshly snipped scallions

This recipe popped up on my Google feed, because of the massacre and war crimes being committed by Russia, so I thought to try it this weekend (while it’s still cold) in solidarity. Just because I’m a fan of bell pepper and zucchini and cannellini beans, and this LotR recipe and spring soup in general, we added those in as well. Potatoes always seem to take longer to cook, so dicing them as small as reasonable helps (I’m surprised this recipe only called for 15 min. total for potatoes).


Mexican burritos

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats and Gran Luchita


  • Marinade
  • ¼ cup / 65 ml lime juice
  • ¼ cup / 65 ml orange juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper , or to taste (optional)
  • Meat
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 jalapenos peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thickly (brown, yellow, white or red)
  • Burritos
  • 8 large soft flour tortillas or round wraps (~25cm/10”+)
  • 1 can black beans, canned and drained
  • Monterey Jack cheese, grated to taste
  • Tropical Cheese Queso De Papa, grated to taste
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • Sour cream


  1. Season the chicken with the marinade for 1-24 hours.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until caramelised. Turn and cook the other side for 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Remove onto a plate, cover loosely with foil. Rest for 3 minutes then slice.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 2 minutes until onion is lightly browned.
  5. Add vegetables (onions, then garlic, then peppers) to cover the base of the pan in a single layer without too much overlapping (I cook in 3 batches). Spread out, leave for 45 seconds (to char it).
  6. Toss quickly then spread out. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Leave 45 seconds, toss then spread out, then leave 45 seconds. Remove onto platter and repeat with remaining Vegetables.
  7. Place a burrito on a work surface. Place 1/4 – 1/3 cup of filling just below the centre. Top with 1/4 black beans, salsa, and grated cheese.
  8. Fold up the bottom to cover the filling then fold the edges in. Roll up tightly, then place in baking tray (can wrap in foil). Bake at 180C/350F for 20 minutes in the foil – this will warm them all the way through and crisp up the tortilla slightly.
  9. Serve with something to dip – sour cream (or plain yoghurt) and some sort of salsa and guacamole.

Previously I made for my sister’s family a very elaborate chicken burrito bowl and at my friend Amber’s place, quesadillas. This was easy overall! If you have, you can squeeze over lime juice and chop some cilantro!


Chicken parts soup

Adapted from Food52


  • 3-4 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 medium onion (or 2 shallots), peeled and diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 medium (1 big) carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 celery ribs (or zucchini), chopped
  • 1/2 pound short pasta (or baby potatoes)
  • 1 pinch ground chili powder, cumin seeds (toasted) , coriander
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 quarts water
  • Lemon juice, to finish (optional)


  1. Fill a soup pot with about 2 cups of water and add the chicken drumsticks. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Allow the water to simmer for one to two hours, skimming off the foam. The longer you let this go, the sweeter the soup will be.
  2. While the water comes to a boil, prepare the vegetables.
  3. After the two hours, the water will have some color from the drumsticks, and the meat will have pulled back tightly from the bones and be very loose. Remove the drumsticks from the water and place them on a plate to cool. Keep the water on low heat so that it stays hot, but does not boil.
  4. To a medium saucepan, add the butter and a splash of olive oil over medium-low heat.
  5. Once the butter has melted, add the minced garlic. Allow it to sit over the heat for about thirty to forty seconds (don’t let it burn) and then add the onion.
  6. Raise the heat to medium, and stir the onions and garlic together until the onion is very lightly browned. Add a good pinch of salt and a couple grindings of black pepper and stir to combine.
  7. Scrape the garlic and onions from the pan into your still-hot pot of (now) stock. Return your pan to the heat and add another splash of olive oil.
  8. When the oil is hot, add the carrots. Add the ground ginger and a good pinch of salt, and allow the carrots to sit over the heat until they have slightly caramelized. I usually chop my carrots in one inch pieces, so by the time the edges have caramelized the middles are still crunchy. Stir so that the ginger and salt get absorbed.
  9. Scrape the carrots from the pan into your still-hot pot of (now) stock and garlic and onions. Return your pan to the heat and add another splash of olive oil.
  10. When the oil is hot, add the celery and a good pinch of salt. Give the celery a quick minute over the heat, stirring to incorporate the salt, and then add the celery to the pot.
  11. You know the drill. Follow suit with the greens (don’t forget to season). However, I usually don’t add the greens to the pot – I just keep them to the side and add them to the bowls of soup as I ladle it out, depending on who likes what. Feel free to add the greens to the soup or not.
  12. By now, your chicken drumsticks which have been hanging out on a plate should have cooled enough for you to handle. Remove the meat from the bones and chop the meat into roughly one-inch pieces. Add the meat to the pot. If you wanted to add the bones back into the pot to coax some more flavor out of them, you could do that as well (but remember to fish them out).
  13. Let the pot of (now) soup simmer on the stove-top while you boil water for the pasta and cook it to al dente.
  14. Taste the soup. Because we have seasoned the vegetables as they cooked and then added them to the pot, there should be a good depth of flavor in the broth. If it is still bland, add a healthy pinch of salt to your taste. If the soup has reduced substantially, you can add some low-sodium chicken stock or water to bulk it up.
  15. Once the pasta is al dente, it’s just an assembly line: get a bowl, put in some noodles, put in some greens, ladle a few big scoops of soup with all the goodies in it, squeeze some lemon on top, and serve.

Last weekend I was laid low by some bad shrimp from takeout. Jesse made this as a restorative prepped veg. Cook for 1 hr 20 min, remove chicken, add in the potatoes — cook for 30 min. Then sauté the shallots, then garlic in a separate pan. Sauté the carrots and added to the pot. Removed bone from the chicken with a knife. Then add the zucchini to the pot for 10 minutes. I found the zucchini to be pleasingly firm, but also some bitterness — either saute the zucchini for a few minutes before adding them to the pot, or maybe parboil them for 15 minutes.


Ginger tea

Adapted from Cookie and Kate


  • 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 cup water
  • Optional flavorings (choose just one): 1 cinnamon stick, 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric (cut into thin slices, same as the ginger), or several sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 thin round of fresh lemon or orange or juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tbsp honey, to taste


  1. Combine the sliced ginger and water in a saucepan over high heat. If you’re adding a cinnamon stick, fresh turmeric, or fresh mint, add it now. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer for 5 minutes (for extra-strong ginger flavor, simmer for up to 10 minutes).
  2. Remove the pot from the heat. Carefully pour the mixture through a mesh sieve into a heat-safe liquid measuring cup, or directly into a mug.
  3. Serve with a lemon round and/or a drizzle of honey, to taste. Serve hot.

The Spruce Eats: “If you have leftover ginger root, you can freeze it to use later. (If you intend to use the ginger for tea later on, you might as well cut it into thin slices before freezing. Otherwise, freeze it whole for greater versatility.) For tea throughout the week, make a big batch by doubling or tripling the recipe. Store the tea in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Drink it cold or heat it up one cup at a time within a week for the freshest taste.” Korean honey lemon ginger tea is my favorite winter drink!


Balkan moussaka

Adapted from LMU München and Balkan Lunch Box

Serves 10

  • MEAT
  • 50 ml oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 600 g (1.3 lbs.) ground meat (pork and turkey work)
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon savory (can sub with thyme)
  • VEG
  • 1 kg (7 medium/2 lbs.) potatoes, washed and scrubbed, sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, diced fine
  • 200 g (1 c.) tomato puree from a can
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 300 g (1.3 c.) plain yogurt
  • 1 g baking soda (e.g. Kaiser Natron)
  • 1–2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  1. Chop the onion and carrot finely and fry in 3-4 spoonfuls of oil. Add garlic, then ground meat and cook together with the vegetables. Add spices and tomatoes and let cook again for 5-6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Thinly slice the potatoes. Then mix potatoes, oil and salt until all covered.
  3. Line a baking dish with the potatoes and add half of the meat-vegetable mixture. Another layer of potatoes and the remaining meat. Top with potatoes. Cover with water.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 deg. C (390 deg. F) for 30-40 minutes. Check that the potatoes are tender.
  5. For the topping: Whisk eggs with flour. Add yogurt, baking soda and parsley. Blend.
  6. Add topping to the moussaka and bake until golden brown, another 10 – 20 minutes.
  7. Rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.

In total you want three potato layers and two meat layers in between.


Lunar New Year 2022

Prepared menu:

For snacks, I picked up some White Rabbit milk candy and Bin Bin Crispy Rice crackers, original flavor. I also followed this recipe to make the dumplings wrappers from Italian flour. Jesse made a dumpling dipping sauce similar to this although without the vinegar (I’ve never liked black vinegar with dumplings). The stir fried shrimp were so popular. Snow pea leaves needed 1-2 hours soak, so we ended up making it the following morning (I didn’t season it with enough salt). The mushroom soup needed a bigger pot, so we could sear more mushroom caps for their juices, and get a more intense flavor! Jesse’s sister Nina was in charge of the summer rolls! Jesse, Nina, and I rolled out dumpling wrappers, while the elders stuffed dumplings (Nina shuttled between as needed).