Category Archives: Food

Rutabaga Soup (Azuki’s Cooking Series #6)

Last week I bought some beet at the supermarket. However, when my husband went about preparing a smoothie, he said, hey this is not beet! I was like, what do you mean? Sure enough, this little thing is most certainly not a beet. I had no idea what it is, but tasted it and decided that it’s not something you eat raw or put into smoothie.

Finally I got around to doing some sleuth work, and determined that my little infiltrator is a rutabaga. Then I googled around for a recipe.

I cut the rutabaga in chunks, along with potatoes, carrots and onion. I added in some spices, bay leaves and pepper.

After they are cooked I pureed them in my blender. I prefer my soup a little chunky.

I like my soup a bit chunky, so I went easy on the blending. Then I heated it again in a pan, adding a bit of cooking wine and salt, to final adjust the taste.

I topped it with some scallion and shredded asiago. It was very delicious!

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Cooking, Food, Vegetarianism


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What Kind of Tea am I?

I found a link to this tea quiz from someone’s blog, and after a few questions I was told that I’m a Chai.

My first reaction was, no way!  I hate Chai!  (It’s weird because I do love Indian food a lot, but I just couldn’t stand chai)  However, after reading the description, I suppose it does fit me pretty good.  I do like trying different cuisines, like Ethiopian, Tibetan, Malaysian, Indonesian, Peruvian and more.

There are many subtle sides to your personality. You are difficult to decode.
You are a complex and deep individual. You have many nuanced beliefs, and your mood frequently changes.

You are a creative and expressive person. You draw your inspiration from the whole world.
You enjoy exotic food, music, and travel. Your tastes are very international.

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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Food


My Halloween Cheese Platter

I made a cheese platter for Halloween, and am proud enough of it to think that it should be shared and recorded fo posterity. Not the cheese itself, of course, but at least a picture of it. ; )

Upper left is a herb goat cheese log. I simply opened a pack of 4 oz log, squeezed and shaped it into a skull. Then I cut off the tips of an olive for eyes.

Upper right are supposed to be bloody eyeballs. I’ve read of them in a magazine a while back, but this is a classic case where your real end result doesn’t look half as good as the magazine photos. They are peppadew peppers stuffed with olives. I tried a variety of olives, and added some goat cheese, but they simply don’t look like eyeballs. My friends did enjoy them a lot though. Peppadews are spicy, sweet, sour and a juicy burst of flavors, balanced with briny olives.

In the center is a wedge of Mimolette, a French cheese. I picked it for its pumpkin-like orange color, and used a pen to draw the eyes and mouth onto the cellophane wrap.

Lower left is simply some cheese cubes. I used Salsa Jack for its specks of “blood”, or “vomit” if you like it gross.

Lower right is a slice of goat log, with macorna almonds and dried cranberries around it. They sell it by the pound at Whole Foods. I shaped two cranberries into evil eyes and use some preserve to draw a smile. One friend said it’s the best cheese she’s tried. That’s an overstatement, but I have to say it’s delicious.

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Posted by on November 1, 2010 in Food



Found a great Middle Eastern restaurant in North Miami Beach!

After practice at Oleta Park, two starving people drove over to the strip mall across the street in search for food. Hiro’s and Outback are institutions there, plus a few other options: little restaurants which keep opening and closing ever so often. We chanced upon Kabobji, which is right next to the bubble tea place, and glad we did! Food was excellent, so much better than Pasha or Daily Bread, or any of the Middle Eastern place I’ve tried here. I am not an expert on Middle Eastern food so I can’t claim it as the most authentic, but for me it’s definitely the tastiest.

The atmosphere is casual, though decoration is not spartan, adorned with pictures of Beirut and other curios. Great fo us coming over from Oleta Park, sweaty and dirty.

I got the veggio trio, an amazing value at $5.99. It’s a wrap wth hummus, falafel and tabouleh salad. At most other places I’d have to choose one or the other, but now I have all I want in one wrap! The falafel’s crunchiness and the tabouleh’s fresness elevate this wrap to a heavenly level! Enjoyed every single bite of it and still dreaming of it once in a while. The meat wraps are $6.99 or less and a good price also.

We also got a cezve of turkish coffee for $5, enough for two with refills. The coffee has a hint of cardamom but not sweetened. Nice finish to the satisfying meal. I was tempted to flip the cup of ground onto the saucer to see what my future beholds, but worried that I’d spill the coffee all over the table and become an embarrassment… Well, that much is clear… no fortune teller needed to divine that I will be back!

Kabobji Middle Eastern Restaurant
3055 NE 163 St
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
(305) 354-8484

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Posted by on September 2, 2010 in Florida, Food


Tomato Asian Rice Noodles (Azuki’s Cooking Series #4)

When I showed this picture on the camera to my husband, he thought it was tuna. So maybe I can name this vegetarian tuna noodle?

Anyway, it was just something I cooked up one afternoon with what I can rummage in my fridge. I have a bit of Thai basil left so I made a Vietnamese-inspired pho-style noodle dish. You can use the rice vermicelli instead and make it a “bun” style dish instead, which is great for summer. Slices of tofu can be added too. Whatever you have in the fridge!!

1. Cook and drain Vietnamese flat rice noodle (I am still trying to find a good brand, so let me know if you have recommendation).
2. While noodle is cooking, cut tomato into chunks, slice onion, wash spinach.
3. Heat oil in a pan. I found some lemongrass and Thai basil in my fridge so I add them to the pan and stir fry a bit for the fragrance to come out.
4. Next saute onion. Then add tomato and spinach.
5. Use a saucepan to prepare broth. I use vegetable soup base. A mushroom based boullion works great. Another one I found recently and really like is Edward & Sons. ( The vegetable stock I find in the U.S. are often flavored with celery, parsley and the like, and often doesn’t work well with Asian dishes. The ones in oriental grocery stores are usually made with mushroom and kombu, but while the flavor works, they often have MSG and other additives.
6. Put noodles in a bowl, arrange vegetables on top.
7. Slice some garlic and fried till crispy. Put on top.
8. Crush some peanuts with mortar and pestle, sprinkle on top.
9. Add hot broth to the noodle. Ready to serve.
(10. You can add a little fish sauce for seasoning if you’re not vegetarian.)

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Posted by on July 7, 2010 in Asia, Cooking, Food


Korean Lettuce Salad (Azuki’s Cooking Series #3)

I got a nice pack of lettuce from Costco, and after a few days of salads, and then wraps, I crave for something different.   Something a little oriental.  I suddently remember the lettuce salad that I eat at Korean restaurants.  It comes with the grilled beef bulgogi, and it’s so delicious that I am quite contend to eat it wih my rice and leave the meat to the guys. 

A search on google yields mostly recipes for Korean lettuce wrap with beef, but I manage to find what I want.

For the dressing, mince some garlic and green onion.  Remember that you are using the garlic raw, which is a lot more pungent and spicy, so go easy on it.  A clove or two should be plenty.  Add to it a tablespoon each of soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil to taste.  Add red pepper powder as well, if preferred.  I modified the recipe by adding some minced ginger and miso. 

Then chop up some lettuce, toss with dressing and sprinkle with sesame.  It’s simple but addictively delicious.  The flavor is on the strong side as the salad is not to be eaten on its own as an appertizer, but served along with other dishes to go with rice.

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Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Asia, Cooking, Food, Vegetarianism


Say No to Shark Fin Soup

The ecological disaster of shark killing for their fins is nothing new, but recently there is a reflamed discussion in Hong Kong, stirred up by a video and the subsequent news report.  ( and  A group of young divers from Hong Kong went to The Philippines for a vacation, and witnessed a young whale shark dying on the beach, its fins cut off and its body covered with knife wounds.   The young woman, still choked with tears as she recalled the scene, pleaded people not to eat shark fin soup.  While the fact that Chinese’s demand for shark fins is the reason for many shark species’ near-extinction and a very cruel practice (the equivalent of chopping all limbs off a person and leaving him to die), the highly emotional eye witness account generate much attention and discussions among the public.


A facebook group has started a pledge to Say No to Shark Fin Soup.  As a major consumption of the soup happens during banquets, there is a movement to ask people, especially newly weds, not to serve shark fin soup.  As a matter of fact, WWF has a list of organizations who have pledged not to serve shark fin at their company events, and the list includes The University of Hong Kong, Disney and  HSBC.

When I read the news, my reaction was, “Finally!”  Generally speaking, Hong Kong people do not have a strong sense of environmental protection, especially when it comes to what not to eat.  I can understand how, a long time ago, some fishermen caught a shark, and tried their very best to turn all body parts into edible food, a feat that Chinese is likely to have bragging rights to.  I don’t think there is any nation who consume a bigger variety of animal parts.  Anyway, for those who haven’t tried it, shark fin is basically a bland food that takes days and lots of work to make edible, and the flavor of the soup is derived from the chicken, ham, abalone and other ingredients stewed with the shark fin.  I can imagine how, with more primitive fishing boats and tools, it is a hard ingredient to come by and thus made it a  delicacy afordable only to the rich, giving the dish a prestiguous statue. 

Today shark fin is no longer a by product of a caught fish. As a  merchandise fetching up to 500 times more than the meat itself, the fishermen started to cut the fins off the fish and, not bothering with processing the meat or wasting cargo space, throw the dying fish back into the ocean.  As humans becoming a much more capable killer of sharks than the other way around, the shark population is being depleted faster than the slow growing fish can reproduce.  Add to that the increased affluence of China, and sharks are in serious trouble.  As the proven scientific fact shows that shark fin has little nutritional value and lots of mercury and heavy metal,  there is really no argument to continue eating shark fin.  (Well, actually on surfing the web, I came across an argument: if we stop eating shark fin, we will put those fishermen out of work.  To which I would reply, yeah, just so Afghan poppy growers can bring food to their kids, go get some opium.) 

Hong Kong is the epicenter of shark fin trade, importing close t 10,000 metric tons of shark fins a year.  Some comments claim that whatever decreased consumption this recent publicity may generate is hardly a drop in the bucket compares to the consumption in China.  Nonetheless, I feel very positive.  All great movements start with a very small group, but that small, seemingly insignificant effort is a pebble that can generate lots of waves.  In fact, my research has led me to another news article.  The Sakanaga kaitenzushi chain in Hong Kong recently won a bid for a tail of blue fin tuna, a fish which is near extinction.  As the news made headline in newspapers, environmental groups voiced their protests, and a boycott was started.  Granted, the number of people signing the boycott are likely less than what the chain’s customers number in one day, but it is an encouraging move nonetheless.  While a lot of news have portrayed China as a country with little environmental concern or consumer awareness, when I read blogs and forum posts online, I often find educated, forward-thinking posters who are eager to make their country and the world a better place.  I sincerely wish that everybody in the world will take a clearer look at his/her food and makes a more conscientious food choice.  I believe that one day eating shark fin soup will looked upon in the same way as wearing fur.    Our best effort to promote awareness is needed, however, before it’s too late.

Here are some more links about the topic.

You can also sign a Care2 petition at:

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Posted by on April 11, 2010 in Animals, Asia, Food, Vegetarianism