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archive for October 2007

chinese vegetarian chicken – an oxymoron

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Recipe: chinese vegetarian chicken

*Edit*: Oh, I see that I can enter this into Coffee & Vanilla’s Vegetarian Awareness Month Event! October 1st was World Vegetarian Day. Here’s the banner and go join if you can:

*End Edit*

I love tofu. Love it raw, love it dried, fried, shredded, diced, pressed, in soups, in sheets, in stir-fries, in braises… Back in the day, when I mentioned tofu to white people, they would make a face and say, “yech!” But as granolas and vegetarians grew in numbers, so did tofu’s popularity. I’m not vegetarian. I love animals and I love to eat them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like vegetarian food. One of my favorite haunts in Monterey Park was a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant (Happy Family – anyone know where it went? It’s now an empty lot). Asian vegetarian food is really Effingham delicious.

Whenever I visit my Grandma in California, she insists on sending me home with several times the volume of my duffel bag in food. Let’s see, she’ll hand me a few pounds of fruit, several packages of Chinese snacks, lots of dried goods, and a “loaf” of her homemade Chinese vegetarian chicken. I love that stuff. She taught me how to make it a few years ago, but I never tried until yesterday.

Vegetarian chicken?! That’s the translation of su ji. From what I’ve gathered, Buddhist monks were masters of preparing tofu in many delicious ways. They are vegetarian. I don’t think they eat garlic either because it is the root of the plant, thus destroying the plant. Emperors used to dig this style of food and would have the monks prepare meals for them. Well, you don’t just prepare any old slop for the Emperor. They made dishes that mimicked chicken, fish, squid, duck… out of tofu. The monks even went so far as to insert tiny slivers of bamboo to resemble fish bones. I learned about all of this when my parents dragged me to a Buddhist temple in LA for my mom’s college reunion.

**Jump for more butter**

snacks at jax’s

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Yesterday, I drove down to Boulder to run several errands in the afternoon. When I was done, I picked Jeremy up from work and we went to Pearl Street for Happy Hour. I never got into happy hours before moving here. I discovered that Boulder has more happy hours than you can shake a stick at. The best part for me is the cheap food, not the cheap booze (although I love fruity cocktails). Despite my anguish at the lack of good Asian fare in Boulder, this small city boasts a lot of very nice restaurants. We have several favorites.

Because Boulder sits 3000 feet lower than our house, it feels as if I am stepping into another season when I come to town. There are still leaves on trees and they are turning many shades of red, orange, and yellow. The day was warm and sunny – I wore shorts! We strolled down Pearl Street as the sun dropped closer to the mountains and decided on Jax Fish House, a favorite. I know, I know – seafood in Colorado?! Why yes, actually. It’s not Chesapeake Bay seafood (where I grew up) and it’s not Los Angeles seafood (where I lived for ten years), but it’s pretty good if you know where to go around here and Jax is definitely a reliable place for it. I dare say, one of Boulder’s best.

some peel and eat shrimp

**Jump for more butter**

chocolate for the little chica

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Recipe: chocolate ice cream

Congratulations to my pals, Amos and Louie, on the birth of their baby girl! Amos is one of my oldest friends (oldest as in I’ve known her longer than most friends – she’s not old… we’re the same age because we share the same birth date). Since both Amos and Louie love chocolate and love ice cream – it’s almost a genetic guarantee (I jest, I jest! Biogeeks, please be seated!) that little Alejandra will too. I recently made a batch of teh best homemade chocolate ice cream evar. Smooth, creamy, rich, and most of all: chocolaty. What better way to celebrate Alejandra’s arrival than with a post on chocolate ice cream.

it begins with a little cocoa and cream

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