Homemade Chinese Food

Who doesn’t love Chinese food?! But take-out Chinese is just so unhealthy that sometimes when the craving hits, we decide to make our own.

*Warning – this is a very involved process, not really an after work cooking project, I suggest making this on a weekend or day off. My husband and I also divide and conquer – while I do one complete recipe he does the other, I suggest you do the same with a cooking partner!
Shrimp Fried Rice
adapted from The New York Cabbie Cookbook by Wilson Eng

1C rice
2 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
2 large eggs, beaten
1 Tbs oil
1/2C frozen peas, thawed
1/4C scallions, thinly sliced, including some of the green tops
1/4C cooked shrimp, cut into small pieces

At least 1 day before you plan to make the fried rice, make the rice as instructed by the package (we use basmati rice). Cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating for 24 hours (they say to refrigerate for 24 hours, we’ve never done this, just refrigerate for an hour or so).

Break up any clumps of the cold rice with your fingers and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the oyster sauce and soy sauce and set aside.

Coat a large, nonstick skillet with nonstick vegetable spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the eggs, swirling them around to make sure they coat the whole bottom of the pan. Cook, without stirring, and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the eggs are firm and cooked through but not yet starting to brown, lifting the skillet and tilting it so that the eggs cook evenly. Slide the eggs onto a plate and when they have cooled, cut into small pieces and set aside.

Return the skillet to the burner and heat the oil over high heat. When it is hot, add the peas and scallions, and cook, stirring constantly, until the scallions are limp, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice, sauce mixture, eggs and shrimp until well mixed. Continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

General Tso’s Chicken 2
we don’t know where we got this recipe, but it’s a good one
1/4C cornstarch
1/8C water
3/4 Tsp garlic, minced
dash of powdered ginger
3/8C sugar
1/4C low sodium soy sauce
1/8C white vinegar
1/8C sherry wine
1/2C chicken broth

1 1/2 lb chicken cut into chunks
1/8C soy sauce
1/2 egg, beaten
1/2C cornstarch
1C green onions, sliced
4 small hot peppers, seeds removed, minced
1C steamed broccoli

Combine all ingredients for sauce in a container with a lid and shake gently. Set aside.

Mix chicken, soy sauce, and pepper. Stir in egg. Add cornstarch and mix until chicken is coated. Pan fry chicken in batches until cooked. Add onions and peppers and cook for just a minute.

Stir sauce mixture, then add to a frying pan (separate from chicken), cook until thick. If too thick, add water a little at a time until the right consistency is reached. Add chicken/onion/pepper mix, broccoli, and water chestnuts and stir to mix with the sauce. Cook until hot, then enjoy!

2-week Mani, the Final Day

So last night I finally removed my 2-week mani. I had enough of the nail growth “look” and went through the process of soaking my fingertips in straight acetone and the polish just started chipping off tiny piece by tiny piece (you can see it all at the bottom of the bowl). Overall, it took about an hour to get all the red off my nails.
I would do shellac again, but I think next time I would stick with my instinct to do a more neutral color so the 2-week nail growth wasn’t so obvious towards the end. Honestly though, the painted part of my nails still looked 98% perfect when I was taking off the polish!

Pizza Toppings

By now, everyone has a pizza stone and makes their own pizza at home, right? We love to use regular dough from the deli section of the grocery store or the herb dough from Trader Joe’s. The only hard part of homemade pizza is thinking of a delicious, creative topping! Cheese is so boring, pepperoni is so traditional, we are always trying to think of something out of the box.

Well, this week we made a ricotta, prosciutto, arugula pizza and it….was…phenomenal! And really, it happened by mistake because we wanted to use leftover ricotta and arugula and thought that combo plus nice, salty prosciutto would be great.

Hint – we baked the pizza 1/2-way with sauce, mozzarella and the dollops of ricotta, then threw on the prosciutto and arugula to cook for the rest of the time.


2-week Mani, day 9

Ok, so today is day 9 of my 2-week manicure and things look good, but I am starting to get disappointed. The tips of my nails are still perfect, you would think that I just got a mani. However, since it’s been over a week since I got my nails done, they have grown and if you look closely you can see the unpainted nails growing at the base. I also prefer short nails and frankly they’re getting a little long for my liking.

All that aside, I still can’t believe how long this manicure is lasting!!

Pulled Pork Sandwich

In honor of President’s Day (really, having nothing to do with any of our Presidents but all to do with having a day off) we made pulled pork sandwiches today. It’s such a long process, it’s best to do on a weekend or day off. The results are BBQ Heaven!

Pulled Pork Sandwich
adapted from Tyler Florence, “Ultimate Pulled Pork”

1 boneless pork shoulder (about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs)
2 Tbs kosher salt
1/2 Tbs freshly ground black pepper
3/4 C light brown sugar
2 Tbs paprika
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
Scant 1/2 Tbs cayenne
1 1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack insert. Place the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, thyme leaves, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add extra-virgin olive oil until you have a nice paste. Rub all over the pork, being sure to get into the nooks so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture – this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Roast the pork for 3 1/2 hours, uncovered, until the outside is crispy-brown (it should look like mahogany). Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing.

We prefer to “pull” our pork and shred it with 2 forks, but you can slice the pork if you like that better.

Either way, mix with (or spread on) your favorite BBQ sauce and serve on a hamburger roll with cole slaw and baked beans on the side.


Fish Tacos

I love fish tacos so I thought I’d share how we make them at home. They’re so easy to make I don’t even follow a real recipe with measurements.

For the tacos, tilapia works great – we like to use a white fish that isn’t too flaky since we don’t deep fry (the deep fry makes a batter to hold the fish hold together).

Coat your tilapia in egg wash, then lightly coat with panko bread crumbs that you’ve seasoned with salt and pepper. Transfer fish to a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes or until the fish is still moist but cooked through, with the bread crumbs browned a little.

For the sauce, we use a mixture of mayo (Hellman’s Light, to be specific) combined with cumen, chili powder, s&p, and a squeeze of lime. We mix that with a little corn, minced red onion, and chopped red pepper.

Serve in a tortilla with a little cabbage and your favorite toppings! I like mine with sliced avocado, my husband likes to add heat from spicy salsa.


2-week Mani, day 1

Sunday afternoon my friend and I splurged on the new trend in nail polishing – a shellac manicure! They say it lasts 2 weeks without chipping, can that be true? We went (to Miniluxe in Newton) because we had a $10 off coupon but I’m thinking now it is completely worth every full-price penny.

Here is a photo of my nails, day 1. I will report back in a week.


Edible Valentine

I decided to do something different this year and send out edible Valentines rather than my usual homemade cards. The Valentines were little heart sugar cookies packaged in cutely decorated boxes. I thought, what a treat to get a box of cute cookies in the mail for Valentine’s Day!


For the packaging I went to A.C. Moore and found these great, sturdy, white cardboard pencil boxes. I decorated with a heart and a handwritten message. Then, I put shredded red paper inside to protect the cookies. I decided to hand shred the red paper myself so everything would match – I just put red paper through our home shredder, so easy!
I got the idea for the cookies from my friend Martha Stewart and used her recipe for sugar cookies and royal icing.


I got the idea from the Valentine’s Day episode of Martha’s show to use a squeeze bottle to apply the royal icing to each cookie. This eliminates the need for a pastry bag and makes outlining each cookies easier to ensure you get a sharp edge of icing all the way around to cookie.

Step 1 – outline the cookies with royal icing

Step 2 – fill in with icing

Step 3 – spread frosting out and smooth over

Step 4 – Decorate! Then I just wrapped each cookie in plastic wrap to help stay fresh, placed in the boxes, wrapped the boxes in brown paper, and mailed.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


In honor of the first day of New York Fashion Week I thought I’d share the official Pantone colors of Spring, 2011.

I can’t wait to incorporate these colors into my spring wardrobe. I particularly like honeysuckle, peapod, and regatta! I am thinking about outfits with both beeswax and lavendar, too – that would be intersting. Which colors will you incorporate?

For complete coverage of NYFW click here. This site is great because they stream some of the shows live, which are always fun to watch.

Happy Fashion Week!