It's that time of year where I could do the following:
Reflect on all the instances in which I felt guilty about eating unhealthy foods in 2015.
Commit myself to a vigorous exercise routine.
Create a detailed plan of what amount of healthy grains, meats, fruits and vegetables to consume at exactly 7 am, 12 pm and 6 pm.
Eat a cookie and write this post.
Promise myself to eat only delicious food, not to stuff myself, continue to go to hapkido on the weekends, take walks and stretch.
If you guessed that I don't have a New Year's Resolution that revolves around eating healthier, you are correct! I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions for myself, especially one that revolves around diet. There was a time in my life (hello, freshman year of college!) where I was sadly a little bit too concerned with my body image, eating habits and calories. I blame three things: 1) dorm food, 2) calorie count noted on each food description in the dining commons, and 3) the scale at the gym. I really don't want to know that this one pasta dish is 2500 calories, that that cookie is 500 calories, and that I weigh 3 more pounds than the last time I went to the gym. It's all really self-degrading stuff. As soon as I moved out of the dorms to an off campus apartment where I had to bike 4-8 miles a day and started cooking for myself, all of that went away.
So here I find myself at the beginning of January with aspirations to only eat good, delicious food. This comes from a vow I made in my freshman year of college where I thought twice about eating dessert in the dining commons just because I wanted something sweet not because it tasted good. It's also something I explain in my about page. "In other words, if I’m going to have dessert, it damn better be the best possible. I’m not about to waste stomach space on something sub-par." It's just my philosophy on food and eating. Everything in moderation, even the stuff that isn't so great for you. But, boy does it taste good!
In my opinion, January should be less about eating "healthy" foods and more about eating foods that are filling, comforting, simple and sometimes end up being on the healthy spectrum of things. I resonate with Bon Appetit's January theme of healthy-ish recipes. This should be the month of straightforward food that pushes all the right buttons of "well, that's just delicious".
More often than not, my mind is on soup this time of year. Take egg drop soup for instance. This whole meal is complete in under 30 minutes and it's immensely satisfying and leaves your belly warm and content. It's also one of those sort of desperate meal situations that has a better result than it's take-out counterpart. For one person, it's only about 1 cup of broth, one egg, some seasonings, leftover rice and a quick sauteé of vegetables. In the words of Ina Garten, "How easy is that?".
Very easy Ina, very easy.
Kristen was the one who brought back egg drop soup. I got a bit lazy in the week between Christmas and New Year's so this was my dinner for a few days. I've started a renewed appreciation for eggs, and egg drop soup is no exception. The eggs cook from a broth simmered with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and oyster sauce. As soon as you take it off the heat and the bubbles disperse, slowly add the egg so that it "flowers" into lovely, thin layers of egg that are softly cooked from the heat of the broth. Gently use a fork to help the egg bloom to the surface.
I like to serve mine with crunchy rice which is basically leftover rice formed into a patty and crisped up on one side. Additionally, serve with greens such as Napa cabbage, bok choy or choy sum. Top with green onions and that's it!
This is pretty healthy on the spectrum of healthy things but mostly it's comfort food and all I craved after eating a whole bunch of fried food at Phil's Fish Market over the winter break.
For knead. bake. cook., I aspire to create inviting, delicious and quality content, to tap more into the Chinese in me, to bake more bread and to remember all of my mishaps so I can laugh about them at the end of the year.
Egg Drop Soup
Yields: 2 servings
This recipe can be easily halved, doubled or quadrupled.
A vegetarian version can be made with vegetable broth.
Be careful not to pour in the egg when the broth is boiling or when it has cooled down too much. In the former, you'll get large chunks of egg, in the latter, the egg will distribute in the broth too much.
2 - 3 eggs, beaten
2 - 3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
½ teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 garlic clove and 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1½ cups cooked rice
Green onions to garnish
Start with making the crunchy rice. Heat rice until warm. Sprinkle with a little bit of water before microwaving if it has hardened. On a medium non-stick pan, pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Dump rice into the pan and use the rice scooper to flatten and shape it into a tight disk. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and crunchy.
In a small sauce pan, whisk together the broth, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and ginger. Bring to a simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
Turn the heat off or take the sauce pan off of the burner. Once, the broth is still (no bubbles), slowly pour in the beaten eggs. With a fork or chopsticks, lightly skim the top of the broth to "flower" the egg. You'll see the egg form thin strands that bloom to the surface.
Serve immediately with the vegetables and crunchy rice on the side. Garnish with green onions if desired.