Chawanmushi with edamame, mushrooms, and radishes

So I actually made this dish for my parents on their anniversary. What had happened was that they were out playing golf, but they did not have any dinner plans, or even anything special planned. I didn’t realize this until maybe 4pm, so I decided that I would make them at least something special to…

Pork belly and mushroom cream stew

I love making cream stew. In Japan, they make it all the time, and it’s this velvety, creamy(as the name would suggest) sauce with braised meat and vegetables in it. If you have ever had Japanese curry before, it’s like that, but without the spices, making for a very delicate flavor profile. Truthfully, it has…

Pork and vegetable fried rice

No matter who you ask, one of the first Chinese dishes anyone has any exposure to is fried rice. It is a quintessential Chinese dish! So many different varieties too, truthfully. For me, it always starts with cooking a thin layer of egg, then breaking it up and stirring in my already-cooked rice into that….

Something comforting: a plated dish

I really love stewed chickpeas. Actually I just love chickpeas in general. And luckily, I got to cook with them more often these days because I need them for their aquafaba. However, with all of the vegan meringue I have been making, I still need to get rid of the actual chickpeas themselves. So this…

Pork belly okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes)

Okonomiyaki are one of my personal favorite things to make. The first time I ever had one was with my cousins, and it was delicious. It’s a Japanese pancake batter that can have a variety of things in it, but typically you would find cabbage, pork, and a delicious sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. A lot…

Duck fat-grilled onigiri

These rice balls were just a way for me to utilize a bucketload of leftover brown rice. With rice of any kind, it can be very bland. In the case of brown rice, that is no exception. I knew that I had to inject as much flavor as I could into it, so I wanted…

“番茄炒蛋”: a plated dish

番茄炒蛋, or tomato-fried eggs, are a childhood staple for me, and probably every Chinese/Taiwanese person. Simply put, it’s scrambled eggs with tomato, topped with scallions and/or cilantro. A very humble dish, and because of that, a great blank canvas/ inspiration for a prettier, more complex one. My mom’s version included ginger, since it provided a…

Moussaka pizza

One of my favorite dishes from Greece is moussaka. It’s basically layers of ground meat, typically lamb, sometimes beef, stewed in this tomato sauce with eggplant, potatoes, and a creamy béchamel on top of that is broiled until golden brown. With the exception of the potato, honestly, all of those things could be incorporated into…

Hallucinate: a plated dish

I was actually coming up with this dish when I was doing a quarantine Google Hangout cook-together with my friends, Ann and Sylvie. We agreed that we would each make a pasta dish, so I came up with this one. I took the inspiration from my childhood favorite, beef noodle soup aka Taiwan’s national dish, and transforming…

Duck banh mi with homemade baguette and purple yam chips

One of my absolute favorite sandwiches is the banh mi. A Vietnamese-French hybrid, it features a baguette that has pate, some sort of meat, pickled vegetables, chilies, and cilantro on it. It’s been one of my favorites for years ever since I had one from Lee’s Sandwiches(yes, I know it’s a chain, but still, the banh…

Rabbit rack with carrot puree and warm kale salad

For my second rabbit dish, I wanted to feature the loin and rack instead. I always loved the look of a chop of meat, be it a tomahawk steak or a lamb rack, because it appeals to that carnal instinct we all have from being descendants of cavemen. Despite that being an inspiration, I wanted…

Quick cassoulet with black pepper cornbread madeleine

In light of the quarantine pandemics surrounding the coronavirus, my plating bestie Bri and I thought it would be a lot of fun, very interesting, and perfectly fitting if we could take canned foods and transform them into gourmet or fine dining dishes. The challenge was to see what we could make in an hour…

Tofu steak: a childhood favorite

One of the best things I ever ate growing up was the tofu steak at Kappo Seafood in Torrance. It was this crunchy, creamy, deep fried block of tofu with mushrooms that were stewed in a sukiyaki-type of sauce, served with bonito flakes and scallions. I still remember ordering it as a kid, just out…

Beef and kale arancini

I really love arancini. For those of you who don’t know what they are, arancini are deep fried risotto balls. Truthfully, I don’t make them often enough, but that’s because I would first have to make risotto, and then make the arancini out of that, and that’s far too much labor for a snack. However,…

Dou Jiang inspired dumplings

I literally came up with this dumpling while I was driving to Milkbar one Saturday morning. I was craving Chinese brunch, and I remember eating dou jiang, or warm sweetened soy bean milk, with youtiao, or kruellers. For those of you who aren’t familiar with soy bean milk, it’s Chinese soy milk. Unlike the Silk…

Back to life: a plated dish

This dish is a nod to Mystery Skulls, specifically their new album and song, Back to Life. When I was conceptualizing a dish around that focuses on one of my biggest banes to existence, being the filet mignon, and focusing on taking that and making it vibrant, exciting, and beautiful. Honestly, filet is a giant…

If I can’t meet you: a plated dish

When I was conceptualizing this dish, I really thought of comforting and warming flavors that work in the winter. Since it’s getting colder, although in Southern California, that means nothing because we basically have two seasons: warm or warmer, I wanted to make a dish that highlight Chinese fusion comfort food. I love eating Halal-Chinese food(yes,…

All for one: a plated dish

Whenever I have a whole duck, I love to go to town. Being a butcher, it’s a ton of fun to work with the whole animal. In this case, I wanted to do duck three ways. The first was braising and roasting the leg. The second was a seared duck breast. The third, it was…

Game bird congee with Chinese krueller (youtiao)

I really came up with this concept out of a necessity of not wanting to waste produce. I happened to purchase a lot of different game birds, ranging from quails to Cornish hens to duck, and I also made stocks out of each and every one of those birds, and reserved the carcass meats as…

Let’s go in the garden: a plated dish

For this dish, I really wanted to prepare something that conjured up nostalgic childhood memories. With lamb, it was something I grew up eating a lot of, because my parents loved it. With the garnish, I knew I wanted to do something that resembled vegetables sprouting out from the earth, and so I went with…