I make: Mapo Tofu

When I found this recipe in Cooking Light Magazine, I welcomed the change since the only other Asian recipe we make involving ground pork is our Ground Pork with Green Beans. Is it weird that we don’t make a lot of Asian food?? Anyway, this recipe is traditionally made with soft tofu, but my preference is medium-firm because it holds up nicely while cooking and is soft enough when eaten. Also, though I love eating spicy foods, my stomach can’t handle that much heat anymore so the recipe, as is, might be too tame for some people (you can tell by the picture below since the sauce isn’t BRIGHT RED).

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine (April 2010)

(yields ~6 servings)
Ingredients:

Meat
1 lb ground pork
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried sweet basil
1 tsp less-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp minced ginger
1 (14 oz) package medium firm tofu, drained

Sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha (increase as desired)
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp black bean garlic sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp less-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp chili oil (increase as desired)

White rice
Scallions for garnish

Directions:
1. Place tofu on paper towel; cover with paper towel. Top with heavy skillet and let stand 30 minutes. (One reason why medium firm tofu works better vs. soft tofu, plus I just prefer firmer tofu anyway). Cut tofu in 1 inch cubes.
2. Season meat: Combine all ingredients under “Meat” section. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Sauce: Combine Sriracha through sugar in one bowl. Combine chicken broth through chili oil in another bowl; whisk until smooth.
4. Heat canola oil in a large skillet (or wok) over medium heat.
5. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
6. Add pork; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until almost cooked through.
7. Add Sriracha mixture; combine thoroughly and cook for 1 minute.
8. Add broth mixture; bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens.
9. Stir in tofu.
10. Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions.

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No beauty shot this time – just straight out of the wok, but you get the point 🙂

Note: I changed the ratio of tofu to ground pork because Henry specifically requested less tofu.

Bon appetit!

Half

I ran my first half marathon!

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My goal was a 10 minute pace, which is not at all unreasonable. I’m comfortable running a 5K distance so two weeks before the half marathon, I increased my distance to 6 miles and then to 10 miles the week before. I had planned to run about 12 miles on Friday, rest and carb up on Saturday in preparation for the half marathon on Sunday. When I started my run on Friday, I noticed sharp pain and tightness in my right calf. I thought I could just run it off, but I wasn’t able to make it out of my driveway (I have a long driveway :P)! I spent the rest of Friday and the whole day Saturday drinking lots of water and stretching out my calf. By the time Sunday came around, I wasn’t 100%, but at least I was able to run. I tried to maintain my usual pace, but I had to slow down when I felt my calf tightening up.

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Henry can’t hang so I conned his brother into running with me 😀

Time: 2:16:03
Pace: 10:23

Considering I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run two days before the race, I’m satisfied with my time. There’s definitely room for improvement!

If I Could Turn Back Time

#dearfourteenyearoldself, he is and forever will be, your kryptonite. Leave and let be and save yourself years of low self-esteem and unhappiness.

Focus on yourself and not what others think of you. You will hear the phrase, “what you think of me is none of my business”, in a couple of years. Embrace it. Embody it.

Get braces! Don’t stall and use your senior portraits as an excuse. You don’t end up ordering them anyway.

Stop skipping class because you stayed up the night before chatting on AIM or you’ll end up at UC Irvine as an Economics/Criminology double major. JK! Go Anteaters! ZOT ZOT 🙂

Surprise

I didn’t think he had it in him.

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I asked him to be more romantic. And he went above and beyond by surprising me with a home cooked meal.

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Butter Poached Lobster

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Pan Seared Rib-Eye with Sauteed Mushrooms and Asparagus

We finished our meal with red velvet cheesecake and coffee.

Perfect Valentine’s day. ♥

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Who remembers this Simpsons episode?? LOL

I eat: Mélisse

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Let’s go back. Way back… Ok, maybe not that far. Back to 2010 when Henry and I dined at Melisse for my 26th birthday. Even though I’m a little fuzzy on the details (I can barely remember what I did last week :P), I’ve considered Melisse one of my top ten restaurants ever since.

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Bread and Amuse Bouche

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Seard Foie Gras, Yellow and White Peach, Hibiscus-Rosemary

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Egg Caviar, Poached Egg, Lemon-Chive Crème Frâiche, American Ostetra Caviar

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Lobster Bolognese, Fresh Cappelini, Black Truffles, Basil

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Santa Barbara Spot Prawn, Cuttlefish, Sea Urchin, Nasturtium

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Sonoma Lamb and Sausage, “Ratatouille”, Red Pepper, Jus d’ Agneau

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Liberty Duck Breast and Confit Leg, Figs, Forrono Beets, Jus d’ Epice

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Millefeuille of Fruit Rouge, Vanilla Ice Cream

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Sticky Toffee Pudding, Mocha Malt Ice Cream, Red Berry-Hibiscus Consommé

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Petits Fours

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I would describe our meal as refined simplicity. Each dish showcased individual ingredients that combined beautifully. Melisse is worthy of it’s two Michelin stars.

Verdict: 4.5/5
Mélisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401