Tag Archives: vegetarian

Mango Sago

Whenever I look at the calendar on my wall, I always find myself shocked that it’s already August. Summer is nearly over, and for most of my friends (and my younger brother), school is starting in a matter of days. Not weeks or months—days.

The feeling of a waning summer hasn’t really set in for me yet, mostly because Stanford University, where I’ll be an incoming freshman this school year, follows the quarter system, so my move-in date isn’t until mid-September! (The flip side, of course, is that I’ll be taking midterms in May while everyone else is beginning their summer breaks.)

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It really has felt like an eternal summer for me. But even though the days have been getting shorter (technically) and everyone has been buzzing about going back to school, the mangoes are still sweet—summer must still be going in full force. Continue reading

Lumpiang Gulay (Vegetable Spring Roll)

It sure has been a while. Since I’ve last posted, a lot has been going on in my family (more information on my personal blog), and it’s been an important reminder of the importance of family.

Family is an interesting concept. I could say my family is my mom, my dad, and my little brother Jude, but there’s so much more to the word “family” that transcends just a list of the people in my household. To me, family is just as much about heritage, traditions, collective experiences, and shared meals as it is about the people I live with. And one meal we’ve shared a lot is lumpia, a type of fried spring roll originally of Chinese origin but is now very common in the Philippines and Indonesia. (The word “gulay” just refers to the fact it’s made of vegetables, which is perfect for your Meatless Mondays!)

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Partially because I’m only half Filipino and partially because I live in the United States, I’ve always felt disconnected from my Filipino heritage even though it shapes a large part of who I am. That’s why I find it so important for me to continue trying new Filipino food, learning how to make certain recipes, and keeping these recipes documented somewhere. At the end of the day, even small recipes like these are a part of what makes up my family—a part of the heritage and traditions passed down through my mother’s side.

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My mom first introduced lumpiang gulay to me while I was in middle school, and when we decided to not eat meat for a period of time, it made for a great meal that fit our dietary preferences at the time. Even though I still do eat meat (although I may go vegetarian again once I leave for college next year), lumpiang gulay is still something we continue to eat in my home.

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Now that my grandma from the Philippines has been in town, I’ve also realized that she and my mom have very different ways of eating lumpiang gulay, a huge shock to me since I always assumed the way my mom ate it was the normal way. My mom likes to cut into the lumpia lengthwise and pour in the garlic sauce that way, whereas my grandma eats it the “normal” way—dipping it into the sauce and eating it like any other spring roll. I personally think the way my grandma eats it makes way more sense, but for some reason my mom continues to eat it the way she does.

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Continue reading

Green Tea Soba Noodle Salad

January sure is flying by, isn’t it? We’re already halfway through the month! This is crazy! Only 17 days ago we celebrated the new calendar year. But do you know what other new year is rolling around?

Chinese New Year is coming just around the corner, and I can’t exactly say I’m ready for it. By the stroke of midnight on January 31, the calendar shifts over from the current Year of the Snake to the Year of the Horse!

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A few weeks ago I went to the Chinese Lantern Festival in Dallas and they devoted a whole section to the Chinese Zodiac. I’ve heard a couple different legends on how Chinese New Year began, but the one presented at the Chinese Lantern Festival was that once upon a time, the Jade Emperor summoned all the animals to a meeting. Only 11 of them, plus the dragon, arrived, and the Jade Emperor rewarded them by giving each of them a calendar year in the order that they arrived in. Because the Rat arrived first, it got the first calendar year that begins the 12-year Chinese Zodiac.

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Continue reading

White Toblerone Macadamia Cookies

Wow, it sure is crazy to think that 2013 is taking its last few breaths. Pretty soon, the full force of 2014 will be upon us! It’s weird to think how quickly this year went by. But as the seasons change and our calendars change dates, some things always stay the same.

The last day of the year will always be December 31, and it’s been that way for a very long time. If I’m not mistaken, December 31 was created back when Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 45 BC, where December was given 31 days instead of the 29 it had under the old Roman calendar.

Mixing the Toblerone with the cookie dough

On this last day of the year, people everywhere will begin making resolutions to themselves. Some of that will include eating healthier, losing weight, exercising more, getting more sleep, procrastinating less, etc. Personally, I don’t have my list of New Year’s resolutions ready yet, but I will! I’ll probably post them on my personal blog (kuyasnotebook.com) later today or tomorrow when I finally have the list finalized.

Before midnight rings, it’s also important to clean the house and get everything ready for the new year. Today has been filled with cleaning, tidying things up, and just getting the house ready to soak in all the luck that 2014 has to offer.

Preparing the cookies

Filipinos have always been superstitious about New Year’s, probably a product of our Chinese ancestors. A few important things you should do before the calendar rolls over to January 1 include:

  • Cleaning your house
  • Fill your wallet with money (no empty wallets unless you want an empty wallet all year!)
  • Scatter coins around the house and outside your door
  • Eat round grapes at the stroke of midnight
  • Have long noodles for long life

I’m also going to be jumping twelve times at midnight to increase my height this year. 🙂

Cookies in the oven

Also, on New Year’s Day, it’s very important that you don’t clean anything and don’t spend any money at all! You wouldn’t want to wipe away the good luck that came in on New Year’s Eve, and your spending habits on January 1 will last for the rest of the year! As in, if you spend money of New Year’s Day, you’ll spend away too much of your money this coming year!

Bok Choy and Broccoli has a very international audience, many of you hailing from the United States, Canada, and the Philippines. Please in the comments leave how you celebrate the New Year and what your superstitions are (if you have any)! Until next time, have a great 2014 ahead of you!

Toblerone Cookies

White Toblerone Macadamia Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups (approx. 2 bars) white Toblerone, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, comine flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour mixture and macadamia, and blend at low speed until just combined. Do not over-mix!
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to cool, flat surface.

Avocado Cilantro Cream Salsa

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Labor Day has, unfortunately, come to a close. I found myself crying myself to sleep last night, solely because my extended three-day weekend came to an untimely end. Why me? I bawled. Why so soon?

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But of course, the end of breaks are inevitable. No matter how often I’d pray as a young child for some extension of my summer/spring/fall/winter/other break, it’d never come. I remember in the winter, everyone in my third grade class performed these crazy “snow rituals” in an attempt to convince the clouds to pour out snow, ice, hail… whatever would get us out of school! Of course, Dallas isn’t the ideal place for snow (much less the blizzard we wanted to summon), and it never worked.

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Maybe it’s better, though, that the work/school week is back. When I have a day off, I usually just lie in my bed and hope I don’t have to do anything all day. (“I’m recovering!”) Weekends and vacations, as nice as they are, have a tendency to sap all motivation out of me.

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Over on Kuya’s Notebook, my personal blog, I haven’t added anything to the draft that’s been sitting in my dashboard for a good two months. Eh, oh well, I’m sure I’ll get it out eventually! (And I have all of my New York and Orlando trips to write about!) You know, you could even take a look here… This is my first post in a while! (I’ll try to get my schedule all in order again—sorry guys!)

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I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way sometimes, especially when it comes to food. Because let’s be honest, cooking anything can be exhausting if you do it all the time! I tried to bake cookies from scratch and brownies from a mix within a span of two weeks and I’m baked out.

Because I live in a land where Tex-Mex reigns supreme, here’s a fun avocado cilantro cream salsa for you. It’s not too difficult, and it’s a fun dip for chips—something you can have when you’re not in the mood for a big meal or snack. Just something small!

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Avocado Cilantro Cream Salsa

  • 1 extra-large avocado or 2 small avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cream, preferably Mexican table cream
  • 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix until smooth. Serve with choice of tortilla chips.

Waldorf Grape Salad

It’s been a few years since I last stepped foot in the Waldorf Astoria New York. It was my first trip to the Big Apple, a city I had always dreamed of seeing, even in my young, fresh-out-of-fourth-grade body. To make it even better, I was staying in the Waldorf Astoria New York, a luxury hotel in Park Avenue. It was as if I was a part of the rich and famous.

It was the luckiest trip I’ve ever been on—we were upgraded to a suite and given free breakfast for our entire stay since the hotel gave away the room we booked (we were late because of a bizarre plane delay). One night of fitting a family of four into a two-person room was heavily rewarded! And when the second part of our vacation—a flight to Florida—was abruptly cancelled because of an impending hurricane, we were able to stay in the suite AND get more free breakfasts.

As cool as seeing rooms of where Brad and Angelina slept (as well as foreign dignitaries) and sitting in John F. Kennedy’s rocking chair, my absolute favorite place in the whole city was definitely the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Plaza. I had my Nintendo DS with me—as always—and I was so excited to meet Mario! I’d love to say it was dumb luck that allowed my brother and me meet the red-hatted mascot of Nintendo, but the truth was, I had planned to go on a very specific day and hour to maximize my time with him.

Five years later, I haven’t been back to the Waldorf Astoria New York ever since. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience—we don’t have as many Hilton points after my dad began traveling less for work, and we definitely can’t afford another suite at a luxury hotel.

But to celebrate its memory, here’s a Waldorf grape salad made with walnuts and blue cheese.

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If you didn’t know, a Waldorf salad is made of fresh apples, celery, and walnuts, plus mayonnaise and lettuce. It got its name because it was first created in the late 19th century at the Waldorf Hotel—this was before it became the Waldorf-Astoria, which is now the Waldorf Astoria New York.

But, we decided to experiment a little and make it with grapes instead. Because why not? Pretty soon, the “Big Apple” will be known as the “Big Grape,” just because of this recipe! (Okay, maybe not.)

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Actually, I’d like to include a little travel announcement in this post…

I’m going to New York City next week!

My mom and I are both heading out to NYC next week for four days, and I can’t wait to hit some fun restaurants and places! My most recent visit was last summer (around this time) for only about a day and a half, and we squeezed out every last minute. Definitely look forward to some new restaurant reviews next week, as well as more about my trip to the city on my personal blog, Kuya’s Notebook.

One of the things I really wanted to do with this blog was include restaurant reviews from my travels. While I don’t travel as much as I would like—which would really be traveling at least every season (I enjoy traveling, if you can’t tell)—I definitely want to share the trips I do go on when I go on them!

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Be sure to stick around! We leave for Manhattan on Sunday, but don’t worry! We won’t leave you hungry—not even for a second! And you can keep updated with our travels on my personal Twitter @kuya_joshua or on Kuya’s Notebook! (Plus, our Facebook page will stay updated during our travels!)

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Waldorf Grape Salad

  • 2 pounds (about 7 cups) organic grapes (red or green… or both! Your choice!)
  • 2 tablespoons organic canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup blue cheese (add more if desired)

Wash the grapes and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the grapes, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, kosher salt, walnuts, and blue cheese. Chill until ready to serve.

Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi

At Me So Hungry in Austin, I tried the lemongrass tofu banh mi—my personal favorite from the truck. With the help of my mom, I have a new recipe today… our take on the banh mi we tried! You can read the full review here.

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I first tried banh mi last summer in San Francisco, where the Asian American Donor Program introduced it to me as a Vietnamese sandwich. Excited to be surrounded by all the delicious Asian food of the Bay Area, I was incredibly depressed to hear I was being fed a sandwich. I mean, I was only gonna be there for a little less than two days!

Turns out, those “Vietnamese sandwiches” were some of the best banh mi I’ve ever had. And so began my love affair with banh mi, one of the few Vietnamese dishes I can point out and say, “I know that! And I like to eat it!” (Disclaimer: As much as I’d like to consider myself a “food connoisseur” of some sort and try to pretend I’m one, especially on here, I can’t honestly say I am.)

After some trouble with jalapeños at Me So Hungry—and in San Francisco, for that matter!—we decided NOT to include any of that vile, hell-bringing pepper. Instead, we have lemongrass. Beautiful, beautiful lemongrass.

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Lemongrass is an incredibly amazing, fragrant grass used in Asian cuisine. Its fresh, clean, lemony aroma smells heavenly. Personally, I’d love to have some lemongrass in the kitchen just to smell. All the time.

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The best part of this banh mi is that it’s pretty much all vegetables. By choosing to eat vegetarian—whether every day, on weekdays, on Mondays, or just a meal here or there—you’d think eating mostly vegetables would be a requirement. Well… not really. You can still fill yourself with processed, fake “meat” that makes you feel much, much worse than having wild-caught salmon or organic chicken. Trust me, I know. I went the super-processed route a little after I started eating mostly vegetarian, and it wasn’t pleasant.

If you really want to feel good while eating vegetarian, you need to be eating a meal where you can see the veggies. Thankfully, this banh mi is nearly all vegetables.

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This is also probably a good time to mention that this recipe calls for mayonnaise, the only vegan offender. But don’t worry, you can fix that by swapping out low-fat mayo for a good vegan alternative. Personally, I refuse to eat non-vegan mayonnaise… mostly because I hate the taste and the thought of what it’s made of. Definitely use vegan mayo. It’s better that way. (You can thank me later.)

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It’s also important to buy ORGANIC tofu, since soy is nearly always GMO (genetically modified organism)! Geez, I feel like this post unloaded all the stops, from organic food to processed food to even vegan mayo. In order to not bog down this recipe with all sorts of preachy stuff, I’ll move on.DSC_0207

This banh mi is great for all meals, but lunch would probably be best… just like any submarine sandwich, except this one is Vietnamese! Actually, banh mi is an infusion of both local Vietnamese and the colonizing French cultures, making it a nice East Meets West meal. Naturally I feel personally connected to the banh mi.

I know you probably only came here for the pictures and the recipe so I’ll let you go. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to comment below and tell me how it went! I’d love to know!

Also, you can stay connected with us through RSS, Facebook, and Twitter by using the links at the bottom and side of the page. On top of that, you can sign up for our email newsletters (I promise you won’t get spammed)!

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Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi

For the pickled daikon and carrots

Note: Needs to be made 3 to 7 days ahead of time.

  • 2 cups daikon, sliced in thin strips
  • 2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

For the tofu marinade

Note: Be sure to marinate the tofu overnight.

  • 1 package extra-firm organic tofu, sliced in rectangular sizes
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 bulb lemongrass (use top third), finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Drain the tofu from its package, and wrap it in dry towels to rid of excess water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then slice in rectangular sizes. Marinate the tofu overnight (or up to two days) with the soy sauce, lemongrass, garlic, and sugar in a ziplock bag.

Ingredients

For the cilantro mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise (or low fat mayo)
  • ½ juice of a half lemon (small)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sriracha (optional)

Other ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 loaves Mexican bolillos bread or French baguettes
  • slices of cucumber (preferably hothouse), sliced diagonally
  • sprigs of cilantro

Directions

  1. Make the pickled daikon and carrots 3 to 7 days ahead of time. (Directions above.)
  2. Marinate the tofu overnight. (Directions above.)
  3. Combine the cilantro mayonnaise ingredients in a bowl. Keep refrigerated until needed.
  4. Heat a griddle (preferably one with ridges) with 1 to 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, fry the tofu slices on both sides until brown.
  5. Remove the tofu from the pan and place on a plate. Lightly dab the tofu with a paper towel if oily.
  6. Toast the bread, then cut in half.
  7. Generously spread both sides of the bread with cilantro mayonnaise.
  8. Layer the bread in the following order: a few slices of cucumber, 1 to 2 tofu slices, a handful of pickled daikon and carrots, and a few sprigs of cilantro.