A Little About Me

New York, New York
As a newly married woman, it has become my mission in life to learn how to cook. Gone are the days of picking up sushi and ordering curries. In order to jump-start my education, I enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education's Fine Cooking I course where I learned the basics, from roasting to boiling to mousse-making (ok, maybe not that basic)! I've attempted to replicate some recipes - somewhat successfully- and create a few of my own. This blog is for friends and foodies and is intended to document my cooking adventures (and occasional fiascoes). Enjoy the pictures and bon appetite!

Friday, March 12, 2010

An Asian/Vegan Feast

This week, we had our sister and brother-in-law over for a long-overdue dinner party. The theme for the night was a vegan asian menu and one that my husband said he was "impressed" by. When planning a dinner party, it's important to stick with some sort of theme....mixing and matching different ethnic dishes can be disastrous. Trust me, I know from personal experience :)

To start the meal, I made a very colorful oriental salad with a spicy peanut dressing. You can include any ingredients in your salad, such as spinach, chopped basil, shredded purple cabbage, baby corn, julienned carrots, red peppers and yellow peppers, which I used.

For the Peanut Dressing:
5 tbsp crunchy organic peanut butter
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce
salt to taste

* The dressing needs to be covered and shaken so that the peanut butter
breaks apart and mixes with the other ingredients

Chinese Fried Rice was next on the menu and, since I wasn't preparing any meat with the meal, tried to include as many vegetables as humanly possible.

long grain rice
2 tbsp canola oil
an assortment of vegetables (see below for my preferences)
soy sauce
granulated pure cane sugar
oyster sauce (brown bean sauce for a vegan version)

Start by preparing the rice. Use a rice cooker (if you don't have one, buy one now, it makes life so much easier) to cook your long grain rice and refrigerate it once done. This will make it easier to separate your rice and remove clumps before cooking. While the rice is cooling, prepare your vegetables. I used peas (frozen), corn (canned), carrots, broccoli, red onions, green onions and mushrooms.

Once the vegetables are ready, heat your wok over high heat. When hot, add a few tablespoons of canola oil and toss in your vegetables, stirring them frequently. While they cook, separate all clumps in your rice.

Next, add the rice, soy sauce, sugar and oyster/brown bean sauce to the wok. It's hard to give exact measurements since quantities of rice and personal taste vary, so start off with a small amount of each (a tbsp or so) and keep adding more until the rice tastes good to you!

Keep mixing everything together and eventually you will have some pretty fantastic fried rice!

Vegetable stirfry was the last dish of the evening and the "piece de resistance" with over ten different vegetables.

a few tbsp canola oil
an assortment of vegetables
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves minced garlic

For the thickening sauce
1/4 cup of vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp corn starch
1tbsp oyster or brown bean sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp chili paste

As with the other dishes, start by preparing whatever vegetables you'd like to include. For my stirfry, I used broccoli, red onions, green onions, red and yellow peppers, snap peas, bok choy, canned pineapple chunks, purple cabbage, carrots, mushroom and baby corn.

Heat your wok. Add the canola oil and garlic, letting it brown slightly. Next, add the ginger and toss in those vegetables that need more time to cook (onions, peppers, carrots...) The fresh ginger in this recipe makes such a difference, I recommend not leaving it out.

Add whatever vegetables remain. Pour in the vegetable broth, cover the wok, and let steam for about a minute.

Finally, add the thickening sauce and stir until all vegetables are evenly coated. The corn starch in the sauce is what causes it to thicken, giving you restaurant style stir fry.

Cupcakes from BabyCakes were a wonderful end to a wonderfully healthy meal!


  1. Everything looks delicious!!! I want some!!
    And yeah..rice cookers rock don't they? :-)

  2. Rachel ....the Matluck clan is anxiously awaiting you here in FLorida/

  3. Rachel--It's Cate, I heard about your blog so I had to check it out, and I love it! I'm actually going to head to the grocery store in a few mins to buy everything for your cous cous dish. I'm really impressed, and hope all is well. Keep up the good blogging work!! xoxox