Friday, March 26, 2010

More Recipes, Cooking Tips, and other food related information from me!

If you'd like more recipes, cooking tips, and other food related information from me, visit my Meals of Asia blog.

Let me know how I'm doing, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks!

Peer Response to Jessica Snzaider's Blog: Raw Milk

Jessica’s take on raw milk is very interesting and makes me want to give raw milk a try! Her description of the taste of raw milk, “creamier, fresher and plain better than the heated, processed version,” sounds very appealing. However, I’m a bit skeptical about the safety of consuming raw milk since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that more than 800 people in the United States have gotten sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk since 1998. Unpasteurized milk, stated by, can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses and this frightens me from having my younger siblings, especially, consume raw milk since their immune systems may be less resistant to fighting these bacteria.

The debate on raw vs. pasteurized milk remains most controversial since it’s a health vs. health debate. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about raw milk because both views seem to have their legitimacies. Some research claim, for instance, that “pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time,” while others state that, “pasteurization also destroys not only the bad, but beneficial bacteria, such as natural enzymes and chemicals make-up of calcium in raw milk.” So, as a consumer, I’m highly conflicted because while raw milk may offer higher health benefits, it can also pose a serious health risk.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fresh Spring Rolls

I love spring rolls; they're much healthier than egg rolls because they're not deep-fried and most of the ingredients are fresh. Though spring rolls are typically eaten as an appetizer, they make great lunches! Spring rolls are filling, with just enough carbs from the noodles, protein from the eggs, and vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, making me feel satisfied after eating them. Spring rolls are a bit tricky to make, so my instructions may be quite lengthy, but you'll find them very useful! With that being said, let's make spring rolls. Remember, good sanitation is important in all food preparations!

Serves: 4-5 people (makes 12-15 spring rolls)


• 3 oz rice vermicell
• 1 package dried rice wrappers
• 1½ cups chopped green onion
• 4 leave lettuce, chopped
• 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced into matchstick-like pieces
• 4 eggs (optional)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp oyster sauce
• 2 cups ground pork

Peanut Sauce:
• 4 oz Peanut Flavored Sauce
• ¼ tbsp Hoisin Sauce
• 1 tbsp crushed peanuts
• 1½ tbsp sugar
• ½ tbsp fish sauce
• ¼ tbsp fresh lime juice


1. Prepare vermicelli noodle:
Fill medium saucepan halfway with water. When water boils, put in vermicelli noodles. Occasionally stir with wooden spoon to make sure noodles don’t stick to bottom of pan. Let boil for 5 minutes then decrease heat. Stir for another 5 minutes; then drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

2. Prepare ground pork:
In large wok, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add ground pork. Stir-fry ground pork for 10 minutes or until pink is no longer visible. Add oyster sauce and green onion; stir for another 5 minutes; remove from heat. Set aside.

3. Prepare eggs (optional):
Break eggs into bowl and whisk with fork. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and pour in egg mixture. Swirl egg mixture around to coat pan. Break the sheet in half with wooden spoon; flip over to let other side cook. Remove egg sheets from skillet onto chopping board and cut into strips. Set aside.

4. Prepare Peanut Sauce:
Place all ingredients except 1 tablespoon of crushed peanuts in blender. Blend on low speed until well mixed. Pour sauce into bowl and stir in crushed peanuts. Set aside.

5. Prepare wrapper:
Fill large bowl with warm water. Soak rice wrapper in water for about 5 seconds. Lay wrapper flat onto a large round plate or clean area. Let stand for 5-8 seconds; you’ll notice the wrapper getting softer.

6. Finally, wrapping time!
On top corner closest to you and about 2 inches in, place about half a handful of vermicelli noodle, one spoonful of ground pork, 1 strip of eggs, 1 cucumber stick and half a handful of lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold top uncovered side inward, follow by the other two uncovered sides and tightly roll the wrapper. Repeat the same process with remaining ingredients.

Serve spring rolls with peanut sauce on the side. Enjoy!

I somewhat agree with Pollan’s claim that the American public accepts, “a flood of damaging innovations…such as low-fat processed food.” For many people, including myself, low-fat processed foods offer convenience and ease, so I do consume them frequently. I don’t think all low-fat processed foods are ‘damaging innovations,’ because canned soups from Progresso, for instance, are healthier food options than home-made lasagna and fish fries. Though I understand that many “low-fat” foods are extremely high in calories, people just have to be smart about what they are putting in their bodies. As supported by and Johnson, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that processed foods, such as frozen fruits and vegetables, provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh. Therefore, what’s not to like? In my opinion, any food, whether processed or not, if eaten in moderation, is good for the body.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Demo Speech Self Eval

My demonstration speech was on “How to Make Strawberry Short stacks.” College students are busy, so quick and easy dessert recipes are helpful in simplifying our lives. The best part about this recipe is that no baking is needed, which works well because college students don’t have time to ‘cook.’ This recipe is a sweet alternative to making a delicious dessert; simple enough for busy college students to make.

Ingredients required in Strawberry Short stacks are 1 pint of fresh strawberries (rinsed and sliced), 1 can whipped or creamy strawberry frosting, 1 package of poundcake, and 1 container of whipped cream. Start by slicing 3 pieces of cakes from the pound cake horizontally. Then take two of the three pieces of cakes and spread 1 tablespoon of whipped cream on each piece of cake. Add 4-5 pieces of sliced strawberries on top to the two whipped cake pieces. Stack the two cake pieces on top of each other (in layers). Take the third piece of cake and spread 1 tablespoon of strawberry whipped frosting on top. Place the third piece of cake on top of the other two layers. Add 3-4 pieces of sliced strawberries to top layer. Garnish with a whole strawberry or mint leaves to serve.

Overall, I think my presentation went well; I was enthusiastic, the volume of my voice was adequate, my physical demonstration of the preparation steps helped clarify what it was I was talking about, and good eye contact was maintained, switching from audience to preparing my dessert, vice versa. The visual aids I brought also helped my audience understand better the ingredients and steps to preparing Strawberry Short Stacks.

If I was to do this presentation again, I would still pick showing the class how to make Strawberry Short Stacks. Not only did the class enjoy this dessert, but Strawberry Short Stacks is truly an easy alternative to a delicious dessert in minutes! If I was to change one thing about my presentation, though, I would fill in information for one ‘dead time’ slot in my presentation (when I was putting whipped cream on the two cake slices). The dead time there could have been used more effectively. Overall, this presentation went well and the class also seemed to enjoy it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

...Response to Austin Sphon's Blog...

I really enjoyed reading Austin Sphon’s blog on preparing a healthy meal. Not only does his dish sound delicious, but Austin explained his steps to preparing this meal very well. His directions are clear, organized and easy to follow, even for someone that may not have necessarily cooked before. Because eating out can be very costly at times, not mentioning the fact that it’s not always the healthiest option, it’s good to prepare our meals whenever we have the time to do so. What I like best about preparing my own meals is that I know exactly what I’m eating. Unlike eating out where some ingredients are unhealthy or ambiguous, I have a good understanding of what it is I’m consuming; and that’s a good feeling. As agreed by Austin, “after eating this meal I feel content.” It’s a good feeling when we know what we’re eating and when we’re eating right!
Another part of Austin’s blog that I like is the fact that he stressed on “washing your hands after dealing with raw chicken.” I cook a lot myself, too, and it’s always important to make sure that we don’t cause cross contamination when preparing our ingredients. Thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing everything after preparing a meal is just important as remembering to check that the stove is off after cooking. Proper sanitation is important because the next person in to use the counterparts in the kitchen you’ve previously used may assume the counters are clean and may place a fruit or open snack on an area where raw meat was previously laid. By keeping dishes and counterparts sanitized after use, we not only protect ourselves, but our family and loved ones from harmful bacteria, which could make us sick. Great blog, Austin, keep up the good work!


"Real" Food vs. "Fake" Food: Canned Mandarin Oranges, anyone?!?

I like eating clementines and tangerines because they are easy to peel and taste sweeter than other oranges. However, because these fruits are not available year round, a little costly, and tend to spoil faster than I can eat them, I often buy canned mandarin oranges (especially during school season because I don’t have as much time to grocery shop).
“Mandarin oranges” is a term that applies to an entire group of citrus fruits (1). Therefore, canned mandarin oranges are peeled clementines, tangerines, and other varieties of the citrus family soaked in syrup. In comparing taste, the processed orange pieces are a lot sweeter than the real ones. This is because mandarin oranges are canned with sugar, water, and citric acid (2). The looks of both versions of fruits are very pretty. However, the canned orange pieces have a brighter orange look to them than the real orange pieces. Because mandarin oranges go through a long process of getting canned, they are washed and cleaned several times. As a result, mandarin oranges lose most of their fragrant smell and real citrusy taste.

According to an article by, the canning process of fruits and vegetables locks in nutrients and freshness. In some cases, canned fruits and vegetables are even considered to have more nutrients than fresh or frozen ones. I find this a little bizarre because I thought canned fruits and vegetables are never as nutritious as fresh ones due to important nutrient loss in the course of production. This article is interesting, but it contradicts my views. I think it’s always best to consume fruits and vegetables fresh because one voids all the preservatives and additives found in canned goods. For instance, canned mandarin oranges are preserved in a lot of sugar. Per one cup serving, there are 39 grams of sugar and 153 calories (3). One fresh mandarin orange, on the other hand, has only 103 calories (4). It’s no doubt that most of the calories in canned mandarin oranges come from natural sugars. Some essential vitamins, such as vitamin A and C are also found in a one cup serving of mandarin oranges. Other nutrients, in small numbers, that are also found in mandarin oranges are protein, iron, calcium and dietary fiber. The amount of nutrients in each is 2 grams or less (3).

Though they’re not as nutritious as fresh oranges, canned mandarin oranges offer me convenience and are less costly. When late spring and early summer approaches, which clementines and tangerines will be cheaper in prices, I’ll start buying the “real” oranges. For now, though, canned mandarin oranges are a good substitute.




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