Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "How We Disappeared" by Jing-Jing Lee, Served with a Recipe for Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce and Rice with Radish

It's Wednesday and the week is sliding into the home stretch and the weekend and I couldn't be more ready. I am also happy to be today's TLC Book Tour stop for How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee, a compelling World War II historical novel that is haunting and beautiful. Accompanying my review is a simple recipe for Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce and Steamed Rice with Radish.
 


Publisher's Blurb: 

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel set in World War II Singapore about a woman who survived the Japanese occupation and a man who thought he had lost everything—for fans of Pachinko and We Were the Lucky Ones.

Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
 
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.

In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.

Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.

Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Hanover Square Press; Original edition (May 7, 2019)


My Review: 

I will say that I was disappointed when How We Disappeared arrived. I was caught up by the incredibly gorgeous tropical cover and thinking of how great it would look in pics, that when the more plain black ARC arrived I was a bit sad. What I wasn't disappointed in however, was the incredibly moving and beautiful story I found within its pages. I have read several books, fiction and non-fiction about the so-called "comfort women" of the WWII era--young women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in brothels. It is a disturbing subject and one that isn't easy to read or think about, but I try to read historical fiction from different perspectives and viewpoints and I think these women's voices are incredibly powerful and important. Author Jing-Jing Lee has incorporated some of her own family's history and experience in Singapore during WWII for the novel and has written a compelling story that while hard to classify as an enjoyable read, is certainly an engrossing one. 

The book alternates from the voices of Wang Di, a young village woman who is taken from her family and forced into sexual slavery for nearly three years during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, and Kevin, a twelve-year-old boy, living in Singapore with his parents and grandmother. Wang Di tells of the war years as well as Singapore in 2000 where Kevin's story is also set. It isn't completely clear in the beginning how these two lives will intersect but the pieces come together well and I found myself equally caught up in their stories. I liked the way Lee wove the stories, setting and times together and how the disappearing in the title applied to both characters, how they felt about themselves and how others failed to see them. I finished the book a few days ago and can't stop thinking about it and our contrasting human powers for cruelty and kindness, despair and resilience, overwhelming fear and incredible strength and courage. If you need an easy, breezy book, How We Disappeared is not it, but it is a well-written story that will touch you with its poignancy.

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Author Notes: Jing-Jing Lee is the author of the novel, If I Could Tell You. Her poems have been published in Ceriph, Poetry Quarterly, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Moving Words 2011: A Poetry Anthology. Jing moved to Europe in her early 20s and started to pursue writing full-time. In 2011, she gained a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. She now lives in Amsterdam with her husband and is working on her second book of fiction. When she’s not working on her novel-in-progress or reading (or taking photographs), she can be found here and on twitter.

Connect with Jing-Jing on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Food Inspiration:

There was so much food in How We Disappeared, even with the wartime years, when supplies were meager and the fare simpler, there was no shortage or food inspiration. I had a couple of pages of notes that included egg, water spinach, biscuits, congee--(several mentions with different toppings and additions to this simple rice gruel), pork with salted cabbage and peppercorns, chicken rice, coffee, mangosteens, roast duck and chicken, soup stock with fishcake, raw stuffed okra, silky tofu and straw mushrooms, sweet dumplings and cakes, noodle stalls, Oolong tea, boiled rice in banana leaf, fried shrimp, pickled mustard greens, tapioca, banana, chicken wings in coconut milk with freshly ground curry, root vegetables (cassava and potato,tapioca) home-pickled vegetables, curry, mangoes, silky soybean curd, cups of hot Milo, white bread with margarine and jam, a twist of radish omelet, pandas cake, oyster omelet, soft-boiled egg, pork dumplings, sweet potatoes leaves stir0fried with chili paste, sweet potato porridge, various kinds of kueh (dessert pastries, cakes usually made from gulitnous rice),  salted fish, vegetable soup, tangerines,char su rice with no cucumbers and extra chili, peanut and pigs tail soup, lotus root soup, stir-fried greens, and chocolate Hiro cake.


For my book inspired dish, I thought about making my favorite hawker dish of Singapore street noodles, and considered congee--although I made it fairly recently for a post and didn't want to repeat it. Finally I decided on something very simple--lunch that Kevin's mom left him of white rice, stir-fried choy sum, and three pieces of luncheon meet. (I left off the luncheon meat of course). ;-) I had wanted to stir-fry some water spinach (ong choy here) as it starts out the book, but it isn't as easy to find as choy sum at my local grocery store. Speaking of local, the choy sum and the radishes I put on top of the rice (I was going to pickle them but ran out of time) are local ingredients. I like my greens with garlic and looked at a few recipes online before tossing together my own.


Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce
Inspired by a bunch of recipes, but tossed together by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 3 to 4 as a Side Dish)

Choy Sum:
2 bunches choy sum (about 1 & 1/4 lbs or so), chopped as desired
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or peanut oil + 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Garlic Sauce
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 Tbsp low-sodium Tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp water
salt and black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add choy sum--blanch for about 2 minutes, drain, and pat dry. 

While water is boiling, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for abut 2 minutes, until fragrant. Scrap cooked garlic from the pan into a small bowl, add tamari/soy sauce, oyster sauce, corn starch, sesame oil and water, whisking together until well blended. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if desired and set aside.

Heat a large wok or saute pan and add oil. When pan is hot and oil is at smoking point, add the choy sum, and saute, stirring regularly for 2 to 3 minutes. Add sauce and stir into the choy sum, cooking for about 2 minutes. 

Plate, serve with a scattering of sesame seeds if desired and enjoy!

Note: I just used some leftover white rice, topped with thin slivers of radish for crunch.   


Notes/Results: Just a simple, fairly quick to put together light lunch or dinner of garlicky greens and rice. Sauteing the garlic softens it somewhat, but it definitely plays a big flavor role, so you can reduce it if you want something milder. The sauce would be equally as good on other greens--kale, chard, spinach, bok choy... as the garlic, sesame, tamari and oyster sauce work well with the slight bitterness greens can have. You can of course add your favorite protein to round things out. I actually had some tofu poke salad that I enjoyed with my meal, and my leftovers will likely be topped with a soft-boiled egg tomorrow. I will happily make it again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "How We Disappeared" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Kerala Fish Stew with Lime and Curry Leaves (and Potatoes & Peas) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I stopped by Whole Foods the other night to drop something off to my friend and we ended up shopping together. Since I knew I would be making an Indian dish this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs, I checked the local produce aisle to see if they had any fresh curry leaves and ended up with a large bag. Luckily, Natalie took some from me because, although they can be dried or frozen, they are always better fresh.


I looked to Madhur Jaffrey for a soup recipe that used curry leaves but ended up going with a Kerala Fish Stew with Lime and Curry Leaves from Nigel Slater. I liked the combination of the cardamom, lime and curry leaves. I did make a couple of changes, adding some small potatoes and frozen peas (I have been craving samosas I guess!) and adding more broth and coconut milk to make it soupier. I used two kinds of local fish, kajiki and shutome--both mild, firm white fish that held up well. 


Nigel Slater says, “Curry leaves, coriander, coconut, tamarind and limes. These are the tart, cooling flavours you expect further east, yet a Keralan fish stew may be scented with them all. The fish in the market is good enough, the usual Indian blue-grey pomfret, giant eel and the area's famous prawns - after all we are not far from the sea - but we can do better. Down by the sea, past the fishing boats at Cochin, you can also buy it from the boats down by the harbour in Cochin.

Kerala Fish Stew
Slightly adapted from Nigel Slater via TheGuardian.com
(Feeds 4 to 6)

750g (about 1.5 lbs) mixed fish, such as haddock, mullet (I used local kajiki {blue marlin} and shutome (broadbill swordfish)
a little turmeric
juice of a lime
3 Tbsp of coconut, vegetable or groundnut oil
an onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 large, or 6 small green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
a piece of ginger as big as your thumb, peeled and finely grated
6 green cardamoms
20 fresh curry leaves

(I added about 1 lb small yellow potatoes, sliced)
(I added 2 cups light veggie stock)
(I added 1 cup frozen peas, thawed)
400ml tin (15 oz can)  coconut milk (I used 2 cans)
rice to serve

Rinse the fish, taking care to remove any loose scales or bones. Pat it dry with kitchen paper, put it in a shallow dish and dust with a couple of pinches of turmeric and the same of salt. Squeeze over the lime juice and set aside for half an hour or so.

Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan, adding the onion as it warms. Cook over a low to moderate heat until the onion is soft, stirring from time to time, then add the chillies, garlic and ginger, continuing till all has softened.

Break open the cardamom pods, crush the seeds slightly, and add them to the onion mixture with the curry leaves. Stir in the coconut milk and an equal amount of water. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, making sure it does not boil. (It will curdle if it does.)

Cut the fish into large, meaty chunks then slide them into the sauce. Let it cook gently, barely bubbling, until tender and easily parted from its skin or bone. This will take about 4 or 5 minutes depending on the thickness and variety of your fish. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice or salt as you wish.


Notes/Results: I really love this soup, the curry and cardamon give it an exotic flavor--not curry, but fragrant and aromatic, while the lime, chilies and coconut give it an almost Thai vibe. I used three large jalapenos and seeded, it was just spicy enough for me without overpowering the dish. I forgot to make rice, so served it with a microwave lime-coconut rice.I will happily make this again.


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs for Cuisine Spotlight: Indian!

 
Let's take a look in the in the Souper Sundays kitchen.


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared this Quick Salad, inspired by By Invitation Only by Dorthea Benton Frank. She says, "Being the only cook in the family, Shelby brings “two bags of prewashed romaine lettuce to make a salad, with cherry tomatoes and a container of mini-mozzarella balls in water” (176). On the following page, she describes her recipe. ... This salad, however, was a great light Sunday lunch for us. I paired it with some balsamic-butter toasted pretzel buns. (More about that butter later—I’m still perfecting it.)"
 


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared her Kitchen Clean Out Salad, saying "This salad is from scavenging in the fridge.  Best soups and salads come out from those forages. Here I used butter lettuce, some baby spinach, cucumber, chopped yellow bell pepper, grape tomatoes and a bit of rotisserie chicken. This was hauled off to lunch as I am still dragging myself in for a bit longer. While I enjoy lunch I prop up my Kindle and read. The life of a Government Drone."


Thanks to Debra and Tina for joining in this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...
 

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Easy Taco Soup: Vegetarian for Cinco de Mayo and Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was undecided about what soup to make this week and decided that since today is Cinco de Mayo, I would throw together an easy and vegetarian Taco Soup


To make this soup, basically a deconstructed taco, I happened to have a package of Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican Crumbles in my fridge, but if you don't do soy you could certainly use any ground meat or keep it veggie by chopping up and browning mushrooms.This soup can also be made vegan by switching to vegan cheese and sour cream in the toppings. Speaking of the toppings, they of course make the soup, so pick as many of your favorite taco fixins' as you want or can fit in the bowl, and be sure to fry up some corn tortillas cut into strips for the crunch.


Easy Taco Soup
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6) 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 (12 oz) package soy crumbles of choice or ground meat or chopped mushrooms
4 green onions, white and green parts divided and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package taco seasoning mix of choice (I use this one by Simply Organic)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried chipotle pepper or pepper of choice, to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can minced green chiles (I used mild)
4 cups low-sodium veggie broth + 2 cups water
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with juices
1 can creamed corn
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cans low-sodium pinto beans or beans of choice 
juice of 1 lime
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Toppings: corn tortillas cut into strips and fried, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, black olives, avocado, chopped green onions, cilantro leaves, lime wedges, Tabasco or hot sauce of choice, etc. 

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add soy crumbles, white part of green onions and diced sweet onion and saute, breaking apart the soy crumbles with a wooden spoon. Cook until onions are softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, taco seasoning, cumin, chipotle pepper, oregano and green chiles and saute for about 2 minutes. Add veggie broth and stir in tomatoes, creamed corn, nutritional yeast (if using), corn kernels and beans and bring soup to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer soup for about 15 minutes. Add lime juice, taste for seasoning and add sea salt and black pepper to taste. 

Ladle into bowls and top with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!

 
Notes/Results: Nothing fancy, nothing difficult, but a really good soup especially if you are a toppings fanatic like me. You can't see all of the toppings that well in the picture and I forgot the sour cream in the fridge but the lettuce, cheese (grated jack and cheddar mix), avocado, green onions, cilantro, black olives, extra lime juice and crispy tortilla chips was perfect. Next time I might add pickled jalapenos. I kept my soup fairly mild and added Tabasco upon serving but you can spice it up as much as you want. I added creamed corn to thicken it and the nutritional yeast to give it more depth and extra B-vitamins, but you could leave them out. The taco seasoning pack, spices in the ground crumbles and extra spices gave it plenty of flavor. Soup that satisfies my taco craving, I will happily make it again.


My pal Tina is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared a tasty Tomato Rice Soup from her Soups & Stews Cookbook by Emily Brown saying, "This little cookbook has come in handy. Only 50 recipes but there was something in each category to interest me. The sections are divided by Creamy  Soups, Seafood Soups, Red Soups, Vegetable Soups, Meat Broth based Soups and Stews. ... The idea of mixing the rice and potatoes seemed weird but it turned out fine.  The fresh tomatoes were blitzed with my immersion blender. It's a good vegetarian soup."


At Kahakai Kitchen I shared a Tropical Fruit Salad with Lime-Honey Dressing & Toasted Coconut Chips that was inspired by a description of breakfast on the SS Lurline in my recent book tour review, The Lieutenant's Nurse by Sara Ackerman. (Don't forget to enter my Instagram giveaway for a copy of this great WWII historical novel.) The lime dressing added a tangy tropical punch to the salad, along with the crispy coconut chips.

 
Thanks to Tina for joining in this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...
 

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter  
Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder with Salmon & Shrimp for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I wanted a simple chowder this week as I was craving fish and seafood. I found one in Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder from More Fast Food My Way. I like the mushroom and zucchini and also was interested in the mashed potato flakes as a thickener. 


I made a few changes--subbing in coconut milk for the half-and-half and adding frozen corn for the sweetness, and leaving my shrimp whole. I also added some smoked paprika at the end. 

Seafood Chowder
Slightly Adapted from More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin 
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups trimmed, split, washed & sliced leeks
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
2 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups diced (about 1/2-inch) zucchini
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3/4 cup (1-inch) pieces peeled uncooked shrimp
1 cup (1-inch) pieces boneless fish fillet
2/3 cup half-and-half (I used coconut milk)  

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. When hot, add the leek and garlic and saute for about 1 minute . Add the clam juice, water. mushroom, and salt, bring to a boil, and boil for about 2 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and sprinkle the potato flakes on top, mixing them in with a whisk to prevent lumping. Bring to a boil and boil for about 1 minute. (The soup can be prepared several hours ahead to this point.)

At serving time, bring the soup back to a boil, add the shrimp, fish, and half-and-half and bring back just to a boil. The fish and shrimp will be cooked through. Divide among four bowls and garnish with crab meat or chives, and smoked paprika if desired. Serve immediately. 


Notes/Results: A good solid chowder, with a thick and creamy broth and lots of texture from the ingredients. I did add some smoked paprika to the mix and also squeezed a little lemon on my bowl to give it more of a pop of flavor. I would keep the sweet corn and next time I might add a bit of thyme to the mix, or dill would be another good option. It's hearty without being heavy and pairs well with bread to mop up the broth--I used leftover marbled rye. For the speed and ease, I would make it again.


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Potluck week--any recipe from any of our featured IHCC chefs.

The lovely Debra is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared these Chef Grant's Best Burgers with Sauce Gribiche and Green Apple. She says, "These are great burgers for a weeknight meal. We enjoyed the combination of the creamy sauce gribiche with the slight crunch of the fried apple and the bacon-burger. (And, I am so stealing the onion and caraway mix for future recipes.)

 
Thanks to Debra for joining in!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

 
To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!