Crispy Tofu

No judgments here. I get it, I really do. It’s the texture above all else; ‘twould throw any person out into an abyss of discomfort and confuddlement. What to make of that flavorless conundrum? Sometimes silken, woven strands of an Asian soup. Or perhaps overly chewy, all glossed up and stir-fried, a poor replacement for your beloved chicken. And what fool expects you to believe that this strange off-white mass is related to the mastery that is Soy sauce. Heresy, I tell you! Unheard of! Yes, tofu can be off-putting for the die-hard carnivore. Shnaps, it may even bewilder the more vegetariably-inclined (allow me my poetic license as I fashion words from mid air!). But trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you. No, not to my most appreciated readers, my comrades of the foodosphere. Tofu can also be crisp. Crunchy. Succulent. And dare I say, full of taste! Continue reading

Beyond the Blog: October Dining

First Anniversary.  First birthday actually spent solely with my husband.  First time I experienced the magic of Ethiopian injera and Cuban cod fritters.  I marvel at how swiftly time has flown and how miraculous it is indeed that I have survived living in this apartment beneath a demon child who runs rampantly with cinder blocks for feet.  Not the point, Alya, not the point.

I realize I have been away for far too long than any responsible blogger ought to be if she desires to travel the gastronomical seas with her readership.  So, to make up for the loss of intrepid adventure time let me take you on a journey into the past to uncover the foodly treats that played magnificent melodies on my heart strings. I may even be so daring as to let the photos do (most of) the talking. Continue reading

Cashew-Crusted Tilapia with Lemon-Garlic Onions

Firstly, I’ll be reducing my post frequency to Mon/Thurs now (had been MWF). Truth is I don’t have as much time to be experimental AND write it all up in time, what with working now, so I need to be realistic. But no matter, this will give me breathing room to create, create, create! LiterEature posts will be the occasional special Sunday Edition too. I felt they deserve that superb honor. You may disagree. I may not care. J

Anyhoo, sometime last week I did have surprisingly ample amount of time to embark on a new, untouched, non-researched (to my detriment) endeavor with fish. My eyes stumbled upon a helpful pointer that could possibly aid me in my fight against my husband’s nose. Some of you may know that he has the nose of a bloodhound and can detect the essence of fish from 3 miles, 400 feet, 2 inches away. So I have to be damned perfectly sure that I prepared the fish perfectly so it retains NOTHING that could disappoint both him and myself Sweet boy that he is, he’ll still eat it, but enjoyment will suffer monumentally.

So imagine my delight upon reading that soaking fish in vinegar for 10-15 minutes takes care of that scent. It seems reasonable enough, and totally worth the shot, but as all I had on me was Rice Vinegar, I hoped that distinct flavor didn’t end up tingeing the fish with an aftertaste equally as sharp. Nevertheless I dared, and took it a step further decided to try something I always wanted to do—make a nut coating. I know, random. But mmm I remember the macadamia nut crusted chicken at my wedding, and it just had the perfect crunch to it, so why couldn’t I try something similar. But fish? Oy boy. And Cashews? Well, only time would tell how this would come out. And one disaster after another confirmed it: vinegar, fish, and nuts DO mix. This was the best fish I have ever made to date. Oh to have such disasters as this in the kitchen all the time… Continue reading

Fusion Wraps

A few years ago I was a chubby chubster.  That’s what I like to call myself.  And even though I’ve slimmed down since then, I’m still just a chubby kid at heart who loves food, craves for all things sweet and succulent, and just simply adores experiencing through her taste buds.  That said, it’s quite hard to find the balance between enjoying life and enjoying health.  Actually no, that’s a lie—I’ve done quite well in discovering what foods are healthy and delicious to eat, and combining that with proper exercise.  And that’s really the entire formula, plus a major control over my eternal longing for all things bready, but we all have our vices.

And yet, every day I mentally struggle with it all.  Is this the same for other people, or have I just been programmed through my life experiences?  Why do I let these thoughts burrow into my brain with such unrelenting ferocity?  Living in a constant state of worry about gaining even a few pounds now has me on edge more than I’d like to admit, and according to my friends is liable to give me an ulcer one day.  Perhaps not, but still—I’ve been fretting too much lately against my better judgment, and now G has to tell me a thousand times that there’s more to life than all this worry.  What’s the point of cooking if you won’t let yourself really enjoy it??

Sorry for the little emotional reveal here, but I figure if I get it out there then I’m more likely to stand by my oath now to keep my pessimism in check and just continue a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle without regret and anxiety.  There it is folks!  Alya vows not to let it get the better of her!

And that is partially why I created Fusion Wraps (as dubbed by the illustrious G)! By combining Asian flair with Mediterranean pizazz, I wanted to create something fun and zesty, a celebration of the spice of life! Hahaa, what a cheeseball am I. Continue reading

V-Day Delights Part 2: Wrapping Up with Dinner

You can’t have a part 1 without its follow-up, so now that dessert and all its scintillating joy is out of the way, we can make our way through the dinner portion of Valentine’s Day evening.  Oy, just thinking about that dinner makes me hungry now; everything was immaculately executed for once—no hiccups, no over or under seasoning, just resplendent and fairly light dinner with an Asian flair.

Now, I have to give props to Guy Fieri (yeah that burly bleached blond chef who eats like an ogre on his Triple-D show).  Surprisingly (or not), he makes some really good food himself, and personally I enjoy watching him simply because he is not as pretentious as some of the Food network folks, and has good tips.  So When I saw a show all about wraps, I felt inspired to follow suit.

And so, I endeavored to make Asian Orange Turkey Lettuce Wraps, and Shrimp Rolls with a Pineapple Pickle Salsa (the pineapple recipe is all Guy’s).

I think the most amazing thing about the evening was that I was able to do accomplish all this at once in the span of two hours or so, along with the tiramis-who.

First up: Asian Orange Lettuce Wraps! Continue reading