Debo's Homemade Dog Food

This is Debo.  He's the best little guy ever!  We love him more than we love ourselves.  He's a boy with skin allergies and accident prone.  He's gotten bit by a snake, stung by a bee, fallen in a pond and actually sunk, and so many more tales.  The poor guy had a bad run with allergies and so we put him on a special diet of fancy wild boar kibble from Canada.  It was so expensive, we started to make his food.  Guess what?  Its cheaper, and he's super excited to eat.  Well, the guys is always ready to eat.  His favorite room at his grandparent's house is the food pantry.  He loves it so much, sometimes we'll shut the door to the pantry and not even realize he'd been trapped in there for awhile.  He doesn't mind, as long as he can lay in the room of food and treats.  

This is Matt's concoction and he seems to be responding to it well. Its 4 lbs of chicken, 4 lbs of chicken liver, about 6 large carrots, a bundle of parsley, 1 can peas, 1 can green beans, 2 bell peppers and when he gets served he gets about 1 teaspoon of ground egg shells for calcium.  We save the shells, boil them in hot water, dry them out in the oven, and grind it a coffee or spice grinder.  He also gets a big scoop of cold pressed organic coconut oil in the morning as well.  The boy eats well.  

We put it in these containers and freeze it.  This usually lasts about 2 weeks.  You could put in the coconut oil ahead of time, but we so use to his morning routine that we just leave it out.

Happy human, happy dog, happy life.  

Tet, Chinese New Year, Lunar New Years Supper Club

Year of the Goat or Sheep, which ever you like better.  This year is suppose to hold promise and prosperity.  This year's mantra is apparently,  have a steady path, generosity, compassion, and keeping the peace.  Sounds pretty good to me.  Here's a little tip that has me confused growing up.  I was told 1981 is year of the rooster.  Well I was born before the lunar new year, so that made me a monkey.  You might have been something your not! Monkey always made WAY more sense to me. I also learned at my dinner party that I am a Capricorn with a lot of Sagittarius.  I'm more sagittarius than sagitarrians. Not sure what that means, but I know the "conservative" capricorn is NOT me.  Hope you have had some Asian food during these holidays!!! Get a little superstitious! Its fun! But by all means, don't let it run your life though.

An old friend from childhood invited me to be part of a Supper Club she was putting together about a year ago. She figured with all of our different ethnicities and love for food, we'd make a good team. We haven't had as many as we'd like, but its been fun to be hosted by different people each highlighting their roots.  I missed an Italian meal I think.  The first dinner was a St. Patty's dinner from a couple with Irish roots.  Another was Halloween Day, Day of the Dead themed and she had a latin spread.  For Christmas, it was a Bavarian themed meal.  Of course, it makes sense for me to host with Lunar New Year.  I thought I would host my family, but it was nice to get a bunch of people that don't really know each other together. 

I wanted to make traditional things that my parents didn't make this year.  I have always called them egg rolls, but apparently fried spring rolls are the correct way.  Vietnamese people call it cha gio. Fried Spring rolls and potstickers are always delicious and I love stuffing things and working with my hands to make handy little foods.   I'm a big fan of apps. Both of these heat up well, so its okay to cook them all up before your guests arrive. The egg rolls are filled with pork, black fungus, bean thread, onion, carrot, cabbage, onion, oyster sauce, peanut butter, soy, and tons of black pepper.  You can get the recipe on this link, from year of the snake. potstickers are vegetarian and filled with baby bok choy, asparagus, onion, carrot, black fungus, tofu, soy, oyster sauce, ginger, and black pepper.  I made potstickers last year. This recipe makes about 50 potstickers.

1 package dumpling wrappers
1/2 a block of firm tofu
1 lb baby bok choy, finely chopped
1/2 a bundle of asparagus, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated, or finely chopped
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
about 1 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 egg
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce
a ton of black pepper
a pinch of sugar

In a saute pan, caramelize the onions for about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic until toasted.  Then add the rest of your veggies until its all cooked and wilted, about 5 minutes.  Let that cool.  Add the seasoning and then crumble the tofu and add the egg.  Mix thoroughly with your hands.

Take your wrapper out and wet the edges with water. Add about a teaspoon of filling, bring the edges together and pinch them together, making sure there aren't any air bubbles in there.  

To cook, have a hot pan with some oil in it.  Place the dumplings in and let it set for about 30 seconds and then add about 4 tablespoons water and lid it.  It should take about 4 minutes to steam and cook.  You can peek to make sure you don't need to add more water.  They should pop right off the pan with a crunchy bottom.

I always roll way too many.  But, these things make great leftovers and great party favors.  My sister and I have been rolling egg rolls since we were wee little ones.  You put us up to egg roll rolling and we are like little factory workers.  Together we could totally kill 200 egg rolls in I'd say..30-40 minutes and they would all be pretty uniform. Its a social thing, so hopefully next time I make them I'll have a table full of babbling women making fun of each other.  Fried Spring rolls served with lettuce, herbs, and nuoc cham fish sauce,

Pot stickers with ponzu sauce.

An element to our meal is banh hoi, rice noodle sheets.  They are pretty neat.  They come in dried sheets and you soak it for a little bit and then steam them for a couple minutes and keep them separated with some scallion oil.  Its incredible how much a huge bundle of green onions will cook down to.  This is the best stuff on top of anything.  Omelets, rice plates, vermicelli bowls, pasta..etc.

  People thought I went all out of my way and decorated, but eating is always a festive experience, so why take down the fun lights and lanterns. Our dining room has looked like this for as long as I can remember.  We've had this house for 10 years.  Thank goodness the lights haven't died on me.  One strand since they've been up.   I did go out of my way and did a little decorating with red lanterns.  

Its nice to have different stations for your apps and bar.  It keeps the flow from congesting in one area.  Usually we are hang out in the kitchen or outside at all times kind of people.  

Meat is off the grill! Korean marinaded del monaco and flat iron. We mimicked a delicious meal we made this month.

Grilled steak and shrimp, banh hoi, butter lettuce, cilantro, mint, basil, grilled onions and red peppers, and Korean inspired dipping sauce.

Happy Lunar New Year!  We have plenty of leftovers if your hungry.  Here's a fun link to find out your Year of the Sheep predictions!  Lets keep celebrating!!  Who will I celebrate with next???

Happy Lunar New Year!! Salmon with Orangey Asparagus and a Beautiful Omelet.

I don't think its a Chinese tradition to celebrate the eve of Lunar New Year, but for the Vietnamese its a big night to remember our ancestors and invite them home for dinner.  I've always joked that we were eating with dead people when these evenings would occur.  My parents, this year my Dad, made a huge spread of food.  He's got a little sunroom where he keeps pictures of our ancestors and people that have passed away.  He places small portions of food on a table in front of the small 4 tiered shelf filled with our dead loved ones.  A container filled with rice that holds in the incense is placed in front of each collection of pictures and has been there as long as I can remember. The ashes fall around the little pots, and smokey incense is extremely nostalgic.   I recall it was our job to light the incense every evening when we were kids up until we moved out.  Yes, our parents let us play with fire and knives.  

For dinner, my Dad has prepared smoked baby back ribs, thit kho (a pork stew made with fish sauce and caramel sauce and hard boiled eggs), Vietnamese curry with turkey, a nice little salad with peppers, cucumbers, apples, carrots, and daikon root.  It was served with lots of baguettes, rice, dipping sauce for every item.  The Vietnamese love their dipping sauces.  A meal never gets boring.

So this is the start of Lunar New Year!  Year of the Goat. May we continue to celebrate for the next week.  I prefer Lunar New Year.  The western new years falls right after an insane amount of holiday.   There's no way to recover that quickly and get your life together.  This is perfect.  Our second chance at starting the new year right.  This feels right.  

These are a few dishes that we made earlier this week that were super simple and delicious.  A pan cooked salmon, simply salted and peppers with some dried basil.  The asparagus hash really brought this dish together.  It had sumo orange lemon zest peppers, onion, and garlic. It really didn't need the rice.  I'm just obsessed with rice.

Sumo oranges are unbelievable!  They taste amazing.

We took the leftover salmon and made delicious omelets. It had salmon, asparagus, a little raw onion, artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, and cheese.  I added some of Matt's yogurt and feta sauce on it, and it took it over the edge.  One of my favorite omelets!

Treat yo self!  Its lunar new years!

The Thrill of Korean BBQ

Korean food hasn't taken Oklahoma City by storm yet, but I'm sure it will!  In Los Angeles, they have the largest population of ethnic Koreans outside of Korea.  The grocery stores are amazing!  You go in hungry, you leave stuffed.  There are samples around every corner of the stores and they are so fun.  You can get a sample of the fish cooked right next to where you can buy them.  Haven't tried a certain ramen? No Fear, they'll cook it up for you. In Oklahoma City, there's Terry's Grocery store which is located on 16th street and is half Mexican and half Korean.  They don't have samples, but they do have a lot of fun new ingredients to play with.  My favorite Korean bbq in L.A is called Soot Bull Jeep.  I'm sure I've talked about it plenty.  The only charcoal indoor grill restaurant.  Then there's my favorite Korean dive bar, Dan Sung.  Which, has completely changed thanks to Anthony Bourdain.  They wear headsets and that's not very divey is it?  

We brought Korea Town to our kitchen.

Matt marinaded some flat iron and del monoco cuts of steak with a good dollop of fermented red chili paste, a couple glugs of soy sauce and fish sauce, a nice pour of sesami oil, half a lime, lime zest, grated galangal and ginger, and sesame seeds. Add more of anything if you think it needs it.  Let that marinade while you get your grill ready.  Lucky for us, I got Matt the mini Hasty Bake grill and its  compact and convenient.

Skewering your veggies make it so much easier to flip and work with.  Perfectly grilled!

Its served with bibb lettuce, cilantro, and mint.  Our sauces are the marinade with a little honey added to it and cooked down a bit, fermented soy bean paste, my Mom's homemade kimchee, and rice.  This meal was amazing.  It was so freaking good that I think it brought us back to sparking that creative cooking juices in our heads.  Yes, creative types you know.  Creativity comes and goes.  When its not around its like you've lost a part of yourself and it can be depressing and horrible.  Luckily it doesn't last long for me, or I would lose it.  And for those of you that think your not creative, you are!  You don't use it you lose it!  Peel those eyes off your phones, tv, and computers (except to see a cute animal video, read a good article or blog of course!!) and do something fun, make something, freaking just do something!

The most perfect bite. SO delicious.  This is the way to eat beef!

Everyone stay warm and happy out there!