What Do Parents Treasure Most?

Mom: “Where’s my gift?”
Little Dragon: “But, it is not Mother’s Day yet. Mother’s Day is tomorrow.”
Mom: “I can’t wait to see my gift.”

A few minutes later, my 7 year old, with a huge smile, showed up with her present and handmade card for me.

“Dear Mom,
Thank you for being so nice to me. You are the nicest Mom in the world. I think your almost like Jesus! Your really special.”

Next to these sweet words, was a drawing of me with my favorite rolled up blue jeans.

Little Dragon’s card is a reminder for me to praise my own parents and my Heavenly Father.

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.


Filed under Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

Hot Pot (火鍋)

Hot pot or steamboat is also known as the chinese fondue. You can read more about Hot Pots on this world foodie guide blog.

A good Hot Pot has good stock. Since I did not have time to boil chicken or pork bones, I used whole garlic, sliced ginger, Chicken Base and water for my stock.

Black Cod tastes delicious in Hot Pot. The trick is to seal the flavor of the fish by pan frying the marinated fillet of fish before cooking in the Hot Pot. Carrots, golden mushrooms and bean threads can be used to accompany the fish.

tip: marinate fish with salt and 1 tbsp wine for 15 minutes. Coat the fish with thin layer of cornstarch before pan frying.

Another variation to this hotpot using the same type of stock, is whole shitake mushrooms, tofu and pre-made tempura.


Filed under hipfood

Asparagus (蘆筍)

I love to serve Asparagus as dinner for 2 or dinner for a crowd because it is:

1) a simple dish to prepare
(rinse and drain; pick one stem up and snap the end off; drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper)

2) a dish that I can prepare a few hours before dinner
(store seasoned asparagus in a single layer on a baking pan in the refrigerator)

3) a simple dish to make
(bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until crunchy or tender for about 12 minutes to 20 minutes)

4) elegant
(the green stems of beauty stands out on a white platter)

5) nutritional
(vitamins B6, iron, C, plus fiber)

Asparagus also has no fat and no cholesterol.

Choose asparagus with tips that are closed and dry, not soggy or slimy. The smaller stems are the most tender, the larger ones taste heartier and bolder and tend to have woodier stems.

Interesting facts:

1) One distinctive problem with asparagus is that a constituent chemical of the plant is metabolised and excreted in the urine, giving it a distinctive, mildly unpleasant odor. Apparently not everyone who eats asparagus produces the odor, but also not everyone is able to smell the odor once it is produced. Some people prefer not to eat asparagus because of this effect, as it can put a damper on an otherwise romantic evening…

2) Asparagus comes in purple, white and the most common, green. Purple asparagus is a little sweeter than the green asparagus and the white asparagus is sunlight-deprived with milder and more delicate taste.

If you have time, try wrapping each stalk of Asparagus with bacon and the result is as such.


Filed under hipfood

Happy Hearts Day!

My Dad forwarded me an email. It was George Carlin’s views on aging. I have just forwarded the email to two of my blogger friends who encouraged me during my early days of blogging. Now, I would like to share George’s brilliant ideas with the rest of you…

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key you get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life, you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun. Now, you’re just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would! So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a Day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’ Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a Little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’ May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them.’
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, Who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next County; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Happiness keeps You Sweet,
Trials keep You Strong,
Sorrows keep You Human,
Failures keep You Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going!
You are so special!


Filed under Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

Care for a 30 minute or less meal?

Take outs and leftovers have taken over my refrigerator for the past two weeks. Yes, that is how long that I haven’t been cooking a full meal.

Fortunately, uncut cabbage keep real well in the refrigerator. This particular one has been in my refrigerator for at least two weeks.

Tonight, I wasn’t ready to cook anything complicated, so I made two simple dishes, Bake Salmon and Stir Fry Cabbage. Unlike the Cabbage, I bought the Salmon fresh this morning. I love this Salmon recipe because the fish’s flesh is tender and full of flavor.

Stir fry Cabbage with Szechuan (Sichuan) Peppercorns
(Recipe adapted from Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su Huei)

1 cabbage (about 1 lb)
3 dried hot red peppers
1 t szechuan peppercorn
1/2 T mashed ginger root
1/2 T each: cooking wine or sherry, white vinegar, sugar
1/2 T sesame oil
3/4 T soy sauce
1/3 t salt
1/2 t cornstarch

Rinse the cabbage and cut it into 2 inch squares. Heat the wok then add 3 T oil. Add the cabbage and 3 T water. Turn heat to high and stir fry until cabbage is soft but crunchy, do not overcook. Remove and drain water.
Reheat the wok then add 2 T oil. Stir fry red peppers, peppercorns and ginger root untl fragrant. Remove the szechuan peppercorn. Return the cabbage and seasonings to wok and stir fry. Transfer to serving platter and serve.

Hoisin Baked Salmon
(from an old newspaper clipping)

Two 6-oz pieces salmon
2 T hoisin sauce
2 t soy sauce
few drops of sesame oil
1/4 tsp chili paste
1 tsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place salmon in a baking dish. Brush seasonings onto fish and bake for 10 minutes.


Filed under hipfood


On Easter weekend (usually at the end of March), children can attend egg hunts. It was Little Chicken’s first year in picking up her own eggs without any help. Inside each decorated plastic eggs are candies.

I did not know this until I researched it on the internet; The custom of an Easter egg hunt began because children believed that rabbit, a symbol of fertility, laid eggs, a symbol of new life, in the grass for them to find.

But Easter Sunday is much more than a day of colorful plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies.

As Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birthday, Easter is celebrating Jesus’ victory over death.


Filed under Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

Sweet Creamy Avocado and St. Patrick’s Day

Did you know that the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Celebrations are generally themed around the color green. Although Avocado is not related to Irish, but it is green.

If you like Avocado and you like dessert, this recipe is for you. It is super simple. My only complain is washing the food processor afterwards.

Recipe adapted from The cooking of Malaysia and Singapore by Ghillie Basan.

Serves two
1 avocado, (pitted)
juice of half a lime
30 ml /2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
30 ml /2 tbsp coconut milk
a pinch of salt

Put the avocado flesh into food processor and puree it with lime juice. Add the condensed milk, coconut milk and salt and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.


Filed under Desserts