Friday, March 18, 2011

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Did you know today is Oatmeal Cookie Day? Well, now you do! It’s actually Lacy Oatmeal Cookie day. Oatmeal cookie day is actually 4/30, but the two always get interchanged. I still made oatmeal cookies none the less.

Gary has always had a soft spot for oatmeal raisin cookies. It may as well be both our favorite cookies (although I like most cookies). I was looking at the food section on Yahoo and saw this post come up. I thought it would be a great healthier cookie, and it just so happened that today would be oatmeal cookie day.

I saw that this recipe had milk in it, so I would probably sub the milk for soy. I would also use ghee for the butter, since Gary didn't have a reaction to it like he does milk and butter. Then I had the idea to use the coconut oil and coconut milk I had on hand in my pantry already. I suggested this to Gary, and he thought it sounded good as well. My other sub was making this with these huge plump raisins we had, since raisins ARE his favorite! My cookies didn’t quite spread like the original recipe, probably because my raisins were huge and didn’t allow it to spread too much.

ww oatmeal cookies

It smelled absolute divine while baking, and Gary couldn’t wait to try one. Gary ate one and loved it, then proceeded to grab another one. He thought it had a nice coconut essence to it.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
adapted from: A Bicycle Built for Two

 printable recipe

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup solid coconut  oil
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl, mix the whole-wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the brown sugar and granulated sugar together. Next, cream the sugar with the coconut oil until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla and milk and mix until smooth.

Mix the dry mixture into the wet until blended well. Once smooth, stir in the oats and the raisins.

Grease a cookie sheet. Using a tablespoon size cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the sheet and place 2 inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies (I got 26).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Foodie Paradise: Hong Kong

As part of our 2 week trip to China, we stopped off at Hong Kong for  3 days. I was especially excited to try out the food there. We took a bus from Taicheng that dropped  us off at Shenzhen (深圳). There, we went through customs and hopped on another bus to Mongkok (旺角). I don’t understand why we still needed to go through customs, when Hong Kong is now part of China.

We arrived in the afternoon. We went to a restaurant by our hotel for afternoon dim sum. According to my aunt, they have special prices for late dim sum. They try to clear out all the food before the 5pm dinner rush. We arrived at the restaurant around 3pm and stayed well past 5pm as well. We were the only ones in the restaurant at that time. We were hungry, and the food was great, so the only picture I have is from the end, after we all devoured it.

dim sum

We went walking around the shopping district, which was also conveniently walking distance from our hotel. I wanted bubble tea for a while, and I certainly had my fill in China. While walking around, there were many storefronts that offered teas, drinks and smoothies. We stopped off at this one that had all different types of mango and coconut juices. Many, many varieties! Gary was in heaven!


That evening, we had dinner at Ho Choi Seafood Restaurant (好彩海鮮酒家) . There are lots of restaurants in the area, since there’s also many many wedding boutiques and such around there as well. The food prices there were comparable to NYC. Table service for 10 for dinner would probably cost around $200 USD, the same in HK. Of course, it all depends on the food you get. Now, since my dad did all the ordering, I’m not sure what some of this stuff was, but most of them were good.

soup, shrimp with noodles (in a butter sauce)

chicken and broccoli  scallop in melon
chicken and broccoli (with dark meat!), dried scallops in a melon

whole fish  tofu and veggies  chicken
whole fish, bean curd and vegetables, whole chicken

Fact: there’s no distinction between white and dark meat in HK (or China). Whenever we ever mentioned dark meat, they were really confused. They thought white meat was chicken, and dark meat was beef (or something along that line), even though that’s also considered red meat to them. You actually won’t find any white chicken meat there…everything is served with dark meat. I actually don’t remember what they said they did with all that white meat…

The next day, we went for early dim sum. We’ve been to dim sum in NY plenty of times. Why would we visit the origin location of dim sum, and not have any? My aunt brought us to restaurant row again. She thought she was bringing us back to the restaurant we had gone to for dinner, but it wasn’t. Since the restaurants are all in one tall building, we missed it by one floor. I thought it looked different from the get go, but I think it was a nice mistake. We didn’t have to wait for seats, and the food was excellent.

dim sum hong kong

One thing you might note is that there are no napkins given out at any restaurant. Everybody carries tissues around just for that reason.

After dim sum, we hopped on the metro and headed to see the big buddha. Those steps were killer! Gary and my brother decided to race up and lost their breath. When I reached the top, I saw Gary kneeling. I wasn’t sure if he was praying or catching his breath! He said it was both, go figure.

big buddha

After we came down, we went to this little eatery that had the tofu dessert (豆腐花) as I mentioned in my China post and black sesame dessert (芝麻糊), one of Gary’s favorites.

bean curd dessert  sesame paste
we all ordered the tofu dessert, except for Gary, who ordered the sesame

street foodThey also had street eats, but we didn’t get any

That night, my aunts brought us to a diner-esk type of place. We wanted to try something local eats instead of restaurant food. Those are always the best types of foods in my opinion. I’m going to have to say that it was quite disappointing. The food choices were sub par, and the waitress pretty much told Gary what he was supposed to order. As I mentioned, they don’t serve white meat anywhere! When he asked if substitute one of the chicken dishes with white meat, she just sad NO, we can’t do that! Geez! The stuff they eat are such weird combinations too.

steak chicken
My brother got steak with gravy a hot dog over spaghetti. I got a chicken patty (dark meat of course!) with a (way too salty) gravy and french fries.

The next day, we went to the temples and the marina. At the marina, we went to get some seafood. So we stopped off at a restaurant that had two sections. One for Chinese, one for Japanese. We were able to order from both menus. So in Hong Kong, we went to eat at Yo Mama Sushi! :)


The food was very fresh and delicious.

seafood noodles hand rolls sushi bowl
seafood noodles, hand rolls, tri salmon sushi bowl

grilled fatty salmonand to quote my brother: “You know where I had the best salmon ever? From Yo Mama!”

That night, when my parents went to another restaurant to eat dinner and meet up with someone else. We definitely didn’t want any restaurant food anymore! The four of us: my sister, brother, Gary, and I went to a noodle place by the hotel. The dumplings were awesome, and they served hot drinks from these steel barrel mugs. It kept my brother’s drink hot until the end of the meal and it was cool to the touch from the beginning. My only gripe about this place was that the noodle to dumpling ratio sucked. There was way too much noodles for the 4 dumplings I got.

minced pork over rice wonton noodle shrimp dumpling
minced pork over rice, wonton noodle soup (barrel mug on the side), shrimp dumplings

Even though we just ate, Gary and my sister decided to get stinky tofu! We smelled the pungent flavor from a block away. We were actually in the area in the morning, but they had not set everything up yet. Now, late at night, everybody went out to do some shopping and have street eats.

street food stinky tofu
street eats and stinky tofu (the bag was so greasy, you can see through it!)

The next morning we were taking a 9:30 bus back to China. We went to McDonald’s for breakfast, since it was a block away. Let me tell you, they have the regular hotcakes and sausage thing going on, but like the other Hong Kong style food places, there’s so much more! They’re all about the noodles!

chicken noodle mcdonald's sausage egg noodle mcdonald's
dark meat chicken with twisty noodles, sausage and egg with twisty noodles.

That’s my foodie recaps of  China and Hong Kong.  It was nice to remember all the food we ate and how I miss it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Foodie Paradise: Southern China

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but for the past 2 weeks I’ve been away. It might not have seemed odd that I didn’t have any posts for a while since my blog posts were sporadic last year anyway.

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been in my home country…and I do mean the country…of Taishan, China. For our trip, we went to Taishan (台山), Taicheng (台成), and Guangzhou (广州).


This post will cover the China portion of my trip. I also went to Hong Kong for 3 days, which I will cover in another post.

This was my second time traveling to China. I went back about 15 years ago, and I barely remember a thing. What I did remember was that the food was always fresh, and really good.

gary_chickensGary didn’t actually catch his own chicken, but these chickens laid fresh eggs for us everyday!

We arrived in China at about 11:30 in the evening. After going through customs, we were finally out of the airport at about 2 am in the morning (with 17 people, it took a while). I didn’t get a picture of our first meal back, but I did get a video:

It wasn’t moving! I was shaking it with my chopsticks. I promise this stuff isn’t gross! Even Gary ate it!

Our second day back, we met up with some distant relatives of Gary’s. We ate at a local restaurant near the bus station in Taicheng. Seriously, for about $35 USD, we were able to have a 6 course meal, which included fish (in soup and a dish), shrimp, roast goose, and cauliflower (one of the main crops).


The next day, we went to my parent’s home in the village. It’s not actually livable, but people don’t sell their houses in China, even if it’s been vacant for a long time. While we were there, Gary tried sugarcane for the first time.

gary sugarcanesugarcane
Gary trying sugarcane. My aunt peeling and chopping it.

He had a little trouble…there was a lot of drool involved. You don’t actually eat it, but just chew it to get the juice, then spit it out.

sugarcanewild sugarcane growing in the village

There are also lots of star fruit trees that grow. They’ve been around for a long time, and I remember climbing one way back when. The fruits are usually free for all, as long as you let the owner know you’re taking them.



We went to the city to do a little shopping. We had already eaten dim sum, but we couldn’t help but get some street food. We have egg waffles in NY, but these were bigger and fluffier, and what a great idea of them to give each person a stick to skewer them! It was so much cheaper too, at (if I recall) ¥8 for a whole bag, roughly a little over $1.

egg wafflesegg waffles (雞蛋仔)

eggwaffleseverybody going after them once we got them from the street vendor

We also went to a McDonald’s while we were in the city. I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but chain restaurants around the world offer different things. We picked up some pies, but you won’t find apple pie there! They only have pineapple and taro. They’re also fried, not baked. We all thought it made it taste that much better. I personally like the pineapple one better, but they were both good! This cost us ¥7 for 2 pies, a little over $1.

pie from mcdonald'spineapple and taro pies from McDonald’s

One of the things my parents do whenever they visit is to invite everybody from the village over for a dinner. They all meet around the community center and have an 8 course feast for dinner. Nowadays, the current beverages of choice during banquets are Minute Maid orange juice, coconut milk, and a rice wine. Have I mentioned that nothing in China is made with high fructose corn syrup?? All sodas are made with real sugar!

banquet feastfried rice vermicelli, goose, shrimp, cauliflower, pork, pickled turnips, chicken, vegetables, soup

We went into town where we were looking around at the shops. We heard someone chanting out “豆腐花, 綠豆[sa]” which meant “(tofu) bean curd dessert, green bean tong sui (dessert)”. This guy had recorded his voice and blasted it through a bullhorn. He lured me in from across the street. I thought he had a storefront, but he was selling them from a little cart that he  wheeled around.

The bean curd dessert is a silken dessert with a simple syrup. The green bean tong sui is similar to the red bean one that is served at the end of a Chinese banquet, except it’s made with green mung beans. This one in particular was thinner and drunk through a straw. It was a warm soup, not a cold drink. ¥1.50 which is around 25¢ a cup, great deal! Gary wanted it again afterwards, but we couldn’t find him anymore!

dessert drinkdrinking my green bean tong sui

We were in Guangzhou for the last 2 days of our trip. I have no idea where in the city we were, since we had some relatives show us around. We went to a shopping area and walked around. We spotted a lot of storefronts that had drinks and food. One thing that caught my eye was the fresh cane juice made to order!

This guy fed the sugarcane through a machine that flattened and extracted the juice. He then bottled them up and sold them for ¥5 a pop. I like chewing on sugar cane, and the first few sips were great. After half a bottle, I was kind of over it. Oh well.

sugarcane juicemaking fresh cane juice

Our last food purchase before we left were candied strawberries and candied haw (山楂). The strawberries and haw are drenched in a syrup then hardened. I guess you can say it’s similar to a candied apple. They were a nice sweet treat to end the trip at ¥11 for the 2 sticks.

chinese candy

Thanks for reading through the foodie recap of Southern China. Stay tuned for the Hong Kong food portion of my trip!