Pumpkin Sticky Rice Balls (南瓜汤圆)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, traditional Chinese sticky rice balls get a New World makeover with the incorporation of pumpkin. Pumpkin, a staple in “New World” America, gives these sweet, chewy rice balls their own identity. This recipe centers on pumpkin–two ways. The first (and easier) variety is to simply incorporate the pumpkin into the sticky rice dough. The second variety uses the pumpkin as a filling and involves a couple extra steps including a slightly more involved preparation of the pumpkin filling. Either way, these sticky rice balls are perfect to share with friends and family, and may even put a smile on a few faces.

Photo by G. Yek: Pumpkin Sticky Rice Balls (done 2-Ways) served with Ginger Infused Light Syrup

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The Divine Lady of Mid-autumn Festival

It’s that magical time of the year again.Tomorrow, the Mid-autumn Festival will shine with a gorgeous full moon, and many families will gather to eat tasty mooncakes and gaze at the moon. Kids will parade around with pretty lanterns in the moonlit night. Heres the recipe for “doll” mooncakes if you’d like to make your own. If not, Asian stores are well-stocked with mooncakes of all sorts.

Photo by G. Yek: “Doll” Mooncakes–a popular mooncake variety among kids

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Vietnamese Coffee and Its Percolating Culture

Culture is a living, changing thing. I was reminded of it when I read Asian Food Fest’s post about Vietnamese coffee. Author, Ha Dinh, captures Vietnamese-American, Duy Nguyen’s cultural and generational attitudes —  over coffee, naturally.

Though he was born in America, one of Duy’s favorite experiences was in a very casual coffee shop across from a river in Saigon. People of all ages would sit around low tables and low chairs, enjoying long conversations and one coffee (or one cigarette) after another. For Duy, this represents the “Lang Thang” lifestyle his restaurant is named after. “Older generations believe in following one direction, while younger generations have our own way,” said Duy.

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Easy-to-make Spanish Omelette (Tortilla Española)

There are really only three main ingredients in Spanish omelette: onions, potatoes and eggs. It doesn’t get any easier! Also called tortilla española, this is one of my daughter’s favorite breakfast and snack items. She loves the taste and “pie” shape of this omelette. I don’t mind making it because it’s not only easy, it’s a great anytime food to have in the kitchen.

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Black Rice Pudding (“Bee Koe Moy”)

Give me a bowl of sweet black rice pudding topped with luxurious coconut milk and I go inside my happy place. This magical bowl is my definition of comfort food. The true magic of black rice is unlocked with slow heat … and patience.  It takes time to cook through the grains to where they split open and release their starch. The result is this beautiful purple-black transformation that’s all at once nutty, smoky and comfortingly starchy.

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The Seedy Goodness of Pomegranates

One of the things that gets me out of my winter funk is the promise of pomegranates. These ruby globes are ready for harvest just when it starts to get cold outside (October-ish) until around February. I’m a total pomegranate fangirl. They’re tasty, pretty, and a powerhouse of antioxidants. Of course I didn’t know the last bit of detail when I was chomping down on the juicy arils (the edible stuff inside) as a kid. In case you were wondering, it’s okay to eat the seeds with the arils.

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A Coppin’s Thanksgiving

Today, Coppin’s Restaurant and Bar offered its first Thanksgiving buffet. Once a fashionable department store and more recently, the city building, the 106-year-old building on Madison Avenue and Seventh Street in Covington, Kentucky, opened on September 27 as Hotel Covington. What lies within is a stylish yet comfortable 4,000-square-foot restaurant and bar.

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