An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Black Pepper Beef

This is the Chinese-style black pepper sauce I’m most familiar with. Growing up in Singapore, I’ve had this kind of sauce doused over spaghetti (SO GOOD), pork chops and even a burger patty. The recipe I’m sharing is a super easy version of it and can be modified in so many ways – add sliced mushrooms and green bell peppers if you want more than just onions in it – they work so well too! At the same time, you don’t have to use Gardein Beefless Tips like I did here. You can use any veggie meat or even extra firm tofu cut into cubes (be sure to press down down and pat dry so you can get rid of the excess water for a firmer product).

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Vegetarian Black Pepper Beef

Serves 2-4. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 – 20 minutes.

2 teaspoons ground black pepper (freshly cracked makes a difference)

1 packet GARDEIN Beefless Tips

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)

2 teaspoons starch

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, cut into 1/2″ squares

IMG_9211Method:

  1. Heat a wok or cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot.
  2. Add the oil, and then immediately add the onions, and continue stir-frying until slightly translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Add the the beefless tips and let it brown (about 6-7 minutes).
  4. While waiting for the beefless tips to brown, mix up all the sauce ingredients in a bowl (including water). Blend and stir mixture.
  5. Pour black pepper sauce mixture over browned beefless tips.
  6. Serve hot.

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The day I made this, I served it with a ring of steamed broccoli (you can also toss the broccoli in while stir-frying the beefless tips). Also, we had brown rice and ABC soup! YUM…


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Meatless Monday: Ginger & Sesame Oil Stirfry

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Prior to this, I’ve done 2 stirfry recipes (methods?) in my other Meatless Monday posts. Both of which required the use of minced garlic. The thing is, not everybody likes the taste of garlic and some people (like staunch Buddhists) don’t consume garlic at all. Here’s another simple Chinese-style stirfry method that I use. It’s basically 3 ingredients and takes less than 15 minutes from start to end – HOW EASY IS THAT?!

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Ginger & Sesame Oil Stirfry

Serves 2. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cooking Time: 10 minutes.

3 tablespoons Sesame Oil

1/2 cup of sliced ginger

2-3 cups of any kind of chopped veggies of your choice (I just used a frozen pre-packaged mix)

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Method:

1. Peel ginger root, cut into thin slices, then julienne them into matchsticks.

2. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan or wok.

3. Add the ginger matchsticks into the oil and fry till they turn golden brown.

4. Add the veggies (I don’t even bother defrosting mine) and fry till vegetables are soft.

5. Serve hot!

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That is all! And that was what we had for lunch the other day!


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Meatless Monday: Chinese-style Steamed Egg Custard

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This recipe is not vegan-friendly but so good for other non-meat eaters in general because it’s so easy, so nutritious (eggs basically contain everything required for some cells to turn into a chick) and easy to digest! There are also so many variants of it!

Growing up I used to love this with some marinated minced pork and salted veggies at the bottom. You can add anything or nothing (just eggs and water) to this dish BUT the key thing is to get it silken smooth like a block of tofu! The secret lies in getting rid of air bubbles before steaming and steaming it at a low heat so it doesn’t bubble up. Because when it does, the end result will be a honeycomb-like texture.

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Chinese-Style Steamed Egg Custard

Serves 2. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 15-20minutes.

3 Large Eggs (retain the larger half of a broken shell)

2 tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 tablespoons Sesame Oil

1/2 cup Spring onions (for garnish)

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Method:

1. Break 3 eggs into a bowl.

2. Using 1 of the broken egg shells as a measuring cup, put in 1.5 x worth of water into the eggs. If there are 3 eggs, you fill the 1/2 broken egg shell 9 times.

3. Prepare the steaming vessel and bring the water to a boil. (I used a wok with a rack and filled up the water to a level where it wouldn’t touch my bowl during steaming.)

4. Add sesame oil and soy sauce into the beaten egg. Stir thoroughly.

5. Using a sieve, pour the egg mixture into the bowl you’ll be using for steaming. The sieve makes the mixture smoother and prevents the little bubbles from forming, thus ruining the silken smooth texture of the final product.

6. Lower the heat. (I use a low heat – setting 2 or 3). Put the bowl with the egg mixture into the steaming vessel.

7. Cover and steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Upon serving, garnish with chopped spring onions!

T and I had this for lunch with the GARDEIN Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips, a Sesame oil and Ginger Stirfry (which I will share the recipe of soon), and steamed brown Jasmine rice.

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Meatless Monday: Macaroni Soup

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Most families I know in Singapore have their own version of this dish. Like chicken soup or plain rice porridge, a shredded chicken macaroni in clear broth usually does the trick for a convalescing person. I have enjoyed many a bowl of this delicious and comforting pasta soup while growing up and while I no longer eat chicken, I still find it so good on its own. The best part is, you can make it in less than 30 minutes. I took about 20 minutes because that’s how long it took for my pasta to turn al dente.IMG_2483When I have children, this will be among the top 10 things I’d cook for them, especially since I can throw in any nutritious and seasonal vegetable for cheap. My favourites are still carrot (because it’s a bright orange and so sweet) and cabbage (cheap and long-lasting).

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Macaroni Soup

Serves 2 to 4. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 cups macaroni (or any kind of pasta)

2 cups chopped vegetables (I used carrots & cabbage but frozen peas would do the trick too)

1 cube of vegetable stock

2 cloves of garlic (peeled and lightly smashed with a knife to release flavour)

5 cups of water

2 small shallots sliced thinly

4 tablespoons cooking oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Pour water into pot and throw in a stock cube. Turn heat on high till water boils.

2. Once stock cube has fully dissolved, throw in vegetables, macaroni and smashed garlic cloves. Turn heat down to medium.

3. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan or wok on high. Add thinly sliced shallots and turn heat down to medium low. (This is for the shallot oil used as a condiment but CLICK HERE for a proper recipe.)

4. Stir soup every so often and check to see if macaroni has turned al dente. Turn fire off.

5. When shallots start to brown at the edges, turn heat off as the shallots will continue turning into a crisp quickly.

6. Dish out macaroni and serve with 2 teaspoons of shallot oil as garnish.

OMG so yum! The dish is easy and versatile.

You can use any kind of pasta. Instead of macaroni, I used a mixture of mezzi rigatoni and tri-coloured penne because I had opened boxes. My favourite though, are elbow macaroni followed by farfalle. And you can also use any kind of veggies on hand – potato and carrots; cabbage and carrots; frozen mixed veggies; snow peas and corn etc. Also, add tofu cubes or any other ingredients on hand. So versatile!

The ratio I always use is 1 cup of uncooked pasta for 1 adult person (because it doubles in size) and 1 cup of chopped vegetables if it’s a side dish. So double or triple the recipe depending on how much you want to eat! This recipe is enough for T and I but would serve 4 if you eat like my mother and sisters – if you know what I mean.


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Meatless Monday: Easy Baked Eggs

20131031-151333.jpgI was looking at ways to up T’s protein intake and I do try to vary it from soy-based products (soy meats or tofu). There’s definitely something to be said about eggs being high in cholesterol and that people are advised not to eat more than 2 egg yolks a week. However, bearing in mind that vegetarians do not eat a lot of foods that are high in cholesterol – generally meats and seafood, we are sorta in the clear – especially since T and I watch out for trans fats and avoid things like vegetable shortening or margarine.

In this recipe, you’ll see that I made 6 baked eggs in muffin cups (the cupcake baking tray), of which there are only 5 egg yolks because I had egg whites leftover from making a delicious Banana Cream Pie the day before. I ended up serving T two eggs with yolks and 1 baked egg that’s all whites for lunch. I saved the remainder in the refrigerator for another time! Convenience is great!20131031-151512.jpg

Easy Baked Eggs

Serves 1 to 6. Prep Time: 3 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes

6 eggs

Pinch of curry powder

1 tablespoon of diced tomatoes

Pinch of Black Pepper

Pinch of Paprika

Pinch of Garlic Powder

1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil (or cooking spray to grease the pan)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350degF.

2. Grease each cup. (I used a silicon brush and some Canola oil.)

3. Break eggs into muffin pan cups  (use as many or as little as you want).

4. In each little cup, vary your toppings for flavour.

4. Pop the pan into the oven for 15 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and pop each egg out once they’ve cooled.

TAH DAH!

Easy peasy! Just remember that you shouldn’t have too many yolks a week if you’re watching your cholesterol intake but you should still have them because the nutritional value of eggs largely lie in the yolks!