Archive | December, 2007

An “Asian Delight” Christmas

23 Dec

This year I have decided to make a Japanese meal for Christmas. But really it’s a mixture of various Asian cuisines. I’m also throwing in some traditional twists. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. We’re also using mostly local ingredients. Too bad they don’t grow cranberries around here…

Here’s what I’m making!

Cranberry Apple Cider (with Orange)

Steamed Sponge Cake with Cranberry Honey Glaze

Korean Seasoned Potatoes

Goma Ae (Spinach with Seasame)

Shrimp on Sugarcane Skewers

Vegetable Tempura

Deep Fried Chestnut Balls with Cranberry Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

Ebi Maki (Shrimp Roll)

Daikon Salad


Happy Holidays…

23 Dec

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, though I’ve thought about it many times. Each day I remind myself to look up, look around, see the sky and the leaves on the trees. To be aware of the world in general. I find it refreshing but usually don’t maintain that throughout the day. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the holidays. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I no longer participate in the “tradition” of gift giving at Christmas. There are many reasons for this: financial, moral, social and environmental. I am not the first person to say that everyone I know seems to dread Christmas these days. The shopping and planning and expectations get worse every year. But I’m not saying “Don’t spend any money on Christmas.” I’m just suggesting that you could spend it differently. Naturally, family and friends may resist and misunderstand for the first year or two. But I have found that the change in stress levels at the Holidays is very apparent as well as the level of enjoyment!

Christmas Challenge:

  • Don’t buy gifts, make them! Do something you’ll enjoy. Food is always a good option!
  • Don’t expect gifts in return. Really. 🙂
  • Offer time instead of “things”. Talk to your mom on the phone for an hour. Take your sister out to the movies. Take your kids out to the zoo. Make a day of it. They will remember the effort!
  • Cook with people, eat with people. We all know this is a huge part of many celebrations. But even this has gotten to be a bit of a chore for many people. Make it fun, make it interesting. But don’t stress!
  • Give up the cards! So much paper is wasted! Call someone, say hello, send an email! Buy someone an apple. 🙂

Some of these things probably sound silly or unlikely. But it’s something I’ve done in my life. It takes time to really think about how to show the people you know that you care about them. And that’s what Christmas is really meant to be. I wish you all a good one!

Soda: A Touchy Subject…

2 Dec

The other day I overheard some of my coworkers discussing the various types of water available to everyone and how we, as a company, should consider other options. Right now we have two kinds of bottled water, as well as a few water coolers scattered around the building. One girl said that she doesn’t trust tap water and only drinks water from bottles and wouldn’t be happy with a filter option and would be rather upset ( “pissed off” were her exact words ) if bottled water was no longer available.

This made me think about a couple of things: first, that we should have a little perspective and remember that not every company provides such a large variety of drinks and snacks as ours does and bickering over it seems a little silly and selfish. Although I am fully in agreement with the idea that we indeed should consider having filters for our tap water. The second thing that popped into my head was that really we should also consider getting rid of the many sodas as well. The social, environmental, political and health consequences are many and when I brought this up to one person in the discussion (who started the conversation about the water and considers himself an environmentalist) he hesitated, got a concerned look on his face and said “We should start with something we can actually change. Soda is much harder to replace.”. Indeed it is. Although there are smaller companies using natural ingredients available.. but that does involve more work. Soda and ‘carbonated beverages’ are also extremely ingrained in our culture and have been for around a century.

It’s difficult. I understand that. And at this point I feel the need to reiterate a quote I have on my “About” page, as it really conveys what I feel about the subject.

“The question we must ask ourselves as a culture is whether we want to embrace the change that must come, or resist it. Are we so attached to the dietary fallacies with which we were raised, so afraid to counter the arbitrary laws of eating taught to us in childhood by our misinformed parents, that we cannot alter the course they set us on, even if it leads to our own ruin? Does the prospect of standing apart or encountering ridicule scare us even from saving ourselves?” – Howard Lyman

 See the “Packaged Foods Exposed” series @ Deconstructing Dinner for more information.