Japanese-style slaw with sesame dressing

This crispy and colorful slaw consists of red and green cabbage, peppers, carrots, radishes and green onions coated with a sesame dressing you might want to make for another use as well. It’s is another adapted recipe. The original recipe called for taking sesame seeds and toasting them then using a mortar and pestle, and frankly I was just too lazy, so I used tahini instead and it’s delicious! I also added ginger and substituted honey for the sugar they used.

The first outing of this slaw was for a potluck. My friend was making salmon and I think a slaw is always a good side for seafood. And it was a huge hit. I was sure I’d come home with some since I made a LOT, but we all went back for seconds and thirds and the hosts kept what little was left.

I plan to make this again and keep it in the fridge, adding a protein for a nice healthy lunch, or wrapping it up with some goat cheese for a quick bite. And feel free to add other veggies, like beets, celery, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc. It would also go well with some cold noodles. Enjoy!

RECIPE

2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups shredded red cabbage
4 radishes — grated
1 carrot — grated
2 scallions — thinly sliced
1 bell pepper – red or yellow

⅓ cup tahini
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon Japanese soy sauce
½ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water

Combine the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, ginger, tahini and water and stir until well combined. Put all the vegetables in a large bowl and mix well. Toss with the dressing and Voila!

The original recipe is for 6 servings, though they would be large.

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Who wants Fondue?



Here’s a very basic ratio and recipe that I got in a newsletter, so the ‘I’ is the writer of the newsletter, not me. But as soon as I get a fondue pot, I’m going to make it. I remember how satisfying a chunk of bread with some gooey cheese can be. And the author suggests so many alternatives or additions to that bread that sound fab! Where did that pot I carried around for decades disappear to just when I need it?

And there’s the gist:
Wine (half cup): I live in Oregon, and I used a bottle of Eyrie Vineyards Chasselas Doré, a grape commonly found in the Jura and alpine regions of France. You could use a zippy Valle d’Aosta Petite Arvine or an Alto Adige Gewürztraminer (this region of Italy is so alpine that they actually speak German). Something with elevation and acidity is ideal. 

Cheese (2 cups): Make a coarsely shredded cheese blend. It can be as simple as a basic, entry-level Gruyère and Emmentaler, or as complex as raw milk heirloom herd alpine cheese from a single mountain valley near Zermatt. My perfect blend included one cup of Emmentaler, a half cup of Fontina, and another half cup of Beaufort d’Été. Talk to your favorite cheesemonger for a suggestion. They will have one! 

Flour (1 tablespoon): Flour is essential as a thickening agent. Many recipes call for cornstarch, which, to me, feels rather off—something about coating fine raw milk cheese in a processed thickening agent like cornstarch doesn’t jibe. Use the more traditional flour instead.
 
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of brandy, sherry, or liqueur (kirsch, Chambord, Luxardo—something sweet).  

Method:
1. First, heat the wine, adding to it a whole clove of garlic and some roughly minced shallot. Heat it until it begins to burble, but do not boil it. Add the lemon juice at the very end, and stir. Strain the infused wine into a sturdy saucepan, and set the stove temperature to a gentle low-medium.

2. Shred the cheeses. Place inside a reusable bag and add the flour. Shake to thoroughly coat. 

3. Gently add the cheese, bit by bit, to the infused wine on the burner, stirring as you go with a whisk. Add a little, stir a little, and add a little more. As the process moves along, things will begin to look—and smell—distinctly fondue-y. By the end, you should have a nice, viscous pot of melted cheese that clings to the tendrils of your fork.
 
4. Finally, add a splash (1–2 tablespoons) of your preferred spirit. Kirsch is traditional, but a fondue pot finished with sherry makes a most welcome dip for chorizo and potatoes. 

5. Transfer to your preferred fondue vessel, be it vintage mid-century ceramic heated with a tea candle or modern Cuisinart überpot. Maintain a low but steady heat on the implement to keep things fondue-like in texture. 

Serve with (being honest here) anything and everything—the Swiss are extremely doctrinaire about what can or cannot be dipped in fondue, but this is your house, and thus, your rules. Try starting with bacon-wrapped cherry tomatoes, Cosmic Crisp apple skewers, Korean pears, multiple forms of bread (challah, baguette, rye toast, lard bread), Italian grissini breadsticks, dried Spanish chorizo, dates, grapes, Eccles cake, baby carrots, pretzels, gherkins, and—most especially—boiled and salted fingerling potatoes (if that’s impossible, sub potato chips). 

This is a non-exhaustive list; whatever you can possibly imagine putting on a charcuterie board can be included alongside a pot of fondue, and then some. Dip ravenously, and repeatedly, until you run out of cheese or toppings or both, using the little dipping tongs, or else dispensing with them altogether and dunking by hand—because you’re at home, not at The Melting Pot.

Thanks Jordan Michelman @Taste !!

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Baked Salmon Patties

This one is really easy and delicious. As usual I massaged someone else’s recipe. (A couple of someone else’s in this case.) But it’s quick and nutritious. Gluten-free. Makes 8 servings for me, but could be 4 for heavier eaters.

Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce cans of wild salmon (boneless, skinless preferred)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Spray on oil (Olive, Coconut)
  • 1 lemon (cut into 8 wedges)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Mix the eggs, flour, dill, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Drain the salmon well then fold it into the egg mixture.

Spray a muffin tin with oil then divide the salmon mixture among 8 of the sections.

Bake for 14-15 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

You can make a more substantial sauce if you like. A tzadziki goes well with this.

Enjoy!

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Ginger-Coconut Shrimp Risotto

This is one that I massaged from someone else. And it’s a keeper! I like that you don’t have to stir constantly like other risotto recipes. And feel free to use more shrimp if you like. The original called for a full pound, but it felt like too much to me.  It’s a quick and easy recipe. (Serves 4)

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INGREDIENTS

Seafood
1/2 lb Shrimp, raw

Produce
1/4 cup parsley, fresh
1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned
1 cup frozen (or fresh) peas

Canned Goods
1 14 ounce can coconut milk

Pasta & Grains
1 cup arborio rice

Baking & Spices
1/4 tsp red pepper

Oils & Vinegars
1 tbsp olive oil

Nuts & Seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Liquids
2 cups Trader Joe’s Miso Ginger Broth, hot
(if you don’t have a TJ’s nearby, grate some ginger into some miso broth and add a bit of garlic and salt)


COOK

1. Heat olive oil in medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
2. Add 1 cup of broth and boil, stirring once or twice, until mixture is just about dry. Add the rest of the broth and repeat, stirring once or twice. Add half the coconut milk and cook, stirring just enough to keep the rice from sticking, until it is just about gone. Add remaining coconut milk and repeat.
3. The rice should be almost tender at this point — if it needs more cooking add another 1/2 cup of broth or water and cook until absorbed. Stir in tomato, shrimp, peas, and red pepper, and cook until shrimp is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in shredded coconut.
4. Ladle portions onto plates and scatter parsley over the top of each. Decide that this is your new favorite risotto!

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Politics of the Day

I’m tired of the political drivel that masquerades as discourse in social media. So many people have made up their minds already about who is the person (frequently, the only person alive) that will beat the Orange One, and all the ranting and belittling of other candidates and the people who support them is not getting us anywhere. Can we all agree that there is no perfect candidate? Can we all just admit that every single one of them has something in their past or present that turns us off? Can we please accept that the perfect is the enemy of the good?

The continued drumbeat from last election that Hillary and the DNC put us where we are right now feeds into the false narrative that the DNC (and hence everyone except Bernie) is working against the American people. I’m still hearing the line that Hillary would have been just as bad as the Orange One. Really? Would children be living in dangerous squalor, ripped from their parents at the southern border? Would we be buddying up to dictators? Would we have two arch conservative new members of the Supreme Court? Would conservative states be pushing through horrifying anti-abortion legislation, hoping that the new court will overturn Roe v. Wade? I don’t think so and neither does anyone else. “But,” they say, “She wasn’t far left enough for us.”

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Not a true progressive, as if that means anything. I was an early Bernie supporter and I appreciate that he pushed the party to the left. But I see him in the same way I see Drumpf. Neither of them came to the show with new ideas. But what they said and did gave others around them permission to be what they were all along. Racists and Liberals. So now a lot of the other Democratic candidates are espousing more progressive ideas than those of the last several election cycles. That’s a good thing.  And arguing that someone else said it first is not a great reason to dismiss them.

As Democrats, as Progressives, as Liberals, we have our work cut out for us this election and I’m not going to waste my time arguing with everyone about who among a great field of candidates is the most pure. I’d love a revolution in this country. I’d love to wake up with universal health care and equal rights and opportunities for all and an end to war and a clean environment and a green agenda. I love unicorns and moonbeams. But I’m going to vote for the person who gets the nomination and I’ll probably work for a candidate in the primaries who I think has the determination to lead with wisdom and grace. I’m not counting anyone out yet (except maybe Marianne Williamson. I have a “no more kooks in the WH” policy. )

I’m hoping for some unity on the Left, just like the Right seems able to do no matter how down and dirty their politics.  Please, let’s get it together and do the right thing for America. Sign of resistance

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The Hong Kong Milk Tea Diaries

Along with shooting the documentary about Dave’s search for his birth mother here in Hong Kong, and following his initial glee at having a milk tea again after many years, I began shooting his daily reactions to the hot drink at cafe after cafe. It has become Dave’s Milk Tea Diary, and we search out a new place each day. He had an early favorite, a small restaurant he went years ago and the first place we went when we arrived. It has remained in the number one spot ever since. We’ve been to a few that are on the “Best Hong Kong Milk Tea” lists. Some deserve their praise. Others, not so much. It’s a funny way to see the many restaurants and neighborhoods of Hong Kong. Cholesterol be damned!

The list so far:
1. Nam Wah – a traditional Hong Kong food restaurant on Waterloo Road in the Ho Man Tin neighborhood. Zero ambience, but excellent milk tea!
2. Australian Dairy Company – the surliest waiters in town and the place to go for HK breakfast and milk pudding, but don’t plan to sit long.
3. Tsui Wah – a chain of traditional Hong Kong restaurants and we’ve been to several.
4. Sun Hang Yuen – a hole in the wall ‘Cha Chang Teng’, aka Hong Kong style cafe in Sham Shui Po, the neighborhood where Dave lived as a small child. We had a quick bite – excellent beef and scrambled egg sandwiches and milk tea! They serve their milk tea in a plastic cup, which had been a nonstarter up until we tasted it.

These (so far) are all decent, but hard to rank precisely.
Yuen Kee – we stumbled upon this little cafe on a bustling late-night square in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Delicious Cafe – another we stumbled upon in Sham Shui Po that has a nice product (and good food, too.)
Ming’s Kitchen – this one is on the same street as Australian Dairy, but serves a variety of foods and is easy to get into.
Nam Cheong Cafe in Sham Shui Po was a great find for the food and they do a decent milk tea, too!

And the ones to avoid.
Yee Shun Dairy Company 港澳義順牛奶公司 – Good milk pudding. So-so milk tea. Waitresses with ennui.
Chrisly Café – another well-known and highly touted breakfasty food place, but not as good as Australian Dairy. And meh! milk tea.

So what makes a great milk tea?  Creaminess. Non-bitterness, but strong enough to taste the tea. The best one would not need any sugar added. I’m sure Dave has more discerning taste than I, being the Milk Tea aficionado  that he is, and I hope to learn from him in the ways of the milk tea. We will keep searching for the one that will knock Nam Wah off the top of the list until our last day here. And we may want to add some variety, as in Bubble Milk Tea, Milk Tea in a box or bottle, and who knows what else.

It’s all part of the adventure!

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Kowloon adventures

So we’re still here. Still trying to find Dave’s Mom, and maybe a sister, and perhaps a Dad. We sat down with a detective this week. A young woman. She’s been at it for 10 years and had some tales of daring to share. All about jumping from a moving car. And sneaking DNA out of a house. We interviewed a retired Hong Kong cop, too, but he didn’t have the fire that our young PI does. She’s ready to go out there and try everything. The guy saw a couple of opportunities and then a dead end if it didn’t pan out.

It may be slow going though. What we know is almost nothing. There is no birth certificate. Only one relative alive as far as we know met the birth mom and doesn’t know her name. The club where she worked it gone. The clinic where she delivered the baby shut down long ago. We know the doctor’s name, but he’s probably dead. So what can the detective find? Fingers crossed she can think of things we can’t.

So we’re going to the press. Putting it out there that there is a filmmaker from New York who was born in Hong Kong who is looking for his birth Mom. We’re going for the human interest angle. He’s just looking for his Mom and possibly his big sis. He’s an only child, so having a sibling would make his ecstatic. He’s not looking to disrupt anyone’s life. Just find out who he is. Simple, no?

I go back and forth between hopeful and hopeless. But as with any documentary, the story is what happens. Finding Mom may not be what this is about. It’s about a journey. And Dave has found out a lot about his family he never knew. He’s connected with many of them on a deeper level than ever. And I’ve gotten to see Hong Kong in a way I never would have.

We have about a month left here. Anything can happen and I hope whatever it is, it’s good for the camera. Ha! Stay tuned.

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Hong Kong Documentary

So I’m in Hong Kong directing a fascinating documentary about the search for an old friend’s birth parents. It’s called The Secret of B because there are so many secrets within his family and so many different stories of his adoption. It was certainly not a straight forward adoption. First, his birth certificate lists some relatives as the parents who gave him up. Second, his father won’t really talk about it. His mother took the secret to her grave. He wouldn’t have ever known if he hadn’t stumbled upon his adoption papers by accident when he was looking for a birth certificate in his family’s safe deposit box. I always knew he was adopted, as did everyone in his family, but they were all sworn to secrecy. Now that he knows, and he only found out in his late 30s, he wants to find his birth parents. So here we are in HK, talking to relatives, hiring a private eye, running different scenarios for how it all plays out.

In the meanwhile, I’ve met a lot of cousins and had a whole lot of incredible meals. It’s a wealthy family, but I love that when we eat out some of the places are top shelf, but many are humble spots with typical Hong Kong cuisine. I’m getting an education on the foods that are typical here. Milk tea is Dave’s favorite. Dave is the adoptee. He could drink milk tea at every meal. It’s a dark tea with thick condensed milk. He’s also partial to the pineapple buns, so called because they look like pineapples, not because of any fruit. We went to a place for brunch that serves macaroni soup. And another place that has amazing smoked meats and most of the food is cold.

We’ve done dim sum, and hot pot, and sushi, and french food. And one of the best meals was at the home of one of the cousins and was a pot on the table that was filled with a variety of meats and veg and more was added as we ate. But along side the simple fare, his cousin served Dom Perignon and Chateau Lafitte Rothschild. That cousin also drives a fancy-schmancy Mercedes Maybach, and owns a bunch of other very expensive vehicles.

But this family, while wealthy, are so open and warm and have welcomed me into the fold. So far the trip has been an eye-opening look at how different Hong Kong is from Mainland China. More to come. Stay tuned.

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To Blackout or Not to Blackout?

Yesterday, a message started going around to women asking us to replace our photos on Facebook with solid black for one day “to show what the world might be like without women.” But almost at the same time messages started popping up from friends and acquaintances about how this was just a way to silence women. Messages of, “That’s what they want. People are so stupid.” or “We have been silence and invisible enough. Be loud, be present, and be courageous.”

My take on this is that changing your photo doesn’t silence you. Blanketing FB with black squares in a show of solidarity is a powerful visual protest. I’m still posting all the political posts I have every day. I’m not sitting silent. I am participating in a one day action. That is all. And the angry rhetoric of many women claiming to know how we should all protest is counterproductive. It should never be either/or. It should be both/and. We need to throw everything we have at the toxic patriarchy. This might seem to some to be the wrong thing at the wrong time, but since I’m sitting in a small town, calling my Senators (who will not be moved), writing postcards to GOTV, and eagerly awaiting the next women’s march, it’s something I can do today to feel connected to millions of other women. And I won’t apologize for it.

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The Fall of Male Privilege

male-privilegeIt feels like a watershed moment. Beginning with Weinstein, or maybe farther back with Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, powerful men are being brought down because of a pattern of behavior as old as time, but not to be tolerated any longer, I hope. Ailes’s and O’Reilly’s departures did not open the floodgates though. It was Weinstein’s disgusting drama that pushed women in Hollywood, in Washington, in New York, famous women, women in industries with power to finally come out in droves to say that men had been groping and harassing and sexually assaulting them and that they were not going to stay quiet any more! [The Spacey story demonstrated that powerful men are equal opportunity predators.]

The #MeToo moment has shown a lot of unwoke men the pervasive disrespect women have put up with and the dystopian world we all navigate, whether it’s as an A-list actress or a fast food worker, on the job or just in our everyday lives. We all have our stories.

It has reminded me of early in my career when I was still in NY and still very naive. I went for a “job interview” with a very famous director (Wax on, Wax off). He answered the door wearing only a towel and then handed me a glass of wine and a joint, and told me to make myself comfortable while he got dressed. He pretended he’d just lost track of time, but then said he wanted me to accompany him to a screening so he could see how conversant I was about movies. It turned out to be a private, just the two of us, screening and an extremely uncomfortable couple of hours with him in the semi-darkness.

After the movie, there was no discussion of the film or the job. And when I did not agree to continue on into the evening with him, since he’d already taken up half my day and I had plans with friends for dinner, he got truly pissed off, as if he never considered that I could want to be anywhere but in his company. Needless to say, I did not get the job. And when I told another industry friend all about it, she said, “He does that all the time. Everyone knows that.” I didn’t.

All these powerful men are resigning or being forced out and yet we still have an admitted sexual predator in the White House and another running successfully for the Senate. And no doubt thousands (millions?) more who are probably hoping they can just ride it out and continue their misogynist ways.

And then there is the way Charlie Rose “apologized”: “I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.” Really? If that’s not the pathology of male privilege, I don’t know what is. Or Jeffrey Tambor’s: “I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue.” Two words stand out here: misinterpreted and deliberately. The implication is that he did not understand that his actions were wrong. Again, male privilege pathology.

It seems that men cannot fathom that a) women probably don’t want to see you masturbate, b) we don’t appreciate being groped or kissed by people we don’t feel close to, even if you are famous or powerful, c) we may put up with your disgusting behavior if we think that reporting it will get us in trouble, and d) the days of Don Draper behavior being acceptable were over a long time ago.

I’ve heard some men (and women) referring to the current climate as “a witch hunt,” with the implication that women are coming out of the woodwork to unfairly take good men down. I’ll admit, that that could be happening in a few instances, but I doubt it’s pervasive. Also I’ve heard, “It’s sad that men have to watch what they say and do, because they might get called out for sexual misconduct.” Well, women have been watching what they say or do for a very long time because they might get raped or groped because they were being too friendly. See how that works?

I think this may be a great moment when men start to be a more aware of their actions towards women in general and that’s a great thing. They won’t be changing overnight, but it is an opportunity to move towards that ERA utopian future we’ve been dreaming about. Baby steps.

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