Thursday, January 29, 2009

The secret lives of .. eggplants

This is my mommy's recipe- I think it's meant to imitate "Yu-Hsiang Eggplant" (which translates into fishy smelling eggplant...weird.
Anyways, this version is completely vegan/vegetarian friendly, and tastes delicious or so I'm told. Anyways, this is it's long awaited recipe release.. drumroll!!!

Meipo's Chinese Eggplant
Pre chop these ingredients:
  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant ( I used 4 in this retelling, but you can also use 1 large "white people's" eggplant, heheh, but it's inferior, shhh) Look at below pictures at how I cut my eggplant, it's hard to describe, but it's really helpful in making sure your eggplant cooks through. Also feel free to alter this recipe for less eggplants- everything should be proportional.
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 3-4 scallions, diced (optional, for color)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced/diced (not optional!!!, i love garlic, it makes this dish)
This is how you cook those veggies:
Put this into the pan in order:
  • 1/3 C veggie oil (so I cheat and use random measuring cups, this may be accurate only to dry goods... but trust your intuition, this dish calls for quite a lot of oil- if the eggplant looks thirsty, it's calling out for oil, I added maybe 1/6 C extra adding it during the entire cooking process)
  • toss in garlic, let it really simmer and release all its garlicy goodness
  • add the veggies
  • 1/6 C soy sauce (to taste, but remember it's this and the oil that's hydrating your thirsty eggplant, so let it drink up! Sometimes, I feel health concious and substitute some water in for either one, so feel free to do that too)
  • 3/8 C sugar (ok, so I usually add 1/4 C and then add more to taste)
  • 1 tsp of salt (to taste)
  • all this just sits and gets tossed together for 20-30 minutes of HIGH HEAT stirfrying!!!

NOW TIME FOR SOME AWESOME PHOTODOCUMENTATION!!!, are you excited? this is my first time food blogging- get ready!

The veggies- bell pepper/scallion/garlic/japanese eggplant. Note the diagnoal tapered cuts of eggplant. I kinda cut them spiraling out from the eggplant so that the tip of the eggplant remaining is a sharp tip until I use the whole egg plant up. If this is confusing, I will teach you in person. maybe.
You poured in that yummy yummy oil (yes it will look like a lot), and once that oil heats up, toss in your copious heaps of garlic.

We have this phrase in chinese called "bao xiang". It means to let your garlic burst in the oil until you smell the flavor. This is how it should look like. And it should smell heavenly.
I tossed in the red bell pepper and scallion. Not necessary, but doesn't it look so pretty? :)
btw- giant eagle will rip you off for bell pepper ( I once spent $5 on ONE)- i got these at lotus market (less than $1.00 total), sooo cheap!
Eggplant suicide for delicious cause

You must be thinking what I'm thinking. the eggplant still looks kinda parched even though its bathing in a nice coat of veggie oil. So you'll add the soy sauce, sugar, salt now.ACTION SHOT!!

I basically let it sit in high heat, stirring it around every 2-3 minutes or so, until the eggplant is super soft. (20-30 mins). Here's how it should look. You can def add more of oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt at this point- everyone's taste is different.
The eggplant should look like this up close (MACRO!!), the membranes are totally mushy and soft, delish. If your eggplant doesn't look like this? Your eggplant is probably still thirsty, it wants more oil (also gets the heat nice and high to soften the egg plant), feed it!
Another macro shot. Don't be afraid, when you serve this a layer of oil will kinda settle to the bottom. But it will be so delicious no one will care.


love, JKL

i can do it your way.. but dont' get crazayyy

Getting back to med school was strangely comforting. You always have a lot of work to do, or something to take care of, and if you go to school you're surrounded by interesting people and friends. A more grown up version of college I guess? Any ways I was happy to be back. The first 2 weeks back, everyone I possibly knew had birthdays- apparantly capricorns are very type A and med school-y but I just know of them as some of the most caring and supportive peopel I know :).

See photos of our social outings here. In 1.5 weeks I studied for Fuel Metabolism like nuts, raised almost $1000 for diabetes research through a date auction Natalie and I threw with APAMSA- mommy and daddy, i swear i studied during this time!

Some highlights:

We rode in a limo for Erica/Niyathi/Vig's bday! That's what you can get for $10 a night in pitt, not bad not bad.
Packed room for our date auction! :) Thanks to all who came and supported the cause!
visited my dearest betsy pie at Yale for the long weekend before the inaguaration. I had such a blast meeting her friends and enjoying my first real relaxing post test weekend. Love you mei. More pictures to come.
Bringing in Lunar New Year with most of the MS1 asians. I had food I almsot died over, it was so good. thanks to meme and yinjie for being wonderful wonderful chefs. We also rolled dumplings afterwards, I feel like we're becoming our parents and i love it.

Happy year of the ox! (shout out to mommyyyy).

attack of the snowbots.. into 2009

We had a flurry of finals starting from dec 12 or something like that. We all basically lived at the neighborhood coffee shop, Coffee Tree Roasters. Mirat and I started bringing dinner and eating it in front of their big fireplace, we're THAT cozy there. Sometimes we even take off our shoes, but don't judge us. Anyways, the weeks went by in a blur- first genetics, then ethics, then Intro to Physical exam, then Biostats- lots of finals WHEW.

Ok, I'm kinda weird. But I organized everything the night before my flight back home for Christmas- and here's my whole first semester of med school on a shelf! It's kinda of crazy and painful to think that I once knew every single page in these syllabi/books/notebooks (they're dense!. I'm not kidding- that's what med school does to you, make you vomit out books whole- trust me it hurts.

We had a few fun days before the end of finals tho! Jess M. hosted a delicious holiday dinner at her place, we enjoyed the food and dessert while watching that holiday classic- Elf. Doesn't Amy look adorable in reindeer antlers? :) Mirat and I also had a secret santa exchange amongst some friends at our apartment, it was a good time, I got exactly what I wanted thanks to (awesome online tool)- leopard print earmuffs!!!
secret santa girls :), dont' look under the stairs... mirat and I dont' clean that often :P.

Ok. my flight was delayed going home, I got to catch the semester end party which was fun, but then I had to get up in 2 hours to catch my 5:30am at CMU and flight outta pittsburgh- ouch.

Got back to good ole Chelmsford, my hometown.. of my whole life. It's cold in our house, so my clever mother decided.. NO MORE OF THIS LET"S GO TO MIAMIIIII!!!
And we obeyed, and we had a good time! We toured Little Havanna on Christmas Day, looked at the art deco strip, went to a few museums, a few fancy mansions (owned by the Deere family of John Deere tractors since like the 1800s!!), and a few botanical gardens, all that stuff asian families do!

Bets and I on Miami Beach, it was warm, we went in the water, which was cold, so we ran out and my mom took a lot of pictures.

Bets and I at a beatiful historical home of the Deere Family. We arrived back to frigid Boston on New Year's eve. I rung in 2009 shoveling our untended driveway, it was awesome. I spent my remaining time at home (med school started up again on jan 4) visiting childhood friends and making a trek into Boston to see the MIT kiddies. Met up with Csk, Ptar, and Yeem- went to Pho in Harvard square and then played the night away with our favorite game ANAGRAMS and telephone pictionary (if you dont' know how to play I will teach you!). Had a sleepover (not sketch!) and then had brunch together.
I really miss college.
but on to med school and 2009!