Posts Tagged ‘brb


Sun Dried Tomato Gremolata

Gremolata with Sun Dried Tomato

I go through a process about twice or thrice a year to help inspire me to become well built. It begins with a television show, image, or conversation about lean bodies, six packs, or looking hot that starts its season. I would then feel in-adequate with myself and then go to the gym and attempt a healthier lifestyle and diet and as well as try to be more mentally clear. So, thanks to the Olympics, daytime talk shows, and So You Think You Can Dance, I am forced to see what I am not (a tall muscular man with six packs and legs that can touch the cieling) and I vow at that moment that I will NOT slack off. A few weeks later,  once the season is done, I’m back to laying on the couch and pretending I can point my toes.

My regimen is usually the same. Thanks to working mostly nights, I wake up and have some breakfast, wait an hour before I walk to the gym, run on a treadmill for forty minutes, and then I walk home and have lunch. I would continue to do this two or three times a week until I attempt to make a habit of it.  Having a routine like this makes one realize what they are really good at. I’ve learned that I’m really good at: 1) looking like I work out alot when I go to the gym. 2)  Taking naps after Working out. And 3) making scrambled eggs in the morning.

Now, I haven’t always been great at making scrambled eggs. Originally, when I would wake up to watch cartoons or read the comics, my scrambled eggs were hard, clumpy, rubber like in texture, and filled with garlic powder (it’s how I thought scrambled eggs where supposed to be prepared at the age of 9).  It wasn’t until I was watching Martha Stewart a few years later that I realized that the secret is to do it over low heat and have some patience. I now understood what eggs where supposed to taste like.  It was as if the clouds had opened up to show blue skies above me and a ray or enlightenment had beamed down from above and given me infinite wisdoms and knowledge.  Okay, maybe not that extreme, but it was eye opening.

From there I began experimenting with toppings and condiments to dress my eggs with. It made breakfast more fun, and allowed me to push back the inevitable of working out. I played with salsas, vinagerettes, sauces, chutneys, and gremolatas. They where all delicious. But I think my favorite was this gremolatas dish. It had the right amount of chunky mouth feel without overpowering the flavor or texture of the egg. Also, it is still sauce-like enough to blend well with the egg to ensure even coverage so that you have some in every bite.

I first made this gremolata in college when I would buy a whole bushel of parsley but realize I only needed half. I’d end up with a bunch of parsley that would turn brown in my fridge if I didn’t use it up quickly. The solution that I came up with was to make it into a sauce and refrigerate it. This way I could keep the parsley  a few more days past its prime. I wouldn’t reccomend it for folks who have an aversion to parsley. It’s pretty heavy in that flavor profile. But, somehow the brightness from the lemon zest and the sweetness from the sun dried tomato really works well with the grassy flavor of the parsley. Plus, as you all know from my infatuations, the combination of egg and tomato will always be a plus in my books, no matter how the tomato is prepared.   Enjoy this sauce, it woul be great on gamey meats as well, but just as good on scrambled eggs.


1 cup parsley, minced

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 tbs sun dried tomato, minced

1 clove garlic, grated

2 tbs olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to test.

let the gremolata sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavor to combine

-serves 6-


Spicy Sauteed Tendon with Garlic and Scallion

Spicy Tendon

I know Kung Fu.  Well, I know a few key basic moves.  Ok, I used to know Kung Fu.  It was part of a special extra curricular program that was part of my Chinese School when I was younger. Chinese school was a painful memory of my past.  While all my friends where enjoying two full days off from school, I had only one and a half days to play outside.  My Chinese school was from nine in the morning until noon. It was a short class, but it felt like a lifetime to a ten year old.  And, like my regular school, I wasn’t a very good student at all.  I would usually wake up early that Saturday around six or seven in the morning.  Run to the television and turn it on for Saturday morning cartoons, Saved By The Bell, and California Dreaming and attempt to finish a full week’s homework in between commercial breaks.  Once my parents woke up, I would then put the homework away and keep my textbook out to do last minute studying for a quiz (because I had finished my homework days in advanced) and then go to class.  During class I would listen real hard and answer in Mandarin, which is why I credit my ability to have basic conversations in Chinese but also why I lack reading and writing skills.   The redeeming factor on Saturdays was ending the day with my Kung Fu class.

Kung Fu class was fun.  I learned some fun sequences and felt like I could be the next Bruce Lee or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I didn’t get very far in my practice.  I had no idea as a kid that the art form required so much discipline and focus. But, you know what?  I got to yellow belt and I was satisfied. I just wanted the accessory.  It was something that I could show off to the world when my parents took me out for lunch and errands after school. I was a super hero. Well a beginner belt superhero.

One of the places I got to show off my “manly-ness” was at A&J restaurant.  Still one of my favorite restaurants of all time and I still get the same dishes every time I visit.  We went so often, to the point where the moment they saw a tiny Taiwanese boy running awkwardly in the parking lot with baggy Kung Fu clothes and a yellow sash, my order would already be in the kitchen.   A few minutes later, while my parent where still waiting for the rest of the order, I would have in front of me Zha Jiang Mian, pickled seaweed, and stir fried tendons.

It's not a sexy thing. But it tastes awesome.

I’ve been able to get both the seaweed and noodle dish in NYC to help curb my cravings. But, I have yet to find a place in the city to satisfy the tendon bug. The texture of this dish is hard to describe.  It’s a soft gelatinous chewy goodness, but has a subtle crispness fruity from the cooking processed.  Because the chili oil and scallion impart an intense citrus and floral fragrance, the flavor profile of the earthy garlic becomes a subtle nuttiness mixed with a hint of spice. Add the caramelizing of the soy sauce and you have a complex profile of flavors and textures in a dish that only has five simple ingredients.

The key thing with this dish is to use lots and lots of oil. You want the tendon to stir fry and not stick to the pan. Also, make sure your pan is screeching hot. Like, smoke alarm is going to go off hot. So make sure the house is well ventilated and you’re ready to deal with some chili oil smoke. There is a chance, if you don’t open a window, that you are creating some illegal bio-warfare.

Enjoy this dish.  It’s not exactly like the original, but maybe if I put on a Kung fu outfit and a yellow belt, it will almost be the same.


2 tbs vegetable oil

2 chili pods (or you can use 2 tsp chili oil)

1½ lb beef tendon (boiled until soft), cut in 1 inch pieces

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

2 scallion stalks, 1 inch slices

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp rice wine


heat oil on high with chili pods until almost smoking

add all ingredients and stir fry for a few minutes, until fragrant

remove from heat and add salt to taste

-serves 4-


Easy Pork and Garlic Chive Stir Fry

...pork and chive stir fry...

It feels like spring came extremely early this year, which, as you know, means two things for me.  I will relentlessly talk about my love for the farmers market and you will be forced to listen with no escape like a slideshow of my family vacation.  And, I will tear down all the weeds (with itchy eyes and a runny nose) to pretend to make way for a patch of dirt with green sprouts and try to call it a garden.  Yay, spring!


Last year, I neglected my duties of weeding and let some of the weeds (which I thought where just plants) turn into small trees.  Yes.  This year, we had giant tree weeds.  I never knew that these things existed, but I have the 6-foot carcass in my backyard as proof.  In order to protect my integrity as a green thumb (*ahem*), I went to Target and bought a giant tree/bush scissor thingy (clearly a green thumb) and hacked away at all the weeds at my house.  It was a brutal image, with sticks, roots, and dirt flying in every direction.  In the end, it was a war zone but it was beautiful.  I was weed free and, as a bonus, there was faint aroma of garlic in the air.  It was amazing.  At first, I wasn’t sure what the smell was.  It was a familiar aroma and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I finally realized it was the smell of Chinese chives.


It immediately brought me back to memories of my childhood.  My mom would cook it for dumplings and stir-fries and it would have an amazing gentle garlic flavor to it.  I started to get nostalgic and looked around for the sprouts of dark green leaves.  Turns out my neighbors had planted some of these chives a while back and they have began to grow into our part of the fence.  I ended up planting them in some pots that I had, and harvesting the leaves.  The best thing about these chives is that they are hearty.  So you can cut off the tops and in a few weeks, you’ll have some more leaves to enjoy.  And they’re easy to care for, so I can continue to pretend to be amazing with the green thumb.


For this recipe, I only needed 1/2 a pound of pork.  What my Mom and I do now is just buy a bunch of it, then slice it once we get home and then freeze them in individual sandwich bags.  This way they are proportioned out for when you need it.  Plus, the marinade for the pork was my Mom’s standard marinade that she used for all her sliced meats that she used for stir-fry.  It’s tasty and is a quick marinade.  You can use it with any sliced meat for any stir-fry.  I like the pork and chive combo here.  Use tofu as a substitute if you are a vegetarian or NOT on the primal diet.





½ lb pork (I used tenderloin), julienne

1 tbs soy sauce

½ tbs cooking rice wine

2 tsp rice flour or cornstarch

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 bunches of Chinese garlic chives (about ½ lb), 1 inch slices

vegetable oil (if needed)


mix first seven items together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes

heat a pan or wok on high until screaming hot and stir-fry the pork until cooked through (add oil if necessary)

add garlic chives and stir until cooked, a few minutes

-serves 4-







crispy shrimp with wasabi tobiko sauce


crispy shrimp with wasabi tobiko sauce

I’ve spent the last five months at an amazing restaurant that shut its doors on Sunday.  Japonais, a Japanese restaurant cooked in French styles, was my place to be creative with drinks as well as allowed me to talk about the thing I love the most: food.  I had a blast there and made amazing friends.  I developed a bond with the staff that I have never had at any workplace.  On top of that, I truly got to learn more about the service industry and truly value the work, friendship, and support of all the players in the restaurant industry.

One of the dishes that I constantly sold and was sure to be a crowd pleaser was the Crispy Shrimp and Salmon.  Now, Japonais had really delicious traditional sushi dishes, but the Crispy Shrimp and Salmon, amongst the three other specialty rolls, where exceptional.  It was a traditional panko fried shrimp inside a sushi roll and topped with soy marinated salmon sashimi and drizzled with a wasabi tobiko sauce.   Yeah.  Sounds decadent huh?  It was.  In a very good way though.

I tried to recreate this dish at home but hit a few obstacles.  The problem with sushi is that it’s not fun to make (or cost affective) unless it is in bulk.  The process of making sushi rice, collecting the ingredients, and marinating sushi grade salmon did not make my wallet happy.  So, I just took the main pieces that I thought I could realistically make and then just hope one day I make it to the Chicago or Vegas location.

So, this is a variation of the dish.  I did a panko fried shrimp and just accompanied it with a wasabi tobiko sauce.  Tobiko is pretty great if you have never tried it.  It’s the caviar of the flying fish.  It creates a crunchy, popping texture when you bite into it and adds VERY subtle briny flavor in the sauce.  If you don’t have access to tobiko, you can use masago.  If you don’t like either, then omit it.  It’s ok.  For this dish, you can make this sauce a couple of days in advance.  The wasabi flavor will be a little stronger, but that’s what makes my sinuses happy.  Also, I used something called Kewpie Mayo.  Kewpie is the brand of a Japanese mayonnaise that’s a little sweeter than the American version.  If you can’t find Kewpie, then the “red, white, and blue” version is fine.


[the sauce]

1/4 tsp wasabi paste

2 tsp tobiko or masago (optional)

1/4 cup scallion, minced

1/4 cup mayonnaise (kewpie if you have it)

1/2 tsp soy sauce

1/2  tsp sesame oil

salt and pepper

[the shrimp]

vegetable oil for frying

2 lb of medium shrimp, peeled with tail still on

1 large egg

1 tbs water

1 cup flour

1 cup panko

1 tbs salt

1 tbs pepper


mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside

pour oil in a deep pot or fryer and heat on high

clean shrimp and de-shell if necessary (freeze shell for broth some other time)

beat egg with water in a shallow dish, set aside

season flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish, set aside

pour panko in a (surprise, surprise) shallow dish, and set aside

coat shrimp in flour and shake of excess flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the panko bread crumbs.

fry in oil (when you insert a wood chopstick or handle of a wood spoon and bubbles form around it, then it’s ready-Thank you Rachel Ray for that tip-) until golden brown.

remove from oil and let drain on towel for a few minutes

serve with wasabi mayonnaise

-serves 4-


orange popsicle crush

orange popsicle crush

This blog is starting to become a vessel for my food addictions.  I’m not sure if I should congratulate myself on doing some internal growth and development by taking the plunge of admitting my addiction in such a public way or if I should go hide in shame in a corner with a big bowl of lard rice.  I think I may choose the latter.  If you also notice, I don’t usually do anything to change the addiction.  This is mainly because of two reasons:  1) my addictions are not deadly (in the short term) and 2) I like food and drinks way too much to be picky about it.  So, after much random tangents, I will now admit my addiction.  Let me poise myself, look down in shame, and take a deep breath.  Here it is, I am Scott Lu and I am addicted to popsicles.

Now, I love my popsicles.  Something about the refreshing coolness combined with sweet fruity awesomeness is a great combination.  (yes, that sentence was mundane and remedial at it’s best).  I’ll eat any type of popsicles.  My favorites do have to be the kind that I grew up with when I was young: Big Sticks, original, and  Firecrackers.  Awesome.  Although the real fruit popsicles are great, and I love chomping down on piece of frozen strawberry, but something about the neon colored, “artificially flavored with real fruit juice” ice on a stick just makes me so happy inside.

Popsicles are simple.  When I was little I would pour some juice in an ice cube tray and then freeze it.  That’s not exciting enough and worth a post.  So, why not challenge myself to create a post that reminds me of popsicles and yet seems exciting to create?

The answer? I revert to my lemonade cleanse days, and make it deliciously alcoholic.  Working as a bartender allows me the opportunity to make new creations and play around with ingredients that my home bar doesn’t have.  There has been this recent trend, not sure where it comes from, to have orange vodka and sprite.  I tried it, and liked it, but it felt like it was missing another layer of flavor.  I grabbed a few slices of orange, muddled it up, and the citrus oils gave it an extra layer of flavor.  I felt like I was drinking a cup of orange popsicles.  It was amazing.

Who knew that adding natural fruit to flavored vodka would make it taste like unnaturally flavored popsicles?  The natural oils in the citrus zest and pith create an awesome flavor that lingers as you take each sip.  Although this may seem like a summer drink (the citrus), do it in the wintertime.  Oranges are in season and the sweetest and most fragrant.  Also, don’t use orange juice as a substitute.  That’s not the point, it’s the peels that are key in this drink.

Oh, and I’m glad that I have found a way to combine two of my addictions: Popsicle and alcohol.  One step closer to attaining perfection?


orange slices

1 ½ oz Orange flavored vodka (Stoli Oranj, Absolut Mandarin)


lemon/lime soda (sprite or 7 up)


muddle (smash up) a couple of slices of orange in a glass

fill glass with ice and vodka

shake glass with shaker or stir with spoon

top with soda

garnish with orange slice if you like


-serves 1-


i hunger...i cook...i eat...i come back...i reminisce...i blog...enjoy.


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