Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mango (#7)

A few weeks ago I bought a whole box of amazing Taiwan mangoes. They are one of my favorite fruits here, especially for my morning smoothies! Today I put some in my fresh salsa (as a friend had suggested), and it was deee-licious! It's one of the easiest things in the world to make as long as you're up from some chopping. Incidentally, planning meals is one of my 30 before 30. I try to buy good fresh ingredients at the beginning of the week that I can hopefully use in a variety of ways. It is a challenge because it is so fast, cheap, and easy to eat out here, especially when you're cooking for one. But if anyone wants to try it out, here is how I made it today:

1 medium mango
1 medium red onion (you can use regular onion)
3 cloves of garlic
3 bunches of fresh cilantro
3-4 large ripe tomaotoes
Lime juice (or lemon)
Chop it all and put it in the fridge.
After about an hour the flavors will mingle together quite nicely, and it'seven better the next day! The proportions depend on your taste, so feel free to add more or less of what you want. Actually maybe I would add even more mango next time! When I've made it before without mango, I also sprinkle some cumin powder on it. Easy, right?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

All grown up! (#6)



My Taiwanese "little sister" Annie is graduating from elementary school this year! I took the train to Hualian to see her graduation recital on Saturday, where she played the flute and piano. I've known their family almost as long as I've been in Taiwan. My first year in Yuli, Hope and I went to their house for a weekly dinner. I also spent my first Chinese New Year with their family traveling around Taiwan. She was only 5 years old!! Sometimes it really starts to sink in that I've really been here for a long time, and I'm so thankful to have good friends like this family, who have really taken me in and made me feel like I'm not an outsider. I took a short video of her playing, I am so proud! She said she'd give me a few tips if I bring my flute back from Canada this summer...it might take a little more than a few pointers to make up for over 10 years of not playing though!!


video

Monday, June 06, 2011

Happy Dragon Boat Festival! (#5)


I went to Hualian for the weekend to visit my favorite family and see their daughter's graduation recital (see upcoming post), and part of the fun was making rice dumplings, or zhongzi with some of their friends. These are one of the many foods that I didn't really like at first, but have now really grown on me, especially if they're homemade and filled with yummy stuff! There are actually a lot of steps to take in order to make them, and a lot of different ways to do it as well.
1. Soak the bamboo leaves and cook the rice
2. Cook the meat
3. Stir fry the mushrooms, dried shrimp etc
3. Fry the rice with peanuts
Then comes the part I was involved with: assembly!
4. Take 2 bamboo leaves and fold them
5. Put some rice in the bottom
6. Add the filling
7. Cover with more rice
8. Shape and finish wrapping
9. Tie up with string
The wrapping part is the most difficult, and I admittedly, needed quite a bit of help, but it was fun, and then we got to the best part
10. Steam the dumplings
11. Enjoy!
They are quite filling, but I managed to eat two. I have another 5 left for the freezer!!
After that I went to watch a few dragon boat races with my friend Libeck, I didn't take any pictures there, but it was fun.... also HOT. According to Chinese wisdom (tradition?) Dragon Boat Festival marks the true beginning of summer, and this year, that may be the case, since we have had a wonderfully mild spring...let the sweating begin!