Current Progress

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eggplant and bean sprouts

Craving homecooked asian food I bought eggplant and bean sprouts this week to make another stirfry. I don't think I've ever cooked an eggplant before. And typically I'm used to seeing the long skinny ones not the fat squash-looking one. Nothing special, I sliced the eggplant, washed the beansprouts and some leek. First cooked the eggplant withi olive oil then added in oyster sauce and peanut oil (along with white pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic). Had it with my favourite (only) 9-grain rice.

Looks pretty, tastes pretty good!

Nguyen-Nguyen Weekend

In celebrating of a NGUYEN-ing (yes WINNING) weekend I was able to check off some restaurants from my Thu-Eat list.

Toshi Sushi is an amazingly fresh and delicious as well as easy on the wallet! I've checked yelp and dinehere enough to know that I should expect a long lineup. There were 5 of us, started waiting at 6pm and sat at 7:30pm. But honestly it was worth the wait!! The Uni was really fresh. The horse mackerel was delicious. Sockeye salmon and tuna sashimi were so good too. With drinks and everyone full the bill was about $20/each which is well worth it.

Coincidentally, Taste of Yaletown started this weekend as well. There's been one restaurant that I've been dying to try. Glowbal happened to have a $35 menu and a table open at 7:30pm so off we went. We started off with a bottle of red wine which turned into 4 bottles - the house Merlot was pretty good and reasonably priced. What a great meal!!!! I was impressed from appetizer to dessert.

Appetizer: Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with crispy potato, roast garlic and truffle salad
Wow - the beef was so tender, soft and melt in my mouth. the roasted garlic had a texture i've never tasted before.

2nd appetizer: Seven spice ahi tuna
They have these small apps for $2-3 so we all tried one. I couldn't tell the difference between this ahi tuna and others I've had in the past though. The others got a kobe beef meatball and a short rib where were also delicious.

I chose the Citrus and Fennel Dusted Queen Charlotte Halibut
Baby arugala salad, parmesan risotto and blood orange reduction
for my main. The risotto was really creamy but it went well with the Halibut. The others chose the Lamb which was amazingly tender and full of flavour.

The dessert came out in a little hot skillet which was a good wrap to a good meal. I really enjoyed the quality of the food at Glowbal, the staff was super friendly too. I'd definitely come back here.

We also went to Afterglow, the lounge attached to Glowbal. Chad Kroeger from Nickelback was there along with his friends. I guess I've never been in a small lounge with someone famous before. The thing I noticed the most was everyone's hair was so perfectly dyed and styled. Other than that they seem like normal people having a good time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Be Lucky - it's an easy skill to learn

Really liked this article that B found. It's pretty inspirational at how an attitude change really affects your luck.

In the university years, I was always fascinated with the good luck I always had. Not studying still meant riding the bell curve. Co-op jobs that took me to Vietnam and California which meant a new place, new experience every week. Singapore was filled with travels all over Asia and a certain doom of failing the term except we were let off from writing exams because of Saars and sent back home! Everything just lined up one after the other and things just worked out. My friend would always call it a mojo that I had. We didn't know what it was but whatever it was I loved it.

Then as I got lost after graduating, all this bad stuff started happening - like accidents, hospitals, friends passing away, getting dumped, burning out, etc. It was an endless cycle of self destruction and bad luck and I'd always blame the same friend for stealing my mojo - since his days at Haas were filled with random luck and really great opportunities.

Anyway, after a slow and painful attitude adjustment, I'm getting my mojo back :) This article explains what mojo actually is and it really is an easy skill to learn to reap the benefits.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Spinach

After the last failure of drinking raw beet juice, I made sure that wasn't happening again! I bought 2 beets, wrapped them up in aluminum foil and put them in the oven at 375 degrees for 60 min. I left them in the oven for a while after that too because I forgot about them :) But it wasn't a bad move, since when I opened up the foil, steam didnt rush to my face.

I cut away the skin, making sure to wear gloves since I didn't want the blood-like stain anywhere on me. Drizzle with olive oil and salt.

I cut them up into slices and added spinach, garlic sprouts and goat cheese. If I didn't finish all my walnuts last week, I would've added that too. It was a pretty delicious and surprisingly filling lunch.

With the left over beets, I put them into my trusty Magic Bullet with some frozen strawberries for a refreshing breakfast. MUCH better than the raw smoothie I made a few months back.

Bok Choy, Enoki and Fish Tofu

I challenged myself this week to cook single portion dinners so that I have no left overs. As well, I wanted to split these ingredients into two different dishes! I miss home cooked Vietnamese (or any asian) food where my mom would make several dishes and there was always some type of soup. So that's what I did - all in the span of 30 min.

1. Boil water and miso paste.
2. Throw in bok choy, enoki, fish tofu, chives and cilantro, salt, pepper
3. Done when bok choy shrinks

Stir Fry
1. Heat up pan with a little bit of olive oil
2. Put in bok choy until brown (5 min)
3. Mix up oyster sauce, rice vinegar, peanut oil and mix it in with the bok choy
4. Add the fish tofu and enoki mushrooms for another 2 min
5. Done!

I'm not sure that the oyster sauce is any good for you but yeah what a deliciously quick meal with a bit of variety with the same ingredients :) I ate this with my favourite 9 grain rice. Is it just me or do other people do different dishes with the same ingredients on the same night?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hot Yoga

Alright - the free exercise route is not working for me. I have a seawall right outside which I've yet to run on in months and biked as many times as fingers on my hands all summer. I have the complete P90X videos and open one up once a week at most.

Paying for something makes you more accountable. I really enjoy it when someone tells me what to do and corrects my form - I completely miss JJ from SF Hills and Drills bootcamp !

Anyway, a friend just moved into Yaletown and suggested that we hit up Hot Yoga last night! I've only done P90X Yoga and Wii Yoga and have never been to a class before! Luckily they have a 2 weeks for $30 special that I signed up for. Bikram Yoga as I understand it is usually 1.5 hours where you go through 26 poses a super hot room. This class was 1 hour and the temperature was about 40 degrees and the 2nd time is modified a little so every pose is not exactly repeated.

The teacher was awesome, giving me a lot of tips and feedback since I was the newbie in the class. I look around and everyone's got really really toned bodies. I was surprised that I could do 90% of it and keep up. Some of the times I had to drink water and lie down. Ah yes, as a newbie, I didn't bring a water bottle and had to borrow my friend's - if you go, do remember water!! Since heat rises, the only way to cool down is lie flat on the ground.

I thought the hour was never going to end - I have no idea how I'll last the regular 90 min class in this hot room. In the end, as soon as she opened the windows which let cool air in, it felt so good.

I slept like a baby last night! My body felt like jello today, every joint was vibrating and sore all day long. I went swimming to distract the soreness today.

But yeah tomorrow I can't wait to do hot yoga again!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Now that my office is located 15 seconds away from my kitchen its a dream come true to be able to control what I eat during the week. Now that I have access to Costco again, the first order of business was to get my frozen falafel balls, stock up on pita bread and a big box of edamame. Aside from freezing strawberries and bananas you won't find anything else in my freezer except these things :)

Pitas are useful to make wraps for my falafel! And also baked as I mentioned in a previous post to dip with hummus. Here's a sample lunch from yesterday - spinach salad with cilantro (from my herb garden), cucumber, tomato and two falafel balls. Topped with a little italian dressing.

Oh can't forget the fruit! I've found that the cheapest place for all my veggies and fruits is Kin's Farm Market. I'm having at least one grapefruit or orange or pear a day along with my smoothies in the morning.

Spaghetti Squash

When I was on a strict no rice/pasta streak, a friend suggested trying Spaghetti Squash! I never happened to find it at the supermarket though until last week! The sign said Spaghetti Squash and I brought it home, cut it in half...and was a little disappointed! I half expected it to be long strands of spaghetti shape squash inside but for all intents and purposes it looked like a solid nothing special squash!

I thought maybe I bought a butternut squash or some other squash! I looked up pictures of spaghetti squash and sure enough it was. Ok, since I forked over $5 for this, I gave it a try. Scooped out the seeds, baked it faced down in the oven (preheat 400F) for 30-40min. Put a fork into it and indeed, the strands of spaghetti squash came out with no effort! It's pretty cool actually.

I mixed it up with tomatoes and mushrooms and onion and olive oil and it turned out great. Definitely could see it as a substitute for spaghetti. But 10 portions later, I never wanted any squash again (3 days).