The gift for your picky  Chinese relatives: pickled mustard 

If your favorite Chinese relatives have everything…this is one of those gifts from the heart that will be appreciated, devoured and easy/inexpensive to make.  Plus after all these years you can get them in on the mason jar train. As anthropologie has mastered…if its in a jar and has a glorious ribbon tied to it,…

Original chopped salad from The Gladly, Arizona 

Why mess with a good thing? Tried this for Thanksgiving dinner. Delicious and mostly healthy. The dressing seems like a wallop of trouble but it pulls it all together very well.  Hint: I bought a $3 container of pecorino and asiago cheese  blend at Trader Joe’s and it was perfect for serving nine. I toasted…

Calibrate normal with Bolani

Few places in this world where we can sit at a table and converse and enjoy a potluck dinner with old and new friends from Nepal, Iran, Belgium, Mexico, Germany, Afghanistan, Canada, 3rd generation American and Chinese Americans. How cool is America?  That we can have a dinner party and everyone there can speak another…

Make cake for America again 

Suffragette white, American colors, a rainbow coalition. Shattered glass not included.  My beautiful daughters made this for herstory.  Marscapone whip cream 8 ounces marscapone cheese 8 ounces heavy whipping cream 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract  Whisk it up in a mixer using whisk attachment and try to save some for the actual…

Raclette: gather round for conversation cheese and celebration 

Raclette means to scrape. You melt cheese on the little trays and scrape it onto bread, potatoes, vegetables and meats.  Fun family dinner, easy group entertaining. With the US elections making everyone overwhelmed and wanting the nail biting to be over, it’s time to slow down with raclette.   America is truly stronger together. With…

Rao’s Marinara 

I’ve never eaten at Rao’s – apparently impossible to get a seat in NYC but they have 2 other locations in Vegas and LA. (Bummer was just at both places this summer and missed it). $11.99 for a jar of marinara sauce….I know, I know… Ridiculous but I gave it a shot and combined it…

Chia Te wife cakes 

If you’re ever in Taipei, Taiwan, do stop by Chia Te bakery.  pineapple cakes are usually the crowd favorite but our family favorite is wife cakes. Technically the Chinese translation is “old wife cakes” – sounds terrible but tastes great, chewy flakiness with a mochi filling. Second favorite is the duck egg yolk with red…

Japanese hotpot with kinki fish yuzu and daikon 

This Japanese style hot pot is light, healthy and a swirl of unexpected flavors. Kinki fish is a rock cod that brings bright flavor to a light soup stock.  Unlike Chinese hot pot, no soy sauce or chili/satay dipping sauce. Instead the condiment is yuzu and finely grated daikon.  Start with fresh kinki fish. Clean…

Approachable and easy sushi at home: hand rolls 

Hand rolls are a much simpler and approachable sushi at home experience. Lay stuff out…everyone takes and makes their own.  Cheated today- instead of cooking vinegar rice (which makes the whole house smell like a wet stinky foot) added in pre-made sushi rice vinegar to a fresh pot of short grain rice and it turned…

an instinctual approach: SF MOMA and Mission district murals 

When I mentioned to a fellow wedding guest the previous night about my excitement to visit SF MOMA, a White man told me, an Asian woman, that it’s full of dead or middle aged white people’s art…that it isn’t a representation of all modern art despite its massive collection.  Well he’s right but it is…

Bubbly and sweet: Yountville, Napa Valley 

I need to write a letter to any deity listening and ask if I may have 2 extra hours today to eat and drink just one more thing.  Splendor is sparkling wine on the terrace with cheese and macaron from Bouchon bakery.  Their pastries aren’t as memorable as their macarons. Peanut butter and jam filling?…