A Brief Hiatus

My lovely readers: If you know me at all, you know that I am prone to thinking myself a failure. But I’m trying to move out of that mindset because of the seemingly irreparable damage it does to my wellbeing and to the people around me. And because it’s become so very boring.

In any case, life has been really nutty, lately. Work is way more intense than usual; this diet, though remarkable, is taking up a lot of my time; the ten year anniversary of my mother’s passing is coming up and even though I’m doing everything I can to ready myself for it, I’m woefully unprepared; and, I’ve recently been elected to a co-chair position for a non-profit steering committee.

I’ve learned pretty recently that I often set myself up to fail (i.e. not succeed to the degree that I want to) so that I can justify and excuse my self-loathing practices. Unlike many self-saboteurs, I’m not afraid of failing, and don’t use fear as a reason to not try. I try like hell. I expect myself to put a thousand percent of myself in everything, yet I somehow always-already know that I will not accomplish what I want to accomplish. For example, I will tell myself that I’ll practice an hour of piano a day knowing full well that that I won’t and can’t (since I’ve over-committed to just about everything in my life), so I can have a reason to berate myself. I’ll make a goal of writing a new blog entry per week and use my inability to execute (because there are only 24 hours in a day) as a new source of self-doubt.

I want to break free from this strange self-defeating trend, and in order to do that, I need to change some of my habits. So, to stop using something I love (this blog) to treat myself poorly, I’m going to do something radically different, and rearrange my own expectations. Starting today, I’m going to take an intentional hiatus from Exposed Eats until April 2016, when work and life are less bonkers. Scouts honor, I’ll be back. I just have far too many thoughts and feelings about food and other things to stay away.

Before I go on this self-imposed break, I do want to say a few things about this sort-of-elimination diet we’ve been on the last three weeks.

Honestly, it’s been kind of laborious. I think there’s been some kind of psychological impact in knowing I cannot consume red meat, dairy products, added sugars, gluten, and eggs. Everything we’ve been eating has been quite delicious, but I’ve put a lot of extra work into the meals to compensate for this real or perceived lack. But I’ve been feeling AMAZING.

Things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Breakfast is so important. I know this is a really silly thing to say, since everyone already knows it. For most of my life, I have not eaten breakfast. I don’t like waking up earlier in the morning to prepare something. I find breakfast foods to be very boring, unless they are are a bacon, egg and cheese croissant or german pancakes with caramelized apples. For the last three weeks, we’ve been eating mostly quinoa porridge with coconut milk, berries or fried bananas, and nuts. Though I’m not completely sold on the taste just yet (especially since we can’t add any sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc.), I have to say that I’ve been insanely energetic during the day. I’m already a pretty upbeat and high-energy person, so it’s possible that this new breakfast-eating Yejin is actually a bit terrifying. In any case, when this diet is over, we’re going to continue eating these porridges for breakfast because they’re awesome. With a tiny bit of maple syrup? Ugh, it’ll be so good. And, when we can reintroduce eggs (in a week),  I’m going to be all over that shit. Fried eggs over rice with vegetables. Soft boiled eggs with a touch of sea salt. Yes. Yes.
  2. Consuming too many sweets has dulled my tastebuds. The hardest part of this diet has been the elimination of added sugars. I never had a sweet tooth until recently (I blame my nutella-hoarding husband), but I’ve never really realized how many products have added sugars in them. In any case, after being sad about sugarless breakfast porridges (only sweetened through fruit) and 80+% cocoa chocolates for two whole weeks, something remarkable happened. I started tasting the natural sweetness in everything. I’m not supposed to have alcohol on this diet, but have cheated a couple of times. One of those times, I had a tiny splash of scotch. And it was SO SWEET. I was stunned by how much sweetness I now suddenly tasted in this beverage I have consumed a great deal in the past. I’m also now officially obsessed with really dark chocolates. Oh, and fruit. Fruit is like candy.
  3. Eating with a new level of ingredient-based intentionality can lead to surprising things like weight loss.  I have accidentally lost seven pounds from this diet. I am not eating less than I normally do (but definitely less than I was over the holidays), but am obviously being super intentional about what I’m putting in my body. That’s not to say that cheese or bread or steak or any other amazing food is the cause of weight gain – I just think thinking this much about what’s going into my body has had some interesting results.
  4. I love gluten. Next week we will be slowly reintroducing gluten into our diet to see how our body reacts. I’m pretty sure I’m not intolerant or allergic to it, but I am open to the possibility that it slows me down. However, I’ve never thought I would miss bread so much in my life. This surprises me.
  5. Cravings can go away. I have a weird relationship with cravings, especially as someone who once had an eating disorder. In the last couple of years, I’ve tried fall into my cravings (in moderation) so that I’m not a prisoner to them, and to a certain degree I think I still will. However, for the first two weeks of the diet I had what felt like insatiable cravings for pizza, macaroni & cheese, croissants, and more. I would think about those foods before falling asleep, and they were the first things on my mind when I woke up. But once I entered into the third week, most of those urgent tastebud needs went away. Of course, I still want those things, but I’m no longer near tears because of them. So, yay!

See you in a couple of months, my doves!

Things I’ve Cooked for this Sad Diet


Pumpkin quinoa porridge with coconut milk, pepitas, dried cranberries, and sliced bananas


Lentil, roasted broccoli and shallot stew over jasmine rice


Scallion and ginger shrimp with roasted cauliflower and brown rice


Hainanese chicken with roasted broccoli and jasmine rice


Roasted butternut squash risotto made with homemade cornish hen broth


Roasted cornish hen with jasmine rice and roasted brussel sprouts


Grilled branzino with roasted veggies and jasmine rice


Chicken soup with cranberry beans, carrots, celery, onion, chicken, and kale


Lamb meatloaf (with mushrooms, zucchini, caramelized onions, garlic, raisins, and pine nuts) with roasted veggies and jasmine rice


Roasted butternut squash, spinach, and chickpea curried stew with brown rice 


Grilled branzino


Mixed quinoa porridge with coconut milk,  berries, and walnuts

Menu of Meals: Week 2 of Our “Clean Slate Diet” Challenge, Plus a Recipe Poll

Dieting is hard. After completing the first week of our “clean slate diet” (where we eliminate gluten, dairy, beef/pork, added sugar, and other allergens like eggs), I honestly feel great. Scarily, I have a lot more energy throughout the day (I’m already known to be quite hyper), my attention span has lengthened a great deal, and I’ve weirdly lost five pounds. However, I cannot stop craving the following foods: pizza (I have dreams of shotgunning a large everything pie), mac n cheese, porchetta sandwich, soft boiled eggs, and steak. Though I’ve done all I can to make the first week of meals as exciting as possible despite this diet’s hard restrictions, there is something I miss not only about the taste of these forbidden ingredients, but also the texture. I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to recreate the creaminess of melted cheese, the dual texture of things like bread (crispy on the outside, soft on the inside), or the chewiness of red meat, and I find myself wanting those things more than anything, right now.

I’ve heard that the first few days of a diet is the hardest. My husband and I are committed to competing this six-week regimen, but it’s a little sad. This isn’t to say that each meal hasn’t been delicious. Here’s a sampling of what we ate last week:

Meals (clockwise starting on the top left): ginger/scallion chicken soup with rice noodles, shredded chicken and garlic sautéed bok choy; mushu chicken with brown rice; brown rice noodles stir-fried with vegetables in almond butter/soy sauce with broiled salmon and roasted broccoli and cauliflower; turkey meatball soup with escarole and kale; green lentils with roasted brussel sprouts with jasmine rice

Meals (clockwise starting on the top left): ginger/scallion chicken soup with rice noodles, shredded chicken and garlic sautéed bok choy; mushu chicken with brown rice; brown rice noodles stir-fried with vegetables in almond butter/soy sauce with broiled salmon and roasted broccoli and cauliflower; turkey meatball soup with escarole and kale; green lentils with roasted brussel sprouts with jasmine rice

True to form, I went overboard during week one and spent an unnecessary amount of time in the kitchen to compensate for what we were going to miss. But let’s be real. A cheese-less and bread-less life is not the merriest life. In any case, this week, I’m not going to be as insane in the kitchen because I don’t want to burn out. Without further ado, here’s the menu for the week.

Menu of Meals for Week 2 (January 10th-17th):

Sunday, January 10th

  • B: Sliced apple with almond butter
  • L: Nha Minh smoked fish rice bowl
  • D: Roasted butternut squash, chickpea, and coconut curry w/ white rice
    * Make hummus

Monday, January 11th

  • B: Fruit
  • L: Leftover butternut squash, chickpea, and coconut curry with white rice
  • D: Scallion ginger shrimp with brown rice and roasted broccoli/cauliflower

Tuesday, January 12th

  • B: Chocolate chia seed pudding with berries
  • L: Leftover scallion ginger shrimp with brown rice and roasted broccoli/cauliflower
  • D: Lamb and mint meatballs with brown rice and salad
    * make chicken broth

Wednesday, January 13th

  • B: Quinoa porridge with frozen berries, banana, and walnut
  • L: Leftover lamb and mint meatballs with brown rice
  • D: Hainanese chicken with garlic rice and garlic bok choy

Thursday, January 14th

  • B: Coconut milk yogurt with fruit
  • L: Leftover hainanese chicken with garlic rice and garlic bok choy
  • D: Broiled salmon with quinoa and roasted brussel sprouts and cranberry beans with radicchio

Friday, January 15th

  • B: Brown rice porridge with fruit and almonds  
  • L:  Leftover salmon with quinoa and roasted brussel sprouts and cranberry beans with raddichio
  • D: Roasted cornish hen with brown rice, salad, and roasted brussel sprouts

Saturday, January 16th

  • B:  Chia seed pudding
  • L: Leftover roasted cornish hen with brown rice and roasted brussel sprouts
  • D: Braised collard greens with cranberry beans and turkey andouille sausage and brown rice
    * Make chicken broth

Sunday, January 17th

  • B: Fruit  
  • L: Leftovers
  • D: Roasted butternut squash risotto with roasted vegetables 

I know I owe my little community of readers a post on meal planning when cooking just seems like the worst thing ever, and I promise it will come sometime this month. This diet is taking more of my time than I thought it would. Plus being back at work full-force after a 10-day break is harder as a supervisor. But I’m on it, my dears!

On Physiological Introspection and a “Clean Slate” Six-Week Diet

Happy 2016, beloved readers! With support from my phenomenal therapist, friends, and family, 2015 was a year of intense emotional and mental introspection. It’s been a mess, but the awesome kind – the sort where you throw all the junk from your drawers onto the floor and see all the ridiculous and wonderful things you’ve been holding onto for years. To supplement this ongoing work, I thought it would be great to pair this work with a more physiological self-analysis. For years I’ve been rather unkind to myself, and I’m curious about how I can be more thoughtful about my body’s needs.


My husband recently read a book called Mangia che ti passa: Uno sguardo rivoluzionario sul cibo per vivere piu sani e piu a lungo by Filippo Ongaro, who is an Italian physician and expert in functional medicine. Basically, the book discusses nutrigenomics, a multidisciplinary science which studies how food affects our genes, and how individual genetic differences can impact the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds) in the foods we eat. Essentially, what we eat gives our bodies messages, and these messages contribute to making us feel good or feel bad. Ongaro suggests that it’s important for people to understand how different foods affect our bodies, and recommends we do this by: (1) creating a clean slate for our bodies through a 6-week elimination diet; (2) slowly reintroducing principal food allergens; and (3)  following 10 simple rules. I’m not sure how interesting this is to folks, but I thought it might be helpful to share these three strategies.

Elimination Phase (6 week diet)

This elimination phase helps one to create a baseline in order to determine food allergies and intolerances.

  • What to eat
    • Fresh fruit (except citrus)
    • Vegetables
      • Especially good: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, artichokes, spinach, cabbage
      • To eliminate: tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants
    • Legumes
    • Spices in natural form (e.g. curry, ginger, wasabi, cinnamon, peperoncino, rosemary)
    • “Milk” – coconut, rice, almond
    • Whole grain rice
    • Olive oil
    • Fish (especially salmon, sardines, mackerel)
    • Meat: chicken, turkey, or lamb (avoid red meats)
    • Nuts and seeds, unsalted
    • Green tea, herbal teas, no caffeine
  • Principal allergens to eliminate:
    • gluten, milk (and derivatives), eggs, products with yeast (wine, vinegar, bread), corn, peanuts, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit
  • Additional foods to avoid:
    • grains rich in gluten (oats, rye, semolina, malt)
    • processed foods, bread, crackers, toasties, potatoes, sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, hydrogenated fat, marjoram, caffeine, beef, peanuts, booze, cold cuts, sausage, meat with skin, fruit juice, liver and organs, olives

Reintroduction Phase (after 6 weeks)

  • Foods to reintroduce slowly after 6 weeks
    • Eggs
    • Whole wheat bread and pasta
    • Oats
    • Red meat
    • Peanuts and peanut butter
    • Olives
    • Milk and milk derivatives
    • Coffee (2-3 / day)
    • Wine (3-4 times a week)
    • Etc.
  • For reintroduction, start with gluten. The day you reintroduce bread, eat a lot of it. Wait 48 hours, but without introducing anything else. Observe possible symptoms (headache, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, slouchiness). If symptoms occur, eliminate this food forever. On the contrary, if no symptoms occur, you can eat it regularly. After 72 hours, introduce another element.
  • Reintroduce things one at a time.

10 Rules

  1. Reduce glycemic load (sugars, jam, honey, soda, pasta, alcohol)
  2. Eat breakfast
  3. Distribute calories throughout the day (eat every 2-3 hours)
  4. Reduce stress
  5. Use breathing to reduce hunger and eat more slowly (take five breaths before eating to activate parasympathetic nervous system)
  6. Do not eat 2-3 hours before bed
  7. Aim at reducing abdominal circumference (belly fat produces tnf alpha and other inflammatory things that slow metabolism)
  8. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
  9. Speed up your metabolism through exercise
  10. Conduct a liver detox (green tea, artichokes)

So, basically, for the next six weeks we will not be eating gluten, dairy products, red meat, and sugar.

It sounds terrible, right? The point of course is not to lose weight or to permanently eliminate delicious things from my diet. That would make me so very sad. The purpose is to better understand how my body works, and how it reacts to things that I love. I will diary my experiences, and will pay particular attention to how I respond to the reintroduction of principal allergens. If, for example, I find that bread makes me lethargic, I will avoid it during times of great stress. As you may know by now, I LOVE having parameters when planning my meals. The secondary goal for me is to learn how to make my food delicious in spite of the sad face limitations of this diet.

For now, I plan to share my weekly menus with you, but if that becomes too annoying, feel free to let me know!

Menu of Meals for Week 1 (January 3rd-9th):

Sunday, January 3rd

  • D: Mooshu chicken with brown rice & garlic bok choy and miyuk guk (Korean seaweed soup) with mussels
  • Make:
    • Chicken broth for week
    • Roasted broccoli
    • Roasted cauliflower
    • Big batch of brown rice
    • Make miyuk guk
    • Make juk

Monday, January 4th

  • B: Miyuk guk with brown rice
  • L: Juk (Korean rice porridge) with shredded boiled chicken and roasted vegetables
  • D: Rice noodle and vegetable stir fry with broiled salmon and sauteed spinach

Tuesday, January 5th

  • B: Spiced quinoa porridge w/ cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, dried fruits, and nuts
  • L: Leftover rice noodle stir fry with broiled salmon and sauteed spinach
  • D: Steamed Spanish mackerel  w/ soy, ginger, and scallion sauce & jasmine rice & roasted cauliflower and broccoli

Wednesday, January 6th

  • B: Leftover jasmine rice, steamed fish, roasted broccoli
  • L: Leftovers
  • D: Italian wedding soup with turkey meatballs, kale, and escarole and steamed brussel sprouts

Thursday, January 7th

  • B: Sliced apples with almond butter
  • L: Leftover Italian wedding soup
  • D: White bean, shallot, and cabbage saute w/ quinoa and steamed brussel sprouts

Friday, January 8th

  • B: Pumpkin quinoa porridge
  • L: Leftover white bean, shallot, and cabbage saute
  • D: Lentils & brussel sprouts with brown rice

Saturday January 9th

  • B: Sliced apples with almond butter
  • L: Leftover lentils & brussel sprouts with brown rice
  • D: Roasted butternut squash, chickpea, and coconut curry w/ brown rice

Sunday, January 10th

  • B: Fruit
  • L: Leftover roasted butternut squash, chickpea, and coconut curry w/ brown rice

Coming Up…Meal Planning 101: A week of meals for those moments when cooking seems like the worst thing ever, plus Week Two of the elimination diet

Mom, Music, and Memory, plus a Recipe for Hong Kong Style Steamed Cod

As I have mentioned on several occasions, my memory is shit. However, by expanding my understanding of memory beyond mere recounting of facts, I have been able to embrace new forms of remembrance. For example, by making a meal I associate with comfort, I renew (or reinvent) the feeling of mom’s loving embrace. I may not recall particular conversations, but I can acknowledge that my present needs often determine the way I remember the past, making my relationship with my mother always active, real, and fulfilling. Short of believing in an afterlife, this is not bad!

I’ve been inviting sadness in for tea instead of letting it howl outside my door. With the decade anniversary of my mother’s passing coming up in February, I’ve been resisting my tendency to deny the feelings of despair, self-loathing, and loneliness that often come with my experience of sorrow. Because I’m very unseasoned at this (and much more comfortable with more seemingly active feelings, like anger), I’ve decided to engage a couple of strategies to make this process more palpable: (1) With one of the loves of my life, I am re-reading The Bridge of San Luis Rey, my mother’s favorite book and the source of inspiration for her funeral theme (“love is the only survivor); and (2) I’ve been revisiting my relationship with the piano/keyboard.


Perhaps you know this about me: I’ve long conflated enjoyment with mastery, hobby with obsession, skill with worthiness. As a child entered into many a competition (piano, voice, flute, you name it) and as someone who has clearly internalized the idea that my value as a person only comes through increasing proficiency and validation, I’ve had a hard time approaching activities for “fun.” But recently, I’ve been drawn to the keyboard in my husband’s studio. Not because I want to be as good as I once was, or to impress anyone, but because I have some MAJOR feels when I do. Those emotions are both indescribable and unascribable. Though I’ve only been playing for 20 minutes at a time to relearn pieces I already know I love, I am feeling so much more moved and centered than when I used to practice for three-hours at a time in my youth. It’s possible that when I now play, I remember how my mom used to sit in during all of my lessons to take notes, not about technique, but about phrasing and feeling. Maybe I recall the ways in which my mom would help me visualize sections of Chopin nocturnes by color, to help me sort what it is I wanted to express and articulate. Perhaps I consider the ways in which my mother continues to help me figure out what I want to express and articulate. And, maybe it’s none of these things.


All I know is that when muscle memory starts to take over, my eyes close, tears arise, and I feel both closer and further from my mother than I ever have. I remember and don’t remember. I feel sad and grateful, cursed and blessed, lonely and loved, rejected and embraced. It’s weird and it’s great. I used to think sadness was simplistic, that it made me passive/useless. But through my mom, music, and memory, I’m finding that this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever thought. Sadness is both beautiful and complex, and invites an intricate interweaving of active revelations and dormant feelings.

My musician friends and boo may disagree with me here, but I think food and music hold similar possibilities of  emotional, intellectual, and visceral transformation. Nico and I recently watched Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film Youth. It was both fiercely intellectual and emotional, and I felt moved by this particular quote, stated by Michael Caine’s character:

You were right, music is all I understand. Because you don’t need words or experience to understand it. It just is.

I feel this way about food, too. What I sort of love about my new approach to re-membering is that I no longer need to keep it literal. To taste my mom’s tenderness, I don’t need to recreate a dish that she used to make. To remember the way she always supported my expression, I don’t need to play the exact pieces she helped with. Instead, I can open my eyes, ears, mouth, and heart to new things and invite her into new moments, new foods, new music.

For some reason, the meal below (steamed cod with soy/wine sauce + farro) reminds me of my mom’s tough and lecture-y love (“how are you supposed to fight with other people and communities when you can’t even be kind to yourself?”). Sometimes I need that kind of love. Maybe you do, too? 


The look of mama's stern and tender love

The look of mama’s stern and tender love

(For the musical rendition of this feeling, I listen to this:

And now, for the recipe.


Hong Kong Style Steamed Cod w/ Soy/Wine Sauce and Fried Garlic
Recipe taken from Annielicious


  • 1 thick slice of Fresh Cod Fish Steak (About 1 inch thick)
  • 2 slices Ginger
  • a dash of pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Rock Sugar (You could use normal sugar if you don’t have rock sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Hsao Xing Wine

For Garnishing

  • 3 bulbs of garlic, finely chopped.
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • some spring onions, cut into 1 inch length


  1. Clean fish, pat dry. Place ginger on a steaming dish, place fish on top.
  2. Bring water in the steamer to a boil and steam fish over high heat for 6 minutes.
  3. While the fish is steaming half way, heat sauce ingredient in a pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove fish from the steamer, pour away the steaming liquid .
  5. Add a dash of pepper and drizzle sauce over.
  6. Fry chopped garlic with oil in another pan until golden brown. Don’t burnt it.
  7. Pour the hot garlic oil over, garnish with golden brown garlic and spring onions. Serve!

Coming Up…Announcing a 6-week “Diet” for 2016 (that I won’t hate!) and Knowing My Body

Ten Kitchen Tools/Appliances I Can’t Live Without, plus a Poll

Sorry for the month-long hiatus. Life has been busy, and things always get crazier around the holidays!

Anywho, as an obsessive cook, I have a loving relationship with almost everything in my kitchen. Nico and I have been fortunate enough to accumulate and inherit a lot of cookware and tools throughout our college years and from my family. Plus, like a totally square couple, we received additional kitchen goodies when we got hitched. There are a few things I use with great frequency, things I cannot live without. Here’s the list:

Dutch Oven


For whatever reason, my father had two dutch ovens in storage, so he gave one of them to me. Honestly, I’m not sure I would spend a zillion dollars on this particular piece of cookware if we had to buy it ourselves, but I know that I use it at least once a week and would cry if it were taken away from me. As a lover of soups and stews, the dutch oven is an extremely versatile and reliable item in my kitchen. Whether I’m making a meat stew and browning the crap out of some tender beef, chicken, or lamb, or I’m cooking a swiss chard, potato, and chickpea stew, the dutch oven is magic. It’s designed specifically to enhance slow-cooking by heating evenly and locking in moisture for more tender results, and the material can withstand temperatures up to 500°F.

Good Chef’s Knife


Obviously, if you cook a lot, having a quality knife for chopping meats, fish, and vegetables is a real help. This is probably the only expensive (over $50) kitchen tool I’ve ever purchased, and even then, I used a William Sonoma credit card “reward” in order to supplement the purchase. With a Shun classic hollow-ground santoku knife, I’m able to quickly chop, dice, and slice any number of ingredients.

A Good Spatula


I do a lot of pan-frying and baking, and find that a good spatula makes these processes a lot easier and neater. There are specialized spatulas (for fish, for example), but I like using a hearty metal one for everything.


Rice Cooker


I eat a lot of rice, partially because I’m really fond of it, and partially  because it’s so easy to make, especially with a rice cooker. A staple in many Korean households, this appliance makes kitchen life super easy. Just plop in some measured rice and water, click a button, and voila! You have perfectly cooked rice. Rice cookers come in a variety of sizes and levels of sophistication – some are really simple and purely for rice which run around $50, and others utilize this mysterious thing called “fuzzy logic” with multiple cooking settings for rice (white, umami, mixed, sushi, porridge, sweet, brown, GABA brown, rinse free, quick cooking, and slow cooking) that can be $300+. 

Nonstick Baking Trays


I’ve been a pretty bad girl, and haven’t taken good care of my baking trays. But I use them all the time for cookies, roasted vegetables, baked tofu, etc



I use our wok for almost all pasta  and sauteed vegetable dishes. It’s actually probably not the ideal piece of cookware for these (sautee pans with a larger bottom diameter are likely more appropriate).  But I usually cook (and eat) in bulk, and the shape of the wok makes it easier for me to not make a huge mess while stirring/mixing food.

8 quart stock pot


A big pot is a necessary tool in a kitchen. Whether you’re boiling pasta (which should always be cooked in a lot of water – one never wants to stuff pasta and water in a small pot), blanching vegetables, making mashed taters, or simmering stock.

Cast Iron Skillet



Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I love cast iron skillets for so many reasons. First of all, because they’re so thick, heavy, and durable, food tends to cook evenly and beautifully. Secondly, if you want to brown your food for some intensified flavors, cast iron cookware will get you that amazing depth of flavor and color. Also, I really enjoy taking care of it. It requires a little bit of love and intentionality, which somehow makes me care about it even more. They’re also super versatile since they can be put in the oven. One could make eggs & bacon at the same time, bake some corn bread or a frittata, sear/brown a large roast before sticking it in the oven, and much more. And, they’re not very expensive! I think Nico and I bought ours at Target for $25.00, and after a few months of good loving, it was already seasoned beautifully, and it will probably last for decades to come.


Wooden Spoon


Wooden spoons are great for cooking. I don’t like the idea of using plastic on hot foods, so I use wooden products to sautee and mix foods in pots and pans. They’re also good for mixing batters while baking.

…And finally, a poll:

Because I’ve been rather indecisive these past few weeks, I’m going to ask you all to help me decide what entry comes next. Help? 

Meal Planning 101: On Cooking with Limited Time and Energy, plus a Menu of Meals

A couple of entries ago, I shared with you all my maniacal approach to finding co-curricular fulfillment and how my body failed to keep up. After a much-needed therapy session, I had hoped that I would easily be able to drop an activity or two, or at least dampen my must-approach-everything-with-100-percent-intensity modus operandi. No dice. I tend to feel like there is no point to doing anything if I’m not giving it my all, or producing at high levels. In any case, it is clearly (and frustratingly) going to take me a long time to figure out why my drive seems to be so dogmatic, unforgiving and cruel. In the meantime, however, I need to make more time for myself, but how do I do that? I refuse to drop my Italian tutoring sessions. I shouldn’t give up my volunteer work. I will always make room for my husband and my dog. Spending more time with my friends/chosen family is generative and important. And at this point, I need to strengthen my body so that it can better withstand stress, so I won’t be canceling my gym membership anytime soon.

I mentioned to my therapist that I have been cooking an average of 2-3 hours per day for the last two months, and that more than half of every week’s meals were brand new dishes and experiments. I also articulated that I feel a building internal pressure around cooking (because I need to measure personal achievement) and this blog (because I need external validation for my personal achievements). Though I continue to experience a great deal of joy when I cook and eat, I’ve found myself getting grumpier in the kitchen. I HATE being grumpy when I’m around food. So, I decided that I would try to forcibly de-escalate my growing personal expectations around cooking. And I’m doing this by setting parameters. This week, I will spend no more than an average of 45-minutes/day cooking our meals. 

I know I may be in the minority when I say this, but planning is awesome. If you spend a little bit of time intentionally crafting your week’s meals, particularly when you know you’ll be frenzied and busy, I promise it will really help you save both time and energy. Here are some of the things to consider.

Note, I’ve added gifs to make this more exciting. 

Prepare stock items when you have some free time and stick that shit in the freezer.

I can’t tell you how amazing it is to open the freezer and see an arsenal of useful homemade goods, like tomato sauce, chicken or vegetable broth, ragu, dough, or dumpling skins. In the fall and winter, I’m very frequently cooking soups, stews, and risotto, so I always make sure to have some broth in hand. Actually, making broth is one of my most favorite things to do. Since it takes a few hours, I’ll usually position myself in front of the TV and occasionally return to the kitchen to skim off some fat. This process forces me to relax, which is something I desperately need help doing. In any case, several of this week’s dishes require chicken broth (split pea soup, garlic rice, farro). If it’s already made, the amount of time I’m spending preparing and cooking decreases a lot. A lot a lot.

Choose dishes that utilize a crock pot.

I used to think crock pots were for cheaters, but I was wrong – they are simply amazing. If you don’t have one, ask for one for the holidays, or treat yo’self. They’re only like $30.

Because things are being consistently slow-cooked or braised, there is really no need to check on your dish, and usually you can just plop all your ingredients in at once, cover the lid, and call it a day. I don’t know about other people, but I feel comfortable leaving the appliance unattended, especially if the setting is on “low.” This means you can make something overnight, or cook your delicious meal while you’re at work. I did once make the grave mistake of making slow-cooker ragu overnight. The smells were so amazing and distracting, that sleep did not come so easy. This week, I’ll be using the crock pot for split pea soup.

Choose meals/dishes you know so well that you no longer need to use a recipe.

Whenever I make something new, my brain is tired from the experience, even if it only takes 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Perhaps it’s because I’m some mutated form of a perfectionist, but there is something kind of exhausting about quadruple-checking ingredients and instructions when I’m already sort of spent from the day. If I don’t need a recipe, it usually means a dish is relatively simple (even if I’ve made a beef bourguignon dozens of times, I cannot for the life of me remember how much of everything to use). These are always pretty good go-to meals when you have limited time and energy. This week, for example, I’ve included these dishes that I can cook easily, quickly, and from memory: (1) penne w/ cauliflower, bacon, and peas; (2) Korean pan-fried fish fillets (jeon); and (3) farfalle w/ smashed broccoli and garlic.

Pick dishes that require fewer ingredients.

Last weekend, I cooked the best stew I’ve ever made (lamb tagine), but it took forever, and I used about a zillion spices. It was totally worth it, but this is not the sort of thing I’m about to make when I’m stressed and have little time/energy. This week, I chose entrees and side dishes that are simple so I don’t have to think about much. For example, the Korean fried fish fillets require a white fish, salt, flour, and egg, and the side requires chopped bok choy, garlic, water, salt, and white pepper. One of the pastas has bacon, cauliflower, and peas, and the other entree simply has boiled broccoli, garlic, anchovies, and olive oil. Obviously, if you’re using fewer ingredients, than you’ll have less shit to prepare and cook. SCIENCE.

On days when you have a little more time and energy, prepare and/or pre-cook your side dishes.

When I’m feeling especially drained, I get annoyed when I have to split my energy/time between cooking an entree and side dishes. So, sometimes it is really helpful to pre-cook certain side dishes. For example, one can cook a bunch of rice, store it in the fridge, and reheat the amount you need for each meal (the refrigerator life of cooked rice is usually between 4-6 days). You can do the same thing with blanched vegetables (though it’s always good to look up the refrigerator life of different cooked vegetables). I also find that on some days, I love chopping vegetables. I usually take advantage of those spurts, look at my meal schedule, and chop up items for use the next few days.

When cooking your dinners, make enough so you can have leftovers for lunch. 

I am really not a morning (or evening) person. Is it possible to be an afternoon person? That sounds super lame. In any case, I don’t like to spend time doing anything in the morning before work – I can barely get myself to take a shower and chug a cup of coffee. All this to say: I despise preparing lunch for myself in the AM. For me, it is a billion percent better to pack dinner leftovers and just shove some filled tupperware into my purse.

So, with all this in mind, here is the menu for the week:

Menu of Meals: Week of November 9, 2015

  • Monday
    • D: Korean pan-fried white fish (jeon) with jasmine rice and garlic bok choy
  • Tuesday
    • L: Leftover fish jeon
    • D: Hainanese chicken with garlic rice and spicy cucumber salad
  • Wednesday
    • L: Leftover chicken and rice
    • D: Farfalle w. smashed broccoli and garlic
  • Thursday
    • L: Leftover farfalle
    • D: Split pea soup w/ baguette and salad
  • Friday
    • L: Leftover split pea soup and bread
    • D: Chicken fried rice and sugar snap peas
  • Saturday
    • L: Leftover fried rice
    • D: Penne w/ cauliflower, peas, and bacon and sautéed garlic swiss chard
  • Sunday
    • L: Leftover penne
    • D: Freekah or farro salad with roasted kale and cabbage and fried egg

Coming Up…Five Cooking Tools I Cannot Live Without, plus a Poll for What Recipe to Share Next

Our States, Our People, Our Food: Chinese Immigration to Mississippi and a Recipe for Salt and Pepper Shrimp

I’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking about what it means to be and feel Korean/Asian American in this country. As I read about the horrific incident at Spring Valley High and responses from apologists, I can’t help but wonder about the ways in which Korean-Americans are complicit in the demonization and oppression of our black and brown brothers and sisters. How can we can tangibly understand that our own empowerment is contingent upon the empowerment of (all) Others?

The U.S. not only has a long history of systemized racism, but also an old tradition of cleverly pitting oppressed groups against one another. When low-income black students “act out” in school, or perform poorly, they are compared to their “industrious” and “obedient” yellow counterparts without consideration of the many institutionalized differences between the communities (e.g. following passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the liberalization of the U.S. national quota system, a larger number of highly educated and professional Koreans moved to the country, meaning many of the folks coming over had certain types of privilege that were decidedly unavailable to many low-income people of color already in the country or migrants from “less desirable” countries).

Today, I’m writing about Chinese immigration to Mississippi in the first installment of my new series “Our States, Our People, Our Food.” Of course, I don’t and can’t speak for Chinese communities, but I can make observations about both their incredible fortitude, and also the ways in which they benefited from social distancing from the black community.

Beginning in the mid-1800s, a number of Chinese immigrants were “shipped” to the American South from Cuba as a new source of cheap labor (though most arrived between 1910-1930). Following the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, white landowners were suddenly struck with the responsibility of paying for labor (poor them!). Many opted to hire cheap migrant laborers, likely to undermine the growing political power of freed black people. According to an article by Vivian Wu Wong called “The Chinese in Mississippi: A Race In-Between,” many southerners believed that utilization of Chinese immigrants would strengthen “white political power by displacing voting Negroes: for the Chinese…would not vote.” Good job, white people.

Historians say that initially, the Chinese were treated as poorly as black people – they were, after all, meant to displace black sharecroppers (though I think this is probably arguable). Initially, most migrants were men who came to supplement family income. They came to the U.S. not to settle, but to earn money to send to their families. This is important, because the Delta region wasn’t originally meant to be their home – therefore, economic success was more crucial than social and racial equity. After working on plantations and railroads, they turned to another activity – opening and running grocery stores. The first Chinese grocery store in Mississippi likely appeared in the early 1870s, and provided the community with some financial success.  Black businessmen could not open similar businesses because they lacked the resources to start their own businesses, and wholesalers refused to give them credit because…racism. It’s important to keep in mind that most immigrants were coming from Sze Yap, a district in south China that was more commercially sophisticated than many other parts of the country, with a history of contacts with foreign traders. Anywho, Chinese grocery stores were small, one-room shacks which carried only a few basic items, and the main clientele was mostly poor black laborers.

After Chinese men established their grocery stores, they would often send back home for a young male from their family to come and help the business succeed. This made for a strong thread of familial migration to Mississippi, and helped the community gain some economic success. According to an article entitled “Chinese in Mississippi: An Ethnic People in a Biracial Society” in Mississippi History Now, “For generations, grocery stores would be passed down from father to son, and as of the late 1970s, six family names accounted for 80 percent of the Delta Chinese population.”

The relationship between the Chinese grocers and the black members of the local community grew over the years. Not only did the Chinese run businesses in black neighborhoods, but also lived there. It could be argued that these stores were successful largely because they provided an alternative for black consumers – they no longer had to go to white stores (if they even could) only to be disparaged and disrespected. Additionally, some Chinese men married black women, and were integrated into the black community in a way they were not with whites. However, once these immigrants decided to make Mississippi their long-term home, they were no longer satisfied with their racial in-betweenness, and demanded more (especially access to quality, white education).

Students of the only all-Chinese school in Bolivar County, Mississippi, 1938. Courtesy Mississippi Department of Archives and History (photo taken from http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/86/mississippi-chinese-an-ethnic-people-in-a-biracial-society)

Students of the only all-Chinese school in Bolivar County, Mississippi, 1938. Courtesy Mississippi Department of Archives and History (photo taken from http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/86/mississippi-chinese-an-ethnic-people-in-a-biracial-society)

By law, Chinese people were considered a “colored race,” and were legally excluded from attending schools that were meant for only white people. Chinese parents refused to accept this, and had some financial means for leverage. Vivian Wu Wong explains that the white community was probably not as concerned about admitting Chinese children to the schools as they were about admitting black children, and since there were some Chinese/black interracial children, whites decided to emphasize the importance of Chinese racial purity. Thus began Chinese community’s practice of socially distancing itself from black people. Vivian Wu Wong argues, “To respond to this fear which they saw as the main obstacle in their struggle for quality education for their children, leaders in the Chinese community made a choice. Rather than challenge racism, they distanced themselves from the black community.” They believed that as soon as they could prove their separateness from black people, whites would be willing to accept them and invite them into their superior educational institutions.

Following this sad and tragic rejection of the black community, the image of the Chinese in Mississippi slowly changed. In the 1940s, new laws were passed to allow Chinese children to attend white schools (keep in mind that the Brown v. Board of Education ruling didn’t come until 1954). By “accepting” Chinese people into their communities and institutions (“accepting” seems to be a very generous word…), whites could justify continued exclusion of black people, and use their supposed biological or cultural deficiencies to explain away their poverty. Sound familiar?

To be clear, I’m not criticizing early Chinese immigrants for wanting more for their children. In fact, I’m inspired by the ways in which they were able to carve an identity beyond “coolies” in an era that was deeply rooted in systemic racism of all “colored” folk. However, I think it’s important, so important, to acknowledge the ways in which whites with social, cultural, and actual capital created a conflict between Chinese and black communities from the very beginning in order to further the notion and practice that black lives don’t matter. Depressingly, many of these tensions continue to exist between our communities.

Korean-Americans are also often pitted against our black brothers and sisters to further prove some inaccurate cultural deficiency of blackness. But how can we as Korean-Americans, as Asian-Americans, try to understand that we are also responsible for the oppression of Others? How can we concede to the logic of, “look, we made it, why can’t you?” when we do not personally understand the long-lasting impact of slavery, or know what it feels like to be policed as a teen, or have to acutely comprehend that society would rather jail us than educate us? How can we utilize our identities and privileges to not only find our power, but also the power of other people of color? Perhaps, this is what I need to do to be a good Korean-American: to locate my identities, powers, and privileges, and to strategically use them in service of collective empowerment. I don’t exactly know what this means, yet. As of now, I only have my feelings and food. But I’m working on it.

And now, a recipe for salt & pepper shrimp, a relatively classic Cantonese dish:

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Salt and Pepper Shrimp Recipe
Recipe taken from The Woks of Life
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


For the salt and pepper mixture:
2 parts whole peppercorns
1 part sea salt

For the rest of the dish:
1 pound large shrimp, shells on and deveined (with or without heads)
3 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch
1/3 cup oil for shallow frying
salt and pepper mixture, to taste
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long hot green or red pepper, thinly sliced
1 scallion, chopped


To make the salt and pepper mixture:

  1. In a small pot over medium low heat, dry roast the whole peppercorns of your choice for 15 minutes, until very fragrant. Take care not to burn them, adjusting the heat as needed. Cool completely and use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind the peppercorns down to a powder.
  2. In the same pot over medium heat, dry roast the salt until it turns slightly yellow in color. Let it cool and combine it with the ground pepper. You now have your own authentic salt and pepper powder, which you can use in whatever “salt and pepper” dish you like. The rest of the recipe is really easy.

To prepare the dish:

  1. Rinse the shrimp and pat them thoroughly dry with a paper towel. Dredge them in potato starch or cornstarch––whatever you’re using.
  2. Heat the oil in a small cast iron skillet to 375 degrees. Quickly lay the shrimp in the oil with about an inch of space in between each shrimp, and fry the shrimp in batches, cooking each side for 30 seconds. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate, and sprinkle with salt and pepper powder to taste.
  3. In the wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Fry the garlic until just golden brown (careful not to burn it!), and set aside to drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Remove any excess oil from the wok, so there’s only a tablespoon or so left (you don’t want to use too much oil at this stage, as this is a “dry” dish). Add the peppers to the wok. Turn off the heat, and add the garlic back to the wok, stir-frying everything together for a minute. Add the shrimp to the wok, and gently toss everything for 10 seconds, sprinkling over a bit more of your salt and pepper mixture. Serve!

Coming up…Meal Planning 101: On Cooking with Limited Time and Energy

My Body as a Site of Failure / Self- Love, and a Recipe for Korean Chicken Soup

Disclaimer: this entry is pretty whiny.

My body is hell, and I hate it. I’m not talking about my self-image (at least, not today), but more about its functioning. As you may know, when I started my job as director of development in May, I was eager to use the opportunity to grow and learn and absorb in all aspects of my life. With what I thought was a healthier approach to my career (not having it consume every waking moment of my life), I ventured into the territory of newness, of actually doing shit I had always talked about: leading a team in a full time job, joining a board or advisory committee, taking Italian tutoring lessons, volunteering with the students at my school, exercising, making lots of new dishes (and cooking for 1-3 hours/day), committing to this blog (with a goal of posting at least three entries/month), taking advantage of all that NYC has to offer (the most adult-feeling thing I did in the last few months is become a member at the Brooklyn Academy of Music), and spending lots more time loving and supporting my friends and family. Well, I’m doing all that, and my body is revolting.

My stupid body responds to stress by shutting itself down. I get migraines. My immune system says “NOPE NO MO” and becomes defenseless against the silliest colds. I am prone to ulcers and GERD. The muscles in my neck turn into steel rods. This is really annoying. Have I told you how annoying this is? How it makes me feel like an epic failure?

I have this chronic fear that I’m lazy, and that if I stagnate, my soul will die.  I know it’s a problem that I only value myself when I have something to show for my efforts, but it’s not something I can change easily. So until I can transform that manic energy and anxiety into something healthier, I’m trying to figure out how to not feel like my body is sabotaging my desire to live a happy and successful life.

I was a pretty sickly child growing up. With chronic asthma, a slew of stomach issues, and a sadly underachieving immune system, I was a mess. My father recently told me that I would frequently become painfully ill before piano competitions (high fevers), but that I would force myself to go. One time, I made myself play at a recital with a 102 fever, bowed, and then collapsed. Though mama was one of the reasons I pushed myself so hard, she realized what was happening and once told me something interesting: “Isn’t it nice that your body will tell you when it’s just too much?”

WHAT. How on earth is it nice that my weak constitution and seemingly fragile body get to determine what I can and cannot do? Why should my illness-prone body that I inherited from my mother (why couldn’t I get her brain or looks, instead?) get to set limits on my future? I look around at my family, my peers, my friends, who do so much with their lives, who work endless hours, and still manage to find time to be the dopest people of all time. Why can’t my body let me do more of that? Sure, these questions may make me sound petulant and bratty. But I can’t help but be appalled by my body’s inability to match my desires and ambition.

I spent the last few days trying to tend to my ailing body and spirit. And I thought a lot about my mother’s gentle, powerful, and irritatingly leading question. If I take away the whole “my life only has value if I’m doing a shit ton of stuff” element, perhaps it truly is a blessing that something can tell me, “hey, slow down for a second.” Maybe my body provides me with a visceral litmus test. Perhaps my physical health is an indicator of my mental/emotional health. Maybe, instead of being a site of failure, my body is actually trying to love me into submission.

Of course, all of this is purely conceptual. I still feel like a big fool for not being able to do everything I want to do without getting sick. I don’t know what to do about it, but I know how I should try to feel. Perhaps some other time, I can think about how to actually chill out.

And now, a recipe for a Korean chicken soup that made me feel less like a disaster zone!

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Yeong Gye Baeksuk (Korean Chicken Soup) Recipe
Recipe adapted from Kimchimari.com
6 Servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes


2 cornish game hen
1 whole head of garlic, peeled (8-12 cloves of garlic)
1 whole onion, peeled and left whole
4 green onion stalks
5 slices of fresh ginger
10 cups of cold water
salt and pepper to taste
sauce for chicken – 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce + 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
2 cups of jasmine rice, cooked per instructions


  1. Discard the giblets inside the Cornish hen’s cavity. If there’s a lot of fat near the breast area or the bottom, trim the fat as much as you can. Wash the chicken under running water and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Add chicken, garlic, onion, three stalks of green onions, and ginger to pot and add 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Once it’s boiling, simmer at medium low or low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Check if the chicken is fully cooked by piercing the area between the thigh and the belly to see if any blood comes out. Cook for a few minutes longer if you see any redness.
  4. Take the chicken out onto a plate and let it cool for a few minutes. Chop up the green onions.
  5. Serve the soup with rice, pieces of the chicken, and green onions in a bowl. Serve with salt and pepper so it can be seasoned at the table. If you so desire, make some vinegar-soy sauce for dipping the chicken meat.

Coming up (I promise)…Our States, Our People, Our Food: Chinese Immigration to Mississippi and a Recipe for Salt and Pepper Shrimp

On Value and Self-Worth, and a Porchetta Recipe

As you all know, I’ve been “working on myself” a lot, this year. What this means, tangibly, is that I’ve been trying to identify the sources of my self-deprecating/loathing tendencies. For example, I mentioned in a previous blog post on cooking for one, I have historically never cooked just for myself essentially because I don’t believe I’m worth the trouble or that I deserve my own love. Therapy has helped me to both be a little kinder to myself, and to hold myself accountable for some of my own unhappiness. But, I still have lots of work to do. My self-reflective question for the fall is this: who determines my value and worth, and why?

I work hard. I do lots of things for people I love. And I do this partially because I personally want to excel at what I do, and I desperately want to be a good and kind person. But, let’s be real. I also need lots and lots of external validation in order to feel fulfilled – without it, I slide down that slip-and-slide of self-doubt and confusion. I hate this about myself. I have incredible admiration for people who seemingly don’t rely on validation from others. My husband is really high achieving, super smart, and is good at tons of stuff. But unlike me, his strength appears to come from within, not from other people. How does that even work? How do I get that? Can I buy it? Please?

It's entirely possible that my soul is nourished only by external validation because my life as a child was consumed by piano, flute, singing, and dance competitions. Or maybe not.

It’s entirely possible that my soul is nourished only by external validation because my life as a child was consumed by piano, flute, singing, and dance competitions. Yikes.

In any case, I’m working on it. In fact, I have experienced one major improvement in the last 6 months: I am actually sometimes capable of being proud of myself. Sometimes. At this time last year, even if I had exceeded a fundraising goal for work, I became unnecessarily angry at myself for not exceeding the goal by even more. But now that I have the ability to feel proud, I’ve noticed that I still need other people to be proud of me, too. Annoying. I know. So I’m trying going to try a new thing where I allow myself to feel happy about achievements, but won’t share it with others until it feels real to me.  Wish me luck? (read: please tell me I’m doing a good job at not relying on others to validate my life.)

How does this relate to food and cooking? You know by now that I show my love for people by cooking for them. I need them to know, very concretely, that I care about them. I think this is quite nice. But, I have also found that I attribute my value as a friend, as a wife, as a daughter-in-law, as a human, to what concrete things I can offer, and whether those things are of high-quality. I’m afraid if I offer a bad meal that I’m actually very accurately depicting my poor value as a person. Dramatic? Yes. Unnecessary? Yes. Easy to change? No.

But change can come in itty bitty baby steps. About ten days ago, I made a pretty fucking inedible meal. I had a long day at work, had several other meetings/events to attend, and got home late. Feeling uninspired and tired, I refused to look for recipes and ended up lightly fried some chicken breasts, throwing in some white wine and broth, and braising it for about thirty minutes. I ended up putting some lemons in there, too. Mistake. The chicken ended up being incredibly bitter, like the rind of a lemon. And…I laughed. I laughed! I didn’t get angry, or lock myself in the bedroom to berate myself. Progress!

All this to say: I have a lot of work to do, and I’m excited that I can use cooking and eating to help me measure my improvement. Yea, yea, yea…maybe I should stop trying to quantify and measure everything, but that’s a goal for another season/year.

And now, here’s a recipe for a considerably more edible porchetta.

Porchetta, slow roasted for 5 hours

Porchetta Recipe
Recipe taken from I am a food blog
Serves 8-10
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 hours


Salt Rub
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of toasted fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons of toasted fennel seed, crushed
2 teaspoons of chili flakes
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon

Herb Rub
2 tablespoons of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary

12 inch slab of skin-on pork belly, skin lightly scored
Pork tenderloin, around 2-3 inches in diameter, 12 inches in length



Combine the ingredients for the salt rub in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the pork belly with half of the salt rub. Sprinkle the herb rub on top and place the tenderloin in the center of the belly. Tightly roll up the belly around the tenderloin and tie together with kitchen twine. Rub the skin generously with oil and the rest with the salt rub. Place your porchetta in a dish, cover and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

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Heat the oven to 275F. Place the porchetta on a rack in a deep roasting pan. Lots of fat will be rendered out of the porchetta, so make sure your roasting pan is deep enough. Roast on the center rack of the oven for 4 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal termperature is 160F. Blast the heat up to 450 and continue to roast for 35 minutes, keeping an eye on the skin. You want the crackling golden brown and crispy, not burnt.

Remove from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Porchetta, ready to be eaten

Salsa Verde Recipe

1 bunch of parsley
1 cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons of toasted fennel seeds, ground
2 teaspoons of toasted coriander, ground
2 teaspoons of chili flakes
salt (to taste)
2 cloves of garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice from 2 lemons


Puree all salsa verde ingredients until smooth. Put on top of sliced porchetta, and enjoy! The porchetta can also be sliced for sandwiches and topped with the sauce. Delish!

Coming Up…Our States, Our People, Our Food: Chinese Immigration to Mississippi and a Recipe for Salt and Pepper Shrimp