Category Archives: June 2011

Meatless Monday: California Carrot and Spaghetti

Growing up, your mom must have told you that eating carrots would sharpen your eyesight. And she was right — carrots are packed with loads of vision-healthy vitamin A. But the benefits of Bugs Bunny’s favorite veggie extend well beyond its promises of enhanced eyesight. Carrots just so happen to be rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants and minerals, too.

Sure, the vegetable’s most prolific proponent may have preferred his carrots raw, but chances are it’s only because he never tried them cooked until soft, soaked in creamy almond milk and tossed with spaghetti.

California Carrot and Spaghetti 

Yields 4 servings

1 12 oz package of whole wheat spaghetti, cooked per package directions
1/2 lb. California carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons enoki mushrooms
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large skillet, combine olive oil, carrots, and orange juice, and cook over medium heat until carrots are tender (approximately 20 minutes). Stir in milk and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until milk is reduced by half. Stir in enoki mushrooms after the heat is turned off.

2. In the meantime, cook spaghetti as per package instructions, and then toss lightly in olive oil and carrot sauce. Drizzle a bit of sesame oil if desired, and garnish with parsley and purslane or other seasonal wild weeds!

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Filed under Food2, June 2011, Meatless Mondays, Rina's Food2 recipes

Meatless Monday: Arugula and Mango Salad with Spicy Pickled Fennel

Have a favorite seasonal vegetable that you think you’ll miss in a couple of months? Try your hand at pickling, and you’ll be able to enjoy it long after the summer ends. Here’s a quick and easy pickled fennel recipe that takes less than 30 minutes in preparation time, plus a tasty salad to showcase it in.


Arugula and Mango Salad with Spicy Pickled Fennel
Serves 4 as a starter and 2 as a main course


For the pickled fennel:
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Asian ground red pepper

For the salad:
1 10-ounce bag of baby arugula
1 mango, cubed
1/2 cup pine nuts

For the lemon vinaigrette:
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. For pickled fennel, combine all ingredients except fennel in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Place fennel in a bowl, and pour boiling mixture over it. Allow mixture fennel to cool at room temperature in the pickling liquid and then refrigerate for two hours. Drain before using.

2. For vinaigrette, combine lemon juice and olive oil and whisk together to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. To assemble, dress arugula with vinaigrette, then stir in diced mango, pine nuts, and pickled fennel.



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Filed under Food2, June 2011, Meatless Mondays, Rina's Food2 recipes

Meatless Monday: Summer Potato Salad with Strawberry Yogurt Dressing

Recipe: Rina Oh

I made a stop at a local farm in Chester, NJ this past week and picked my own bunch! I also purchased fresh red leaf lettuce, and got inspired to use both in a sweet and savory salad. Here’s to kicking off a healthy summer!


For the salad:
5 medium Idaho potatoes, diced
2 Kirby cucumbers, peeled and diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 medium mango, diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons mint, finely sliced
1 head red leaf lettuce, ends trimmed
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, halved

For the dressing:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons water


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Combine strawberry, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, cucumbers, celery, mango, 1 tablespoon of the sliced mint, salt and pepper. Stir in Strawberry Yogurt dressing.

4. Serve salad in lettuce leaves. Garnish with the remaining mint.

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Filed under Food2, June 2011, Meatless Mondays, Rina's Food2 recipes

Meatless Monday: Chilled Adzuki Bean Soup with Fried Kimchi

Soup isn’t just for the wintertime. This chilled bean bowl is loaded with antioxidants and flavor, making it perfect for a healthy weekday lunch or light dinner.


Kimchi is a common side dish in Korea, served with just about every meal. The most traditional variety is made with Napa cabbage. In this recipe, it’s fried with immune-boosting enoki mushrooms and purslane, and used to garnish the soup and give it a spicy kick. Kimchi is widely available in supermarkets, but you might have to hit an Asian market to find enoki mushrooms and purslane. White or oyster mushrooms make good substitutes for the enokis, and radish sprouts or watercress can replace the purslane.

Fun fact about adzuki beans: They were first cultivated in Korea around 1000BC.

Chilled Adzuki Bean Soup with Fried Kimchi
Serves 12


1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dried adzuki beans
1 cup dried oats
8 cups water
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup Napa cabbage kimchi, drained and dried with paper towels
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms, roots trimmed
1 cup zucchini, diced
3 tablespoons salt for boiling zucchini
1/4 cup purslane greens
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sesame oil


1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot, and cook onions over medium-high heat until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add water, adzuki beans and oats, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook until beans are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and cool for about an hour, and then for an additional two hours in the refrigerator.

2. Blend chilled soup in batches until smooth.

3. Pour vegetable oil into a wok or deep skillet, about 2 inches deep. Heat to 350 degrees. Fry kimchi until kimchi is crispy and translucent, about 30 seconds. Repeat with mushrooms. Drain on paper towels.

4. In a medium-sized pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook zucchini until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

5. To assemble: Pour adzuki bean base into a bowl and mix in zucchini. Garnish with fried kimchi, mushrooms and greens. Drizzle sesame oil on top.





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Filed under Food2, June 2011, Korean Food at Home, Meatless Mondays, Rina's Food2 recipes

A few days before the James Beard Awards 2011

Alan Richman, dean of Food Journalism at FCI

I’ve just finished a six week course earning a specialized training certificate in the Craft of Food Writing at the French Culinary Institute taught by famed food writer Alan Richman– who possesses 14 unprecedented James Beard Awards in food journalism.

the aspiring food writers taking notes in class

In the class we learned how to properly format editorial pitches, write featured articles, service pieces and write restaurant reviews concluding the lessons with critiquing each other’s work. Some notable guest speakers included Gabriella Gershenson, Andy Kramer, and Steven Shaw.

Ching Huang, Susur Lee, Rina Oh, and Ming Tsai at the Lucky Rice Talk + Taste Event on May 8th

A few weeks later I got a chance to meet some serious star chefs, Ming Tsai, Susur Lee, and Ching Huang from the Cooking Channel at the Lucky Rice Festival Talk + Taste event on May 8th at Astor Center. I helped prep Ching’s steamed chicken with Chinese mushrooms, gogi berries with dried lily bulbs and vegetarian crispy beancurd rolls. The day concluded with Ming Tsai’s black bean Orecchiette made with spicy pork and broccoli. The demo room was filled with 150 guests as we ended the hard day’s work sharing a six pack of Singha beer with Ming Tsai. He charmed the cooks with his locker room stories after strolling in about an hour before the demo began.

Rina Oh and Ming Tsai

Ming Tsai is an Emmy award nominated television host of Simply Ming and co-hosted the James Beard Awards the day after the Talk and Taste event. Preceding the events that day, Chef Ming sent out about 400 covers at his famed restaurant Blue Ginger in Massachusetts, then hopped on the next flight to NYC to attend the demo and host the JBA the following day. Not too shabby for a busy celebrity chef who still manages to cook the line. I’m taking a rain check to venture out with Ming Tsai when he returns to New York and promise you my dear readers that I’ll have an exclusive interview with him very soon.


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Filed under Hot on the Blog, June 2011