Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly Over Rice - Lu Rou Fan (滷肉飯)

I traveled to Taiwan for the first time when I was about 10-years-old.  Even though we were Taiwanese American and my parents cooked Chinese and Taiwanese dishes all the time at home, nothing quite beats being in Taiwan itself when it comes to the food.  It would be another decade before I ever visited again, and during those ten years, the dish that stuck out in my memory was this simple looking bowl of braised pork belly over rice that you could get from just about anywhere in Taiwan for less than $2 USD.

When we first bought our Instant Pot pressure cooker, one of the first things my husband wanted me to try to make was lu rou fan.  It took a while for me to get around to it though because my first stovetop attempt didn't come out the way I liked and it was SUCH a huge pain in the butt to cut up all the pork belly into tiny tiny pieces.  It still is, but at least this time it came out delicious! (*^ワ^*)Super happy with how one of my favorite comfort foods turned out, considering I was cobbling together my own version on the fly after reading a ton of different recipes over several weeks.  I also sometimes add diced eggplant to make myself feel better, but steamed broccoli also goes well with it.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Drunken Fig & Strawberry Preserves

Last month my brother-in-law and his wife moved into a house that had a backyard filled with mature fruit trees, rampant tomato plants, and an herb garden.  With more figs and tomatoes than we knew what to do with, I decided it would be a great chance to try canning for the first time.  Actual canning success is debatable (I think it sealed? @_@) but the fruit preserves themselves were pretty tasty I think!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Oxtail Pho with Instapot

Growing up in Southern California's Little Saigon, I was introduced to Vietnamese cuisine from a young age while visiting the homes of my Vietnamese friends.  I've been especially spoiled by the pho made by one of my best childhood friends, Kaitlin.  Her pho has pretty much ruined pho for me at restaurants - I rarely order it when when we go out to eat Vietnamese food because all other broths just taste so bland compared to the one she makes. 

After eating and watching her make it so many times over the years, I finally braved the attempt to try it myself about three years ago. ( ≧Д≦) It was such a disappointing and blah result for the many hours put in that I was too traumatized to try again - that is, until now.  My desire to try again may or may not have coincided with her moving too far away for me to visit regularly.  (j/k, miss you Huong, not just your pho!) \(★´−`)人(´▽`★)/  This time around I had a pressure cooker, as well as the same brand of pho spices that my friend uses, and I will have to say it is the closest I've ever gotten to her broth - which makes me one happy mama! ヾ(*⌒ヮ⌒*)ゞ