hot pot + condiments


a few things have shifted
in the last few years:
i don’t wear make up much anymore,
like my cakes,
my face is naked,
and it’s all the better for it.
i’ve also leaned twds repeat recipes,
meals that stand the test of time,
but mainly,
dishes that i know are pleasing
and full-filling.
hot pot makes an appearance
when the weather turns
for the cold,
and then to the ebbing winter,
bookends in autumn and spring,
it is best shared with friends,
though it’s just as lovely for two.


there are plenty of versions,
though i am partial to the viet style
(surprise surprise).
differences are in the dipping sauces
and the broth.
the recipe i’ve featured is the most commonly
found in my family home,
though one of the sauces is japanese in origin.
there was the one time i made a stinky anchovy-pineapple sauce
that i absolutely adore,
but would hesitate to serve to friends.
these pictures are from past hot pot gatherings,
as the most recent shared meal did not
garner any publishable pix.
we’ve been hit with a wave of freezing temps,
and this has kept us afloat until spring makes her appearance.


hot pot dinner + condiments
serves 2 – 8 people

*note: when i make this, i don’t really measure anything. it is all based on what is available in the pantry, and how things taste that day. but these are the general list of ingredients, but i recommend tasting as you go. like, i’m freaking out right now trying to think up how i made the sauces because i do not have exact amounts, and it never comes out the same every time. it still tastes good though…

the meal itself:
mushrooms – any variety
tofu – cubed to bite size
variety of sliced meats – wegmans and asian markets now have them available, already cut and packaged
meat and fish balls – can be found in frozen section of asian markets, i gravitate twds the shrimp, fish, beef and pork balls
glass noodles
baby bok choy, and whatever else greens you fancy to eat

hot pot stock:
1-2 bottles of beer, usually Heineken
2-4 cups of bland chicken stock, no sodium or as little as possible
2-3 bruised lemongrass stocks
2″ knob of ginger, smashed
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed

add all together in pot, bring to a boil and simmer, with lid on, for about 30 minutes.

dipping sauce #1 – spicy soy sauce:
1 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 TBL maple syrup or honey
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2″ knob of ginger, grated
1/2 cup of water, give or take
juice of half a lime
1 tsp sesame oil
garlic-chili sambal, optional, to taste

in a jar with lid, mix everything together. taste it. add more of something if needed. you’re aiming for hits of sweet, sour, and salty.

dipping sauce #2 – goma dare/tahini miso sauce
3 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL mirin
1 heaping TBL miso
1/3 cup tahini
1 TBL soy sauce or tamari
2 TBL maple syrup or honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2″ knob of ginger, grated
1 tsp sesame oil
water to thin

in a jar with lid, mix everything together. add water to thin, you’re aiming for almost a dressing-like consistency, season to taste.

to assemble the entire thing:
put the electric hot plate in the middle of the table. simmer the hot pot stock. remove the lemongrass stalks, ginger pieces and garlic cloves.

while that is doing its thing, display the plates of sliced meats and veggies around.

assemble all your friends and go to town with the cooking of everything.

when i’m hosting, i usually play facilitator… i leave it to each person to cook their meats according to preference. i usually throw in the glass noodles, handful of bok choy/greens, meatballs, tofu and mushroom… then everyone else can choose sliced meats to cook at their leisure.

as the meal goes on, the broth gets deeply flavored from all the added meats, seafood, and vegs. you can sip the soup if you want. add more stock or beer as needed.


hot pot

3 years ago: quinoa chocolate cake (gluten free)
2 years ago: seaweed sushi bites
1 year ago: ginger tumeric latte

Miso Hummus topped with Seaweed Furikake

Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

a few great things that have happened recently:

i finally saw heart in concert
seeing as how the sisters are Wilsons,
there being that very slim chance of us being related,
i had to see them live.
alas after seeing their performance,
in my scientific opinion
we do not have the same talent genes,
they’re effing amazing.

i actually don’t despise podcasts, it came down to finding the right ones
a few of my fave:
Dear Sugar,
& unqualified
i like the 2nd one so much,
we’re going to see them later this week when they’re in town
(if you’re local, let’s meet up!)
(just don’t be weird/creepy)

inspired by the Great British Bake Off,
i entered a chicken soup cookoff.
i spent part of the weekend making the stock
and then a large portion of sunday evening
making the first batch of Experiment Soup.
that’s lunch this week.
the cycle starts again this weekend,
up until Contest Day.
i will post the recipe after the contest.

Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

Miso Hummus topped with Seaweed Furikake
makes about 2 cups

note: dw & i are on the never ending searching for smooth homemade hummus. we’ve made our fair share, with varying results of smoothness. what’s great about hummus is that it’s a very blank slate and it’s entirely up to you how you want to flavor and season. we’ve had the very very basic garlic version to herby to now this: miso flavored. all i know is, it’s a dish that brings people together, correction: brings different people together, a sentiment that lina of the lebanese plate is most passionate about. in today’s political climate, domestic and aboard, it’s scary times. let’s stop being assholes and share some great food. #SpreadHummusNotHate
*note: local/baltimore folk: Great Sage is having a family style Middle East Peace Dinner. get on that.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
healthy pinch of baking soda
2 TBL miso (i used brown rice)
generous 1/3 cup tahini
1/4 – 1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp sesame oil, at the end, and to top

seaweed furikake, as previously seen in Somen Noodle Bowl
2 sheets of nori/seaweed, shredded by hand
2-3 TBL toasted sesame seeds, very important to toast!
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt

in a bowl, mix the furikake together. set aside.

soak chickpeas with pinch of baking soda, leave on counter overnight. they will double in size, it’s quite alarming.

next morning, drain and rinse. in a big saucepan add the beans with more than you think you’ll need water, about 4-5″ above the beans. bring to a boil, lower temp and simmer for about 1 hour. test for done-ness and then boil for a bit longer. i usually aim for about 1.5 – 2 hours boil time.

drain and add the cooked beans into a food processor. lina (along with other people, dw included) says to skin the beans for extra smoothness but my lazy ass was not gonna bother. add in the miso and tahini. blitz until smooth. then blitz some more. very slowly and carefully, add in the cold water until it reaches the loose consistency you’re aiming for. i like to aim for slightly runny, because as the hummus cools, it’ll thicken up.

top with the seaweed furiake and serve with chips/rice crackers/vegs.

it tastes better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld.


Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

3 years ago: diy watercolor wedding invites (!!!)
2 years ago: homemade lactose free ricotta cheese
1 year ago: bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup

fast ‘n dirty bread & butter pickles

bread & butter pickles

after 2 hours of driving
we stop off at a small town
down by the shore.
there are long limbs that require stretching
and growling stomachs in need of food,
plus, Pokemon to be caught
(for the record, it’s dw who’s playing,
not the kids)
we sit at table that is in a cafe
that also fronts as a pharmacy.
the boys consume everything in front of them
everything except the gherkin pickles,
which are delicious
crisp and sweet and sour.
they remind me of my grandfather
who loved that combination.

with that in mind,
i picked up 4 pounds of pickling cukes
from the market saturday morning,
and spent minimal time in the kitchen
preparing them.
they came out with such snap.
dw could’ve done without the coriander seeds
but i like them.

i made enough to keep a large jar
but also a smaller jar to gift for a sick friend.

hope your summer is going swell.
be good to each other.

bread & butter pickles

fast ‘n dirty bread & butter pickles
makes 1 half gallon + 1 quart jars <= how’s that for crazy measurement?

*note: you can up the amount of sugar if you want it sweeter. i was more interested in getting the crunch and the salt step is key to getting that.

about 3-4 lbs of pickling cucumbers, cleaned and sliced about 1″ thick
3 generous TBL kosher salt
1 large onion sliced
2 scant cups of coconut sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds, optional
healthy dash of ground tumeric

in a big mixing bowl add the sliced cukes and sprinkle in the salt. mix it all and then cover in fridge for about 2 hours. them cukes are going to pee liquid something fierce. you’ll be amazed. drain the cukes and rinse thoroughly. drain as much of the water out as possible. add in the sliced onions and toss together.

in a saucepan heat up the rest of the ingredients until simmering and the sugars have dissolved. turn off heat.

in jars divvy up the cukes and onion. pour the hot vinegar liquid over the vegs. allow to cool to room temp and then lid and fridge. will keep for a month, but must be well covered and anytime you pull pickles out, use a clean utensil.


bread & butter pickles

3 years ago: spicy cantaloupe salad
2 years ago: pickled beets
1 year ago: apparently i was a bum last year around this time

meringue cups + mango curd

Mango Curd + Meringue Cups

growing up i never had dessert after dinner,
maybe an apple or orange slices.
sugar and sweets were for
Special Occasions,
they were not on the forefront of
gma’s menu planning for the week.
now that i’m a grown up in charge of my diet
dessert is a must.
on the evenings we don’t have
anything sweet to nibble on
i feel a loss,
my waistline has suffered
my sweet tooth is more ferocious
i don’t know which was worse –
with or without!
just kidding,
that’s a no brainer.

mango curdmango curd

meringue cups + mango curd
gluten free, lactose free

*note: it was super hot and muggy the days i made these. if i were to serve this at a party, i’d make the morning of and pipe just before serving. you want the meringues to be light and crispy with just a touch of chew. doing it the way i did it allowed the meringues to be a little on the chewy side and not enough of the crisp. the winter, when the air is chill and dry, would be best for the over night method i used this time.

5 egg whites, at room temp
1/4 -1/2 cup sugar, sweetness level entirely up to you, depending on how sweet the curd is
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

preheat oven to 300F. prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a clean mixing bowl using a the whisk attachment, mix the egg whites for about a minute. add the cream of tartar and then incrementally add the sugar. you’re going for stiff peaks, this could take up to 15 minutes. take your time, scrape the bowl to ensure you get all the sugar. you’re done when you’re able to turn the bowl over and nothing falls on your face.

fill piping bag, if you’re feeling fancy add a tip, though i don’t think it’s necessary. on the prepared baking sheet, pipe a base and then stick to the edge of the base and work your way up to make a cup/nest. keep going until done, i think i ended up with about 40.

bake for 20 minutes, lower heat to 250F and bake further 15 minutes. turn off off, ignore overnight.

mango curd
lactose free

1-2 mangos, depending on size, ending up with about 1 cup mango puree
1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want it to be
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
4 TBL ghee
juice of half lemon

in a sauce pan, mix the mango puree with the egg yolk on low heat. whisk steadily until warmed through, you don’t want to scramble the yolk. add in the flavors: sugar, salt, zests and lemon juice. raise heat to medium and keep whisking until further thickened. turn off the heat and add in the ghee, mixing thoroughly.

set aside to cool, if needed, strain through a fine mesh sieve.

allow to cool and then fridge. will keep for about a week.

to assemble:
you can be fancy and pipe the curd into the meringue cups, or you can be lazy like me and use a small spoon to fill the curd in.


mango curd + meringue cupsmango curd + meringue cups

1 year ago: 3 veggies dumplings in spicy sauce
2 years: baked yeast s’mores donuts

other curd and/or meringue desserts:
citrus curd mille feuilles – dairy free
meyer lemon bars – lactose free
chocolate meringue kisses – gluten free, dairy free
strawberries + cream pavlovas – gluten free

homemade ricotta cheese – lactose free

homemade parsley ricotta

prior to the age of
the Internet
and Email
and Blogging
i was a handwriting
Letter Writer,
and i kept a daily journal.
i haven’t written
in a diary in over
five years.
on a bookshelf,
dw keeps a stack of my
young adult
for a long time
i believed i’d always write
in bound books,
on ruled paper,
words written without margins,
as though they’d fall off the page
without the adhesive
rules of a sentence.
rabid with my memory collecting
that it never occurred to me
that one day
i wouldn’t need it.
i’m too busy, now,
making the memories.
and eating.
i do mourn the slow death
of cursive though.

homemade parsley ricotta

homemade lactose free parsley ricotta
adapted from the Splendid Table

note: back when i figured out that i was lactose intolerant i fully believed that i would never eat cheese again, it was like a slow death i was really sad. then i learned that the harder the cheese, the least amount of lactose in it. then i decided to try my hand at making cheese, vegan and lactose free. i’ve made ricotta before, i just had to look for lactose free stuff. and now, ricotta’s back in my life. happiness again.

1 cup 2% fat lactose free milk, i use organic valley
3 cups lactose free half/half, i use organic valley
juice of one lemon, about 1/4 cup
healthy pinch of salt
chopped parsley, amount to your heart’s content

heat up milk and half/half in pot, on medium heat, to a gentle simmer. remove from heat. add in salt and stir with lemon juice. curds will rise to the top, add the chopped parsley, stir and then give it a few minutes.

you can separate the curds from the whey (the separated liquid) with a cheese cloth and colander. (the leftover whey can be used to make soup, though i’ve never done that before). i use a big spice bag to drain the cheese, hang it over the sink.

drain for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. just keep in mind that the longer you drain it, the dryer the ricotta will be.

i drain it for about an hour, carefully dump it out of the spice bag, shape into a ball.

a good tip: coat hands with olive oil to shape.

drizzle with olive oil to keep from drying.

slather on toasted bread.


fancy crostini

bonus topping ideas:
i roasted up some delicata squash, along with the seeds.
simmered down honey + miso (1:1 ratio) + a splash of water til it reached jam consistency.
sliced figs, cukes, tomato, whatever you have in your pantry.
the combination is only limited to your imagination.

another BAM!

fancy crostini