About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What I Eat, What I Cook

Taiwanese  always ask me if I eat out or cook. I mostly cook, but lately w/ my busy schedule (Z's after school dance, swim, music + friends+ my Wed night Latin Dance) we sometimes are rushed for time. Monday we don't come home til 730pm, T and Thurs we don't go go home til 830, sometimes 9. So I eat out maybe 40% of the time.

Tostadas with pintos. (Corn tortillas from Trader Joes when I went to LA).

My kitchen is always stocked with the basics: fresh eggs, milk, bread, yogurt, cheese (mostly sharp Cheddar, grated Parmesan, and mozzarella sticks for Z). When I am flush I will have creme fraiche, brie or feta. I always have a bottle of red; organic Spanish wine is cheap and decent tasting. I also always have honey, brown sugar, molasses (the last dregs of a bottle and haven't been able to find any since), pure maple syrup, organic Stevia from the States (thanks Dad), pure peanut butter, sesame butters, olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil, milk butter, various vinegars (apple cider, balsamic and rice), mirin, seaweeds, and a few emergency jars of tomato puree. I also have Thai red and green curry, Indian masalas and coconut milk.

I love to bake but seeing as its just two of us I end up eating most of it, so I rarely do anymore.

Sticky cinnamon raisin buns, heavy on the cinnamon.

Taiwan  is a garden of Eden with amazing year round fruits. Fruits deserve its own blog. I am a big fan of fruit shakes. My freezer always has frozen blueberries (Z's favorite), mulberries from the neighborhood and there always seems to be bananas and pineapple, so between these and whatever is in season, fruit shakes are fun. I prefer the silky thick body of the avocado with mango and maybe some berries. Z loves papaya alone  (papaya milk is popular with kids here) or with banana and pineapple. We both adore red dragon fruit it has such a special flavor and the ruby red color is gorgeous.

Fruit shake with red dragon fruit.
 When I do cook, its something around beans or pasta. I'm a bean fanatic, I have green lentils, red lentils, chickpeas, white beans, pintos, black beans, refried pintos, and kidney beans. I have a variety of Italien pastas and mostly all of it is whole wheat. I do have Asian noodles, 10 grain noodles, buckwheat (great cold in summer), thin brown rice glass noodles, and sometimes I buy fresh handmade noodles in the morning traditional market, which comes in all sizes and sometimes colors.

I always have some flour tortillas in the freezer and a variety of grains, brown rice, millet, buckwheat (not technically a grain), couscous, barley, and purple rice (ugu fan, mixed grain, which wild rice and black rice). Recently I came across some polenta.

Polenta and Kidney beans with broccoli cheese sauce and roasted root vegs.

With these staples, I buy fresh, seasonal veggies, fish, shrimp, chicken, sometimes pork and Black Angus beef from Carreforre that is grass fed and hormone free.

When I eat out, its  at the local Vietnamese place (beef pho) or baguette something, lunch box with not so healthy white rice and fried veggies, I do like stinky tofu (also not so healthy deep fried), and I go to the buffets that serve the purple rice (ugu fan).  On Saturdays I meet my language exchange partner at McD's so our kids can play in the indoor playground. This means I munch on Z's french fries and I have a coffee.

 The longer I live here the more I am learning to cook with Chinese "medicine" (all food is medicine really), which means using goji berries like raisins. My Friday night language exchange and I always talk food, she is a great cook and I learn a lot about cooking Chinese food from her. She always brings me baked goodies from her ladies church group (often green tea cookies, lemon cheesecakes, fresh breads). Poor me had to be a taste tester two weeks in a row, of  different fresh breads, I am so spoiled sometimes.

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