bright star

Post-Superbowl Eats: Quinoa, Edamame & Corn Salad

Growing up in my more-Chinese-than-American household, we didn’t watch any football. Actually, we didn’t watch that much English language programming at all; the programs on our television were always a steady rotation of the following: 1) Nature shows that highlighted the landscapes and provinces in Mainland China; 2) Taiwanese news channels that showed very diplomatic politicians battling it out by throwing shoes and punches in Congress; 3) Chinese soap operas that my grandmother enjoyed, which almost always followed this format: Abused/misunderstood wife; some type of amnesia; and either a new man who adores her and solves her problems or a returning husband who repents his old ways. So it wasn’t a big surprise that I knew nothing about football aside from the fact that our San Diego Chargers were (lately) very disappointing, to the point that even a non-watcher like me knew better than to hope that we were going to make it to the playoffs.

Somehow, though, at some point during this past year, I began to understand football and caught myself actually enjoying Sunday games. So yesterday,  I sat down to watch the Superbowl.

My mother, whose life has been spent half in the U.S. and half in Taiwan, decided that she, too, wanted to watch the game. I probably should have explained to her what football was, because she began asking questions like:

1) “What sport is this?”

2) “How many teams play in the Superbowl?”

3) And, after watching a commercial featuring children, “Little kids play Superbowl, too?” (to which I replied: “It’s football; and it’s a sport, so yes, there are football teams designed for younger children.”)

I think the best question, though, came after she saw some 49ers pat their teammate on the back: “Why do they keep hitting him? Do they get points by doing that?” To her credit, at least she was paying attention.

But, like any other holiday (and I definitely consider the Superbowl a holiday), there comes a time for the post-celebration cleanse: the time where one repents after a day of excessive beer, chips, dip, and chicken wings (repentance came earlier this year, I believe; right around the time the Calvin Klein ad aired).

So here’s a dish that’s nutritious, delicious, light and satisfying:

Quinoa, edamame, corn salad

Note: I apologize for the photo; I am not a professional photographer by any means, obviously.

Quinoa, Edamame & Corn Salad with Cilantro and a Tangy Lemon-Parsley Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups frozen edamame
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced.
  • 3 Tbs. of minced fresh cilantro (I used two whole big bunches… I like cilantro).
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. good quality olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. brown sugar
  • a dash of red pepper flakes (can adjust depending on personal preference)
  • a dash of white pepper (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (can adjust depending on personal preference)
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions (I usually cook it in chicken brother with 1 parts quinoa and 2 parts liquid). Wait for quinoa to absorb all liquid.
  2. Cook the frozen edamame and corn together in a pot until soft.
  3. While the frozen vegetables and quinoa are cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, and salt and pepper. You may add the pepper flakes and white pepper if you like a little bit of heat in the dressing. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
  4. When quinoa has absorbed all the liquid (I let it sit for a little bit after the 10-15 minute actual cooking time; it absorbs any remaining liquid post-cooking), combine quinoa, edamame, corn, bell pepper and the cilantro together.
  5. Drizzle the dressing onto the quinoa salad; toss until evenly mixed.
  6. Enjoy!

Sweet Treat

In January of 2012, I set up a new wordpress account, purchased a domain, and declared to my best friend that I was going to return to blogging. The second time I logged in, I was surprised to see that it was already late January… of 2013. Oops. Where did the time go?

My first post, actually, isn’t what you’re reading right now; this is my first public post. My first post was a piece of fiction that I wrote in an attempt to rejuvenate the creative juices that had basically dried out sometime after graduation. Graduating with a degree in something that I had truly loved was exciting; searching for jobs, writing resumes, and editing said resumes over and over again, were not. At some point, writing creatively became a luxury that I didn’t feel that I could afford, and in my mind at that moment, free time was much better spent focusing on strengthening resumes, getting my name out there, and trying to find a job.

I was so, so blessed to actually find a position in a career that I never thought that I would be able to get into. And surprisingly enough, although it has nothing (well, almost nothing) to do with my area of study, it has become something that I have grown very interested in and passionate about.

The main issue holding me back from committing fully to blogging again was the question of capability: was I even capable of producing something that someone out there (aside from my mother) would want to read? After several months of writing only cover letters set to a standardized format, then even more months of writing solely emails and correspondence related to my field, would I even be able to figure out the words that I would need to use in order to put forth an idea that had nothing to do with job experience or federal regulations? This is why the first post on this blog is a private piece, designed to remind me of how far I’ve come, and also a creative/fictional one, to collect and draw me back to the inspiration that had spurred my love for writing in the first place: books.

For my first public post, however, I knew that I wanted to explore something else that I had always loved, but didn’t pursue academically: it’s no secret that I am a big fan of all (good) things culinary. And because Chinese New Year is right around the corner, I wanted to post a recipe that I hope will bring you sweet, health(ier) satisfaction for this upcoming new year.

almondbrittle_lee, p

Almond Brittle

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds (I like more nuts in my brittle)
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Tear out a large piece of parchment paper and line a cookie sheet with it.
  2. Melt the raw sugar, palm sugar, salt and water over medium heat in a large saucepan. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture is brought to a boil.
  3. Add in the almonds and stir, frequently, until the candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. When the candy mixture reaches 300°, remove from heat and immediately stir in butter, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Stir until evenly coated and combined.
  5. Pour at once onto the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and use two forks to lift and pull the nut mixture into a rectangle. When cool, snap (or slice, like I did) into pieces.

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