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Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice Recipe

Rice and beans, in one form or another, are the staple nourishment of much of the world's population. We often eat Indian daal (lentils) and rice, which serves the same purpose of providing protein to the diet of the many vegetarians in our home. I'm always looking to add  some variety to my family's diet, and I discovered a new dish on a recent trip to New Orléans.

At least it was new to me. Black-eyed peas and rice is a very common dish in the American South. Prior to trying this dish, my only experience with black-eyed peas was in the Vietnamese dessert called chè đậu trắng. My husband likes black-eyed peas very much, so I made it for him using the same method for making Indian biryani, but with Southern ingredients.
 


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Deep Fried Black Pepper and Sesame Soy Gluten with Choy Sum Recipe

Soy gluten is made from the combination of wheat gluten and soy bean gluten. Contrary to tofu, it has a chewy texture. When deep fried, its volume expands, creating a crispy exterior.  The gluten shrinks when dipped in the black bean sauce creating a meaty texture. I used the same method as my sunken tofu so that the soy gluten absorbs all the flavor of the sauce.

What I love about this recipe is that it is probably the only dish that Lulu and I get to enjoy eating together and feeding each other. The soy gluten has a similar texture to meat, but with a very different taste. So if you're a carnivore like me, you'll enjoy this dish as much as I do.

To be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of vegetarian food. I have been cooking a lot of veggie dishes since I got married, but I don't really enjoy them without adding some meat. I keep complaining to Lulu how much I would love to be able to share a meal together. I've tried to convert my husband into a meat eater for almost 5 years, but I've been wildly unsuccessful. So in a way, one could say that this is my recipe for a happy marriage.


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Summer Vegetables and Hummus Pizza Recipe

Hummus pizza breaks the traditional rules by using a garbanzo bean spread instead of the standard tomato sauce. I added some Mediterranean ingredients to keep the flavor fresh, such as asparagus, garlic, roasted red bell peppers and artichoke hearts.

It's the perfect recipe for a light summer meal; the few shavings of parmesan cheese is the only sinful ingredient in an otherwise very healthy pizza.


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Black Bean and Lemongrass Cod a la Hong Kong Recipe

I love seafood. I don't cook a lot of fish at home because of all the complaints from the vegetarians in the house but I couldn't resist: there was some very fresh lingcod at the market today.

Preparing black bean and lemongrass lingcod à la Hong Kong is easier than it seems; I simply marinated the fish with some lemongrass from the garden, some fresh ginger and black bean sauce. I then wrapped the whole fish en papillote, which means that I created a steam chamber out of aluminum foil for the fish. When it was ready, I served it with some steamed jasmin rice. The fish would also go well with red rice and mixed vegetables, if you're more health conscious. 


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Asian-Style Red Rice with Mixed Vegetables Stir-Fry Recipe

My uncle (the one who likes angel hair pasta) has been trying to convince me and Lulu to switch to red rice. Red rice is unpolished rice. It is short-grained, non-glutinous and has a maroon-red color. I've been giving Lulu brown rice with his meals for health reasons, but apparently red rice has a greater source of vitamin B, fiber and iron. 

Cooked red rice has a nutty aroma and is a lot chewier than regular white rice. Just make sure you cook red rice slightly longer than any other rice, such as brown rice.

I stir-fried the rice with some mixed vegetables to enhance the flavors. I added edamame for extra proteins. It's the perfect side dish for poultry or steamed fish.


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