Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A little Asian food flair

I've mentioned my 3 years in China before, and I'm sure I'll continue to bring it up as there are so many things in my daily life that I still find myself comparing to my life in China.  For example, last night, Jamie and I went to the gym after about a month off, with a plan to change up our routine a little to get some better results. 

I'll admit, I didn't have a very good attitude last night;  I was sleepy and my head hurt--commuting 60 miles each way tends to lull me into a coma-like state by the time I get home;  my muscles were weaker, and I simply didn't feel like working out while it was raining and thundering outside.  Stormy afternoons are best enjoyed from the comfort of the couch, with a book in hand and a glass of wine!

But anyway, I found myself thinking, it just wasn't this hard to stay in shape in China--when I first moved there after college, I immediately lost about 20 pounds with almost no effort and while eating McDonald's about once a week.  But I walked.  Everywhere.  From my apartment to the school, down to the bus stop, all over downtown, miles every day...  Whereas here, I might shop at Marshall's and then drive next door to go into Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Why do I do that?  I'm sure I'm not alone in that, though.

Another factor of fit living in China is the food.  Rice, meat and vegetables.  Fresh fruit.  That was about it.  After dinner, we were usually served cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges and sunflower seeds to snack on instead of dessert.  Not a lot of sweets available anyway, at least not ones that I liked.  So there you have it, the secret of being fit that you never knew:  just move to China!  :)

But since I have no plans to move back there, I need to alter my habits here...  so wish us both luck at the gym!  Although Jamie can lift weights for a half hour and his upper body looks all pumped;  I'm not as lucky--my legs never look thinner after cardio.  No, it's not fair.  I need to figure out how to rev up my metabolism.  For starters, I have some 5-hour energy in my car, which hopefully, will stave off my afternoon coma while driving home so that I at least have the energy to work out.

Saturday, we bought some sashimi-grade salmon and tuna at Hmart in Denver; we didn't end up using it on Saturday since we ended up going out with friends, but it was perfect for dinner on Sunday after a lazy day at home.  Neither of us felt like messing with cooking rice and rolling sushi, so we just created a few simple dishes instead.  The colors of the fresh ingredients were just beautiful, and the fresh fish, avocados and mango really complemented each other well.

First, I made some cucumber, salmon and mango bites;  just sprinkle a little salt on cucumber slices, then add a dab of wasabi, sirachi, or horseradish cream.  Make it a little spicy or a lot spicy!  Top with bite sized pieces of salmon and mango, then secure with a toothpick.  These were so pretty!

The next dish was my "I have leftover ingredients that I don't want to waste" dish.  :)  A few slices of mango, salmon and avocado on a plate, drizzled with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and lemon juice.  You could definitely jazz this up more with some other vegetables or fruit, but it was good in its simplicity.

Then Jamie made tuna tartar, which I request every time we go to Hmart.  The buttery tuna, lightly seasoned with salt, lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil, flecked with sesame seeds, the creamy avocado...  it all just melts in your mouth!  (Click here for a previously posted recipe.)

And lastly, we had pork, cabbage and onion jiaozi (Chinese dumplings).  No, we did not make these; we got them from the freezer section and just boiled them.  I wouldn't attempt to make jiaozi without a motherly Chinese woman standing close by to make sure I did it right.  (See my previous post on jiaozi making with one of my student's families.)  The frozen jiaozi definitely didn't have as much complex flavor as I remember from the homemade kind, but it was still good.  Drizzle it with soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, along with hot sauce if you like it spicy.  In retrospect, I should have topped them with some diced green onions;  Jamie said they looked like brains just sitting there in the bowl.  Don't let that spoil your appetite, though--this was a delicious meal!


  1. Wow! The food looks amazing! I'm allergic to seafood, so I miss out.....and the food you ate in China sounds wonderful, fresh and healthy!

    My exercise of choice is walking. I have this little dog who needs to be walked daily - she sure is a great exercise partner!

  2. Oh, that's too bad about your seafood allergy. But you're right that dogs are great motivators for walking!

  3. What amazing photos! Pretty amazing what just walking everywhere will do for you!

  4. Beautiful photos! It all looks delicious!


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