SMORGASBOR: Simply Ming . . . New year, new bar . . . Chic shape-up
Simply Ming The lunar New Year provides a delicious excuse to party at your favorite Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese restaurant or stage a spread of holiday foods at home for friends and family. But you also can mark the Chinese Year of the Rabbit ...
The lunar New Year provides a delicious excuse to party at your favorite Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese restaurant or stage a spread of holiday foods at home for friends and family. But you also can mark the Chinese Year of the Rabbit (Year of the Cat in Vietnam), which began Feb. 3 and runs for 15 days, simply, easily and affordably by serving an Asian-inspired one-pot dinner.
For help, turn to celebrity chef Ming Tsai, whose "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals" (Kyle, $29.95), continues the East-West synergy seen the past few seasons on his public TV series, "Simply Ming." The book, by Tsai and Arthur Boehm, offers dishes ranging from vegetarian paella to pork and noodles with kim chee, the spicy Korean pickled vegetable.
The restaurateur, owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass., and former contestant on "The Next Iron Chef" series on the Food Network, can get "cheffy," too. Oxtail and shiitake mushrooms with quinoa could end up without apology on most any restaurant menu. But Tsai can be the dad, too, with recipes like his Asian spaghetti or Asian sloppy Joes.
Indeed, it was at home that Ming began to develop his one-pot dishes.
"Exploring technique through my one-pot system -- taking underutilized woks and stockpots out for a spin -- will also help show you how cooking actually works, so you'll be better at it."
New year, new bar
Don't give up on your "at healthy" New Year's resolutions just yet. The new blueberry muffin flavor from Larabar -- with just six natural ingredients -- just made it a bit easier to skip a fatty breakfast mistake in favor of a nutritious bar. And, yes, the bar's six ingredients -- blueberries, blueberry juice concentrate, vanilla extract, lemon juice, dates and cashews -- do combine to taste like the real thing.
Find them in grocery stores nationwide, or buy a box of 16 for $25.45 at larabarstore.com.
More subtle than lugging around a big diet book, it's the "Pocket Posh Complete Calorie Counter: Your Guide to Thousands of Foods From Grocery Stores and Restaurants" (Andrews McMeel Publishing). The 4-inch-by-6-inch book's playful cover disguises the health tips and listings inside. Find calories, protein, carbs, sugar, fiber, fats (total and saturated) and sodium for a range of foods at supermarkets and restaurants (from Applebee's to White Castle).
It's $7.99 at barnesandnoble.com or borders.com