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So my garden flourished this year, and instead of the one paltry tomato I got last year, this year I have nothing but tomatoes. This was mainly due to the fact that I wasn't aware one tray of tomato plants contained 4 plants each, so I ended up with 16 plants.

Not that I'm complaining. The tomatoes have been plentiful, ripe and sweet, with minimal problems. Except that I have to get rid of them somehow.

Which is how I came up with this fabulous recipe for fresh salsa:

  • 3-4 large ripe tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • 1/2 a small onion, finely diced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • dash of Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Serve fresh or cold from fridge. Keeps for about one week.

I guarantee, you'll never want to go back to store-bought jarred salsa after this.


I write this while I have what seems to be a wicked head cold that has sapped my strength and submerged my world in a cloud of noise and nonsense. So if I come of nonsensically, let me assure you it's not the meds, for I have not taken any: previous encounters with Robitussen, Sudafed, and other decongestants and cold/flu aids have resulted in hallucinations and mania I can't really begin to fathom.

This is pure, sick Vicki.

I spent most of the morning asleep. Actually, all of it. After calling in to work sick, I promptly passed out until noon, when my work-at-home hubby gently nudged me to awakeness to ensure I didn't sleep my whole day away so that I wouldn't have trouble tonight. After tea and lunch, I lay and read Hugo-Award winner The Big Time by Fritz Leiber. It's been a while since I've read any hardcore sci-fi. And I think I remember why I don't when I'm sick...

I once again promptly passed out for an hour.

Rested but still weak, I decided to try to get some work done on the website, which has been in serious need of some refreshment. I never realized how tiring it was just sitting at this desk. It seems to be an effort to just be upright.

So here I am now, trying to write to get myself in the "write" state of mind to get some actual writing done. Hubby is making me nourishing congee (jook): Chinese rice porridge, for those of you who have never had it. Here's a recipe:

2 cups (old) cooked rice
6 cups of water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Ginger, finely sliced into little matchsticks
1/2 pound of ground pork
pinch of salt

In a big pot, brown pork in oil with ginger on high heat. Add water, bring to a boil. Add rice. Reduce to medium low heat when the soup comes to a boil. Let simmer for 1-2 hours. Add salt as needed. Serves, 4 people. Or one very sick person.

Water may be added to thin out the mixture, or it can be left to boil off to make it thicker. It's really very idiot-proof; just make sure you don't burn it.

Serve with fresh scallions (green onion) or whatever else you want. I like picked vegetables, deep-fried donuts from Chinatown and dried pork floss, but that might just sound weird to other people.


So, how many potlucks have you been invited to this holiday season? Is your wallet starting to hurt from all the groceries you keep buying to cook impressive meals for friends and family?

Well, hurt no more, wallet. This is my catch-all pasta salad recipe for potlucks, picnics, and nights when I don't want to get fancy with the cooking. It's great for summer or winter, it's cheap, and it doesn't require a lot of finesse.

You'll need:

  • Half a bag (about 4 or 5 cups) of pasta (rotini, fusili or macaroni works well), cooked the way you like it
  • 1 medium red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 can of flaked or chunk tuna, drained (this can be substituted with cold chicken, canned salmon, crab, turkey, ham...whatever you want. I like tuna because it's cheap. You can also go vegetarian and leave meat out entirely.)
  • 1/3 cup of Kraft sundried tomato and oregano dressing (or more. Keep some to add on if it's too dry for your tastes.)
  • Dash of black pepper and salt


Toss ingredients together. Done.
Serve cold, or freshly warmish.
Makes enough for a lot of people.