Category Archives: General

Join the Food Gal and Chef Kha Lu of Hay Market Restaurant for A Macy’s Demo


Welcome Chef Kha Lu of Hay Market restaurant in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood to the culinary kitchen at Macy’s Valley Fair, 2 p.m. June 20.

Lu, who also operated the popular Kansui Ramen pop-up inside that restaurant, will join me to cook up one of his specialties. You’ll get to taste the dish, plus take home the recipe.

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Oatmeal Tête–À–Tête

Oatmeal for dinner -- a comfort dish even naysayers will love.

Oatmeal for dinner — a comfort dish even naysayers will love.


A typical day at my house:

(Rip, rustle, rustle, as I open a package that arrived in the mail, this one containing sample tins of Flahavan’s Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal.)

Me to my husband: “Oh, look, it’s oatmeal! You like oatmeal, right?”

My husband: (Snorts, shrugs.) “Eh, yeah.”

After all, he eats it for breakfast at least a couple times a week. But of course, I’m in the mood to do something different with it.

Me: “Guess what I’m going to do! I’m going to make savory oatmeal for dinner with it!”

My husband: “WHY?!?!?

Me: “You cook it like risotto. That sounds really good, doesn’t it?”

My husband: (Makes a face, shrugs, looks at me cross-eyed.) “If you must…”

Yup, that response is typical, too, whenever I want to cook up something a little different from the norm. But at least he’s a good sport about it, right? Well, sort of.

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A Tasty Visit to Planet Rice

Planet Rice Quinoa & Sprouted Rice Power Blend, raw on plate, and cooked in the bowl.

Planet Rice Quinoa & Sprouted Rice Power Blend, raw on plate, and cooked in the bowl.


Being Chinese-American, I grew up on white rice. And nothing but.

Black, brown, red and even bamboo-green rices were non-existent in my parents’ kitchen.

That’s why these other types intrigue me so much now. So when I had a chance to try samples of Planet Rice’s sprouted rices, I happily did so.

What is sprouted rice? Just what it sounds like: rice that has been soaked in water until the grains sprout ever so slightly.

The result is a softer texture. Not only that, but studies have shown that the sprouting increases the amount of fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium, as well as Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, an amino acid that can help lower anxiety and blood pressure, and afford deeper sleep and improved cardiovascular functions.

Who wouldn’t want more of that, right?

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Join the Food Gal in Conversation with Chef Hugh Acheson at Santana Row

Chef Hugh Acheson. (Photo by Taylor Oxendine)

Chef Hugh Acheson. (Photo by Taylor Oxendine)


You know him for his eyebrow-, er, unibrow-raising turn on “Top Chef Masters,” and for being the James Beard Award-winning chef of four restaurants, including Empire State South in Atlanta.

Now, get to know Hugh Acheson even more when he joins me in conversation and for a book signing at Lululemon Athletica store in San Jose’s Santana Row, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 9. That will be preceded by Acheson doing a cooking demo at 6 p.m. on stage at the chess board area at Santana Row.

You’re probably scratching your head about why he’s appearing at Lululemon, of all places, aren’t you? Turns out his sister works for the trendy athletic-wear company.

His newest cookbook is “The Broad Fork: Recipes For the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits” (Clarkson Potter). The book’s 200 recipes make produce the star — in everything from pickles and salads to purees and sautes.


Never cooked kohlrabi? Acheson will guide you through a few flavorful preparations that will make you a new fan of that root veg that tastes like the love child of a cabbage and turnip? Never heard of a yacon? I hadn’t, either, until reading Acheson’s description of the veg also known as Peruvian ground apple, which grows like a weed in the South and tastes a little like jicama.

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Cutting Down on Salt? Kale Salad to the Rescue

A kale salad low in sodium, but big on flavor and texture. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A kale salad low in sodium, but big on flavor and texture. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)


When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure years ago, it wasn’t necessarily a surprise.

That’s because it runs in my family, unfortunately.

What was a revelation, though, was just how much sodium lurked in so many foods I’d enjoyed without a second thought.

Check the labels on things like instant oatmeal, blue cheese, and even Dijon mustard, and you’ll be astonished.

(Graphic courtesy of the American Heart Association)

(Graphic courtesy of the American Heart Association)

Nowadays, I always read labels. And I wisely use flavor boosters such as good vinegars, lemon juice, herbs, spices, and toasted unsalted nuts to give extra oomph to dishes that are moderate in sodium.

That’s why I love this kale salad. I know — can you stand another kale recipe? I think you will when it’s as simple to prepare and satisfying as this one.

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