Archive for April 17th, 2010

I like carrots.  I used to dip carrot and celery sticks in ranch dressing.  Because I am trying to cut down on my fat intake, I started eating carrots plain without fat.  Lately, The Cat said that I should eat my carrots with a little bit of oil because the combination provided better nutrition.  She didn’t know where the information came from.  By doing a bit of browsing, I came up with two sources.  The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in 2005 published guidelines that include a discussion that fats serve as a carrier for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and carotenoids.  The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2002 published an article that concluded that carrots release the most carotene by cooking and adding oil to them.  The logic is that when the carrot releases its carotene, the body can absorb it.  Yay!, a reason to eat fat (within reason). 

To celebrate, I pan-roasted some carrots in a little peanut oil and sprinkled sea salt and drizzled honey over them. 

Pan-Roasted Carrots, Sea Salt, and Honey





  • Carrots are cool (yin).
  • Peanut Oil is cool (yin).
  • Honey is cool (yin).
  • Sea salt is warm (yang).


The Mouse is happy. 🙂

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Both our local Korean and Japanese restaurant have a cold side dish or appetizer of parboiled spinach dressed with shoyu, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.  Sometimes, the Japanese restaurant will use shaved dried bonito (katsuobushi) instead of the sesame seeds.

Here are two of my variations:

We had a little bit of Shanghai cabbage in the refrig.  Not enough to make a full dish.

Shanghai Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds

Another time, we found frozen choi sum, already cooked, at our local Korean market.

Frozen Choi Sum

This time, I added both sesame seeds and katsuobushi.

Choi Sum with Sesame Seeds and Bonito Flakes

I defrosted the choi sum, poured hot water over, squeezed as much water as I could out of it and tossed with the dressing.


  • Spinach is cool (yin).
  • Shoyu is cold (yin).
  • Sesame oil is cool (yin).
  • Shanghai cabbage is cold (yin).
  • Not sure what choi sum is, but my guess is either cool or cold.


The Cat likes her greens.

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The Chinese concept of yin (cold or cool) and yang (hot or warm) extends to food.  The body needs a certain amount of yin and yang foods to remain balanced.  Although I’m ethnically Chinese, my ancestors left China many, many moons ago (my great-great grandfather was a contract worker at the plantations in Hawaii).  While I understand the concept of yin and yang on a very elementary level, the details often confuse me.  

The Cat says that the combination of egg and tomato is a very good nutritional match.  We don’t know the Chinese explanation of why this is good.  For now, we chalked it up to “Chinese kitchen wisdom.”  In browsing the internet, I came across many recipes from different cultures that include eggs and tomatoes.  I even like ketchup (you say catsup, I say ketchup) on my eggs. 

Eggs and Tomatoes

Green Onions

 Sometimes, The Cat will plant the stumps from green onions that we use in an empty pot.  This time, they went into the dish. 

I used one medium sized tomato and three eggs.  

  • Heat pan on medium heat.
  • Add enough oil (I used peanut oil) to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Add chopped green onions, stir until fragrant.
  • Add peeled chopped tomato.
  • Add sugar and salt to taste.  Add shao xing wine (or any cooking wine). 
  • Take out and set aside.
  • Clean pan.
  • Heat pan on medium heat.
  • Add enough oil to coat pan.
  • Add beaten eggs and scramble lightly.
  • Add salt to taste. Option to add a splash of shao xing wine.
  • Add back tomato, stir to combine.

To me, the taste is as a very basic, chunky ketchup.  This is how The Cat makes this dish.  I’ve sometimes varied the dish by adding white pepper and/or a splash of Japanese rice vinegar.  I’ve even added capers or black olives at times (it becomes less “Chinese” tasting).  Although we try to reduce our fat, salt and sugar intake on most dishes, this dish seems to taste better with a slight increase of oil, salt and sugar than what we would normally use in other dishes.  Whatever the health benefits, this dish is tasty. 

The Verdict 

This time around, The Cat said that the eggs were slightly overcooked and the tomato was slightly undercooked.  She likes this dish slightly runny and saucy. 


  • Tomatoes are cold (yin).
  • Eggs are cool (yin).


Have a good weekend.

The Mouse will do better next time. 🙂

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