Food I Grew Up Eating

I know it’s weird to eat herbs that I don’t even know the names of but trust because my parents have always eaten them.  As a kid, I would eat the herbed chicken soup Mom made without ever wondering what the herbs were.  I just remembered it tasted good.

HHERBS0008_800I still don’t know what the herbs are called…except for maybe the herb farthest on the right.  I think that one is called Angelica.  To make this dish, use a sprig of each of the different herbs in the photo except for the Angelica.  Just use about an inch tip of that one.

Boil the herbs with a about a pound of cubed chicken in water.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

HCS0004_800Put about a cup of rice in a bowl and then ladle with the broth and a few pieces of chicken.  Add more salt and pepper if you’d like.

HCS0007_800Mom used to make this with organic whole chicken freshly killed…most the time freshly killed but frozen.  Since I don’t kill my own chicken, and will never, I just buy the breasts from the local grocery store.

There is a really calm effect from this soup.  Once, when I was working and running around with so much going on, I sat down to this soup and instantly, like a light switch, I was calmed.  Relaxed.  That’s when I realized this soup was not just any soup to fill my tummy.  It has some power to it.  Not enough to do anything crazy but enough to calm my senses.  This soup is especially good during cold winters and when I’m feeling a cold coming.

Duck eggs.

DUCKEGGS0011_800I haven’t eaten duck eggs for maybe almost 15 years now.  Maybe longer.  I was never afraid to eat them.  Mom made them look so good and tasty and that’s how I’ve remembered them.  It was a delicacy.  Mom seemed to only buy them when she had extra money.  Sometimes we had to share them.

A couple of months ago I saw duck eggs at the Asian market and decided to buy a couple for my daughters to try.  Their reaction was funny.  Funny to me.  They were actually freaked out that I would even consider eating a duck egg.  I boiled them anyway and cracked the shell.  There inside was a baby duck.  My girls screamed and refused to get a closer look.  They were just grossed out, scared, and shocked.

“Mom!  How could you!”  My 11-year-old yelled.  I don’t know.  I guess times have changed.

If you’d like to see what it looks like cracked open, click here.  I decided to make it a link just in case anyone gets grossed out.  Warning:  it is not a good sight.  I happen to not think too much of it.  It’s just a cooked duck egg and to me it tastes good.

Bok Choy and Kabocha Squash

Mom gave me some bok choy and a kabocha squash and because my kids and husband are not fans, I have to be a little creative with what I make, otherwise most of it goes to waste.

With the bok choy, I made a stir fry with chicken and a little bit of osyter sauce.  Husband and the kids liked it but they only ate the chicken.

I also boiled some bok choy.  Husband and the kids didn’t eat any but that’s okay because I didn’t mind having it all to myself.  It was sooo good.  Especially because it reminds me of being Hmong.  You’ll find that eating boiled greens of any kind (but usually leafy greens) is a norm in the Hmong culture.  So, if you come across a friend or a neighbor who boils their greens and sets a big bowl of it on the dining table during meals, you’ll know they’re Hmong. 🙂

With the kabocha squash, I normally would just boil it and eat it the same way I do the boiled greens.  This was the only way I knew how to eat it because this was always the way I grew up eating it.

The photo above was taken of some of Mom’s larger squashes.  Mine was about the size of a small round watermelon.  It was still a lot for one person.

I tried it boiled with some cinnamon and sugar.  It was okay. I still prefer it plain or with a little sugar and mashed.

And, made a Thai red curry squash. The recipe is here.  Instead of using bell peppers (which I don’t like), I used thinly sliced bamboo shoots.  I also added one lemon grass sprig (tip and green rough parts chopped off), kaffir lime leaves, and instead of adding lime juice, I sliced a lime into quarters and set them aside with some thinly sliced scallions to be used as needed.

It was pretty good.  I loved the aroma of Thai curry and the combination of the buttery flavored squash with the crunchiness from the bamboo shoots.

Mom always toasts some of her seeds.  I think she lets them dry out in the sun and then toasts them in a pan.  I wanted to toast them in the oven so I found this recipe and it turned out pretty delicious except that I burnt them a little.

Kida ate them with me.  She liked that they were slightly burnt.