Chinese Potstickers

3 servings of potstickers

What was your favorite childhood food and do you still crave it? Well, I used to love eating handfuls of delicious Chinese potstickers! Growing up eating Chinese food at least four times a week, especially dim sum, it really set the tone for my taste buds. There is something about these handmade moon shaped dumplings, filled with savory pork and scallion filling, then dipped in salty and tangy soy and vinegar sauce that made for one of my ultimate comfort foods growing up. I’m excited to share with you my favorite homemade Chinese potstickers recipe, perfect for Chinese New Year!… 

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

buttermilk fried chicken stack on waffles

I’ve never been a person to say no to fried chicken, it’s my culinary kryptonite. I just can’t get enough of the salty, crispy coating, and biting into the tender and juicy chicken meat. My childhood diet often times consisted of orders of McDonald’s chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce (which I still love), red and white striped buckets of KFC fried chicken (I prefer original recipe), and little fried drumettes from Oakland Chinatown which had the tastiest scallion batter. Fried chicken has certainly evolved with many chef’s adding their own blend of spices and coatings, sandwiching them between waffles and served at the swankiest and hippest restaurants…. 

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Super Healthy Fruit Smoothie

healthy fruit smoothie recipe

Did you know the #1 most common New Years resolution is to lose weight? It’s probably not an earth shattering revelation to you as pretty much every where you look there are online advertisements and TV commercials, some with ridiculous claims of shedding pounds without changing what you eat. Yea right, if it were only that easy!! Diet and exercise is what is really going to help you. While I do love to run trails and hit the gym, in this article I’m just going to stick with what I know and that is sharing my healthy fruit smoothie recipe for you to enjoy…. 

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Boozy Chocolate Milkshake with Whisky

Whip cream served with chocolate boozy milkshake

My first “boozy” milkshake experience was in Washington DC at a place called the Satellite Room. My friend Jasmine who lived in DC at the time took me to this institution where busy DC professionals meet up after work and chow down while listening to great music. The Satellite Room has tasty selection of delicious burgers and a variety of beers on tap. I was taken out of my culinary element when I tried a boozy chocolate milkshake from the menu…. 

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Chinese Beef with Broccoli

Chinese beef with broccoli stirfry

If there was one tactic for my parents to get me to eat my vegetables, it was to order beef with broccoli at our favorite local Chinese restaurant in Alameda! The dish at Hong Kong City restaurant was so simple yet comforting; two ingredients drenched in a sweet and savory sauce which made each bite of broccoli a little more enjoyable…. 

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Delicious Surf and Turf Recipe

Delicious Surf and Turf recipe

I wanted to start off 2014 with an amazing meal that would set the tone for recipes to come in 2014. There is no better way to celebrate and indulge than with a homemade steak and lobster tail dinner. This Surf and Turf recipe is the ultimate elegant meal featuring the king and queen of proteins. Beautiful tender and juicy filet mignon and succulent fresh lobster tail. Cheers to a good year!

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Spiced Lemon Chicken

Spiced lemon chicken with humus

Are you in need for a fast healthy and tasty dinner? I personally struggle with having time after a long day at work to cook an elaborate dinner. I try my best to make meals that are packed with nutrition in order keep energized for the next day. My spiced lemon chicken recipe is the perfect wholesome meal during those hectic weekdays. I always stock my pantry with essential spices such as garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika, so I can make a quick spice blend to add more flavor to my proteins and the best part is you do not need to marinate for hours!… 

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Cranberry Almond Quinoa

Cranberry almond quinoa recipe

Do you love bread and pasta but are trying to watch your carbs? It’s often difficult to find a flavorful and healthy replacement for pasta, rice or bread. I was lucky to be introduced to quinoa during college by my dear friend Jasmin. At the time we would bond over delicious home cooked meals, wine, yoga and hiking. These were our perfect ways to unwind after long days of studying…. 

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Pumpkin Hand Pies with Pecan Streusel

Cooking rack of pumpkin pies

Some people can look at the leafs outside and say fall has arrived, well in Southern California we go to the grocery store to notice the seasons changing. You know what I’m talking about, in late September the grocery chains start to bombard you with pumpkins, scary ghosts and lots of Halloween candy! Pumpkin is the essential ingredient of autumn, so its no surprise that you can find pumpkin everything… pop tarts, cheesecake, oatmeal, flavored beer and lattes luring you into the holiday spirit!… 

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Delicious Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

baked cinnamon apple chips on table

Are you looking for that delicious healthy snack that can satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt? I have the perfect crispy treat for you, tasty homemade baked cinnamon apple chips! The recipe is only 3 ingredients: your favorite apple, powdered sugar, and some cinnamon. That’s it – nice and simple!… 

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Stir-fried Bitter Melon Recipe

stir-fried bitter melon recipe with Black Bean Sauce

If there is one taste I have a challenge enjoying, its bitter. Growing up in a Chinese family, I could not avoid the occasional super healthy bitter melon soup my grandparents would make, or a saucy bitter melon dish that I would let pass me on the lazy susan at Chinese restaurants. On the flip side, we all know that typically a vegetable that doesn’t taste great, is usually good for you…. 

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Citrus Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

Citrus Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

There is nothing better than waking up on the weekend to the smell of sweet pancakes sizzling on the griddle. My fondest memories as a child was tip toeing down the stairs in the morning, still sleepy eyed, and waking up immediately when I saw my mom cooking an irresistible breakfast for me and my family…. 

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Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta

Fresh summer squash blossoms

The summer season yields not only delicious summer squash, but mother nature produces wonderful bright orange edible blossoms. You can typically find these eye catching blossoms at your local farmers market, I purchased mine at a recent visit to Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market…. 

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Apricot Spritz Cookie

apricot spritz cookie

My fondest memory of spritz cookies was when I working at an exquisite European Bakery called Boniere in my home town of Alameda, CA during high school. The pastry chef would fill the cookies with homemade raspberry and apricot jam, and lightly dust each cookie with powdered sugar. These cookies were so tender and contained the perfect amount of sweetness which would melt in your mouth. I just had to recreate these apricot spritz cookies at home!… 

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Chocolate Almond Pretzels

chocolate almond pretzels recipe

Chocolate covered pretzels are the perfect combination of sweet and salty flavors with a crunch. It’s hard not to like the savory crunchy pretzels combined with decadent chocolate. In Asian markets you can find a similar sweet treat, called Pocky Stick made in Japan. I remember picking out the strawberry and chocolate flavors as a kid, and I still buy them for nostalgia. This chocolate almond pretzels recipe is perfect because it gives you instant gratification, and they look fancy without a lot of time…. 

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Homemade Caramel Popcorn

Homemade caramel popcorn with nuts

One of my favorite childhood snacks is caramel popcorn. The golden sweet and delicious clusters give the perfect crunch as you bite into each candy coated popped kernel. I typically prefer the popcorn in the form of cracker jacks. There’s something about eating an entire box by the handful and anticipating the prize included at the bottom…. 

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Cranberry Nut Energy Bars

No Bake Cranberry Nut Energy Bars

Energy bars are a portable and quick snack option for those on the go. There are numerous choices in the market, some of my favorite being Clif Mojo Bar Variety Pack and KIND Healthy Snack Bars. I also enjoy creating my own energy bars at home because I get complete control of what ingredients and flavors I want to incorporate. I like to add flaxseed, fiber and protein packed nuts such as peanut and almond. Then to bind the ingredients together and add sweetness, I use natural sweeteners like honey. Crunchy, sweet, and satisfying, this easy no-bake cranberry nut energy bars recipe is the perfect snack for any time of the day!… 

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Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Apricot Ginger Glaze

spicy grilled shrimp served with salsa and polenta

Summer is here and it’s time to dust off the grill! My local market was featuring beautiful and succulent jumbo shrimp which is a perfect quick and easy protein to cook on the grill. Shrimp is already so flavorful with little to no extra seasonings, but I decided to infuse some sweet and savory flavors…. 

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Grandma’s Italian Meatball Recipe

Italian Meatball Recipe | jessicagavin.com

On our wedding day, I made a very special vow to my husband…

“I promise to always nurture, listen, comfort, and feed you, making sure to cook your grandmother’s famous meatballs at least once a month.”

It may seem like a silly promise, however my husband Jason’s love for his Grandma’s Italian meatball recipe always brings him a sense of comfort and happiness. For me to be able to recreate a dish that he loves is really important to me. When he walks through the door at the end of a long day and smells fresh tomato sauce and meatballs broiling in the oven, his big smile is priceless!… 

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Make your own homemade fruit popsicles

homemade fruit popsicles | jessicagavin.com

When I was growing up popsicles and water guns were a summer time staple! My favorite frozen treat was Otter Pops, remember those? The ones where everyone’s mouth’s turned the various colors of the rainbow after eating them. Nostalgic childhood foods are my favorite things to recreate and I must admit, I think the last time I made homemade fruit popsicles was when I was in the third grade! The great thing is that making easy healthy treats at home is super simple, without the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors you’ll find in store bought packages. All of my homemade fruit popsicles recipes are 100 calories or less, even as low as 30 calories for the all fruit flavors!… 

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Banana Oat Crunch Muffins

Banana Oat Crunch Muffins

What’s a girl to do when she’s left with super ripe bananas in her kitchen? Make muffins! Packed with banana flavor and wholesome goodness of oats, flax, tangy vanilla bean yogurt, this banana oat crunch muffins recipe is a delicious treat to start your day!… 

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Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | jessicagavin.com

When strawberry season begins it’s hard not to buy baskets filled with lush sun ripened berries! Strawberry shortcakes are a classic way to highlight the juicy, sweet and jammy flavors of strawberries. This strawberry shortcake recipe combines fresh berries tossed with Grand Marnier orange liquor, fresh mint, lemon and sugar. Overtime the strawberries release their natural juices and infuse the citrus and mint flavors…. 

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Roast Leg of Lamb with Herb Breadcrumb Crust

roast leg of lamb with herb breadcrumb crust

Here’s a delicious roast leg of lamb with herb breadcrumb crust recipe for all you lamb lovers! Tender, juicy and delicious lamb is something that many people either love or hate because of it’s strong and distinctive flavor.  My appreciation and fondness for lamb has increased over the years especially after learning different cooking techniques in culinary school. In particular I remember having to laboriously clean racks of lamb by “frenching” the bones of the chops…. 

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Blood Orange and Fennel Salad

Delicious Blood orange and fennel salad

The Spring season welcomes a time for new fruits and vegetables to make their appearance! I particularly look forward to vibrant and juicy blood oranges. My first spring time visit to the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market in Orange, California has inspired this refreshing blood orange and fennel salad recipe…. 

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Irish Soda Bread with Cherries

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is a quick and easy recipe because you don’t have to wait hours for yeast to leaven the dough. The baking powder and eggs do all of the work to help make the dough to rise providing instant gratification with minimal time. This year for Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided to add a sweet twist to the traditional Irish soda bread recipe…. 

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Baked Honey Mustard Corned Beef

close-up-corned-beef-slices My husband Jason is half Irish, so I enjoy celebrating his heritage by making an Irish feast each year for Saint Patrick’s Day. Traditionally I make boiled corned beef with cabbage, potatoes and Irish soda bread. This year I wanted to try something different with the corned beef by adding more flavor and tenderness to the meat while changing up the side dishes a bit. So I decided to make a baked honey mustard corned beef recipe…. 

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Irish Coffee Profiteroles with Chocolate Whiskey Sauce

Irish coffee profiteroles with chocolate whiskey sauce

With Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations coming up soon, I decided to take a classic profiterole recipe and add some Irish (alcohol) ingredients to make ordinary cream puffs a little more interesting and festive. I would test the limits of Irish cream with whiskey! You’ll get in the spirit (no pun intended) with my Irish coffee profiteroles with chocolate whiskey sauce recipe. Now before you continue any further, please remember to eat these tasty desserts responsibly. Enjoy!… 

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Chinese Steamed Custard Bun Recipe

Chinese steamed custard bun recipe | jessicagavin.com

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, my family and I would have dim sum at least once a week at our favorite Chinatown tea house. It was so exciting seeing the servers push shiny silver steam carts filled with goodies around to each table. The dim sum carts were filled with different types of a la carte items like several varieties of steamed dumplings, rice noodles with seafood or meat, chicken feet, sticky rice and sweets…. 

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Steamed Pork Bun Recipe

Steamed Pork Bun Recipe | jessicagavin.com

Chinese new year is just around the corner! This year on February 10 we celebrate the year of the snake, the sixth animal in the Chinese zodiac. The snake is known for being keen, cunning, intelligent and wise. The Chinese lunar calendar is based on a 12 year cycle  represented by different animals (except the majestic dragon) and their characteristic attributes. To celebrate the new year I thought it would be fun and festive to make a classic steamed pork bun recipe, also called char siu bao…. 

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Cantonese Char Siu Recipe

Cantonese Char Siu Recipe | jessicagavin.com

One of my favorite Chinese dishes growing up is savory and sweet roasted barbeque pork, affectionately called char siu in Cantonese. During our weekend visits to Oakland’s Chinatown, I would always see these beautiful pieces of roasted meat hanging on display in restaurant windows. The flavors are a mixture of intensely concentrated sauces like fermented black bean, soy, hoisin and sesame paste. The aromatic blend of Chinese five spice adds a kick of pungent flavor and sweet aroma, complimenting the umami flavors of the sauces. Sugar is used to balance the saltiness of the marinade, and Chinese sherry called Shaoxing helps the flavors to merry together and infuse into the pork. I want to share with you this traditional Cantonese char siu recipe I learned during culinary school. I hope you enjoy!… 

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Grandma’s Ginger Beef Stew Recipe

Grandma's Ginger Beef Stew Recipe

I love comfort food and my grandma, Kam Kwei Yee (I call her Yin Yin) makes a deliciously comforting stew. Her ginger beef stew recipe is one of my favorite dishes, in fact when I was 12 years old, on the day before I got my braces put on my dad asked what was the last meal I wanted to eat and I requested this exact dish!… 

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Persimmon Honey Ginger Tart

Persimmon Honey Ginger Tart

Persimmons are a delightful treat during the winter season. The Fuyu Japanese varietal of persimmon looks like a pumpkin shaped orange tomato, however the flavor is very sweet and slightly tangy with a crunchy to soft texture depending on how long you allow the fruit to ripen. Persimmons can be eaten raw and when they are ripe they are perfect for a persimmon honey ginger tart filled with custard!… 

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Fried Goat Cheese Salad

Fried Goat Cheese Salad

When figs make their appearance at the farmer’s market I always look forward to eating them whole, or combining them with my two other favorite fall ingredients; beets and goat cheese. For this recipe I decided to create a fun and colorful salad to celebrate the transition of seasons. My creation is a crispy fried goat cheese salad with sweet figs, roasted beets and orange poppy seed vinaigrette…. 

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Thai Shrimp Vegetable Pasta

Thai Shrimp Vegetable Pasta

Savory, spicy and addicting! This recipe for Thai shrimp vegetable pasta is made with all vegetable noodles to provide a healthier way to enjoy Thai flavors and your favorite summer squash. The entire recipe is only 5 ingredients; hot red curry paste, jumbo shrimp, coconut milk, summer squash and pea shoots…. 

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