Tuesday's Theme: Many Thanks and a Meme

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 46 comments

Century Egg and Pork Congee

The day's gray clouds and damp chill make it clear that Winter is not quite ready to cede the season. But while the weather may be dreary, I have reason to be cheery! I've recently been honored by some exceptional bloggers who have shared the recognition they've received from other peers. Moreover, a couple of the awards have come in terrific twosomes:

Head for the beach - Beach Eats, that is, where The Diva on a Diet blogs in her smart, sassy and saucy style as she covers everything from cocktails to cookies. Last week, she bestowed the 'Sisterhood Award' on me and 9 other bloggers, including the newest noodle in the bowl, The Wicked Noodle, who has only been blogging since February but offers a top-notch site full of great recipes, food news, and even videos. Like the Diva, Wicked Noodle is sharing her award with 9 additional bloggers; in fact, both ladies have chosen two recipients who are decidedly more 'misters' than 'sisters'. Curious? Stop by their blogs and discover some new friends!

Speaking of which, two incredibly fun and creative bloggers also shared their 'Friends' honor with me. Jennifer at Savor the Thyme presents deliciously healthy recipes with lovely photos that reflect the imaginative spirit behind the recent Eating Your Words Challenge (EYWC). In fact, she's at it again with Feed the Peep, a contest for the best healthy dish or drink incorporating the fluorescent flock. I'm confident that the first to sign up will be Heather at Girlichef. Whether she's baking pies or simmering soup, Heather takes you step-by-creative-step through her process of preparing wonderful dishes. Check out her EYWC entry, 'Why So Blue', also seen on Jennifer's challenge round-up. Many thanks for sharing your friendship with me!

More than once, fellow bloggers have left comments that have inspired some of my posts. The very first was Shaved Ice Sundays, whose reminiscence about banana turons prompted me to write 'Sweet Treat, Rediscovered'. Her own blog offers fantastic Asian-flavored recipes and tempting restaurant reviews; unfortunately, I live too far away to eat there. Then again, the beauty of blogging is that it allows us to share experiences across the miles. That's the message of the 'Proximity' award which, to my delight and gratitude, Shaved Ice recently passed on to me and others, along with these sentiments:
"This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."
While it has been my custom to share these awards with everyone, I would like to recognize two blogs in particular with the Proximity award, for generously inviting me to collaborate with them and thereby exemplifying the spirit of nearness. From Washington State, Joie de Vivre brought me on board for her March French Fridays book discussion while the aforementioned Savor the Thyme, blogging out of Rhode Island, shared co-hosting credit for the EYWC. With me in the Midwest, we were truly coast-to-coast! There is so much more to enjoy on their sites so, if you're not already familiar with them, I urge you to stop in and take a read.

In a different kind of recognition, I was tagged for my very first meme by Sapuche at The World Tastes Good. This superlative blog features appetizing recipes and virtual forays to favorite food haunts in his home base of Hawai'i, but the true gems are his travel essays. Sapuche's writing reveals a depth of insight and honesty about his journeys and of being a stranger in strange lands; his willingness to immerse himself fully in other cultures reflects an open and adventurous spirit. Read about his experiences among the locals in Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan and especially Fiji, where he encountered odd characters and a potent brew called Yaqona

And now, per the 'Honest Scrap' meme, may I present:

10 Utterly Random and Extremely Trivial Food-Related Tidbits about Me and My Loved Ones

1. My love of rice apparently stems from infancy when I was propped up on rice sacks by my yaya so she could feed me. Rice=full tummy=happy!

2. My aversion to hot peppers comes from its use to break my early thumbsucking habit. In subconscious retaliation, I picked off every single pod from my grandfather's prized chili plant.

3. My favorite childhood DIY snack was soft white bread heavily sprinkled with sugar. As a sophisticated adult, I now prefer toasted white bread and sweetened condensed milk. 

4. I hate milk in a glass. Ever since my mom made me drink half a tumbler of spoiled milk before realizing I wasn't just crying wolf, I heave like a seasick wretch at the thought of drinking it plain. My mother has yet to apologize.

5. I tasted my first mangosteen recently when Mama sent some to our Manila hotel room, sans explanation of how to eat them. A few hard-earned lessons:
a) Don't use a butter knife to open a mangosteen;
b) The cream-colored center is edible, the purple stuff isn't;
c) Purple fingers and white linen should never meet.

6. I didn't know that mashed turnips looked exactly like mashed potatoes until I served myself a heaping plateful at a classmate's home. "You like mashed turnips?" her mom asked. As much as I like a glass of milk. 

7. My favorite part of a roast chicken is the pygostyle (heart-shaped tailbone). 

8. How to Avoid Eating Liver: A True Story, by Mr. Noodle: throw it up on the roof of the house, not in the garbage where it may be found by the parents. The airborne liver was never seen again.

9. We bought a 20-lb sack of premium Thai jasmine rice. For the dog. 

10. We have 3 kinds of premium yogurt in the fridge. One is for the dog.

[Updated 3/25/09 - This 'Honest Scrap' meme is meant to continue on well beyond this blog. I apologize to earlier readers for having forgotten to mention this but please feel free to pick up this badge and post your own meme!]

Pei Dan (Century Egg)
Finally, I want to thank Phyllis at me_hungry who posted her recipe for Century Egg and Pork Congee on my behalf after I pestered her about pei dan (the egg). Last night, I prepared it for Mr. Noodle and the verdict was unanimous: this recipe is awesome! Head over to Phyllis' blog for food news, NYC restaurant reviews and, best of all, Weird Food Wednesdays.

Many, many thanks to these wonderful bloggers!


  • Dewi said...

    Love congee, though I never made it myself. OMG, Mangosteen ... i miss this so much. And our mama was absolutely right about the stain.

  • Heather S-G said...

    Amazing. I love every minute of reading your blog! Thanks for sharing your Honest Scrap...my son loves to go in the kitchen, get bread and coat it with sugar (yikes!)...also coating the counter in the process, but hey...and I'm right there w/ ya on the sweetened condensed milk...though when I can, I make sweetened, condensed coconut milk and it almost makes me cry. Glad to be your foodie friend :)

  • Anonymous said...

    Note to self: if Tangled Noodle should ever come to visit, do not serve milk-in-glass or mashed-turnips. I think I can manage that :)

    On another note, I used to love white bread, buttered and sprinkled with sugar as a kid. I don't do that anymore - toast, butter and jam is much more my style now!

  • Anonymous said...

    Another vote for childhood bread-and-sugar sammiches from me:)

    Liver on roof. Good to know; thanks, Mr. Noodle.

    On behalf of your mother, I apologize to you re: Spoiled Milk Incident.

    I so enjoy coming here and reading your blog; your awards are all well-deserved!

  • Phyllis said...

    Imagine my surprise when I came to your site to let you know I've just given you a sisterhood award on my blog, and to see such a gorgeous photo of century egg and pork congee! I'm so thrilled that you finally found the pei dan and got to make the recipe (and thankful that you and Mr. Noodle actually liked it). It's a great day for century eggs and Weird Food Wednesdays!

    b/t/w one of my favorite childhood snacks was white bread with margarine and sugar sprinkled on top. I swear my mom made this for me all the time cause I used to squish it into a roll-up, but she has no recollection of this at all.

    Thanks for being such a great blog-y friend. Here's my post where I've given you a sisterhood award.

  • Sapuche said...

    I really enjoyed reading your “10 Utterly Random and Extremely Trivial Food-Related Tidbits about Me and My Loved Ones”! You have one lucky dog, by the way, and I’m wondering how long it takes him to get through a 20-lb sack of premium (!) Thai jasmine rice. I can’t help asking what your pooch gets to eat with the rice. Please don’t tell me that it’s rib-eye steak…And despite my blogging moniker, I have to say that mangosteen is probably my favorite fruit of all-time. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered such a pleasantly sweet fruit in my life, though I could definitely do without the inevitable purple stains you mentioned. Also, thank you for the kind words about my blog!

    Loved the post, and I hope the weather in Minnesota warms up soon. Stay cheery!

  • Anonymous said...

    I've seen the century eggs before but never had the guts to try it. I'll consider it a little more.....maybe another recipe or two will do the trick :)

    Thanks for sharing,


  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    You do know I laughed out loud for real when I read about the turnips. I'd tell you *not* too look at my blog today ... but I can see you already have. Sorry! No turnips tomorrow, I promise. :)

    You are sincerely welcome for the award - I so enjoy your blog and it makes me smile every time I read it.


  • Jennifer said...

    My ode to Noodles: I love your blog, I love your writing style, I love your recipes, I love that I used up all my cell minutes talking to you during EYWC and I love that you passed the proximity award to me. I will be thinking about how to pay it proper respect.

  • Anonymous said...

    With regards to Mr. Noodles successful attempt for us all to avoid eating said liver. Let me add that our father commented when we finally fessed up that for days he had seen birds swarming the house and could not figure it out. Also, apparently the liver stained the shingles so there was a big spot that puzzled him.

    Congrats on the awards - well deserved as always.

  • Joie de vivre said...

    Noodle, you are so sweet. I have so enjoyed our collaboration. I think you are a wonderful writer. We'll have to think of something else to work on together sometime since March is almost finished!

  • Jescel said...

    i love jasmin rice -- you basmati convert! lol! i love eating congee but i cannot, for the life of me, swallow the century egg..i probably love it as much as you do milk in glass and turnips! :oD Congrats on your award!!!

  • ... said...

    OMG.. I don't know what to comment on the awards or that egg. It is truly amazing, and sadly I do not think my "skills" are ready or up to par to try anything like that.

  • Brenda said...

    Ah congee...I love it with clams. :)

    I can't say I've acquired a taste for the century egg though. It has a similar effect on me as milk in a glass has on you.

    Btw, I mentioned your three-part Mindless Eating discussion today on my blog. Thought I'd let you know I was impressed and felt I needed to share with the world! :)

    And as a final addendum: Long live the mangosteen! One of my favorite exotic fruits ever.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Hello, Everyone!

    Elra - This was my first time making it and Phyllis' recipe is really great! The mangosteen was delicious but it was hard work cutting it open with the butter knife. What a mess I made!

    NutritionToKitchen - This was my first taste, too! It was definitely unusual but not unpleasant and absolutely great in the congee!

    Girlichef - Thank you! I'm going to have to try SC coconut milk; how do you make it? I really appreciate your shared award and love seeing what you're up to on your blog. BTW, I am so thrilled you made lengua! I'm going to follow your prep technique, which is the one thing that has held me back.

    DailySpud - I certainly hope to come for a visit some day (I'd be perfectly content with any of your potato preparations)! I should've also mentioned that as 'a sophisticated adult, I prefer brown bread and butter' because that would actually be a top choice!

    OPC - Thank you! I'm so behind on my blog reading and I see you've got some new stuff. I'll be over today after class! And thanks for the proxy apology on behalf of mi madre - she's a stubborn one. 8-)

    Spryte - Thank you for your comment and your e-mail! As for century egg, it is pretty freaky looking and the taste can be strange but I've eaten some weird Filipino foods so it wasn't too bad. If you get a chance and find some in congee, it's a great, gentle way of being introduced to it! 8-)

    Bob - Until Phyllis described them, I was put off by the idea of OLD eggs! And the color - yikes! But they're not too bad, especially in something like congee to smooth out the flavor. I hope you'll give them a try someday!

    Phyllis - Thank you so much for sharing your award and this great recipe. It was spot on! It is definitely going into our menu rotation. I thought I was the only one who liked bread and sugar but look at all the comments here from kindred spirits like you!

    Sapuche - Thank you! Cruise the Boxer was having food issues and we were told to feed him rice, so we intended to buy the cheapest bag. But the proprietor, not knowing who it was for, raved about the new crop shipment and my husband, who's a softie for the pup, didn't hesitate. We normally eat Basmati (to my mother's dismay) but I told the hubs that the dog has to share! It doesn't take too long to go through it since we have rice about 4-5x wk. Oh, and Cruise doesn't get anything extra, except for the yogurt (which helps his, ahem, digestive system).

    I loved the mangosteen but I'm using something other than a butter knife next time!

    Eric - The color startled me but Phyllis' description of the taste wasn't too bad. If you like congee, this would be a great intro!

    Gera - Thank you! We have the same tastes from childhood to adulthood, it seems! Dulce de leche is more common on store shelves here now - I'll have to try it in place of the condensed milk.

    Diva - Your Thirsty Thursday post last week had me in stitches (especially your 'waiting for when fat is the new thin' and Dick Cheney rising quips)! I'm so happy we met during EYWC!

    Heather - Definitely give them a try, if only to say you did so! Actually, toasted bread with melted butter, then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon is divine! I'd almost forgotten about it. The sweetened condensed milk is a great little dip for plain rolls and with coffee, too!

    Jennifer - Now that your feeder is fixed, I won't miss a thing! I'm picking up my Peeps this weekend so that they can inspire me for your challenge. Many thanks, collaborator and friend!

    Oyster - Thank you! This story is a classic - I had to include it. I didn't mention the fate of little brother and what happened to the piece he threw in the garbage, though!

    Greg - Wow! That really means a lot to me, coming from the mind behind one of the most original and outstanding blogs. Although my attempt at your tilapia recipe fell a bit short, there are some earlier ones I will try, hopefully with better results. Thanks so much!

    Joie - It has been such great fun so definitely we'll have to find another collaborative project. I hope that you are feeling much better and I look forward to our grand finale!

    Jescel - My mom was so shocked when I served her Basmati. Fortunately, the dog hasn't objected when I dip into his rice reserves for our own meals! 8-) The century egg tasted different but I did like it better than milk or turnips but I think it helped a lot trying it with congee first. But I still like balut even better!

    SoCal Pastry Chef - I can't believe you'd say your skills aren't up to par! I've seen your work and this congee recipe would be a snap for you. The egg is definitely very interesting in both appearance and taste. I hope you'll give Phyllis' recipe a try!

    5 Star - Thank you and I hope you will try it out! The cooking time seems long (1.5 hrs) but the end result is such a cream rice porridge that you can add just about anything you like! I'm behind on my blog reading but I'm anxious to see your buckwheat-crusted flounder recipe (and your newest post)!

    Cindy.Lo. - Thanks for stopping in! Mangosteens are definitely delicious!

    Brenda - Thank you so much for the mention! I'm off to class in a bit but I'm going to head over to your site as soon as I get back - I saw that you posted a Moroccan Orange and Almond Cake. I can NOT miss that! As for century egg, it's definitely something different. 8-) But I'm glad I finally tried mangosteen; it's unlike any fruit I'd had before and so sweet!

  • Scate said...

    Congrats on all of your awards - you deserve them!

    And - thank you for the 10 random tidbits - it was truly fun to read. I think that Mothers don't apologize (unless trying to guilt their daughters into something big - and you KNOW it is not genuine.)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    ChefBliss - Thank you! These bloggers were so great to pass them along.

    Foodie with Little Thyme - Thanks! The congee was enough for two dinners - lucky us!

    Scate - Thank you very much! Not being a mom myself, I wonder if some of the hormones released during pregnancy include dormant one for guilt-inducement which activates when the children are grown? 8-)

    Elin - Thanks! It has now become one of our favorites too. I still have two eggs in the fridge and I just need to get some more pork. But I'm also going to look for the 'Chinese donuts' that Phyllis mentioned, to really complete it!

    Carolyn - He is one spoiled pup! My husband is a total softie when it comes to him, constantly buying him toys and new treats (I do not exaggerate.) I was all for getting the cheapest bag of rice but when the lady at the store pointed out the quality of the rice, he didn't think twice.

    Although I did indeed use the jasmine rice for this congee (don't be alarmed - it's kept in the pantry with the Basmati), the dog did not get any of it. I wasn't sure what century egg would do to him! 8-)

  • Lory said...

    ["You like mashed turnips?" her mom asked. As much as I like a glass of milk. ] - harr! harr! harr!

    I secretly eat the pygostyle when everyone else has stood up after a full meal of roast chicken...shhh!

  • Lori said...

    You cracked me up with this one. You have had some seriously tragic experiences with food! Very cool about getting to try the mangosteen. How was the taste and texture?
    Congrats on your awards!

  • Anonymous said...

    Dear Friend!
    Ihad a bit of a laugh reading your post!
    Apart of having a special love for hundred year eggs (not shared by the Missus,...tears...) I can't stand fresh milk either, although I use it in cookin. On the other hand I eat, slurp butter, fresh cream without raising an eyebrow. Why/ Don't ask me. The fact that as a kid I couldn't stand (even almost fainted) near cows being milked might explain the situation.
    As for the flying liver, you were lucky, because at the time I lived in a big appartment without a dog. Later my younger brother was the lucky one as the family moved in the country with an Irish setter.
    Mind you he is a lot fatter thanme now! LOL

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Manang - If we ever had a roast chicken together, we might have to arm-wrestle for this part! 8-)

    Teanna - The congee was delicious! But yes, my dad would rub the chili on my fingers (they also used vinegar) but it worked! Talk about negative reinforcement. 8-)

    Lori - It's a wonder that I love food as much as I do. The mangosteen was delicious - as soon as I figured out which part to eat! 8-) Because my mom didn't give us any idea of what it was, I tried the purple part first. So very incredibly bitter and gross. But the cream part was excellent (I also learned about the giant seed/pit inside, though). Thanks!

    Robert-Gilles: Your brother probably caught up to all the delicious food he might have 'misplaced' when he was a child! There were so many foods (usually vegetables) that I tried to sneak and throw away from the dinner table but today, I love them. As for milk, it's only in that single situation - served plain in a glass. Otherwise, I have it in my cereal, coffee and in cooking. I'll only drink it if it has chocolate!

    Mediterranean Kiwi - Thank you! I'm so happy to hear that you've been re-energized about blogging. I look forward to your new work!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Shaved Ice - Thank you so much for sharing! You really were the very first person to inspire one of my posts and I really appreciate it. I don't know if people find it very original of me but responses such as yours about the banana turons really help me to remember or think about topics that I might not otherwise consider.

  • Cynthia said...

    LOL: "newest noodle in the bowl." I love your wordplay. Never tried to open a mangosteen, but I will remember your sound advice when the time comes.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Cynthia - Thank you! As for the mangosteen, I'm happy I managed to get it open without damage to myself or the hotel furniture. It was worth the butter-knife effort, though. 8-)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Jenn - Thanks! I think the love of rice is ingrained in us (pun totally intended!) The dog is spoiled but we like to justify it by saying it helps with his allergies. 8-)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Maya - Thanks for stopping by! I love congee but never really make it myself. This recipe from Phyllis, however, was so easy. I just visited your blog and immediately saved the arborio rice chocolate pudding - can you tell I'm a rice lover?

  • Carolyn Jung said...

    Congee is one of my fave comfort foods. One tip, though, about the thousand-year-old eggs. After you eat one, never brush your teeth with mint toothpaste right away, and never drink orange juice afterwards. Ooooh, those combos give a deadly aftertaste. I learned this, unfortunately, as a kid when I unwittingly did both.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Chitra - Thank you, although all credit for the congee goes to Phyllis!

    Carolyn - Thank you so much for the tips! I'm sorry that you had to find out the hard way but please take comfort in the fact that you've saved so many of us from what sounds like an awful taste sensation. Perhaps a good rule of thumb is to enjoy the egg and then wait an hour - kind of like the 'eating and swimming' rule? 8-)


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