Friday, May 30, 2014


Let's get the tough stuff out first.  This post will be a bit on the serious side for a moment and then I'll be sure to enlighten you on the funnies of being and Asian-American kid growing up in Central Pennsylvania.

Photography by Chhun Lee Photography 

Pictured above is my adorable, six year old cousin from Cambodia, Sea (pronounced "See-Uh").  He recently was diagnosed with Brainstem Glioma.  The tumor is covering about 90% of his brainstem causing him to have trouble walking.  He is currently receiving radiation treatments in Thailand.  The cost is astronomical considering health insurance is unavailable to my family.  We, my family here in the states, have started a fundraiser for him via Give Forward.  Please take the time to read his story here and support him by sharing and or donating.  Every little bit counts!  Thank you to all my readers in advance!!

So in honor of my cousin, who is a veggie lover, I thought a twist on one of my favorite farmer's market buys would be nice.  Do I think Sea will be eating/liking these hoisin glazed roasted radishes?  Probably not, but I don't know how many six year olds would.  Anyhow, here's how my palate has evolved thanks to my Asian-American upbringing (more Asian than American).

Dinner time at our house was a family affair.  Whether we were all quickly eating before my sister and I headed off to dance class or we were eating leisurely, we all ate together.  White rice was the constant and most often accompanied by stir fried vegetables and some type of protein.  Soy sauce and fish sauce were the main ingredients for seasoning while hoisin sauce was a rarity on table but definitely my favorite.

I learned to eat with chopsticks at a young age and when we actually had an "American meal" of spaghetti and meatballs, which was almost never, I used those chopsticks instead of a fork.  Dessert after dinner?  Yep, not happening at our house unless you wanted fruit.  My obsession with dark chocolate happened way later in life as an adult.  As a kid I thought that my parents were keeping me from experiencing the deliciousness of "American food."  In the end I am forever thankful that I don't have an addiction to Velveeta.

Once I moved to California a whole new world of food and flavors were brought to my attention; squash blossoms, smoked salmon, kale, Mexican everything and radishes.  Now I don't mean radishes chopped up on a salad, I mean roasted radishes which take on a potato like texture once perfectly roasted.  So here I am in my sunny California kitchen with my farmer's market radishes thinking "Ok Asian-American girl, you know you want to drench them in hoisin sauce, roast them, and eat the whole plate on your own."  So I did.  I hope you all do the same!

Hoisin Glazed Roasted Radishes

12-15 small radishes 
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 lime wedge, juiced
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
pepper to taste

Preheat the oven 400 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl combine the radishes, hoisin sauce, lime, vegetable oil and pepper.  Toss until well coated.  Place the radishes on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Remove the radishes from the oven and place back into the mixing bowl.  Add the green onions and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.  Makes about 2 servings.