Category Archives: food

Sesame Orange Cookies – a TCM-inspired recipe

As part of our herbal medicine education, we are asked to do a class project each term and the most common one chosen is to cook or bake something using some of the herbs we have learned. Here’s a simple cookie recipe using food-grade herbs.

Sesame Orange Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp aged satsuma peel, chopped fine*
  • 3/4 cup black sesame seeds, ground*
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamon

*Organic is best. I used Hunza organic black sesame seeds and dried my own organic satsuma peels in the oven on low temperature.

Directions: In medium/small bowl, melt butter then stir in sugar. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients except flour. Add butter and sugar mixture to large bowl. Add egg and vanilla extract. Now, half cup at a time, slowly stir in flour. Once all ingredients are blended, hand roll small balls of dough and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 min or until bottom is lightly browned.

Adjustments: In future I would add additional Chen Pi at the end when rolling cookie balls to ensure every cookie has some peel. Maybe add in a tsp fresh tangerine juice or zest as well.


Herbs included:

Black Sesame Seeds (Pinyin: Hei Zhi Ma) – Tonify Yin (sweet, neutral)

  • Tonifies Liver and Kidneys, nourishes yin and blood, lubricates intestines
  • Lightly slows aging signs (graying hair, wrinkles, dry skin), aids constipation

Aged Tangerine Peel (Pinyin: Chen Pi) – Regulate Qi (spicy, bitter, warm, aromatic)

  • Promotes the flow of qi, dries damp and transforms phlegm, helps prevent stagnation
  • Aids digestion

Cardamon (Pinyin: Sha Ren) – Aromatic to Transform Damp (spicy, warm, aromatic)

  • Promotes movement of qi, transforms dampness, and strengthens SP
  • Aids digestion
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Fourth of July Cookie Baking

The fourth of July seemed like a great day for baking so I decided to make something new and something familiar. I can’t make cookies without Casey craving chocolate chip so I made the usual “family recipe” (the one on the back of the Nestle chocolate chips package). I can practically do those in my sleep and they are always tasty, especially when they come right out of the oven!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Up Close

For the something different I looked to Serious Eats since I’ve been marking recipes as favorites like crazy there. While I was very tempted to make the Spicy Hot Chocolate Pie, that will have to wait until my birthday. Casey and I decided we’d make that together to celebrate. But for the 4th I wanted something a little less ambitious, but just as tasty. Eureka! Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cardamom and Black Pepper. I made them as described other than the candied ginger, which I had to leave out since I just could not find at my local Safeway. I’d like to try it with that another time, though. Oh and I used regular sugar (not coarse) for rolling, but I couldn’t see or taste a marked difference there. Nex time I’d also amp up the amounts of black pepper and cardamom. They’re tasty ginger snaps, but it’s hard to tell there’s anything really different about them unless you know what to pay attention to. Continue reading

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May? June? Where’d the time go?

It’s not for lack of things happening that I haven’t written. I’ve been too busy and the knitting project I’m deep into is a secret one so there’s not much I can say about it.

Just a sample of the things that have happened in May and June:

  • SF Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet (for Mother’s Day)
  • First SF Ravelry Meet-up (a ton of fun and a very successful event)
  • Attempting to start the snapdragon mitts and failing miserably (will try again later)
  • Picked up and cast aside a new form of exercise
  • Vassar 5-year Reunion trip to New York with Casey
  • Finally using the yarn swift and ball winder (which I can’t get enough of now)

Some pictures to prove I’ve been busy! (more after the break)

Finished Yarn Wranglers Anemone Pin

Finished Yarn Wranglers Anemone Pin

Continue reading

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Real Simple Summery Dinner

To celebrate the warm weather I decided to try out some new recipes from Real Simple (the magazine I love so very much). So I went to Trader Joe’s and Market Hall to pick up makings for Gingery Pork and Cucumber Pitas (torn out of September 2009 issue and placed in Real Simple binder) and Cool Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado (from Real Simple’s Best Recipes Cookbook and August 2008 issue). Casey and I are both nuts about cucumber salads (used in the pitas) and the Southwestern salad is tailor made for my boy since it has both cumin and avocado in it (yum, his favorites).

Southwestern Salad with cumin & avocado

They both turned out fabulously. The only things we’d change for next time would be to add a little less lime (we used juice from a whole lime. It wasn’t bad, but it did overpower some of the other tastes) and a hotter pepper (the Jalapeno we got from Market Hall was beautiful – handpicked by a helper there – but a little too mild). Maybe a Serrano?

Topped the meal off with a bottle of 2002 Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese (Walla Walla, WA) from our landlord. Happy Sunny Sunday!

Real Simple Pork & Cucumber Pitas, Southwestern Salad

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I know this isn’t a cooking blog, but that’s probably because I rarely cook new things. That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t want to! St. Patrick’s Day this past week reminded me that I once had Irish soda bread at someone’s house on St. Patty’s and I’ve always wanted to have it again. Well, hey, I can make it!

Mule‘s client Serious Eats posted several recipes for soda bread this week so I had my pick to choose from. Fully intended to do the whole wheat one, but ended up making the plain version (explained below) of Spotted Dog since that way I didn’t have to go out for groceries. It’s that elementary.

Homemade Irish Soda Bread Continue reading

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