Tramontina Gourmet Cast Iron Covered Casseroles – My Favorite Kitchen Item #2
Apr 19th, 2011 by sovicki

Tramontina Gourmet Cast Iron Covered Casseroles

I love Le Creuset design and color, however not the price. So I started search online for a similar but more reasonable priced replacement. This casserole is made of porcelain-enameled cast iron.

Cast iron retains heat very well, and its heavy secure-fitting lid also keeps the heat, moisture in the pot. It also claims to keep in the nutrients. There is no way for me to verify that so I guess I’ll just take their word for it. I like to use this for stews, soups, etc. It cuts the cooking by half at least.

It is only oven safe up to 450 degrees F which means, yes, you can try that famous Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe with this. The only downside to this wonderful kitchen additional is inevitable given its weight(almost 20 pounds). It had to be hand washed.

Also word of caution: this pot is rather wide, 14inches at its base means you can’t use another full size pan or pot next to it on the stove.

Purchased from at $45

OXO Salad Spinner
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

OXO Salad SpinnerTwo things are needed for a good stir fry vegetable dish.

First, you need to have a very good heating source. If your kitchen has the flat top stove instead of the gas range, then a cast iron wok is a must.

Second requirement would be dry vegetable. So we don’t end up boiling the vegetables instead of stir-fry them. Now this salad spinner will help you accomplish that.

Priced at $19.99 from

I purchased the large size.

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator

I first saw this at my napa winery tour. Our pourer used this for the red wine, and had us taste the before and after effect of it.

It supposed to “enhance the flavor, bouquet, and finish of any wine”.  That’s a lot of fanny talk, but does it work? Well, yes sorta.

It speeds up the breathing process by aerate while you pour. Since I normally don’t purchase wine that’s more than $10, this does make a difference (or at least that I want to believe that it does) it has become my favorite gifting item.

Listed price at $39.95, but you can usually find it a little cheaper on

Zojirushi CV-DSC40 VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer, Stainless Steel
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

Zojirushi CV-DSC40 VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer, Stainless SteelThis is one of my favorite item in the kitchen. Something that I use everyday for sure.

It boils and keeps water warm with a 4-liter capacity. It has 4 temperature settings: 175 (green and white tea), 195(Oolong tea), 208 (black and flower tea), and vacuum-insulated.  4-liter capacity works great for me, since I also use the hot water to clean my cast iron wok after cooking. It also makes quick ramen meal even quicker 😀

I bought it at $165 on

Cast-Iron Wok – My Favorite Kitchen Items #1
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

Lodge Pro-Logic 14-Inch Cast-Iron Wok with Loop HandlesFor the past several years, I’ve been looking for a non-stick wok. Some had worked well, but they all had one problem in the end. The non-stick coating peels off after a while. Also you cannot run them very hot. My mom had this very old (must be over 15 years old) iron wok that she bought in New York City China town. It is still very solid. Sadly, I’ve been to all of the Asian supermarket around Seattle, and wouldn’t find anything close to hers.  So I started to look online. I read lots of posts and comments from Chinese forums, and decided on cast-iron.

Cast-iron’s got several benefits:

it retains heat well which is very handy when stir-fry vegetable
it doesn’t have any coating
it suppose to last a very long time

I found couple options, one was from this Chinese Importer website based in California. Even though from the picture, the woks there would look more like what my mother has, the shipping totally kills it. And the fact that there wasn’t any reviews on the website, I wasn’t sure if I can trust the picture that much without important information like the weight and the handle of the wok.

After much research, I ended up purchase this Lodge Pro-Logic 14-Inch Cast-Iron Wok with Loop Handles from $45 with free shipping

The cast-iron wok came pre-seasoned, so that saved some trouble. Or here is a video that I found very informational that teaches you How to Season a Wok

I’ve been using this wok for quiet some time now. It is great. I didn’t realize that before this wok, I actually never stir-fried vegetable. Instead, I was boiling them. I had never been able to make stir-fried shredded potato at home until now.

Bamboo Wok Brush

With this wok, I had to pre-heat it for a while, but once it is heated, it retains the heat very well. Although be careful the loops get very hot as well. The only compliant that I have about it is that it is really heavy, which makes plating a bit hard after stir-frying. Normally I would hold the wok with one hand, and pour the food out, and using a wok utensils in the other hand to sweep the food on to the plate. But with this one it is impossible. Since there is

no way that I could possibly hold it with one hand. Also, cleaning could be tricky. After get the food out, I pour in a cup or two of hot water and scrub with a bamboo wok brush (any  stiff, non-nylon kitchen brush or a grill brush would work just as well). Pour out the dirty water, put it back on the heat to boil off any excess moisture, and wipe it with an oiled paper towel and let cool.

Shun Knives
May 17th, 2010 by sovicki

 Shun 7-3/4-Inch Stainless Steel Chinese Chef's Knife
Shun is a brand that my chef teacher used when I was taking a course at the AI (The Art Institute of Seattle). I bought this Chinese Cleaver when it was on sale on Amazon for around $90 with tax, a little less than $100. It is very light and sharpest knife that I own. It is very sharp right out of the box, so be careful! I’ve had couple incidents where let’s just say good thing that I have long finger nails. I had fear to purchase this all metal cleaver without the traditional handle, that it might be slippery with water or grease, however, i had no problem with it. It is very ergonomically designed.

I like it so much, that I bought this Alton Brown Shun Steel Angled 6-Inch Utility Knife It is the best prep knife that I’ve got. The tilted angle make cutting vegetable so much easier and so effortless. It really is a must have in the kitchen.


Mar 15th, 2010 by sovicki






胡椒薄荷(Pepper mint):长而尖的叶子,香味扑鼻,有胡椒和薄荷香味,含有挥发油、薄荷精及单宁等物质,其味清凉爽快,有助于平抚情绪。薄荷还具有治感冒头痛、疏风发汗、散热解毒、健胃消腹胀、防腐去腥、杀菌的作用。餐后饮用薄荷茶可以消除体内多余油脂。薄荷常被用来制作饮料、果酱或沙拉等食品,它可以增添清爽的风味。

香蜂草(Monarda didyma):别名柠檬香蜂草,叶片呈椭圆形,鲜嫩,有浓浓的柠檬香味。摘下新鲜叶片,洗净擦干后,用微波炉小火加热后,放一小撮薄荷茶,几片新鲜柠檬,再添加一些蜂蜜。夏季时冰镇饮用,是很好的消暑饮品。也可以拌沙拉吃,口感清新,香气怡人。




熊葱(Allium ursinum ):原产自欧洲的一种野生韭菜,又名野韭菜,味道类似于蒜,可以代替蒜使用。