Breana Lai's Blog
My first cooking class was with my mom at Lan’s Chinese Cooking School in Durham, North Carolina, when I was 8 years old. My mom and I were excited to learn how to make authentic Chinese food because my Hong Kong-born dad and I preferred it to all other foods. I was the youngest student to ever enroll and I had to stand on a stepstool to be tall enough to mix the ingredients in the wok. It was here I first kindled my passion for cooking. I also learned that Chinese cooking isn’t difficult as long as you have the right ingredients.
Even though I am now a professionally trained cook, to this day my friends and family request I make the Chinese food I learned to make as a kid. With just a few basic pantry staples, you too can make Chinese dishes that are quick, healthy and crowd-pleasing.
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I love any excuse to throw a party. More specifically, I love any excuse to cook, invite all my friends over and crack open some local beer and cider. Even though I'm not the biggest football fan, the Super Bowl is a great excuse to get everyone together...read full post »
Eating clean may seem like a trendy idea, but in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, it’s what we always think about when we develop recipes—and how we like to cook at home. It’s simply a healthy—and sustainable—way to approach all your meals. “Clean eating means filling your plate with real, whole foods, eating a variety of fruits and whole grains, moderate amounts of lean meats and sustainable seafood, dairy, nuts and seeds and healthy oils,” says Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian and author of Clean Eating for Busy Families. And, she adds, “Notice how you don’t eliminate food groups?” Now that’s good news!
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To help jump-start your clean-eating efforts, I’ve put together a 7-day...read full post »
It’s summertime and that means it’s very likely that a friend will drop by unexpectedly for a drink and conversation. To make sure I’m prepared, I always stock a few nibbles—cheese, crackers, olives and fruit—and my favorite drinks. Now that I live in Vermont, I do have a few craft beers in my fridge, but what I really stockpile is wine.
As a former sommelier, I get caught up in finding the “perfect” wine for every occasion and meal. I love Prosecco for celebrations, and dry Italian and Alsatian whites for seafood dinners. I pair Cru Beaujolais with chicken and Rioja with steak. I don’t mind spending a little more on a special bottle for dinner. But if friends are just dropping in for a drink, I open up a delicious, easy-drinking wine that doesn’t break the bank.
For the best deal on wine—and to impress...read full post »
Growing up in the South, I was served biscuits at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Each family and restaurant has their own specific way of making them. Some are skinny and tall, others flat and wide, and some come nestled together like Parker House rolls in cast-iron pans. Served with butter or jam, smothered with gravy or topped with ham and cheese or a piece of fried chicken, biscuits are as Southern as bourbon, collards and mac and cheese.
Even though my mom has lived in the South for nearly 20 years, she’s never gotten quite accustomed to biscuits. She is in the scone camp. She likes the crunchy, slightly sweet baked good, especially alongside a good cup of coffee. And since she is the baker in the house, I became accustomed to and developed a love for scones too. They are still my go-to coffee-shop splurge, especially at 4 p.m. on a Sunday...read full post »