Blog Awards & Happy Year of the Rabbit!

Asian market sno pea sprouts
I was so honored but at the same time so reluctant to approach the subject of this post for months now. Initially I really felt I got so many friends with so many wonderful blogs so how on earth could I narrow it down and give the blog awards only to some. I guess it is a sign of maturity when I let ideas simmer and don't give in to impulse or feeling indebted or in a hurry to reciprocate to drive me, I do plenty of that some other times, does not take much to provoke me:). I didn't want a hasty response. I do adore you my friends and your laborious work of love that goes into your blogs. You inspire me every day and are all winners in my book. When this promising college bound young girl, Rachel, awarded me this honor you can see her award post here, and asked for it to be passed on, Lora here as well as Brian's sunshine award post here and here, my wonderful friends, I didn't know how to tell you my response will be delayed. I am happy to say that I achieved and arrived to that junction, say my blog's rite of passage, to pass along the honor bestowed upon me by you, my thoughtful friends, and recognize others who inspire me.

Asian market radish and sno pea sprouts and green chickpeas
Growing up on Indian food no cuisine could measure up to my mom's cooking, I was a hard nut to crack. First I ventured into Thai, it had the heat with similar notes of coconut and unique notes of lemon grass and basil. I was now hooked, Thai food expanded my culinary tastes and preferences. Next, during Jonathan's grad school student days going with a mixed of American and International bunch for Pho75 in Arlington, it was cheap, nourishing and delicious. Sushi was something I evolved into surprisingly enough when we were living in Israel for couple of years as expats. A California woman, both our boys were in class together at the American School, invited me to her home for sushi making free of charge workshop, we were friends. I then developed a taste for edemame, tempura, seaweed salad and miso soup. Believe it or not these simple dishes are not all created equal, I found out even a miso soup varies from place to place.
In recent months I've been fascinated with cuisines that are say foreign to me, intrigued by some that have notes of Indian but take it completely other routes with sambal, panadan leaves and other local ingredients. While I dabbled successfully in Thai, Vietnamese cooking, Japanese sushi making and Chinese dumplings you can see here, I still was at the brink of culinary discovery of these cuisines and completely new to a virgin territory of Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines, just to name a few.

In light of my recent interest in Asian cuisine, besides the Indian sub-continent one that is running in my veins, I give the award to sites which spark and keep fueling my interest in that part of the world. As The Year of the Rabbit approaches in the begining of February, Happy Chinese New Year everybody. Let us know what sign are you in Chinese astrology? I am a dragon, S is a monkey and J is a snake, and we live (mostly) in harmony!

In no particular order. Please pass it along to ten or more others who inspire you!

Inspiration:

1. jun-blog http://blog.junbelen.com/ (@JunBelen) I was introduced to Jun through my friend Annapet @thedailypallete Thank you Annapet! Jun seems the gentlest of souls and what an incredible talent. Jun's photography, writing and recipes mostly focus on his Filipino heritage, now based out of San Francisco he pays tribute to his mom's recipes and weaves wonderful narrative through his words and the lense of his camera.

2. Food and Travel: Eating Around the World http://www.foodtravelblog.com/blog/ (@foodtravelblog) Indonesian born NYC based will take you into travel and food journeys we could only dream of. Beautiful photography brings the world onto your doorsteps. Humble, accessible and gracious, was really incredible to experience through her the beauty of the Fiji, The Maldives and Bali  intertwined with food and first hand chronicle of the devastation in a post titled The Eruptions of Mount Merapi.

3A food Lover's Journey http://www.anhsfoodblog.com/ (@anhfoodblog) Anh is hailing out of Melbourne Australia. Our initial conversations were about our mutual dietary restrictions. Anh co-initiated a pretty cool project 'Delicious Vietnam' a monthly blogging event that aims to promote and explore diversity of Vietnamese Cuisine. I discovered many fantastic and talented food bloggers and recipes, such as hers, through this brilliant project. Might I add my husband and son have a weakness for Pho and if not at the movies together, this is their daddy and son quality time.

4. She Simmers http://www.shesimmers.com/  (@sheSimmers) When I embarked on twitter for new Asian food blogs recommendations one name kept surfacing, one of two new to me on this list, is She Simmers. With many new recommendations I will go back and read carefully this Thai Food, Et Cetera blog I was taken to instantly. Thank you @poodle_power, @chowandchatter and  @wokstar for the superb recommendation.

5. James Oseland http://www.jamesoseland.com/  while world renowned editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine to my knowledge is not on twitter and is a departure from the essence of this blogger list, I wished to include him and his much praised awards winning cookbook Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Such an  exciting, authentic and inspiring cookbook, I can't wait to delve into it and experiment with many of its recipes.

6. Indonesia Eats http://indonesia-eats.blogspot.com/ (@IndonesiaEats) Pepy's blog is of the highest standards I had multiple conversations with her and am impressed by her discriminating taste and palate. She is the one that gave me the thumbs up on the former cookbook author at number five James Oseland's Cradle of Flavor. Not only the featured recipes in Pepy's blog are ones I can recognize as excellent ones but also her photography being very different than mine is a feast to the eye. Her food styling is more colorful and has many more elements, where's mine is more abstract, but her painting so many strokes of colors does not distract from the entirety of the punch line.

7. Eating Asia http://eatingasia.typepad.com/  (@EatingAsia) A collaboration between freelance journalist Robyn Eckhardt and editorial and commercial freelance photographer David Hagerman living in Asia for over fourteen years, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia since 2005. Contributors to the New York Times, Saveur, Travel+Leisure and Wall Street Journal and online Zester Daily. They lead customized tours and photograph and write about food, culture, history and music. A super professional site exploring topics such as 'Going Organic in China', 'Taiwan's Coffee Culture' and 'The Heart of Laotian Cuisine'.

8. New Asian Cuisine  http://newasiancuisine.com/ (@NewAsianCuisine) Internationally known award winner and cookbook author @steamykitchen  (http://steamykitchen.com/) is the co-founder of this well known go-to Asian cuisine site. It profiles many Asian chefs and cookbook authors and diverse Asian recipes. I like the profiling of Asian cookbooks and authors with a sample of a recipe from the book prior to deciding whether or not I wish to buy the book. Some of my favorites like Susur Lee' Singapore Slaw and Anita Lo recipes are featured. I find New Asian Cuisine a big tease in my RSS feed.

9. Rasa Malaysia http://rasamalaysia.com/  (@rasamalaysia) Another Internationally acclaimed to fame site, award winner we can't go without is Rasa Malaysia. Easy Asian recipes for home cooks with a passion for Asian cuisine. Rasa Malaysia has an extraordinary number of over half a million visitors to the site per month. Luscious recipes and photography. Her first cookbook is due Fall of 2011 so stay tuned!

10. Sanook (fun) Thai food blog in Hebrew http://thai-food-blog.com/  (@ThaiFoodBlog) I found this second new to me site through She Simmers, at number four. It is written in Hebrew by a free spirited Israeli who lives in Thailand. Beautiful and authentic site.
את האתר האחרון ברשימה גיליתי דרך מספר ארבע ברשימה. אתר של ישראלית שגרה בתאיילנד. אתר מקסים ואותנטי ברמות

Honorable Mentions:

1. The Daily Palette http://thedailypalette.com/  (@thedailypalette) Annapet it a dear twitter friend of mine. Her meticulous macaron artisan her flavor combinations are brilliant. She brings flavors of the orient and combines them in European baking projects such as mango macaron with lychee buttercream you can find on her blog. Some time back she tweeted a pic of Sans Rival, flourless cashew-meringue layers frosted with pate-a-bombe-based buttercream, from her Filipino heritage. She is also a painter and a great inspiration! I am honored as she, as well as the tight knit Filipino twitter community, were so welcoming and included me in many of their discussions, while I frantically googled to figure out, what were they talking about. Annapet has a new site so please be patient as it is a work in progress. This honorable mention is an ode to her and the entire very inspiring Filipino foodie community!

2. Hungry Rabbit http://hungryrabbitnyc.com/  (@HungryRabbitNYC) Wrapping up with the Rabbit in the house. Happy Chinese New Year Ken. While Ken's site isn't purely Asian, his macha creations and recent trip back home to Hong Kong were very inspiring. If you missed following him during his trip, he's got a wonderful account in his posts. He is another dear twitter friend and I call him Wabbit.

Thank you to many twitter friends who weighed in with new to me recommendations!

Peek into what's to come to celebrate Chinese New Year: (if I ever find ume)
Find Zentan's Susur Lee's restaurant in DC Singapore Slaw recipe here via Washington Post. For a demonstration video of Susur Lee prepping the salad, easier than it seems, please see Washingtonian magazine video here. Close membership registration window when you press link and press play even if screen is blank. New Asian Cuisine has this salad version with an apricot dressing you can find here.