Name: Weijia Xia
Blog: Dinner With Weijia
Location: Austin, TX
If you had to blog about one ingredient every day for a year, what would it be?
Noodles, they are so versatile and can be adapted across various cuisines, courses, and dietary considerations. Japanese Ramen, Chinese Dan Dan noodles, Vietnamese Pho, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken noodle soup… it might actually be possible for me to cook a different noodle dish everyday for 365 days!
I will never eat:
Canned cheese or aerosol cheese. It looks like playdough.
Who would you love to have over for dinner?
I love having family and friends over for dinner. There is nothing more satisfying than cooking up a big meal and have everyone you care about share that with you. With everyone’s increasingly busy schedules and lives, being able to set that time aside and bond with your loved ones over food that was prepared just for them is a special thing.
What’s your go-to quick and easy dinner?
Some type of pasta with pesto, and I usually have a few types of pasta in my pantry. Pestos are great because you can use what you have in your pantry. All you need is some sort of nuts, olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste, and then you blend all the dry ingredients in a food processor while gradually drizzling in the oil. Pine nuts and walnuts are good standards, but recently I’ve been really into using smoked almonds for that extra kick of smoky flavor. You can add Parmesan cheese and lemon zest if you’d like as well. I’ll cook the pasta according to the package instructions and then drain and toss the pasta with the pesto. It takes less than 20 minutes to make, and I usually have all these ingredients already.
What’s your favorite restaurant and what do you order there?
I love cooking at home, so when I eat out at a restaurant, I like to be taken care of completely. I don’t even want to worry about deciding what dishes to order, which is why I love ordering omakase at Japanese restaurants. Omakase means “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese, and basically the chef will bring you a series of small dishes, ranging from lightest to heaviest, made from the finest selection of the day’s ingredients. This also allows the chef be creative and serve you new dishes that he or she might be experimenting with. Not all sushi restaurants offer omakase, but I love the one from Musashino in Austin, and I would love to try it at Uchiko as well.