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YellowDaisyChickChat

Sunny sides. Flowery rocks. Fresh air.

Month

June 2011

Yellowdaisychickchatting with Ming Ann Lee, chef at Yumi Asian Fusion

I met Lee a while back, after a friend recommended her restaurant Yumi Asian Fusion. After eating there a couple of times, we struck up a conversation and have been friends ever since. She is the kind of person that does not meet a stranger; she is the hostess with the most-est. She is a woman of many talents: chef, mother, wedding planner, part-time matchmaker :-), and all around lovely person.

I love to talk with her, especially about healthy foods and all natural ingredients. One time when I asked questions about the sushi rice, she brought me some from the kitchen to take home to try to cook. When I told her I was not very knowledgeable about sushi, she brought me some of the best I’d ever had and taught me about it.

My favorite Yumi dishes are the Thai Pad, Yumi Beef, spicy Thai fried rice, the crab rangoon, the California rolls, the shrimp rolls…okay, I could go on and on. I go there for the food, but it’s a nice bonus to also get to chat with Lee! She kindly agreed to be interviewed for this blog and here’s what she had to say:

Yellowdaisychickchatting with Ming Ann Lee, chef at Yumi Asian Fusion

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Shanghai. I spent my earlier life in Shanghai; Pushan, South Korea; Nagoya, Japan; and Bluche, Switzerland. I am in a steady relationship and have two young daughters: An-Er Andraya (peaceful child who stands on a mountain) and An-Young Megan (child surrounded by a beautiful wave of the ocean.)

2. Where did you receive your training as a restaurateur?

I received a Bachelor’s in Food Science and a Master’s in Hospitality from Les Roches International School of Hotel Management.

3. How did you get to the US?

I was transferred from Schweizer Hotel Gaultmillau to the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, FL. I was later promoted to the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta in 2002.

4. How did you choose Newnan as a location to open Yumi Asian Fusion?

I had another location on the north side and was robbed twice at gunpoint. I chose Newnan because it was a nice, safe community to open a business.

5. What Southern foods do you like? Are there any that you dislike?

I like a light, squash casserole. I do not like grits…too rough for me.

6. I’ve already mentioned my favorite Yumi dishes. What are the most popular dishes at Yumi?

Crab Rangoon, Mongolian beef, Cali Rolls, Tuna Rolls, and Shrimp Lo Mein.

7. I love Asian flavors, especially the umami in soy sauce and the combo of sweet/salty/spicy, and the lightness of the food. What do you think makes Asian food so yumi/yummy?

We use lots of veggies which have lots of acid (bamboo shoots, scallions, baby corn, bell pepper, onion.) All of these veggies help to reduce the heavy taste of the meat. Veggies release the acid during the high cooking temperature and since everything is mixed together and served together, the taste will be balanced.

8. Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?

My mom is my hero! She is the one who has magic fingers and always has Strausse polka on when she is making food. She is a real business woman and wonderful housewife at the same time. She told me that a good chef must be good at math, logical thinking and have good fine motor skills. Also, my mentor Herr Peter Muller, who I worked for during college, taught me that professional experience + society experience = success.

9. What, if any, food shows do you watch on TV?

None. I do my own research. I have kept a notebook with restaurant menu research for 15 years.

10. What is one thing on your Bucket List?

To spend 2 hours in a Hallmark store.

11. What is most frequently played on your iPod these days?

At work, I play U2, Bon Jovi, Sting, Bob Segar. At home, I like Tchaikovsky; Ch 4 is the best ever. He is better than Beethoven to my ears.

You can find Lee most days at Yumi Asian Fusion, located at 354 Bullsboro Drive in Newnan. Check out their yummy menu at http://www.yumiasianfusion.com. 

 

 

 

Summer Soap Opera Series: Chapter 2

II. Lori

(if you are easily offended by language, this blog might not be for you!)

This kitchen was originally built in 1956, and then renovated in the mid-80’s. The walls are bead board, the real deal, painted white, with imperfections galore. Only two or three people can happily be in here at once. The small stove/oven and fridge are new. The stained, white farmhouse sink is not and is worn. The cabinetry is basic and utilitarian.

Pots hang from a rack like Spanish moss. The laminate floor is torn up under the sink. There is a spot that feels soft in the floor by the window; don’t step there. It feels like you could almost fall through, depending on how much weight you put on it. It makes you wonder why it’s soft, and it sounds like leaves crunching under there. It makes you feel insecure. It makes you think about the cemetery behind the house and wonder how far back it starts, and if anyone really knows where it begins and where it ends.

Lori looks at a small cross made of glue-gunned shells, propped on one window. A silver cross hangs by a ribbon on the other. She likes them; they feel optimistic. There is voodoo here on the island, and the lighthouse keeper told her he wears his cross necklaces to ward off evil. But he also sells jewelry, so he is most likely trying to make a sale. It almost worked; he kind of creeped her out, and she thinks of the missed opportunity to buy his jeweled protection.

There are open wires above the fridge, going into the breaker box. A folk art piece hangs by the breaker box, reading “Drunk as a Skunk” with beer bottle caps framing it. There are old White House vinegar jugs lined up like the Von Trapp children on top of the cabinets. An old Coca-Cola cooler covers the soft spot in the floor; she wishes she hadn’t moved it earlier.

She expects to notice lingering crab odors from last night’s dinner, but doesn’t.  It smells musty, like Grandma’s old kitchen; clean but well-used from cooking over 60,225 meals over 55 years. Her sister Ginny would love this house and kitchen.

The dirty dishes sit in the sink, forgotten after the bottle of wine sang her sweet lullaby. One of those old chair/stools sits by the stove. It’s actually another art piece, painted with the words “This was my Grandmother’s kitchen stool”; it probably was, given the chipped paint and rusty spots. It holds the coffee pot since there is not enough counter space…odd that the coffee pot’s usual importance is so diminished there in the corner. Her assistant-ordered, gourmet coffee used to have a front row seat, but here, on the island, it can sit in the corner and just be a face in the crowd.

Her sweet golden retriever/boxer mix, Sam, snores in the adjoining room. Lori stares at the phone, willing herself to make the obligatory Sunday phone call/check in with Mom. She is glad she did her yoga today. She takes a deep breath and picks up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Mom.”

“Hello, my love. How are you, darling? When are you coming home? It’s been a long six months. I’m worried about you, Lori.”

“Mom, I’m fine. I’m not ready to leave yet.”

“But I miss you. Look, it’s not like you’re the first politician to slip up. You didn’t even have children. It could’ve been worse. You were under too much pressure, a woman in a man’s world. It happens all the time, and I know you’ve prayed for forgiveness with Pastor Johnson,” Mom rationalizes.

And the two of you would be so deflated to know how little my decision to screw my intern had to do with either of you, Lori thought.

“Mom, I’m fine. I’m feeling good. I’ve planted a garden. I’m doing therapy by Skype. George and I have emailed a couple of times, but he’s still furious with me. But I’ve been going to an African church here on the island, and the minister has been a good friend to me.”

“Darling, that’s wonderful. Did you say African? Well, that’s better than nothing. Yes, get your hands in the dirt; keep busy; pray, pray, pray. God forgives us all, even the worst of sinners. I miss you so much, when are you coming home?”

“Soon, Mom. As soon as possible. The newspapers are still bugging me. And you, probably too. They can’t get enough of it.”

“Listen, as soon as some other celebrity has a breakdown or gets married, then you’ll be out of the news. But dear, you’ve always been so smart: valedictorian, law school, a state senator for goodness sake. I just don’t understand, why did you have to video the, um, affair?”

As if she had done that for public viewing. Her fucking intern, she thought. Although that could have been his official job title. She took a swig of beer. The young, hot intern had video footage of their affair and when she ended it, he ended her career. Everyone saw everything on the internet, including the sexy Betsy Ross costume she had worn once for fun, which he had kept and shown to audiences on his press tour. There were late night jokes, SNL skits; so much fun at her expense. The intern had since found a job designing women’s handbags and was in talks to be the new cast member on Jersey Shore. She had retreated to a remote island somewhere near Savannah, and was awaiting divorce papers.

“Mom, I didn’t.”

“I just don’t understand why you weren’t more, um, selective. Why couldn’t it have been a nice boy, somebody like Maggie’s John?”

“Oh please, Mom, John’s a total douche-bag. I don’t know. How should I explain a delicious asshole who betrayed me and ruined my life? I’m still figuring that out myself.”

“Lorena Joy, watch your language. Darling, I’m here for you. We love you and we’re glad you’re okay. Keep going to church and planting pretty flowers. You’ll be fine. Please visit soon. We miss you.”

“Goodbye, Mom.” Lori slammed the phone into the cradle and popped open another beer. She went to put on her shoes to head down to the beach to try to forget about all of them.

The dangers of badminton, moonshine

Greetings all,

I should've worked harder and become a professional badminton player like this chick. This was the move I was attempting...

This week, I have been laid up with a badminton injury. I know, I know, we’ve all been there. I’m proud to report that alcohol was NOT involved, just age and poor coordination. I’m still not exactly sure what happened; I was playing badminton with my son, trying to spend quality time with him while being active. I have always loved this game, because you really don’t have to move THAT much. It should be a great game for a 40-year-old. I think I stumbled and kicked my ankle, because during the game, I noticed a twinge when I walked and a large, colorful bruise. Am I already getting to the point where I bruise myself and don’t know how I did it? Anyway, to keep the swelling down, I propped it up for a couple of days and basically went nuts. Here is a list of the highlights of things I did while elevating said foot:

1. Deleted 775/779 emails, finding 4 that needed to be kept.

2. Facebooked.

3. Folded laundry. With foot elevated.

4. Snacked.

5. Watched “Strawberry Shortcake: The Movie” with daughter. Fondly remembered how good those dolls smelled back in the day. Got annoyed with Angel Cake and Lemon Meringue and their constant bickering. Could not bear to finish it and got busted by daughter for twittering.

Then
Now

6. Googled “ankle bruising” and self-diagnosed hematoma, fracture, and congestive heart failure.

7. Thought about blogging; got snack instead.

8. Googled “moonshine.” First of all, I learned that the term “moonshine” actually refers to homemade liquor, rather than a type of liquor. You can moonshine different liquor types. Second, I learned the specifics of the relationship between NASCAR and moonshine. The moonshiners made their cars so that they could outrun the regulators in car chases; that, my friends, was the beginning of NASCAR (paraphrased from http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org.) Tried to google Georgia’s moonshine laws, but couldn’t find anything official. Love how we’re supposed to know all of our laws, and yet I can’t find them anywhere. I can easily find a Time magazine article from 1965 on moonshining, but can’t find current state law. I have heard that you can make up to 5 gallons of moonshine for personal consumption in Georgia; anyone know if that’s true?

So, now that I’m probably on a government watch list now, I am much better. The foot colors have changed from light blue to blue to red to purple. It doesn’t hurt anymore so I no longer have an excuse not to do the dishes. I think I have avoided the ICU, general  hospitalization, and so far, any and all doctors. I do have to go for a checkup tomorrow, so I’ll have him check my heart.

I hope you’re all having a lovely summer and staying as cool as possible. For a cold treat, try a frozen sweet tea: boil 2-3 c. water and steep 2 family sized tea bags for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 – 1/2 c. sugar and stir to dissolve. After the mixture has cooled, pour into blender, squeeze 1/2 lemon and fill with ice. Blend and enjoy! For an adult treat, try a Firefly sweet tea vodka tonic with a twist of lemon. So refreshing!

Take care of yourselves and each other,

Katie, aka yellowdaisychick

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