Hey! If you’re on this blog right now, sorry. Most likely, I commented on your blog but your comment box would not let me sign in on my own domain.
So please hop on over to my new blog,
I’ve still got a whole list of other variations I want to try, so you can expect to see more of this in the upcoming future! I wonder if I can get up to more than 50 variations. Hmm…Anyone have any creative suggestions of their own?
So anyway, following this unintended trend of egg/pilaf cycle, I had eggs for lunch yesterday. I had lunch out with Jingwen, and of course we chose our favorite, Shokudo. And, obviously, I just had to order my favorite dish, the Japanese omelet. Excuse me for being boring and sticking to the same thing, but it is so good! I do switch up on the fillings, though. This time I chose sakura ebi, which is tiny dried shrimps.
To make up for my boring, repetitious dish, I took pictures of the steps to making a good Japanese omelet:
First, start off with a well-oiled square pan…
Ladle in the egg mixture (which is seasoned with dashi broth and sugar)…
Once slightly cooked, roll it up to the corner…
Then ladle in another layer of egg mixture with chosen filling…
My filling that day was sakura ebi…
When the second egg layer is cooked, roll it up over the first egg roll…
And ta-da! The finished product, drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce and mayo, and sprinkled with bonito flakes.
Unfortunately, the guy cooking this was cooking two omelets at the same time…
So he failed to devote 100% of his efforts and attention to my omelet, as he should. My omelet, instead of being cooked just right to a soft, creamy texture, was overcooked to crispy dryness. Bad. But the worse thing is that this guy was stingy!! There were barely any shrimp in my omelet, and the amount of toppings on it was miserable. Argh! I hate stingy cooks! Cooks should never, ever be stingy with their food! He was a tall, wiry guy, so maybe what they say about never trusting a skinny chef is true…But wait, I am skinny myself. But then, I don’t call myself a chef. Anyway, as you can see, my omelet this time was infuriatingly unsatisfactory. I still ate it, albeit with a disgruntled scowl like this: >:-(
To prove my point, this was the piece with the most sakura ebi I could find:
How disappointing. What an anorexic lunch. Boo hoo.
Jingwen ordered the omu-rice (fried rice in omelet), which was so much better than mine. I stole a few bites:
But thankfully, to make up for yesterday’s disappointing lunch, today’s lunch was freaking amazing! As mentioned above, I came up with another variation of my “Mix-it-up” bowl. This time the combinations were really interesting, “complicated”, and fun. Here’s what went into this bowl:
The base: 1 cup cooked pearl barley
The mix-ins: 1/4 cup black beans and 1/2 cup chopped roasted winter squash
The dressing: The leftover marinade I used for my roasted veggies with a dash of cinnamon (see below for ingredients)
The topping: Roasted, marinated vegetables, fresh raw cucumbers, dollop of garlic cream cheese, dollop of homemade spicy almond sauce (be patient, recipe follows soon!)
I marinated chopped eggplant, green bell pepper, and tomatoes with this marinade mixture: soy sauce, sake, maple syrup, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Then I popped them into a 400 degree oven to roast for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, I whipped up my spicy almond sauce:
Now, since we’re on the subject of yin and yang, today’s question is: Are you a yin or a yang personality? According to Wikipedia, Yin is black, female, receptive, yielding, negative, and nurturing. It is associated with night, valleys, rivers, streams, water, metal, and earth. Yang is white, male, active, dominating, positive, and initiating/creating. Yang is associated with day, mountains, hills, fire, wood, and air.
I am quite definitely a yang. I like leadership, I like being in control, and am active and outspoken in my opinions and thoughts. But I have a bit of yin inside me too, I guess, as I can be a pretty pessimistic person. I’m trying to change this about myself, as well as learning to be more relaxed and not so domineering.
So, what about you? Are you a yin or a yang personality? I’d love to know!
Wow. I’m in tears. Really. My (tiny Asian) eyes are glistening with grateful emotion. Thank you so much for your amazing, kind, encouraging comments to my last post. They mean so much to me, and have strengthened my resolve to overcome this sickening disease and pursue my dream. Being able to go back to college means so much to me, because I love learning new things and studying. I’m an uber-nerd that way. Heh. But seriously, I just want to forward all your comments to the admission-decision committee of USC and say, “Come on, now. How can you not accept me? Are you really gonna disappoint all these incredible girls out there?” Bet that will work! Hahahahahaha!
A-hem. Anyway, I’m still joyfully chomping my way through recovery. Delicious eats, and a fear food faced and conquered! Are you ready? Here we go…
Lunch yesterday was another variation of my soufflé-omelet…
Can you guess what’s inside this fluffy blanket?
I was meaning to try a sweet version of this, but suddenly I had a real craving for something cheesy, so I went all cheesy-crazy. I whipped up my soufflé-omelet just like before, but for the filling I used roasted butternut squash and four kinds of cheeses: bleu cheese, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and cucumber-garlic cream cheese to make a Four-cheese-butternut squash Soufflé-Omelet:
Oh, heaven. How can you ever go wrong with cheese?
I did not measure, but I used about 2 tablespoonfuls of Parmesan, a fistful of cheddar, a tablespoon of bleu, and 3 tablespoonfuls of cream cheese.
I was afraid the flavor of the cheeses would all mesh together into one incoherent, unidentifiable mess, but I could actually detect each distinctive taste and texture…
There’s the tangy creaminess of the cream cheese…
And the stringy, sharpness of the cheddar…
Every bite was amazing. The roasted butternut squash gave a nice smoky, mellow sweetness to the omelet that was perfect with the blend of cheeses.
I had church youth group that night, so I had to pack up my dinner. Along with my usual 12 mini chicken hotdogs, I tried out a new sandwich combo. Do you remember my Poop-in-poop-out? This is how it looks like:
You can click here for the recipe, but it’s basically a chocolaty blend of black beans, pumpkin, and cocoa. I paired this poopy (but so delicious)puree with sliced green apples on two slices of whole wheat bread:
And of course sandwiches tastes best toasted like this:
Check out the filling! It was torture restraining myself from gobbling this up right there and then!
’Twas a poopilicious dinner ^______^. Youth group ended late till midnight, and I was just too pooped out to blog…
Well, that brings us to today, Saturday! Those who have followed my blog continuously should know that Liwen, Wengang (the couple who are hosting me) and I have lunch out together every Saturday. Today we went to a place nearby called Istanbul Gourmet. As the name indicates, it’s a Middle-eastern restaurant. Can you believe I’ve never really tried Middle-eastern food before? Unfortunately, we chose the wrong place for my first taste of Middle-eastern cuisine. Istanbul Gourmet was definitely…not gourmet. It was small and the prices were too cheap to be able to serve great food.
I ordered the Chicken Kebabs and Yellow Rice on Bean Salad:
The chicken…tasted like fried chicken. I’ve never tried chicken kebabs before, but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to have chunks of crispy bits in kebabs. They came shredded over a bed of bean salad with some kind of sweet chili sauce drizzled all over.
The yellow rice…
Meh. I hate rice, but had decided to challenge myself with this dish. Besides, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad as it is yellow and had other mix-ins like herbs, turmeric,raisins and chickpeas. But it was so bland! Looks are deceiving. But at least I faced my fear food and I still forced myself to choke them down.
Liwen ordered the Istanbul laksa:
Yeah, this is so totally not Middle-eastern at all. Laksa is a Singaporean noodle dish based of a coconut-curry soup. The only thing “Middle-eastern” about this was the chicken kebabs they used in the soup. I thought it was just sub-standard. Not a huge fan of coconut-based laksa.
Wengang ordered the Beef Bomb, which was marinated beef stuffed with hard-boiled egg on salad and a side of potatoes:
Again, I can’t see anything authentically Middle-eastern about this dish. The beef was pretty tough and stringy.
Damn, my first experience with Middle-eastern cuisine, and we had to pick a lousy unauthentic place. It’s like going to Taco Bell to try my first “Mexican” fare. Or calling sweet-and-sour chicken and fortune cookies “Chinese” cuisine.
But that’s okay, because we had a lovely time together, and that’s what matters. But still, I hope to give Middle-eastern cuisine another chance once I return to the States. What do you guys recommend? (Except hummus…Please don’t kill me, but I really don’t see what’s so great about hummus)
Bad Middle-eastern food aside, I got some baking done for my friend Mei-er, who’s birthday is on March 22nd~! I made sure to take pictures of it...Yup, Morgan, these pictures are especially for you! Consider this my first baking challenge to you! Check this out:
My Chocolate-Pumpkin Swirl Brownie Cheesecake!!!!
Take a hunk of that! (The knife is for dramatic effect) Can you beat that chunk of drool-worthy baby? Put on those baking mittens, girl, because the baking throw-down is ON!
As the Iron Chef chairman says, ”ALLEZ CUISINE!!!!” *Takes a chomp on a
bell pepper muffin and grins lecherously challengingly*
Um, just to make sure. That’s not me.
Right. Before I scurry away, here’s a mini-mini-mini Q&A section in response to the last post’s question of the day! LOL, are you guys shy to ask questions? But anyway, hear are the questions that were asked by these lovely fellow bloggers [with a bit of my add-ins in these brackets ;-)]:
Emily and Kiki asks:
Do you have recipe for that [freaking amazing oh-my-god you’re such an amazing baker] brownie?
Those brownies were actually just leftover batter from my chocolate-pumpkin swirl cheesecake brownies (see above for the fabbity fab fab pic), which I plopped into a muffin tin to bake. I sort of “made-up” this concoction by mixing-and-matching several recipes, but here’s the basic recipe for the brownie bottom:
To make the brownies:
1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering, not boiling water, melt the chocolate and the butter, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool to warm.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and combine with a whisk. Add the flour mixture and almonds to the chocolate/egg mixture and stir until just combined. Pour the brownie batter into muffin tins. You can pour all the way, because you don’t need to worry about the batter rising too much.
5. Bake for about 40 minutes in a 325 degrees. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
I adapted this recipe from here, and used a lot more egg yolks so that the batter will be a bit drier and more like a cookie so it’ll keep it’s shape better. If you want my added recipe for the chocolate-pumpkin swirl cheesecake topping, just ask.
Hey the sushi looks yum just out of curiosity, I noticed you use pearled barley on most of your stuff in place of rice. I have never tired it before and intend to ask what is the reasoning behind it, if you don't mind me asking, just so curious…
Of course I don’t mind you asking! Ask away!
I have mentioned this a few times, and will probably mention it over again many more times, but I absolutely hate, detest, abhor, loathe rice! I’m so not Asian in that way. But I like pearled barley. I actually only just discovered this, and have fallen in love with its plump, chewy texture. Plus, it has way more nutrients, fiber, and protein than plain ol’ rice. I hope you give this grain a chance, it’s awesome! And if you come across any great barley recipe, share the wealth!
Where have you always wanted to travel to?
Wow. Where to start? First of all, traveling is my dream and I really hope to be able to touch all corners of the Earth before I’m dead. That said, one of the top things on my to-do list of “Things I wanna do before I DIE” is to backpack all across Europe. I also want to go to China, but just to immerse myself in the language and culture there and perfect my Chinese. Anybody wanna join me?
[You crazy girl!] How can you not like avocadoes?
And lastly, Ellie asks:
When are you coming to the UK to teach me to cook? Kidding. Seriously though- do you like traveling? if you could go live anywhere, where would it be?
Hee hee! I like this Q&A thingy! I’ll probably give this another try some time, but hopefully more of you will ask questions the next time! But I’m sure you’ve had enough of me for one day, so here’s today’s question for you: What is the least authentic ethnic food you’ve ever tried? For me, I’ll have to say every single item on a Chinese take-out menu in America. I seriously can’t stand the “Chinese” food they serve…way too greasy and sweet!
Oh, by the way, I found this random quote that really tickled me:
"I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond. "~ Mae West
Okay, I’m off now. Have an awesome weekend, everyone, and please indulge me by answering my question!
P.S. By the way, Donna from My Tasty Treasures is having a food magazine giveaway! THREE, actually! As a hoarder of foodie magazines and cookbooks, I'm thrilled!
I remember writing my first article ever to be printed in hard copy when I was a junior in high school. I had just joined the school newspaper staff, and was assigned my first article ever: to review a local Japanese sushi restaurant. It was nothing much, just a small section in the entertainment section, and the contents were barely impressive; just your basic amateur reviewer heaping glowing raves because she is just so ecstatic to have her name printed and has yet to master the art of true criticism.
I progressed from there on, being promoted from staff writer to entertainment editor, and writing many more articles other than restaurant reviews. Even so, I still loved writing reviews most, and tried to grab any chance I could get on writing any review articles, be it food, music, movies, or books.
Another type of writing I loved most was features. I loved interviewing people, talking to them and listening to them talk, digesting the bits and bites of their personal details to form a full, organized picture of their story to the readers.
It was from this stint in my school newspaper that I eventually decided what I wanted to do the most was to interact with people, to write about them, and to experience and observe all sorts of things to share my opinion and thoughts on them. So, I chose to be a journalist. That is my goal, my passion. My plan was to graduate with a degree in magazine journalism in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, then find a prestigious internship at some magazine company, then get my masters degree at Columbia University. Big plans, great dreams.
Then anorexia struck. Long story short: I got into Northwestern with a full scholarship, but got hospitalized and was sent back home just a month later. I gained some weight and tried to return to school, but they required me to have proof of treatment at an eating disorder residence, which I refused (and had no money for). I reapplied to other schools, and got into University of Southern California. But before I could actually attend, I relapsed and had to postpone my enrollment to Spring semester. Spring rolled by, but I had barely gained any weight; in fact, I lost even more. So I asked permission for another delay…and that brings me to now, where I am still waiting for their decision. It is highly probable that they will say no, as I am being re-evaluated among all the other freshmen. Thing is, I am no longer “fresh.” I am almost 22 years old; it’s been more 3 years since I last touched a textbook.
Meanwhile, I am still…still trying to recover. At this weight, even if the school re-admitted me, I would not be able to attend. It’s a sobering, terrifying thought, one that grips me with icy fear and panic. Will I make it? Will I ever be able to fulfill my dreams to be a great journalist?
As I pray to God about this, He comforts me. He opens my eyes to discover that I don’t need a college degree to become a good journalist. Hell, I’m getting all the training I can get right now with all the experiences He has provided me. I give thanks to Him for letting me discover the blogging community. While blogging I practice my writing skills so they don’t go rusty, while meeting many incredible people and reading their stories and their own struggles.
Most of all, I have discovered the power of the internet. Gone are the days of newspapers, magazines, even radio and broadcast. Now is the age of the wireless, of the citizen writer. Everyone can be a journalist now. Writing and sharing online is even more interactive, efficient, and rewarding. Thus I have switched my choice of major from magazine journalism to online journalism.
If I ever get into college, that is. Which is one of the reason I’m still clinging and fighting. I have a passion, God gave me that passion, and I am going to fulfill that passion, damn it!
So it is in that spirit that I made today’s lunch: in memory of my first article ever to be printed about sushi (albeit in a crappy high school newspaper), I present to you: “I’m going to California” roll.
It’s called that because it’s has most of the components of a California roll: crabmeat (imitation), carrots, cucumbers. And because so help me God, I am going to USC (University of Southern California)!!!! The only thing that’s missing though, is avocado, which I left out because 1) It’s expensive and I am mega-broke, and 2) I dislike avocadoes. Always have. Love the color, hate the texture and blandness.
I made two rolls. Both had a crabmeat salad, carrots, and cucumbers, but one had pearled barley as the base and the other had the roasted winter squash.
Here are the ingredients that went into the crabmeat salad:imitation crabmeat, plain yogurt, cucumber-garlic cheese spread, salt and pepper.
For the sushi barley “rice”: pearled barley, splash of vinegar, sweetener, salt.
Sorry, no exact measurements, I just taste-and-tested as I went.
It’s amazing how clean and fresh these tasted even though made mainly from leftovers.
Heh heh. These are the “Rejects” that were too ugly to make it into the previous picture. Don’t worry, they still got “first place” in my stomach. I ate them up first.
Here’s a close-up of the one with the barley:
And another one of the roasted winter squash:
One fat roll having a nice bath in soy sauce:
I think I liked the one with roasted squash more, but the barley one had great chewy texture.
The colors are so bright and cheery, I decided to go with a more somber tone with this one to match my above story…
One of the perks of not being in college? Lots of free time to bake! I was baking chocolate-pumpkin swirl cheesecake brownie for a friend’s b-day, and had some leftover brownie batter which I popped into a muffin pan…
Topped with chocolate-pumpkin cream cheese…
I’ll try to remember to take a picture of the grand product tomorrow!
Another reason I love the blogging community? Fun, uplifting rewards! Here are not just one, but two blogging awards I received!
This one was from Emily:
And this one from Katherine Aucoin!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Emily and Katherine! You have totally cheered me up when I needed it the most.
Ah, and now comes the dilemma of who I should pass them on to! I’ve been brooding over this for the longest time, and have finally reached the decision…I’m sending the “I <3 your Blog” award to Heather of Heather Eats Almond Butter and Reeni of Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice, for their amazing, creative, and delicious recipes!
The “Excellent” award to Ellie of Inside I’m still Dancing and Lexi from Live.Life for their strength and courage in continuing their personal battles. No matter what, you guys are EX-CELLENT little troopers and don’t you ever forget it! Rock on, sisters!
Hmm. Today’s post has been all about me, me, me. But since I’ve already crossed the border to narcissism, why not go all the way? So for today’s question, instead of me asking you lame questions, I’m challenging you to come up with fresher questions for me. Yup, ask me anything, and I shall answer! Seek, and you shall receive! (Except…I draw the line when it comes to asking questions like what’s my credit card PIN number…not that there’s any savings left anyway…)