Category Archives: holidays

Pandan Cake: No, It’s Not Kryptonite

As a rule of thumb, when there is a choice, I won’t consume food that’s artificially colored. Ironically, my number one weakness is chiffon pandan cake. To my defense, it’s a quite difficult task to find fresh pandan leaves (otherwise known as screwpine leaves) here in Seattle. Awhile back I found fresh pandan leaves at the Asian grocery store I frequent, but the next week I was shit out of luck. It’s so much easier to stock up on pandan extract. I have 2 kinds; one without added coloring and the other one looks like it’s loaded with kryptonite. Guess which one I ended up using?

No matter what I tell my husband, he refuses to eat it (perhaps he secretly thinks he’s Superman) but my son loves this green cake. I craved for this certain cake during my last pregnancy, it’s a quite surprise my daughter didn’t come out smelling like pandan or having green complexion like Incredible Hulk. Last year, 8 out of 12 months, I made this cake. Hence the abstinence of this cake since October of 2010. While this cake is a Southeast Asian thing (I believe Indonesian and Malaysian), I don’t see why we can’t have it to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. And try telling Clark Kent there’s no kryptonite involved in making this cake. Continue reading

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Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day!

Some people think we’re against Valentine’s day just because we don’t celebrate it like most people do. Nope. Actually I think it’s cute. An excuse to do something special with my son. He’s not in preschool so I have to come up with ideas to keep him occupied every day. I admit, sometimes I let it slide, and let him watch tv longer than he should. But most of the time, I will find activities we can do together. See, I can’t do arts and crafts for the life of me. I tried, but we ended up not having fun. Fortunately, he loves helping me in the kitchen.

Yesterday, after making a simple Valentine’s card, we settled to baking pink cookies. The first batch went ungraciously inside the trash. As much as I hate wasting ingredients, it was awful. Too much rose paste, it left a perfumey aftertaste. My son said it tasted like soap. The second batch were good, but didn’t taste like something special. Our goal here was to make something “special-y”. Then I remember we had a tub of homemade green tea ice cream. I crumbled some of the pink cookies on top, it tastes okay, but lack of the “special-y” taste.

No More Turkey-less Thanksgiving!

After years not celebrating Thanksgiving the traditional way, we decided 2010 is the best year to start doing just so. Last year we did our own version of Thanksgiving by cooking roasted soy sauce chicken, fried rice and I think some sort of stir fried greens (I only remember the roasted soy sauce chicken and fried rice, but there was definitely a third dish). All were cooked in the dinky kitchen of our studio apartment, where all I had, was one counter space to work with. Glad to say that earlier this year, we moved to a bigger apartment with a decent sized kitchen.

This year, duck was considered but I was determined to have turkey. And to think that I’d never cooked a whole turkey before, it was quite a scary thought. It. is. huge. My conscience was telling me “what if the turkey isn’t cooked through, you donkey!” (yep, somehow my conscience sounds like Gordon Ramsay) I planned the whole thing, even googled “Thanksgiving dinner menu”. I can’t quite pinpoint the reason why, but cranberry sauce sounds repulsive to me. And to be honest, I don’t know what to expect (tastewise) from a pumpkin pie, so I didn’t dare to make it without ever tasting one myself…

In the end, my husband and I agreed to roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, baked yam, green beans of some sort and chocolate tart for dessert. 2 nights before Thanksgiving, I made the chocolate tart and refrigerate it. Then the night before the T-day (my husband called it Turkeyday), the stuffing was prepped. We bought an eleven pounder turkey, and just in case the gravy didn’t turn out right, I grabbed a pack of turkey gravy mix (which fortunately wasn’t needed).

Upon seeing the turkey, my mom was amused. And her comment was “Remember that episode of Mr Bean where he got his whole head stuck in the turkey?” yeah I do remember that one… The whole time I was prepping the turkey, my mom kept on going in and out the kitchen, giggling.

 

Overall, it was a great first Thanksgiving ever. I’m thankful for the family I have! Now, what shall I make for Christmas?
Mashed potato with turkey gravy and grated cheese on the side

Stir fried green beans with bacon bits

Dark chocolate tart with messy whipped cream

(Clockwise) Rice, turkey, baked yam, green beans