Chicken Noodles, Comfort Me Please?

It was a drizzly, cold morning when I was waiting for the bus. As crazy as it sounds, for the past five years, I rarely go out by myself, without my kid(s). It feels liberating, yet nerve-wrecking. When I left the house, the kids were still sleeping, the boy tucked next to his dad and the girl slept soundly, the only noise was their snore.

I was going to an open house for a culinary school. About 6 years ago, I applied to this same school but due to financial and immigration problem, I had no choice but to back out. Now the latter is settled, so we decided it’s time to go back. Despite my worry about being socially inept, I made small talks without turning red (major improvement, I dare say). And heck, I like this school. There was another school that I was considering but it doesn’t fit my needs and it’s quite a distance from where I live, while this one is just a 10-min drive away.

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First Dinner in Our New Place

The thought of moving out of our old apartment was exciting and relieving. No more loud noises at 3am. No more cigarette stank seeping through our windows. No more petty fights that we could not help but overhear. But the process of moving is a pain in the ass. While I can’t really help my husband move the bigger stuff, I can’t stand the mess that’s sitting in the middle of the living room right now. Our dresser isn’t built yet, and with my habit of collecting books, we definitely need another bookshelf. My son loves our current condition, as he uses the piles of books and bags of clothes as his obstacle course.

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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

Bread-That-Was-Supposed-to-be-Ciabatta with Shredded Pork

Couple days ago, Danielle from Runs with Spatula gave me an award, thanks Danielle! It sounds like a fun thing to write but to be honest with you, I don’t know what to write when it comes to 7 things about myself. I will try…

  1. I’m a bookwhore. My husband hates how I leave books all around. Trip to bookstore is always filled with temptation.
  2. My yearly new year resolution is to be less profane, somehow I haven’t succeeded yet.
  3. I get all happy and excited when I go grocery shopping, and spend less than I expected. Then I will show the receipt to my husband and yap about it for a good 15 minutes til he tells me that “I don’t really care how much you save”. Ouch.
  4. Socially inept. It’s really hard for me to start a conversation. But after 5 minutes of talking, usually things go smoothly.
  5. I cannot live without chilli sauce. Or chilli itself. We buy the 136oz huge jar and it’ll be gone by the end of the month.
  6. My husband is 11 years older than me, but sometimes I look 5 years older than him. Life. is. not. fair.
  7. My right thumb nail is deformed, has been that way since I was 14. Don’t know what’s wrong with it. Anyone?

Back to food, last week I made two huge loaves of ciabatta from Peter Reinhart’s book, Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It was good but definitely not ciabatta. It doesn’t have huge airpockets as it should be. I love eating ciabatta just as is, without any adornments. Unfortunately, this bread-that-was-supposed-to-be-ciabatta (BTWSTBC) is too dense to eat as is. So I decided to slowcook a piece of pork shoulder butt with ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, paprika, garlic and dried chilli flakes. And shredded it by hands and top the BTWSTBC with the shredded pork.  Continue reading

Banana Sundae, If Only Babies Stay Babies Forever

The habit of cooking/baking then take pictures of the end product, has definitely affected my son. The other day he was so freaking bored, he told me he wanted to make banana sundae. And he specifically told me “then we will take a picture!”, so we did that. Oh and he wanted to listen to Beatles while taking pics?! He’s been this way since he was small. I always say he is an old soul inside a 4-year-old body, except when he’s throwing hissy fit (never mind, I’ve seen adults throw hissy fit).

He cut up the banana with a plastic knife, then complained about how dull the knife is. He tried to scoop out the ice cream but somehow failed to get a nice round scoop. After the fifth tries, he asked me to help him. Melted some chocolate with a bit of heavy cream to drizzle on top of the ice cream. Continue reading

Red Curry, We Had Poor Man’s Curry Yesterday

Seattle’s weather is pretty interesting. You can get sunshine, wind, hail and snow all in one day. I like to joke how Mother Nature is PMSing, and when she’s in shitty mood like this, I’d love a bowl of comfort, please. What can you make from 2 baking potatoes, and half of chicken breast? Well, if your pantry is like mine, you can make Thai curry! While I can’t say it is authentic, but it’s better than most Thai places we’ve been to. Spicier and has more flavors than the bland-ish curry they serve.

Usually when our fridge is fully stocked, we’ll put kabocha and bamboo shoots into the curry too. But because I wasn’t well prepared this time, it was just potato and chicken breast. But what important is the curry paste. As long as you have good curry paste, you’re good to go.

If It Wasn’t for Harold Crick, I’d Never Have Tried Cookies and Milk

There are lots of cookies in this world, and having overactive imagination, I sometimes like to ponder, how would A taste paired with B, hence me concocting this weird cookies. But if I die tomorrow and have to choose my last cookies, without a doubt, I’ll pick the ol’ chocolate chip cookies. Back then, when I wasn’t allowed to use the oven (ehm, actually I was too scared to go into my parents’ kitchen, lots of rats!), my favorite chocolate chip cookies was Chips Ahoy.

Believe it or not, I’d never had cookies with its loyal companion of all time, milk, until I watched Stranger than Fiction. Harold Crick, the IRS agent, fell in love with the baker he’s auditing. I don’t recall the whole detail, but there was this one scene where Ana Pascal offered him a plate of cookies and told him to dip em in milk. I used to think it was just a cutesy thing to do, that serves no real purpose whatsoever. It wasn’t bad, and actually I’m liking it. This means a lot, coming from someone who cannot drink milk as is (don’t like how it tastes, somehow it induces vomit). I think that’s why I’m so short…. The milk lends buttery taste to the cookies. The icy cold milk and warm cookies create the hot-and-cold sensation. Sometimes if you leave the cookies long enough in the milk, it absorbs the liquid, filling the airy holes in the cookies with it. And kinda like it.  I drink milk as an excuse to eat cookies.

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