Thursday, May 28, 2009

Photo 76/365 We all scream

Half a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream...yum! And the rest is mine too since Mr. Fix-it doesn't really like this flavor.

How to meet your neighbors

This morning, we heard sirens, then more sirens, then a helicopter, more sirens, more helicopters, and finally I couldn't stand it any more and went outside to see what was going on. And so did many of the neighbors. How sad that it takes a tragedy to get us talking.

It turns out someone lost control of their car and ran into a local business just a block away. Thankfully, there were no major injuries, but sure was scary hearing all the sirens and helicopters.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PSA - Phone home!

When you're going on a long trip, be sure to phone your family when you've arrived. Otherwise they might worry, ya know? The drive home with cousin D should have taken around 8 hours (even though the trip here took almost twelve). So at 8 hours, I wasn't worried when Mom didn't call. At 9 hours I still wasn't worried. At 10 hours, I was debating whether or not to worry, but figured Mom would be outside checking out her garden, dark or not. At 10 and half hours, I called, but no one answered. And at 11 hours I started worrying. Finally, Mom answered the phone 11 and half hours after she left here, sounding chipper and happy and not at all tired. They took a two hour detour to go shopping(!) and then lunch and then after arriving in town, had dinner with cousin D's family. Of course, they had to wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen and then finally, cousin D took Mom home. Sigh, parents, what are you going to do with them???

(And yes, I know that I could have called cousin D, but I still needed to know that Mom was safe home in her own house, KWIM?)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jing Gai (steamed chicken)

Hong do (dried red dates)
Black mushrooms
Teem jook (flat "sweet" dried bean curd strips)
Geem toy (goldenrod/lily flower--not sure of the translation)

Whiskey or sherry
Soy sauce
White pepper
Dried orange peel (just tiny bit)

1. Soak the dried ingredients (each should be soaked in a separately).
2. Marinate the chicken with the cornstarch, sherry, soy sauce, white pepper.
3. Break off the hard end of the geem toy, if necessary. Tie the lily buds. Just an overhand knot. I have no idea why you do this, but you do.
4. Cut the teem jook into four pieces or so.
5. Pit the hong do and cut into stripes.
6. Rinse the mushrooms, cut out the stems (you can save them for stock later), and cut into stripes.
7. Cut a slice of ginger into small matchsticks and add to the chickent.
8. Finely mince the orange peel and add it to the chicken. Mom says most people don't add this and you aren't supposed to taste the orange, hence the small pieces. It is supposed to enhance the flavor of the dish.
9. Add the ingredients together and add a bit of the mushroom water.
10. Steam until done.

Sorry, no pics, but if I waited until I took pics, I'd never get this posted. No measurements because Mom doesn't cook that way and after I got everything out to soak, I had to add more because she didn't realize the chicken breast I used was so huge. I would have preferred dark meat and I think that's what Mom usually used, but we used what I had on hand. The Chinese names for the food are my attempt at Cantonese.

Suew Dan (literally water egg, a steamed savory egg custard)

Mom reminded me how to make this so I'm writing down the instructions so I don't forget.

1 salted duck egg
2 eggs
1/2 package of bean thread (maybe a little more, but definitely not a whole package for this recipe)

chopped ham or half a lop cheung (Chinese sausage), can be used in addition to or instead of the duck egg.
soy sauce or oyster sauce

1. Soak the bean threads in cold water until they become translucent.
2. Cut up the egg yolk into small pieces (so everyone gets a bit in their serving). The egg yolk is solid, even though it is still raw (Mom had to tell me this so I'm passing this on to you). If it is runny or smells funny, don't use it (more advice from Mom).
3. Add the two eggs and scramble everything well.
4. Add the bean threads and water (and meat). How much water? Mom always makes this in her shallow square Corningware dish. She added enough water so the dish was just over half full.
5. Steam for 20 minutes or so. The edges of the custard should be quite firm and the middle will still be a tiny bit jiggly. There may be some small bubbles on the edges. If there are bubbles all over the top, the dish is overcooked, per Mom.

Let's hope I am successful making this on my own, lol.

I just checked the dish and there aren't any measurements on it. It's about six inches across and holds four cups. Hope that helps someone.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Split Pea Soup

1 lb green split peas
1 lb yellow split peas (can use all green if you want)
8 cups water
1 meaty ham bone
1-2 bay leaves
1 finely chopped onion (about 3/4 cup)
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
3-4 carrots, chopped
1 potato, shredded
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Dash of soy sauce
Dash of pepper

Wash, sort, and and drain split peas. Combine everything in a 6 quart crockpot and cook on high for four hours (or more). Add a drizzle of olive oil (a trick I learned from my Italian mother-in-law) and adjust seasonings as needed. I often add some additional garlic powder and maybe a dash of salt or celery salt.

Cook's notes
This recipe is similar to the one on the back of split pea packages. Feel free to add/subtract ingredients according to your tastes. For example, I often don't add salt because usually there's enough from the ham bone and celery. And if I have leftover ham, I add that too. Some people don't like the carrots, but I like the contrasting color and sweetness it adds.

This soup is very thick and will be even thicker after sitting in the fridge for a day. When reheating the soup, add a bit of broth (water usually dilutes the flavor too much). I always make this soup in the crockpot because I've had problems with the soup sticking and burning when I cook it on the stove.

Blog notes
I'm trying to put all the recipes I've typed out in one place. Hopefully, blogger will be around for a long time and I can just come back here when I'm looking for one my favorites.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Photo 75/365

I'm so sad. My hairdryer finally died. I can't remember how long I've had it, maybe 25 years? I've never been able to find another one that I liked as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Epic Six

No, that's not my new novel, lol. It's the new die cutter I want. Yes, yet another tool. But this one looks like best manual cutter ever. Unfortunately, Mr. Fix-it gave me the evil eye when I mentioned it. So I guess I'll stick with what I have.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Photo 74/365

I love getting my "I voted" sticker.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Overdoing it

I'm frantically trying to clean house for my house guest this week, so lots of straightening up, vacuuming, dusting, and even some tossing. I need to put away my personal papers (bank statements, pay statements, etc.), not that this person would deliberately look for this stuff, but the reality is, we don't get guests that often so we leave a lot of personal stuff out until we get around to filing it...months later, lol.

Add to that a stressful job (too much computer time), more gardening, and then a cooking marathon (more on that later), and my arm is killing me. So why am I on the computer again? Typing doesn't hurt, like mousing does. Besides, I'm giving the rest of my body a break. How's that for an excuse? And haven't you been anxiously awaiting a new blog post?

As for the cooking marathon, the special of the day at the grocery store was 15 pounds of potatoes for $1.49. So of course we bought a bag. Normally, I'd cook up a huge batch of mashed potatoes and freeze it, but there isn't any room in the freezer. I stocked up during Frozen Food month (March) and have yet to make a dent in what's there. Plus there's the usual stock and stock fixings and yes, I need a freezer. But that costs money. And takes up space. And we don't have extras of either.

Back to the far I've made potato salad, a casserole (to be baked for dinner tonight), and I've got soup simmering on the stove. And I've still got half the bag. Anyone want to come over and peel some potatoes?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Photo 73/354 Nostalgia

Anyone remember these? It isn't the best chocolate in the world, but it has a distinctive taste and it tastes as good as I remember. I enjoyed that trip down nostalgia lane.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hello card

Just another card using my some of my old and new stash. The ribbon is way old, the paper-Jillibean Soup, one of my favs--is one of the newer additions to my collection, the ink was old, the Fiskars punch new (so new this was the first time I used it new), the rubons way old, and the photo corner? Somewhere in between.

Probably the most noteworthy thing about this card? I cut into three, count 'em three new pieces of paper to create this card. I didn't use scraps, I didn't use leftovers, I used new stuff! Maybe this is a breakthrough for me, lol.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

44 cents

That's what it will cost to mail a one ounce first class letter starting Monday, May 11th. Hope you stocked up on Forever stamps or 2 cent stamps.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Stamp out hunger

Tomorrow is the annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger food drive. This year, we got a plastic bag along with the reminder post card. I wonder if they thought they'd get more donations this way?

Every year, I take this opportunity to empty my cupboards of extras I don't think I'll need. I know that food banks are usually low on food this time of year. All the donations from the holidays are gone and who knows when more will arrive. So if you have extra packaged food (no glass or expired foods please), put it out on Saturday. It can't be any easier to donate...someone comes and picks it up!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Don't forget Mom

Mother's Day is this Sunday. What are your plans? Unfortunately, Mom and I don't live in the same town anymore. But I did make this card to send her. Actually, this was a card I made a while ago and I just added the text. Let's hope USPS cooperates and the card arrives by Saturday.