Merry Christmas! Knowing how slow I am with posting, I probably won’t have a chance to post again until waay after Christmas, so, here we go: Merry Christmas!
How many holiday parties, since before Thanksgiving, have you been to already? How many will you have to go to? “Have to” might be the wrong word for some – yes, talking to you, party-whores. I like to go to parties when I’m not expected to bring anything. Bringing stuff on the train is annoying. Also, thinking about what to make that will please everyone at the party, including those that can’t tell the difference between cat food and pate, is stressful. I take criticism just fine, but I criticize myself a lot if someone doesn’t like my food, and at parties you never know who’s gonna be there.
Don’t take me wrong – I do love cooking for people. But most of my friends, either due to self-selection or their own niceness, often like my food, and I like cooking for them. In fact, I made a Thanksgiving dinner for friends who didn’t go home, and it was great. My own personal favorite dish (that I made, adapting various recipes online) was the cranberry chutney. I always thought the canned cranberry sauce was a bit weird, and since we were having tandoori turkey, cranberry chutney seems appropriate.
Ingredients Continue reading
I came back from a party/celebration/event/fundraising last night, stuffed with good food (mostly because I was helping out in the kitchen and you know how it goes…) It’s themove’s summer sol party (http://getoutma.org/summersol/), celebrating local food and people connecting with the land and the farmers that feed them. What’s more appropriate than a recipe celebrating the freshness and local-ness of food? You’re saying I made this random, lazy, Sunday-morning-can’t-bother-to-cook recipe a long time ago and was just waiting for an excuse to post it and wax poetic about it? Nah, I don’t know what you’re talking about…
Ingredients Continue reading
Hi guys – so some of you already know I volunteer at farms sometimes, and that’s really the only exciting part of my life, haha. One of the non-profit groups I volunteer with is named theMOVE (www.getoutma.org) , and now I’m helping them fundraise for next year. And, I know what you’re thinking – no! I’m not like one of those Planned Parenthood fundraising people that stopped you on the street! This is legit, I swear! I even have the website link!
I’ve volunteered with them a couple of times and can tell you that they do terrific work to help kids understand better their food sources, why eating healthy is important, and how, for example, “organic” is more than the fancy pantsy things in Whole Foods
Most importantly, it’s just a chance for the kids to really get out of the classroom, have a chance to bond and grow as a person, have a meaningful activity that might kindle their interests in the environment, food, and agriculture.
Dave, the founder, connects with schools and teachers and basically just organizes trips for kids from public schools to volunteer at farms, for free. But nothing is free – there’s transportation costs, lunch costs, among other things. So I hope you can help us make the trips happen!
I went on a cooking spree today – it has been a while since we really cooked anything serious. We did have a Korean feast at one point, and some very good Vietnamese noodles at another, but I’ve been either too lazy, or thought that it’s nothing to document. Korean and Vietnamese food come to me quite easily, I don’t have to think much about it. Vegetarian Indian food, or just vegetarian in general, is a beast, and whenever I make something vegetarian with an Indian flair, I consider it an achievement. Also have to document it, because I will have no idea how to make it later! This is why I gave up after a month of trying to be vegetarian. I learned a ton from my Indian landlord, but if I’m hungry, I want my food NOW. Cooking something you’re ill-equipped for, knowledge and pantry-wise, is like…abstaining from sex when you’re ovulating. It’s hard. Continue reading
The weather is super weird these days. Rain, oh wait no rain, SUN!, oh wait fucking CLOUDS. All of my “internal engergy” (kungfu fans, you know what I’m talking about) is focused on, um, praying that June 9th is going to be sunny. If I were a super villain, that’d be my life goal – HOW TO CONTROL THE SUN.
Anyway, on rare sunny days, I do attempt to make salads (salad is not a thing in Vietnam, unfortunately), and this shrimp ceviche feels like the perfect summer salad to me (I know, it’s not technically a salad, but what does a Vietnamese girl know?) Also, computer died a pathetic death, so picture is unedited, and marvelous steamed buns success and failure post has to be delayed. Oh computer, how you hurt me so!!!
1 not-so-ripe avocado, cut into medium chunks right before serving (ripe avocado will mush in your hands and bleed painful green tears…alright, alright.) Continue reading
I was sitting idly half paying attention to a cooking demo at Trident Bookseller when I saw this colorful cover:
Being the naive foreigner that I am, I asked my friend, “What’s cannabis?”, DESPITE THE IMAGES.
She said, sort of surprised, “oh, it’s the stuff they make weed from.”
OMGHAHAHAHAHAHAHA <- my reaction.
I’ve always thought it surprising and funny that I did not try to smoke any pot at all, being effing SURROUNDED by the stuff and the people doing it at Oberlin. Ugh, the horror of Dascomb, walking around the hallway and coming back smelling like weed only because you fucking WALKED around the hallway. I don’t have anything against weed, I really don’t. It’s apparently non-addictive, although I have heard stories of people who are mentally dependent on it. And as far as I know, it’s not terribly expensive either, unless you want high class stuff that smells better. To me it seems to be the same as drinking, and I drink, so there was really no reason for me to oppose or not try it, other than the fact that it fucking stinks.
I guess I just never felt like it o_O.
Eating, though, presents the perfect medium to try weed without putting up with the smell. Continue reading
Accidents and laziness can bring great things. Today D and I reached a new low: we were too lazy to cook so we decided to go out and eat, only to decide to stay home and cook 15 minutes later because we were too lazy to get dressed to go out. Figured.
Anyway, because we were lazy, we pretty much threw everything in the fridge together in the quickest, simplest, most delicious combination (ok, this last part is made up. We didn’t know it’d be delicious until later). Soup. The most beautiful thing/brainchild of laziness on a rainy day. Also, no chilled soup. Chilled soup gives me the heebie jeebies.
Ingredients (sounds fancy; really just leftovers from the fridge) Continue reading
First day in a while when I can sit back and relax a little. I like being busy but it’s nice to know that I can also just ditch work once in a while and go for a cup of hot chocolate, or something. We moved into a new place, and the kitchen is oh so awesome. Must keep in mind to always keep it clean! There’s no space for us to display our snazzy array of spices and our magnetic rack of knives (not really a problem since we have a lot of cabinet space), but more counter-top space & window over the sink = almost contentment. Even so, we went out/ordered take-out for a whole week while things were still a mess all over the floor. When the kitchen was finally cleaned up, we were able to make something simple, non-cooked for dinner.
1 can of sardines in olive oil, roasted lightly in the oven Continue reading
I took this picture at an eatery/tiny restaurant right outside the gate of Kyodai (Kyoto Daigaku – Kyoto University). I barely remember what we had. Something curry. And something else, grilled pork maybe. And a lot of white, puffy, steamy rice. A huge plate of rice, in fact, with the meat centered on top. We were full and sedated (by the carb), without having to pay much at all.
The secret to campus eateries in Japan is rice. Rice in Japan is considered the main dish, and it’s so good that it can be eaten alone unseasoned, unaccompanied by side dishes. Rice also fills you up quick, and makes for a fulfilling, cheap meal. One time we were starving, walking from Doshisha towards KyoDai, and found a tiny place with a one-page menu. With only about 300 yen on hand – I was still not used to carrying cash – the only thing I could order was the cheapest one on the menu. It was called something along the line of “Cilantro Rice”, and it really was just plain fried rice (no eggs) with cilantro and some garlic. It was delicious.
Cheap eateries in the US are a little bit different. Continue reading
When we went to eat sushi once, my friend wondered aloud who the first man that ever ate a raw oyster was. “Did he just open it and think, ooh, look at this, om nom nom?” Live oysters do look kinda weird – messy, and very…um, raw. But then I thought, eating raw things must have come very naturally to our ancestors, who couldn’t always make fire or choose when/where to eat. We cooked things to avoid diseases, but now that we have medicine and all kinds of preventive treatment and processing for the food themselves, eating raw food comes back in vogue (and has always been in vogue in Japan).
I love raw food – it’s amazing to taste how flavorful the protein is just by itself, without seasoning. In Vietnam, because food spoils so quickly in the hot weather, and because of low standards for food hygiene, everything must be cooked. Bò tái chanh is one of the very few things that we eat almost raw, which is funny because it would take a lot to convince a Vietnamese to have a piece of steak cooked medium rare. Usually the beef is left to cook by the acid for a while, but we had no problem with raw beef, we started eating when it was only medium-rare.
Ingredients Continue reading