Today. I ordered my own dinner. By myself. Did I just hear you scoff? Do you not think that’s a big deal? Five year olds can order dinner you say? Well not in China, they can’t. Well, if they speak Chinese they can but if they don’t–well good luck. But today. I did it. I’ve been in China for a little over three weeks now. And this was my first night ordering dinner for myself, by myself. Every other night leading up to this I have either had to a) find a place with pictures on the menu, point and grunt, b) go with someone who actually speaks Chinese and have them order something for me, c) go to a bakery where I just put the things I want on a tray and pretend like bread is actually dinner, or, my favorite, d) walk into a restaurant and stand there in the most painful awkwardness you’ve ever experienced until the girl behind the register finally just orders something for you and tells you to sit down [seriously. that happened to Brett and I on our first night in Suzhou. oi vey]. Continue reading
Tag Archives: food
Wow. It’s been awhile, huh? Sorry. Spring break happened then spring quarter started and I have 23 school days left until I no longer have to be called by my last name. Ever. Again. Its..been..busy. Is what I’m trying to say. Which means I haven’t really been cooking much. I did make onion soup two nights ago but lord knows it’s going to take me forever to post that. So don’t get too excited. But do check back if that intrigues.
What I have been doing a lot of (besides working) is camping. Over spring break Brett and I went backpacking, and over Easter weekend we luxury camped. Meaning there was no 18 mile hike involved–no sweat and backaches and only dried food–just an hour drive, two coolers and a brand new tent. It was lovely. My favorite part of car camping (besides that I don’t have to carry everything on my back) is that certain things always happen while camping. There are always card games and bacon and eggs and bratwurst and smores. And all of this food always, always, tastes 100% better when you cooked it over coals and you’re eating it outside and then sleeping in a tent afterwards. or a hammock. either way. for some reason when there are no walls involved, when there is salt in the air and bugs biting your legs, food tastes so damn good.
So This is just a post to say, you should all go camping. And make bacon and eggs. And smores. Because really, we all deserve smores once in awhile.
ps. I made a cake last month. It’ll be my next topic. I promise it’ll be soon.
(psst. I’ll be posting a bunch of pictures soon to a picasa web album. If you like pictures like these ones, check back for the link..)
Though this blog is meant to be like an online journal of sorts documenting my attempts to cook and bake…I do not treat this as my journal (luckily for you, actually because I start my journals “dearest journal” and I end with “love, erin” and that could get awkward.) What that means is, I don’t update as frequently or up-to-dately as I would a journal. This is what I do:
I hoard photos on my camera and I stockpile posts of the things I’ve hoarded photos of, and when I have enough photos to merit uploading them, I throw them all on my computer and slowly publish the posts. Is that weird? I feel like it is. Because I read so many other food blogs (wanna know which ones? check that sidebar over there—>) and they all say things like “yesterday I made this” or “Wednesday, for so-and-so’s birthday” when it’s Friday. And I think.. hm. all mine are at least two weeks old…
Well whatever, the food is still good, right? Right. I feel I’ve justified myself by being honest. Therefore this trend will probably continue. Just so you are aware.
So. If whoopie pies are in, cupcakes are.. they’re like…they’re.. super in. Wow. Wish I could have come up with a better term for that. But seriously, cupcakes are the new cool thing. Food Network has an entire show about them: Cupcake Wars. Yes, you read that correctly. Cupcake Wars–as in battling batters as in dueling desserts as in combating cupcakes–that kind of cupcake wars. Plus you have “cupcakeries” popping up all over the place (seriously, a cupcakery? like..you only make cupcakes? really?? yeah. no joke apparently.) Personally, I don’t love cupcakes. I mean I don’t hate them and if presented with a cupcake of just about any flavor I’m sure I’ll devour it in as little as two bites. But cakes in general are not my favorite. I like ice cream. and gelato. and pie. and creme brulee. and there-are-so-many-desserts-other-than-cake-so-why-limit-yourself?
But I will admit. I do love the portability, the ease of use (and of baking for that matter), the individual-portions-so-I-don’t-have-to-share-my-dessert, and the fact that let’s face it, cupcakes are just dang cute. And who doesn’t love shoving their face full of cuteness? And since I’ve already discussed my sugar problem.. clearly I’ll make and/or eat anything whose ingredient list contains “sugar” in any of its various forms. So I’m jumping on the cupcake bandwagon. Guess that’s just my thing. I’m not a trendsetter, I’m merely a sheep. I follow. If everyone else was walking off cliffs, I suppose I’d do it too. (Actually that is entirely untrue. I am not a sheep. But all these cupcake pictures and recipes I’m seeing make me want to try my hand. I’m not a blind follower. I’m just easily swayed to try anything with sugar involved…)
Plus the whole point of this blog and of all of my experiments in the kitchen is to master some simple techniques and some delicious stuff. SO I have to master cupcakes, right? because I figure I have to master cupcakes before I can master cakes. I realize they probably aren’t all that related, and that cake and cupcake snobs of the world would chastise me for comparing the two. But, really? I don’t care. Cupcakes are mini cakes. If I want to make big cakes, I should start by making little cakes. or something like that. Continue reading
Brett said recently that we eat too many sweets.
Let me put this into context. We got a really good deal (86% off, anyone?) on these fitness classes, so we decided that working out intensely was the perfect way to get a jump-start on our new year’s resolution of being more active. (Ps. does anyone ever have a new years resolution that doesn’t involve working out? It’s no wonder we never stick to them…sweat sucks) So we both agreed that we should make some small adjustments to our diets in order to help us achieve our fitness goals. In other words, we are trying to be more healthy. “Don’t we pretty much eat healthy-ly though?” I said (in admittedly bad English) “Well…” he replied, “we eat a lot of sweets.” …
I was speechless. ‘what??‘ I thought. ‘too many..sweet..but…what?‘ I didn’t have a response. Sugar is probably my favorite thing. Um. Ever. Some people like salty things, some people like savory things, some people like spicy things. Me? Give me some sugar and I am a happy camper. Now if you mix that sugar with any combination of flour, butter and eggs… well then I’m just in heaven! So to me, saying that “we eat a lot of sweets” is like saying “we breathe too often.” Saying “we should cut down on desserts” is like saying “we should try to stop thinking.” Seriously, unheard of. And quite impossible.
But after a few days of thinking about it (and looking in our kitchen which only has 2 food cupboards and realizing that almost one whole one was dedicated to sweets) I consented that.. “well… I guess we do kind of eat a lot of sweets..” I wasn’t ready to give them up. That’s blasphemy. I’ll never consent to that. But I did (eventually) agree that we should maybe not eat dessert every night…and at every lunch time. Ok, maybe I had a bit of a dependency problem. And perhaps a cavity or two. “Ok. You’re right. We should only eat dessert 3 nights a week. or maybe 4. but definitely not 7.”
I made a decision to cut down on the sugar intake.
Then the next day I decided I wanted to make a cinnamon crumb cake. (I couldn’t find a recipe I liked so I did a cinnamon coffee cake instead. Same flavors, so it did the trick)
It’s a breakfast cake! So it doesn’t count as dessert! hah! I beat my own system! Continue reading
ok so. after I graduated from college, my parents, older brother, boyfriend, and myself decided to run around my college “town” (one square mile of crammed-together-overpriced apartments, bars, liquor stores, and mexican food, all mere steps away from the beach) and.. for lack of a better (tactful) word… explore. Anyways. One of the last stops of the evening before my little brother begrudgingly picked us up to drive us back to our hotel was a little place called El Sitio. Now if anyone is ever in the Santa Babara Area; drive to Isla Vista and EAT at El Sitio. If you love mexican food (real mexican food not taco bell or El Torito) you will not be dissappointed.
Most of us were pretty full already, but my mom wanted to try something called a zucchini taco. I had never heard of it, but she thought it sounded like the most delicious thing in the world. And as it turns out, it really was. She was kind enough to share with both me and Brett, and dear lord almighty, those tacos were delicious. Unfortunately, we weren’t able at that precise moment in time to figure out how they made them, and we haven’t gotten to go back since.
I really love granola. Don’t you? I mean, it’s so crunchy and yummy and delicious, especially with some yummy yummy yogurt and some fruit on top. But the bummer about it is.. it’s kind of expensive. And I can never find brands at the store that I like… unless they’re like one million dollars for a bag. Yes, I know, I exaggerate, but still! So I have embarked on a quest to create the perfect granola-at home.
The first time I made granola was over the summer and I’ve made it several times since then. Every time I’ve used a slightly different recipe (or no recipe at all..) and every time the granola has turned out differently, and never has it been perfect. It’s either too sticky and not crunchy, or crunchy but doesn’t cluster, or tastes funny and doesn’t cluster but at least it’s almost crunchy… or I don’t even know but it’s not my dream granola. Saturday I tried again. This time, the granola turned out as close to what I want as I’ve gotten so far. It’s still not perfect, because even though its nice and crunchy and the flavor is good… there aren’t really any clustery bits which is my favorite part of granola. But still, its a pretty decent recipe so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!! Continue reading
Anyways. I feel like everyone has heard of ratatouille because of the movie, right? But have you ever had ratatouille?
Ok so it’s not that extravagant or difficult or rare of a dish, so you probably have. But it’s still very delicious either way soooo I thought I ought to talk about it. The first time I ever had ratatouille was when I was studying abroad in France, my friend’s homestay mom made it for us for dinner. Um.. YUM! She was also a little bit crazy (super nice, very sweet and a great cook.. but a little cookoo nonetheless) and so she forced that ratatouille down our throats until I was about to burst. Actually, I might have burst a little. And that’s saying something because I’m a pretty dang good eater.
“Huh? What the heck is bittermelon?” I know that was the first thing that popped through at least 90% of your minds when you saw this. Don’t feel bad about it. Bittermelon is a very strange creature and its no wonder you’ve never heard of it. Half the chefs on Food Network’s “Chopped” the other day hadn’t either! And they’re professionals. I hadn’t ever heard of it until last year around this time when we spotted some at the farmer’s market and B nearly jumped for joy as he placed it in our already-overflowing bag. Don’t worry… I was just as confused as you. Probably even more confused, as I could see the thing. Check it out:
Weird, huh? Yeah, I know. But don’t let the alien-fruit-vegetable-looking-thing and the name (melon.. yum.. but bitter?..ew..) scare you! It’s actually not half bad! Well… it is a little weird. But if you happen to see bittermelon at the farmer’s market next time you’re there… pick it up! Try it! This recipe actually tastes kind of delicious once it’s all together.
The first time I ever had a whoopie pie was over this past Christmas when my mommy (yes, I still say mommy. Don’t judge.) bought me one at Corner Bakery. She told me they were the cool new thing. I said, hey, chocolate and frosting? Looks delicious, sign me up! But I was actually disappointed. I love sweets, probably too much… but this whoopie pie was too sweet. “Blasphemy! What? Too sweet! I’ve never heard of such a thing!” Yes, I know I was shocked too. But nonetheless, I could only eat half and pawned the rest on my unsuspecting brothers. So I wrote off whoopie pies and kind of forgot they existed.
Then in January (ok, I know that’s only like two weeks later, but I have the attention span of a gerbil so for me it was awhile.) I started seeing and hearing more and more about these alleged pies. My friend An had a post about them (you can see it here) And the recipe she used looked GOOD. (don’t worry.. I asked permission before I blatantly copied her post..) Plus, red velvet.. I mean how can you go wrong??