January 20, 2012 § 10 Comments
Last Saturday, I was able to meet up with four former study abroad classmates from HKU + two other girls.
Cathy, originally from mainland China, is back in HK doing her Masters. Kathy, who graduated from Cornell, is working in Shanghai. Christian and Danny are both from Australia. Winnie, a friend of Danny’s, grew up in Hong Kong but now lives in Australia. The photographer was Yi, Danny’s cousin, who teaches at Hong Kong Baptist University (and apparently studied at Yale?? I only heard fractions of that conversation). Everyone except Cathy and Yi were only in HK on vacation and departed with the weekend.
Fun fact: Christian and Danny showed up wearing the exact same cardigan (unplanned). Which they had bought together at H&M (allegedly). From the back, they looked exactly the same that day (can you tell?). I mean, I thought it was pretty bad whenever LC and I happened to wear similar colors to church, but we never took it to their level! That’s true destiny ♥
We had lunch at some hole-in-the-wall place in Wan Chai known for their barbecue pork, which was indeed delicious.
September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
I have no ambitions of becoming a kitchen/cooking blogger, but sometimes it’s fun to take pictures when I’m using colorful ingredients, which is exactly what I did on Thursday.
When I woke up that morning, I just felt the urge to cook. I believe this was a first since coming home from school [and not including ramen]. I remembered that we had some Thai red curry paste in the fridge — perfect, I love making curry! I grabbed my ingredients and started chopping.
Then I hit a snag. Something I realized in the month that my parents were on vacation is that our house only has one can opener, and it’s a super-old super-manual one. I’m not sure if this is what my parents use regularly or if it just shows how infrequently we eat canned food, but this time my brother wasn’t home for me to force him to help me [muahaha], so I persevered on my own.
The water chestnuts almost gave me a blister [the can is so WIDE], but I got it open eventually. The coconut milk was a different story. No matter how much I struggled or which end I pried, the can opener just couldn’t get a good enough grip on the rim. My potatoes were already boiling and I wasn’t about to make curry with no coconut milk…
So I turned off the stove, got my car keys and went to Wal-Mart. Yay shopping! I’m never sure of where they keep the kitchen appliances, so I always mistakenly look around the food section before having to walk across the entire store to the housewares department. There were so many options! I chose a sturdy Better Homes & Gardens one with a rubberized grip. My cashier in the express lane was an Asian kid named Lance! Omg! That’s one of my favorite boys’ names and I’ve never met an Asian person with that name! It’s trivial, but it put a smile on my face.
When I got home and started working on the can of coconut milk, I discovered that my new can opener also seemed helpless against it. It just wouldn’t position correctly enough to make a puncture. What the heck?! All that effort was to be waylaid by a demented tin can?? With much struggling, I finally got it to work. Some things simply aren’t appreciated enough…like modern can openers.
After that little snafu, I tossed in my ingredients and served up a hot bowl of curry! When my mom and brother came home later, I realized that neither of them likes curry :( All mine, I guess.
July 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
For Fourth of July, I suddenly had the inclination to bake. This is something I do rather rarely, but I inexplicably wanted to make a marbled rainbow cake to bring to an evening BBQ. After a bit of inspiration, I decided to go with cupcakes. This is my first time really attempting making-food blogging, and I learned that it’s time-consuming to stop at every step to wipe my fingers clean and snap a photo or two.
Here’s the end result:
Rather patriotic, don’t you think? Alas, it’s hard to find ideal lighting in our kitchen due to lack of sunlight…
The process started with mixing food coloring into the cake batter. I must’ve used at least 10 bowls with separate chopsticks, spoons and knives for each!
I also made a small batch of non-patriotic rainbow cupcakes, but because there were so few of them, I didn’t dissect one to photograph its insides.
I simply spooned the differently colored batters into the cupcake liners to form layers. It would’ve been easier to swirl & marble the layers if I was baking a cake, but the comparatively small cupcakes were too goopy and I was low on time, so I just left them as they were.
They looked so pretty and perfect after coming out of the oven!
I also mixed food coloring into vanilla frosting. If I had more time, I would’ve added sprinkles and I would’ve arranged the cupcakes into an American flag design…maybe next time!
The blue batter turned out greener than I expected, but otherwise, the cupcakes turned out to be fantastic :)
October 13, 2009 § 1 Comment
I sat down at the circular table for dinner on the second night of Fall Conference ’09, delighted to see that every placemat had a generous piece of chocolate cake — my favorite food [Beijing roast duck comes in at a close second]. While giving my baked potato to PN, I noticed a vacant seat at the table, which meant an extra piece of cake. After looking around to check that nobody else was eying it, I asked PN to hand it to me.
Later, it became apparent that one of the people at our table did not have a piece of cake, so I conceded my extra one to her, though not without playful jeers from our fellow male diners. [I don’t care if they judge; I will stay faithful to my gustatory love!]
SL, who sat to my left, kindly offered me his own piece of cake, claiming that he did not really enjoy sweet foods. I gladly accepted it, finishing both pieces and sitting in bloated satisfaction. I’m not exactly sure in how the subsequent events happened, but suddenly, a piece of cake arrived from across the table, followed by three more.
“Eat all of them!” JG urged.
“Yeah, JG and I have money on it!” JP yelled.
“You want me to eat a total of six pieces of cake?!” I responded incredulously.
The guys at the table goaded me while the women looked on in mild amusement. Full as I was, I could’ve done it — my stomach stretches to enormous proportions when I consume sugary foods — but I adamantly refused. The reason I gave was that I didn’t want to throw up my entire dinner, but in actuality I didn’t want to appear cheap. Sacrificing my dignity for a mere $15? Just the notion of it is embarrassing.
However, I couldn’t shake the thought that if I were a guy, I totally would have accepted the challenge.
Competitive eating is mostly a men’s world. At other camps and buffets that I’ve been to, only guys would attempt to out-eat each other in some ridiculous manner. The activity is rather barbaric to me; even though I am against gender stereotypes and all that, I am still at time subject to wanting to fit into the dainty mold into which women are supposed to conform. A guy would get lauded for finishing a huge amount of food, but I can’t imagine myself receiving the same level of accolades from my peers — especially the female ones. I’ve simply never seen it happen.
September 28, 2009 § Leave a comment
Korean pop has officially become my comfort music. This past week when I was feeling overwhelmed and utterly hopeless from the sheer amount of schoolwork I had to complete, downloading some new Korean music lifted my spirits significantly.
Even though for the past two weekends I’ve tried not to plan anything so as to give myself time to do homework or apply to internships, I have successfully neglected my work both times due to unexpected activities. These past days were an enjoyable juxtaposition to the depressing hell that was Monday to Friday.
On Friday evening I had dinner with my friend NM at the Korean-owned Geisha Sushi Bar; I had been inexplicably craving sushi for a few weeks, and the newly opened restaurant is within walking distance. It was only my third time actually eating “real” sushi at a restaurant [California rolls don’t count], and sushi is a culture I have resisted [due to both price and perceived overratedness], and NM didn’t even know how to use chopsticks, so we were both kind of at a loss for what to order.
September 10, 2009 § Leave a comment
As I sat down on the couch on Monday with my breakfast/lunch of Reese’s Puffs in skim milk, I glanced at the back of the box for any interesting reading material. It featured a checklist of “18 Things To Do Before You Turn 18.” I didn’t realize cereal could be age-ist…eighteen seems like so long ago.
I turned on the TV and noticed that Fairly OddParents was playing on Nickelodeon — my favorite cartoon! To my delight, it was an episode I hadn’t seen yet. During a break in the program, a commercial for Reese’s Puffs played, starring two teenage boys consuming the breakfast food. It was then that I realized I was watching cartoons geared toward pre-adolescents while enjoying a cereal I am officially too old for. A sad revelation, but not one that stopped me from eating my fill while finishing the show.
I’d also like to note that Reese’s Puffs has more vitamins & minerals than the Kashi Strawberry Fields cereal I was eating before. Sure, there’s a lot more sugar in Reese’s Puffs, but I was surprised that the Kashi cereal [despite having all those whole grains] did not have any more vitamins than the paltry bit it contained. Therefore, I shall stick to my sugary indulgence!
August 5, 2009 § Leave a comment
After a long day of traveling for a total of 9 hours by car & plane, my family finally arrived home. As I walked up the stairs, I noticed a package by the front door, and figured that it was just more parts for the computer that my brother is building [AKA the computer he is paying my cousin to build for him]. When I came downstairs later, though, Larry had taken the package to the kitchen and was asking my dad what it was.
“I don’t know,” my dad replied. “This has my name on it, but I’m not expecting any packages.”
A bomb? I thought idly as I loaded laundry into the washing machine.
Dad read the return address, perplexed. “San Francisco baking company?”
He told Larry to stand back as he cut open the packaging tape. I vaguely imagined the box blowing up in our faces as mother picked cucumbers out in the backyard. What a way to die…
Upon opening the package, we were faced with another box.
“It’s upside down,” Larry said, observing the This Side Up arrows on the side. Dad flipped the box over and out dropped a flimsy cardboard box of…pastries.
I suppose the “baking company” was a hint, but we couldn’t help but wonder who the hell would be sending us a box of cookies without any notification. They looked delicious, though, and I blocked out thoughts of poisonous baked goods as I reached for a chocolate chip cookie.
On the lid of the inside box was a name, address and phone number. The intended recipient of these cookies turned out to be Yanling Yin from Downers Grove; my father’s name is Yanling Li.
Too bad, I thought as I munched on a blueberry muffin. These are mine now…
For food that was 6 days old, everything inside was surprisingly delicious. Mother ended up calling the phone number, but it was apparently the number to an office, and Yanling Yin was out of town until the 10th. I’m not exactly sure why this package ended up at our house, but I am enjoying the spoils nonetheless.