Monday, December 24, 2012

Reservation Soup

Now, this is a "recipe" of my own design.  Recipes are always calling for you to "reserve" things and set them aside for later.  We reserved all these ingredients for so long that we just threw them all together into a pot and called it soup.

1. Make a brisket. Decide that you don't want to throw away all that cooking fluid.  Attempt to strain out mustard seeds and peppercorns.  Leave in the fridge for about a week while you decide what to do with it.
2. Take your "stock" out of the the fridge and throw away the layer of fat that has solidified on the surface.
3. Cut up the rest of the leftover daikon (because you can only buy giant daikons apparently) after making Winter Solstice Soup and Pickled Daikon.  And the leftover carrot also from the pickled daikon because you've overestimated the amount that will fit in the jar space.
4. Cut up leftover celery from the brisket.  Throw that in there, too.
5. Throw in leftover lap cheong (Chinese sausage) from Solstice soup because, hey, it's there.
6. Add some mushrooms and potatoes, because those are good in soup.
7. Simmer about 30 minutes or whatever you feel like.  Salt to taste.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice Soup

..because it's the Winter Solstice today!

This soup is also (apparently) known as Tang Yuan. Now, this soup has been a long time coming, and I have a short-ish story about my Holy Grail of foods.  Yes, that's right, I just called this the Holy Grail.  So the thing is, my grandma used to make this for me when I was young, but hasn't made it since.  And since I was young enough to remember the soup, but not old enough to have any definite memories of it, I have never been able to recreate it, look it up, or describe it accurately enough for someone else to know what it is.  I had vague memories of "mochi-like things" and "things I remember as carrots but aren't carrots" in the soup (actual things I have said to people when trying to describe it.)  Well, I happened to stumble across a picture of dumplings filled with red bean paste on Foodgawker when I was browsing for some other recipe, and many clicks and Google searches later, I happened upon Noodle Fever's Tang Yuan soup recipe.  I almost cried out of sheer joy.

TL;DR  This is awesome soup that I've been trying for something like 15 years to find.  If that isn't a glowing endorsement, I don't know what is.


Incidentally, this is also the first time I've ever really shopped at 99 Ranch.  The poor Chinese man behind the meat counter looked to me to clarify N's order, but I couldn't help him, haha.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monterey Chicken a la the Silver Palate

So, I thought this might be a particular recipe.  You know, like, Monterey chicken is always made a particular way or with a particular uniqueness.  But a quick search of Foodgawker proved me wrong.  There was nothing that even looked like what we made out of the Silver Palate cookbook we picked up at an estate sale.

This is a really yummy recipe, and pretty light, not a lot of oil or cream or butter.

A quick internet search brings up this recipe that seems to be copied from the book.


Haha, I took it upon myself to "make it pretty" or at least I partially succeeded with the cucumber. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Little Cow

I actually made this little guy on request for my coworker's wife. 

I love this little pattern from Studio Ami, and it's free!  I did change the legs because I like these stubby little things better.

Make 4 of the same:
With black:
Ch 2, 6 SC in 2nd ch from hook. (6)
2 SC in next st, 1 SC in next stx3 (9)
In BLO, SC around (9)
With white:
SC around
SC around
SC around

Bonus! I also learned how to put safety eyes on correctly.  Or at least I think it's correct now.  Apparently, the concave part goes into the eye stem, not the convex part.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Rest of the Cuteness

By popular demand (but mostly self-pride?) here is the full set of pictures in our 2013 Calendar featuring Pumpkin the Guinea Pig!













Monday, December 10, 2012

Sriracha Eggplant Tofu

AKA the first successful tofu dish I've made!  Found the lovely recipe over at Kalyn's Kitchen via Foodgawker.  The best thing about this recipe is that she tells you exactly how long to cook the eggplant, it doesn't come out mushy like I was afraid it would.

Oh man, the first time we tried to improv some tofu, I accidentally bought silken tofu to try and stir fry it.  It turned into mush!  But extra firm fries up golden and so pretty.


We've been trying to add more meatless dishes to our usual routine, so this was a pretty tasty foray into that!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Freezer with a Face?

Ok, so I know it seems like I haven't made any crochet projects in a while, but it's mostly because of the secret project!  Here's a little yeti that I've been working on (slowly) from Voodoo Maggie's book!  He's really cute, and he has a butt!  I'm afraid that he's pretty stylized, so it may be hard to tell at first glance what he's supposed to be.  One of my lab mates was thoroughly confused and thought he might be a freezer with a face.


Haha, love all the little toes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Secret Holiday Project!

I've been working on a secret little project with N as a holiday present.  Remember his guinea pig Pumpkin from before?  We shot a themed calendar, one picture for each month.  It's the cutest thing ever.

Here's our January shot, one of my favorites!


Isn't this adorable? N calls this "weaponized cuteness".

Pumpkin was such a cool cavy about the whole thing, he really hammed it up :)  No guinea pigs were harmed in the making of this calendar, and plenty of treats and veggies were had :)

And yes, there was definitely some frantic crafting/crocheting to make all the props.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Haha, it's not too late to post Halloween photos is it? Because I still want to show off my lackluster costume!  We got a little into the spirit of Halloween and picked up a big pumpkin to carve on the day of!  It's not too hard to carve it without the kit tools, but we did go through a few different things before just settling on a steak knife.  I guess a serrated edge is best!


And we're still procrastinating on trying to roast the pumpkin seeds.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sea Bass and Carrots

Ok, so, I have to apologize for the lack of posts lately.  My little camera took a dive off a table and is having a "lens error". But in any case, I'd been searching for these pictures for a little while and completely forgotten that they must have been taken on N's camera.

We whipped up this delicious little dinner way back in early summer when we were first starting to harvest our carrots.  The carrots were something like a year old but only yielded these little runts.  And since it's San Diego, pretty much all vegetables give up trying to grow with the seasons.  These actually were planted in November, haha.  Earlier garden photos here.


Have you ever tasted a really fresh carrot?  Like straight out of the ground fresh? They have this amazing crispness and crunch.  I figured that the texture of the carrots you get at the store was just how they came.


I know it seems fancy, but we got these lovely sea bass steaks at our local grocery store in the 50% off display case because they were about to expire.  Topped with a little butter and salt, baked at 400F, then broiled for a couple minutes, they turned out amazing.  I was a little nervous about preparing such a nice piece of fish :)  Plus, we took all those carrots and sauteed them in butter, they really caramelized nicely.  One of my favorite dinners we've made!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meet Dragon (and Bunny)

This is Dragon.  She has a little pet bunny. Aren't they cute?

Lol, I feel like I could write a short children's book if I keep going like this.

When I found this pattern at Ravelry, I was super determined to start right away.  Well, I did the head while waiting at my brother's basketball thing and realized that the head was huge and how was there any way this is right?  It basically seemed like the head and the body were not going to go together in any kind of predictable way. I set it aside for a while and finally just made the rest of the pieces and put it together.  It's very kawaii.  Classic big head, little body style.  Finished, she actually stands up on her own with the support of a little tail and is about 6 inches tall at the tip of the horns.  I'm glad I'm done with this one though, because all the finishing details were driving me crazy!


P.S. Sorry for the terrible, poorly-lit photo. It's hard to take pictures at 7:30am :(

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Too many legs

I was totally swamped last Friday at work, but I just did not have enough hours in the day to get everything done that I wanted to.  [Technical stuff: I was trying to do a drug assay that takes 5 hours with 30 minute time points, but I couldn't get through the assay fast enough between time points, so it was some kind of vicious cycle.]  So, because of the crazy-ness at work, I basically intercepted one of our volunteers in the hall and steered him into my chair and made him help me with my assay while I took a much needed break to work on a different experiment and then grab a quick bite to eat.

But anyways, that was an extremely long prelude as to why I made an octopus this week.  He's a little lopsided as seems to be my signature octopus style.  The very first amigurumi I ever made was a penta-pus (a 5 legged octopus!).  This little guy ended up with 10 legs mysteriously since I had to fill the extra space around the body with more legs.

I should really write this pattern down some day since he's so easy to make.


I even made a happy meal style box to gift this little octopus. 

Third Yarndango project!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Julian, CA

We visited Julian at the beginning of the apple picking season. Around here, Julian is known for their apple pies, so what better place to pick apples?


We found the greatest orchard that specialized in dwarf apple trees and weird metal sculptures.  Why are miniature apple trees cool?  Because tiny people like me can reach the apples!


Our small-looking bag of apples actually ended up being made into 2 apple pies (recipe previously made here) and a loaf of apple cinnamon pull apart bread.



Isn't this the cutest sign?  It was on the door of the cutest tea house :)

And look at all the yummy teas they had!  We've officially become loose tea drinkers.


And this book house was amazing.  5 rooms with floor to ceiling bookcases, full of books of pretty much every genre.

Julian has this really sweet quaint town feeling mixed with extreme touristy-ness.  There was some kind of Western skit on the main street every hour.  You know, the kind with fake gun fights between the sheriff and some outlaw?  Anyways, it was a nice place to go for the day, but it's definitely a hike from San Diego proper.  Not exactly the easiest place to get to (in a car with no AC, no less).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sweet Potato Loaf

Oh man, I know I say everything I make is totally yummy but seriously, this is one of my favorites.  This sweet potato bread recipe from Kate @ For Me For You definitely caught my eye, and I knew I had to make it.

This bread comes together really fast especially because you can actually microwave the sweet potato instead of boiling and mashing it.  I just scrub the outside of the potato a little bit and take a fork and stab it all over.  Then, wrap the potato in wet paper towels and microwave maybe 2-3 minutes on each side until soft.  Cut open in the middle and then you can scoop the potato right out of the skin (careful: it will be hot!).


This bread is a delicious taste of fall (and maybe a break from all the pumpkin!)  Although, let's be honest, the bread does remind me of a pumpkin bread.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Avery's Bunny

Technically, I didn't make this all in one week, but this is my finished project for the week!  This is the gift I made for my coworker who recently had a baby.  I meant to finish it and give it to her before she left on maternity leave, but after is just as good a time as any, right?

This was a feat of pattern writing for me considering how big it is!  The bunny sits about 11-12 inches tall.
I'm still tweaking the pattern to my liking, but I had considered keeping the pattern for myself to sell finished bunnies.  I'm a little torn about selling my work, I find it hard to believe anyone would buy my things!  Thoughts?  This is not exactly an immediate endeavor or anything.




(Hah, I probably could use some tips on post-processing my photos to make them more even!)

Woo! Week 2 (for me) of the Yarndango, still doing well!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Little Birdie Knits

Ok, shameless plug for my friend's newly opened Etsy shop, Little Birdie Knits, but it's amazing!  She makes these really beautiful knit hats for babies, and she's putting the money towards adopting 2 sweet boys from Russia.  She and her husband are currently in-process, and adoption is not cheap!

Plus, she is selling these for a really decent price for handmade knit hats (just $8, $10, or $12!!).  And on top of that, for the rest of the month of October, all hats have already been marked down 20% so that you can get a head start on buying some holiday gifts for any new babies in your life :)

Oh, and she takes custom orders in case you see one you'd like to have in a different color :)

(Click pictures to go to listing)

Check out the Little Birdie Knits Etsy shop!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Beef Stroganoff and musings on life currently

We were looking for a new beef stroganoff recipe to replace a previous recipe that had somehow been lost. We came across this one also by the Crabby Cook via Foodgawker.  It's a really good recipe, and while a little involved, makes a delicious dish.  He even suggests when to start boiling water for the noodles: a good tip for me since I find it hard to know when I am supposed to make certain elements of a meal ;)


And now that school is fully in session, I'm finding it weird to keep showing up at campus but not to have classes or exams or anything really.  And yet everyone else is surging at a frenzied pace around me while I seem to be standing still.  But the funny thing is, it feels good to stand still for a while.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm a Fun-gi

I went on a kind of mushroom spree recently with 2 different little mushroom patterns.  The little red and white toadstool is from a free pattern from Annas and the brown one is another free pattern from Julia Kelly (both links go to ravelry library pages).

I love how the red and white one turned out.  I even gave it little French knot spots and same color gills if you look closely under the cap.  The brown one did not turn out quite as I had hoped (the Ravelry feature photos are super cute) since I may have put in an extra row of increases to accommodate for mismatched stitch counts when joining the cap to the underneath-part.


P.S. This is my first project in a 52 week project that I am joining in on over at MadCrochetLab.  Hopefully, I'll keep up!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pretty Stitchery

I think these are so pretty. I spotted them at an estate sale, and I just couldn't leave them even though I have no practical use for them.  They're hand made, so I think the slightly crooked stitching is really charming.

I have them hanging over my bed, and they are pretty much the only wall decoration that I have.






I love that each of them has a different basket of vegetables.  It's possible that they might have been a kit to stitch (one of them still has the washable fabric marker on it).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Orzo with Sausage and Bell Peppers

This recipe is so yummy and and really not that hard.  I'm just bummed that the Crabby Cook isn't posting recipes any more.

We used a spicy turkey sausage and roasted the bell pepper.  And maybe accidentally set off the smoke alarm while roasting the bell pepper over an open flame.

This makes a ton of food (probably because it's a pound of orzo), there were leftovers for days.

It's a pretty cheap dish too.  $1 (on sale) for a whole box of orzo, $0.33 for one bell pepper, and variable on the sausage, but no more than about $3/pound.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Yip yip yip yip yip yip

Basically favorite character(s) on Sesame Street.

Also, tiny whisk!

Made from a free Ravelry pattern :)