Thursday, April 30, 2009

Minimalist bento (18)

Smack in the middle of finals. Looking back on some of my old bento box photos, I recall the days when I used to eat healthy lunches. Sigh!

This bento commits the grave bento-error of having some open gaps. Bentos are supposed to be packed super-tight (to minimize shifting). If I had some grape tomatoes, I would've totally stuck them in to help with the awkward gaps that broccoli creates. Oh well.

On the left, salted sushi rice packed with a strip of nori and some sweet pickle slices. (It doesn't taste as weird as it sounds -- it's basically deconstructed sushi.) In the middle, broccoli done up in a ginger-soy marinade. On the right, slices of pluot.

Ah, those halcyon days when I used to make my own lunch and not buy it from Wawa...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip pancakes

More pancakes!

I'm going to keep saying this, because it continues to be true: pancakes are very easy to make from scratch. And there are plenty of good recipes all over the internet, like this one. There is no secret to them - you just have to mix it to together and you've got it.

Well, perhaps there is one secret - experiment and see what kinds of things you can do with the batter. It's all about making something you want to eat.

Take a banana and cut it up.

Some people like to mix in the banana into the batter, but I am a weird OCD person and I think that sometimes makes the batter stick to the pan. So ladle on the batter and then drop the bananas and chocolate chips on top, and then ladle a little bit more batter. (It's like a pancake sandwich.)

Then! Serve with more chocolate chips.

Mmm. Start your mornings off right, everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tea Eggs (Cha Ye Dan)

Happy belated Easter! (Although I suppose today is Easter Monday...)

Here is a quick way to get a tasty egg snack. This is a popular food in China and is an easy way to prep eggs - a food that I will probably never grow tired of, so I appreciate any variation I can find.

First, boil a few eggs for a couple of minutes. Then, carefully remove them from the water (but keep the water in the pot!) and crack them lightly with a spoon.

Then, put a couple of tea bags into the pot of hot water that you haven't thrown out yet. I also add a dash of cinnamon, some dark soy sauce, a couple of teaspoons of sugar, and a piece of ginger. (Technically, I think you only need the tea bags.) Put the lightly cracked eggs back into the water and let it simmer for about.... 3 hours? Keep adding water as necessary to keep the eggs covered.

I only had time to do a 1 hour simmer, but the color and flavor still came through enough to make a great egg.

The white eggs turned brown!

And here's the fun part: open up the eggs and you see a pretty cracked-porcelain kind of pattern has soaked into the egg.

Eat plain (hot or cold) or with rice. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cream 'n Sugar Bakery - cupcakes

Kerry had a coupon for this bakery nearby, so we stopped in and got some cupcakes.

I got a pumpkin cupcake and a red velvet cupcake. (The tops got a little smushed during transport...)

Our consensus was that the cake was good, but the icing was kind of odd. It was alright, but we couldn't put a finger on why precisely it wasn't quite right - I suspect it was because there was more shortening than butter in the recipe, and shortening can leave a funny aftertaste in your mouth.

The red velvet cake was very good. And no artificial coloring! I believe it was just Dutch process cocoa and buttermilk, which gave it enough of a reddish tint without being all fakey.

The cupcakes were also... big? I don't know how to explain it, since they were the normal size cup, width-wise, but they were... tall? As if the cups had been filled to the brim with batter. More bang for your buck, which is a good thing.

I forgot to take a picture of the exterior, but here is how it looks on Google Maps, haha:

It's not a huge place, but I have to pay it props because it has homemade baked goods and candy and coffee, to boot.

And for something completely different, Nick linked to this INGENIOUS blog that I fell in love with. Somehow, it makes sandwiches artistic. Behold, Scanwiches.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Almond-Crusted Zucchini bread

I've never made zucchini bread before, but I found a great recipe online at 5 Second Rule for whole wheat zucchini bread. I didn't have whole wheat flour on hand, but this came out very soft and hearty nonetheless. The ground almonds add some substance and moisture without making it oily.

Pulverizing the almonds:

Grating the zucchini. I think there must be a fancier way to get this done, but I love my box grater, and I use it a lot. It's great for cutting down carrots, zucchini, cold butter, whatever else for baked goods.

The recipe is not that sugary, either. It's all dark brown sugar, and not a lot of it, but does make it nice and soft and substantial. Folding the zucchini into the wet mixture.

I had leftover almonds, so I also sprinkled the top of the loaf with the ground almonds to make a crust.

And finally, cut and ready to eat.

It was actually quite delicious. Good way to sneak some vegetables into your diet.