Cooking Terms Demystified

Sure wish I had something like this when I first started cooking!  Would’ve saved me from some confusion.

Today I finally put my stand-mixer to use!  I’m not sure it was really that necessary but seriously, it’s pretty fun.  My only question now is how long do I whisk until smooth and is it possible to over-whisk mochi “batter”? (would it be called batter?)



Me and you and peach pie

I’m not a baker.  But one day, when I was with my fiancé at a couple’s house, and the wife was giving us some delicious hummus, I asked about her KitchenAid mixer.  She told me she used it all the time, and she even made hummus in it!  I was amazed.  She asked me if I wanted one.  Did I want one?  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I was not a baker.  But I knew that a KitchenAid standing mixer was an item that many girls coveted, and so I wasn’t about to turn one down even if I never needed or wanted one.  Sure, it’d be nice to have one.  She surprised me by saying that she had an extra, and I could have it as my wedding gift.  What?  That’s not what I was expecting!  I felt grateful and a little sheepish.  So here I am.  A non-baker, with a KitchenAid standing mixer.  I do not bake because I do not eat sweets often.  But today, I want to bake.  This recipe for peach pie looks easy yet tasty enough, so I’m going to try it.  We’ll see how it goes.

Emojis! =)

When I was not yet going out with now Hubby, we did not talk much.  However, there were some incidents here and there leading up to our courtship that we do remember fondly.  Now that we are married, I ask him to tell me those stories over and over again.

One of them involves an emoji.  We were going over to a family’s house for lunch, and I happened to be grabbing potato salad for the event.  I was running late.  A certain boy was busy barbecuing in the backyard and texted me to say something like “Take your time.  We’ll save food for you =)”.  I remember getting that text while I was on the way to the store with someone I can’t remember who, and smiling to myself.  “How nice!” I thought.  But I also had another thought cross my mind, “He used a smiley face.  That’s interesting… he’s never done that before.  I wonder if he likes me?  But he could be just a nice person.  Hm.  Whatever!”  When I got to the house, I went to say hi to the boys barbecuing.  Hubby remembers that hello very clearly.  I guess it was the first time I actually came to say hi to him?  So there you have it.  The moral of the story is, be careful about sending emojis, guys.  Unless of course if that’s what you’re going for, then send away!

Summer is almost here, and the teachers and students are all counting the days.  I myself have some projects I want to work on, including finishing Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up and cleaning out the mess that is my closet.  I’ve been looking into different options for my old clothes, from donating to selling both locally and online.  Sometimes I get lost in the research and information out there.  It is the same for cooking.  There are just so many recipes to try, and not enough time in life to get through all of them!  I don’t know if it’s because I’m 27 now, but time seems awfully short.  The amount of things I could possibly learn is endless, never mind the things I could do.  I also have a little bit of an itch to bake.  My KitchenAid mixer is sitting somewhere in our kitchen all by itself.  It might just be time to bring it out, now that we’ve finally adjusted the height!  But really, where are my priorities?  Often I feel I am spread thin in my head.  So I curl up into a ball and watch the latest YouTube videos or check on my Neko Atsume cats.  Let me just close my eyes, and sleep.

In No Particular Order

Said SpoonUniversity of Italian Baked Eggs.

Well I think they were wrong.  I put my ingredients in, in no particular order, with the milk on top.  Fifteen minutes later, the milk still looked like, well, milk.  Is it because I didn’t have basil?  I don’t know, maybe.  1/4 a cup is probably not something you can substitute out with dried basil as I did.  So there you have it.  A Saturday morning ambitious breakfast not quite looking like the recipe picture.  Hopefully it still tastes good!  I popped it in for five more minutes so I could get something a little more solid looking.  It’s kind of a cheesy, saucy, mess.  Here’s the end result:


The secret to my picture is not my cooking skills, it’s VSCO CAM.  The moral of the story is, they may say that order does not matter, but maybe it does.

On the bright side, the Chado Earl Grey Lavender tea my coworker got me a few years ago tastes absolutely delicious paired with milk and honey.  I don’t need to go to a cafe to get it anymore!  It’s that good.  Happy day!

Chicken Soup

The problem with being an American-born Chinese person is that when it comes to sick people in the house and making chicken soup, I inevitably have to ask,

“Should I make Asian chicken soup or American chicken soup?”

Because Asian chicken soup has less ingredients and chopping involved, Asian it was.  Hoorah.

Also attempted a mochi cake using hazelnut milk and almond milk instead of regular milk!  I think the initial consistency was rather thick with just the hazelnut, so then I may have added too much almond milk to compensate.  The result was a rather unformed cake.  However, it is still tasty.  Verdict?  I would make that substitution again, as long as it is just mochi cake I’m dealing with.


Sticky Sticky.

Today I ate a late lunch, and thus when I came home for dinner, I was not hungry.  So while we microwaved Mom’s “zou lu ji”  (walking chicken, literally, a black silky looking chicken marinated in some Asian flavors), and baked a piece of salmon leftover in the freezer from one of Costco’s pre-marinated freezer bags, I decided I wanted to make mochi cake.  Every once in awhile, I stock up on mochiko and coconut milk, and today I had the itch to bake.

What, Esther has an itch to bake?  It is strange, I know.  But here I was, making a mess out of the kitchen with coconut milk, eggs, flour, and sugar.  The nice thing about baking is that, provided you’ve done everything else right, you can stick it in the oven and expect some magic to happen.  Pretty cool.

Remember that EasyBake commercial from the 90s?  Maybe since then, baking has always seemed magical.

I didn’t do too much searching for recipes this time since I had made two variations of mochi cake before.  This time, I just made the first one that came up on Google search that I had all the ingredients for.  It happened to be found on Epicurious.  We’ll see how it turns out.

My poor husband had jury duty all day today and is now collapsed on the couch with the blanket over his head.  It’s not like him at all.  I guess sitting in on a court case and listening to lawyers can be exhausting.  He asks, “Dear dear, when will the nian gao be done?”  Not for another hour and a half dear, and then it has to cool for another two dear.


VERDICT:  I think THIS recipe is better, from or matcha.  I think the only difference is the addition of milk (whole milk, or condensed).  Somehow I think it makes the texture smoother and less cake-y.