How to Peel an Orange

Wait, what?  Yes, there is actually a VIDEO about this.

…  Now I’m generally not one to be wow’d by how-to food videos, but this one, I was like, wait, really?  Is it a cultural thing?  Do most people really not know how to peel oranges?  Hm.

Mom peeled oranges for me and my brother all the time growing up.  The prize for finishing dinner was fruit for dessert.  Mom always peeled the fruit for us and placed it in our bowls, like the spoiled children we were.  It was a simple process, one I could copy easily.  She would make a few long cuts lengthwise around the orange and two crosswise cuts near the top and the bottom, just deep enough to get to the skin but not too deep that juice would start spilling out.  She’d peel the thick skin off the top and bottom, and then peel the slivers of skin from the sides. You’d end up with a nice round ball covered with remaining white, soft ridges of what my parents liked to called “fiber” or pith.  Sometimes they peeled it off, and sometimes, they left some of it on for our health.  Ugh, my favorite.  Then, the orange would get split in two and we would be able to peel off the slices of orange without any mess.

I wonder if it’s an Asian thing to prepare oranges like this?  In fact, I didn’t know how to cut an orange into pretty slices because we never did it that way.  I always felt that cut slices of oranges tasted slightly better though, and my theory is that’s probably because with the slice, the pith isn’t the first part that hits your tongue.

Speaking of Asian, the husband and I went to visit Colorado this weekend.  We noticed the food there is decidedly Boulder (bolder, ha ha .. !), and saltier.  So the rumors are true.  I wouldn’t mind living in the middle of America though.  The skies were actually a lovely blue, and you could still see the stars at night.  No smog or city lights to drown out their shine.

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.

Anniversary

Yesterday was our one year anniversary.  I was going to write a post about it, but I guess I got busy with other things.  We took a weekend away which was nice, but by the time we got back, there were a lot of things to do!  Laundry, work, and finding a nice “romantic anniversary dinner” recipe that would be easy enough to pull off.  Apparently there are lists of these things on the Internet, you know?  So I tried to make steak for the first time by myself.  Well it wasn’t exactly stellar.  I cooked it longer than I intended to and put too much salt.  But it was okay.  I think Hubby was touched, which is what counts.  Today I’m trying another one on that Internet list.  It’s a baked chicken with tomatoes and garlic and kale, and it was pretty easy, so far.  We’ll see how it turns out!

I’m kind of pooped now, after two part-time jobs during the day and feeling the kale bits on the kitchen floor with my feet while prepping.  Yes, something about that tires me out.  My head is aching, but the chicken is in the oven.  Phew.

So seriously, what am I supposed to write?  Oh boy, what is a girl to do!  Marriage is a strange and funny thing, and there are some things that just have to be kept between the two peas.  That’s the hard thing about it.  On the one hand, it’s my marriage right, so I should be able to talk about it?  But on the other hand, we’re two and yet one.  It’s all intertwined and yet not.  That’s the funny thing about marriage.

I seriously have arm cramps from whatever I did today (blowing bubbles for kids?  throwing a bouncy ball?  I have no idea..) so I will continue this line of thought later.

I’ll leave you with a quote I found that resonates with me.

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. – Andre Marois

Sick, yet again.

My hubby and I have both been sick for what seems like an eternity.  Just kidding, it hasn’t been that long, maybe a few weeks.  Anyway, it has been longer than either of us anticipated.  First him, then me.  Interestingly, we have different illnesses.  Today, Hubby asked for soup.  Lucky for him, I was thinking exactly the same thing!  So today, instead of making Home Chef dinner number 2, I’m making Asian chicken soup, yet again.  I don’t have green onions, so the simple chicken drumsticks, ginger, water, and rice wine will have to do.

I’m starting to really like chicken drumsticks.  You know why?  Because I don’t have to touch them at all.  No butterflying, no hacking, no stuffing, nothing.  They either get thrown into the pot for soup, or picked up once to put into a pan to brown.  And that, my friends, for a germaphobe like me, is wonderful.  They have skin, bone, AND meat.  I took them for granted because Mother suggested them to me, and you know if Mom suggests it, how great can it really be?  Sorry Mom.  Turns out Mother is a genius.  I already knew that, but this just reaffirms it once again.

Asian Tilapia Search

Last week I baked tilapia with salt and pepper.  Needless to say, I was so disappointed.  It came out dry and meh.  I was short of ingredients so that’s what I did, and I didn’t feel like doing an egg and panko mixture because the dipping gets messy.  A quick google search usually gives me results that are more along the lines of parsley and lemon in taste.  While I like lemons a lot a lot, I am too cheap to buy them because Hubby’s parents have a lemon tree.  However it’s been awhile since we’ve visited, so we’re all out.  I guess it’s an excuse to go back to visit my in-laws.  Just kidding if they ever see this!  We are not just visiting you for your lemons!

When I was young I remember my mom would make tilapia, and it would be so delicious!  I vaguely remember her or Grandma saying “tang cu yu”, so I tried to google it and found something that may or may not fit the bill.  But it doesn’t look quite like what I was thinking of.  So I kept looking for some sort of Chinese fish dish that involves sugar and wine.  This one here looks really legit though, but too much work, haha.  And then there’s this, hmmmmm.  But what makes that Chinese fish different from this Hangzhou fish?  Or this Hongshao Yu?  I think a talk with Grandma is due.

Monday Night Dinner

Mondays are nice days for me. My husband has to go to work, but I get to stay and sleep in a bit after a usually active weekend.

Today I tried pork bone daikon soup in the pressure cooker. I couldn’t find any recipes online that were modified for the pressure cooker, so I kind of winged it using Miss Vickie’s guidelines, which basically say that the time is about 1/3 of normal cooking time. I wasn’t sure if it worked, because afterwards, the pork looked kind of pink in the middle still, and I was worried that it would be no bueno for us later. What to do?
I’ll have to try this one again using the normal pot over the stovetop method and do a comparison.

I also decided to try to make steamed egg, which I first tasted at my friend’s place. Apparently it’s really easy and very delicious, my go-to buzz words. I made it in our old-school rice cooker that has been sitting all dusty in our pantry. Apparently there are a number of ways to steam something, and I was so consumed with figuring out how to steam the egg that when my husband came home, I didn’t even go to greet him, which is unheard of. Usually once I hear the doorknob rattle, I run over, open the door, and give him a big hug. This time he walked into the kitchen and found me poring over my laptop with tabs upon tabs open. That was kind of sad. Oops.

Unfortunately the end result was that both dishes suffered from a lack of salt. Seriously, why do they say season salt to taste? What if I don’t know how much salt that is? Of course you can always add more salt later at the table, but it always feels to me like a cooking fail when I have to tell people to do that.

Lastly I also had hubby heat up onion pancakes (pre-made, frozen), and stir-fry the pea sprouts. He is much better than I am at cooking. I have to use a timer for everything lest I overcook or undercook something, or simply forget and burn it. So anyway, at least his part of the meal was good.

Even though I got tons of sleep and spent a nice afternoon at a cafe today, I am so pooped now. After stressing out over how dinner is going to turn out and whether or not I’m going to get food poisoning from it, well I think it’s time to sleep.

And I leave you with this quote to sum up my cooking adventures.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

In my opinion.

Well, thankfully I have a blog, right, so I can ramble about the thoughts that run through my head?

Every so often I see something on Facebook or some other place on the internet about how there is no such thing as “the one”, and about how we should stop believing that there is someone else who is our other half.

The backlash is understandable. We want to believe that we are whole, independent, complete, awesome, and entirely responsible for our own happiness. I suspect many of us realize we are somewhat deceiving ourselves on a deeper level, and that is why we need so much verbiage to say otherwise. We also want to believe that the world operates entirely in a realm of statistics and probability. That among the 6 billion human beings that live on the earth, the idea that there is someone out there who fits you is absurd. And then there are all those studies of people who take harder hits in their relationships “because” they also believe in “soulmates”. But maybe that doesn’t actually reflect on the concept of soulmates being wrong. Maybe it reflects more on those people themselves. Maybe they are the dreamers, the flamboyant ones, the emotional ones. Maybe they are the idealists, the easily disappointed, the ones afraid of conflict. Maybe what is the culprit is not the belief itself, but the type of humanity that is prone to believing such a thing. Isn’t that just as likely? Or maybe the term itself is wrong, maybe it’s wrong to the point of being silly. Maybe we ought to throw the word out, since it’s been misused. Maybe we ought to not use it at all, since it has so many different meanings to different people.

As a child, I think I hoped for someone I might be able to consider a soulmate, which to me meant a kind of kindred soul, someone who matched me. In high school, I had a few friends who I held dear to my heart as kindred souls, friends who I felt at ease with, who I could ping-pong back and forth as if they were the peanut butter to my jelly. But early into my twenties, I looked down upon the idea of someone who could match me. Neither could I fathom the idea of being incomplete. Among all the people that I knew, I had crushes, this and that, people I got along with, people I liked, people I loved, but the idea of a soulmate seemed like something out of a fairytale. I built it up in my head, and then when I saw the environment, the world, the humans, I reckoned that perhaps no one could ever really understand me at all, because that’s what matching meant to me.

On the one hand, I was right, I think. No one would understand. No one would be that perfect match. But it wasn’t because I was complete. And it wasn’t because there wasn’t “the one”. It wasn’t because I had this flawed concept about love or that I needed to read more about arranged marriages or watch less Korean dramas. I have to say, I did address those things, and I can’t entirely say it had no bearing on my mind now. But really, no one could ever understand me, I think, because even I could not understand myself. Yet there was a longing that someone might understand me, someone might heal the soul that I felt was conceivably broken. That longing would be fulfilled by God. I could fling my soul on Him, the very One I was fearful of, the very One I couldn’t understand, and He would carry me. He knew me and loved me, more than I would ever know.

And on the human match side, the first time I met my now husband, I didn’t know he was the one. Even seven years after we first met, I still didn’t quite know. Yet when we did start courting each other in His time, day after day, I couldn’t believe what I was finding. What I didn’t believe in, really existed. I can’t say this is going to be every person’s experience, because I know we are all individuals with our individual experiences. But I guess part of me is bothered that people are discrediting the idea of “the one”, claiming that it does not exist. Because I know that for us, it was finding the other pea who belonged in the pod. We could finally be at rest here. We fit together. If I was the right shoe, he was the left shoe. Not in a desperate, dramatic kind of way, but as a simple yet sweet and happy fact. I love my other half.