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.

Slump

Seriously I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a slump.

Which generally prompts questions like– Should I go paleo?

It doesn’t help that I have a cankersore in my mouth.  I had one last week, and then another one popped up!  Boo.  It makes my lower lip all swollen too.  Apparently, honey may help heal it faster, as well as taking the supplement L-Lysine.

Now I know why my mom used to have me take that!  She wasn’t just making it up.

But unfortunately, the world of supplements is a mysterious and thus risky one, and I’m not so sure I’m ready to jump in.

Cooking for Guests

I WANT TO CRY.

Today was supposed to be my menu planning day.  Well it is 1:24pm, and here I am, with my bowl of macaroni and cheese, and wondering “What in the world do real adults want to eat?!” and “How am I supposed to make it?!”

Seriously.  Rotisserie chickens and salad, I’m coming for you.

What else?

I’ve been noticing a serious lack of really good food blogs about Hong Kong style food in ENGLISH.  I’ve been thinking about it from time to time, because that is what I grew up on, and now I feel like I have little way of replicating it.  I’ve asked my mom to PLEASE write a recipe book with the stuff she makes for Daddy.  My mom is very health-conscious, especially because my grandparents on both sides have diabetes, and my father has high blood pressure.  This means that everything she makes is low on sugar and salt, two things that are difficult to come by in modern cooking, I think.  We love sugar, and we love salt, and who can blame us?  I can’t say her food is the tastiest food I have ever had, and it would probably never survive in a restaurant setting, but it is home-cooking in all its authenticity and comfort.  Where do you find that?  Not at an expensive Yelper approved restaurant, and probably not on the Internet.  Mother is not tech-savvy, and I suspect many other mothers are the same.  In an age where anything less than a 4.5 star rating makes me wonder if I should even bother trying to cook it, sometimes it’s easier to just get things straight from the source without hearing other’s critiques.  And in an age where anything with a 4.5 star rating often includes heavy whipping cream and other ingredients I don’t have, well….. anyway.  I exaggerate.  The point is.  Mom’s recipes would never make it on the Internet in the way recipes are rated today–primarily by taste–but they make it in the way they make me feel after I eat them.  Healthy and nourished.  Sometimes, the combinations are plumb strange.  Mom has taught me that anything goes, as long as it’s good for the body.  Does it have vitamins?  Does it have protein?  Does it have calcium or is it good for your eyes?  Will it ward off a UTI?  Then you eat it, even if it tastes like liver, or IS liver.  Does it fit in your mouth and is it packed with antioxidants?  Then we’ll fit it in a salad.  Dear Mom, I hope you never see this.

I still aspire to someday be able to churn out amazing tasting food and chop veggies razor thin at lightning speed and be able to survive an episode of Chopped with random and sabotaged ingredients, but seriously, if I could just be like my mom and feed a family of four every day with fresh, healthy food and make it look EASY, that would be pretty awesome too.

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.

Sick people in the house, Asian-style.

So the sick person in my house requested Jiu Niang because I decided I wanted to go to Ranch 99 for a cornish hen.  I wanted to get a cornish hen because I wanted all the parts of the chicken (or hen?) for soup!  Because supposedly there are healing things in there.  Anyway, apparently jiu niang is something that makes him feel better too.  It’s one of the foods of my childhood that I’m not a fan of.  Fermented rice soup.  My memories of it involve Mommy telling me to drink it, and me being like, this tastes funny, and her being like, it’s good for you.  Oh wait, that applies to a lot of other things I ate too.

Yes this post has all kinds of errors in it, but I’ll edit later!  Gotta run to get some chicken bones!

//edit//

Here is my end result!

IMG_6735.JPG

I don’t know what it tastes like because Sickie is asleep still.  I’m scared to try it.  I also put way too much fermented rice for the amount of water, compared to all the recipes I saw online, so I just hope it still tastes okay, and that I don’t accidentally intoxicate my spouse.  Those bits and pieces are osthmanthus flowers, not bugs, by the way, in case you were wondering (because I was).

 

What is a title?

I’m tired.  Lately I’ve been attempting all sorts of recipes, and the results have been mixed at best.  I’m not sure.  Beyond the black and white directions is a frantic girl crouching over a hot oven, peering through the not so transparent window, checking for burns.  I’ve burned myself once in the process, but haven’t cut off any fingers.

I’m not sure, but I think Asian recipes are easier for me.  I wonder if it’s because I subconsciously absorbed some of the things my mother told me in my teenage stupor.  Mom used to pass on bits of cooking advice here and there, but I was never interested.  It sounded like a foreign language to me, and she always made it sound so easy.  My mind tuned out, just the way it does when people give me directions…  Thank the Lord that in this day and age, we have GPS.  Every week, I go to the same places, but I always use my GPS.

What was I saying?  I was saying that although I didn’t watch Mom cook as in give her undivided attention, I think I must have been hovering around somehow.  I saw stalks of green onions here, a chunk of ginger there.  And when I cook now, the quantities are familiar somehow, even though I have never touched them before.  Like distant shadows have materialized before my eyes.  I always miss home when I have to cook.  I miss the way Mom made it look so easy.  The kitchen was always in pristine condition.  Like a fairy had come in while I was gone and swept all the evidence of cooking away.  Now that I live on my own, there is no fairy, save my dear husband who I allow to wash dishes for me, with some guilt.

Friday is coming, Friday is coming.  The little ones will come through our door with hungry stomachs.  What will I feed them?  Stay tuned…