Wednesday, January 14, 2015

First cold of the 2015

And it sure knocked me out. Three and half days of blowing my nose, hacking to my throat was raw and achy-iness that made me think I had a flu without a fever. But I guess I just have a really bad head cold. I used up a whole box of tissues, I'm on my second. I just wish it would go away.

The house and the kitchen is a mess because I have no energy to do anything but lay in bed, watch TV and knit or crochet. I wanted to start this pattern with some worsted weight wool I have. I thought i would make a great throw. But I was not in the right frame of mind, to tired from this stupid cold.

old vintage pattern that someone passed on to me
Not much of a post, just moaning about my misery. WG has to keep his germs away from next time. This is horrible.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The First Bloom

love the pink edges 
My mom, the plant whisperer, sprinkled geranium seeds that she got from my sister's house in my pots on the front steps close to a year and half ago. This is the first bloom. Almost looks like cherry blossoms.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I decided to try take a picture [or pictures] from a my weekly walks. 

I sort of promised myself I'd try and walk or do some exercise at least 3 times a week for at least an 1/2 hour. Doesn't sound like much but at least it is a start and hopefully it will just start fitting into my crazy life.

From 010415: first neighborhood walk of the year
010415 walk
The charging station in my neighborhood
010415 walk
river running quickly because all the rain
010415 walk
Someone left this on the bridge?
010415 walk
010415 walk
From 010515: walk @ work; cold and blustery; forgot my calendar [haha, what was it thinking] phone, no pics.

From 010615: walk @ work; light snow and cold

a light snow as we walk
walking partner at work

tracks in the snow

Friday, January 2, 2015

To start my new year off

I baked two recipes that I had in my new recipe baking queue. Baking for the restaurant always put new recipes on at the end of the queue.

First up, smittenkitchen's Cranberry pie with thick pecan cumble. This has been in the back of my mind since I read the post. I love anything with crumble and this combination with of the tart cranberry filling and a sweet crumble sounded great. 

Right out of the oven
first slice, dust with powdered sugar and dollop of whipped cream
The cranberry filling isn't really that tart. It really goes will with the crumble and whipped cream. smittenkitchen's pie crust is so delicious, so buttery and flakey.  I'm sharing this one with the restaurant and hope the customers like it.

Next up, RasaMalaysia's Pineapple Tarts. Found these on pinterest and was hoping I had a free moment in my baking schedule to make these up. I think what got me was the pineapple jam. 

pineapple jam  and egg wash
tarts filled, scored and washed
golden brown
first bite, YUM!
With this recipe, it is all about prep. I made the jam first, takes a while to get out the water from the pineapple. Not like your normal jam that sticky and syrupy [I guess I could make it more like that with more sugar]. It's more chunky and not too sweet. 

Then I got the egg wash ready, I made this up now before I forgot. I add some condensed milk as the note at the end of the recipe suggested. Adding condensed milk to any this is good.

The dough at first looked like it was going to be trouble. But the more you kneaded it stop sticking and it wan't too hard after that. 

These tart are so good. The jam are perfectly sweet and the dough is light and slightly sweet. I think I may try this dough with an pan. 

For my last item of the first day of the year, Ozoni. It's a soup, clear broth, I usually make a chicken soup with mizuna [japanese mustard greens] with mochi. But I didn't plan this out well and didn't have most of the ingredients plus started to get lazy. So I decided to go to the restaurant to for the soup and add the mochi to it. Here's a recipe from PBS Food/Marc Matsumoto for Ozoni if you want to make up some. Ozoni is usually eaten on New Year's Day for good luck for the coming year. But it is a great filling soup for anytime of year. Have great 2015! 
Clear broth with mixed veggies and garlic oil from the restaurant with mochi 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I want to start the new year . . .

UPDATE: 8 bags of housewares and clothes for Goodwill. There were 4 cars ahead of me @ the drop off center. I guess other people had the same idea as me. 

Well, in my Dad's eyes, with a clean house. Growing up, I always tried to get out of the house the week after christmas so I didn't have massive cleaning chores to do, especially cleaning the windows. Glass louvers, whoever came up with that idea, never had to clean them. Ugh!

But it's cold outside at my house, so no window cleaning for me. But isn't it funny that I have picked up my dad's tradition and I'm trying to scrub my house as clean as I can get it before the new year. So far I've stripped all the beds and washed the sheets and pillow cases. The towels are done. And tomorrow will be the last loads of dirty clothes.

I've been also going through my closets to find items to bring to Goodwill. And found a bunch of old pictures. I decided to get rid pictures that wasn't any good or could recognize the place or person(s). In my purge, I found several great ones that I thought I'd share.

from my first year in NYC
This is Oct 5 1983. I'm with M, my roommate @ Pratt. We are on the Lower East side, shopping for supplies for school. I think this the day I first meet WG.

from Grandpa's 80th
@ Grandpa's 80th
Ahhh! To be so young and cute again. I'm not in this picture. It was probably when I was in NYC.

Grandpa with his girls
Everyone always said how my mom and her sister look so much a like. This picture pretty much affirms that comment. They all kind of look like each other. The youngest is missing. She probably couldn't make from CA.

T & C
T & C in Boston
From our trip to Boston. I've always loved this picture of them, they look so cute. 

kids and dinosaur
The kids @ dinosaurs

This is a new one. My sister and her family are visiting my nephew and girlfriend in NYC. And I met up with them and my cousin at the Natural History Museum. Thank goodness they are still young and goofy enough to pose for a silly picture for their auntie.

Well, that's all got for today. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh well, it figures

It took me so long to get a etsy shop up and now I find out the name I picked is taken. So what would have been aprilMADE, now will be yurieMADE. Now I have to get some pictures of my goods--2 hats, 2 pouches and cowl. Here's what remade logo. 

I thought I had the will to get this up and running before the Christmas shopping season. But I over reached and just haven't had the energy with restaurant stuff, jamming, cookie and cake baking and all the other stuff in my life. So not to beat myself up for my shop up, I set a more realistic goal of January 2015 to launch and maybe I'll have more items put up. Stay tune. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Holiday Cookies

I had a long weekend, using up my vacation time before the end of the year. Decided to make good use of it and getting a head start on my holiday baking. But sometimes dreams are just dreams. Instead I ended up doing a lot for the restaurant but that's another post. 

I wanted to give out homemade marshmallows with hot cocoa mix. But I should a have started on Sunday instead of Monday. They needed time to set. With my copy of Baking from my home to yours in front of me, I thumbed through the pages looking for some baking inspiration. I usually don't like to baking holiday cookies. It gets overwhelming and can quickly spiral into madness with trays of cookies cooling and waiting to be packed. And the whole packaging/label craziness. And yes, it needs to be design-y. I am a designer. See what I mean . . .

But I decide to bite the bullet and made all my cookies from Baking from my home to yours.

Very dark chocolate-y
Been wanting to make Chocolate Crackle cookies and lots of the recipes call for oil instead of butter. [If I'm going waste my calories on cookies, then it better have butter in it] I figured Dorie Greenspan may have version of these cookies. Hello! Midnight Crackle. Where have you been all my life. But actually, it should be all my adult life, because it is more of an adult taste. More bitter than sweet. I love the all the spices in it, they round out the bittersweet chocolate flavor. I used Waialua Estate Extra Dark chocolate [what I had left in my stash] and Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate.

dusted with powder sugar
Filled with my blackberry jam
I love thumbprint cookies and the first half of the weekend I spent jamming. I decided to make the thumbprints using my last jar of blackberry jam, lilikoi curd and some peach butter [I made those as distractions for WG so he wouldn't eat the others]. Used ground almonds instead of walnuts. These are delicate and light--no eggs in it. I think they would goes perfectly with cup of earl grey. 

WG cookie sampler--he's the official taste tester
Last in the line-up, Chocolate Almond Meringue-top right in the picture. I had egg whites to use, thought I'd just make meringue kisses but found this recipe in the book. It has ground almonds in it. I really like using ground almond in my recipes lately. It lightens up the recipe. They turned out really nice, not too sweet, a light chocolate-y flavor with little bits of bittersweet chocolate bits. 

In between the cookies, I made a batch of apple butter cake as a holiday gift for a family friend. When remembered after they were done, they were allergic to apples. I guess the folks at my office will be happy about this.