Thursday, May 26, 2011

Adventure in Dinner

[Sweet potatoes sauteed in butter with ginger and salt]

So, my housemate Julian who normally does the cooking, is gone for the summer! But Simon and I remain, as he's working a sales job and I'm interning at the Immunology lab at school.

Do I look legit or what? Well, this is only in the case that I have to go to the mouse room, which is where guess what, the mice are kept. But yeah, it's an unpaid internship but I'm learning a lot and everyone at the lab is really friendly and helpful.

So onto my main point, my summer blog will probably feature a lot of food and not so much in terms of lolita, which costs a lot of money, which I won't be earning, what with the aforementioned unpaid internship. But if something interesting crops up I'll probably post about it anyway.

[Pad Thai with Sugar snap peas: delicious sugar snap peas, although I cheated and the pad thai sauce did come from a jar...]
So, while I prepare dinner anywhere from 5-7 days a week, I'll take some pictures and some disasters or successes and yammer on about them, because honestly I could talk about food forever.

Curry! I love all forms of curry, including coconut milk base and other types, but my favorite is probably japanese curry, if only because that's what I grew up with and it's a comfort food. And easy! Although I wish I had yellow pickled radish to go with it...

Anyway tune in next time for "dinner or disaster?" because I am entirely convinced one day my stove will just implode or something.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Farmer's Market Love

-Salad mix and sugar snap peas - 5$
-Pepperoni and Cheese bread loaf - 5.50$
-Peonies - 10$
-Sweet potatoes (3) - 3$
-Spearmint - 2$
Total: 25.50 plus my 4$ breakfast (vegetable and egg brioche... so good)

A pretty good haul. The sugar snap peas are amazing. Didn't see / taste any good strawberries, which was a shame. I can't wait until the figs come in season!

What's your favorite flower? Mine are Peonies, my mom had a beautiful peony in her garden at our old house, from 7 years ago.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Food, food, and more food

Our 2nd placing entry in the student iron chef contest~! We were sooo close, but like last year, we lost to the group of asian girls. Curses. In addition to the spiral chicken we made cucumber salad (which failed because they gave us american cucumbers, not the seedless english cucumbers we needed) and ginger sweet potatoes (which looked delicious and I never got to taste any, sadly). The prize was santoku chef knives, which is pretty handy, if we didn't already have so many knives. But then again, you can never have too many.

Also sorry for the lack of updates. I've been stupidly busy doing absolutely nothing since I started break. Well, not absolutely nothing... I am swiftly making my way through the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series as well as eating myself to death at my parent's, right before I have to return to my university to begin working in the lab as a slave / unpaid intern. Such is the life.

Summer is upon us, in this particular hemisphere. What are you summer plans?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spiral Chicken Recipe

One of the dining halls at UVA hosts a student Iron Chef competition (well it's really just a cooking competition, nothing like my favorite cooking show of all time) but it's pretty fun and we get to use the sweet stuff in the industrial dining hall kitchen. Last year my team took second place with Mango Chicken Curry. This year we're going for broke, and came up with this ... thing.

Spiral Chicken

skinned boneless chicken breast (big ones preferably, for roll-ability)
green (spring) onion*
fish sauce
soy sauce
hot sauce (of the Sriracha variety, preferably - something with chilis and garlic)
sake (or rice cooking wine)*
corn starch
rice or corn chex cereal (for breading) or Panko if you aren't allergic to wheat like my housemate, haha
oil (for deep frying)

1. Prepare the chicken by cutting it to ¼ inch thickness, and tenderize/flatten with a meat mallet to make rectangles about 3”x7”.
2. Prepare the filling by combining the spring onions, 1 egg, ¼ cup of chex mix and 1 tbsp of fish sauce in a blender until it becomes a thick paste. Add some hot sauce if you like things spicy. Add more chex mix if it isn’t thick enough to be spreadable.
3. Spread the filling along the surface of the chicken and then roll it, and secure with a toothpick.
4. Prepare the sauce by combining soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar in a 3:3:2:1 ratio in a pot. Heat until boiling on the stove, add about 1 tbsp at a time of corn starch (mixed with cold water to dilute) and stir until thick consistency is acquired.
5. Coat the chicken roll in beaten egg wash. Roll in finely crushed Chex cereal seasoned with a little salt and pepper. When oil has come up to temperature, cook for about five minutes. Cut in half so you can see the spiral and return to oil to finish cooking until just done through. Do not overcook.

Dipping or serving it with the home made teriyaki sauce (or store bought is fine too) really does the trick :D The competition is today, so we'll see how the judges like it!

Oh and y'all should check out Ada's giveaway here!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Turtle Bread and Flowers

Melon pan shaped like turtles! This Japanese Baker sells shoku-pan and curry and melon-pan

Super gorgeous flowers. I wish I had a garden so I could plant them. Or a nice place to display them, but I'm actually not big on cut flowers.

Sweet hat; Awkward face

My haul from today! Salad greens, wildflower honey, strawberry rhubarb jam and shoku pan! (I froze half because I'm the only one in my apartment who eats bread :| )

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Bean 'Brownie' Recipe

16 oz. sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour works too, its what I used)
1 can of Red Bean Paste
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup of sugar (to taste though)
2 cups of milk
Option: nuts

Mix all the dry ingredients first, and then add the can of red bean paste. Stir, and then gradually (by 1/2 cupfuls) add the milk until everything is wet. The batter should be very stiff though. Here's a semi helpful picture of the batter:

You can add nuts, I added some crushed hazelnuts because they were on hand. Pour into a 9" square greased baking pan and bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool. Then cut up and eat!

Credited to my mom ;D

This isn't a real brownie / anything that remotely resembles a cake, as you can tell from the picture. It's closer to 'mochi' or dduk, in korean aka, sweet rice cake, mixed with sweet red beans. AND it's gluten free! Very chewy and delicious.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Five for five II: Return of the bento

I got a "perfect score" again this week :D So I thought I'd share them today (a little late)

Monday: Duk Buk Gi (Korean spicy noodle dish I've mentioned here)
1 Boiled egg (it helps when my mouth hurts because its so spicy >w<)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Five for five: A week's worth of bento

Normally I pack lunch about 3 times a week, less if I don't have any time or more, if I do, like this week (and I don't go out to lunch).
Leftover Steak
Fried Rice (My housemate made a HUGE quantity of fried rice that will be present all week... and the next)
Broccoli Florets and Japanese Mayo (which is very good, just a little more vinegar-y)

To see Tues-Friday click the jump

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Achievement, of sorts

Sorry for the extra derpy / awk post expression... Normally I take a nice (relatively) picture before I go out, but today I had to leave the batteries charging in the camera to do so. Anyway! Sunday lolita, which was nice. Made extra nice by the fact I got to wear one of my dream dresses out. It was also my first 'dream dress', but strangely the last one to be acquired. I had three in total:

x Baby's Little Red Riding Hood OP
x Mary Magdalene's St. Claire OP
x Innocent World's Violin JSK

With a lot of patience and a bit of luck, I now have all three. It was pretty fortunate they were not incredibly rare or expensive, I do feel for people whose dream dresses are say, Moitie's Iron Gate or AP's Puppet Circus. But to each to their own, I say.

What is your dream dress(es)?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring time

In honor of today hitting 80 degrees (well, 79 technically), I changed my blog a bit. Let me know if it's easy enough on the eyes. I'm excited for spring. I found a good allergy medication regimen that works, and even though the pollen index will hit the double digits soon, I should be mostly okay.

My friends who were on spring break this week (I wasn't) visited the other day and brought me a plant! The flowers are really lovely. I love plants and flowers *_* And it sounds like it'll be nice out tomorrow, so I think I'll go out in the afternoon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In light of recent events

Minute by minute, many of the effects of the earthquake and tsunami the other day are still precarious. Thankfully, Japan is not a nation unprepared for those types of natural disasters, but its always good to give if you can to relief efforts. For simplicity's sake I donated to the Japan effort by the Red Cross, but there are many different groups raising money by now. Just remember to check that its reliable, of course.

Luckily everyone I know and their family in Japan were uninjured.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

No, I'm not technically supposed to do this

The other day I turned this^^^
Into this:

My phone strap charm collection is now less blobby and not actually connected to my cellphone (which doesn't have a hook for it anyway ;_;) and actually kind of an interesting wall installment. I actually started collecting them in 9th grade but then my cellphone was stolen... I was way more upset about losing all my cellphone charms ;__;

Some I got myself, others (like the ponyo in a bubble and the rilakuma) were from friends who went to korea or japan ^^;

Do you own any phone straps?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A meeting of interests

**Turn down youtube's volume before listening!! Or else the audio quality will be worse than it already is!!

Fractale is an anime airing this season and it's probably my favorite so far. It's based on an award winning light novel series by the same name. The ending song is a traditional tune "Down by the Sally Gardens" by W.B. Yeats, sung in both English and Japanese.

I really love this simple tune and I realized I have to start practicing violin again after about 3 years of absence. I also was out in lolita (Baby's Red Riding Hood) today, like usual except I forgot to get a pic (D:) But I was wearing it whilst playing to add a point of interest to a very short video.

Notes: I did record it with a camera phone (I should buy a mic one day ;_;)
I also had the mute on, so that's not the true sound of my violin. When I played without the mute, the phone mic made it way too shrill. It's still a little shrill, so listening it at half volume would probably improve it or something. I should figure out how to do that to the video itself...

Do you play any instruments?

Have a good week guys ~!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On a date, on a whim

Saturday was the first weekend I wasn't completely whacked out about an exam (Though I still have plenty to study for today...) So I went out on a date / shopping errand / get outside and enjoy the 60 degree weather. Because really, this is the time where I could wear a velvet JSK, but no coat and still not freeze and/or burn.

JSK: Lief
Bolero: HMHM
Socks: IW

Please ignore the monkey slippers. I wore real shoes outside, obviously.

This was suppose to be a make up shot, but it came out showing more the lackthereof. I was wearing UD's halfbaked, sidecar, and virgn eye shadows, with UD's Zero eyeliner. I typically don't bother with mascara anymore because I have reaaaallly short eyelashes and if mascara does anything, it really just smudges all over my eyes. Curse my hidden monolids! Whatever :P

My faaaavorite place is called hotcakes, which is a bakery/lunch place with really excellent pumpkin muffins. I got to sit around, do my homework, drink some tea, and people watch. Afterwards I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a big book on memorizing Kanji T-T .... But it was a good date, over all.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alice and thePirates; Scent of Rapunzel (Reserve)

Scent of Rapunzel reserve went up recently, slated to start on 2/25/2011 Which would be... probably just enough time for me to decide whether I want to go for it or not. Because... AatP is quickly becoming my favorite brand for prints (Mary Magdalene will remain forever stylistically, my favorite). I love fairy tales, and I love fairy tale inspired prints. I passed on Cinderella Jewelry because it was a little too sweet, Scent of Rapunzel, barring the slightly OT name is a nice balance.

It's definitely got it's roots in Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella Jewelry that was released last year. An interesting design twist is the braid running along the bottom, I think it's a really excellent detail.

I'm in love with this JSK design. The side lacing, the ribbons, the cut- it's gorgeous. The only thing that has me wavering about this is the colorway. My top picks would be ivory or black, but in general all the colorways are a little ehh. Something is just a tad off about them.

I do have to say though, the scissor accessories are gorgeous! If I pass on the print itself, I still might have to get the earrings.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, to my Mom!

Here's what the chocolates looked like as a mostly finished product. The toothpick was just so it was easy to coat them, I pulled them out when I packed them XD

Today, Feb 14th is also my Mom's birthday! I went home this weekend and we celebrated with korean birthday soup (Miyeok / Seaweed) and cupcakes! It was really delicious. I got her a real French Crepe Pan :)

I wish I had a birthday on Valentine's, it'd mean regardless of whether I was single or not I could still celebrate, haha. Well, I guess I celebrated anyway what with the chocolate making and giving, but that's just because who doesn't like chocolate??

ALSO, on a semi-whim / I always intended to do this, I got my ears repierced at the tattoo/piercing place pretty much a minute from where I live. The lady was really nice, and I hope that since I did it with a needle instead of a gun like last time, it'll heal without going all gross and not-healed. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Choco!

Doesn't that look awesome and unhealthy? I don't have real Valentine's day plans, but ever since HS I tried making small gifts or chocolates for my close friends, single or not. Last year I crocheted pink hearts and mailed them, for lack of a real kitchen to work in. This year, luckily with a stove, double boiler, and chocolate on sale at world market, I made Nutella Hazelnut truffles :)

The recipe:
* 1/2 cup whipping cream (unwhipped)
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 teaspoon corn syrup (I sub'd butter flavor pancake syrup... which is the same thing essentially)
* 9 ounces semisweet chocolate
* 2 tablespoons nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

I wish I had a melon ball scooper, because I could have made much more... aesthetically pleasing truffles, haha.

Here's the coating (dark chocolate!!) and the crushed hazelnuts (I used a hammer and several plastic bags... blanched hazelnuts are expensive by weight!) and the little pink boxes I packed the truffles in :) For the ones I had to mail anyway. Tomorrow I'll give my housemates truffles, will try to take a proper picture of them. Also I did taste one, and they came out all right! Which is surprising because I'm a bio major, not a chocolatier, haha.

What are you doing on Couples Awareness Day / Valentine's day? Me? Homework.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You Jelly? Or just... Cake?

I think the cake boxes from the korean bakery are HILARIOUS. Like, engrish is always good for a laugh, but there's something about the ultra cute and elegant designed cake boxes with random happy words slapped on it.

But the cake was good so no other issues. The reason why I like this place's cake so much is that it's all fresh cream, instead of traditional buttercream. So it's like whipped cream instead of actual frosting. So delicious!

Now I will go fail my cell biology exam tomorrow ;____;

Shout out to Ada and her optical travails, I wish you the best!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Duk buk gi, spicy rendition

The other day it was my turn to make dinner. I tried something new, making Duk buk gi but the spicy version which is actually the norm. If you've ever had a spicy Korean dish, you know the spice burns for a while. That's why in lieu of meat I added hard boiled eggs because eating those helps mitigate the spicey. Unless you duncurr like my housemate hahaha.

Do you like spicy food?
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

R-Series and Dollypoddle (SS) Review

Ready for this? I know I am.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sacred Night by Lief Review

My first lolita arrival of 2011, Lief's Sacred Night in black, showed up today! (Meanwhile, my 2 other R series JSKs are on their way... but that's not what this is about)

First off, I got the black JSK in S/M.
  • The velvet is very soft
  • Lined about halfway down
  • Straps are spaced correctly
  • Includes waist tie and detachable bow with pin
  • The print is a very tasteful gold, not crazy glittery, but shows up crisp
  • The zipper is a little uncooperative going up.
  • I'm 5'5" (165cm) tall and it falls halfway between my knees and my ankle I'd say.
  • Official Measurements: bust: 86~96cm; I am only 84cm, but the shirring isn't bulky
Customer Service:
  • Invoiced with no issues
  • No notice of shipping, albeit that is standard procedure for Lief (I ordered the Aster Cafe before).
  • English rep is very considerate, informative, and accommodating (I switched my colorway after they notified us the colors became solid)
Detail Shots:

Overall: Lief is my favorite indie brand and I'm pretty glad I passed up the Regimental series for Sacred night. It's really warm too, naturally as the whole thing is velvet.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

PCOS Study

(look, my nails match!)

I finished up the PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) study I participated in since last year. It was an extended study to test the effect of estrogen on women with PCOS and without. It was time consuming in the sense I had to complete 2 overnight admissions. For each admission, it went like this:

4 days prior: Blood sample to check blood count, start estrogen patches
Evening of admission: Admitted, about 1cc of blood drawn every 10 minutes.
26 hours later: Released!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Conveyor Sushi

Sorry there's been a bit of a lull in posts. Between having guests, driving back and forth between my apartment and my parent's place, and getting ready for the new semester, I haven't had a lot of time for posts. Not to mention that my R Series order pretty much *just* shipped form my SS to me. But there will be a lengthy and detailed review post when that arrives, so that's what's coming on the lolita front.

From a food perspective, when I was back in Norther Virginia (Nova for short) I went to the conveyor belt sushi place at the mall. It opened up last winter, if I recall. These places have been popular in japan and in big cities like new york, so I was surprised that they opened one here.

The video is just a 13 sec shot of the dishes as they go by. You just pick whichever one you want as it goes. The edges are color coded by price. Besides sushi, sashimi, and maki, they have edamame, fresh fruit, and mousse, haha. It's a pretty cute place. The quality of the fish is somewhat lacking (but I've been spoiled by places with REALLY excellent sashimi) but the maki is decent and its more of the novelty factor.

Would you eat at a conveyor sushi place?

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Cost of Nothing

I started devising an experiment last year, called "Could I make money off buying/selling lolita clothing". The premise was simple and fairly logical: buy low, sell high. On many auction sites like yahoo japan and mbok, brand is sold fairly cheap. On the comm sale, the same items can go for almost 2x the listed auction price. I decided even if I wouldn't go through with it, I could still design an experiment.

The Concept:
- Start small. Start mid priced items that both fit my style, were in good condition, were exceptionally cheap, and were brand. If I followed these conditions, in the event I couldn't find a seller, I didn't mind keeping the pieces myself.

The Process:
-Find auctions on mbok, which is a little cheaper than yahoo japan. Also, a shopping service.

-Invest x amount of money and after getting the items, see if they can be sold for more than I bought them.

The Projected Results
- While a nice concept in theory, due to the poor exchange rate, the need for a shopping service (which charges shipping+comission), one would be lucky to make a profit by this process.
- Living in Japan would make this more of a viable concept. In that case however, it would just be a small scale Closet Child because those stores must use the same idea to make a profit.

Have you ever sold anything online and made a profit?

Monday, January 3, 2011


This post is being published from my new android phone. Hooray! Seriously I'm way in love with it. (samsung captivate).

Anyhow, snap of the day is from my favorie korean bakery called le matin de paris. They have really tasty pastries and stuff. Plus, orange citron tea called yujacha. Just what one needs on a chilly january day right?
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