28 December 2010

I Miss Penn Food.

Home food is good. I had a poached egg today. Do you know how difficult it is to obtain a poached egg at a dining hall? All they have are scrambled eggs and hard-boiled eggs. One can NOT obtain a poached egg with pepper. :(
Egg aside, I still actually miss Penn food a bit. At least I ate exactly 3 meals a day (or 2, on weekends), instead of 6 or 7 mini meals...
This is an apple crumble from Penn. There is no such thing as apple crumble in my house. Oh no. Fresh, raw apples are not to be cooked and wasted into sugar- and butter-clad chunks. The only times I use fresh fruit to make stuff... is black currant or gooseberry jam in the summer, because no one likes fresh black currants in our house, due to the high number of seeds in the currants. No one wants to eat fresh gooseberries either because they're "too sour", and also full of seeds.
The raspberries go from branch to mouth in a matter of seconds, though.
Stromboli of amazingness. I mean, vegetable and cheese stromboli; the best ratio of crust to filling ever. I also love potatoes. I LOVE CARBOHYDRATES!! And the quiche was okay... I don't really miss it because it was dry and the egg proteins were overcooked.
But I can NEVER obtain stromboli at home!! Speaking of which... maybe I'll make some one day... although it'll never be as poofy as the ones at Penn.

27 December 2010

Sushi! Again!

Last time, I posted about Samurai Sushi but I didn't bring my camera, so I had no pictures. Here is a picture of the salad without the cherry tomato. It has a ginger dressing, which I suppose is what makes it Japanese, because I don't see yellow-green lettuce as something Japanese.
This time, I took a bunch of pictures but the lighting was terrible and everyone wanted to eat. This resulted in blurry pictures. However, I did have a sushi-related epiphany.
So, 6 small pieces of avocado sushi costs $3.95.
The sushi/sashimi boat costs approximately $52.
As a vegetarian, if I spent $52 on avocado sushi at Samurai Sushi, I could savour about 78 pieces of sushi.
Now, that is a LOT of sushi. I love avocado sushi. The avocado is amazingly creamy, and surprisingly goes well with soy sauce. A LOT of soy sauce, actually, because I wanted to savour the moment, indulge, and obtain 420% of my sodium RDA for the day. The avocado was a bit over-ripe but it was still great! I should make avocado sushi at home, actually.
This is the sushi boat. It is not boat shaped because they ran out of boats and apparently we would've had to wait a long time to get a wooden boat... so here is the humble version.
Looks good hm? Well my brother and parents liked it. My sister just ate the rice.
Here is a fried tofu. I like the outside crumb batter thingy, because it's crispy, but doesn't taste oily [although it IS oily]. The sauce is also nice although I don't think I'm too partial to it... I prefer pieces of avocado sushi more.

I know that sushi restaurants are generally more expensive than say, Italian restaurants, especially where I live. I sorely miss ParknShop with its $4 sushi [50c!!], occasionally lowered down to $2. However, we make sushi a lot at home, but it never seems as "legit" as the sushi at the stores, even though we use sushi rice and vinegar and nori. Perhaps we all go to sushi restaurants for the scenery, the dimmed lights, the tea [I'm not a tea fanatic so it's just... plain green tea to me], the cute plates and table-suitable bottles of soy sauce.
I mean, why do some people go to restaurants that sell really expensive yet mediocre food? It's just because they can then say, "Dude, I've been to this sick-famous restaurant...that you can't afford to go to!"

Conversely, going out to eat is considered icky if one is talking about college dining hall food. I don't understand why people think it's okay to speak badly about college restaurants, yet speak well of fast food places or other restaurants that offer the same food.

I suppose it has something to do with marketing; when was the last time a sushi store was advertised as elegant, healthy, and for the 1337? Oh, pretty much always. But, eating avocado sushi is definitely not balanced! With soy sauce, avocado sushi is too much sodium and too little protein.

Well, what about the animal eaters, then? Well, in this case, too much protein and cholesterol (?) and too few vitamins and minerals. Oh, and too much sodium.

It's not advertised that way, though... and I'm not sure why I'm analysing this, because I do like sushi a lot and I should actually be making of list that explain why sushi ought to be cheaper...

26 December 2010

What?! Cheesecake?!

Yes! Cheesecake! With tofu! The recipe is at the bottom of this post! [I haven't posted a recipe in a LONG time... a whole semester, right?]
I had a problem. I wanted to make cheesecake because BV likes cheesecake. However, I have never used sour cream or heavy cream or whipped cream or dairy products like that in my cooking before, so... I felt scared using them. Okay, I've used whipped cream before, but that was at least 5 or 6 years ago, and that was whipped cream used as... whipped cream.

On the other hand, I squeezed a piece of tofu. [haha. weak joke...]...I mean, on the other hand, I know very well how tofu works. I can make food with tofu.
BV hates tofu but I used it anyway...
The first cheesecake turned out tasting like tofu, because I had used approximately 20 ounces of tofu in it... along with some cranberry juice, because, why not? I also threw in some corn starch to keep it from falling apart, although I'm not sure whether it's necessary.
It looks like cheesecake, right?
Or, it looks like stained bacteria cultures...
I personally like frozen cheesecake, and I think this is due to the fact that the first few times we bought cheesecake in HK [33HKD for a plain Sara Lee cheesecake - that's what I remember], we never followed the "leave cheesecake at room temperature for 20 minutes before eating" instruction. Honestly, frozen cheesecake, with the hard, ice-blockish texture, tastes better than creamy, room temperature cheesecake.
I used Grape-Nuts for the crust, because ever since I found out that every graham cracker at Shoprite has PHO, I've decided to dislike them [yes, I'm biased!! But so are you!]. Maybe Trader Joe's has nicer graham crackers?
I've also decided to dislike Keebler because everything they make [that I know of] is grossly full of HFCS and/or PHO.
So, in my second batch, I gave some leftover batter to my sister who ended up decorating them with candy and sprinkles. It is utterly overkill.
This is the cheesecake I gave BV. I probably shouldn't've told him that there was tofu in it... but I guess he couldn't taste it [except for the "weird texture"] because he didn't say that it tasted tofu-y.
This is the 3rd cheesecake [from the second batch] that I gave to JM, and I decorated it using the leftover icing sugar from the cookies.

Recipe for cheesecake!!!!

1. 8 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks [one package. GET FULL-FAT. DON'T GET LOW FAT!!! This isn't because full-fat cream cheese is healthy or anything; it's just because I'm not sure how fat-free cream cheese melts/reacts with my other ingredients...so I suppose you could get fat-free cream cheese if you want.]

2. 10 oz squeezed firm tofu [or 20 oz if you want the tofu taste to be prevalent. By "squeezed", I mean, try get rid of as much of the water as possible. I did this by literally squeezing the tofu, which incidentally mashed the tofu so it was easier to blend.]

3. Blueberry, or 2 tbsp cocoa powder, or whatever flavouring.

4. At least half a cup of orange juice. [Or lemon juice. An acidic juice. The orange juice actually left a tiny bit of orangey taste... although that could've just been my imagination]

5. Around 4 tsp of corn starch [add more if you feel like it. I'm not quite sure how much I had, since I initially had 2 tsp, then during the blending, I added more.

6. 1 cup of confectioner's sugar! [YES!! More if you feel like it.]

Healthy Crust!
1. 2 cups of Grape-Nuts

2. Honey or sugar water [However much you want; if you want a crunchy-tooth-breaking crust, don't use that much water, but if you want a soft crust, add more water until it looks damp!]

Stuff to do!
1. Pulse and shake cereal and sugar/honey/water mixture until you get fine pieces.

2. Press into a 11-inch pan if you want the crust to just fill the bottom. Alternatively, press into a 9-inch pan if you want crust on the sides. I used a 7.5-inch pan and had a lot of crust leftover [hence the mini cheesecakes that my sister studded with sprinkles...]

3. Bake at 350F for 5 minutes. You do NOT need to preheat your oven. That is a waste of heat.

4. Stick everything in the Filling list in a blender, and blend! After a few minutes on Low, you should have something that is uniformly blended and has the consistency of American pudding. If not, make it more pudding-ish, by adding corn starch and/or orange juice. I know "consistency of American pudding" is really hard to define, but it shouldn't be like cookie dough. It also shouldn't be like cake batter. It's more... elegant and poofy than those. Actually, it's sort of gelatinous.

5. Taste it. If it tastes good, cool. If it doesn't taste sour enough, add more orange juice!

6. Pour onto crust and smooth it out.

7. Stick that cheesecake into the oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Leave it in there for another 25 minutes; why not? Use up the remaining heat!!

8. In the meantime, eat the cheesecake filling remaining in the blender. No eggs! No 90% fat! Yay!

9. Take cheesecake out, and let it cool. There really shouldn't be any browning...a tiny bit on the edges is okay, though.

10. When cheesecake is COLD COLD COLD, put it in the fridge/freezer/outside - whatever you prefer.

11. In 12 hours, take out the cheesecake and wipe off the condensation at the top, using a paper towel. Do not use a tissue. I'm not sure why the cheesecakes condensed... I think it's due to the tofu, actually, or perhaps the blueberries [high water content!]. Either way, although it makes the cheesecakes look a bit weird, it's just water after all.

12. These cheesecakes taste good for at least 3-4 days. In the freezer, they last much longer [well...duh.]

13. The cheesecake is actually relatively healthy...

25 December 2010

Christmas Cookies et al.

JM had a Christmas party, and we made and decorated approximately 75 cookies.
Note my blueberry cheesecake...
Berry pies! We also made "Merry XMEN" and "Merry XKCD".
Gosh. Fat. 4/3 cups of butter, melted. I don't recall ever smelling butter... but melted butter today smelled disgusting. Absolutely putrid. I don't know how I've never noticed it...

24 December 2010

Graham Cracker Houses Studded with Sugar

Is it bird or a plane?! It's... both. It's in the bird's eye [or plane] point of view! So, the question is, is it a tree or a house? It looks like a Christmas tree, sure, but it's actually...
GRAHAM CRACKER HOUSE! Whoot! I don't really eat graham crackers [ever since I found out there's PHO in them... I don't like trans fat], and I don't eat premade icing either [PHO], but it was sure fun creating houses! I decided to make a triangular one because... well, everyone elses' houses' angles added up to 360 degrees. Or two pi [aw, I can't make a pie joke here!], so I decided I just wanted one pi.

It looks like a monster... note the eyes, the wrapper nose, and the tongue/path thingy. "Why the long face?" Haha...

AK had a graham cracker house party, so that's why there are all these houses [and one igloo!]. AK's house looks like a summer outhouse! :D
The ingredients included: graham crackers, brown or white icing, M&Ms, York peppermint pieces, gummy worms [well. Those got eaten...], gummy bears, marshmallows, yucky gumdrops, dots, fat jelly beans, Skittles and Rolos.

I need to make some gingerbread... Well, that'll be something I'll do on the 26th.

None of this food is healthy. Maybe there are vegetable/fruit/whole grain houses, out there, for Christmas, but the kids would overwhelmingly prefer sugar-sprinkled houses, right? It's the activity to do, even for people who don't actually believe in Christmas. It's become a holiday that's commercialized, and I'm not sure why I'm partaking in this commercialism. And this weight gain...

23 December 2010


Today AK came over to my house and we made vegetable dumplings! I had made the filling earlier on [9am, to be exact], using my brother's drink blender. Actually, it's also a solid-ingredient blender, and it chops carrots and tofu really well! The filling included carrot, extra firm tofu, garlic chives, bean sprouts, and some soy sauce... and PLENTY OF PEPPER. Perhaps there was way too much pepper...
We used premade dumpling wrappers, because it is seriously time consuming making my own dumpling wrappers. My mum used to do that when I was ... 5, and we didn't have any Chinese supermarkets nearby in Australia. She used to flatten out tons of little dubloons of flour, and I used to use the rolling pin and make irregular ovals. The wrappers were much thicker then, and tasted much better than these ones [more gluten, I think, and more transparent and chewy]...
The lettuce leaves are there to prevent the dumplings from sticking. However, at least two dumplings DID stick to the pan. :(
YEAH DUMPLINGS! This was also a great time to catch up on life and college, and to get fat for the winter. Haha.

22 December 2010


Yes, I actually cooked today.
YES I ACTUALLY BAKED TODAY. [First time I stuck something in the oven since...lasagne in the summer?]

But what I'm baking is currently in the oven, and, besides, I want to wait it out because I'm going to make two more of them... so I'll make a cheesy [harhar!! punny hint!] blog post about them on...Sunday, most likely, because Saturday's post will be about JM's Christmas party.
Instead, I'm going to post about a meal I had about three Sundays ago, and it was quite cool because it was individually tailored!
I was at Commons, with the take-out box because I really needed to study so I couldn't eat in the cafeteria, and I decided to have a sandwich. Commons always has this really crust bread at the sandwich-making place, so I asked the dude whether I could have a sandwich made out of that kind of bread.
"This? It's been sitting here for a few weeks now... I don't really recommend it. But tell you what, let me check out the back to see whether we have any fresh bread like this."
So he goes to the back and comes back with a baguette.
So, this is why Commons DOES NOT SUCK! This is evidence stating that Penn's food is not bad! This is in retaliation to people who call the dining hall servers annoying or anything negative! This dude was awesome! Instead of square wheat bread, he gave me a fresh half of a baguette!
As a side note, Commons recently decided to add a nacho bar to the dining hall, so we have a pizza place, a dessert place, a fruit bar, a salad bar, a grill, a comfort foods place, the hot and cold drinks...and a nacho bar. Sweet. Or should I say, zesty!

21 December 2010

Amy Gutmann's Study Break

Holiday style!
There were cookies, nuts, chocolate, a chocolate fountain, and drinks, brought to us by Amy Gutmann's hired catering company [the same one as the one at Halloween?]. It was in her backyard, and it was indoors inside this huge tent, tinted blue.

Cliche holiday cookies, with nice normal milk chocolate.
Dry, airy sticky buns that tasted quite bland and cold. I did not like it.

Milk Chocolate!
The disgusting liquorice-ish cookies are the white ones... I'm not sure if it's liquorice or anise or something... but it was disgusting! I thought it was powdered sugar.

Coconut macaroons, caramel thins...chocolate cookies. Tuesday 14 December.