Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quilt Interuppted

This is the joint quilt project that is currently in progress.

This is the drawing of the quilt and it was done using a quilt planning program my partner found on the internet. I was planning to get the program too but cause I have a Macbook, it will cost me $100 USD. Yeah, no way.

My partner and I spend a good hour or two at the fabric store trying to find the best color coordination. I think we found the jackpot. It also made it easier that the recipient's favorite color is blue and yellow. The colors are traditionally country but I think we found a balance to not make it look centuries old.

For some reason, I made so many mistakes try to sew the second row. But I didn't make a mistake on any other rows? Go figure. Unfortunately, the last picture cut out the bottom of the quilt by one row. My cameraman was sleeping. But I assure you that the quilt is symmetrical and uniform all the way through, just like the drawing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hainese/Singapore Chicken Rice

The idea of this famous chicken dish in southeast Asian is simple but I assure you that you won't forget the complexity of the flavours of this dish.

First you chop the green onions, garlic and ginger for the soup/broth. I kind of screwed up but I forgot to chop shallots until it was almost too late. So that is why you won't see the shallots but I assure you that they are just as important as the other ingredients.

When you have all the veggies chopped, it is time to make the magical chicken broth. As if the ginger, garlic, green onions and shallots are not aromatic enough on its own, you have to use half and half of seasame oil and regular oil. See the light toasting of the veggies. Can't you just smell it? I can, since that smell can linger in the kitchen air for a bit.

Next, when you decide that there is enough garlic and ginger smell in your kitchen to ensure hours of candle burning, make the broth. Add the can soup broth and chicken soup powder to your lightly toasted garlic/ginger mix. This is not as au natural or how the cooks in Singapore would do it, but I also don't make restaurant amount of chicken rice. The cooks would have big cylinders of chicken broth that would have over 50 chickens cooking in it. Even if I wanted to do it the original way, there is not enough chicken fat on that one little chicken to match the flavours. So I cheat. There I said it.

Now that the broth is in a rolling boil, torture the poor chicken in the broth.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat more seasame/canola oil till hot and add more green onions and minced garlic. The special ingredient you need to fry with the onions and garlic is pandan leaves. It gives it a woody flavour that is distinct to south Asia cooking. Now that there is not chance of your kitchen ever smelling normal again, fry the 5 cups of washed rice with the new onion/garlic mix.

Meanwhile, your chicken should be done. To keep with the authenticity of this recipe, I will share with you the secret step the cooks in Singapore swear by. Immediately dunk the whole chicken in ice cold water. This step supposedly makes the skin separates from the meat. And I think it also cools the chicken down enough to make it easier to handle for the chopping part.

Leave the chicken in the ice bath and back to the burnt, I mean, toasting rice/garlic/onion mix. Strain the delicious broth and add it to the fried rice. I had to transfer the rice into the rice cooker bowl so I know to add just the right amount of broth.

You are drooling now, aren't you?! We are almost there, I assure you. While the rice is cooking away, go and chop the chicken into bite size. Once you are done chopping, then your rice should be done. It probably won't take the cooks in Singapore that long, but I want to make sure I still have all my fingers for the eating part.

TAA DAA! I saved the best pic for last. That sauce over the chicken is a little concoction we made. It is a mixture of soy sauce, seasame oil and crushed fried garlic. Gum will be served for dessert after. 8)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Purple Haze- DONE!

I was actually finished this jacket a few days ago but I got side tracked by some cooking on demand and a joint quilt project. It was painstaking to sew the edges by hand so it would have an invisible seam but it was worth it. I know my mom would definetly give it a thumbs up if she sees the extra effort. Honestly, she probably would love it either way but I would still get an ear full on how to make it look better. She use to be a seamstress so there is much pressure and expectations.

I will have to show you the pictures of the joint quilt project another time but here is the start of the other jacket. The more I look at the fabric colors, the more I feel they are too harsh. But I am sure it will turn out o.k.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Purple Haze

This is the first of the 2 jackets I will be making. I started with the purple fabric. I don't know why but so far, I have made mistakes every step of the way. Only one was not reversible. Auughhh...wasted fabric! Oh well, I guess it will be thrown in the scrap pile and used for something else later.

This is the inside lining using the complementary fabric. It is really pretty light lavender color with a bit of soft yellow.

The outside is done, so is the inside cotton batting. I just have to sew all three pieces together and we will be done. And...GO!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Secret Christmas Present Project 1 of 3

It was madness at Fabricland this weekend. Mind you, they had a "Madness Sale" for members this weekend but I haven't had to wait in line as long as Christmas sales. I think it was probably about 35-45 minutes in line to pay. Enough of my complaining. Let me show you what I bought.

Patterns were only $1.99. The pattern on the right is for our future dog. I know, that is so cheesy and my mom will probably say it is a waste of money. So please don't tell her. And the dress, why not. It was pretty.

Now to the main thing I going for. Last month I had made myself one of theses jackets (shorter one)to wear around the house. The pattern doesn't call for lining but I made a lining and sandwiched it with quilt batting. Oh so warm. I love the natural cotton quilt batting since it is so breathable and doesn't feel heavy. I love it so much I think I will make 2 of the same jackets for some special ladies in my life.

These fabrics will be for the first jacket. A very Oriental feel.

These fabric will be for the second jacket. More country look but vibrant.

Step 1: pin pattern to fabric and cut.
Step 2: Tomorrow as it is time to go to bed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Peanut Butter + Cookie Dough = LOVE

A friend has been asking me to make her some peanut butter cookies. So I finally got the opportunity to make some last week. I made enough for a few friends but I was not able to give it to the one that had made the request. So the cookies keep staring at me over the weekend and I had no choice but to eat them up. She was not impressed with my story.

By the way, that is a $10 hand mixer I got at Canadian Tire. It's cheap, loud but does the job.

I had initially followed the recipe to the T and just keep the dough balls round. But I found they did not spread out much so the second batch I flattened them a bit and I think they didn't crumble as much when I pushed the Hershey Kisses on top. In the end, it doesn't matter much as it all ended up in my stomach.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Left My Heart Back In San Francisco

This is one of the best vacations I ever went on. I have always wanted to go to San Francisco but no specific reason. I finally went just this past September long weekend with 3 other girlfriends. It was the best time ever. We still talk about it every now and then. It was the perfect group size and perfect weekend to get a taste of San Francisco. Here are some pictures of our fabulous weekend.

Eerily quiet as we approached the famous prison. But it was one of the best tours we went on. So informative and well organized.

The famous cell that housed one of the prisoners that broke out.

This is the kitchen and mess hall. There was a board in the kitchen that outlined the knives used so it was an easy and quick reference to see which knife was missing. For some reason that didn't solve the problem of knives growing feet. The mess hall was equipped with tear gas outlets. There were to be used if there as ever a riot during meal time.

Our first stop to a famous restaurant made famous by the Food Network Show, "Diner's Drive-ins and Dives". We got up early and waiting in line for 45 minutes but it was worth the wait. Watching the owner/head cook and his sous chef cook was such a treat. They maneuvered around that 3 feet by 2 feet area with such grace and purpose.

Can't miss this part of San Fran. The tour guides informed us that tourism is the largest industry in San Francisco. It beats finance and parking fees. I guess parking is not something they like to highlight.

The fog was rolling in from the north so we couldn't see the tops of the bridge towers. That was one of the coldest and longest ride to the north side (to Sal Sausalito).

This is Sal Sausalito. My future home. I thought the fog would have covered this little town but because the town is in the bottom of the valley, the fog just rolls over. San Francisco was around 15 degrees Celsius but Sal Sausalito was at least 10 degrees warmer. We drove pass this building on the outskirts of the town. It has been the site of many restaurants that have tried and fail. I told the girls we are going to buy that building and start our own restaurant. Or better yet, start a bed and breakfast.

I can't remember what the name of this tall building is but the tour guides told us that the top part is used for storage of extra boxes.

I miss you Tiffany.

I think we were the only people on the tour bus that under stood the significance of these houses. The other people just thought they were pretty but it brings back fun memories of watching "Full House".

I didn't know Popsicle sticks originated in San Francisco. This was part of the bread museum while we waited for our table.

Cioppino. YUM! Seafood stew with tomato base. It's a foodie's paradise down there. So much in so little time.

Chinatown for all our souvineur needs.

Busy, busy, busy.

Since coming back, I have been begging to go back. I was opting to go back this November since there was a seat sale. But I was told there were more important things that need our attention. Yeah, so what if the bills need to be paid? So what if our main door has gaps that is letting in cold air and is spiking our heating bill. And I thought I get away with a sale option. I promise San Francisco that I will be back again and it will be longer then a weekend.