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Thursday, February 11, 2010

cookin' and choppin'

for three weeks in a row, i've sauntered right past the bread aisle during my grocery runs without picking up a single loaf. and why? well, because i've been making it myself!

i've tried amish white bread, classic sandwich bread, and i think i've found a keeper: the aptly-named perfect sandwich bread. look at how golden and pretty it came out:

i just hope the teen isn't getting a rep around school as "that chick who eats sandwiches with bread her mommy made." haha! i asked her about it, and she hadn't even thought about it. so, sweet! making a loaf of bread for the week is now my fun little sunday afternoon tradition.

remember the hello kitty exhibit and tea i went to a few months ago? my friend lilcee and i both recently acquired that fantabulous hello kitty wafflemaker, and have been looking for good recipes ever since. while local food blogger wandering chopsticks wasn't particularly impressed with the waffles served at that tea, i've been slightly obsessed with finding a recipe to duplicate them. they were fluffy, chewy, and sweet on their own without added syrup, and that texture was just lovely. so when lilcee sent me a link to this recipe for hong kong-style waffles, i knew i had to give it a shot.

after i managed to convert the measurements from grams to cups, i got the ingredients out. and i was the queen of substitutions - since i don't keep cake flour in the house (between all-purpose, bread, and whole wheat, i don't have room for any more freaking flour), i subbed a couple of tablespoons out of my cup of regular all-purpose flour with some cornstarch. and, not having any superfine/caster sugar, i just busted out my coffee grinder, scooped in some plain ol' granulated sugar, and gave it a whirl till it was just right. i mixed my batter and then set it aside to "coagulate" for ten minutes as instructed.

i added a little water (that shit thickened up considerably), poured it in the heated contraption, and two and a half minutes later, out popped these beautiful waffles.

they were damn near perfect - the right texture and color. next time, though, i think i'll add a little extra sugar to sweeten them a little more. otherwise, yum! thumbs up.

when it comes to chicken, i tend to stick to what i know best - boneless, skinless breasts. i almost always have a stash of the stuff in my freezer. but when i saw that whole roasting birds were on sale at fresh & easy for $.79 a pound, which translated into less than $4, i couldn't pass it up. i took it home and decided to try roasting a whole chicken for the first time in my whole life.

now, i realize that there's nothing to it, for the most part. all you have to do is season it, stuff it if you want, and toss it in the oven. and after cooking that turkey for thanksgiving, i figured this would be child's play. so after reading several recs for this recipe, i got to work.

a little over an hour later, i pulled it out to see how it was doing, and the thermometer reading told me that it was done.

the verdict? well, it was a'ight. i made a gravy out of the drippings and served it along with scoops of the veggies (mirepoix, if you want to get technical). but my thermometer had failed me - as we sliced into the meat, we found lots of still-pink, obviously raw areas. we tried zapping it in the microwave to cook it through, but the moment was totally ruined. i was bummed, and we ate as much of it as we could, but it was a big fat FAIL. the hub tried to cheer me up and blame the cheap fresh & easy chicken, but i don't think that had anything to do with it. *sigh*

i'd had a pork roast sitting in my freezer, taking up precious space, for a few weeks. still a little burnt out on pulled pork sandwiches, i decided to try a recipe for char siu pork that i'd found during one of my magazine-clearing sprees. i can't seem to find it online to link, but it's similar to this one. anyway, i mixed up the fragrant marinade, poured it over the meat inside a ziploc bag, and let it sit overnight.

i didn't use the slow cooker because my recipe didn't specify it, but roasted it in my oven instead. the kitchen smelled really good, so i had high hopes. unfortunately, the meat was a little tough - which is probably why the slow cooker was a good idea. oh, well. maybe next time.

and, completely off-topic - my hair appointment was a couple of days ago. after six weeks of popping biotin pills every night with my vitamins, my hair had grown enough to go in and have it reshaped into a more suitable look. this is what it looked like after that last cut that i hated so (i cringe every time i look at this):

[shudder] that's awful. i looked like a freaking boy! i was so upset, i went home and bawled my eyes out that afternoon. oy.

anyway, this time the outcome was drastically different. i walked out of the salon so much happier, and feeling about a zillion times more confident. my self-esteem had taken quite a tumble over these last weeks - is it super lame how much of my happiness and pride in my appearance is tied to my hair? here i am, as of this morning:

it feels so good to be me again.


  1. your hair is super cute! so the biotin does work huh? did you buy it a henry's? i am trying to grow out my boring bob.

  2. I think I've said this before, but your waffles are sooooooooooo much better than Royal/T's were. Thumbs up.

  3. Your hair looks fabulous! MMM bread...

  4. The Hello Kitty waffles are my favorite thing ever! I love your hair, I may start popping Biotin and help out my own situation!

  5. a trick I learned from my dad was to split the bird in half at the back and then roast it. Takes less time to cook and you can see the breast meat so can judge from there if it's done or not.

    Cute hair. I just might have to try this waffle recipe. Thanks for sharing again!

  6. 1) Where were you putting the thermometer in the bird? The bones heat up faster than the meat, so if the thermometer touched bone it would give off a higher reading.
    2) One of my mom's best friends always said "If you can't manage your hair, you can't manage your life." I think a lot of us are tied in to how our hair looks.

  7. I really like your new (old) haircut! So much better than the last one. I wish I could pull off short hair.

  8. this post got me hungry and I must say I found myself squeeling like a kid again when I saw the result of the HK waffles...hmmm yum!
    And its totally normal to be so "attached" to the way our hair is. I know I am & do feel a bit sad when the do gets a bit too short then we are ok in a couple of weeks.
    I see Biotin in my future.

  9. * Dude! Those waffles did turn our perfectly! Very impressed.
    * I love that you're baking so much bread at home. I'm hoping to give the brioche another go next weekend. And you know, maybe this time I'll remember the salt. :/
    * I like your return to the old 'do, too. It's just you dear. :)


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