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Thursday, May 29, 2008

flower power

i have been busy crafting... so many things but only a few close to completion. i have crazy ADD and my mind is always changing onto yet another project. i have a baby blanket with just a few more lines to finish. a stuffed elephant this is the bane of my existance right now. the head is too big and the body is too small. it's like the Elephant Man ... minus the ugliness and meanness etc. actually it's not really like that but you know what i mean. i'm playing with the idea of just making an entirely different animal altogether. i also found some flower patterns and i've been all about them this week. not sure what i'll do with them all but they're easy and addictive to make. i'll use them more as decorations/accessories i guess.

happy crafting!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thịt Kho

i know i swore i wasn't going to cook anything worthy of blogging until i finished something crafty. i have some stuff just about done, but they're gifts and i can't blog about them until the recipient receives them. as a result, i'm eating. a lot. all i think about is food. what i can make to basically take pretty pix of before i consume.

today i had a massive craving for asian food. see what happens when you go on strike from asian food? but more specifically, VIETNAMESE food. down home Vietnamese cooking. dishes you don't see in restaurants or in cookbooks. recipes that are whispered in your ear by your mom, whose own mom whispered in her ear the same ingrediants. ok, now i'm being dramatic but i'm watching the Andromeda Strain and it's freaking me out.

anyway, i found the recipe for thịt kho from two of my fave bloggers: Wandering Chopsticks and Gastronomy. i must've been high on crack or some sort of distracted because there were hardly ANY options when i googled for the recipe this morning but just now, when i googled it again, a ba-jillion popped up! wtf? but the recipezaar does have the nutrition facts.

what i've learned today in making this dish:

  • i need a proper knife set. my current set sucks.
  • handling raw pork is not so bad.
  • i hate prep work, i would suck on Hell's Kitchen
  • the dish turned out well but mom's and grandma's version tastes sooooo much better.

still tho, i'm learning and i'm sure with more practice (and hopefully a willing guinea pig out of jab...), i'll get better at it. for tonight's version, i added tofu because when i last had it in japan, bio-mom had it in her thịt kho and i dug it. it was the one dish she made all week that i liked. my meal would've been complete with some pickled veggie of some sort but i don't get stuff like that here in baltimore. so i made do with just lettuce to even out the salty-sweet.

Monday, May 26, 2008

.: Memorial Day Weekend :.

what a freaking weekend. i am exhausted! but it was a good weekend so i am not complaining in the least. jab and i went to Luray Caverns, which is nestled in the Shenandoah Valley of Northern VA. alot of pix were taken, both by jab and myself. i'll let them do most of the talking:

this is why i can't be far from the east coast.

inside the caves, it was a nice constant 54 degrees. the ceilings were high in most places ...

ok, this? scary. as in aliens scary.

the moisture builds up and there's a mini-lake inside the cave. i'm sure there's a scientific name for it but i'll just use my terminology. it was kinda trippy, the reflection made it hard to decipher where one ended and the other began ...

due to the lighting, this looks like we were in Hell ...

the wishing lake. to date, they've amassed about $750K and proceeds go to a variety of charities. i threw in a penny and made a wish ...

the maze was a lot of fun and not at all like The Shining.

dinner was at a nice little cozy inn. we dined on the front porch. i seriously have a thing for massive sprawling porches and fenced in front yards ...

my view from the porch ...

started off with grilled shrimp

then lavender rubbed lamb atop a fruit jelly with summer veggies and mashed potatoes on the side ...

dessert was Bourbon St. Pecan pie with vanilla bean ice cream ...

the next day was hiking. i'm not much of a hiker or an outdoorsy type of girl. however, one of my new year's resolutions is to give hiking an honest to goodness try. plus, now that i have a decent camera and i actually know how to use it, i like to take pix of random things i see along the way. whatever, it amuses me. i did, tho, wear a dress to go hiking. i wore sneakers and cute ankle socks but i had to have some semblance of myself whilst hiking.

these flowers were so vibrant and purple ...

i forget what these are called but they're pretty prevalent along the hiking trails ...

i wish i knew the names of these flowers!

stumbled upon a little patch of butterflies ...

i think this one is called a Monarch ... it was the only one of its kind among smaller purple-grey butterflies ... maybe it was a brothel of butterflies and he was the pimp ... Hooker Butterflies ...

jab came across a snake and he backtracked it fast ... i made him go back to take pix ...

it was lovely in the woods ... we hiked a trail called the Appalachian Trail at the Elkwallow Wayside, off of Skyline Drive. this is not to be confused with the uber serious hiking of the mountains of Appalachia. i think we may have hiked a mile one way. i'm good for awhile.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

.: A Dance in the Park :.

a night out in DC is a rare occasion for me. i just don't like the crowd or the uppity nature of clubs. however, when buu told me about this new club she'd gone to and how elite it was, i had to go. my coworker from Seattle was in town for a training and was going to be in DC for the weekend and could hang, i figured why not?

after dinner, we made our way to the Park. we were pretty early, buu wanted to ensure we made it in before the hoopla of the incoming crowd and also, we wanted a good spot to watch people trying to get in to the club. there are four levels, each with a dj spinning different kinds of music. my fave floor was the 2nd floor. old school 80s and 90s jams mixed in with some fresh beats and maybe a few songs from today. they played a handful of Madonna tracks (INTO THE GROOVE! umm... hello?! best song ever!)and i was hooked. their staff? hot. all dressed very professionally in full suits and the Bodyguard/Secret Service type of communication ear plugs and sleeve microphones. slightly intimidating if it weren't for the fact that i thought it was all hilarious and pretentious.

we managed to do a round of shots... eva and mike were hard core and went for tequila shots while buu and i went for the redheaded sluts.

for me, after a few drinks, i'm prone to dance and actually am nice to people. buu is always nice and crazy so nothing changes when she drinks.

overall, it was a good night. good company, good music. it got really packed toward midnight, almost obnoxiously so. for such an "elite" club, they sure did let the most random people in. i saw people with just raggedly tshirts and jeans on. i figured the way that buu had explained it to me, it would be like Studio 54 and the girl with the microphone would be all choosy about who she'd let in. but rather, there was no girl but a few men in suits acting official but for the most part, really nice. i even saw them turn a couple away because the guy was dressed real casual but then they walked five paces away and the guy must've taken pity on them and called them back to let them in. wtf? i wanted indignant denial! embarassing tantrums. i was let down. i even dressed up for the night. and when i say dress up, i mean i put on a new tank, jeans and slapped on some makeup. whatever, i had a good time and i'd even venture out that ways again.

a few pix courtesy of Spy On DC.

.: off the Asian Food Strike :.

started last week. i had some fast food chinese food with jab. then last night, before heading out for some dancing, i went with some friends to dinner at japanese restaurant called Nooshi. i totally forgot to take pix but it was pretty good. we ordered an assortment of rolls, and two entrees: Shaky Beef and Honey Peanut Chicken to share.

then today when buu and i woke up with slight headaches and sore feet, we made our way to the Eden Center in Seven Corners, VA for some lunch and much needed Vietnamese groceries. there are so many tiny restaurants to choose from and we never know what the names of these establishments are. i just know that i'd been to this place before and it was alright. the Pho is greasy, per kim so i chose Bún Bò Huế, i figured it'd help take away the headache and quesy feeling in my tummy, as well as warm me up since it was slightly drizzly and windy out. definitely did the trick. plus, the cà phê sữa đá was strong and helped wake me up a bit.

after the yummy lunch, we headed off on the hunt for a rice paddy hat and groceries. alas, my search for the elusive hat was futile. one would think that in an entire shopping center i'd find the blasted thing. i did pick up my much needed soy sauce and fish sauce so i guess my trip wasn't a total waste. Big K will have to be diligent with her SPF until i can find a hat for her.

i also was able to pick up a week's worth of random Vietnamese dishes, like bánh cuốn and bánh uot. i'm pretty much set for the week with regards to dinner and lunch. sweet.

sawadee kaaaa

my cousin buu and her hubby zeke were in thailand and cambodia recently. zeke for work, buu tagging along. (lucky wench). she came back last week and brought me a present. it's a cute little bag i can use to carry my lunch or light groceries. pass. i will instead use this cute little bag to carry around my latest and greatest transportable craft projects. normally it's just yarn and hook but still. how effing adorable! i heart receiving presents almost as much as i heart making and giving them. fyi, buu loooooved her pin cushion but when i asked her if it'll inspire her to sew more. hmmm... kay... unless i can find a way to gift wrap More Time for her, she may require a tad bit more prodding.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pinning Cushion

i bought Lacy Crochet last week and when it came in the mail, all other projects were put on hold. it called for crochet thread, as opposed to yarn. grrrreat, yet another thing for me to get crazed about. the projects are cute and sweet and are supposed to only take a few hours to complete. it took me about 2 days. i had to learn how to read the diagrams and abbreviations. my first day i thought of chucking the book out the window. i am not a fan of how the directions are written, i'm used to being spoonfed the lines, but the diagrams are pretty helpful so whatevs. i made a pin cushion for my cousin. it's supposed to measure about 2.5" but mine came out double that size. i'm still not used to the tension and all that. it's two granny squares together and joined by stitching over the edges, and a small cotton cushion in the middle. i'd never made granny squares before but i think it came out sweet and thankfully buu is always a fan of getting little treats, hopefully she'll like this one.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ricotta Cheesecake, Panna Cotta, and Egg Casserole

the last three days have been a whirl at work. a mini baby shower and all day training ... both gave me reasons to go a little ape in the kitchen and whip up some dishes i've been wanting to have a go at.

so for the baby shower, per request, i made two key lime pies and a torta di ricotta. from the moment i saw the pic of this dessert on Use Real Butter, i had to make it. plus, this blogger is my latest cyber crush, she's so inspirational... as always, i didn't follow the recipe exactly but i think it turned out well. i did end up with a small crack down the middle even tho i put a pan of water in the lowest rack, but not too horrible, plus i knew i was going to cover it up anyway. my least favorite parts of the recipe were the zesting (i've decided that there has to be a store that sells zest!) and the dough. it came out alright, very rich and heavy but it was a hit amongst my coworkers. slicing up the strawberries and placing them accordingly on top was my favorite part, it was very soothing for some reason.

for today's all day training, i volunteered to bring in breakfast. i decided to make panna cotta but rather than using espresso, i used instant capuccino instead.

i also made an egg dish. i just threw a bunch of stuff in a casserole dish: cubed day old bread, tablespoon of thyme, pork sausage, salt, pepper, and eggs. i put it all together last night and put it in the oven at 350degrees for an hour this morning. ta da!

my last item was snickerdoodle muffins. so cute, plus the blog i found the recipe from is effing awesome!

now i'm tired but i have a few sewing projects to bang out. there is just no rest for the creative heart! :)