Sunday, September 30, 2007 ;
2:53 AM
I took many pictures of new things I decided to try out in the kitchen, but realised I can't possibly keep up with the posting of all of them. So maybe I will try this, every couple of months, I'll combine them into 1 food post.

Ok, so some of the things we did from July to Sept.

We happened to meet up with a Singaporean couple. Or, more accurately, the wife is Sporean, the hubby's Malaysian. They met in Spore at a Catholic church retreat and just got married. The guy just got into the PhD program at the University of Utah (they call it UofU here). He's doing medical bioinformatics. He was an engineering graduate from NTU I think. The girl, was introduced to me by a church friend's colleague! It was so amusing, the whole story.

In brief, it goes like this: my church friend said her colleague was posted to UofU for an attachment. That'd be in Nov this yr, and can I please answer some of her colleague's Qs about moving here, and about the weather, places to visit etc...

I said no problem, and began emailing this friend of friend's. She is supposed to be here with the pharmacology dept or something (both of them work at SingHealth) for a month. Then suddenly, she asked me if I could email a friend of hers because she maybe coming to Utah also, and for 5 years! I said no problem! Wow, I am now emailing a friend of friend of friend's.

So turned out her hubby's going to be here for 5years and she'd quit her job to follow, but only in Jan 2008. ANd surprise of surprises! Our chats went on to what our jobs are, and she said she worked at NAC. And guess what?!?! She and dh worked together very closely on the SYF, because there was an awards ceremony or something!

When they both came over to SLC in late Aug to get their apartment, furniture, move in and settle down, we met up 2x, and she bought a few boxes of Prima mixes for me.

1. One of them is this Hokkien Mee mix. Needless to say, we were ecstatic. I didn't have any traditional noodles with me, so I used spaghetti. To both dh and my delight, it still tasted quite close to how Hokkien Mee is supposed to be. Yummy.

Above right would be dh's bowl. He so missed sambal, but there was none, so we put some Thai chilli paste for him. :-) He already asked Jessie (the Sporean lady mentioned above) to bring some when she comes over in Jan 2008. We dunno if it can cross customs!

2. Above left: the ingredients to making S'mores. The summer BBQ or campfire treat all kids love.

I am the kind of mom who would like my kids to know about every culture and to try out new things. Since this is a treat, they should have the chance to make it and eat it.

And in one of their Barney VCDs, they'd already heard about S'mores and Graham crackers. So I let them make their own. But I used white milk choc instead of the dark one, so the colour is a bit too uniform. The dark choc would look great as it oozes out from under the Graham crackers. The main part was watching the marshmallow "melt" in the toaster oven. Both ds loved that.

3. Our Korean church friend gave us some very hot and spicy "kimchi". She siad it is not really kimchi, but then it is also made with those sliced melons. It is soooo spicy I would tear at the eyes and have to wipe my nose every now and then, but it is so shiok! So we usually have a little of it with pasta or rice. (below left).

She also gave us many melons (like lao huang gua) that she grew herself. So we made "Old melon corn pork rib soup". Somehow, self-grown stuff tastes so much better. The soup was so sweet, so flavorful, even the kids slurped up whole bowls of it (below right).

By the way, I am not so sure if it's the custom, but I had given the kind Korean lady some of the fried rice I made before that, and she returned me the container with the "kimchi". Previously I made stuff for other friends too, and they returned me the containers with something they made inside too. Are we supposed to do that?

Cos if so, then I must've been pretty rude! I've returned others their containers, just washed and clean but empty!!

4. This has now become a frequently prepared dish, cos all 4 of us love it so much. Cream of wild mushroom soup. It's also quite nutritious for the kids, considering the whole milk and chicken soup I use, so I let it be lunch for them, just add some pasta or bread and some fruit at the end, it's quite a balanced meal!

Below: Boil some chicken with bones and onions/ ginger till you get a really good chicken stock. I add some sea salt to it at the end.

Then stir fry onions and chopped mushrooms, add some flour, the chicken stock and milk later on, and voila! Really great-tasting mushroom soup. Below left: the lovely fresh mushroom and ingredients. Initially I used heavy cream but then when I ran out of it, I started using just whole milk (full cream milk) and it works just fine too. I don't like very thick soup anyway.

5. Then the church members and our dear neighbors all started harvest their garden vegetables. So suddenly we had tons of zucchinis, squashes, peppers to cook. Decided to mix them all and cook with mushrooms. It became a huge lot in the wok so I gave some to my neighbors. They usually eat the veggies grilled or roasted or with salad, so the stir fry is new to them, I think. (below left)

6. The Dowdys grew such deliciously sweet cherry tomatoes that I had to keep a record of it here. In case I ever forgot they had such a variety that was so blissfully juicy and sweet! When you pop them into the mouth, there is only sweetness, no hint of sourness, or tastelessness. It is like eating fruit gummies. Unbelievable. Dh and I couldn't stop eating them, just like that, as if they were candy. (above right)

7. Blueberry cheesecake. Got the recipe from the Kaisers at church. It's a no-bake recipe.

Very easy to make. So I asked ds1 to help. He was in charge of crushing all the Graham crackers into a powdery consistency. We had no mortar and pestle, so he used a cup.

ds2 was very interested and kept standing behind him to watch, but we don't know why he had to keep stepping on ds1's calves/ feet at the same time, which made ds1 ticklish. (below)

8. Cherry pie. Got left over Cool Whip. Made some cherry pies, gave one away to the Crills.

The day after I gave it to them, the hubby had stomach flu and dh kept ribbing me that it must be due to the cherry pie! Excuse me!!!! (below right)

9. Above left: Banana pudding. This recipe came from the Crills. She made it for a church potluck, and it was so yummy I asked her for the recipe. It's got a lot of bananas inside, so it's another way to make the desserts full of fruit for the kids. Better than chocolate cake, I guess. I made mine in a tupperware container, so the presentation is terrible, don't mind that, please. :-)

10. Fried rice again, for church potluck. I think I mentioned this website called "cooking for engineers"? I liked how they photographed all the ingredients too. And after I bought the wrong thing for an item called "Cool Whip", I think have a picture of the ingredients helps a lot, esp if I am new to that culture or cuisine. (below right) Can't find the picture for the finished product! :-)

Below left: Farmer's Market at our city park. Only the watermelons caught our attention. The market was pathetically small, after we saw the ones in SLC and in Boston. So we didn't return for more. Walmart had cheaper and equally fresh produce! We were disappointed cos I expected to stock up on fresh veggies and fruits at the local farmers' market.

11. Homemade mantou. Below right: This recipe, my mom came up with. And she did it by trial and error. My kids loved eating the mantou and I had lots of flour at home, so making mantou is a good way to get rid of the flour. The kneading takes some time though, and is quite a workout!

12. Chicken curry. Had a lot of chicken breast meat left over from our BBQ party for the church members. Was thinking of totally different ways of cooking chicken for each meal so that our family doesn't get totally sick of it. So did curry one day, but it's so different from curry back home, cos the spices, and the chicken meat are different. I'd never used chicken breast meat in curries before! :-)

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