Tuesday, February 17, 2009 ;
7:55 PM
Didn't take pics of ayi's 2 new dishes. Sigh. By the time I remembered, both boys had polished off almost the whole plateful of potato cakes.

So there are 2 miserable cakes left here:

Both boys love it. So I will have to make it again.

I'll try to recall the steps. I realise I have to blog it because after some time, I will forget the steps and because there is no recipe, it will be hard to replicate without regular practice. She never cooks with recipes and she doesn't have measurements for any ingredient. Older women who are very experienced cook like that, including my mom and mil.

Like when I was learning how to make and wrap rice dumplings from my mil, everything had to be learnt by observation. No quantitative amounts of ingredients are known, you feel by hand, and see by eyes to know how much to put.

Potato cakes
1. Peel 1 large potato and grind it by hand through a grinder device with holes.
2. Beat an egg into the ground potato.
3. Add other minced or ground veggies if you like. In this case, we chopped up carrot into very small bits and added it into the potato mix. Ayi says if adults eat it, they add chilli. Very spicy, very shiok.
4. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of flour. You can use plain flour, or the Korean tempura flour. Just to thicken it a bit and make it a little crunchy.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Heat frying pan, add some oil, and place spoonfuls of the mix into the pan, shape into circles. Fry both sides, and you're done!

The ground potato oxidises very quickly here. I don't remember potatoes turning brown so quickly back home, but anyway that's why the potato cake turned out brown in colour! Any way to avoid that? As she was grinding it, it turned brown already.

It's a rather nutritious snack, I think, and the kids certainly devoured it.

The other dish is a Korean beef and seaweed soup. Forgot to take pics. This one was enjoyed more by Dh. Ayi says Korean women especially like this dish. The health benefit of this particular seaweed is supposedly to improve blood circulation and is very important for females, ayi emphasised. She said something about replenishing blood. I couldn't understand all the terms she used, but I think it maybe works like dang gui (the Chinese tonic).

The kids likes the soup because of the beef but would pick out all the seaweed strands. They think it is slimy and yucky, haha.

Beef and seaweed soup
1. Stir-fry the minced beef or sliced beef to brown it. Add sesame oil liberally (she says Koreans love sesame oil).
2. After it is browned, add the seaweed which has been soaked and washed into the frying pan and stir-fry together for just about 2 min.
3. Boil water in pot and add the seaweed and beef to the boiling water. You may add some onions.
4. When the water boils vigorously again, lower the heat till it simmers. Let it simmer for 10-15min.
5. Add soy sauce and a whole lot of minced garlic to taste. Wait till it boils again, then remove from heat. It is done.

We ate it with rice that evening, and the next day, I cooked Udon noodles with the soup. So 2 meals were settled with that simple pot of soup.

Kids' argument on paper

The kids had always fought on a daily basis. It could be anything. They sometimes push each other and fight physically. Sometimes there is no contact, but they'll shout and scream at each other. Sometimes they don't shout, but they taunt or tease. Mostly, it has just been physical or verbal. Now, they have taken it to the written level.

They were first playing individually. ds2 was playing with his Blues Clues stuffed toy that his Sunday school teacher gave him (from Utah). ds1 was pretending to be a Grizzly Bear and playing all around the living room, eating berries, growling and such.

Suddenly, they started insulting each other, calling each other names and so on. So I told them to shut up and stop that.

Surprisingly, they did listen to me this time. All was quiet and peaceful for quite a long while.
Then ds2 was the one who came to complain. He showed me this piece of paper and had a very pitiful look on his face, as if he is the victim. He says his brother "scolded" him.

I read it, and hey, who had the last word? ds2! And he had the cheek to come and complain!

If you can't make the words out:

1st 2 lines by ds1: blue is... blue is not good.

ds2: Grizzly:BEAR not GOOD... BlUE is Good... J

So they were still insulting each other on paper!

Other misc stuff:

Vanilla bean
My Bourbon Vanilla Beans came in the boxes from Utah and I started using them in milk, sugar, flour, almost everything I can flavour with vanilla. I could even do Vanilla Coke I guess, but I didn't want to waste the good beans on fizzy drinks.

Fortunately the beans kept well in the glass bottle so they were still good, very fragrant and flavourful.

I made some banana milkshake with the vanilla milk. You can still see the vanilla bean floating in the milk in the plastic jug in front of the kids.

The best thing about these beans is - they can be washed and reused again and again until you feel they don't have any flavour left. They flavour liquids very well, cos they get soaked in my carton of milk for eg, but even my sugar has a vanilla taste now, and I love it!

Cheesey potato muffins. Actually I was trying to use up the pancake mix. One box sure can make many things. I still have some left after making blueberry muffin, 2 rounds of cheese muffins, cheese biscuits, blueberry pancakes and normal pancakes.

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