Happy new year!

Thu, Feb. 7th, 2008 10:51 am
oyceter: Picture of temple mirrored (taiwan otp)
[personal profile] oyceter
Happy new year! Yay! Year of the Rat!

Amazingly, I actually got some hong bao money, and I am trying to decide if I should be good and save it, or spend it on books and manga and DVDs!

On the other hand, I'm a little homesick -- I usually use my vacation time to go home for New Year, but not this year. I miss the noise and the crowds of people and the insane bustle, normally not things I like, but it doesn't quite feel right without them. Apparently for new year's eve dinner (nien ye fan), my parents and my uncle's family went out for steak! My mom said my dad saw the new restaurant and wanted to try something new. At least I got Chinese food last night, courtesy of an ahyi's dinner invitation.

So to celebrate, picture spam! First rat pictures, because it is the Year of the Rat ^_^.

I take so many pictures of Ren, but that's because he's so cute! I think it's the curly whiskers.

Ren sadly not being cute, with Ruki in the background. Those were his stitches after his surgery (he had two cancerous lumps), and they couldn't sew him up with normal suture stuff because apparently rats will just chew through them. So he was a bristly Frankenrat for two weeks.

The second suture site. Poor baby rat pie. When I took him back from the vet, he just sulked and sulked in the corner of the cage, probably thinking, "I hate you so much."

But! About a week after, and I let him play with Bya and Ruki again (he was in an individual cage to keep them from messing with his stitches), and the first thing he does?

Pounce on Bya. The rat, he has no common sense.

Ruki cleaning himself.

Ren nose!

Bya, alas, still looking evil. I wish my hands didn't shake so much so I could take pictures without flash.

Bya in his favorite spot, the paper bag!

More Ren nose! So cute!

Bya, nefariously plotting the demise of the known world.

That, or scheming to steal food. I suspect it's about the same for a rat.

And despite being the wrong holiday, here's some pictures from Christmas.

Christmas Eve dinner! Featuring potato latkes, badly burned thanks to last-minute Yuletide pinch hitting, beef noodle soup (soup, noodles, and veggies in separate bowls), an adaptation of [livejournal.com profile] heresluck's jicama salad that no longer bears much resemblance to the original, and potstickers (bought, not made).

And tiramisu for desert! We used pound cake instead of ladyfingers as an experiment; the bottom layer is normal pound cake, and the second layer is vegan chocolate pound cake. It was good, even though it didn't quite taste like tiramisu.

I made bread successfully! I win at life! It's the basic slow-rising white bread from Joy of Cooking, and I remembered not to punch down to much to keep the texture somewhat rustic and uneven. Tasted good too.

Christmas dinner, featuring the now traditional salad leftovers, [livejournal.com profile] heresluck's chickpea pancakes with yogurt sauce, and mi fun. My sister and I do do Thanksgiving fairly traditionally (ok, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and sometimes casserole), but Christmas is sort of just whatever I feel like eating and/or cooking, while making my sister's friend S. cook tasty Chinese food. I think the bowl next to the mi fun is onion pork rib stew; my mom makes it a lot.

The giant platter of mi fun! On a dish meant for tortilla chips and salsa! This amuses me entirely too much. But seriously, the plate is about two feet across.

Another look at dinner. My sister's friend G. folded napkins and made pretty paper chopstick holders.

And just a few pictures from January's trip to the Ferry Building with my dad.

The Ferry Building, one of my favorite places in SF, despite the insane prices. It's a building! Dedicated to tasty gourmet food! With free samples! What's not to like (save not being able to afford non-sample stuff)?

A view of the clock tower from our seat outside the Market Bar.

The Bay Bridge (right?), and people packing up the Ferry Building farmers' market.

Absolutely delicious lightly fried fish my dad and I had at the Ferry Building Market Bar. It doesn't look like much, but oh, it was so good, lightly crispy on the outside, not at all oily, steaming hot and soft and flaky on the inside, and a brief pucker's worth of lemon juice.

And here are some old pictures of New Year in Taiwan.

Re: Happy New Year!

Thu, Feb. 7th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com
Yeah, I would tend to leave fish-steaming to the professionals. (:

Re: Happy New Year!

Thu, Feb. 7th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com
I can do real chicken soup! Jewish-style, which I imagine is different, but also yummy. I should make some with you sometime -- it's pretty easy, actually.

Steamed fish, OTOH -- anything with super-finicky timing leaves me jittery, and seafood's always like that.

Jewish chicken soup

Thu, Feb. 7th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com
This is an approximation, as I don't have the recipe at hand. It came to me from my mom, but I don't know where she got it. It seems quite traditional, though.

For the soup:
1 whole chicken, cut up
3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bunch parsley, tied into bouquet garni
lots of dill, fresh or dried
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 leeks, white bits only, chopped
1 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste

For the matzoh balls:
matzoh meal (I forget the precise measure here)
handful finely chopped parsley
1/4 of an onion
1-2 eggs

Put all soup ingredients in a big pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer, partly covered, 30 - 40 minutes. While it cooks, mix the matzoh ball ingredients (a blender or food processor helps), cover, and chill for at least half an hour.

When soup is smelling done, remove matzoh ball batter from fridge and form gently into balls. Drop them into the hot soup, cover, and turn up the heat a little. Steam for 15 minutes or so (IIRC). Serve.

Re: Jewish chicken soup

Thu, Feb. 7th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com
I've never had shark fin. It does make me a little sad to think about, but I know it's traditional.

Interesting how your version is about rendering all the good stuff out of the chicken and into the broth. My version leaves the chicken very tender and mild-tasting, with about 50% of the good stuff still in the meat and the rest in the broth.

Yeah, the onion/celery/carrots are pretty foundational to western cooking, and chicken fat + onions = Jew food, as far as I'm concerned. (: I'd love to try your aunt's soup sometime, though.

The trick to good matzoh balls is not to peek while they're steaming. If you lift the lid too often, they get hard. Mine are okay, but I've never achieved the ethereal lightness of the best matzoh balls my mother's served.

Re: Jewish chicken soup

Thu, Feb. 7th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com
Make some! You have a recipe, and it's easy! The matzoh meal will give you the matzoh ball proportions right on the side of the box. (:


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