Friday, September 30, 2011

Umai! : Wintermelon Cake

Last weekend we went to Seaside to visit my grandmother and my aunt (who was visiting from Sacramento). Travelling with her were some mooncakes and mooncake's cousin, the winter melon cake.

It's much lighter than a mooncake, with a flaky egg yolk-brushed crust and a sweet, almost-crystallized-candy interior.

The filling is made from winter melons, which my aunt says are grown fresh in Sacramento, and made locally. However I am a ridiculously bad blogger that forgot the name of the bakery she got them from.  Maybe I will ask here again later and then come back and edit, that way it looks like I knew what I was talking about from the beginning!
A winter melon. (source)
Part of the honeydew family. (source)
I've had plenty of failed winter melon cakes, and a bad one will be too heavy and chewy-like-a-gummy-bear.  These, however, were amazing.  You could even see the melon pieces in the filling, so you know it's legit. They go well with tea, but shouldn't necessarily need the tea as a mooncake would. Winter melon cakes are one of my grandmother's favorite desserts, so we always try to find a fresh, flaky tasty one for her when we're in Chinatown.

Incidentally, I don't think I've ever had fresh winter melon.  Have you had winter melon before? I hear it makes for a pretty tasty melon soup too.

Other Desserts:

Red Bean Mochi Soup
Hawaiian Bread Pudding
Tofu Pie
Bibingka Galapong

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This past weekend, Sak and my Dad went out to the Salinas Airshow.  A manly thing for a father and son-in-law to do, no?
Yes, he bought that silly hat while there.
They brought back some awesome photos that need to be shared.  And no, I'm not talking about the planes.
Robosaurus of course!  Isn't he crazy?
And hungry.
Too big to fit in my mouth!
I will make bite size chunks!
Bite size!
Is there something in my teeth?
Mmm. That was good. *strokes chin*
Have you met Robosaurus before? He's such a show stealer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Greeting Cards On The Wall

Recently my grandmother gave me a collection of antique Chinese painting lithograph greeting cards.
Apparently they came from a place called Cathay Arts in San Francisco, and my grandfather knew one of the artists back in the day.  I'm not sure how old they are exactly, but they certainly are amazing!
Though I will probably end up using some for their original purpose, I couldn't help but want to frame some of it.

I grabbed a couple of thrift store frames from my stash...
Experimented with a few different background colors...
And eventually went with a black background.
Sak helped my punch some holes in the wall, and suddenly our home is a little more filled in.
I put them in the corner of our dining room, next to a small corner shelf.
Please excuse our disturbing wallpaper.
I found a home for Magikarp too.
And just for scale, here's the overall dining room (though it is far from complete).
I'd ditch the placemats if we weren't so horribly messy all the time.  Maybe a different color would work better. And a rug might be nice? I don't know.

Anyway, framing pretty cards is a really good way for making some wall art.  And I don't know about you, but I have a collection of "cards too nice to ever possibly use".  This may be a good way to get them out of the hoarding-closet and into the light!

Monday, September 26, 2011


So I finally bit the bullet and stepped up to join the rest of the modern world. I upgraded to a smart phone.
I chose a Droid 3, since it was under $200, had a keyboard, and simply because I'm partial to the word "droid".  Though I'm fascinated about how this device lets me use the internet anywhere I want, part of me is a little sad.

My first phone, a simple silver flip phone, had a nice collection of phone charms (netsuke).
Kerons, Sasuke from Naruto, a fairy, a penguin, and a pair of broken jade flip flops.
My second phone (the Samsung Juke I'm now abandoning *sniff sniff*) had another respectable collection of netsuke.
Franz Ferdinand screen cleaner, Kerero, Kon from Bleach, an orange from Code Geass, a bracelet from a friend, Vivi  from FF, and more penguins.
There is no strap holder on the Droid phone.  Where will I put all the phone charms?!  Perhaps I could get a case with holes and attach charms to the case?

Anyway, now that I have upgraded, I'm going to make a not-quite-new year's resolution: I will use my mobile connection to be a better friend.  I will try to remember birthdays, comment on blogs more frequently, and respond faster. I will likely also need glasses from 24/7 screen time. Huuu.

Anyone else still living on voice plan only?  It wasn't so bad (Sak's still data-free), but I'm definitely seeing the appeal of a smartphone!  A good trade off for realizing one can no longer round their age down to 20.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Umai! : Bibingka Galapong

Growing up I spent many a weekend in a childhood friend's garage, partying Salinas-Filipino style.  While everyone would hover over the lumpia though, I was in the back eyeing my fill of mouthwatering bibingka. Sticky, mochi-like, coconutty, sugary delight.
So when my mom found this box of bibingka mix, I was ecstatic! I wouldn't have to wait until the next party to gorge myself on sticky deliciousness!

Of course, after I made the whole thing I took a bite and realized that while still good, it was decidedly NOT my beloved party-bibingka.  At which point I complained to Friend E, who patiently pointed out that there are  in fact, TWO kinds of bibingka: one made of rice flour (bibingka galapong) and one made of sticky rice (bibingka malagkit).  This box is for the rice flour type, while I was used to the sticky rice type.  No matter though, I will attempt the sticky rice version later! Onward, rice flour!

Now when it came time to pour the mixture in the pans, the box said to pour it on top of wax paper.  I was a bit skeptical, wouldn't the wax melt all over the place?

Well it did melt. But apparently you can eat food grade wax.  Scared me to death though, since steam and fumes were flying about the whole time it was in the oven.  Wax has a low boiling point I guess.
All cooked and relatively safe!
Yum!  If you can imagine what a pancake would taste like if crossed with a cake, this is it.  You can serve it with coconut on top for an extra treat, but as I like to eat things straight out of the oven, this is it for me!

Now, of course, this is a boxed recipe, and no where near as delicious as a legit-from-scratch-cooked-on-coals-with-banana-leaves version.  But I'm not complaining, because I like both pancakes and cakes, and that's exactly what this is.

Here's a similar (probably better) recipe that I found if you'd like to try!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Citrus Trees

Way back during our housewarming party, we were gifted three cute little citrus trees: two lemons and a lime.

And being the lazies that we are, they stayed in their plastic store pots for over a month.  They were doing okay, so we figured we could take our time.

Yet when we came home from Oregon, they were toppled over, all crushed and semi-dead on one side.  Time to finally find a home for the poor things.

Since we had a nice open patio due to our ivy removal, some nice wooden barrels would work to both house our plants and fill the void.
Past look at the "void".  Dead foliage since removed.
We bought three barrels from Home Depot, along with some soil and watering supplies (flag drippers and tubing).

I potted the trees by first scoring their roots (loosens them up) and filling them with manure-filled soil.

Creepy spider eating lunch. 
Sak worked to connect some tubing to our existing timed-watering system, feeding one drip tube up into each pot.
Each day the trees get a five minute "drink" of water.

I still want to put the trees on roller-bases though, so I can move them around the patio if needed.  But they are much happier in their pots, and definitely won't fall over easily!

Do you have a citrus tree? Or know how to take care of one?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIY Cylon Toaster Cover

Even though my first attempt didn't quite make it, I was determined to see this toaster cover thing through.
All toasters should have a Pop-Tart setting.
I used a tutorial from Sew Mama Sew, which was very straightforward and easy to follow.  Though I ended up using thick quilt batting instead of flannel, and pre-made bias tape rather than home-made.

This time I measured out an extra inch or so of width for my pudgy toaster!

Just sew it up, perpendicularly across the corners to "box" them.

Once it's a good fit, just put all the layers together and use the bias tape to create a nice clean bottom edge.

All done!

Kidding. How boring is that? That's actually the reverse side, which I probably should have made with a cooler (perhaps patterned) fabric.  It's nice that the tutorial creates a reversible cover though!

Here's the fun side:

Foregoing the felt this time, I sewed on some more legit fabric. It's supposed to be a cylon toaster cover, since well, they call cylons "toasters" in Battlestar Galactica.

It's kind of overly simple and could pass for pretty much any mecha-glowing-red-uni-eye creature, be it robocop or a gundam. Oh well. It may not be perfect, but it'll keep the dust off the toaster, and provide a little bit more curiosity to our already anime kitchen.
I'm watching you!
I highly suggest trying your own DIY toaster cover, because it really didn't take much time to do, and you know your toaster (or other appliance) needs some love!