Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Honey Basil Drink

Sak and I, along with all our siblings, spent a lovely (rainy) Saturday traipsing around SF's Japantown and Clement Street.

Penga-Sis bought this interesting honey basil seed drink.  The taste was of honey and citrus, not too bad.
But the basil seed texture was kinda..weird! Which is why half the bottle is still left in the fridge.  I think I'll leave it there until Penga-Sis comes back to visit again. Maybe it'll mutate!
Penga-Sis said they kind of look like frog eggs...kero kero!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cooking with Friends: Kickerdoodles

Since Penga-Tamama finished all her Girl Scout Samoa's, she promised her friend Alvina-Chomp to try something new! It's been a while since Penga-Tamama has done any cooking, hasn't it? To cook along with them, please see Alvina's lovely blog which holds the recipe!

Snickerdoodles with maple syrup and a cayenne pepper punch? Yes, yes! Go get the recipe!

And Penga-Tamama thinks more cooking should involve her from now on.  Beware, recipe bloggers, beware! ^_^

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DIY Skirt

Note - this is not a success story. Ha!

This is one of my favorite skirts.  It's comfy and pretty and a little bit swishy.
It's also very wrinkled.
I thought to myself, "heeey..if I like this skirt, I should make another!"

So I stretched the elastic of my skirt and tried to take measurements of each of the tiers.  Three tiered rectangles. The top for the waistband, and the second two for the flairs.

Now, I didn't know how they made the waistband in the original skirt, so I decided to try the "scrunchie" method instead. Did anyone else grow up making scrunchies? My mom and I made like five billion of them back in the day.
I put the elastic through the tube and sewed it into a circle. I would have liked to use thicker elastic, but 1/4" was all I had on hand. 

With a running stitch along both the skirt tier rectangles, I pulled the ends to "gather" the skirt. I gathered the bottom tiers just enough so that they'd match the width of the tier above it.
And then I sewed the gathered tiers and the waistband together. I didn't bother with the cheap material fraying since this was a practice skirt.

It kinda looks like the original, maybe?

It's not the greatest.  I really don't like the bunchy scrunchie waistband.  I'd have to wear it with a baggy sweater if anything.
I love my cheapo mirror, by the way.  It's slightly warped, and makes things look skinnier. Huu huu huu.

But the worst part is that I didn't do the gathers very evenly, and it's very bunchy in some places and not so much in others. 

 Clothes are hard to sew. Especially when there's no pattern involved. This was one of my unfinished projects.  I still consider it unfinished, but think I need to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch with this one.  I need to find out a better method of sewing gathers and waistbands! Any tips?

Is it skirt season for you yet?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kon Felty

Now that there's less than a month left since my test, I've been having some serious stress. The kind that makes my heart race with anxiety about every thirty minutes with the feeling of impending doom. *Sigh*  Last week alone I tried to shampoo my hair with body wash and wore my shirt backwards to work all day without noticing.  I'm sure it will only get worse from here on out!

Anyway, after spending three hours doing part of a practice test I decided to give myself a break and broke out the giant sack o' felt.  I wanted to make something cute, pronto!

How about Kon, the stuffed lion from Bleach?
His personality isn't as adorable as his looks, such a deceiving little guy.  I thought he'd make a nice coaster.
Using black thread is a little dramatic, but I think it was a good choice for this guy.
Someday I'll have to continue watching Bleach.  It was one of the few shonen anime I didn't mind due to the nice drawings (Ichigo, yum).  A few years ago we got pretty far along in the anime when Friend E (who was ahead of us) told me that Rukia got her head cut off and died.  I stopped watching then because that sounded horrible, though he was totally lying. I am gullible.

For the coaster I used some fun stitches on my sewing machine.  I think this pattern by itself would make a pretty coaster, actually!

And procrastination, complete!
He's angry because someone keeps putting things on top of his face.

Anyway, if anyone would like to guest post from now until April 13th, please send me an email with your post! (pengawenga{at}gmail).  The topic could be about anything really - your favorite toy, the nerdiest thing you've ever done, something weird you saw on the street the other day, whatever! Reposts are fine too. Just as long as it's not depressing or stress-inducing. >.>"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baked Char Siu Bao

You know those things you try once just for the sake of trying it, but never do again?  I think this recipe is one of those things.  It took all day! I normally don't have the patience when it comes to food, but since my sister was around we turned it into an experience.

Char siu bao are one of my favorite foods; a classic dim sum item that everyone loves.  I wasn't brave enough to try the pretty, fluffy white steamed bao, so we tried baked bao (equally delicious!) instead.

I used this recipe from Goons with Spoons, and though we flibbed the sauce a bit, we stayed pretty true to the recipe. I definitely recommend it!

We started with the filling, some nice sauteed onions...
And some diced up char siu!  I didn't make my own, and instead used leftovers from the market. It would have taken even longer to make char siu from scratch!
Penga-Sis made a sauce from oyster sauce, sesame oil, chicken broth, ketchup, sugar and soy sauce. I think we used about one and a half times the amount of sauce in the recipe.  Saucy bao!
Then we cooked it a bit with some wine and the sauce, and let it cool.  I could have stopped right then and just ate the filling, it was so tasty!
But no, we pressed onward to make the bao!

First, we prepped the yeast in some warm water.  We were supposed to wait until it bubbled, which I think we did? I wasn't sure how much bubbling was supposed to happen.
We mixed some egg, sugar and oil in with the yeast, and dumped it together with some bread flour.
Mixy Mixy!
Once the dough was nice and clumpy, I skipped the hand-kneading and threw it in my Kitchen-Aid with the bread hook for about fifteen minutes.
Before kneading.
The dough was nice and elastic afterwards, and we set it in a bowl with a damp towel on top to rise.

I don't know that it rose properly though, since it didn't really look triple the size..
In any case, we rolled the dough out and cut it into a total of 16 chunks.
Then the fun part! Stuffing!

First, roll out a dough segment.  It was easiest for us to do this tag-team, with one holding down the super elastic dough, and the other spooning in the filling. We put in a lot of filling. Who doesn't love filling?!
Then Penga-Sis makes her folds!
As a last step, twist the top to lock it in place!
We stuck the bao twisted-side-down on squares of wax paper, and tried to make them as non-lumpy as possible.
We let them rise a bit more in this state, and then brushed them with egg and popped them in the oven!
Twenty minutes later, baked char siu bao!
The taste is pretty spot-on in my opinion.  The filling is excellent, and the dough is nice and sweet.

They aren't as fluffy as the kind I buy from Chinese bakeries though.  Either I didn't use enough dough or it never properly rose (or both).
Anyway, bread making is no joke! Though the experience was interesting, and the results not half bad, I think I'll continue to be an appreciative bakery patron!

Do you like making bread?