Thursday, April 30, 2009

rock-hard baguette

John bought a fresh baguette for sandwiches. It was 2 days and the baguette became rock hard!

So no sandwich baguette for John. Who likes rock-hard baguettes?

Nuki did.

So did Yama.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I'm still having fun working on caneles... and learning so much about my oven at home and different baking molds and materials.

For Les' party this past weekend, I mixed up two batches and experimented with different baking temperatures and molds.

I have to say... sticking with the molds that are intented for their uses. That is, if it's a mini pound cake pan, it's for mini pound cakes.

I did make two dark-all-around caneles! Yay.

Still having fun baking little treats.

Monday, April 27, 2009

party with les

Les invited John and I to his lovely BBQ party.

We arrived a bit late (because I was still trying to make my caneles to bring to the party,) and Les and other friends were already there. Everyone was so happy!

cold cuts
Cold cuts: select cheeses, roasted sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, superb salami, duck pate, crackers, fresh chips and guacamole, and of course, different wine!

Beautiful skewers: fresh and "fat" scallops, shrimp, select chicken thigh cutlets, and sirloin beef.

So where was the grill?

grill in the alley
It was in the alley behind Les' best friend's apartment! Awesome.

Les and grill
Les in action!

asparagus and couscous
These photos just can't do the food justice... the skewers were amazing, and Les also prepared baked asparagus and couscous. Yum!

I brought some caneles for dessert. They were not the best-looking ones, but were the best from the four batches I tried to make. I was glad everyone seemed to enjoy them. I'm going to continue working on making perfect ones.

Ahhh. Beautiful people, beautiful food and wine, and beautiful conversations. It was a lot of fun.

Thanks for inviting us, Les, and we should totally do it more often.

Friday, April 24, 2009

first attempt canele

My first attempt on caneles failed.

first attempt canele
I actually quite like the color when I first pull the molds out of the oven.

first attempt canele
But the bottoms (or tops, depending how you look at it,) were too light!

I've heard people call these white top caneles "Pycnonotus sinensis/Light-vented Bulbul" because these little birds have a white spot on the top of their heads. cute.

These caneles did taste better than I expected. Gotta work on both the flavor and texture. I'm going to whip up another batch tonight.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

new window signs

Two nice sign ladies helped us put up the "signage" on the front window at the caffe.

window signage
Looking out from the siphon bar.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Nuki and Yama like to run and play in the backyard. Sometimes I even think Nuki acts and plays very "puppy-ish!"

yama and nuki
Maybe one of the rules is that only two of each of their feet can touch the ground while playing.

I think the little brown piece by Yama's back feet was a wet pine cone. Shouldn't be a piece of poo.

And maybe Yama wants to be a ballerina!?

nuki and yama
"Two feet off the ground" running and chasing funness.

I think they really love spring!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

azuki bun

A few of us were going to have an afternoon tea at the caffe, and my friend Joanne made some azuki-filled buns.

azuki bun
with black sesame seeds on the top.

I think I took an almost-commercial-looking photo... with my tiny little camera. I love natural light!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

vintage pyrex water bowl

Nuki and Yama's water bowl in the kitchen was a big stainless steel mixing bowl, and we moved it to the "dog room" yesterday to replace the old Club cast aluminum pot that was in there.

I had been looking for another good bowl for their water, but didn't see anything I liked. Then I thought of something.

pyrex water bowl
I decided to use one of my huge vintage Pyrex mixing bowls as their in-the-kitchen water bowl.

pyrex water bowl
My mom (and some of my friends) would probably pass out when they see this.

But hey, this is probably the best-looking and easiest-to-clean water bowl that I can find for my dogs. Yay for vintage Pyrex, and yay for my doggies.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

super loaded bubble tea

Some people really like their bubble teas super loaded at the caffe. As shown above: 4x chewy pearls + 2x coffee cubes in Almond Bubble Milk Tea. Ahh!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

pretty little visitor on the roof

John ran into the house and got the camera, ran outside, and came back in a few minutes later.

He saw a little visitor on the roof!

"Who, me?"

It was a beautiful little quail!

"I know I'm all cute and pretty!"

Made me happy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

chicken and carrot curry soba

I was going to make curry soba, but found I didn't have onions (which I almost always add to my curry,) nor regular soba, hence this chicken and carrot curry brown soba.

curry soba
The brown soba looked a bit dark-green-ish(!) in the picture.

I cook the brown soba first, run it under cold water, and set aside. I then use a little bit of olive oil and stir-fry sliced chicken breast, and when it's fully cooked I stir in a can of carrots. Pour in adequate amount of Memmi and water (ratio 1:12, I think I poured in about 1/4 C Memmi and 3 C water) and allow it to come to a boil before adding 2 "chunks" (the kind that comes in a flat box, or 2 slightly heap-y tablespoons powder) curry. Allow it to simmer for a few more minutes. Thicken the curry with a little bit of Katakuriko (potato starch) water. Done.

Pour over cooked brown soba, cover, and heat in the microwave for a couple minutes. Sprinkle with Shichimi and serve.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

edgy brownies

John makes amazing bronies. They are fairly popular at the caffe as well.


I especially love the delicious corners and edges of these brownies. Yumminess!

Friday, April 10, 2009

mini spring rolls

I was shopping at the Asian market and saw little jars of "Instant Spring Roll" snacks. They didn't look particularly delicious at the time, but the thought of eating tiny little spring rolls as snacks intrigued me, so I bought a jar (garlic flavor.)

Who would know. These tiny little spring rolls are crunchy, flavorful, and really yummy! I think they are chili and shrimp/shellfish powders wrapped in either pastry or wonton wrappers.

mini spring roll
A little spring roll next to a penny.

These are so good. I went back to the store and got 5 more jars (3 garlic, and 2 spicy) of them!

Oh, and there's one little thing: the dogs think they are dog treats and want to have some. They do look like small dog treat bites in the jar.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Mandy is probably one of the most beautiful people I've met.

She's leaving for New Zealand today, to be with Greg. They are going to have a fun and beautiful life together!

She came in the other day to see me, and she had a puppy with her. She found her under her car, and named her Lucy! Lucy can't go to New Zealand with her, and has to stay with her family.

Mandy and Lucy.

I'm gonna miss you, Mandy, and Greg! Come see us when you guys get back, yes?

Mandy and Lucky.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

happy sunny day

It's really nice today. The sun is out, and the temperature is about 70. It's totally spring, and totally happy.

happy nuki
Nuki gives a big smile!

happy yama
Yama, too!

Ahhh... a happy sunny day.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Honey the White Chocolate Bunny

The other day when I went to get supplies for the store I spotted some chocolate Easter bunnies, and I had to pick up one.

easter bunny

According to the box, the bunny's name was "Honey." (I wonder why.) She was a white chocolate bunny. Very delicious.

Friday, April 03, 2009

sesame spread

We just received our big shipment from Taiwan for the caffe, and within it was a new product that I ordered... sesame spread!

sesame spread

When I opened the can I was surprised to see how dark the spread was... I guess that was what black sesame paste looked like.

I tried it with a tiny little spoon and it was delicious. I also tried it on the thick toast ("d'toast at caffe d'bolla) and it was yummy... toasty and yummy.

I'm thinking it will also taste really good inside little steamed sweet baozi. I shall give it a try soon.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

fried rice with hot dogs

When I was younger I loved the fried rice my mother sometimes made with Taiwanese sauces. When I have cold cooked rice in the fridge and Taiwanese sausages in hand, I'd make the dish, too.

But the other day I wanted to make some Taiwanese sausage fried rice and found that there was only big Kosher hot dogs in our fridge... I like rice, and I like hot dogs, and therefore I put them together to make some fried rice with cut-up Kosher hot dogs!

fried rice with hot dogs

I cut up a hot dog, fry it first, and then add the corn and rice. After everything seems heated, I season it with hondashi (Japanese powdered seasoning dashi) and shichimi. Yum.

fried rice with hot dogs
I added some frozen broccoli another time, and it was really good, too.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

snow, friend, and ENT

So I hadn't been blogging for the past few days. I was just being lazy. That's it. I said it.

I'm just going to "jot" down the little things that took place in the past couple of days:

1) Big snow Sunday. I finished the upcoming episode for "Chinese Radio." John roasted a bunch of coffees, and then we went to have dim sum.

2) Monday was fun. My old friend Chad and his family came to see me at the caffe. It was the first time in 10 years that I saw Chad!

3) Tuesday I went to see an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist about my "poping" ear. For the past month I've noticed that once in a while when I lie down fast my left ear would "pop," where it feels like I could "hear" some hollow-ness. If I turn the other way then it goes away. Weird. The ENT specialists examined my ear, checked my ear pressure, my hearing, etc. and said everything was normal. Actually the two specialist doctors that checked me said everything looked better than normal! The main doctor looked at some test results and said, "This is the best ear and hearing I've seen all day," and that "maybe your ear is healing itself." Umm.

I went and took a nap and yes, I felt the little "pop" again. The doctor gave me a nasal spray for in case of some tiny infection in my nasal/ear passages. He told me to go back and see him if the pops continue.

I just tried the nasal spray. Hmm... it was "calmer" than I expected.

Even though I hadn't been blogging for a few days, I've been taking pictures of fun food and Nuki and Yama. I shall post them soon.