Food


Sometime during college, when I had my first introduction into Korean media, I watched what is now one of my favorite movies.  The movie is called Madeleine, and it is your fairly typical Korean movie/drama storyline about a girl and a boy and how they fall in love.  (Not to be confused with the English movie Madeleine, which is about a little girl.)


It’s pretty cute, and I’ve been meaning to rewatch it one of these days.  I don’t quite recall how madeleines even tied into the main storyline (I don’t think it did), but the male lead in the movie enjoys baking and at one point makes some madeleine cookies.


That movie was the first time I had heard of madeleine cookies, and for some reason I fell in love with them and have maintained a happy, longing relationship ever since.  They are incredibly adorable and surprisingly sophisticated.

My first taste of madeleines was supremely disappointing, however.  I saw them once at a Starbucks soon after I watched the movie and was incredibly excited.  (Note: I don’t actually drink coffee, so I never go to Starbucks; hence, I’d never seen them there before.)  Of course, commercialized food is one thing, but I had not quite learned how to eat the madeleine cookies and had expected a completely different taste/texture.  The one from Starbucks had a kind of funny taste, I thought, and I stopped eating them soon after (mostly because I never saw them again).

I’ll pause at this point to explain what madeleine cookies taste like, if you’ve never had one before.  I would describe them as a dense sponge cake: fluffy but heavy at the same time, moist, and sweet, with a distinctly “egg-y” flavor.  They can also be flavored; the most common ones I’ve seen so far are orange, lemon poppyseed, or chocolate chip.  They can also be served plain or dipped in chocolate, as pictured above.

Despite my slavish love for baking (and making ice cream), I don’t enjoy eating most pastries or desserts much and am as picky with what I do like as I am with most food.  Sometime later on, I learned that the cookies could also be eaten dipped in coffee or tea.  That turned out to be supremely tasty in my opinion and is the only way I eat the cookies now.  You may enjoy them by themselves, if you like that kind of texture.  It all depends on preference, but I hope that if you get a chance to try them, you’ll like them one way or another :)

This year was my first time to try baking them.  I made them for someone as part of a Valentine’s Day package, and I must say I was probably most excited to make these because they’ve always been so special to me.  (I still don’t know why, though…)  They turned out pretty well then, and it was then that I first tasted them dipped in tea.  Although they have a relatively simple ingredient list, I’d say that they are easy but not beginner’s level-easy to make, as the process can be arduous and easy to mess up.  Still, they’re not hard, and they’re worth it!

My second time baking them was this past weekend, as I had a sudden whimsical desire to do so and even brought my madeleine pan home from my apartment just for that purpose.  I made Sunday breakfast for my parents, complete with espresso and jasmine tea for dipping (mom made the tea — but I made the espresso).  We also had some fruit on the side, mainly so that they would remember to eat the lone orange I zested for the madeleines.

I don’t have process pictures, but I’ll make sure to take some the next time I make them.  Meanwhile, here is the recipe I used this past time.  You can get a pan either online (Amazon.com) or from a store that sells a little big more specialized kitchen stuff.  I got my pan from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and I really like it.  It’s easy to clean and doesn’t stick, which is always a concern for anything that is baked with a shape.  Highly recommended.

I’ll leave you with more pictures from this past breakfast (because I like taking pictures of food XD).  The recipe provided makes two pans’ worth of madeleines, so I made one set of plain madeleines and a second with orange zest.  My parents liked the orange one better with tea and the plain ones better with the espresso.  Enjoy!

Oops, they’re kind of hole-y.  I think it might be because I left the batter in the fridge for too long (overnight) — the second batch came out prettier, and I had let the batter sit on the counter for a while.

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So ends another month, exactly the way every other month has ended. Which is, really, un-noticeably. If you didn’t look at the calendar, you would think that my last days of the month are just another day, and probably a day that went more bad than good.

More than a year has gone by, but with no such commemoration of my apartment one-year, job one-year, or church one-year. In fact, probably nobody but me remembered anything about those at all, even out of the (expectedly, and for good reason) few who like to say they care a lot (more than others; but in fact they care about the same, they’re just louder). I’m beginning to understand now one of my previous roommates’ attempt to pass the year more intentionally with goals and a new blog to record each week’s deliberate adventure. Maybe I should have one of those? I was thinking of a baking project. In a vaguely Julie&Julia-esque fashion? Though I haven’t anywhere to get rid of the goods once I’ve baked them, and anyways I really don’t have anywhere to bake.

Which sort of brings me to my catalyst for this post. Among other things, the last hour has been pretty suck. Because I hate bugs and I hate cleaning, and after getting home from church dinner that’s all I’ve been doing. SOMEHOW a colony of ants decided to take over my cat’s food space, and it was disgusting. Swarms of little ants all over my poor kitty’s bowl, and him none the wiser so I had to plop him in my room whilst I began ant-ocide. Ants are pretty hard to kill; the little buggers would survive my attempts to drown them in toxic carpet cleaner (probably did me more harm than the colony, unfortunately). And then they’d be all inside my carpet, and… anyways, I’ll spare you gruesome details. Point is, WHERE DID THEY COME FROM????? I haven’t figured that out since I got severely harassed by a line of them in my kitchen coming from seemingly no where in particular and going really no where in particular.

I’m not a very clean person, to be honest. I’m lazy and I leave stuff out. But on the other hand, I don’t really have much stuff, so usually the only thing left out for bugs is cat food and dishes in the sink. (I’m getting into the habit of putting every food item into an airtight container, and also of not having much food around — my previous/current bug problem was/is roaches and whatever those little rice/flour bug things are). Anyways, these ants have a vendetta against me or something, because I live on the THIRD FLOOR. What kind of ant colony crawls up to the third floor for cat food? And not just that, but these ants were coming, of all places, from some vague area behind my washer/dryer and back wall of my bathroom. It’s a pretty far trek to that cat food, and the only thing back there is the adjacent apartment.

Which brings me to a totally unfounded and baseless but somewhat logical accusation — I wonder if the bugs are coming from said adjacent apartment. I’ve seen my neighbors, and while not really nice or sociable, they’re you’re pretty regular neighbors. The lady/wife was pregnant when I last saw her. But all of these bugs are coming from that wall. My bathroom and kitchen are adjacent to that wall, and while it makes a lot of sense for these bugs to be in my slovenly kitchen, I’m not convinced that that would then lead them to cross my mini dining room into my bathroom for… hm, shampoo? soap? Need to wash critter hands before bug-handling my sealed and/or refrigerated food? At best, I’m thinking they had an ant farm that leaks or broke and they just sort of neglected to mention anything. At worst, perhaps their kitchen is more slovenly than mine. And what can I do but suffer the consequences of whatever the reason?

I’m learning now to be meticulously clean, and I’ll probably have to tornado around my apartment cleaning up and then having willpower to maintain it as such, and MAYBE that will help. Not sure what to do about my cat’s food, though. I’m wary of leaving the food out as a buggy buffet, so I may have to feed him periodically (which sucks, because I’m not always home and I worry he’s not getting enough to eat).

Tomorrow I’m driving back home, and I think I’m going to have to bring my cat with me. I wouldn’t mind, except (1) there’s a dog at the house now, and (2) kitty tends to throw up on car rides unless he’s sitting on my lap (which he can’t really do whilst I’m driving). Soo… dunno. But I can’t leave him here, because I can’t leave food out.

GRRRRR. BUGS. It should just be a cold front and kill all of them already. Not going to happen in this state in this lifetime, though. Guess that means I need a change of scene?

Oh, right. None of that relates to baking unless you look closely. Namely, bugs and baked goods don’t mix. It’s just gross. Like my kitchen. And no kitchen means no baking, means no fun, means I’ll just have to continue daydreaming about madeleines and pumpkin cupcakes with marshmallow fondant ghosts and zebra cake and whatever else ridiculous things I enjoy looking at but won’t have a chance to make anytime soon T^T

I think I need to run around on Morrowind for a bit and smack some things… please excuse me.

I love saltines.

And ice chips.

These two, and Gatorade, can remedy any stomach problem.

My daddy is so sweet :)

This weekend, I’m back home.  On Sunday mornings, my parents wake me up for home-made breakfast, sometimes biscuits or French toast or green onion egg pancakes, and we sit together around the little table in our sunlit breakfast room with cups of Jasmine tea.  We used to read newspapers (or ads, or the comics section for me), but we stopped buying those because they got too expensive.  After breakfast, my parents get ready for church, and I usually bum around (like I am now; I usually don’t go to their church, because it’s all in Chinese and talking about kids and marriage, so not only do I not understand most of it, the parts that I do understand won’t be applicable to me for at least another 2 years).  It’s a nice routine whenever I’m at home.

My mom is out of town this weekend, so it’s just me and my dad.  Though it definitely feels like we’re missing a part, it’s still nice to just hang out with daddy.  This morning, he made us some shao bing with pork sung for breakfast.

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My dad usually likes to put mayonnaise in his, and I don’t tend to eat mayonnaise so I always have mine without.  When we were starting to eat, he was inspecting his two shao bing, so I asked him if he was looking for something in particular (they looked the same to me, so I thought he was looking for some special indication of which one to eat first XD).  He told me that he had made one with mayonnaise and one without.  Thinking that we’d run out of mayo or he wanted to be healthier and not eat mayo in both, I asked him why he made one without.  He told me, “In case you want to eat another one.”

My daddy is so sweet ^ ^

He also went out and bought some canned chickpeas yesterday, because I had asked him on one of my typical whimsical cravings if he could make me hummus.  We only had materials for baba ghanoush (made of eggplant), so he actually bought the chickpeas and made me some hummus > <  It looks kind of like this.

And my mom has taken to texting me; I’m actually having a text conversation with her right now XD

I think I’m learning to appreciate my parents more and more as I get older… I think that’s a good thing :3

This is SO cute.

(I stole the picture from the website, so you can understand the next part, if you don’t want to go to the link >__<  BUT YOU SHOULD.)

I tried to make some today with white peaches.  Note that it is considerably different, because peaches are squishy (even hard ones) while apples are firm, so mine actually ended up looking more like sushi T__T;  But at least my mom has this flat plate with a grass print on the background, so the whole “bunnies in the grass” thing makes my attempt look less like a fail XD

By the way, if you haven’t seen the MY MILKTOOF site yet… check it out.  It’s amazing.

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:D

~~Edit~~

My parents and I took Alli (short for Alligator) — our new black lab, who’s about a year old and 75 pounds of whiny, overly excitable, largely untrained, has-more-energy-than-1,000-Energizer-batteries puppy — to the park to fish and walk around this morning.  Although the sky was lit by the time we got there, I still got some nice pictures of the first sun rays across the cloud-spotted sky :3  It’s so beautiful!  I could even see the edges of the clouds glowing from the backlit sunrise.

We think the park is probably too distracting for the dog, so we didn’t get to train her much (we’re trying to teach her to “stay” and “heel”).  She was pretty good though, just far too excited for me XD  I’ll take my cats, thanks.  Or maybe I’m just not used to dogs >__<

We also caught 2 fish, a crocker and a fairly large catfish, one each by my mom and dad.  It was really windy and apparently late in the season (something about the lake waters being too warm), so I’m surprised we caught anything at all.

So this weekend is Father’s Day, which is why we went out so early.  Part one of “Father’s Day weekend” gift, I suppose?  My dad enjoys fishing, so it’s nice for us to go out bright and early on Saturday morning as a family so he can relax and fish :)  Part two of the “gift” is lunch/dinner, I suppose, though we’re all so lax that we have no idea where to go :P  That’s okay.

Otherwise, my only decent gift tends to baking or making ice cream XD  My mom recently got an ice cream machine, so we’re planning to make some mint ice cream — hopefully it’ll be ready by tomorrow.  I’m also planning to make basil & Parmesan scones for breakfast tomorrow ^w^  I’m a slow baker/ice cream maker, so I hope they turn out well and don’t take the whole day >__<

Everything you ever needed to know about coffee… illustrated! XD

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