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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Simple Congee

Every culture and country has it's own version of a food that is homey and in China "Jook/Congee" is that homey food perfect food that's warm, soothing and great for people who are ailing. My sister caught a pretty bad cold so I decided to try my hand at making some congee. I used the Rice Congee Soup Recipe as a base and changed it a bit to mimic the awesome congee my grandma use to make.
Ingredients (makes about 4-5 bowls):
1 cup of rice
9 cups of water
half an inch knob of ginger
1 tbls of salt (normally about 2 tbls but since the meat is already salty I halved it)
fist size salted pork

Slice the pork into small fingertip sized bites. Cut the outside of the ginger and leave whole (my grandpa suggested to leave the skin on because it's suppose to have some kind of healing properties) Add all the ingredients to a pot and boil it until it reaches your ideal consistency (some like congee watery and some like it more thick). Watch the pot or else it'll boil over. I usually boil it with the cover on for half an hour and then leave it to boil uncovered for another half an hour. Ta-da easy breezy and very good for colds/flu or a weak stomach. You can also substitute other things in it like different meats or seasonings. Green onion, tiny dried shrimps and scallops are common. Thousand year old eggs are also used if you like the unique flavor. My sister appreciated the congee and said it was surprisingly good. Here's a simple recipe if you ever need some comfort food =)

Until next time... stay well =)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Garden Goodies

Carrot and Rabbit Chibi Girl @ LiPeony

So summer is half gone and it's one of the hottest ones... phew... Besides that it's also middle of gardening season where people should be seeing the fruits of their labor springing to life! I'm not a gardener and besides the chili peppers outside my fire escape I've never grown any veggies or fruits. However my bf and his mom have been cultivating a rather nice garden in their backyard. Being a city girl I see how much work it does to maintain a garden from soil, making those wooden props/stakes to support the plants, watering, weeding etc. It's been about two or three months and lookie!
The tons of tomato plants are bearing little green tomatoes. I'm not a fan of tomatoes but everyone else I know love love tomatoes. I'm not sure how green tomatoes taste like but I remember reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series The Little House Books that they once made a green tomato pie that tasted just like an apple pie and green tomato pickles. I haven't tried the two recipes yet but it seems intriguing. I do recommend the books... I read and have most of the whole series and definitely instilled in me a sense of adventure and survival.
Now here is the prize of my boyfriend. He's so extremely proud his little watermelon is growing. Those lines are from getting caught in the lattice that was supporting the plants. It's as big as his hand right there and hopefully it'll be big and sweet! They also grow chili peppers, chives and parsley. My mom and I are still waiting for our tiny fire escape chili peppers to grow some chilies =D

Until next time... how are you gardens coming along? =D

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finally Complete!

Phew! It's finally complete!!! WOOT! That is my cosplay (people don on costumes and act like a certain manga/comic/anime character) is done for Otakon. This year I'm doing Yomiko Readman from R.O.D (read or die) who is also a secret agent who is a bibliophile with the power of paper. In my previous post I had finished the vest which was a huge accomplishment for me. Today I got off my lazy butt and finished the coat. It took about 3 hours to finish.

It started out as a size 42 lab coat which was enormous on me and was discolored by the various staining one does in the lab. I bleached the whole thing for 10-15 minutes and to get the off tan color submerged the coat in a hot bath of water that had 10 packets of tea aka "Tea Dying". After an overnight dip it was a nice darkish tan color and I washed it so it became the perfect shade of light tan (this btw is a very simple and easy way to create that antique color look for fabric). I cut out the collar brown cuffs and pocket linings and sew those on. The sleeves were too long and it was way too wide so I slimmed it down and made the sleeves shorter. My cousin noted how it was too long so I cut about a foot off and hemmed it.
The above is the whole cosplay done! I'm very proud of how the whole thing came out. The hardest part would have to be the vest and sewing the sleeves back on. What makes me super excited is that the character designer, director and the producer of the R.O.D anime is also going to be attending. I'm hoping to get their signatures on a poster or DVD!

I have decided to make a briefcase as a prop but I'm not sure on whether I should make it elaborate. Since she can utilize paper as a weapon I was thinking of creating "floating cards" that seem to spill from the briefcase. I've thought of how to pull this off and I think some fishing string and thin wires and glue could be viable. Hmm ...

Total time: About 10-12 Hours
Total money spent: $18 ($16 worth of fabric, $2 for a fabric pencil)

Until next time... get the brain thinking and thinking!