Making Baking Happy and Sunny
Last Christmas, my husband gave me this kitchenAid Artisan Buttercup Yellow Stand Mixer. I just mentioned I want a kitchenAid mixer in this particular color once last year and then I dropped and forgot about it for sometime and so when I got this from him as a Christmas present, I was over the moon and couldn’t stop goofily grinning, until now seeing this mixer on our kitchen counter everyday makes me happy. My husband by now knows that cooking and baking appliances and gadgets make me super happy, and a super happy home cook makes super tasty meals.
Why I chose a buttercup yellow mixer amongst the more girly color options (watermelon, beautiful cranberry, boysenberry, empire red, gloss cinnamon)? Well, baking for me always puts me in a cheerful mood, makes me calm and even patient (which I lack so much of and will never ever be a strong virtue). Yellow is the color of happiness, I just know I can never be in gloomy mode using this bright yellow mixer to whip up cream, mix cake batter and knead bread dough, and plus this mixer goes so well with our light blue kitchen walls and cabinets… Well, these are the reasons I told my husband for wanting this mixer, I guess I won my case big time in flying colors!
Last Yummy Bits
I visited my food photography archive files in my computer and found these. Both were shot outdoors with the summer afternoon sun a little less than 3 years ago. I used to do some serious and a bit elaborate food styling and “photo-shoots” in my front yard that time… And as you all can see, the job of shooting food isn’t that hard for me (never), well I can’t even deny it if I wanted to because I also take pictures of the evidences that implicates myself (at the scene of the crime).
Afternoon Wine and Cheese Tasting
My husband and I love cheese so much that we even chose a hotel that offered complimentary and unlimited wine and cheese tasting for 1 hour every afternoons. We had our afternoon fill of wine (mostly red) and cheese plate after plate every 5-6 pm for 6 days straight. We also had our own little hoard of 8 kinds of cheese inside the fridge of our suite, yes, our room stunk of stinky French cheese every time we open our fridge, but like all addicts, we ignored the bad consequences of our stinky habit and just looked forward to our next fix, although on the 4th day of our fromage holiday I kinda felt I almost slipped into a cheese coma… a very cheesy close call which could’ve ended to a sad cheesy ending.But just when I thought me and hubs have had enough, the image of Melba toasts blobbed with creamy chunks of Danish Blue topped with apricots chased by frequent refills of red wine sucked both of us back into the stinky dark side. After almost a week of all that cheese, my joints started hurting (probably because of high levels of uric acid) and got an added bonus of 1-2 inches around my waist, thighs and rear.
(Nobody needs to tell me this is a cheesy post.)
Of Reading and Eating… and doing both at the same time.
To most, the idea of lounging on a sofa reading a good book or, maybe, eating food they love at a leisurely pace is their ideal form of indoor relaxation. I, on the other hand, always believe in simultaneous nourishment of both mind and tummy - figuratively and literally.
I love reading cookbooks and any publications really that ingeniously incorporated either cooking or dining scenarios. But even if let’s say I am reading a proper fictional novel or biography or history I still double the pleasure of the reading experience by always having something to pick up, bite in, munch on and wash down with either a cup of coffee or tea. It’s just how I process and absorb words and knowledge, I mean, a mind cannot function well while the tummy keeps on sending it hungry post-it notes every 3 minutes. And so I always give in and munch away in the same rate as I read words per minute.
I love reading short passages about eating experiences and food sentiments. I can never get tired of those. Maybe because I am eternally passionate about food and any thing related to it, or I am just a hopeless case of a food addict. Nevertheless, I want to share a few of my most favourite passages and sentiments about food.
If some of you are wondering why I included in these pictures Audrey Hepburn’s Biography book (???) knowing that she will probably be horrified with the idea of me munching happily on this calorie laden Carrot Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting while reading a book about her whole life and looking at all the glamorous pictures of her - classy, petite but statuesque figure, all I want really is to let her know (in spirit) my foodie sentiments for her, which is ” Eat your heart out, SKINNY BITCH!!! “. -j.m
Orgiastic About Oranges
One Thanksgiving dinner, my friends and I decided we would each answer the question: “If I were going into the desert and I could only take one thing for my comfort, what would it be?” I said my choice would be an orange.
An orange is packed with pleasure in so many different ways. Simply to hold one in your hand is pleasing to the eyes and touch and nose. And when you open it up, you have both thirst-quenching liquid and flavorful food. Everyone has their rituals for peeling an orange. Some people eat the white down beneath the peel, others pick it off. some bury their face in the flesh and get the juice all over their chin. I prefer the delicate approach, and the mandarin is the best orange for this. first I break it into segments. Then I take an individual segment and bite into the inner part, separating the skin from the flesh. i love the feel of the moist globules bursting with flavor against my tongue. this is serious pleasure.
(simple pleasures : soothing suggestions and small comforts for living all year round, “fall” chapter)
Espresso and reading are complementary pleasures. I look for a place with no music or good music, a place where people stay put for a while and there’s not too much commotion. The espresso must be strong and thick so the foam from the coffee sticks to the spoon, and it must be served in small cups. Once I have my coffee in front of me, I take out my book and read extremely slowly, pondering each sentence, perhaps scribbling notes or comments. Poetry or philosophy is best- something that provides pleasure in prose so dense and exquisite that it matches the intensity of the coffee. A single sip of espresso reverberates in my body while the words resonate in my mind with interesting meanings.
(simple pleasures : soothing suggestions and small comforts for living all year round, “fall” chapter)
Confessions of a Kitchen Tools Hoarder
Like any other woman, yes I love fashion and tons of girly things to decorate myself (very obvious in this icon pic with my big jade loop earrings) from head to feet, but still my love of food, cooking, baking and eating instantly takes over and controls the direction of my feet every time I go to any retail store. And I always find myself heading towards the kitchenwares section.
For years I have accumulated 3 containers full of “essential” kitchen tools… my latest acquisition, a mini tortilla press… well because one can never be in her kitchen knowing she doesn’t have a tortilla press. Yes, I do realize that I might be suffering from a grave condition known as Kitchen Tools Hoarder Disease with a side dish of OCD (yes, I made this up). Well how else can I defend my occasional madness for all things I can use to whip, whisk, mix, beat, shave, cut, press, flatten, scrape, scoop the things I create in the kitchen? My condition has become weird enough that I am now in the process of drafting my will, who in my family gets my silicone spatulas, cake turner, etc? And who will inherit my beloved santoku knives??? My wire whisks (palis)… I already know the recipient. ;)
And when I have to do some catering or cooking out of town or just a few blocks away from my house, I had to bring at least… at least one container full of my tools or else I will instantly feel my hands numbing, cold and ok, a full anxiety attack.
But then maybe I am just like a normal baker and cook out there, I mean I have seen the stuff contestants of Top Chef Just Desserts carry out when they get eliminated and well, they too look like a kitchen tools hoarder like me. Maybe I am just way too hard on myself…
Oh well, look at the time, I got to go… Don’t wanna mess up my schedule.
10:45 am - Inspect baking tools kit
10:55 am - Do inventory/maintenance of silicone spatulas, cookie cutters, vegetable peelers and cake combs (yes, there is such a tool).
11: 15 am - Sharpen knives
Rainy Days and Soup Comfort : Asian Glass Noodle Chicken Soup
I am one of a tiny number of people who does not complain about rainy days. For me, a handful of really happy childhood memories involved the rain, raindrops and the damp and gray atmosphere of rainy seasons.
Somehow and in a bit odd way, I find the most comfort and calm watching the rain pour outside as if life, even though gray, will always be abundant and always with a promise of never to experience drought metaphorically and literally.
Foodie cliche as it is, hot soup, whatever variety or type it may be will always be the perfect meal for rainy days. It not only warms you up but acts, I believe, as a sort of pacifier for feelings of cold, uneasiness and restlessness for being in a way stranded indoors.
I love chicken soup whatever variety it may be, whether homey with humble flavoured broth or unabashedly spiced with hot exotic spices and even chilies there is no stopping me from sipping… even slurping, with a quiet and still demure lady-like bearing, a bowl of soup.
This particular Asian Glass Noodle Chicken Soup is actually a staple in my home even in monsoon season. It is very simple to make and with few ingredients, it is definitely one of those soups that you would want to cook repetitively even on sunny and lazy days.
Just saute finely chopped onions, garlic and ginger in canola oil until this trifecta of aromatics are fragrant. Then saute the chunks of chicken breast fillets. Add hot chicken broth infused with a pinch of saffron threads (pinch of powdered saffron Thank you Laura!) and let simmer for about 30 minutes so that the soup develops a homemade and savoury flavour, season with salt and pepper. Add the (cold water) soaked glass noodles (rice vermicelli noodles) and cook for 3 minutes.Turn off heat, flake the chicken, serve the noodles in a bowl and top with chicken, crispy fried garlic shingles and thinly sliced spring onions.
Goddess of Scrumptiousness Food Photography and Original Recipes by Jeannie Maristela is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at goddessofscrumptiousness.tumblr.com
A bit wicked midnight habit…
I am just a very rotten insomniac, and by rotten I mean I occasionally indulge in the most sinful of habits at midnight, hmmm…
If I am not feasting on a buttered toast that is unashamedly dipped into a soft boiled egg flecked with sea salt, I am either caught red handed fishing green olives straight out of a jar or reheating a slice of chocolate and cinnamon bread pudding which I dribble with a freshly made vanilla glaze and chocolate syrup. And as if I cannot be more awake still at an ungodly hour I still end up eating the cinnamon roll-like indulgence with a huge cup of coffee… this happens 2-3 times a week.
Maybe my sinful midnight habit will haunt my daytime consciousness and challenge my resolve to bravely check my numbers on the scale the next day or by the end of the week, but then I also resolved to live a little and not deprive myself so much of the simplest yet most important part of human existence and that is living to eat and eating to live a “fuller” life. - jm (via phone)
A Lifetime’s Worth of Recipe Collection
This large plastic tray containing my lifetime’s worth collection of recipe cut-outs, index cards with my handwritten recipes, consumer product labels with recipes and torn-out pages of culinary magazines weighs a little under 4 pounds.
This tray of recipes along with my 100+ cooking magazines and a desk load of culinary books are the things that I hoard since I was a teenager.
I remember starting to write down on scratch papers and tiny notebooks all the recipes from the chefs I watched on television and never passed up a box or canned food label without cutting out the recipes. And everything started from when I was 12 years old all the way until… well, until 5 years ago.
As I said before, I am a self-taught baker. I am a baker first and second, a chef. If you all look closely at this picture, almost all the recipes here are for desserts and baked goods. And although now that I no longer look, review and make these commercial recipes from these stash, I believe I will continue to keep these treasure trove until the time comes that I am obliged to hand over these treasures to someone who has the passion as I have in baking and cooking may it be to my future children or whoever wins the raffle I will hold while I am on my death bed!