Category Archives: beverages

Reunited with an old friend

Whenever I come home for breaks, I make it a point to meet up with old friends from high school, since most of us have traveled to various corners of the country for college and rarely get to see one another except for during breaks when we are all back in town. My friend Reid and I have kept up this tradition for five years now, getting together a few times a year, catching up, enjoying each other's company when there's nothing else to do in my hometown, and sharing some good times of course. As I look back fondly on our times in high school, we have certainly grown and changed a great deal since going to and finishing college. But there are aspects of ourselves that never change, and then there are those aspects of us that grow together. I'm glad to have the chance still to continue to nurture this friendship and watch us step out into the real world and fend for ourselves.

Last night, Reid and I went out for the night, stopping first at pretty much the only Thai restaurant in my hometown for dinner. The pad thai there was flavored just right, but the noodles were much too mushy for my preference. I enjoy a little chew to my noodles. I tried to order duck pad thai, but the waitress insisted that it wouldn't taste good (um… that must be why I love getting duck pad thai elsewhere…), so I stuck with chicken. After spending nearly 2 hours in the restaurant chatting away, we headed out for dessert at Friendly's. It's a pretty popular haunt in my hometown, because it's located everywhere, and has both food and dessert at a very reasonable price. Surprisingly, there are no Friendly's in Boston, which made me a little sad. Anyway, I was craving a brownie sundae, so I ordered their fudge brownie sundae, which came with chunks of dense brownies that were not heated up, layered between scoops of chocolate ice cream and hot fudge. I think that was a bit too much chocolate, as I was completely chocolated-out by the time I finished it haha.

Then we went to a movie theater to watch Charlie Wilson's War, which was actually pretty entertaining. I was little bit lost at first, as the film moves fast with brisk dialog and lots of history and politics spun in, but I found the movie to be quite witty and as always, I loved Tom Hanks. You almost start to forget that this was based on a true story, and it's not until the end of the movie that you realize how relevant the content of this movie is to the present state of the world, and then you feel a little sad that so much has resulted from one political mistake at the end of the Cold War.

We didn't quite want to call it a night, so Reid took me to a tapas bar in town that he really liked, called Bocado. It was a trendy, semi-upscale lounge type of bar, and I really liked the atmosphere inside: ambient, busy but not too noisy, roomy, with an air of sophistication but not snootiness. I had never had tapas before, since they tend to run on the expensive side, but we just got an appetizer, which was a roasted garlic, spinach, and feta dip served with warmed pita wedges. I got a sparkling mojito and he got a mango flavored Sangria, both of which were delicious.

The appetizer was also great, although I wish they had given us more pita wedges to go with all the dip we got. It was definitely a nice place to go and relax, and probably also a great first date place as well, which is surprisingly difficult to come upon in my hometown.

Finally, in noting that my glass is empty in the picture below, I would just like to add that I have the rare but coveted resistance to Asian glow :) I have no idea how, as both my parents tend to turn red, but I'm certainly not complaining haha.


Sunday, May 13th

9:00AM Kitchen (home)
Happy Mother's Day!!! I thought long and hard about what to do for my mom on Mother's Day, and decided I'd make her breakfast. Well, after I came home I realized that we were seriously lacking materials for breakfast, so I searched long and hard online for a recipe that I actually had all the ingredients to make. That recipe was peach cream pie, which doesn't actually require any cream (something I didn't have). I also didn't have fresh peaches, so I substituted in canned peaches, which the recipe says is okay, but I don't think I'll be doing that again next time. I also used a frozen but uncooked pre-made pie crust, so it wasn't much work to get it going. I wish I had taken a picture, but it did come out looking similar to the picture on the recipe website, although the inside of the pie was a bit mushy since the canned peaches didn't hold up well during the baking. So when I cut it up it became more like a peach cobbler lol. Still, the taste was quite good, the "cream" filling surrounding the peaches was kind of like a sugar cookie-flavored custard with a crispy crust, and the peaches were not tart at all. I baked the pie at a higher temperature than the recipe suggests, to help firm up the pie (15 minutes at 400F, then 30 minutes at 375F, then 15 minutes at 300F).

With the pie I also served a sampling of English tea cookies (small, crunchy spherical cookies dusted with powdered sugar, pretty subtle, and definitely goes well with tea), and some Walker's hazelnut shortbread cookies which my mom adores. My mom and dad got green teas, and me and my brother had vanilla chai tea with milk. Yum! We all had a great breakfast, and my mom was very happy. I unfortunately did not wake up before her (she was already up at 7am making her own breakfast! I had to stop her and be like okay go do something else I'm making breakfast lol). But hey it's the thought and effort that counts right. This is what the pie looked like (minus the dollop of cream on top), even though the picture is of peach cobbler:

Homemade turkey burgers with an Asian flair. I asked my mom to buy ground turkey for making turkey burgers, and she told me they didn't have ground turkey at the supermarket. So she bought turkey cutlets and ground them herself with a food processor. Haha the woman has determination! I marinated them overnight with a mixture of sauces and seared them in a skillet to make lunch for the family. It was kind of scary cooking these turkey patties (I'll tell you why later), but they came out tasting really good! Since they were marinated they had a lot of great flavor, and cooking them on a skillet gave them an interesting char you wouldn't get on a grill. My family ate these on buns, but I just ate mine with a fork because they were nice and tasty all on their own. Here's a picture that looks similar to my turkey burger patties, except mine came out a lot darker. Recipe included below also. I adapted this recipe from a Weight Watchers recipe that talks about how great turkey burgers are and how you can make them even healthier by stirring in your condiments into the meat before grilling them to get lots of great flavor. Personally, I think you can turn this recipe into turkey meatballs if you just add some bread crumbs or something to it heh.

Turkey Burgers with an Asian Flair
1 lb. of ground turkey
1/2 onion finely minced (or more coarsely chopped if you want more bite)
1/3 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of yellow mustard
1/4 cup of barbeque sauce
1/5 cup of hoisin sauce

1. Combine sauces together in a bowl, mix well. Add to ground turkey, then stir in onions.
2. Marinate overnight in refrigerator, covered.
3. On medium heat, warm a little bit of oil in a skillet. Shape ground turkey into 4-6 patties, and cook in skillet a couple at a time. They take about 2 minutes on each side, but check to make sure the centers are cooked through and there is no liquid escaping from the middle. Serve as a burger or with a side of vegetables.

(So the complications of this recipe… when you marinate the ground turkey, it releases a lot of liquid. Liquid + oil in skillet = very bad popping. I think grilling is supposed to get around this problem, but I didn't feel like firing up the grill just for this purpose. I mean cooking these in a skillet is definitely doable, just be aware that the oil is going to pop a lot, so use a lid and wear an apron lol. Also, the use of all these sugar-containing sauces (ketchup, bbq, and hoisin sauce) meant that the patties were charring very quickly on the outside. Definitely use a non-stick skillet, otherwise you will be miserable. The insides were nicely cooked though, so don't let a charred outward appearance scare you. Otherwise, enjoy!)

I also ate some leftover teriyaki salmon, ribs, and green beans along with the turkey burger patty, because I made my patties small and didn't quite make enough lol.

6:30PM Baker Dining
1/2 entree of tofu stir fry with mixed vegetables and chili garlic + soy ginger sauces. I've never gotten Baker's tofu stir fry before, and I figured I had had enough meat for the eat, so I decided to do the tofu. It was pretty good, although I was kind of turned off by the sour smell of the tofu while the stir fry was sitting on my desk. I mean, being Asian, I'm definitely used to eating tofu, but that doesn't mean I enjoy its sour smell all that much. Mostly because spoiled tofu tastes sour and really does a number on my stomach. Ah, so happy to be back to using my own pictures :)

11:30PM Dorm Room
Handful of roasted cashews. Mmm I love cashews.

Friday, May 11th

11:00AM Mala's PhD Thesis Defense (Building 6)
Half a plain bagel from Dunkin' Donuts, with cream cheese. 6 oz of orange juice. I kind of forgot that we were going to have Whitehead's usual Friday Forum at 12:30, but when I remembered I stopped eating my bagel to save room for lunch.

12:20PM Whitehead Friday Forum
1 medium pasta shell filled with ricotta and topped with marinara sauce (it was like the size of half a fist). 1 coconut chocolate chip bar. 1 bottle of spring water (17.5 oz). The actual entree for the forum was a beef burrito, and I seriously hate burritos, so I went for the vegetarian option of stuffed shells, which also isn't all that exciting to me. But I guess it all worked out, since I wasn't very hungry after that half bagel earlier.

7:30PM Home Sweet Home
I went home for the weekend because my family wanted to celebrate my belated birthday with me, and it also happens to be Mother's Day weekend. I again suck lots for not taking food pictures :/

I think I nearly fainted from the glorious smell of home-cooked food when I first walked through the door of my house. Seriously haha. My mom made Shanghai-style glutinous rice ovals with pork and Shanghai bok choy stir fried with soy sauce (炒黏糕), steamed whole blue crab, steamed corn, and tossed iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes and Vidalia onion vinaigrette dressing. Yum yum. I love my mom's rice oval dish, it's savory and slightly sweet, and the ovals are perfectly soft and chewy. And the crab were delicious. Blue crab is usually the most savory and delicate of the crabs, but the ones today were even better than the ones I had before. It had a saltiness like fresh ocean seafood should have, and it was so good that I didn't even need to dip my crab in any sauces. This is how good seafood should be! I had 3/4 of a glass of Khalua mixed with lots of milk, which is not alcoholic enough to do anything to me, but just flavorful enough that it feels like a special drink to go with a special dinner.

After dinner we had fresh papaya, one of my favorite tropical fruits. It's very refreshing and not too sweet, but also not tart at all. It's flesh is soft, unlike that of other popular melons, so it's kind of a melt-in-you-mouth fruit.

Birthday celebration time! Before I came home I took a trip to Japonaise and bought my beloved green tea macha cake and adzuki cream puffs for my family to eat. It's way expensive though, considering that buying 4 cake slices and 4 cream puffs cost $25. Still, I wanted my family to try the best, and they really loved them. It didn't matter to me that I didn't have a birthday cake, you'd still just end up cutting it into cake slices right :P So we each had a slice of green tea cake and I had half a cream puff, with a cup of green tea.

I got some great gifts from my family too, a purse from my mom, a laptop webcam from my dad, a jewelry box from my brother, and a pair of 1/2 carat diamond earrings from my family as a graduation gift. I loved all the gifts, but seriously omg at the earrings! My mom says that I'm all grown up now and they wanted to get me something big for a graduation gift (even though I won't graduate for another month lol). I adore these earrings! Diamond also happens to be my birthstone, not to mention that I love them because they have the most beautiful glitter I have ever seen. My boyfriend tells me that I'm like a fish because I like shiny things haha.


Thursday, May 10th

11:00AM Molecular Biology Lecture
1 strawberry Special K bar.

12:00PM Building 4 Cafe
1 box (12 half-sized pieces) of spicy salmon sushi with cucumber. 1 bottle of spring water (17.5 oz). Wow this sushi was way too spicy for my taste. Usually when I get it it's got a kick but it doesn't make me stop and pant and gulp down water. Today it was just nuts, I felt like I was trying my best to eat spicy Korean food or something.

7:00PM Baker Dining
2 chili dogs with a few onion rings and salsa on the side. I was pretty hungry because the sushi didn't go a good job filling me up, so I went for the unhealthy but filling and yummy comfort food for dinner :P Boy did it hit the spot.

Monday, May 7th

1:00PM Goosebeary's Food Truck
Cambodian seafood, again. This stuff is good! I got one for my boyfriend also to convince him that it's good, but he thought it wasn't salty enough for his taste. He liked the fried fish in it though, which is actually my least favorite part of it lol. He also picked up some random mini-danishes from his lab and shared them with me. There were three different fillings: almond, banana, and chocolate. Not sure which one I liked best, it would probably be a tossup between almond and chocolate.

6:15PM MIT Faculty Club – Biology Senior Dinner
Glass of white wine (Chardonnay) while chatting with friends and professors.

Dinner started at 6:30pm, and it was a buffet style serving (this dinner was not as fancy as the one I had at this place last week with my boyfriend's class). Here is my plate of food, including some Caesar salad, a roll, some green beans, a few mushroom stuffed ravioli with mushroom cream sauce (the striped things), and a small piece of grilled chicken teriyaki. By far my favorite entree item was the ravioli, which were flavorful and moist, without being weighed down by lots of cream sauce or too much ravioli dough. The chicken was far too dry. The rest of the sides were okay, though the roll was a bit too dense.

Afterwards we enjoyed dessert and coffee while an acapella group performed for us. I had half a cup of coffee mixed with half a cup of milk and 2 Splendas (I really don't like coffee, so I dilute it a lot to make it bearable haha), and a slice of lemon custard tart. The tart was okay, but I think they overdid the lemon custard, which came off too sour at first but then too sweet at the end of a bite, which also effectively made my coffee taste bitter the whole time haha.

Not terribly satisfied with our desserts, my friends and I decided to share another dessert  (we were getting really full now but still wanted to taste the other offerings). We ended up trying the "Carribean mango colada cake", which was actually really good! At first I thought it was baked alaska, because the top was a creamy merigue and the middle was a cold layer that I thought was ice cream. Turns out it was just still half frozen haha. The bottom of the cake was a soft sponge, and the middle was a layer of mango mousse that was infused with pineapple flavor, then topped with a light meringue flavored with coconut, then a thin layer of some sort of tropical fruit glaze. It was pretty refreshing for a dessert, and if it wasn't for the fact that we were all getting really full I'm sure we would have eaten more of it. Sorry the picture looks a bit gross, the cake was falling apart because we cut it funny. Just trust me that it was yummy :)

After the dinner me friends and I took home the flower centerpiece from the tables, because everyone else was doing it and they were awfully pretty! I had a bit of trouble trying to carry mine home but it sure is a nice addition to the room. Mmm I love pretty flowers.

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