There are too many things to be thankful for: Family
Our parents have been visiting us for a week. For us who live thousand miles from them, it is a rare occasion. We treasure every moment and make the most of it. We are so spoiled by them. During their visit, I don't feel the need of cooking because food is always ready. I better watch my waist circumference. Heehee...
Our other set of parents, sisters, and nieces that always be there for us.
It has been so great which allows us to have our windows open. Its makes me want to spend my time outside. Oh, and not to mention that I can wear my summer dresses and flip-flops. Woohoo!
Old friends from home that I hadn't spoken to for a long time.
Friends here that continuously remind us how big our God's love is. Our friend that graduates and ready to step on a new journey called college life.
For those reasons, I present my sweet round cheese cake with blackberry sauce for you all.
I never had luck with cheesecake until I found Dorie Greenspan's recipe. I had a great feedbacks from my church friends when I brought it to a potluck a couple weeks ago.
Have a great weekend, y'all! I may not be able to update this blog for about two weeks because we are having a field trip with our parents. See ya then!
I baked this strata for Easter breakfast at church. It's my first time making strata so I wasn't sure if it would turn out good. It would have been so easy to find out if they were cookies. But for food like casseroles and cakes, ones that are baked in a big pan, taking a sample would leave a void on the land(food)scape that would look funny when served. I know my church friends wouldn't have cared if I did so, so I guess it bothered me more than it did for them
Actually it wasn't the taste that I was worrying the most. I mean, what could get wrong if it had cheese, ham, and spinach? Since I changed the recipe a little bit, I was afraid if the mixture wasn't cooked enough using the suggested time -then we would eat undercooked eggs! I didn't have much extra time since I baked the strata at the church' kitchen that morning. Like usual, I worried more than I should have. I brought almost no leftover! The only thing that bothered me was it's sogginess. I will bake the bread first to remove the water content next time.
Spinach Strata Adapted from Kitchen Minion
Ingredients: 12 oz frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze to remove water
1½ c finely chopped onion
1 Tbs unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp nutmeg
10 slices of thin ham
8 cup cubed French bread
2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2¾ c 2% milk
9 large eggs
2 T Dijon mustard
Cook onion in butter in a skillet until fragrant. Add spinach, half portion of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until well combined.
Spread half of the bread cubes in a buttered baking dish and cover evenly with half of the spinach mixture, half of ham, and half of the cheese. Repeat using the remaining ingredients.
Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour slowly over strata.
Chill strata overnight. Bake in a preheated oven at 350'F for 45-55 minutes. Serve warm.
I made this bread because I still had half pack of cheddar cheese that would get bad soon had it not been used immediately. I used my old recipe with small twists. I added more herb and didn't use egg wash this time. I loved the matte surface on the bread. Also, since I was tired from a long day at work, I chose the simplest shape, round, then arranged them on a rectangular pan.
When I made something similar in the past and showed it to my friend, she said it looked like "pillow bread" she grew up with. I had never heard of the name, but I liked it. So this is also roti buantal!
Several packs of frozen tempeh were still sitting in our freezer last weekend. I think I made more tempeh last summer than I usually did in the previous summers. I like to make tempeh then store them to supply us during winter time -when we don't get vegetable from CSA. We still buy veggies from grocery stores in winter, but it's just nice to have more variety since winter-veggie variability is kinda low. If I can find off-season vegetables, they are usually not in their best performance.
Tempeh is also a great ingredient for emergency food for our little family. Cooking it is so easy and quick. Since tempeh is meaty and fulfilling, I don't need to go through the hassle of cooking meat (no thawing, less utensils needed, and less dishes to wash). Here are the ingredients for the spicy tempeh I made last Saturday. My apology for not including the measurement. I followed my grandma's suggestion to "be brave, use your judgement" in cooking
Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, pepper, and lemon grass, and sauté until until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the tempeh), mix for about 3 minutes. Add tempeh. Stir fry for few minutes, until tempeh is well seasoned. Serve over rice.
It's my 300th entry!!!
Thanks to all my readers who keep visiting this blog eventhough I am often too busy to write. Special thanks to you who give me comments in person or in writing, and to my family who visits this blog regularly. I hope we all find this blog useful. God bless us.
I love having some potted herbs in our apartment. I love to watch them grow, and sometimes ehm...talk to them. If you think a landscape architect graduate must be an expert in plants...um...you are wrong. I am a novice planter. There are a lot of researching and frustration in keeping my few plants healthy and pretty. As example, I saved my poinsettia my friend gave me last two Christmas and tried to make it rebloom red for last Christmas. I followed all the procedure such as placing in an uninterrupted-dark place for 12-14 hours every night for three months. What I got on Christmas time was green-leaved poinsettia; then all of sudden it bore red leaves...in February!
I didn't really plan on having plants in our apartment. Hearing a story of my friend's composting pile in his tiny apartment and worked well, I thought it wasn't such a bad idea after all to have a small herb corner to supply my kitchen. Yet I still thought that I would wait until I had a house. So all of my three indoor herbs are all nice coincidence. The basil came from seeds I got from a Solar Decathlon house I visited in DC last fall. The seeds were packed in a nice envelope as a souvenir from that particular house to encourage people to vote for their house and have indoor garden as part of a sustainable lifestyle they were promoting. The mint and lemon balm are from my friend Thea last Easter. They were exhausted and in bad shapes when they got to our apartment. I repotted them immediately and they grew so fast since then. I just harvested and pruned them because they got too high and needed to be treated because of some bugs.
So I can have herb tea whenever I want now. I can also have mojito on these hot spring days.
Knowing that we loved apple butter, our brother bought us a jar from Rise 'n Roll, a local bakery close to an Amish village in Indiana. Since we got back from Indiana, hubby asked me a few times if I wanted to bake bread for the apple butter. His last request was more like a threat: he would eat the apple butter by itself if there's no bread. Haha... He could have gotten bread from a store, but he sweetly waited on my homemade bread.
So one night when he had choir practice, I pulled out my Mennonite recipe book. I found a recipe I exactly needed: white bread. Yeah, I run out of whole wheat flour. Since the CSA season has started, we barely need to go to grocery store. Since grocery shopping is not our favorite thing to do, we like to wait until our grocery list gets long before we do the shopping. I like it that way, at least for now. I love seeing my pantry and refrigerator somewhat empty. That way we know what things need to be used before they get rotten or expired. When I said too bad that it's a white bread, he replied, "at least it's homemade".
White Bread Adapted from More-with-Less Mennonite Cookbook
Ingredients: 1 pkg. dry yeast (7gr)
1/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter
1/2 c. warm water
2 1/2 cup flour
Dissolve dry yeast in 1/4 C warm water until bubbly.
Combine all ingredients, beat with electric mixer until well combined. Add more flour as needed until the dough is not sticking to the side and bottom of bowl. Knead with hand for about 3 minutes.
Place in a bowl, cover with damp cloth. Let rise for 1/2 hour.
Punch down, shape, and place in a greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Bake at 350'F for 30-35 minutes.
I was happy to be included in our brother's wedding. We arrived in his town on Wednesday. The sugar flowers survived the 8-hour trip. I was relieved, because it was such a hot day. The wedding flowers came on Thursday morning. Since then the countdown began. I was kinda overwhelmed, but I kept it for myself. Pstt... That's one thing about doing flower: it can't be prepared way in advance, so a great stamina and helpers are much needed. Since I was busy doing my task, I didn't have much chance to take picture. So the pictures I am sharing here are from my camera (sorry for the low quality), from my friends, and from dad.
Mom and dad were busy also. Mom baked the wedding cake, and dad was a great helper. A week before the wedding day, mom had tried making the cake using "American" ingredients. Even with a box of fresh eggs from a farmers market (she usually gets free-range chicken eggs directly from the farmers), she still said that it was different compare to the result she gets back home. It bothered her but we couldn't tell what's wrong. Her sons and their wives agreed that it tasted just great.
The cake making in progress. Our friends said that the cake tasted "very Indonesian".
I was kinda nervous about the flowers. "Will I have enough flowers? Will they look fine? Will they go along with the rest of the wedding components?" those were questions that kept popping up in my mind.
I could see the pride from our brother to have the wedding cake specially made by his mom. A lot people said the cake was tasty.
The throw away bouquete.
A centerpiece on a batik table runner. Mom and dad brought the table unners from Indonesia.
I love the wedding venue they chose. It's an Amish restaurant in Nappanee, IN. The place is unique and homy. We saw some peacocks peeking in windows the morning we assembled the wedding cake.
The food was fabulous. It's an Amish restaurant after all!