Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Break Projects

It's Spring Break! I have planned for myself many projects during vacation. I want to paint little cute things on 5" x 7" canvases, cook meals using the grill, apply for teaching jobs, write letters and overdue packages to friends, and tidy up the apartment. I got the canvases on Saturday, and we also went to the Farmers' Market. The market had those plastic Easter eggs scattered about for the egg hunt for the kids. I thought that they were for decoration, but then later realized when a parent was helping her kid "find" the egg that it was the Easter egg hunt that my husband saw advertised. Anyways, we bought short ribs there. I've been wanting to try buying the meat there for a long time. I'm always disappointed by the beef I buy at the supermarket because when I bring them home, I find that there's a funky smelling, brownish-gray discoloring on other side of the meat. Good thing I don't really eat a lot of red meat. When we do, we now get them at the butcher at Whole Foods. We've had better luck with the meat there. I love that I can ask them to show it to me and have them re-cut it to our liking. I've even seen people ask to smell the fish or meat there. I'm too shy to do that. So, going back to the Farmers' Market... We also bought a red butter lettuce for $2. It was so pretty I had to get it. It's good, but it didn't have much of a thickness like the green variety. My parakeets enjoyed it, too. We also got oranges, and a bag of different colored potatoes.

I went grocery shopping today. Want to know what I've planned for this week's dinner menu? Well, today, I made Chicken with Soy and Balsamic Dressing on a bed of sauteed cabbage. It was so good. This recipe from Harumi Kurihara's Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking is definitely a keeper. Her Pari Pari-Style Chicken; not so much. I also plan to make her Japanese-style Squid Salad using the butter lettuce with Amy Kaneko's (of Let's Cook Japanese Food!) Eggplant with Gingery Chicken Sauce. For another night, I plan to make little bite-sized pork tonkatsu and Tokyo negi on skewers using Harumi's idea. I'll serve that with my mom's Japanese-style potato salad using those colorful potatoes. I wonder how it would look with those purple potatoes! And then another night, I'll use the grill to make Kaneko's Chicken Grilled with Miso Glaze and her Chicken Meatballs with Sweet Vinegar Glaze served with corn nibblets. For the chicken meatballs, I haven't decided if I should grill them on skewers and serve the sauce on the side, or to go ahead and pan-cook it with the glaze. It depends on how ambitious I'm feeling. The last dish I have planned is the salmon collar a la Mom. Last time I made this was on the stovetop grill. So I'm looking forward to making it on our little grill. And I'll serve that with sunomono. All Japanese food.

Happy projects for me! I'll keep you updated on what out of these things mentioned I would actually get done. :)

Yay! Grill Time!!

We have all these cookbooks, but I couldn't make half the stuff in them because we didn't have a grill. Well, we have those indoor, stovetop grill, but have learned to hate it. It is hard to clean and grilling just stinks up an apartment for a week! So we finally got the little grill and FINALLY got it set up and working. We were waiting for the warm weather, right, Hubby? Hee hee. The first thing my husband made was steak. He just rubbed the Montreal grill seasoning on it, and then pounded it with his fist. It came out really good.

Balcony Plants

Aren't these Jumpers so pretty?! They're so cute! Last year I tried to grow them from seeds, but I didn't bother this year since I've been so busy. I just went to Home Depot and went plant crazy. I took so long trying to figure out which container had the most variety of colors. The only thing that was growing was my husband's scrawny maple plant from Ikea. Well, actually I thought that it had just died from being overwatered or not watered enough, but lo and behold, it was alive!!! It has started growing its new red leaves. So, anyways, I also bought a pink flower, don't remember the name, and a purple bacopa... I think that's what it's called. They're both in a little hanging basket from Ikea. I also got a Maidenhair Fern to replace my Pachira plant. The Pachira died. It was my fault. I left it out in the balcony when it was way too cold for it. Well, I say it was payback for its lack of financial fortune it was supposed to give me.

Little Sweet Things

Hubby brought home these cute little candies from work. And I just had to go check the store out. The traditional candies are from Fiona's Sweetshoppe in San Francisco. They're imported from the UK and Europe. It was neat because you get to taste them before you buy them. I tried something called a UFO and it was odd. It was shaped like a flying saucer and came in variety of pastel colors. When you put it in your mouth, it felt like a thin, stale wafer that's in a Kit Kat. It collapses as it gets soggy in your mouth and then weird, tart crumbly candy is in the center. Don't care to have it again but would give it someone to watch their expression on their face.

We also went to Schoggi. It's a Swiss chocolate store. It's right next to Beard Papa's and my husband has been waiting for it to check it out. We got two chocolates each. I got a coffee flavored one and a matcha flavored one. Hee hee.
And yesterday, for Easter, we got a little chocolate bunny from good ol' See's to smash and eat. Well, my plan was to get those big chocolate bunny with the blue candy eyes to smash and eat up, but I got cheap and didn't do that. Went for the little bunny. And didn't smash it. We just bit into it. I remember never ever finishing those chocolate bunnies when we were kids. I think my siblings and I would just eat the ears, and end up saving the rest of the fridge. And one day we realize that it's no longer there. Mom probably chucked it.