28 September 2010

Walk The Talk


Last night, Mr. B. started a new routine - walking for fitness. For more than an hour, Mr. B. walked the big block around his neighbor and then proceed to walk around the perimeter of the large forest park in the district. He came home all panting and sweaty and complained about his sore legs and thighs. But he said it felt quite good and energizing. It also cleared his mind and was able to sort a few things out.

It was raining quite hard tonight so Mr. B. decided to postpone his walking tour to tomorrow. I am glad he is keeping his promise to start a healthier lifestyle than he used to have and I also secretly hope he can keep up with it.

Perhaps I can even go with him in one of his evening walking trips.

23 September 2010

The Ambivalent Chef

Mr. B. recently receive a wonderful gift from a group of wonderful people. It has been in his wish list for many years and he was so excited to finally receive it. It is the King of Cookware - Le Creuset!! For those not very familiar with culinary arts, this colorful enameled cast iron cookware is the ultimate in elegance as well as quality.

For two days now, Mr. B. has been staring at the two French ovens he received not knowing what to do with them.

"Why don't you impress me with some Beef Bourguignon?" I told Mr. B.

"I never tried that one before. Let me check the recipe," he replied. "I am not sure I can do it right."

"That's fine, Mr. B., I can wait. If you do, I will feature it in my blog." I said as I walk away.

Life, I believe, is like cooking. Even when you have the recipe, you can never be sure you will get it right. You may fail the first time even when you follow the recipe to the dot. Then you will have to try again. The important thing is to take action and do it - get the ingredients, turn the stove on and start cooking.

I understand that there are many uncertainties Mr. B. is facing in life at this moment. If I can only convince him to make a move, make plans and just do it, perhaps having that Beef Bourguignon will not be a long wait.

I walked back to Mr. B. and saw him flipping through a Le Creuset cookbook. "Here it is, Becker. Beef Bourguignon recipe!" he said excitedly.

I gave him a warmest bearhug and told him we will do it together and that I believe in him.

19 September 2010

Easy Eats #9 - Salmon Fish Cake

There's a big storm this weekend so nothing is better than staying home, watching TV and making some comfort food! Speaking of comfort food, this is one of my favorite (of course). Easy to make Salmon Fish Cake! You can eat them with side salad or using a Thai hot and sweet dipping sauce.

Ingredients:

5 medium size potatoes, diced
500 grams salmon
Dried thyme
1 bay leaf
All-purpose flour
Bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste


Instruction:

1. Poach the salmon in boiling water with bay leaf and a little salt.
2. Flake the salmon (large chunks) when it is in room temperature. Set aside.
3. Boil potatoes with a little salt until thoroughly cooked. Drain all water.
4. Mash potatoes when in room temperature.
5. Tip in salmon, add thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Refrigerate the mixture for about 1 hour.
7. Make patties with the mixture and slightly cover with flour and bread crumbs.
8. Fry in very hot oil on both sides until golden brown.

I was able to make 13 patties out of the mixture. Enjoy!!

Important Tips:

1. Make sure the potatoes are drained very well when cooked. Do not add milk, butter or any liquid because that will make the mash too soft to hold together.
2. When frying, make sure the first side it thoroughly browned before turning so your cakes won't fall apart.

13 September 2010

A Diamond Is Forever


Today, Mr. B. received a gift. It is a pen with a 0.6 carat diamond floating on top. I reckoned it must be very expensive.

"What did you do to receive such a wonderful gift, Mr. B.?" I asked him excitedly.

"I sold my soul." he answered nonchalantly without looking at me.

"I don't understand."

"Well, you spent years and years working your head off and being very obedient. You allowed yourself to be used and abused. If you stayed long enough, they give you one of this."

I suddenly realized where the gift was from. "Oh! So this is a gift from that evil. evil person!"

"You can say that, yeah." Mr. B. answered.

I started walking away when it dawned to me.

"Mr. B.?" I turned to him.

"Yes?"

"How much can we sell it for?"

05 September 2010

Easy Eats #8 - Cheesy Mushroom Risotto


Hello my dear fans! It's time for Easy Eats and today I am featuring a very, very easy recipe that requires no more than 5 ingredients and less than 40 minutes to prepare. Best of all, it tastes heavenly, perfect for that lazy weekend lunch. I know this is not a very traditional way of making risotto but who cares if it's delicious?

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked rice (any variant will do)
1 cup button mushroom, sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter (but don't burn it!)
2. Add in the mushroom and cook over medium heat. Keep stirring until all the liquid is dry and the mushroom is brown.
3. Depending on the type of rice you are using, you may want to wash it first. But don't wash it too much because you need the starch to make your risotto "creamy".
4. Tip in the rice and start stirring. Add in one cup of water.
5. Keep stirring and keep adding small amount of water to make sure it doesn't dry up.
6. When is turns creamy and the rice is almost cooked, turn the heat to low and add in half of the Parmesan cheese. Add in mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Did I tell you to stop stirring?
7. The finish product should be a little wet.
8. Place risotto on a plate and top with the rest of the Parmesan cheese.
9. Eat immediately.

Hints: If you want your risotto to be more flavorful, you can use chicken stock instead of water. Risotto is best eaten immediately or it will become lumpy very quick. Also, do not, I repeat, do not use grated Parmesan cheese from one of those green cans! Buy a block and grate it yourself!

03 September 2010

Temple's Hug Machine

I never knew who Dr. Temple Grandin was until recently. She is a 63-year-old professor in Colorado State University, a bestselling author, a consultant in animal behavior to the livestock industry. She has been featured in many television programs, written up in major publications and featured in a BBC documentary called "The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow". HBO recently made a semi-biographical film about her, simply called Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. She is also autistic.

What really interests me about this person aside from her great works and contribution especially in autism advocacy is her famous invention - the hug machine.

A hug machine is simply two heavily padded boards hinged together on one side. The user simply lies between the two boards and get squeezed. Imagine yourself being squeeze in the middle of a giant book. This squeezing process is supposed to be very therapeutic and stress-relieving to hypersensitive people especially autistic persons. I guess this device is especially applicable to autistic people because from my very limited knowledge of this disorder, some autistic persons do not like physical contacts.

I believe that for the rest of the humans, it is also therapeutic to be squeezed and hugged. I also read somewhere that there is indeed medical evidence that shows hugs can reduce blood pressure.

I know what to do next time I see Mr. B. I am going to give him a huge bear hug!!

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