Chopped

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Blog #5

I reached in to the plastic bag our professor held. I prayed for ingredients that sort of went together and not- fish, frosting, and fries- for example. I opened each one and laid them on my desk. I smiled as I read my ingredients: bleu cheese, apples, and nutella.
The moment I got home after class and from buying my bleu cheese, nutella, and apples, I started working on my creation. I pulled out romaine lettuce, crumbled bleu cheese, and green apples. I chopped the bright green leaves into bite-size pieces. I poured balsamic vinaigrette over each leaf. I sliced the apple into bite-pieces also. I sprinkled the crumbled bleu cheese on top and pushed the salad to the side to let each part soak up every other ingredient in the salad. I toasted some sourdough bread. As I broke into the loaf, gentle steam rose. I sliced into the loaf and put my selected pieces aside to let them cool off a bit. I spooned out a healthy portion of nutella and spread it on my slices of bread. It melted into every crevice of the bread.
I took my first bite of my Chopped creation. The apples, bleu cheese, and lettuce absorbed the dressing leaving a tangy aftertaste in my mouth. I crunched my way to the end of my salad. I pushed my empty bowl aside and moved onto my bread and nutella. The smooth hazelnut stuck to the roof of my mouth letting my taste buds absorb every flavor of the nutella. The bread was warm and soft. The subtle sweetness of this dessert was a nice contrast to my tangy salad and a great way to end my Chopped creation meal.

Chinatown

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Blog #4

Frank said that “Chinatown started out with four square blocks and now it’s twenty square blocks. Fifty percent of San Francisco is Chinese- the largest population of outside of China”. I stood there with the same emotion building throughout our walking tour: awe.
I am so familiar with the tourist version of Chinatown that I could do it with my eyes closed, but I never knew such history lay in the unlikeliest of places. Our walking tour guide, Frank, said that two of the restaurants we came across had been there for over a century, but a tourist never would have known it because they were both so run down. A few other restaurants we came across had incredible cooks that learned their culinary expertise from different places around the world, but a tourist never would have known that because their restaurants were simple and appeared as every one of its neighbors- nothing signaling greatness in their food.
I never knew tea tasting resembled wine tasting. The tea connoisseur gave us shot-size cups and told us to sip at our tea, slurping it to aerate and expose every single flavor. She told us real tea becomes stronger with each tea brewing and that the tea that becomes weaker with every cup brewed is largely composed of artificial additives.
I cannot even begin to describe the pleasure I received from each bite of food I had at our restaurant. I’ve never experienced the flavors of the bean curd style wraps or the shrimp dumplings. Plate, after beautiful plate, came out of the kitchen, the food seemed to be endless. Frank’s description of each food helped me to enjoy it and to taste each component that he talked about. We ended with one of my favorite parts of the trips: sesame seed balls. According to Frank, they were made from similar ingredients as mochi and had an inside that resembled the creamy thickness of nutella.

I took this on my last trip to Chinatown, and I thought this picture was fitting because you are not expected to come across something like this- much like the entirety of our trip.

Scrambled

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Blog #3

Sophomore year, my roommate’s food of choice happened to be scrambled eggs, especially during the evening which was also my favorite time to consume them as well. We had managed to stow away a hot plate, illegal contraband according to the college, in her trunk, so we could enjoy a few edible meals. I would sit in my room at night and hear the plate sizzling with olive oil signaling that it was time.
Tap, tap. The egg broke open plopping onto the plate but this time was different: “hey, Becca, did you wanna try scrambling the eggs?” she said from the other room. I had never cooked before, let alone scramble an egg in my life. She first showed me- moving the egg back and forth with the spatula- and then it was my turn.
The yellow pillows fluffed every time I slid the spatula across the plate. The runniness started to disappear after a few times, and the scrambled eggs piled high on each side of the plate right before me. The egg aroma lingered in the air as I arranged the finished meal on my plate. My roommate voiced her approval, and I stood there beaming because I had cooked my first meal.
The next time I went home, I could not wait to cook my sudden specialty for my family. This time, I added spinach and cheese- a step up from my current cooking ability. I scrambled the eggs and the extra ingredients, and I presented it to my family. I watched as they took their first bit, and they could not have been more proud. Their delight spread from ear to ear.

How to Scramble Eggsthumbnail

[This picture is take from: http://www.ehow.com/how_2638_scramble-eggs.html]

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

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Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Throughout high school, my family would gather at my aunt and uncle’s house in Stockton. We would all sit and enjoy each other’s company before sitting down to begin our Thanksgiving meal. My cousin, sister, and I would escape the adult conversation of ‘how is school going for you?’ and talk about more exciting things like boys, boy advice, makeup, and shopping. Laughter bounced off every tile on the floor and blended into the walls.
I waited a whole year for my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal: my aunt’s pumpkin chiffon pie. Sure, the turkey, stuffing, bread, salad and other side dishes never failed to fill me, but there always seemed to be just enough room for a hearty portion of this mousse-like dessert.
The first bite always took my breath away: whipped pumpkin filled into every crevice on my tongue. Cinnamon, ginger, and allspice lingered there for moments afterwards. The graham cracker crust absorbed all of the juices, left behind by the pie, making it melt in my mouth- a smooth, buttery finish.
Each bite was even more momentous than the first. I never paused or put my fork down except to mumble my satisfaction. The pie enveloped every inch of me, and just before I could not handle another bite, the plate laid bare- no crumbs were left behind.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Image taken from: midwestliving.com

This isn’t the exact same recipe that I use, but you’ll get the idea.

1 (16 oz.) pumpkin
1/2 c. sugar (filling)
1/2 c. milk
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin
1/4 c. cold water
1/3 c. sugar (chiffon)
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind

 

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, milk, egg yolks, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring until thick, 10-15 minutes. Soften gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. Add to pumpkin mixture stirring to dissolve gelatin. Cool. Beat in egg whites until frothy. Add 1/3 cup sugar slowly, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into pumpkin mixture. Pour mixture into cold pie shell and chill overnight. Just before serving, whip cream with confectioners sugar and grated lemon rind. Mound cream into center of pie.

Pink Lady

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Pink Lady

         This pink lady’s skin is smooth like creamy, soft velvet or whipped butter. Cold: like the air of a winter morning against your nose while breathing in ice daggers.

         Her sides are uneven- one side shorter than the other, offering a passive stance, a bow. On her skin, one rough cut shows scabbed  over, healing. Her skin is freckled yellow pricks bleeding into rosy sunsetted colors.

         Tap, tap, tap. She sounds hollow like plastic fruit against your ear. Layers of irony because everything else about her makes her more than real.

         That moment of the first bite. Teeth sinking into the firm skin and finally the apple meat. Her delicate sweetness, fruity. There is a glossy fragrance that emits from her.

          Her bitter skin juxtaposes a lightly sweet inside that crosses opposite sides of my tongue. Her apple meat is not mushy but firm. Crisp. Her skin is hard to bite into like an unripe fruit, but her inside is delicate, juicy, soft.

          On the table, she sits half-eaten, more tangible and real; the essence of life and reality. The light, background,  and plate are her tools for her masterpiece.
File:PinkLadyApples.JPG

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