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We Heart Ramen

15 Apr

I am a college student but here in UC Davis I don’t eat instant ramen very often. The Dining Commons (DC) is just that good and convenient enough that I don’t have to cook up ramen. However, this really cool infographic was brought to my attention:

We Love Ramen Infographic
Created by: HackCollege.com

Original link: http://www.hackcollege.com/blog/2012/2/27/infographic-we-love-ramen.html

Isn’t it cool? I thought so too and decided to make my own version of ramen. Granted this isn’t going to be super healthy but I did my best.

My ramen with egg and vegetables (red/black/green things). Photo taken using my smartphone's app called "PicsArt"; setting: Pastel.

Nell’s Quick Ramen

Ingredients

  • 1 package of ramen
  • 1 egg, boiled (takes 5-7 minutes, depends on how well you want the egg to be cooked)
  • 1/2 cup frozen vegetables, thawed
  • ground cayenne pepper OR freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Ramen Ingredients

Procedure

  1. Cook ramen according to package. Usually this means 2 cups of boiling water per 1 package of ramen. Cook ramen in boiling water for 3 minutes (or package’s required time).
  2. Thaw and warm up frozen vegetables in microwave. For my microwave, it took 1 minute. It will vary based on strength of microwave.
  3. Slice up boiled egg in about 1/4 inch slices.
  4. Once the ramen is cooked, pour the entire contents (water and noddles) into a medium bowl. Mix in vegetables and ground caynene pepper or black pepper to taste. Sprinkle a little bit of the spices from the ‘spice packet’ provided in the ramen package. Do NOT pour it all if you want to reduce the sodium (and unhealthiness).  Top with sliced egg.
  5. Eat and enjoy!
My thoughts taste-wise? Not too bad actually. Of course I didn’t use all of the spice packet so the flavor wasn’t as strong as usual but I added the ground cayenne pepper to give it a kick. Having the egg slightly “gooey” helps too.
Glad this infographic was shown to me. I’m tempted to try to Spaghetti Ramen and Breakfast Ramen too… :)
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Skillet Brownies, Pesto Pasta, & Walnut Banana Bread

30 Mar

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Recipe from theKitchn here.

My last post was about Nutella Oreo brownies, and now this post also includes dark chocolate hazelnut brownies… You may start to be seeing a theme with what I’ve been baking lately. I’ve got to say that I’m enjoying making all these cookies/bars/brownie recipes though because back home if I made any of these I wouldn’t have people to eat them! The recipes always produce 24+ pieces and there was no way my friends and teachers could eat all of them. Some are dessert fans, others are watching their sugar intake, and still others are just watching their weight. But with starving college kids, no one is really that picky. :)

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies 2

Pesto Sauce: perfect for pastas!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com. 

But you’ll also notice that this title includes pesto pasta, which is a savory dish. I’m also trying to cook more and utilize the kitchen I have in my apartment.

I haven’t always liked pesto sauce but just within the past year or so I’ve grown to like it, especially on pasta and pizza. It’s green color isn’t a bright green. It’s more muted. Yet it’s made of olive oil, nuts (pine nuts or walnuts), basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the final product (pesto penne pasta)…but (to my amazement) people finished the entire container at the potluck!

Pesto sauce ingredients

Pesto sauce ingredients

In the blender

Pesto sauce ingredients in a blender. (I wish I had a food processor.)

Walnut Banana Bread

Recipe adapted from Tartine bakery cookbook.
I found this recipe in a cookbook so there’s no website. However, if you want the recipe, please email me at nell.notebook@yahoo.com I would be happy to share with you.

Because my mom requests banana bread so often, I’ve posted several times about it already. I’ve even found my favorite recipe too. The recipe comes from Tartine, a San Franciscan bakery in the Mission District. It’s a small, homey bakery with friendly people. I’d go there more often if I didn’t live on the opposite side of town. Alas!

Walnut Banana Bread

Remember to toast the walnuts before adding them to the batter. This makes them so much more flavorful!

Summertime Calls for a Feast

7 Jun

One Red Bell Pepper

With no more school (until September – yay!), I’ve had a lot of time on my hands.

I’m not complaining though. I get to wake up late, lounge around the house, finally get dressed after 2 hours, go outside and walk around my neighborhood, and annoy my cat to no end. Of

Three zucchinis course there are other days when I actually see friends but having all this me-time is wonderful. I can feel my batteries recharging. I suppose that

makes me a introvert, right?

Anyway, today started off as the same except that I knew that I was going to do some baking Two Carrotsand cooking. Yesterday my mom was craving a “brownie-like chocolate cake without frosting” but because of my doctor’s appointment, I didn’t have time. And just last Friday I was craving chili because of the chilly weather, which then got my mom excited for chili too.

She told me that I had the optiOne and a half cups of beanson of making

either today but I decided that I had the whole day why not make both? So that’s exactly what I did. I even made fresh corn bread!

 

 

The Dinner Table Components

Bowl of Chili sprinkled with Chopped Chives and Cheddar Cheese

Bowl of chili sprinkled with chopped chives and cheddar cheese - turned out a little sweet due to the canned diced tomatoes but with the ground Cayenne pepper it still had a kick!

Buttermilk Cornbread

Buttermilk cornbread - reminded me of the potluck at UC Davis

Oranges and Blueberries

Oranges and blueberries - to clean the pallet of course!

Chocolate Almond Torte

Chocolate almond torte - delicious, delicious delicious! A thin little slice of this dense (yet flaky) chocolate torte is all you need to satisfy any chocolate craving. Recipe from Joyofbaking.com

Mom and I also had an mixed green salad with chopped apples, mushrooms, and candied walnuts but I forgot to take a picture of it – whoops! Next time.

If you want any recipes, comment or email and I will be happy to share them with you.

Until next time, I hope summer is treating you well!

Whipped egg whitesChopped toasted almonds and chocolate butter mixture (Chocolate Almond Torte)Glazing the chocolate almond torte

Summer Tip: Check out your local Farmer’s Markets because summer fruits (melons, blueberries!, peaches!, etc.) and veggies are in season. This means great-tasting produce for good prices and a big “thank you” from Mother Earth. :)

A Happy Mother’s Day…

8 May The breakfast table

…begins with a good breakfast.

And this I’m certain about because breakfast is the first meal of the day, the meal that sets up a person’s mood, the meal that has no rules!

Perhaps, I’m bias because I love (lovelovelovelove) breakfast, but hey, Mother’s Day is also known for good breakfasts, cards, flowers, and simply showering mom with love. :)

The Card and Flowers

So for this Mother’s Day, I wanted to get my mom something, but nothing at the stores seemed just right for the occasion. I spent almost 2 hours browsing stores in a mall, walking up and down and to and fro, and talking to sales ladies and chit chatting about ideas. Still nothing.

At Japan Town, I did manage to find a card I liked, but since it was time to go (my ride was here) and the store was at the opposite end of the mall, I decided to go back with my friend Michelle later, which we did and this was the card I bought that perhaps inspired me with the fabulous breakfast idea:

Mother's Day card with white flowers

Cute, right? But notice the burnt toast...I told my mom I'd never burn the toast because 1) Bread/toast is precious 2) It's terrible to eat

So after being inspired by the card, I knew the next thing to do was get flowers. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it yet and actually come to think of it, I know I haven’t mentioned it yet because I didn’t want to jinx it, BUT I am growing chives and was growing onions. The failed story of the onions was that it attracted some kind of strange bug, which after some research seems to have been aphids (not really sure). These pesky bugs destroyed and killed some of my mom’s plants at home as their leaves turned black/brown and withered away. :( So for Mother’s Day, I knew it had to be a plant and not just a bouquet of flowers.

Getting the plant was tricky since hiding it would be difficult. Yesterday after volunteering, I told my mom I was extending an hour at the senior home so that I could bus my way to Laurel Village to Bryan’s Grocery to buy a plant and ingredients for my breakfast surprise. Luckily even though I missed my first bus, another one came 5 minutes later and I successful got the plant, some organic chives (mine aren’t tall enough yet to cut), and the puff pastry dough. Carrying the Bryan’s bag was easy enough. When my mom picked me up, I simply told her to pop the trunk and there went the bag into another bag. And since we did grocery shopping next (and I carry most of the bags), she didn’t notice the extra bag.

Hiding the plant when I got home was still tricky though. I couldn’t let it suffocate so between my bed and the wall, I placed the plant near the window. Mom never noticed it, but my cat had her nose near it the entire time. I kept trying to shoo her away, but she enjoyed sitting right next to it so often that my mom once said, “Where’s Tiger?” and I looked over and saw her there. I had to close the bedroom door so Tiger wouldn’t give away the surprise.

The Breakfast

After rounding up all my ingredients from Bryan’s, I planned to wake up early on Sunday around 7:30 or so. For once I was glad that Tiger is a pest in the morning. She jumps on top of the bed and sits right next to my face and cries long mournful meows. The cause? Hunger pangs. This time I woke up when she cried, fed her, and got to work in the kitchen by first taking out the puff pastry to let it thaw out.

While the pastry was thawing, I cooked the ground turkey meat with garlic and onions. After this, sliced 2 medium eggplants, and 1/4 of a red bell pepper. I took 5 eggs out of the fridge along with the egg beater container. Then I preheated the oven to 400F.

Since the pastry wasn’t done thawing yet, I prepared the waffle iron (and created lots of noise), tried moving the cookie sheets, cake pans, muffin pans, etc. from where they were to a new location (and created even more noise), and then tried to get the plates from the cabinet (and created even MORE noise because I knocked over the ENTIRE stack of bakeware). Yikes. I thought I woke up Mom but apparently, if I close the dining room door to the hallway and the bedroom is also closed, then I can destroy the whole kitchen and not wake up Mom. :)

Finally, the the pastry was ready, I laid one pastry layer down, spread the turkey as the bottom layer, neatly placed the eggplants and bell peppers on top, sprinkled freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chives, cracked the five eggs (and poked them), and poured 1/2 cup of egg beaters into the 9-inch square cake pan. Finally, I laid the second pastry layer on top, spread an egg wash, and then sprinkled more cheese. Into the oven my creation went for 30 minutes.

First layers: pastry, turkey, eggplant

Bottom layers: pastry, ground turkey cooked with garlic and onions, and eggplant slices

Upper layers: red bell peppers, 5 eggs, 1/2 cup egg beaters, chopped organic chives, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Upper layers: red bell peppers, 5 eggs, 1/2 cup egg beaters, chopped organic chives, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Waffle time.

Not wanting to use a mix from a box, I looked up a recipe and then just poured it into the waffle maker. Of course, I couldn’t help but add something to recipe (vanilla extract). While the waffles were cooking, I cut up strawberries and a banana. I was tempted to make a smoothie, but then decided against it.

Vanilla Waffles with strawberries and banana slices

Vanilla Waffles with strawberries and banana slices

Oh, I forgot to mention that while I was at the senior home, they were selling banana walnut cake (which I’ve helped them make before) so I bought that too. So when the waffles were cooking, I cut several slices of the cake and prepared them in the microwave to heat up.

Walnut banana cake slices courtesey of St. Anne's Home

Walnut banana cake slices courtesey of St. Anne's Home. They were deliciously moist and very banana-y.

After some more cooking and prepping, I was ready.

The breakfast table

The breakfast table

Out of everything I made/had available, Mom loved the pastry the best. Here’s the final outcome in case you were curious….

Final layers of Breakfast Puff Pastry

Final layers of Breakfast Puff Pastry

For all you mothers out there and mothers-to-be, Happy Mother’s Day! :)

The Recipes

  1. Ultimate Breakfast Puff Pastry
    *I added slices of 2 eggplants and slices of 1/4 of a red bell pepper
    * I used 1/4 of a package of ground turkey instead of ham; and substituted 1/2 cup of egg beaters for 2 eggs.
  2. Waffles
    *I added 1/4 tsp of vanilla extra.

Mini Shepherd’s Pie Tarts

17 Mar Shepherd's Pie Tarts (golden brown)

Luck o’ the Irish be with you all! Ho ho ho!

Just imagine a big leprechaun saying this.

But either way, I think I just combined two holidays (St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas). Uh, that kind of shows you how much I know about St. Patrick’s Day lingo. And I just found out after I made the mini shepherd’s pies that they aren’t even Irish; they’re English. (I know I’m 1/8th Irish, but hey, I just found out a earlier this year.)

Anyway, if you’ve got nothing better to do, then sit back and enjoy my anecdote and lovely pictures.

For a recipe, please comment below or email me at nell.notebook@yahoo.com

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Shoulda Had an Inkling…

13 Oct

When my mom picked me up from school today and she handed me the box of candy, I should have known what was up.

The sweet smile and the bag of peaches should have been the second clue.

The third bag with Asian characters on it should have been the third clue.

 

Unknown to me, dinner was going to be really unique. It had definitely stained my memory.

 

This is the first time anything so raw, so squishy, and so natural has appeared on Notebookworthy. Take a good long look at it because I think this may be the only post about these little guys. They’re just so unappetizing to look at! Geez – they have a giant eye!

But if you’re wondering what exactly my mom did with them and how it turned out, I have got to say that when she cooked it, the squid turned into familiar calamari bits. I didn’t see any more eyes.

She sauteed it with vegetables so the dinner wasn’t completely unappetizing. I can’t say it was my favorite meal nor would I want it again any time soon, but it really wasn’t that bad. It sure was inky though!

But I will continue to eat squid just as grilled Ika (Japanese for “squid”) at sushi restaurants and deep-fried calamari at The Bitter End, an Irish pub on Clement Street. I swear that The Bitter End has THE BEST calamari and dip. Better than any calamari I’ve ever tasted.

A Sucessful Bread Adventure and a Special Dinner

23 Aug

So if you read my post earlier this afternoon, then you would know that I had a special evening planned for my mom and I. But, in case you didn’t have time to read it, I’ll just tell you now that you didn’t miss too much. I basically just talked (or wrote) about how today is my last day of summer vacation and that in the morning I spent it quite lazily. Then when 10:30am came, I was in the kitchen being productive!

Making the Baguettes

The Baguette Dough Sliced

The Baguette Dough Sliced - can you see the little pockets of gas that the yeast left? :D When I make bread this is what is usually lacking.

Single Raw Baguette

Single Raw Baguette (total length was about 9 inches)

Raw Baguettes on Sheet

Raw Baguettes on Sheet

The Finished Baguettes

Finished Baguettes

Finished Baguettes

Finished Baguettes (Triplets!)

Finished Baguettes (Triplets!)

Baguette Beauties

Baguette Beauties - they baked perfect for me!

The Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese with Bruschetta

My Homemade Bruschetta

Homemade Bruschetta - This is where I used one mini baguette. Perfect for the hot weather!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese with Bruschetta

The Recipes

  1. Spaghetti Bolognese (adapted from Martha Stewart)
  2. Bruschetta (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network)
  3. Mini Baguettes (Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday)
    *Note: I can send you the recipe if you really want to know, but I’m running short on time at the moment to type it all out.

Anyway, I think I spent my day being productive, don’t you?

And last but not least, goodbye, Summer Vacation, it was nice seeing you again. And this year, we had an unforgettable visit. :)