Sunday, August 28, 2011

Volunteering at the State Fair

As you guys probably know by now, I'm an avid fan of what I like to term, "Fair Food." The fried, sodium-rich delights that are often unique to that specific state fair or area. And since state fairs only exist within the United States, there are some foods that not only originated and became popular through them, but are also linked in our memories to noisy crowds and ferris wheels.
Yesterday, I volunteered to be a sanitation worker and pick up trash at the state fair for a fundraising project my tennis team was participating in. The work was pretty grueling, to be honest, but there is a reason our state fair is the cleanest in the country!

My work squad
We got a combined one and a half hour break, and during that time I decided to go check out the food stalls and trucks. Because what's the first thing you do when you're at the state fair? Find something to eat, of course. Sadly, I only have a few pictures due to technical failures on my part- my camera filters broke and then it ran out of film. However, I'll probably be back there with my family sometime next week, so there'll be lots more pics soon!

I don't know who stuck this to the side of our garbage cart, but the thought of eggs with garbage was enough to kill my appetite for the day... almost.

Fried green tomatoes! The crunchy fried crust compliments the bitter and tart green tomato wrapped inside, and was surprisingly delicious.

Mini donuts!!! I was so fascinated by the mini-donut-making machine that I filmed like 10 seconds of it and posted it below

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to post pictures of key lime pie on a stick, or home made farm-fresh ice cream... Ah, the wonders go on and on! Count on another state fair post in the near future!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brownies with marshmallows and love

I've debated whether or not to put this post on the food porn page; it's about as caloric and fulfilling as you get!
Well, the story behind these brownies is this- it was my turn to bring the treat box for my tennis team, and I was scrambling to come up with ideas on how to feed an army teenagers, besides the traditional (and much-welcomed) Gatorade and granola bars. My brain rested on the homey idea of brownies, then scrambled for ways to put an interesting twist on them. Using my usual brownie recipe from, I added marshmallows and chocolate chips on top. The result? Delicious! The conclusion? (And a tip) Hard to cut, so I would cut the brownies first before putting the marshmallows on top. Also, I skipped on the nuts, as I'm not a huge fan of nuts in brownies, but that's totall optional.

*¾ cup butter (170 g)
*1½ cup sugar (330 g)
*2 teaspoon vanilla
*3 eggs
*¾ cup all-purpose flour (85 g)
*½ cup cocoa powder (50 g)
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*a pinch of salt (optional)
*3 oz (100 g) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
*1 cup (or varying amounts, depending on taste) mini marshmallows
*1 cup dark chocolate chips


1.) Preheat oven to 350 deg F (Gas mark 4 or 180 deg C).
2.) Line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) cake tin with grease proof or other non-stick paper and grease the tin. Melt the butter.
3.) Beat eggs with sugar, and add vanilla, flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt (optional) and melted butter.
4.) Add chopped nuts.
5.) Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 20-30 minutes
6.) Sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chips on top of cake
7.) Bake for another 2-3 minutes, or until marshmallows are partially melted
8.) Take pan out, let brownies cool, then cut.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Potato experimentation- virgin recipe

Prepared some muy delicioso pan-fried, starchy vegetables drizzled lightly with some virgin olive oil and garlic sauce made from scratch. Pretty much just whatever I had on hand, thrown together. Simple, but the notes of cumin and olive oil keep it from being too boring. And anyways, I came up with this on a Wednesday some time ago, and Wednesdays have always been productive but not very creative days for me. As for the garlic sauce; I got inspired when I was craving some garlic bread the other day. Today's the first time I've made this dish since that long-ago Wednesday, but my head is now buzzing with ideas to take it to higher levels. A little lemon juice, perhaps? Or maybe some oregano or sprigs of fresh cilantro. The possibilities are endless!
One thing's for sure- you'll probably see a new and improved version of this recipe come up some time in the future on this site.

RECIPE: (original; for veggies) Serves 2

*2-3 medium potatoes
*1/3 onion
*1 medium carrot
*Pinch ground cumin powder
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*1 to 1/2 stem green onion, depending on taste and size of plant
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1/2 tablespoon virgin olive oil


1.) Chop all large vegetables into medium-sized chunks
2.) Dice green onion
3.) Stir-fry all vegetables into skillet with vegetable oil, then add in the cumin, salt, and pepper.
4.) Fry until fully cooked, stirring, for about 10 minutes.
5.) Serve with garlic sauce.
6.) Drizzle about 1/2 a tablespoon of virgin olive oil to taste.

GARLIC SAUCE RECIPE: Serves 6- perfect for dipping breadsticks in!

*1/2 cup mayo
*1 tablespoon sour cream
*5 cloves pureed garlic
*2 tablespoons butter


1.) Soften butter and mix with sour cream, garlic, and mayo
2.) Stir in a saucepan set to low until completely mixed

Friday, August 12, 2011

Old friends from your hometown

The parents of one of my dad's students (yes that is a long title) was invited over to my parent's house on Saturday night for a delightful dinner after my mom had a bout of homesickness and found out that the couple was from my dad's hometown, Wulumuqi, in the Xingjiang province of China. (My mom's hometown is about 4 hours away from there.) The couple was charming, and it turned out to be a delightful evening. We had a western-style dinner cooked and served in Chinese style, because Mom didn't think her humble home cooking could match up to the delicious and sometimes elaborate typical fare that the guests ate in China.

Steamed broccoli with crushed garlic, dried shrimp, and olive oil; an everyday food that looks great, tastes wonderful, and easy and quickto make! I've got to post this recipe sometime.

Shrimp sweetly marinated in soy sauce- this dinner had a strong resemblance to traditional Maine food.

Close-up shot of shrimp! Could not resist... so golden and yummy

Sticky rice studded with peanuts, dates, mushrooms, and chicken, on a bed of dried bamboo leaves. Southeastern asia- inspired cooking from the years our family resided in Singapore.

Mashed potatoes with corn and rosemary, plus a hint of ground cumin powder. Perfect East-West hybrid dish!

Not too much to say about the lobster- freshly killed the day before, this was simply frozen and then steamed.

And last but not least- all-american, fresh-off-the-grill, T-bone steak. Perfect. God, I love having a father who possesses such great grilling abilities (not that he does much other cooking.)

Finishing off the meal with some luscious dark chocolate Belgian truffles (I just might snitch a few- heads up, Mom) and many stories of China, we were all satisfied and happy. Gorgeous night!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Great vanilla frosting

Baked a vanilla sponge cake yesterday, and found this great recipe on for vanilla frosting. Uber easy and goes great with anything! I only added 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar, however, because I don't like super-sweet frosting.


*1/3 cup soft butter
*3 cups confectioner's sugar (I used about 2)
*1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
*2 tablespoons milk

Mix the butter and sugar together, then stir in the milk and vanilla extract. Enjoy!