There is a meat mobile hanging over our sink now! After posting about my homemade pancetta, my aunt told me that she remembers Grandma hanging slabs of Chinese bacon (lop yuk) above the kitchen sink. I had never heard of Chinese bacon, although in retrospect I must have eaten it since it is a popular ingredient in joong. My aunt has been experimenting with different recipes, and she was kind enough to send me the recipe she used for her latest batch of bacon. Now, we have our very own pork belly meat mobile hanging above our kitchen sink. Unlike the pancetta, no curing salts is used. Instead, the marinade is salt, brown sugar, Chinese whiskey, dark soy sauce, and light soy sauce. Once the meat is dry, I'll store it in the refrigerator. The soy sauce makes this bacon black, which is a little unsettling.
For Chinese New Year, I had some friends over and we all assembled joong and potstickers. What is joong? It's a mixture of sweet rice, mung beans, ginkgo nuts, Chinese bacon, Chinese sausage, salted egg yolks (which I am totally making next), and more all wrapped up in bamboo leaves and boiled for hours. While getting ready for the folding fest, the boy researched how to fold the joong since he's usually better at that stuff than I am (the photo above is his work). Our first folding attempt just looked wrong to me because it was a rectangular packet. When I did my own research afterwards, the reason it looked "wrong" was because each region has its own way of folding joong. My family folds joong into the pyramid shape, shown above.
To eat joong, you unwrap the bamboo leaves and dig in. Our second batch of joong we filled with untraditional fillings, like sweet brown rice and black rice. It wasn't as sticky as when you make it with white rice, but it still held its shape well when unwrapped.
We've also been making more beer and more beer muffins. In the carboys, we have a chestnut brown ale and coffee and coconut stout. Our fake Guinness turned out good, despite forgetting to add barley in the mash. The boy is using an old milk crate as a brewing stand, and it is a really good idea! I hardily have to do anything now. We have two gallon carboys going at the same time now - the second carboy is simply a gallon jug that came with apple juice. The boy brews 2 batches at a time now. I thought it would be great challenge to limit our beer consumption to what we brew. The boy thought that was a horrible idea.
The spent grain and applesauce muffins are still a treat. The boy made the last batch, and they turned out much better than mine since he actually put all the sugar into the batter. I always insist on cutting the sugar by half, but that does make the muffins less moist.
The boy also made a batch of carrot pickles. When he asked me how I made the last batch of Mexican carrot pickles, I couldn't remember, but fortunately I posted my recipe on my blog. I'd forget most of the stuff I do if I didn't record it somewhere!
This is not quite a food topic, but it is made of edible ingredients: the oil cleansing method. It sounds absolutely crazy, but I've been washing my face with a combination of castor, olive, and avocado oils. Other blogs have much to say on this subject, and I can tell you that after using this cleansing method for a week, my face feels great! I was braced for breakouts and oily skin, but I actually had to use less castor oil and add more avocado and olive oil because the first few days my face was too dry. Also, this is the best makeup remover I've used, and all this for a mere fraction of the price of the fancy face products I used to buy.
There are so many recipes out there for DIY natural body care products. I'd love to hear of recipes that you've used with success!