|Beautiful cakes from Schuberts Bakery in SF|
Happy New Year, folks! I hope the Year of the Snake brings everyone good fortune and much happiness. We celebrated last night with four mousse cakes, potato leek soup with dill, and a simple dinner of vegetarian tan tan noodles. It was an odd combination, but since we decided to not eat out, that's what I was able to make with the food in the refrigerator. A friend came over and helped me cook, and she brought champaign (bubbles are a must for special events) and the cakes.
|Letting the oil cool before adding to the chile flakes|
For the vegetarian tan tan noodles, I made quite a few substitutions using ingredients that we already had on hand. The recipe, loosely adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop's new book Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking, calls for roasted chili oil and its sediment. Interestingly, one of her substitutions for dried, ground Sichuan chiles is to use Korean chile flakes. I usually have a big jar of Korean chile flakes on hand since I use them for kimchi and Korean chicken stew, so putting together the oil was a simple matter of weighing out the flakes, heating the oil, and adding them together with crushed ginger and sesame seeds. I love it when I don't have to run to the store for a specialty item, especially if I have to go the Chinese market whose parking situation is perilous at best, and just plain whacked out near Chinese New Year.
|Finished roasted chili oil|
|My first big batch of kombucha|
|My two workers are sleeping on the job!|
So, the only reason I'm mentioning this is because I have a huge craving for kimchi fried rice or something else smelly to eat for lunch every time the mason and his assistant are over. Out of courtesy, I am not cooking said smelly foods although I'm sure they would be polite and not say anything if I did so. (I'm wondering now if cooking black bean chicken was pushing the smell factor a little too much, but I had to eat!) It gets to the point where I wish we were doing the work so I could eat my smelly foods with abandon, but I know that this craving stems in part because I'm telling myself I cannot do something. This is why dieting is something I cannot ever do, or else I'd be 3 times bigger. I have to concentrate on the wonderful things I can eat, not the things that I shouldn't eat, and make sure that junk food doesn't exist at our house.