Erhmagerh so much busy lately. No time for writing. Any who, here’s what I’ve been up to lately.



Coconut dino coconut panna cotta. Vegan-ified by using agar agar. This stuff is good. I’m on a huge coconut kick lately.


New hot water heater installed (not by me). Yay hot water that lasts longer than 10 minutes and doesn’t make loud sounds after use. This is especially nice in December when it’s all chilly.20151126_144157[1]

Gingerbread Ninjas Maka brought up for Thankgiving in Amherst, MA.


A blueberry pie by Papa Amherst. I think I ate half of this (don’t worry, there was another pie for other people)


3 roasted ducks for 6 people. No turkey this year. Duck all the way.


One of the most beautiful plates ever.

20151126_172439[1]20151128_104202[1]And duck cracklins for breakfast. Be still my fat-filled heart.


The lovely Ginny behind Dreampuff Sweet Shop held a pig roast this summer. It was a great day at Grafton Lakes State Park. I can’t believe summer is almost over. Boy do I have a lot of catching up to do!

I don’t even have the words for this pig. Other than delicious.

And drinks, too! Ginny was a peach and made two great cocktail punches. Somehow I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the potluck dishes, but they were all great. You know how sometimes someone brings that one dish that doesn’t work for the crowd? Not here. Everything was so good. More meats, beans, veggies, and dessert galore.

Until next year. What is summer good for, if not for spending it with friends, food, and drink?

First In First Out, or Last In First Out – what’s your fridge stocking and cooking methods?

FIFO and LIFO are businessy terms. FIFO means the first thing in gets used first. LIFO means the latest thing gets used first and the earlier things wait until the newest stock gets used before they get used up. I’ve been pretty bad about LIFO-ing my fridge, leaving a lot of extra… stuff to build up in the back crevices and corners. I found a twee jar of corn jelly I got at a food swap from the lovely Deanna Fox I couldn’t remember the year I got it.

I’m trying to embrace Spring (I hear it’s coming) and I’m trying to work on combining FIFO and Just In Time practices in my meal delivery systems (i.e. cooking).

So this meant a thorough cleaning out of the fridge. Remove ERRYTHANG. Take stock of what you use – open those mystery jars (hold your nose if you must), check the expiration dates, and toss the leaky things. Once all the food substances are out, take out all the shelves and wash them so they’re sparkling clean. Then clean the heck out of the inside of the fridge (I’m partial to hot rags for the stuff that’s really stuck on and melamine/magic sponges for stains).

And then it is time to organize.

I am in awe of folks who have nothing in their fridge. Where are the shelves overflowing with condiments, jams, and jars of miscellany? How are they not tempted by these wee delights? I will try to be one of them. I will USE my jars and containers and not let that last little bit linger for something special. This is where I’m combining JIT and FIFO.

It requires a bit of meal planning. And just a wee bit of forethought. But best of all, it gets me excited for leftovers. My tactics have been to buy less in bulk (hey, it’s just two people and the occasional guest in my house) and buy a few fresh ingredients I definitely want for the week. Try to plan a few meals for the week, and then go around that. If I tried to get super specific, I’d drive myself nuts (ZOMG, you didn’t use that half a cucumber!!), but I’ve found this works for me.

For example, this week, I bought some fresh  broccoli, asparagus, and chicken. Chicken’s got brined last night, it’ll get roasted tonight along with some asparagus, and I’ll cook some wood ear with the broccoli. Tomorrow = some variation on the leftover chicken, plus some more fresh veggies.

So, I have a lot less stuff in my fridge, and I’m pretty happy with it. Crazy, how it’s easier to find stuff, eh?


Here’s a random picture of 5kg/11lb Callebaut chocolate bars I picked up at Restaurant Depot for ~$5/lb. They are kind of a bitch to break apart (the easiest way is to drop/slam them from a height.

How are your holidays going? This year, I am just so not feeling the holidays, or like being close to anyone. I’d just like to go hibernate from Thanksgiving through Christmas. No holiday decorations are up. No dozens upon dozens of different types of cookies. No cookie swaps, no excitement at all for any of what I’m missing/not doing either. I haven’t even bought gifts, which is now starting to fill me with moderate anxiety since I feel kind of like I should. It’s weird. I feel like I should be going through these motions, but I can’t really bring myself to do it. No wee ones to pass traditions off to, so I figure this is a good year to be all blahlidays about this time of year.

Any way, how are you holidays going?

So I’ve legally been an adult for 10 years now. Here are some reflections and a note to my 18-year old self:

The first few years felt tough, but you get over it. You feel like you won’t find a place in the world, or your “thing”, but you do. It’ll just take longer than you think it will, but you’ll get there.

Also, you never really get “there” because you’re always changing and evolving. You keep learning and the more you learn, the less you realize you know. It’s humbling and awesome. Keep trying to be a better person. We still need to work on the whole “empathy” thing, but maybe in 10 years we’ll have some positive change to report back on.

Friendships change, people change, priorities change, death happens. Enjoy the moment, you can’t change everything.

You bought a house. Seriously!

This blogging thing is awesome – you would not believe how many awesome things happen just from spewing out words on the internet. Seriously, so many awesome things.

You get to have fun, crazy hair! And it gets thicker in your late 20s. Or it might just be that new awesome stylist you found. But maybe both. Still, hope this stylist doesn’t leave town any time soon.

You would not believe how much more freedom you have in your late 20s versus your early 20s. Early 20s = “OMG, I am going to be broke forever.”. Late 20s = still budget conscious, but you get to have fun every now and again, like going out for dinner with friends once or twice a week without having to insanely budget, or buying new sneakers when you want to.

You’ll have a different perspective on weight than a lot of people you encounter. You’re smaller now than when you were in high school. You’re not super tiny, but some folks will call you that. It’s flattering, but you’ve also developed a passion for fitness, so you do work for it (though it feels more like play). It may be the glibness of being thinner, but you really don’t give a crap about what you weigh or what size you are because you realize you’re one heck of a lady regardless of your size/weight.

You’re still not entirely sure if you want to birth your own kids, though you’re opening up to the idea of caring for them and having them around your house (probably hormones, but also a bit of realizing the world is larger than you and your parents would like to have another new little life in the family).

Still haven’t found a vacation city that tops Montreal. You’ve traveled to a bunch of places, but there is something about Montreal that is just awesome.

Stay Hungry Kid,


Two weekends ago I went down to Flushing to spend the weekend with my family for Ching Ming, which is a Chinese Tombsweeping Ceremony. I don’t remember ever doing one before with my family, but I saw it on my Google Calendar for Chinese Holidays and asked my Dad if we could celebrate it. My dad talked with my aunts and uncle and settled for the first weekend in May when we’d all actually be able to do it together. Our take on it was simple and didn’t involve anything super elaborate. Just lots of food offerings (things the deceased enjoyed when they were with us) and paper offerings to burn.

We burned this money with gold or silver on it. I remembered folding them into ingots at the funeral and asked my dad if we were supposed to fold them. “Oh, god no. We’ll be here all day.”

And burned some hell money to Yeh-Yeh and Mah-Mah.


Very official poking stick.

My uncle went all out and bought a ton of stuff to burn to Yeh-Yeh. The paper offerings can get quite elaborate, like this paper roast pig.

And this paper set of treats.


We even burned a paper mansion.


Treats go in the fire. Yeh-Yeh loved burning things. I remember we had a burn tub in the backyard of my childhood house in Washingtonville, and he loved coming up for a visit and burning things.


Then it was time for lunch, so we went to Jin Cheng since they’re never that busy for lunch on Saturdays and they have a parking lot. Free tofu & beef soup to start. This was welcome for me since I’d had dental surgery the Thursday before we drove down and couldn’t do a ton of chewing. (Yeah, that was a really crappy week. Our beloved cat passed, I had dental surgery, and then a weekend of travel (thank goodness for Albany John, bc I couldn’t drive down).

Chicken strips. Kind of like sweet and sour, but not gloppy.

One of the perks of dental surgery was that I could beg off of rice without anyone going “Really??”. It was awesome.

Squid, fish, and veggie pot.

Fish, and shrimp and eggs. Oh man, the shrimp and eggs were right up my alley, both in terms of texture and flavor. There was sesame oil and a bit of white pepper in the eggs, and they were so tender and fluffy.


Beef chow fun. A family favorite.


Then Albany John and I went off for a walk to Sunrise Kitchen Supplies on Main Street. THEY WERE OPEN THIS TIME! YESSSS. When we went for Chinese New Year they were closed. I love this store. It’s small, but open to the public, and they have some great purchases and take credit cards for $15+. I wish we had something like this near us in Albany, but ah well.

Fun fact, this is also where Albany John got to put his Mandarin skills to use and tell off an annoying customer. She was yelling at the staff about everything under the sun and complaining about their service, etc. But for some reason she veered into “Why do you sell to foreigners?”  in her ranting and they said “We like the foreigners because they spend money,” to which Albany John retorted “Some foreigners speak Chinese!” which was the only thing that got this lady to be quiet and leave. The employees had a slight smirk on their faces and seemed pleased she stopped shouting, and her daughter looked extremely embarrassed. Meanwhile I had no idea what she was saying because my Mandarin is just that good.

Any way, here are the AWESOME goodies we got for just shy of $80! A big proofing container for me in the back left. 3 different Hello Kitty ceramic food storage containers, tongs, a whisk, big spatula, big chopsticks (for grilling or stove-top cooking), wood chopsticks, tiki cups, a hot pot straining spoon, and a full size sheet tray.

P1040723 P1040724 P1040721
So many awesome goodies. If you click on the pictures you can see the crazy awesome prices.

After this we rested for a bit, and then I convinced my Dad, Dad’s Lady, and Uncle to try Ethiopian food (next post).


Granola is one of those foods that is SO incredibly good, that I can’t keep it in the house, otherwise I’d eat it all the time. And in gigantic amounts. So when I was recovering from the stomach bug after Christmas, I was happy to see that my father-in-law Papa Amherst and brought some of his very own granola. Gosh darn, that man makes some damn good granola. Sweetened wee oat flakes, dried fruits diced up into wee bits, nuts, sesame seeds, and toasty soy beans.


I couldn’t eat very much, but needed calories. This was the perfect solution. I really like granola, so I wanted to eat it, and it didn’t upset my stomach.


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