Saga of a Domestic Lab Ninja

…..the trials and tribulations of lab ninja

I Swear Meant to Post or Stir-Fry for the Inept. You know who you are…

So…the last time I updated was in January and the last recipe I posted even longer but I’M BACK with new food/recipe post!

STIR-FRY

Stir-frying is awesome. It’s like one of the best ways to use up leftovers, etc/google it. It’s also reasonably simple and I needed to make lunch for work…because I wasreally sick of salad.

Ingredients:

Veggies, an assortment is good

Optional protein source (i.e. meat, fish, tofu, fake meat, etc)

Spices

Sauce

Oil

This is like the BASIC TEMPLATE for a stir-fry.

Mneme’s Oh God PLEASE NO MORE SALAD Stir-Fry

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Ingredients:

Protein: Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chik’n (read: fake chicken), substitutions: tofu, seitan, real chicken, nothing

Veggies: Thawed frozen broccoli, eggplant, baby bok choy, onion and mushrooms. Substitution(s): WHAT EVER YOU WANT

Sauce: Mandarin Orange sauce that came with the Gardein and soy sauce + arrowroot powder (subsitution: corn starch). Substitution(s): WHAT EVER YOU WANT. Really.

Oil

Steps:

1) CUT ALL THE THINGS.

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Tip: Chop things reasonably small for stir-fries. Not like minced to a pulp but bite-sized pieces are good. It’ll make sure everything is cooked when you stir-fry.

1B) SOAK THE LEAFY THINGS

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Tip: If using green leafy vegetables that are NOT frozen, soak them. It’ll get rid of the grit and any lingering dirt.

2) COOK THE PROTEIN.

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3) START COOKING THE VEGGIES

A) START WITH THE AROMATICS

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Aromatics are just that aromatic. They usually refer to vegetables like onions, mushrooms, garlic, and herbs. In this case, it’s onion and garlic. They also are prone to burning quickly, so toss them around for like 3-5 mins and then start adding the rest. Tip: HEAT THE PAN/WOK BEFORE ADDING VEGGIES.

B) ADD THE HARD VEGGIES

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Tip: When I say “Hard” vegetables, I basically mean non-leafy vegetables. Leafy vegetables cook uber-quickly, so we usually add them last so they don’t burn. Burnt stir-fry is sad and will result in me coming to your place of resident and LAUGHING. So don’t burn your stir-fry.

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Tip: When adding the vegetables, wait a few second to a minute before adding another vegetable.

Tip 2: Keep STIRRING. There’s a reason it’s called stir-fry.

C) MAKE YOUR SAUCE

This is up to you. You can use a sauce you got from the store or even ketchup if you so desire. But here’s a really basic sauce:

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Tamari sauce, you can use soy sauce instead. I just use tamari because my sibling have gluten allergies. ^_^

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Plus a teaspoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch plus a baby whisk to stir. You don’t have a baby whisk?!?! Fine…use a fork.

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BOOM. Instant stir-fry sauce.

D) ADD SAUCE TO STIR-FRY

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Really just add the sauce and STIR…

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and then quickly add the leafy green vegetables you forgot to add. *cough*

Now you can TOTALLY STOP HERE. A) Just made a strictly vegetable stir-fry thus you are done. B) You’re having friends over with different dietary restrictions and thus it’s easier to serve the stir-fry and meat (or tofu or whatever) separately. Or C) You’re really hungry and screw it you’re EATING OUT OF THE PAN. not that I would ever do that…*cough*

4) OPTIONAL: ADD THE PROTEIN

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BOOM. GARDEIN + VEGGIE STIR-FRY. IS THIS NOT MAGIC. And totally serves 3-4 people, which is good because my dad was hanging over shoulder the entire time AND THEN ATE LIKE A THIRD. =_= But it’s leftovers friendly! And re-heats well! I can attest to this since I cooked this night before work.

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Stir-Fry + Brown Rice

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Side view: 0.25 layer of brown rice and stir-fry on top. If you want to be UBER fancy toss the rice with some vinegar Image

Oh and it tasted DELICIOUS.

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Cleaning Up My Closet Part II or Yes, Samantha/Mish Your Hat/Octopus DOES Exist

*Warning: YOU WILL STILL LEARN MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO ABOUT KNITTING*

When we last met, I was in the throes of categorizing ALL OF THE YARN that was not attached to needles. It was finished with minimal difficulty and/or trauma.

SEE,

with a few extra leftover pieces, but we'll skip them ^_^

Now a Knitter’s stash consists of 4 key parts; untouched yarn (which I devoted an entire post to), finished items, unfinished items and the items that were supposed to be sent to people that STILL haven’t been sent much to your great chagrin.*

Finished Items

The sweater I made in high school. On the bright side, it’s still too big for me. On the down side, it’s WAY too big for me and my first lesson in THOU SHALT MAKE A GAUGE SWATCH BEFORE KNITTING.**

No, I did skin Cookie Monster for this...or did I...

BLUE MARSHMALLOW OF DOOM

Doll sweater. I entered it in a competition in high school and I got a RIBBON. Yes, I am still proud of it.

...I think this is like 8 years old now...

Ah…this. This is supposed to be a headband. Honestly, I just wanted to do an entrelac pattern that was short.

This was made with a handpainted yarn called Noro. It's PRETTY.

This is a Vacation scarf. No, really. THAT’S THE NAME OF THE PATTERN. I also made on the trip to my grandmothers funeral…so kind of like vacation?

It's a bit young-ish, in retrospect, but playful looking

UNFINISHED PROJECTS:

Once upon a time, there was girl. Lets call her Yuxin. Yuxin bought the author some yarn called ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. The author was highly amused. With said yarn she made a Zombie! Annis shawl. The author enjoyed the pattern so much that she made another. Neither HAVE BEEN BLOCKED.***

*WHINE* I HATE BLOCKING. *cries*

First of all, this is never going to be finished. EVER. Once upon a time, I decided to make a shawl out of PURE MOHAIR YARN. I made a mistake and attempted to undo it. NEVER AGAIN.****

*SCREAMS*

These are FINISHED pieces of a Celtic Tote. Note the word pieces. I need to sew it together and felt it. *sigh* I should finish it shouldn’t I…

-_- I really need to work on finishing things...

 

Finally, this. I finished the pieces of this sweater, Classic College Cardigan. BEFORE I WENT TO COLLEGE. I’ve now started graduate school. It’s still not sewn. I am a horrible horrible person. This probably why my resolution this year is to FINISH WHAT I START. =_=

*CRIES* IT'S NOT DONE YET

ITEMS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GOING TO PEOPLE BUT HAVE BEEN DELAYED… A LOT or I AM A HORRIBLE PERSON.

No, this is not a mutilated ball of yarn. This is an octopus. That’s blind… and missing a leg. And was supposed to be a present for Mish. *cough* It still IS going to be a present for Mish. Once the last leg is sewn on and eyes and a mouth are added. I need to go to the craft’s store.

I really want to name it Bob...or Cthulhu

This is a hat and scarf set! For Samantha! It’s FINISHED…it hasn’t been sent yet. BUT IT EXISTS!

I need to get a box and actually mail it...

BONUS CATEGORY (i.e. What I’m working on now)

Isn’t it PRETTY! This is a KAL (knit-a-long) that I’m doing with a former classmate of mine. She’s finished hers. I haven’t finished mine. But it’s like forty percent finished. And I have incentive/guilt to finish it since my little sister’s Chinese tutor wants it.

SQUEEE I LOVE THE COLOUR

But look at the lacy-ness!!

LACE AND TEXTURE


Okay, I’ll stop.

Sidenotes
* Most people just have three categories. I’m special.
**Consequently, I’ve only done it ONCE. I AM A REBEL KNITTER
***I will block and blog these. AS SOON AS I GET A NICER THING TO BLOCK ON.
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Cleaning Up My Closet Part 1 or I Might Have a Problem…

*WARNING: You are about to learn more about yarn than you EVER WANTED TO.*

So, I decided to organize my yarn stash and upload it to Ravelry–think facebook for knitters–so I would have an actually record of what I have.

This is what I had:

LOTS OF YARNS, I HAS THEM

LOTS OF YARNS, I HAS THEM...

On the bright side, my stash is smaller than my room…right? Moving on.

So, what exactly was in my stash?YARN

PLYMOUTH YARN GALWAY. Galway is a nice worsted weight wool yarn and I bought 10 balls (approx. 2100 yards) last year from Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for a sweater. Which I still haven’t made. Because I still haven’t decided on what pattern to use. And how to alter it for my shape and etc, etc.

GALWAY

This colour is called "HAPPY GREEN". I kid you not.

This is Brown Sheep. It’s the name of the company. It’s not called that because it’s brown. In particular, this yarn is from their Lamb’s Pride worsted line. And I can’t remember if I wound it into balls for my mother’s–which is highly likely– or if it’s actually mine… Not sure, how I feel about the colour… so it’s most likely mum’s…

Baaaah! BAAAAH!

More Brown Sheep, same line but this time in a purplish-rose? Also, ziploc bags BEST THING EVER FOR KNITTERS.

Pinkish purple? Purplish pink?

This is called Super Kydd. It is a mohair yarn. I was bought from Elann.com. They neglected to tell me that mohair yarn is the devil’s spawn. DO NOT. I REPEAT DO NOT MAKE MISTAKES WITH THIS YARN OR YOU WILL REGRET IT. *pulls out hair*

Elmo mohair

I think I'll call this colour Elmo. *glares*

So, I actually don’t know the name of this yarn. I saw it on Ebay. I liked the colour. AND THEN I BOUGHT IT BECAUSE IT WAS FREAKING CHEAP.

It's pretty....

This is Dream by Knitting Fever. It’s a ribbon yarn. It forms a very drapey fabric when knitted. I got it from my mum, who got it from a knitting seminar she went to. It’s alright? I haven’t figured out what to use it for yet…

It's also referred to as a novelty yarn. i.e. pretty/expensive and usually useless.

This is Crazy Zauberball by Schoppel-Wolle. It is marled (two-colour plied) yarn. It is a wool/nylon blend. It is hideous. Lets move on.

It is German...and somewhat...homely. Are these two facts related?

Did I mention that ZIPLOC BAGS ARE A KNITTERS BEST FRIEND?! I did? Well THEY ARE. They keep your projects nicely separated and organized and as an EXTRA BONUS it keeps your yarn from getting tangled with everything else in your stash. Trust me, de-tangling a few hundred yards of yarn is not fun. EVER. Anyway, both of these yarns are from KnitPicks.com which is a really nice store. And affordable. Did I mention affordable? The one on the left is Knit Picks Stroll in Grass and the other one is Knit Picks Palette in Caribbean. Fitting names.

Ziploc bags are amazing

So, last year DBNY was offering bags of discontinued Brown Sheep yarns. I bought it. So the following yarns are ALL Brown Sheeep.

Okay, clockwise from the candy-coloured one, which for some reason is called Mystical Pink…

Mystical Pink: Lanaloft Worsted line. It’s similar to Lamb’s Pride except for the fact that it’s all wool as opposed to a wool/mohair blend. I still say Candy would have been a better name.

Purple: Lamb’s Pride Worsted. Colour: Amethyst. Personally, I would have named it royal purple…

Blue: Lamb’s Pride Bulky. Colour: Winter Blue. Not terribly crazy about the name.

Green: Shepherd’s Shades. Colour: Mild Mint. I can not make this up. They named it MILD MINT.

Darkish Gray: Lamb’s Pride Superwash Bulky. Colour: Charcoal Heather. It’s called superwash because it’s from the planet Krypton it doesn’t shrink when you wash it.

Blue/Gray/Brown Mix: Lanaloft Worsted again. Colour: Aqua Depths. It kinda looks like the bottom of the ocean which explains the name?

One skein/ball of each. I know I had a semi-good reason for buying this?

Finally, my most recent additions to my stash! My little sister’s Chinese tutor saw me knitting and she was like “I have yarn. I’ll give you it, if you give me that scarf you’re knitting.” Me: “…okaay?” Cue being handed a bag with 7-8 skeins of sport or fingering weight yarn. It’s pretty and RED…except for that one russet skein but it’s ALL PRETTY AND FREE AND MINE ALL MINE.

Free yarn takes up negative space...on your wallet at least.

This is all of my UNUSED yarn which totals to about 45 skeins… next post is going to be on my USED yarn i.e. projects…

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I Finally Update with a Recipe or BRUSSELS SPROUTS ARE AMAZING AND DELICIOUS YUXIN

Ah, brussels sprouts. This is a highly maligned vegetable which makes me sad. Because they’re delicious. Seriously, they’re on my list of MOST FAVOURITE VEGETABLES EVER. Most of the scorn brussel sprouts garner is due to improper cooking methods. Also known as the English interpretation cooking, which is essentially boiling the poor food stuff of choice to death, whether it be peas, brussel sprouts, beef, or shoe leather, sticking a fork in it and boiling for another hour. This has lead to brussel sprouts being the exposition of choice for any book including a description of how awful boarding school food it. But no longer will I stand by while the delicate brussel sprout is maligned! Hence, this recipe.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts

For this recipes you will need at the absolute minimum:

Om nom nom

Fresh from the farmer's market, but you can use frozen but defrost them first. And the result will probably be slightly softer but still delicious.

and

CRYING

Red Onion, medium to small chop

The rest is fairly malleable.

First, we shaved the brussels. In this instance, I would prefer if you didn’t get the razor by your bathroom sink and instead use a lovely piece of technology called a food processor which will give a result akin to this:

ooooh food processor

please use the SLICING BLADE and not the other one....

and

I mean it. USE THE SLICING BLADE OR SLICE BY HAND

Now, if you don’t have a food processor, you can just slice the sprouts by hand. Just don’t use a razor. Yes, I know it’s called shaved brussels. Don’t use a razor. OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN. Moving on.

Get a pan. I like my wok.

WOK THIS WAY

A wok. With oil.

But any old saute-esque pan will do. The main thing you want is space for the sprouts to be tossed around in. So, please don’t use a tiny pot  or I’ll cry.

Anyway, pour a little oil of choice into the pan. Just enough to coat the bottom of the pan and the sides, if you’re using a wok, and turn the heat to medium and let sit for like a minute. Now toss in the sprouts.

THE BEGINNING OF DELICIOUSNESS

Brussel sprouts in wok

Let the sprouts cook for like five minutes stiring frequently. Eventually, the sprouts will get a little brighter/darker and look more like this:

a few minutes later

Now we add the onions:

And now we add the onions

If you’re wondering, “Hey, was the onion a bit larger?!” It was. I threw it into the food processor for a few pulses so it would cook quicker when I tossed it in but you don’t need to. So, let this cook for a few more minutes. Then it’s time to add some liquid. In this case, I added some vegetable broth–which I made a week ago– with some orange juice mixed in to lend a cirtusy flavor to the dish.

broth with juice

After you add the liquid just keep cooking until the liquid is absorbed or longer if desired.

post-liquid sprouts

Just don’t burn it. And by burn, I do not not mean “Some of my sprouts are browner than the rest!” I mean, “OH DEAR LORD I’VE SCORCHED HALF THE PAN!” Distinct difference. This probably also when you may want to add spices and such if you haven’t added them already. Like salt. Or pepper. Or chiles. It’s flexible.

So, I took the liberty of attempting to plate it somewhat nicely. This was utterly waste on my siblings. BUT THE EFFORT COUNT.

So I grabbed a few cilantro leaves from the plant we have and attempted to SPRINKLE them artistically. Yeah. Martha Stewart/Ina Garten, I AM NOT.

So, yeah. Shaved brussels sprouts. A non-abusive way of serving brussel sprouts. A tiny tip for cooking with brussels sprouts is that they’re essential tiny delicate strongly-flavored cabbages. Flavors that go well with cabbage should work out with brussel sprouts. But experiment and see what works for you.

And now I’m hungry.

OM NOM NOM....note to self. Don't do food blogs close to midnight. It just makes me hungry.

Bon appetit!

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Reflections Coda

My grandmother gave me a birthday card today, even though she’s coming over tomorrow. I want to open it. It’s begging me to open it. But it’s NOT MY BIRTHDAY YET. *cries*
I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll never act my age… *sigh*

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Reflections or Minh’s Out of Town so I’m Blogging Again

So, I’ve finally been mildly guilted into updating this again. Primarily, I noticed that I have posts I’ve been meaning to write since Spring/Summer of last year… and it seems rather cruel to all the photos lingering on my hardrive to not actually use them.
Anyway, tomorrow (i.e. the 17th) is my birthday. I’m going to a friend’s wedding in under a month and starting grad school soon afterwards.
It’s thundering outside. I’ve always enjoyed thunder. There’s just something amazing about something so chaotic, yet ultimately life giving. And perhaps a small part of me hopes it’s a good omen for upcoming year? Yes, I know. I’m probably the only person who considers a thunderstorm a positive in life. Ah well.
C’est la vie.

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I’m Lucky

I think I’m getting the joy of experiencing external excema for the second time. Yay!

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Change? Maybe?

I finally called a therapist. I have no idea if this will even help.

I just want to cry.

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YAY!

*I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOLS!

I’M NOT A COMPLETE FAILURE!!

Repeat from * with horrible dance moves.

yay.

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Mini Update

Because I’m horrible at updating this.
I applied to 13 graduate schools (14 if I finish my app for Georgetown).
I currently have 10 rejections (one of which was after an interview).
This is kind of my worse nightmare. Some of the schools were stretches but it’s painful either way.
I’m incredibly thankful that my parents have been amazingly supportive. My father even more so, though that’s probably in part guilt from his actions when I was in undergrad (short story: Control freak.)
But yeah, that’s it.

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