Sweet, spicy, but never bitter

The other day, my cousin brought over a big box of gourmet cookies, one of which was a spicy Mexican chocolate cookie. I didn’t know there was spice in it beforehand, but it was the first one I reached for. Imagine my surprise when the sugary sweetness flung off its disguise and I found myself with zesty chocolate in my mouth.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of spicy things, but I can handle them, and I won’t reject them. So as interesting and strange as the flavor combination might sound, they complemented each other quite nicely (though that is supposed to be the point). Savory and sweet.

This got me thinking about some things. You might be aware that it is at this time of year that senior high school students all over the world are getting their fates shoved into their faces. It is college acceptance/rejection season. In a time period of just barely over a month, a tiny, tiny fraction of our lives, we are faced with a decision that will potentially shape our entire future. And so, just like our tastebuds are sensitive to new flavors, some people are sensitive towards college decisions. Thankfully, I am not. But I would be.

What?

Let me explain.

(Warning: long post)

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Bite by Bite: The Journey for Health (recipe included)

As I mentioned in the previous post, my family is a foodie family, and as a result, we eat a lot. A few years ago, a cousin stayed at our house for a week–and ended up gaining ten pounds. Yeah.

It has always been a mystery to the various members of my extended family as to why my immediate family never gains weight. Of course, this is untrue, because we are always gaining weight; however, we are always trying to lose it, as well. As for myself, weight has never been a comfortable topic; for most of my life, I’ve been pretty chubby. Being surrounded by fit, skinny people at school has never helped that. As a result, I’ve gone on countless “diets,” but I’ve failed countless times. My weight isn’t threatening to my health–it’s just something I, like many other girls, sometimes get insecure about.

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The Secret Life: The hidden struggles of culinary hobbies

We all have talents. Sometimes it is a hidden talent. Sometimes it’s not.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but my family is a foodie family. Our talents lie in the culinary field; we are a family of cooks, hobby chefs, and bakers. If you are one of the few who can’t whip up a nice meal yourself, then you at least have the taste for one–we know our foods. When it comes to family gatherings, my family is the one to celebrate with–there is good food, and lots of it. I think this is why I (and my siblings) have become such a food brat.

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The Eggplant Mysteries (recipe included)

That would be an interesting title for a book. Murder with an eggplant! Maybe the victims turn purple. Anyway, on to the post.

I am one of those miraculous people who love foods like liver, asparagus, beets, oysters, cottage cheese, okra, and eggplant. Woo! The list goes on. I would be the dream child. In fact, I was. (ha) Okay, maybe not.

Of that list, liver and eggplant have to be my favorite. I know what you’re thinking. “Ew! Omg! How can you eat that? Omg gross! So disgusting! Omg!” I can’t tell you how many people have expressed their disgust for these foods in front of me, at me, etc. Yes, yes, I know…and no, I do not eat them together.

frick yeah

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Spear me through the heart (recipe included)

There is probably some kind of mysterious psychology involved when I say that I have never been attracted to food on sticks. I don’t mean to say that I don’t like food on sticks, just that I wouldn’t pounce on it as soon as I see it (like I would with every other food…*laughs*). I don’t know what it is; I have always preferred things like, say, beef, on plates rather than on sticks. I wouldn’t call it snobbiness or some kind of class ideal that makes me think this way, because the fact is, kabobs are probably easier and more fun to eat anyway. I still love the flavors and whatnot, especially if they’re arranged creatively and appetizingly. But you could serve me the most delicious chicken kabob in the world and I would still hesitate (just for a second, I promise) to eat it.

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Mixing it up on Valentine’s Day (recipe included)

Love is in the air!


As Valentine’s Day creeps just around the corner, there are those of us who are planning dates with our loved ones, and those of us who are, well, planning dates with ourselves. I am of the latter group.

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Becoming a Sushi Chef in 30 Seconds

…is now possible!

I’ve been craving sushi a lot over the past few weeks, but due to sketchy rumors of worsening radiation in Japanese seas and a paranoid mother, I haven’t been able to fulfill such cravings. It’s all okay though, because I have a solution: Popin’ Cookin!

One of my favorite things to do in my free time is watch other people cook/play with food. I know, great use of time. But I am subscribed on YouTube to a person who plays with what I call “toy candy,” which is essentially candy that is more fun to make than to eat. Popin’ Cookin is a brand that makes “toy candy.” All of their products look pretty fun to make, but one of them in particular gets me everytime–I can’t help but be amazed. It allows you to “become your own sushi chef,” which should be incredibly simple in theory, but the little details are just incredible. Here it is:

Tell me you weren’t mindblown when the fish eggs were being made (2:15).

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Too Much On My Plate: De-stressing through food

There is one story that my sister will never stop telling, and it is of when she came home late one night to find me standing in the kitchen, in the dark, separating egg yolks from whites. When she asked me what I was doing, I simply responded, “I’m releasing my pent-up anxiety.” Now, I don’t remember how serious I was when I said that, but I can’t say it was a complete lie. Apparently my sister found it strangely hilarious, and now that I think about it, I guess it is.

This also brings me to finals week of some high school year when I got so stressed, I had to bake a cake. What? If you are wondering how on earth a student can bake cakes the day before finals, don’t ask me, because I don’t know what was going through my head either–it certainly isn’t the case now. I suppose it’s good enough that I passed.

But while I don’t bake cakes during finals anymore, I still find food an excellent medium for releasing stress and unwinding. I partake more often in consuming food than making it nowadays, but all the same–there is something about food that makes boiling away your stress and eating away your feelings surprisingly satisfying and relaxing. Everyone does it–they eat ice cream when they’re depressed and make cakes when they’re happy (okay, maybe not). How do you deal with pent-up feelings? Does food help you unleash your worries?

You Are What You Eat: Monster Edition (recipe included)

Whether you are overweight, trying to lose weight, or maybe just eating something, you have probably heard of the infamous phrase, “you are what you eat.” Normally (not that it helps), it’s supposed to keep us from eating unhealthy foods–you don’t want to be the lump of fat on a slice of steak, do you? No! So no more snacks, no more indulging. We switch out that bag of oil (and I guess, chips) for a lovely banana. We can’t get more healthy than that!

Usually, that’s what happens. It looks healthy, so lets eat it! We don’t exactly look past the surface of our foods. But the question is, do we really need to?

Let us smoothly transition to the topic of GMOs. What are they, and why do they matter? GMOs stands for genetically modified organisms–they are, in essence, foods/plants that have undergone biotechnological treatment and thus have altered DNA. This new DNA has a few purposes–it helps plants grow bigger, helps them resist herbicides, increases drought resistance, boosts nutritional value, and so much more. As a result, we have more food, and they taste and look better too.

Tomatoes

Clearly, most of us don’t think about whether or not our foods are GMOs when we eat them. Doing that would probably be like visualizing the movement of nerve signals through our bodies every time we move. We do, however, need to come to terms with the fact that a huge portion of our fruits and veggies and whatnot are GMOs. They’re not the exact same things people ate 5,000 years ago. This doesn’t mean they’re not natural or are demonic beings that have been released from the depths of our high-technology computers at the hands of evil scientists who are all out to give us cancer. But it does mean that they are somewhat different–and we need to understand that this is necessary in order to sustain and fulfill the needs of our population.

Some argue that the products of bioengineering are unnatural, and are linked to several diseases and disorders–thus, they want all GMO products to be labeled. This is, of course, very reasonable–who wants to put their health at risk by eating blindly? But in my humble opinion (I am not in any way a scientist or nutritionist), it would not do much in the end. Not only are we susceptible to dying/getting cancer just by being on Earth and breathing (though I do acknowledge that consuming artificially produced products may facilitate damage to health), there is hardly any way for us (at least, in the U.S.) to escape GMOs. If all of us wanted to protect ourselves from the “mutant!” foods that are GMOs and tried to turn to organic foods, it would not be feasible–with all the natural risks and threats of nature presenting themselves to agriculture, there simply would not be enough to support our population, and our supplies could not be as predictable.

So do we need to be so concerned about genetically engineered foods? Will eating these “human creations,” in the end, mutate us? I personally don’t mind if my banana is a hybrid banana, if that’s what makes it taste good. What about you?

Meanwhile, I have included a recipe here where you can embrace your inner evil scientist and engineer your own little fruit. It’s a summery recipe, but it’s always summer in California 😉 (even in January).