One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

ian and uncle A

we spent last weekend in milwaukee to attend rupert's brother's medical school graduation. he and his girlfriend will be moving to rochester next month for their residency so this would probably be the only opportunity (reason) to go to milwaukee.

and what a wonderful midwestern city it was. rupert kept saying that it wasn't as dingy and rundown as he thought it would be. nice, huh? what was he expecting, exactly?


rupert's brother, A, and his girlfriend, A (i know, it's confusing), live in the shorewood area of milwaukee and it's just gorgeous along lake drive :: the huge mansions, the spring flowers, the view of lake michigan. i went for a jog both mornings we were there and it was lovely ... and quite possibly some of my favorite moments of the trip.

burke brise soleil

one of the things i wanted to see in milwaukee was the milwaukee art museum and the burke brise soleil. unfortunately, everytime we passed the museum the wings were closed. we didn't stay long enough to view the exhibits in the museum but we managed to get a few shots of the amazing glass chandelier by dale chihuly.

afterwards we headed to the betty brinn children's museum, which the kids really enjoyed. it's a great little museum with tons to do. right now there's a curious george exhibit going on, which is one of maya's favorite shows.

three monkeys
on sunday, since the weather wasn't as nice, we headed to sprecher brewery for a tour. the tour itself isn't amazing, but for $3 you get a small glass, four refills of any beer on tap, and all the soda you want at the end of the tour. i didn't get the beer but i really enjoyed the root beer (which is usually not one of my favorite drinks), cherry cola, and the ravin' red.
#1 on my things to eat in milwaukee :: frozen custard
and the last thing i *had* to do before leaving milwaukee was get a taste of frozen custard. i made my brother-in-law drive us across town to leon's. the butter pecan was delicious and i couldn't believe it only cost $1.65!
i left milwaukee really liking the midwest vibe and historic feel of the city. of course, we were staying in the nice part of town and the weather was absolutely perfect. had we gone in the middle of winter i would probably not be so enthusiastic!

the entire family
see more pictures from the weekend here.
thanks to A+A for hosting us for the weekend!


what i made for dinner :: baked eggplant + ground pork and tofu salad

i found these recipes from the orangepage magazine website because i was trying to find a way to use the japanese eggplants + cucumbers i had in the fridge. [and, as if i had to tell you, the recipes are in japanese.] it was a completely mismatched dinner (the eggplant is more italian and the tofu salad is asian) but i managed to enjoy it anyway.
the eggplant "bake" is really more like a lasagna with the eggplants replacing the noodles. just layer sliced (and sauteed) japanese eggplants, meat sauce (made with ground pork, chopped onions, a bay leaf, a can of chopped tomatoes, and pepper, salt, and a dash of nutmeg), and grated mozzarella cheese, and bake in a 375 or 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
the tofu salad is really simple and perfect for warm weather. i used one whole block of soft tofu. it's best to drain the tofu really well by putting a weight on it for awhile; a lot of the moisture will leach out and that will prevent the dressing from getting too watery. break up the tofu with your fingers and add half of a finely chopped japanese cucumber and one green onion, and a handful of quartered grape tomatoes. the dressing doesn't even have to be made separately. just pour 2 tablespoons each shoyu (soy sauce) and rice vinegar and 2 teaspoons sesame oil over the tofu and veggies. toss well. enjoy!


what i made for dinner :: soy braised short ribs + hard boiled egg

soy-braised short ribs and hard boiled egg with komatsuna greens

this is another recipe from orange page magazine, but a slightly deconstructed version of the original. it's supposed to be soy braised pork belly and hard-boiled eggs on rice. but i used short ribs and separated the rice and meat.
it's a multistep recipe but not overly difficult. first, you boil the meat for about an hour (and hard boil the eggs separately). then you fry the meat and eggs in some oil until they're crispy. last, you cook them in a soy sauce broth for 45 minutes. i sauteed komatsuna greens on the side.


what i made for dinner lunch :: pozole


my friend L is a wonderful cook and she brought me pozole awhile back. boy, is this the kind of dish for me! i've been making my own version since then based on what L told me, but it's probably not completely right/authentic.

i make a blanco version by sauteeing minced garlic and chopped onions, and then browning pork neck bones and stew meat. (i made it with pork feet once but i'm not sure it added anything to the flavor.) after adding water and simmering, i skim off the crud that accumulates on top. once the meat is tender i add canned (drained and rinsed) hominy, salt and pepper and let it cook for an hour or two.

depending on what i have around the house i serve the pozole with cabbage, radish, avocado, lime, and/or corn tortilla chips.


what i made for dinner :: soba noodles with squid meatballs

soba noodles with squid meatballs

have you noticed the pace at which i'm posting food entries is slowing down? that's because i'm finding it more and more difficult to find new recipes to try out. (that's just a nice way to say, "i'm burning out on cooking.")

as i was rummaging through the fridge crisper checking out the vegetables i still have, i was somehow reminded of the many japanese cooking magazines in my collection. surely there's something in one of them i could cook for dinner tonight.

what i found in an old orange page magazine was ika dango soba, soba with squid meatballs. (unfortunately, they don't have the recipe online.)

the ika dango was easy to make, even though i had to clean out two whole squids, which was actually kinda fun. instead of mincing the squid by hand like the recipe says, i used the food processor after separating the body from the head/tentacles, cleaning out the inside of the body, and coarsly chopping the meat. the food processor works quite well actually; not only does it finely mince the meat but it whips it up so the meatballs are nice and fluffy. to the mixture i added chopped green onions, salt, and corn starch.

before cooking the meatballs i blanched fresh spinach and cooked the soba noodles (which i overcooked -- again -- what is wrong with me?!). the recipe also calls for enoki mushrooms but the stuff i had in the fridge was bad. my fault for not checking before going to the market.

as the soba is cooking i spooned little balls of the squid into simmering soba broth for a minute. when everything is done, i plated the noodles into a bowl with the squid meatballs and spinach, and poured the broth over it all. i finished off mine with shichimi togarishi.

all in all, an edible creation but i think it was a bit too salty because i didn't measure the broth-concentrate-to-water ratio correctly (yes, i cheated by using bottled mentsuyu). also, there's only so many squid meatballs you can eat before you get all squidded out. maybe i'll make this again, and maybe not. i'm kinda thinking that in warmer weather i could make cold soba and deep-fry the squid meatballs. that would by tasty, i imagine.

what i made for dinner :: cold ramen noodles


last week we had a heat wave so i made cold ramen noodles for dinner. unlike the more popular hot ramen noodles, remen (literally "cold noodles") doesn't have a soup. you pour a sauce over the noodles and topping.

i prepared a few more toppings than usual that particular night :: char siu pork, poached chicken, kinshi tamago, cucumbers, tomotoes (for me), and sauteed eggplant and green beans. i buy my char siu pork from the japanese market; it's the sweeter variety, but at some point i may try to make my own savory version. kinshi tamago is "golden thread eggs"; you make a very thin egg omelet and then thinly slice it. i poached the chicken breast in the microwave with sake and cilantro for six minutes (five minutes might be enough).

a couple of days later i made the last packet of noodles for lunch with the leftover cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken and pork. i didn't want to spend the time making the kinshi tamago, so i made sunny side up eggs with slightly runny yolks, which mingles really well with the noodles and sesame sauce. (see picture above)

rupert joins the bandwagon

rupert has this deluded notion that he can write a dissertation and a blog. so he's started his own blog about life as a phd student. if you can understand what he writes, then you are a smarter person than i am.


30 months.

maya @ 30 months :: may 4, 2008
  • coloring better, and attempts to stay within the lines sometimes.
  • spits ... in the house. but we put an end to that pretty quickly. another icky thing she's been doing lately is eating hair, oftentimes my hair.
  • assumes "the position" to put her diaper on standing up.
  • writes draws Os + Is, and recognizes a few other letters. when i complimented her on the O she wrote one day, she took a bow, so to speak, by saying, "thank you, thank you, thank you very much." her counting is improving ... sort of :: "one, two, three, six, seven"
  • we're starting her on playing boardgames. the buzzer on "operation" scared her, though.
  • movie of the month :: meet the robinsons. she also watched amelie with me a couple of times.
  • when she's in the mood, she's kind enough to jump over the cracks in the sidewalk so she doesn't break her mother's back.
  • she managed to clog the toilet ... twice ... this month (we had to call the plumber + get a snake for the toilet). she's also been reluctant to go unchi on the toilet lately, but we still make her.
  • she loves to move the hose/sprinkler in the front yard with rupert when he waters the lawn. and even when he doesn't have to water the lawn she insists on going outside to do the "spinklah."
  • she's capable of saying "sorry" and "thank you" at the appropriate moments ... it's just that she usually doesn't choose to. and who knows where she picked up her sassy "oka~y, oka~y!" from.
  • for some reason she calls roly-polies "wakamolies." she also seems to be confused about "chickens" and "kitchens." it took rupert a few days to get her to say "pineapple" instead of "apple pie." yeah, it's taking her awhile to get the hang of the english language.
  • has a new best buddy, the little sister of two kids who go to ian's school. at drop-off in the morning the two love to chase each other around and sit on the steps to the office and chat.
  • the librarian gave her a tootsie pop, at which point maya wanted to go straight home to eat it. after she unwrapped it she asked me to take pictures of her eating it (like with the ring pop she got from the library last month).
  • every little noise/change in voice/thing makes her ask, "what happened?" and she'll keep asking until you give her an adequate answer. i can only imagine what it'll be like when she starts asking, "why?"
  • she and her brother are beginning to "fight" more. not real fights but little tussles. usually i'll find maya sitting on top of ian and hear his muffled cries of, "get off of me! get off of me!" but i'll also catch ian trying to bop her in the head with the couch pillow or throwing balls directly at her in the backyard.
  • she's always curious about ambulance/fire engine/police car sirens, but she seems to be confused about the ice cream truck music. when the ice cream truck stops at the library on the next block -- which is everyday -- she asks with a hint of concern in her voice, "what that noise?"