Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Junk Fix

One has to indulge the moment of weakness. You know I usually make my own dessert from scratch. But sometimes I don't feel like taking time; I want something sweet and creamy...NOW!

What would you do? Run to the corner bodega and grab a Sara Lee's frozen cheesecake? Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey? Or suck the cream inside Twinkie?? Been there; done that: now an instant pudding is my "It" junk.

"Jello-O Cook & Serve Vanilla flavor" pudding was what used to satisfy my craving. But of course you just can't simply follow the instruction. You have to make it the way you like, right? So I use 2.5 cups (instead of official 2 cups) of 2% reduced fat milk. Don't get fooled by the '2%' milk - I'm not thinking of diet. This way the pudding comes out softer and lighter, I can feel free to add more stuff to embellish, like handful of blueberries & cream. (See the picture? It doesn't look bad at all!)

Then recently I spotted "Dr. Oetker Original Pudding Vanille Geshmack" while I was stolling the food mall inside Grand Central Terminal. First its price got my attention. Even thouth it's imported and more likely comes with a hefty mark-up (after all, the store is in prime location), the package of 3 costed $2.70, whereas one pack of Jello-O costs $1.30. So I had to try it. And you know what? I liked its flavor better too. It feels 'nostalgic' and less aggressive in comparison. So I gleefully made the switch. Yeah. Cheap, yet it hits the spot every time.

Ku Cake

Monday, February 16, 2009

Little Organic Herb Garden

I always move some of the herbs indoors with the first sign of frost. This winter, oregano, thyme, chive and basil plants are waiting for the arrival of spring; I'm sure they can't wait to go outside...NOT!

They have it really good - the room is warm and full of sunshine (albeit via window glass). But the best part is the daily dose of nutritious water, thanks to my goldfish. Instead of relying on the Miracle-Glo, I started taking advantage of the 'fish water'.

I read it somewhere, I think it was an article on NY Times Magazine, that the fish poopoo is an excellent source of nutrients for the plants. I have been adding used coffee grinds to the pots for some time, and this year I wanted to see if fish water makes a difference. Every morning I scoop up the water from fish tank and pour it over the herbs.

I think they are really happy. I'm happy too, because I don't have to schlep the bucketfull of dirty water up and down. Plus, less chemical they absorb the better. So it's defiitely a win-win situation.

Ku Cake

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saving for the Snowy Days

Over the years I became a big fan of frozen food. I'm talking about freezing fruits and vegetables when they're in height of season, and enjoying them when the farmer's market is barren.

What's typically in my freezer? Blueberries (whole and cooked), rhubarb (cooked), green peas, corn, haricots verts, broccoli rabe (blanched), red pepper (roasted), asparagus (roasted), tomato (roasted), zucchini slices (roasted), garlic (roasted), basil (pesto). Sometimes broccoli and cauliflower florettes join the list whenever there's extra space. Another staple of the freezer are containers of homemade chicken broth. They are so handy and versatile, not to mention laughingly easy to make; I haven't bought a broth from the store in many years.

Even though the day is short and weather is cold, I always have something to remind me that there will be spring, the season of colors will return soon.

Ku Cake