Which Side is Best?

Image by: Chris Bruner

There is so much going on in the world today…natural disasters have affected so many regions, the recent political issues that have faced America, the constant struggle of racial injustice, the strife that life tends to naturally bring, and trying to find a perfect balance between college as well as a social life. This is a whirlwind of craziness that has wreaked havoc on America. So for today, I decided to go for a lighter subject to counteract these difficult happenings currently occurring in the world right now. As someone who aspires to be a pastry chef, people often assume that I am always well-inclined to all things in the pastry world but the truth is that I don’t really know everything in the pastry world. There are many things that are still unknown to me…things that I am still inexperienced in, yet I push myself to have a greater sense of those things in order to become more well-versed as a pastry chef. But as I share and post my experiences with the confectionary arts world and write about up-and-coming food trends, I realize that there are still many questions that I face on the daily basis in terms of baking.

There is one question that I still have…that often follows me around when I am baking and in all four years of college, I am still faced with this question. What is the right or wrong side to use for aluminum foil? Should the shiny side be facing up? Or should the dull side be facing up?

Image by: David

My misconception was that you interchange the foil sides for specific cooking purposes…so the shiny side conducts heat better so if you looking to get something crispy then shiny side up but if you are looking to lock in moisture then use the dull side. But regardless, both sides can be used interchangeably…there is no difference between each side of aluminum foil. While the shiny side has more reflection which creates more radiation…the only thing that matters when baking is convection and both sides of the foil conduct the same amount of heat. The truth is that both sides of foil are exactly the same and the reason that the foil visually appears differently between a shiny and dull side results from the manufacturing process in which the way that the sheets of aluminum is rolled out, the side that is in contact with the rollers comes out shiny while the other side does not.

To me, this is still a mind-boggling notion and honestly, it is one of those things that haven’t changed much for me since understanding this information. I understand that both sides are the same logistically yet I still, when faced with the decision of how to place aluminum foil for baking purposes, I believe my standards as I still somehow believe that the shinier side is more important in holding and conducting heat. But I still wanted to share this and hope that it helps fellow day-to-day bakers.

My Favorite Five Dishes That My Mom Makes

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and today I am not writing about a restaurant I’ve tried , but instead I would like to share with you seven dishes that my mom makes that I absolutely love. My mom is one of the best chefs I know because she really does put a lot of heart and soul in cooking and the food. When we have a feast to honor our ancestors, mom is always the one that cooks and every time the feast is always delicious.  Although I know how to cook already, I want to be as great as my mom is.

white dish of food

This is my mom’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Tomatoes that I absolutely adore. This is really my favorite salmon dish and full of flavor and deliciousness. I thought it was a complicated recipe, but apparently it’s very simple and I have tried making it before and it’s easy!

Chinese food

This is Zongzi or Joong and it’s a traditional Chinese food made with glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped with bamboo leaves. My family and I typically make and eat these during the fifth month of the lunar calendar. My mom always makes these and adds a lot of fillings and makes her own salted eggs. Her joong is always number one to me.

white plate of six pastries

These are Fa Gao and it is a Chinese cupcake-like pastry, mostly consumed on Chinese New Year, but my mom does make these when she has the time. I truly enjoy eating the Fa Gao my mom makes versus the ones from the Chinese bakeries because it’s usually colored with food dye. My mom doesn’t use food dye at all and she uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. They are extremely fluffy and moist!

noodles and vegetables

This is my mom’s famous Vermicelli with dried shrimp and she makes this just about every Chinese holiday or for our birthdays or whenever we request for it. It’s extremely tasty and it never gets tiring to eat. This dish also represents longevity.

stewAnother food that my mom makes during December for a Chinese holiday is called tong yuan which can be eaten savory or sweet. We often eat the savory version for breakfast or dinner. For the savory version, my mom usually adds mushroom, cabbage, shrimp, chunks of dried scallops, scallions, and chicken or pork. It’s really an enjoyable food and soup to have especially during winter.

These are some of my favorite dishes that my mom makes.

What are your favorite dishes that your mother makes? What do you like most about it?

Victory, The Victorious

a young man in a red hooded sweatshirtThis weekend I spoke with the underground musical artist, Victory. A awesome jaw dropping lyricist, with an interesting hobby. Check it out:

a man wearing large black headphones, in front of an image of the word "Victory"

How did you get your name? Actually the way I got my name is because my rap name use to be Flawless Victory but I just shorten it to Victory

How’d you describe you musical style? / What sets u apart from the artist out there? I would describe my musical style as fun and energetic and what sets me apart is that I won’t rap about what typical rappers rap about because I’m not a trap type of rapper so it forces me to be creative

I  a lot of your music can be comical and jaw dropping… Do you think most lyrical artist sell out from their original genre and fall to mainstream artist? I don’t think most lyrical artist sell out to maintain stream but I do think that they try to go with the times because you don’t have to change what you want to say you just have to update how you say it and most artist don’t realize that

 

What else do you do? I also make clothes and I edit videos also

a man on a tv screen

I love your designs and I watched the amazing growth… How did You get into fashion / what sparked your interest? I originally got the idea by making a shirt to promote myself as a artist and people liked the design and started requesting it then that’s when we really started getting into the clothing aspect

a man in sunglasses and a T-shirt

Is there anything you’ll like for the listeners to know? I would like my listeners to know that I’m working there’s a lot of good music coming with some great visuals so stay tuned

seven young men and women of colorthe back of a man wearing a black sweatshirt that says "Just Us II" in white letters

I wish him good luck on all endeavers.

What’s Been Cooking In The Kitchen – Part 2

Lately, I’ve been quite proud of how much I have taught myself to do and tried in the kitchen these past few weeks. While my schedule has been a little crazy and it’s been a little tiring, I have also been making good progress.  For this specific post, I am going to be sharing what I’ve made the last few weeks, sorry no recipes written down just yet, but yes get ready to be intrigued and salivate:

Watercress Soup

I’m not very good at making Chinese soups or herbal soups, but my boyfriend loves watercress and I tried to make him a watercress soup we both often drink at our homes. The soup was missing a key ingredient that usually gives off a natural sweetness to the soup and I also didn’t use real pork meat. I used pork bones instead.

a large tray pan of wrapped shrimp rolls with dipping sauce

My boyfriend & I were invited to a Potluck at our friend’s home and I decided to make Vietnamese summer rolls since they would make a great appetizer and snack for the potluck. Everyone enjoyed the rolls and said they look and taste like restaurant quality.

dishes of vegetables and chicken wings

Last week I made steamed eggs with Chinese sausage and roast pork, soy sauce chicken drumsticks, and sauteed vegetables for dinner for me and my boyfriend. The soy sauce chicken drumsticks were an A+ to my boyfriend. It was meaty, tender, and delicious!

a bowl of seasoned rice

There was leftover pumpkin, mushroom, and Chinese sausage in the refrigerator yesterday from dinner on Friday night, so I chopped it up and used it in a fried rice and made a pumpkin fried rice which was quite scrumptious!

a bowl of pear slices

My boyfriend has been sick and has been coughing, so my mom told me to make this Asian Pear soup which is a popular soup in China and is a traditional Chinese medicinal soup. It’s usually consumed with Northern apricot kernels which is what you see in the picture above and rock candy for sweetness.

Well this is all I’ve been making so far and hopefully found it to be intriguing.

What hobbies have you been finding yourself doing more often lately? 

What’s Been Cooking In The Kitchen

Happy March everyone! This post is going to be a little different because instead of a typical restaurant review, I will actually like to show you what I’ve been cooking lately. I’ve had extra time on my hands the last two months, so I’ve used that time to blog and cook. Here’s what I’ve been making lately and prepare to salivate –

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

I absolutely love salads! One afternoon I was inspired to make a salad for lunch so I ended up making a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, minus the grilled chicken because it was store bought and it was at this point, I realized I’m not a fan of Caesar dressing – too fishy.

Poached Egg Roasted Chicken Salad

Poached Egg Roasted Chicken Salad

I never thought that you could add a poached egg and top it off on a salad, until I got inspiration from a friend who’s also a foodie. The poached egg added a smooth texture to the salad and the yolk was extra runny.

Chunky Guacamole on Multi-Grain bread with Toasted Almonds

Chunky Guacamole on Multi-Grain bread with Toasted Almonds

I’ve also tried to make a chunky guacamole on Multi-Grain bread with toasted almonds. The result: very yummy and crunchy!

soup

I’ve also been cooking dinner for me and my boyfriend. For one night, I made mixed vegetable corn soup, sauteed Japanese mountain yam with mixed mushrooms, and sweet & sour chicken.

a Roasted Chicken & Craisins Salad

Roasted Chicken & Craisins Salad

Last week, I made a roasted chicken salad with craisins and a fried egg. Everything was yummy and really vibrant and exciting. The fried egg added an interesting texture to the salad. It was a true success!

Well this is just a glimpse of what I’ve been making the last few weeks. It’s been fun and interesting. I am glad to always test myself to see how much I can make and do and so far it’s great. I look forward to challenging myself to cook more.

What hobbies do you enjoy doing that you have found yourself doing more often?

Why I Love to Cook

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and was able to eat lots of good food! I know I did. If you’ve been following my blog posts than you know that I normally like to write about restaurants, lists of foods I like, and etc. Today I would like to share with you why I love to cook, because even though I don’t have time to do it as much as I’d like to I still love it! So here’s five reasons why I love to cook –

10 food dishes1. Cooking allows me to let out the creative side of me. Cooking is an art and masterpiece. When I am in the kitchen cooking away, it just feels nice to be away from everything else and everyone else for a little while. It feels peaceful, yet fun. The creativity kicks in when I am plating my dishes and making a decision of how I want it to look or appear to the eye. I also feel the most creative in cooking when it comes to deciding what herbs, spices, seasonings, ingredients to add. 
five food dishes

2. While cooking can be fun and easy, it can also be hard and challenging. However, if you don’t face the difficulties or challenges that comes with cooking, you won’t be fearless and you won’t ever know how far you can take something. I have gave myself challenges to learn how to make certain dishes/recipes and some have been a failure, but with more practice and effort they have become successes. I was never really good at folding dumplings in the crescent fold, but after learning from my boyfriend and more practice I became good at it.

nine plated food dishes

3. Another reason why I love cooking is because I have the opportunity and ability to learn from foods I’ve eaten and restaurants I’ve been to  on how to plate food just by looking at it. Some of the foods I’ve seen presented have been incredibly amazing and just so artistic that I almost don’t want to eat it or touch it.

4. I like to control what goes into the food. There are times when I go to restaurants and I do like to pick out certain foods that I don’t like such as raw peppers, raw onions, ginger, and etc. When I cook, I am able to control how well I want certain ingredients to be cooked and whether if I want to add them or not. I also don’t like to add too much sugar to the food/dishes if I don’t need to. I also don’t like to add too much oil if I don’t need to either.

four food dishes

5. I love to cook because cooking has opened my eyes, heart, and stomach up to a lot of different foods that I thought I would never like or make. I never thought I would like Brussel sprouts, kale, and arugula , but I do! Cooking and food has motivated me to try different cuisines, foods, ingredients, and just be a little more opened and less picky.

There’s so much about the experience of cooking I enjoy. It’s everything behind-the-scenes as well – the scent of fresh basil, the fragrance of cilantro, the taste of butter, the crackle from the skillet, and the sight of a perfectly roasted chicken hanging up by the window at a Chinese restaurant. Cooking speaks to all of my senses.

 

Do you cook or bake? If you do, what do you like most about it?

The Hot Wings of Willoughby

The Most-Made-Dish-for-Events award goes to….. HOT WINGS

     ♫ [Wings] [wings], their good for the heart…The more you eat, the more…  ♪ 

… If not, at least, they will make you happy.

I eat hot wings at least once a week, regardless of the after affects. : ) Besides home cooking, I’ve tried the spicy poultry meat from various restaurants, groceries stores, and pop-up-shops. However, today we will analyze the different hot wing dishes that can be found in a small sector, Downtown Brooklyn on Willoughby Street and Jay Street, right down the block from our home at City Tech. (Disclaimer: I am not advertising for any one, just giving you my thoughts and a simple DIY recipe. I have also took all images featured in the post)

the outside of a wings restaurant

Buffalo Boss Organic Wings & Things usually has long lines of people waiting for their orders. This is its second location Downtown Brooklyn, originally it sat on Fulton Street and Flatbush Ext.  I tried it a few weeks ago for the first time at this new location on Willoughby and Jay St. The service wasn’t the best. They are known for their wings and they have a lot of sides, including sweat potato fries. I was allowed to choose from variety of sauce types. When I was also told I had to pay for dipping sauce, I was turned off and I didn’t buy the ranch. I decided to get rice, hot wings, and a drink, which totaled about $7.  The 5 spicy wings, served in a small black styrofoam, tasted okay. They were fried hard and dipped in hot sauce. I remembered a better tasting experience before.

the outside of a restaurant

Yummy Taco always come through with my craving for asian-mexican-american dishes. (laugh) They, also, usually have long lines and hit-or-miss service during lunch time. Thankfully I got there early. Their $6 wings (8) and fries really filled me. The wings were fried slightly hard with a hint of spice. wings with French friesIt may have been more then a hint, considering the nose drool.

the outside of a restaurant

Super Taco is another great asian-mexican-american spot. I frequent there as well when Yummy Taco lines are long. The wings there were about $6 and came with celery. The taste seemed strikingly familiar, it seemed they have shared the recipe with Yummy Taco. 😉

the outside of a restaurant

The Dining Room seemed to be a whole in the wall. I must have passed it several times before realizing it was there. It is a restaurant/bar. Inside is usually quite unless there is a group of friends that comes on their lunch break. You can sit at the bar or tables. I sat at the bar. I order wings, water, and fries, which totaled 9.80. The 8 wings was boiled, fried lightly and soaked in mild hot wing sauce, my choice of sauce type. It came with vegetables as well. The wings had so much meat on it and more juicy compared to the other places. wings and friesa cooked chicken wingMaybe thats the reason it costs more. It was like no experience I have ever had, I revisited two more times.

the outside of a restaurant

The 99¢ Fresh Hot Pizza’s hot wings is currently a mystery to me. But I thought I’d add them in since they, too, rests on Willoughby Street. If you know how the hot wings taste please share. After my Dining Room experience I was addicted. Don’t Judge me.   


TRY YOUR OWN:

Hosting and need a delicious homemade meal? Try making your own Hot wings.

Ingredients / Precursors:

  • Separated precooked chicken wings (can be boiled or fried)
  • D.I.Y Your OWN Sauce (optional ingredients you can use: dry pepper, hot sauce, honey, bbq sauce, ketchup)
  • Metal pan (aluminum) big enough to lay each flat while baking
  • Bowl for sauce
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place your pre-cooked wings in your metal pan
  3. Coat the sauce throughout the wings
  4. Bake for 10 minutes
  5. Flip the wings, coat the chicken and bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Continue to flip and bake until the chicken reaches creates your desired crisp.
  7. Serve while hot with a side of ranch dressing. (…Or blue cheese I guess, I am being bias.)

NOTE: It’ll taste so good, you can serve them cold.