Monday, January 31, 2011

Artist Paint Brushes Holder

Artst paint brushes and tools are expensive. I have been wanting to make a paint brush holder to protect all the artist painting tools I used in my oil painting class. I did not want to make a fabric holder which you can roll up and go.  I wanted to use a hardboard that can protects brushes from damage.  It also needs to be great at displaying and transporting  the brushes, pencils and small tools.

I went to Joann Fabric store and see what I could find.  The ladies from the store gave me these cardboard to use. 

I randomly found some fabrics and ribbons at home and started to do some designing.  I covered the board with fabric first, and then measured and sew the slots for the tools that are going to be inserted.  I also stitched elastic band to hold the brushes/pencils in place for easy access.
This is what it looks like when finshed:
This project only took me two and half hours to finish.  The great thing was I didn't have to spend any money by looking for recyling scrap items that were laying around everywhere.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ways To Eat Persimmons (2) - Stir Fry Persimmon Chicken

I wanted to see if I can use persimmons to make a sweet and sour sauce over chicken for dinner tonight.   I am happy to see that my husband and daughter love the dish.  This is also the same method I cooked the shrimp with tomatoes sauce.


2 pieces chicken breasts
1 egg
1 onion, sliced
1 persimmon,sliced

Mixed sauce:
2 gloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp soysace
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch


1.  Pound the chicken into thin slices.
2.  Sprinkle some salt over.
3.  Dip into beated egg, then into flour.
4.  Heat oil in the pan in high heat.
5.  Fry chicken until cooked.
6.  Take chickens out and add onion.
7.  Cook onion until transparent and fragrant.
8.  Add in the sliced persimmon and stir with onion.
9.  Put the cooked chicken back and stir in mixed sauce until thickening.
9.  Serve over rice.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Collection of Puzzles

I am always fascinated in interesting collections people have.  I saw this collection of puzzles and wondered who collected these:

Source: Cool Pictures

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stir Fry Wintermelon

I always cooked wintermelon in the soup.  Since I have already made some soup tonight, I wanted to see if I can stir fry the wintermelon for a change.  I was surprised to find out the new recipe was well received by the kids and hubby.


Wintermelon, thin sliced
Dried shrimp, soaked
1 oz. Chinese bacon, sliced
2 gloves of garlic
Green onion, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
1 can  chicken broth
White pepper


1. Heat pan with oil
2. Stir fry garlic until fragrant.
3. Add wintermelon and stir fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add dried shrimp and stir.
5. Pour in chicken broth cook wintermelon until soft.
6. Mix some water with a tsp of cornstarch, stir in and cook until thicken.
7. Quickly stir in chopped green onion and cilantro.
8.  Sprinkle some white pepper and serve.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ways To Eat Persimmons (1) - Persimmon Muffins

We have two different types of persimmon trees in our backyard.  The heart-shaped Hachiya are not to be eaten before softening or ripening because they will have a bitter taste.  The Fuyu looks like a tomato and can be consumed when still very firm.  The persimmons from our backyard are very big and sweet. Every year we would gave most of them to our neighbors and friends.

We have been eating persimmons as fresh fruits the past couple of months.  I was trying to find new ways to consume them before they all ripen.  I went online and found out they can be used to make salad, sauce, chutney, smoothies, cookies and breads.  I found this bread recipe online and decided to adapt it to make some muffins. I was really surprised the muffins were so moist and tasty with the combination of walnuts and coconut added.  This is definitely a nice recipe and will be kept in my recipe book for sure.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

Persimmon Muffins

(Makes 18 medium size)


2 eggs

1 1/2 cups organic flour

3/4 cup  organic white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pumpkin spices

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 Hachiya (soft) persimmon

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup shredded coconut


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2.In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin spices, salt, nuts, and coconut and set aside.

3.Use a mixer and beat the eggs first, then add sugar, and oil.

4. Peel persimmons and make a cup of pulp.  Add to the sugar mixture.

5. Fold in flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared muffins tin.

6..Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.


You can also pour into a bread pan and bake at 325degree F for 55 minutes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cafe Salina, Milbrae,CA

Cafe Salina is another place that's close by the  San Francisco airport. We went and tried this restaurant after picking up our daughter from the SFO.

Cafe Salina 告羅士打茶餐廳
235 Broadway
Milbrae, CA  94030
(650) 692-2992

It's bright and clean inside.   All the waitresses were very friendly.

There's a big selection of food to pick from the menu.  It's a Hong Kong styled cafe.  We first ordered the favorite Hong Kong styled milk tea.
This Singaporean Fried Noodle was so delicious:

This is Baked Rice with Seafood.  I don't remember if the rice was fried (the traditional way) but we were not very impressed with the dish.  There wasn't enough seafood in the dish.

 This is Baked Spaghetti with porks.  It had enough sauce and the porks were tendered and tasted good.

It is convenient to go there for a quick eat before or after a flight. Most important the food was good.  We will certainly go there again for the food.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unsual Foods

Some old friends came over to visit us in the late afternoon today. We decided to have hot pot for dinner.  There were some interesting foods at our table tonight.  Our friend brought some unusual looking fruits.  She told us that these are called Cherimoyas. The outler layers are dark green, very ugly looking things:

The inside looked like this:
It had a mildly unpleasant smell, but not very strong.  The texture of the flesh was like a very ripened pear.  We were surprised that it was very sweet and juicy.  Our friend told us that they got them from a friend's backyard in the Los Angeles area.   It's called Cherimoya. When she first got them they were green and they turned to dark green a week later.  I found more information online; apparently they are grown in South America.  For more information, check this link:

I also bought another fruit from a local Asian supermarket for everyone to try.  It is called Dragon Fruit.  I often saw this at the Asian supermarket, but didn't know what they tasted like.  I decided to get one and let everyone share the taste. 

I googled it online and found out that the Dragon fruit is a beautiful fruit grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel. The plant is actually a type of cactus, and the fruit comes in 3 colors: 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red) while another type is yellow with white flesh.  I also found out it has a stunningly beautiful fruit with an intense color and shape, magnificent flowers and supposedly a delicious taste. It has more interesting facts, please read this link and see the beautiful flower:  The one we tried tonight has a kiwi but light sweet taste .

 I also served this classic French dessert, Opera Cake with a pot of hot tea tonight.
I have heard so much about this classic French dessert but never had a chance to try the dessert.  It was created by Louis Clichy, who called it the Clichy. But was popularized by the Parisian pâtisserie Dalloyau as the Opera cake and is now mostly known by that name.  It is a wonderfully rich and dreamy combination of  almond biscuit, chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream, and chocolate glaze. It looked like a very refined and decadent layered cake.


I bought the cake from Trader Joe's for $8.  There were 8 slices of the box.   It tasted so delicious and is worth the money to get it if you have never tried it before.  Here is a recipe my friend had tried it before with great result: Opera cake recipe.

This also reminded me of a famous French song, La Vie en Rose.  It is also one of my favorite songs:

It is always nice to have a chance to try something unusual. Have you tried anything that's interesting lately?

P.S.  After trying a few greener cherimoyas, we discovered that the greener ones had a stronger fragrance and they were more enjoyable to eat.  It tasted like a papaya, only sweeter.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Pot Sticky Rice

We mostly go out with friends during the holiday season.  I didn't stock up a lot of food in the refrigerator.  I was surprised to see that I only have one cup of rice left in the rice bin. That was definitely not enough to feed the four of us.  I was happy to find a bag of sticky rice and some dried food in the the kitchen as I was looking for food to cook.  I decided to make sticky rice since that's what the Chinese usually have during the cold winter season.  This is the first time I cooked everything in the rice cooker.  With some soy sauce on the side, this is one easy and tasty meal to make.


5 Shiitake mushroom, soaked
3  pairs Chinese sausages
1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups sticky rice (or sweet rice)


1.  Chop the soaked mushroom, save the soaking water.
2.  Rinse and chop the Chinese sausages.
3.  Chop the dried shrimp, save the soaking water.
4.  Rinse and pour both rice in the rice cooker.
5.  Pour in all the soaking water and juice, then add just enough water to make 3 cups of rice in the rice cooker.  This is to ensure you will not cause the rice to be too mushy.
6.  Add in all the ingredients and mix well with rice.
7.  Press cook on the rice cooker until cooked.
8.  Serve with sweet or dark soy sauce made for clay pot rice.