Monthly Archives: September 2011

spaghetti and meatballs

This past week has been pretty hectic. Since school was starting, there was a lot to do. There were also a lot of events. I made spaghetti and meatballs at my friends house because she doesn’t cook. AT ALL! I’m still trying to wonder how she survives. Anyway, onto the food!
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Here’s the recipe..
Spaghetti and Meatballs (adapted from the PW)
1 box spaghetti cooked according to box instructions
2 lbs ground beef
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
2 cans of 16oz tomato sauce
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
1/4 cup of milk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons of italian seasoning divided
1-2 teaspoons black pepper
oil

1. In a medium bowl, dump ground beef and mesh together with your hands.
2. Add the two eggs and milk and mix again.
3. Finally add 2 tablespoons of italian seasoning, bread crumbs, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
4. After the mixture is completely combined, shape them into balls about the size of a golf ball or ping pong ball if you play beer pong 🙂
5. In a large pan, heat some oil and drop the meatballs in the pan to cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. It doesn’t have to be throughly cooked because we’re adding it back into the sauce.
6. Once the meatballs are seared then put them back on a plate.
7. Sautee the onions and minced garlic. Add the meatballs back in then add the tomato sauce.
8. Simmer the sauce and meatballs on medium low heat for about 30-45 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, cook your spaghetti according to box instructions.

Enjoy it 🙂 I think it was my first time making meat balls so that was pretty interesting. On a side note, I had to show you this delicious picture. As most of you know, I’m a food truck fanatic and on Tuesday I caught the Lobsta Truck! I was so excited because I’ve been meaning to try them for a really long time. I ended up getting the lobster roll. DE-LI-CIOUS! 🙂 I loved it like no other. Lobster is by far one of my favorite dishes.
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Thanks for coming by!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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school starting

Hey all. Sorry I’ve been kind of M.I.A. I’ve been trying to get ready for school and getting everything in my room organized. This week is welcome week so I’ve been busy going to all the events. I got to see Shwayze and Cisco on Tuesday so that was pretty cool. I spent Monday going to the involvement fair on campus and then making dinner at my friends house. We made spaghetti and meatballs (courtesy of the PW). It was a hilarious night because she was trying to teach me how to play Mario Carts. I’m pretty dumb when it comes to video games. Anyway, Tuesday was the Aldrich Park After Dark concert. It was kind of boring at first because we went about 1 1/2hr late and Shwayze still wasn’t there yet. He’s pretty legit though so I was content. It was awkward because the majority of the people in attendance were freshmen. I found it hilarious that this one girl who wasn’t 21 yet got caught drunk. I mean really? It’s somewhat pathetic now that I think about it. Yesterday was baking night. I baked chocolate cupcakes for my friend Yvonne because her birthday’s on Sunday. They came out pretty well. Today was the first day of class. I have to say I’m quite surprised I didn’t want to run and go back to my apartment. I felt like that all of last year. I was on campus till about 8pm which is surprising. Class was alright. Nothing too crazy happened. I’ve been going out a lot this past week because of welcome week so there hasn’t been a lot of recipes because by the time I get back to my apartment I fall on my bed and snooze. My eyes are kind of closing as I’m typing this. There will be recipes for char siu, spaghetti and meatballs, and chocolate cupcakes w/buttercream frosting coming soon. I’ll probably post them on saturday or Sunday. Saturday’s my cleaning day so probably Sunday. Thanks for coming by 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

lemon ricotta pound cake

I got back to school yesterday and totally thought someone tried to break into my apartment. My roommates window screen was taken off and propped against the wall. Turns out it was my other roommate who did it because my first roommates alarm clock kept going off. It was quite hilarious. Would you ever do that? Try to break into your roommates room because of her alarm clock? That’s kind of scary actually. Anyway, I had my friend Jenny over to bake yesterday. Well..I had her over because I was trying to build my bookcase and it just wasn’t working out for me. I put some of the connector pieces in the wrong places and they wouldn’t come off. She totally built it for me so yay! Hooray for cool friends who can build things 🙂 I made some char siu and she helped me make the lemon ricotta pound cake. I also fried her some egg rolls because I pay people with food when they help me do things. It’s just the kinda girl I am. I found this recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod because I had leftover ricotta cheese and I didn’t know what to do with it. I was extremely surprised that when I tasted the cake, it tasted like the kind from the cake box. I never made a cake that taste like the one’s from the cake box. It was pretty interesting.
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Here’s the recipe..
Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)
1 1/2 cups of cake flour
2 lemons zested
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 + 1 tablespoon sugar
2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a bundht pan and set aside.
2. Mix cheese, butter, and sugar together.
3. Add in eggs one at a time.
4. Add salt, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix to combine.
5. Add baking powder and mix again.
6. Slowly add flour and mix until everything is combined. Pour into prepared bundht pan.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.
8. Poke holes in the cake with a fork or tooth pick and pour a glaze over it (optional).
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Say hi to Jenny 🙂 She was helping me zest the lemons.
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Enjoy it! 🙂 There’s lots of lemon in every bite. Thanks for stopping by.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

mooncake festival recap

Yesterday was the mooncake festival. I was pretty busy stuffing my face and taking pictures which is why there wasn’t a post yesterday. My mom made taro buns and egg cake. I made egg rolls. My aunt gave us some mooncakes and she made us some taro cake. My cousins grandmother made us lotus root cake. Now these pastries aren’t your average walk into a bakery and buy pastries. These are as authentic as you can get when it comes to Chinese pastries. These are the pastries that old women in rural villages in China make for the holidays. The recipes were passed down from generation to generation. From my great grandmother to my grandmother to my mother. I have some big shoes to fill.
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the taro buns my mom made
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lotus root cake my cousins grandmother made
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taro root cake my aunt made
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the moon from my backyard!
Thanks for reading 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

mamas egg rolls

As I said yesterday I was going to do a post about egg rolls. My mom was suppose to help me make these but all she did was prep the ingredients for me and walked away! I was so sad. I had to make all 50 egg rolls by myself 😦 It was a good learning process. I did my best to make them look like the kind that people get at dimsum or yum cha. They were amazing but I was extremely annoyed by the time it took to make them. This is my mom’s recipe.
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Here’s the recipe..
Mama’s Egg Rolls
2 packages of spring roll wrap (I used the 6x6in. kind. Be aware that spring roll and egg roll are considered the same thing. These wraps are a white tint color and are found in the frozen section of asian supermarkets. Don’t buy the yellow kind that’s found in the refrigerated section. They will leave you with ugly egg rolls)
1 1/2-2 lb ground pork
2 carrots grated
2 cilantro stalks minced
2 stalks of green onion chopped
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chicken soup based mix
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 bag vermicelli noodles soaked in water
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 egg
oil for frying

1. In a large bowl combined ground pork with dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, sugar, cornstarch, pepper, and chicken soup based mix. Mix thoroughly.
2. Heat a large pan and brown pork. Once all pork is almost brown, add in cilantro, carrots, and green onions.
3. Cook until the vegetables are coated and soft. This will take a minute or two.
4. Pour meat mixture onto a cookie sheet (Thanks for the tip Jaden!) and drain excess juices. Let cool for about 30 minutes or more.
5. In the same large pan, cook vermicelli noodles with light soy sauce. This should take about 4-5 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them or the noodles with be mushy.
6. After the noodles are cooked, mix them with the meat mixture and continue to let cool.
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7. In a small bowl beat an egg. This will be used as a base to keep your egg rolls sealed.
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8. Once the mixture is ready, open your bag of spring roll wrappers. After it has been opened, use a damp cloth to cover it as you work. You don’t want them to dry out.
9. Put the wrapper in the shape of a diamond facing you and put about a tablespoon of filling near the bottom.
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10. Roll it up tightly and over once. After it’s been rolled over once, fold in the sides neatly and continue rolling. (Pay close attention to this step. Egg rolls that are not rolled tightly will be disgusting because it will either fall apart when you fry it or it will be a greasy mess after you fry it)
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11. Using a pastry brush, brush some egg on the tip of the diamond and continue to roll until egg roll is neatly wrapped. Continue to do this until all wrappers and meat is used.
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12. In a large pan fry some oil for about a minute. Drop in some egg rolls and fry on each side until it turns a golden brown color if fresh and for about 4-6 minutes if frozen. Drain on paper towels to get rid of the excess oil.
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Enjoy them! I love my mom’s recipes. They’re delicious 🙂 I posted this recipe because of my bruhder. He would love these but he’s still in norcal filming for Top Shot. He’s probably drooling at the mention of these. He’s a marine and today’s 9/11 so enjoy them. Thank the troops. Remember the people who lost their lives. Do something generous for someone you love. Thanks for reading

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

mooncake festival

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I’m finally home from school. Due to my mom’s request I’ll be home for a week because of the moon cake festival. I have a lot of American recipes on this blog but I love Chinese recipes. Chinese holidays are the best. I mean we get red envelopes with money for Chinese New Years so what’s not to like right? The moon cake festival is also known as the mid-autumn festival or lantern festival. The names are interchangeable according to my mom. I call it the moon cake festival because that’s my favorite part. I love moon cakes. All cultures have distinct desserts that make the culture the way it is and moon cakes are no different. Since both of my parents are traditional Chinese, we celebrate all the important holidays that people in China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam celebrate. I think the festival is in all those places. Don’t quote me on that. I’m pretty Americanized. If there’s a Chinese dessert that I love, it’s those darn moon cakes. Now don’t let those babies fool you. They’re as pricy as they come. Usually they come in a tin box with four inside. They’re individually packaged and have writing/symbols on the outside. Please don’t ask me what they mean because I have no clue. I asked my mom but she just rolled her eyes at me so I’m guessing I SHOULD know. I don’t though so don’t ask 🙂 Haha, they have a variety of flavors. My recommendations are stick with the traditional flavors like red bean paste, white lotus, and lotus. They have flavors like green tea and pineapple. It sounds appealing, I thought it was genius but it taste disgusting. The red bean paste one is my absolute favorite! I can eat them all by myself. Not that I would do such a thing. Aside from the different flavors, each moon cake either has a egg inside or it doesn’t. I prefer the ones that don’t have the egg. My parents agree with me but my sister likes the ones with the egg. The egg takes away the sweetness of the moon cake which is why I don’t like it. Here are a few pictures of the ones my mom has at home. She likes to cut them into tiny pieces because she says they are sweet. I eat them whole if I can get away with it!
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Apparently, moon cakes are so expensive that you have to pre-order them at bakeries. They usually go for about $20 a box if they find a good deal. Like I said, they’re quite pricy. I’m not exactly sure how the festival actually works because I’ve never seen it in person (my mom says the one in China is the best). At home we usually go into the back yard and sit in lawn chairs sharing different moon cakes. We also light incense. Technically we’re suppose to have lanterns and such but my parents stopped doing that when my sister and I got older. I believe the purpose of the festival is to gather with your family under the moon and eat moon cakes. My mom muttered something about worshiping the moon. I asked why but she just rolled her eyes again! 😦 That’s happening a lot today. This holiday is a staple in Chinese culture so it goes back a long time. Feel free to correct me if anything I said is wrong. I apologize if I have a bazillion grammar errors in this post. I’m in the middle of making egg rolls right now. I will be posting the recipe tomorrow. Hopefully I can get a step by step approach from my mom on how to make them. I have to learn regardless. The bf said he wants something asian..like that helps. Somehow, being the genius that I am I suggested egg rolls even though I don’t know how to make them. There’s a first time for everything. I think I’m going to have a lot more Chinese recipes coming soon. Egg rolls, char siu (bbq pork), gai bao (chicken bun), & vu heow bao (taro bun). Thanks for reading 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

lawfully wedded wife’s lasagna

I actually made this lasagna last week but never got around to posting about it. The pan that I used was a lot bigger than the one Lauren used so I sort of had to play with the amount of ingredients. I made it for my bf when he came back from Afghaniland but he only ate a piece 😦 Yes, I’m the kind of person that mopes when people don’t eat my cooking. I spent quite some time making it so it’s like a slap in the face if people don’t eat it am I right? Yeah, don’t answer that. I know I’m right 🙂 So I was talking to the bf yesterday and he was like “Yeah so I read your blog” and the first thing I thought was “Oh F*CK!” Hahahahah, anywayyyyy onto the recipe!
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Here’s the recipe..
Classic Lasagna (adapted from Lawfully Wedded Wife)
9 lasagna noodles (not the precooked kind)
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 container parmesan cheese

ricotta mixture:
2 large eggs
3 cups of ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons of parsley (go for the fresh stuff if you have it)
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt

spinach mixture:
1/2 cup marinara sauce
8 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons of olive oil

bolognese sauce:
the rest of the marinara sauce (I used a 16 oz can of hunts)
5 sweet italian sausages (Lauren cut the packaging to the sausages and took out the meat. Effin genius!)
1-2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt

1. Boil a big pot of water and cook your lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain them and pat them dry with a paper towel. Use foil to layer them and keep them warm until the rest of the ingredients are ready.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients of the ricotta mixture and set aside.
3. In a large pan, heat olive oil for a minute or two and throw in your spinach.
4. Add marinara sauce after all the spinach is coated in oil. Cook just until everything combines. About 4 minutes. Set aside or pour into a bowl and use the pan for the bolognese sauce.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. In a large pan, cook italian sausage until almost done.
7. Add in marinara sauce and all seasonings. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink and the sauce is warm.
8. To assemble, grab a 13×9 inch pan. Lay 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Next spoon a layer of ricotta cheese on top of the noodles. Spoon a layer of spinach mixture and sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Spoon a layer of bolognese sauce and top with another layer of noodles and repeat. The top layer should be noodles and not sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of noodles and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Enjoy it! I’m a huge fan of lasagnas so this was right up my alley. However, I didn’t like it as much as my staple lasagna recipe. I’ll post that whenever I get around to making it! 😛 Thanks for coming by.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina