Peanut Butter cookies with chocolate chips

The other day, after baking Peanut Butter cookies, a friend sent me Curtis Stone’s Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks. I thought I could just bake them since (1) we are finishing our peanut butter cookies and (2) I have all the necessary ingredients anyway. I don’t have the chocolate chunks and so I replaced them with chocolate chips.

In then end, I still prefer those crunchy, crispy cookies to the soft chewy types.

While baking, I decided to check out KitchenAid’s Standmixer. I have always wanted one since I started baking and heard wonderful review and stories about it. Once, I went for the cupcakes demo class at Shermay’s Cooking School and I’ll always remember one remark that the instructor made, ” You guys have the KitchenAid mixer right, right?” Since that day, I would occasionally go to the retail store near my workplace after lunch and admire those sexy machines and promised myself that I would get one eventually.

SO, when we moved over to US, I thought it would be great to buy one since the price is a real bargain. It was about half the price back home. The hubs had also agreed to buy for me (yea!) and so, to be certain, I went to check on the voltage since I would be bringing back to Singapore after our short stay here.

To my dismay, US units are 110V while we run on 220V (the same as Europe) and it would cause problem if I were to bring it back home to use (thankful to find useful info on David Lebovitz’s site). I was so downcast as I was baking the cookies until the hubs suggested some solutions:

1. Buy and use and then sell online before going back.
2. Buy a second-hand and then sell online before going back. In both cases, I need to check if there is a market for that. 3. Use a transformer when we go back home.

It’s really kind of him to offer to buy even though the odds are against me. I know he didn’t want me to be sad but I really ought to think through properly. I know I would use the mixer very often since I’m here to bake to my heart’s content but I don’t want it to be a white elephant when we go back (i.e. if I don’t sell it).

Argh. I hate making decisions.

Wonton soup

On a cold, gloomy weather, you just crave for hot soupy stuff. And since I have the wonton skin, minced meat and shrimps, I shall make wonton soup!

The marinating of the flesh took only a short while and after that you could leave them in the fridge and when you are ready to cook, just take them out and dump them into the stock (good thing, I have reserved stock). I used the round-shaped wonton skin and basically place the mixture (ball-shaped) in the centre of the skin. Then, using four fingers, press the skin towards the centre. It’s great fun!

 

I made 12 wontons and the filling includes minced pork, shrimps (shelled, deveined and finely chopped), freshly grated root ginger, light soy sauce, shaoxing rice wine,toasted sesame oil, cornflour, a pinch each of sea salt and ground black pepper. If you realised, they are rather similar to those used for gyoza except for the Chinese chives.

I thought this is quite a healthy dish since very little or no oil is required and constitute items from the 3 food groups. Carbohydrate is found in the wonton skin which is made from wheat flour and I added loads of lettuce in the soup, mushroom and spring onion as well.

=)

Thoughts from a wonton wrapper

It’s just a random thought: Why do modern women think that cooking is such a hassle or a near-impossible task for some?

This question came to my mind when I was resting from my work (doing some studies) and needed a eye-break. So I went over to the fridge, took out the minced meat and shrimp, started to devein them and marinate the mixture. It took a mere 10 minutes and I was back to the screen after that.

Perhaps, a lot of us, working women, did not have the opportunity to try our hands on cooking. The images that were conjured were those of a whole array of ingredients which were difficult to get or understand and meticulous steps in which the cook has to follow. For that same reason, I deterred from cooking and solely baked when I was working back home. Baking was easier, I felt. With the same set of ingredients and steps, you could create cookies and cakes that brighten up people’s lives. Of course, I was baking some simple pastries which didn’t require more than the usual ingredients but then again, it’s relatively easier.

The view has changed since coming to Boston. The high cost of eating out means that I have to cook. And I did so. Till now, I am still poring over cookbooks for ideas and looking for relationships for the different dishes and to analyse how I could maximise the use of certain ingredients, just because I’m cooking for 2 people. As I familiarised myself with a specific cuisine (always start with what you have grown up with), I began to understand how certain ingredients work and the various sauces and condiments that go with them to make different dishes. You find yourself no longer following recipes for the amount of ingredients to be used and use your tastebuds instead of those measuring spoons.

So, I was thinking, if I had only put down my fears and resolved to cook when I was working then, Ken and I would not have to eat out most of the time. Cooking takes up time when we are not familiar with it (I’m not referring to instant noodles or using anything instant). But once you get acquainted with it, it could be completed fast and in some cases, serves as a form of therapy from the stress of work. It also helps stimulate your mind when you are thinking about creating new dishes and personally, I think this is better than sudoku =p.

Of course, I could say these because I am currently not working and have time to read and think about food. But it IS important to think about food, especially what you put into your body so that it could function well. I am currently reading French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano and totally enjoying her words of wisdom. Indeed, we need to slow down and think more about how to take care of ourselves.

Oh, while these are my current thoughts as a person who is not working, I am working darn hard in the kitchen. But honestly, I would like to continue to bear the same thoughts when I’m back to work. Check on me again in 2012.

By the way, I have not attempted Italian at all. If you looked through the dishes I have made thus far, none was Italian. Reason? I don’t know anything about cheese, except for cheddar, parmesan, mascarpone and cream cheese. Besides that, I also have no clues to the different herbs used. I could well purchase bottles of sauces from the supermarket and mix with the spaghetti but that really kills the joy of cooking. In any case, I am not in favour with the extra salt in the contents so it’s back to basics for me. I will, ONE DAY, attempt Italian. I’m not lying. I have already a Giada’s cookbook on my shelf. ONE DAY.