A New Chapter

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So about that blurb in my last post.  The part where I said Ray had been whispering in Santa’s ear.  Well, Santa came through, last Wednesday.

You see, As much as I adore my little Canon point-and-shoot (and it really is a darling piece of machinery for its intended purpose), I had had a chance to play with Ray’s mom’s Nikon D5000.  I took maybe ten pictures with it, but it was immediately apparent how different a point-and-shoot and a dSLR really are.  And so I began slobbering over these pricey pieces of machinery.

Ray realized it, and left a voicemail for Santa.  Santa called him back and said he wouldn’t be able to get it here on time for Christmas, but he would have it shortly thereafter.  And sure enough, the Wednesday after Christmas, my baby arrived.  Thank you, Ray Santa.

Behold, my camera:

Yes, I know, crappy photo.  It was a quick shot with my iPhone 4s under crummy lighting.

So I began fiddling with it.  There is a massive difference in operations between a point-and-shoot and a dSLR.  So.  Many. Buttons.  After some trial shots, and some major learning, I started to take some nicer shots.

This is one picture out of the results.

Rice

Look at those sesame seeds!  Look at the individual grains of rice!  Look at the gorgeous bokeh in the background!

Be still my heart.  Ray isn’t getting a Valentine’s Day card this year, because I’m giving it to my camera.  I’ll probably take it out to dinner, too.

And so begins a new chapter of my food blog, in which I take pictures of everything.

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Goodies for a foodie!

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As I’ve gotten older, my Christmas “do-want” list has gotten shorter and, without a doubt, more practical.  Stuff for my apartment, clothes, money.  Gadgets now and then.  This year, I got some really fantastic gifts (Penguins hockey tickets!!  Lower level seats for a Toronto game at the new Consol Energy Center!  Have I told you thank you yet, Ray?  I love you!  :P) but since this is my food blog, I’m going to narrow that down to things that would actually pertain to this blog.

The first was from Mat.  I practically rolled over and begged for a Canon Powershot SX 210 IS.  I even mentioned it in here in my blog.  I did extensive research for an affordable camera that gives me some control over shutter speed, aperture value, and focus, but was still something I could slip into my purse.  I settled on the Canon, in black, and told him it would count for my birthday gift too, if he got it for me.  When he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I simply replied “My camera” and nothing else.  When he asked what else I wanted, I said “my camera” and I’m sure he got annoyed with me more than once.  I then bookmarked the camera on Amazon and put the bookmark in his folder on the computer.  Hey, I know what I want.  Lo and behold, on Christmas Eve, he handed me a small, wrapped box, and inside was my new baby.  🙂  He swiftly got annoyed with me as I took pictures of everything in the room, as I was playing with settings.

My baby:

 

The other foodie-related gift came from my father.  I had complained to him about the abuse I was putting my poor hand mixer through, especially after making two cheesecakes for Ray (the second of which burnt out the motor of my poor mixer, and while it works, it’s on death’s door, for sure) and mused out loud (perhaps purposefully) that I’d really love to have a KitchenAid stand mixer.  To ensure my not-so-subtle hint would not go unnoticed, I pulled up the mixer on Target.com and pointed to it.  “I would love to have one of these” I told my Daddy.  Please and thank you.

When I walked into my Dad’s house on Christmas Eve, I spied a rather large box, wrapped in pretty, festive paper, that was pretty much the size of a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Could it be?  Was this the mixer of my dreams, tucked underneath the Christmas tree?  On Christmas day, I tore off the pretty, festive paper in a frenzy, and indeed!  Indeed it was my new stand mixer, a KitchenAid Classic in pearly white!  Exactly what I had been wanting, and needing, for quite some time now.  I can’t wait to use it.  🙂

My new gadget:

 

Between my new camera and my new stand mixer, this blog should be jumpin’.  🙂  Winter foods and desserts will be coming right up!

Look what I got!

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While out with Mat and his mom, we stopped at Books-a-Million.  Now, Books-a-Million has a MUCH better cookbook selection than Barnes and Noble.  Much much better.  While they looked around, I plucked these three gems from the shelves of their Ethnic and Healthy cooking sections within about five minutes.  Now, to the introductions.

Now, this baby is the Pioneer Woman Cooks.  It is the cookbook based off the wildly successful blog of the same name (which is in my blog roll as well.)  When I heard Ree Drummond published a cookbook, I began to hunt for it.  The one time I saw it at Barnes and Noble, I was flat broke.  Now when I saw it this time, I grabbed it.  I plan on reviewing it once I cook a few things out of it.

When I saw this, I flipped through it and decided this was the Japanese cookbook I’ve been looking for!  It has much of the basic and popular recipes in it, such as Oyakodon, Tonkatsu, Yakitori, and even Green Tea Ice Cream!  I bought it and I feel I will definitely enjoy this book.  I will also review this one.

And last, but not least, the Chicken edition of the Cooking Light cookbooks.  Mat and I eat a lot of chicken, not just for budget reasons but for health reasons too.  Chicken is very low in fat and cholesterol, so when I saw this, I grabbed it, as I was very satisfied by the Italian Cooking light cookbook.  It’s not terribly elaborate or with long lists of expensive ingredients.  It doesn’t tout itself as gourmet or some such, but rather this is every day family food.  I will use this one up quickly!

All in all, I paid almost $80.  (Ouch!)  But let’s see if it was worth it.  🙂

Raid at Vonson Asian Grocery, Morgantown

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So I decided to go on a little shopping trip to my local Asian grocery.  It exists in the basement of a laundromat, way out of the way.  I needed some udon noodles and new chopsticks (since my favorite ones are MIA), so I skipped down that way.  Of course, I never leave with just what I wanted.

I left with this stuff.

Starting from the top, left to right:  500g of uncooked udon noodles, bonito flakes, kombu kelp.  Next row: Hello Panda chocolate biscuit snacks (for Mat), Lychee candy, Melon Ramune.  Next Row:  My new chopsticks, sencha green tea, donabe pot.

The kombu and bonito are for my adventures in dashi stock making, from scratch.  The candy and pop because I love candy.  The donabe, however, was an impulse buy.

At one of my favorite restaurants, one of their best dishes is an assorted meat and veggie hot pot.  It comes in it’s own earthenware dish, still sizzling, and I’ve been fascinated by it.  A little digging and I learned that the earthenware pot is called a donabe, and it is actually a cooking vessel.  When I spotted the stacks of donabe, I immediately grabbed one!  Hell, it was only $7, I can certainly afford that.

When I showed Mat the donabe, he got excited at the idea of a nice udon hot-pot dinner.  He got pot-pie instead, but I want to cook in the donabe sometime soon.  I little research said I have to season it first, but it’s a simply process.  I don’t be able to use it tomorrow, though.  😦

We shall see what tasty masterpieces I come up with in the donabe!

First Post

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So, I finally got around to making my food blog.  I’ve been terrorizing Facebook with my food and cooking related status updates for months, and after so many people proverbially shook there fists at me for taunting them with mouthwatering status updates, I decided to just put it all in a blog, because if there is something I love almost as much as food, it’s blogging.

This blog is going to be multi-purpose.  Not only will it be an outlet for pictures of the things I’ve made, but also for recipes, step-by-step visual recipes, restaurant reviews, and pictures of the food I order and eat in restaurants wherever I go!

I’d also like to do a category dedicated to basic cooking, because I have a brother who is lucky for instant food, or he’d starve.  I’d like to do a series on it for people like him, who would like to learn a few things about cooking, other than opening a can and pushing buttons on a microwave.

I want to start extra soon, probably tomorrow, so keep an eye out!