Thursday, February 15, 2018

African Violets Pups Story by Polly

I really can't believe it's 2018, and tomorrow is Chinese New Year!!  First time in a long lunar years that the Chinese New Year is at the middle of the month.   And it also means, the spring has arrived.  And it is true.  If you looked at your garden, plants are blossoming here and there.  I have so many postings that I want to do, but with my current schedule, looks like it is on the back burner.
But I want to take this free time to post something related to my African Violets that I have been able to successfully propagate from its original plant.  The original plant was given to me from a retired co-worker.  When I got it, there were two flowers on it.  Then, it disappeared.  I had no idea how to grow them.  I think in one of the posting, I posted their progress in rooting from a cutting.  Well, those cuttings are now 1 year and a half years old.  Each one has been growing well and healthy.  By a lucky chance, I found out my African Violets love the bounded tall cups as their medium to grow in.  I tried originally with ceramic container, but they did not do much, except to just grow some new leaves and die.  So, here is my picture journal of my African Violets.  The leaf cutting would grow a healthy bunch of root after a couple months.  As long as the leaf looks green and firm, when planted, it will grow into a healthy Violet plant.
1.  Poked a bunch of holes in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to go over a cupful of water.
2.  Leave it under office's ceiling light.
 3.  After a few weeks... 2 months?  *Change water often.  Don't let the green algae to form.
4.  When the root looks strong and leaves looks healthy, transplant them into a pot with Soil for African Violets.  I added a bit more of Perlite to keep the soil light.
5.  Keep the soil moist and leave the new plant under the office ceiling light.
6.  Do not water until the soil feel quite dry but not dried up.
After two to three months, if the leaf survive, you will eventually see a tiny leaf growing at the bottom of the stem.
The new leaves eventually form into new Violet plant.  The healthy plant leaves are shiny, especially the cutting that rooted that you planted in.  It will feel very firm and strong.
 As the new crown starts to form, the cutting will eventually diminish in itself.  Eventually, it will exhaust itself and wither. 

Based on my observation, the plants in clay pot grew the slowest.  All the other ones in tall plastic cups thrived.  The mother plant is to the right with large crown.   I took two healthy plants home (the ones in two tall blue cups.) along with their mother to take care.
 Constant temp and light.  And yes, as you have read it in many other expert African Violet growers' site, it is true, the African Violet needs a lot of light.  I fed them African Violet liquid drops when I water them.  I started to do that in the spring of 2017.  It started to flower when the daylight became longer.
 These are the new pups that became strong and grew large crown. They eventually flowered in late spring of 2017.  (Sorry for the lack of real vocab to describe.  As you can tell, I am an amateur.)
 The ones at the office started to bloom, too.
 It is very interesting to observe their growth. 
 This is the original mother Violet.  I decided to take it home and replant it into a Taller TACO Bell cup I had. But the diameter at the top is no different than what it was in originally.  See how beautiful those flowers are.    I took the expert's advice and pinch or snip off the expended flowers to keep them growing flowers.  Since last spring, it continue to flower.
 Beautiful.  I wish I know their name / type.  But I don't.
At a close macro shot, you can see this shiny sparkles on their petals.
Well. That's all the time I have.  Wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year.  KAI HWA FU' GWEI
meaning-May your fortune be like flower blossom... something like that.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


I get inspired while watching a TV show involving food.  There is a funny TV series on NetFlix called KANTARO and this is one of the wannabe. Just by looking at the actor's facial expression of deliciousness when he take a bite of the food you want to try it yourself.  This is the KUROMAME ANMITSU that I want to try it myself.   If you grew up in Japan you know what ANMITSU is.  The most memorable item in the bowl has always been the red cherry although that is not the main component of the dessert in ANMITSU.  But every 'kid' in our heart remember the red cherry the most.
Clean Agar Agar and Soak Agar Agar.  Normally the KANTEN (Jello) is clear type.  I chose to mix MATCHA - heaping 1 tsp of Green Tea powder in mine.  I added some liquid that agar agar is being dissolved over the heat to mix with Matcha.  Then, added it back to Kanten mixture (agar agar)
1 Agar Agar stick = 2 tsp powdered agar agar + 2 C water/500 ml
I purchased agar agar thread.  My apology, but I can't remember how I measured mine.  I will have to find my notes, but depending on how much you want to make, dissolve 1 agar agar stick in 2 C water over heat.
Or, even better, follow this site's instruction:
4 g of Agar Agar thread + 250 ml, so double it to 8 g of Agar Agar thread for 500 ml of water
and definitely is the site that I followed for its advised recipe.
Clean and soak red beans overnight or beans of your choice.  I used red beans and used slow cooker to cook them over night.  I think it took two days to prevent them from getting mushy and hold its shape.
Transfer dissolved KANTEN - Jello into a dish - preferably a square or rectangular glass baking dish - 8x8 inches.
After KANTEN is solidified, slice them into cubes.
Chill KANTEN in the refrigerator and prepare the syrup.
1 to 1 ratio of Brown Sugar (I did not have black sugar), white sugar, and water.   Boil till thick but not like candy
Assemble all your goodies in a bowl.  Serve with syrup.
The green tea - MATCHA KANTEN was a perfect choice for me.  It complimented the sweet syrup and brought all other flavors in.

Accidental Pastry - Japanese DORAYAKI

Sometimes when you are trying to cook up something new and you wind up with something unexpected?  This is one of those.  I was trying to make my fluffy thick Japanese HOT'O CAKE, and I end up with Japanese sweet bean pastry - DORAYAKI
After mixing all ingredients while cooking the batter, it dawned on me that its texture is just like Japanese DORAYAKI.  Well, then, I said, "Why not?"  So here they are.
Beat 2 Large Organic Eggs Plus 6 Tbsp of Organic Cane Sugar until pale in color
It should be foamy.
Shift 1 Cup of Unbleached AP Flour, then, measure 1 Cup of Flour out.  Add 3/4 tsp of baking powder and shift again twice.
Add 1 tsp of Avocado oil, 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp of milk.  Mix well, then, add 1/4 of egg mixture.  Mix gently, then, add some more, then, the rest.  It should be a nice thick batter.

Heat the Electric griddle to 300 to 325'F; easier to control the temperature
Apply thin coat of Avocado oil with paper towel on the griddle.

Drop some batter about 3" in diameter.
Flip when you see a slight browning at the edge, and it is beautifully browned.

 Note:  If this has been a while since you last used the griddle, be ready to sacrifice the first two to three pastry... it just seem to happens like that with my griddle.
Watch the temperature of the griddle.  It might need to turn down to 300'F or then up to 325'F.
Transfer to a plate to cool a bit.
While the pastry is being cooked over the griddle - Heat up a can of Red Bean Paste.
Heat through.
Then, cool.
Add bean paste to the bottom pastry, then, cover with another pastry.
I ate mine with a dab of fresh sour cream.

Cream Corn Adventures

This is my testings with Canned Cream Corn.  I was hoping to remake one of our childhood favorite soup with cream corn that our mother made, but couldn't quite get it right.  But I had fun using them to make other things.
Cream Corn #1:  Cream Corn Muffins with Jalapeno and Pepperocini
 Cream Corn Muffins served with Cream Corn Soup.  Delicious!
Cream Corn #2: Curry Cream Corn RAMEN
Cream Corn #3:  Cream Corn Fried Basmati Rice with Cilantro
It was fun making them.  What were your adventures?