Sunday, July 18, 2021

Photo Journal of - Thompson Grapes 2021

 I can't remember how long it's been.  Ah! 7 years, 2014, since this Thompson Grape vine was gifted to me.  It grew a strand or two clusters in 2018.  But they never matured.  I remember the first year when it fruited.  The grape did not form the usual inverted triangle shape cluster.  It was like a "splat" shape. In October of 2020, it was kind of okay, but sour, unedible.  They were a pretty looking cluster though.   This is the first year that grapes looked like a grape in it's cluster form.  I already noticed today that something is already enjoying the fruits.  I think it's those neighborhood jays and doves or ??. 

I learned this year in spring - the grapes 'flowered', too.

The rest will be ripe soon.  Hope whatever creature won't eat it all.



(Left:  Logitech Performance MX, Logitech M705, The sad Reject - Logitech MX Master 2S)

After working with my first ergonomic mouse by Logitech, my wrist has been working comfortably for 13 years.  Then it started to show a bit of oddity when moving as though it is skipping or missing.   It could be dirty and needs cleaning, but it is a wireless laser mouse.  There is no ball to clean like in the old mouse.  So I purchased a new one.  I didn't know the one I have been using costed around $250.  But it was a great mouse for my hand size and shape.  It has a great round support under my palm and moves without giving the strain during drag and drop or sliding sideways.  And it costed only $1.60/mth.   I still have it and still use it occassionally as a backup.  Of the two new mouse I purchased - same brand, Logitech, I end up with the small wireless mouse M705.  The larger wireless laser mouse  MX Master 2S is supposed to be a replacement to the Logitech Performance MX was a disappointment.  I am not sure what the designer was thinking, but it lost the ergonomic grip that Performance MX have under the palm.  I even wondered that slight slant slope and sandpaper like feel saved Logitech money and made money from that awful design change.  My hand felt the discomfort right away.  No one wants to hold onto a sandpaper for hours.

MX Master 2S has this weird wing that lost its comfortable round shaped cradle for the thumb.  And has a weird sandy texture.  Imagine this designer never had to hold onto  a mouse to work on annual budget Excel spreadsheet for hours..

It has a strange ski slope shape that would not allow fingers to rest cradling over it like the other ones that gives relief to the fingers that have been clicking away working on the budget spreadsheet or drawings.  See the shine on the Performance MX?  That texture cover gives the "cool" feeling under the palm and fingers.  MX Master 2S was giving out heat or generating heat under my palm.  I did not want to hold onto it because it became uncomfortable.


M705 next to Performance MX - even though M705 is much smaller, the cover texture is similar to the Performance MX.  Feel nice and cool under the palm. Compared to the MX Master 2S above, M705 has this slight indent cradle for the index finger that smoothly cradles it.  The MX Master 2S does not.

You see that slight indent slope to the M705? (The large one is Performance MX attached to recharge cord.)
Perofmance MX and MX705 Side-by-side.

Shape up or Ship Out! as they say. I kept the M705.

Polly's Thumbprint ALMOND COOKIES with Fresh Apricot

 I enjoy the Chinese Almond Cookies.  It's been a long long while since I've seen a pink box with dragon emblem printed on it being sold or bought one.  My father really love that snack. So did family members.  That one single almond atop of the crispy cookie is the highlight.  I personally did not tasted "almond' in the cookie itself and I eat them just to get to the almond on the top.  The almond can be easily picked off the top, but that's not really done, did we?  An almond cookie missing an almond atop of it is always left behind in the box, I noticed.  Regardless, I came up with my version of the almond cookies.
My family gave me a bag of apricot.  I ate some fresh.  I decided to bake with it too.
*Pick a rather small size apricots.  As the sliced apricot will be set on top of your cookie.
Wash and dry apricot.  Slice into halves.  Remove the pit.  Slice each halves into four.

1.  1-1/2 Cup shifted flour with 1 tsp Baking Powder, 2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed Mills.
2.  Mix 3/4 stick softened butter in a bowl with spatula - about 10 times, then, mix in 1/3 C sugar.  Hand mix till pale.
3.  Add 2 tsp Cook's Pure Almond Extract (optional:  and 1 tsp pure Vanilla Extract ) to #2 above.
Mix #1 and #2 together well.

Preheat oven to 400'F
With 1 inch  cookie scoop, scoop onto lined baking sheet with silpat or unbleached parchment paper.
Thumbprint each dough deep enough to hold a 1/4 tsp drop of apricot preserve and a small piece of sliced fresh apricot.
Or you can make one without apricots and place a sliver of almond on top of it if you would like. 
Bake for 10 min or so.

Homemade Organic Soy Bean Milk

Homemade organic soy bean milk is very simple to make.   All you need is a cup of Organic soybean milk.  Why organic?  I heard that soybean is one of the crop beside Corn that is heavily pesticided.   And I rarely eat restaurant's EDAMAME served as free appetizer because of it, unless it is organic, 
Wash 1 cup of organic soybean.  Hydrate soybean in clean water overnight or few hours.  The soybean should be doubled in size and its skin is easily removed when rubbed between fingers.
Drain a few times with filtered water.
Add into NutriBullet processor and with enough water.  Beat till you can visually see that beans are well blended into slur like. 1 to 2 min.  Put them through Sieve or beverage strainer pocket over a tall pot.   Depending on your preference, add 2 to 3 times more clean filtered water   Bring to boil.  Do not leave the kitchen - be careful - do not let it spill over.  Bring heat to simmer.  Place a lid loosely and cook for 15 minutes.  Serve hot - Add sugar or server savory.  Serve with Chinese Yeou Tiao - fried breakfast donuts sticks, Sao Bien (Shaobing) - baked flatbread covered wtih sesame seeds filled with braised meat and or with green onion, or serve chill as beverage. 
If you have Instant Mixer, that will be good, too.  Because it can process the soybean and Cook the soybean, then, you can strain the cooked soybean milk and enjoy.

As you help push the liquid through the strainer, the soybean paste remain.
This soybean paste can be used to make other dishes.
After extracting all liquid, if you have a fine sieve, pour the soy milk through to catch the rest of the fine soy or put the soy milk through a large cloth tea strainer if you have one.  Pour more clean water through to extract more soymilk. This process will filter out the rest of the fine soybean residues and make the soymilk more smoother.

You can serve sweet by adding sugar.  Some people would add a bit of soysauce or whatever they like.  Serve with typical Chinese breakfast items like fried Yeou Tiao or Sao Bien (Shaobing) - baked flatbread covered wtih sesame seeds (no picture here).

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

July 4th Celeb Fam Cooking

 Wow, We were all dazzled by Amy's cooking.


OKONOMI YAKI - "as you like it" - shredded cabbage, flour, beaten eggs, bacon, topped with Katsuobushi (dry bonita shavings), Tonkatsu sauce or Okonomiyaki sauce, optional mayonnaise.
INARIZUSHI - each one is so intricately filled with rice, slice of KAMABOKO, Cucumber, Avocado, Egg Crepe, (imitation) Crab, Unagi, Tobiko.
BBQ Prawns and Scallops

Teriyaki Beef Kebabs
Teriyaki Chicken

And there is MITARASHI DANGO with Ground FLAXSEED Mill to add to empty carb for health. And there is the ones with MATCHA or YOMOGI (Mugwort leaves).  Ingredients and cooking/preparation method is the same as previous post's.
The slight greyish green is the MATCHA, and the greenest ones is YOMOGI, tan white ones are the regular DANGO with specks from ground flaxseed mill.
MITARE prepare with KATAKURIKO always give the translucent shine.
The other one is Chinese ALMOND Jello - SHIN REN TOFU.  Making them with AGAR AGAR threads, Lactose free milk, Cook's Pure Almond Extract, Del Monte's Fruit Cocktails in Juice (drain most of the juice), home made simple syrup.
When the jello is formed, cut them into squares into the serving dish.  Add slightly drained fruit cocktails, add simple syrup, and serve cold.
Heat Milk and dissove AGAR AGAR threads.
The formula in the back of the package instructed dividing the package of 42.5 g/pkg, into two.  Bring 20 bowls of clean water in a pot to boil.  Add AGAR AGAR and stir to dissolve.   Add add 1-1/2 lb of sugar, and 1 can of milk, 1/4 tsp Almond extract.  Transfer to a dish, let cool, then, chill till firm.
I washed AGAR AGAR thread in a clean bowl of water till clear.  I used 5 bowls of clean water and 15 bowls of Lactose Free Low Fat Milk.  1+ Cup of sugar - Taste and add more as needed.  *Remember that simple syrup and fruit cocktak in juice would also add to the sweetness.   Carefully bring liquid to boil to avoid spill over.  Stir in the clean AGAR AGAR threads till dissolved.
Transfer to a large flat dish with large surface.  Let Cool, then, chill in refrigerator.

Make simple syrup and open a can or two Fruit Cocktail with Juice.  Chill.   Depending on your taste, you might want to drain some of the juice as the acidic taste might overcome the overall taste.  Add a teaspoon and half of Cook's Pure Almond Extract to the liquid.  

Slice into 1/2 inch squares.  Add chilled syrup and Serve.

A Can of Lychee is added to this one.