Saturday, July 28, 2012

Obon Festival; Visit to Santa Maria

Well, I think I'm basically over my cough/fatigue thing I had for a few days... so I'm finally getting around to updating.

The Obon Festival was nice. I went with a friend of mine and some of his friends. There was food, there were games, there were decorations, there were drum shows, there were candies, and also Hawaiian shave-ice, but I didn't take a picture of it because it was really piled high and I did not want any to fall off while I tried to maneuver my camera to get a shot strategically-- but, just imagine, sweet flavored ice fluff like snow (I got cotton candy and banana flavors), and also vanilla ice cream in the middle of that. It was perfect for a hot day. 

Here's the inside of the food tent. There were a lot of choices. My friends and I shared some teriyaki beef sticks. 

This is the Buddhist temple that hosts the festival each year. It has a neat looking roof.

There were pretty paper lanterns hanging up high. 

My friends and I also looked around at some shops in Japantown (the festival was in Japantown) and this is the bag from some candies I got. The candies they have over there have such colorful bags and wrappers.

The candies are supposed to be flavored like various kinds of soft drinks. So, that's fun. They kinda had this "carbonated" texture because they used this powder in the candies that is the same powder found in "pop rocks." 

When I got home, it was great to see my family, and our cat Mindy. I don't know if I've ever shared a picture of Mindy before. She's very cuddly and friendly. She likes to roll around in the sand outside and then clean herself and then eat or cuddle on the couch and take naps.

Sometimes she sleeps in kind of funny positions. 

I made some plum muffins at home because there were a few plums still left from the plum tree. They turned out nicely. 

This is the cat that comes and visits my housemates and I. She kind of lives in our backyard but she is not really our cat. We just feed her and brush her, and she is nice. 

Next time I'll share about my most recent outing to Palo Alto where I met a pen pal I've had for about 10 years! It was a fun day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

More San Francisco... and... pie

Here are some more pictures from my friend of when we went to San Francisco!

That tower up there is the Coit Tower. This tower was built in 1933 for Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a volunteer firefighter of San Francisco.

This is the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest skyscraper of the San Francisco skyline, completed in 1972. Its current tenants are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ThinkEquity, and TSG Consumer Partners.

This is just a nice view up one of San Francisco's many hills. So many hills.

Here's the pie I baked. Next time I want to try to make one of those pretty lattice type crusts.

I used a great crust recipe from one of my coworkers that didn't even require a food processor, just a pastry cutter.. and this berry filling from Joy of Baking, except I used blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries and strawberries. Can't wait to make another pie for my family when I visit next week... we'll see what kind of fruit I use for that one :).

Tomorrow I'm going to the Obon Festival. I'll let you guys know how it goes! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

San Francisco and other things

Here's a more expanded look of my little San Francisco excursion.

Here are some boats from Pier 39, my friend took this picture. The view of the mountains from Pier 39 is so pretty, and it's so nice to just go and see the water.

Here's a picture from the Pride Festival, which was that weekend. People were dressed so colorfully and really had a lot of fun.

Look at that interesting outfit! People were taking pictures of this guy left and right.

I will post some other San Francisco pictures later. :)

Friend's mom sent me a cookbook from Baton Rouge! This was the highlight of my week. She got it from a restaurant over there that she visited. So thoughtful. :)

It's got recipes for stews, rice dishes, seafood dishes, vegetable dishes, even some dessert dishes. I immediately made the Shrimp Jambalaya.

Due to the interesting method of simmering some onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper in oil for a while, and then simmering it a while longer (40 minutes!) with some tomato paste and water, the shrimp and rice mixed in (shrimp first to cook for 20 minutes, then the rice at the end) came out this deep, dark color, with some fresh green onion and parsley to give it a pop of brighter color. Somewhat reminiscent of "dirty rice," I would imagine. There are a lot of ways to make jambalaya and this was quite good, with some hot sauce mixed in.

My housemate and I went to this farm today called Emma Prusch Farm Park because he thought it was going to be a farmers market but it was just a farmstand with vegetables. Still kind of fun to go and visit, the park itself is lovely (not pictured) and they have all kinds of birds wandering around.

This is a mama bird of some sort and her little chick. :)

A little peek at the farm. 

A goose! Brings back memories of being chased around by geese at Waller Park back home.

Also lately I have been enjoying crepes. Deb's crepe recipe is easily adaptable to savory crepes with the omission of the honey. The other night I made crepes with roasted asparagus, spinach, and zuchinni from the garden. Tonight I made a simple crepe with turkey lunchmeat, some pieces of fuji apple, and a little monterey jack cheese. Protip: if you ever don't really feel like cooking a big meal but still want something light and satisfying and not frozen or "just-add-water," make some crepes! 

Chocolate & strawberry dessert crepe I made a long time ago. 

So, fun times... now back to studying... so I can try to get ahead before I go and visit Santa Maria in a week and a half. Hope you guys are ready to have a good week!