Sunday, September 23, 2012

Discovering couscous.

No, this isn't my salad, but mine looked similar, before I ate it all.
I know I am really late to this whole couscous thing, and honestly I don't really know why I haven't try it before. There are certainly plenty of recipes on the internet that I've came across in the past, and it's really not that difficult cook. What finally did it was the combination of a couple of posts from a couple of food blogs that I've been following and coming across a small package of it in my local supermarket. It was a small box of it, and the instruction on the back made it look even easier. It was basically pour hot water on it, stir, then wait four minutes. So I picked up the box along with my other grocery, and went home. When I got home, I looked up the posts that I saw previously, then it led me to couscous tabbouleh. Later that evening, I got a bit peckish and it just so happened I had some cucumber and almost overripe tomatoes in the fridge, so I decided to give it a try.
I cooked the couscous following the instructions, but instead of salted water I used chicken broth instead. While the couscous was sitting there, soaking up all those chicken broth for those four minutes. I diced up some cucumber, tomatoes, along with some celery that was in my fridge as well. Onto the next thing, which was the dressing. I pulled out a mortar that had been gathering dust in the corner of my kitchen for some time and worked some garlic into a pulp. I think I used two cloves, which was a bit overkill, but I really love garlic so I think it turned out great. I then squeezed about half a lemon's juice into it, added some coarse sea salt and grind up some pepper. The last step was to whip some olive oil into it and then it was done. Then it was just a matter of throwing everything together.
That first spoonful was eye-opening, and really made me wonder why I waited so long to try this grain like pasta. I am already thinking about making it for lunch at work and other possibilities.
Photo credit: Hunts

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Eleven Years Ago

I had just arrived to the US three days prior, that fateful morning eleven years ago. I woke up to a chilly Pacific Northwest Fall morning, washed, gotten dressed, and was getting ready to have breakfast before heading off to school with my sister. Then the phone rang, and it was my mother who was in Hong Kong. She didn't say much, just told me to switch on the television and watch the news. There was this really old set in my living room, one of those old bulky one that still used CRT. The quality of it was pitiful, staticky at times, and with pretty faded colors. But we were having breakfast, so we just turned that on. I still remember to these days the footage I saw when the television flickered on. The commercial airliner crashing into a familiar tall building. I remember thinking to myself, this can't be true, this must be CGI, because this just can't be true. It made no sense. It happened eleven years ago, but I remember everything as if they happened last week.
Eleven years had passed, Hussein and Bin Laden are both dead, and it still doesn't make any sense.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My two cents on Republican and their pro-choice, define rape, view point.

I'm a bit late to this, and I was a little uncertain as to how I can properly express my outrage at Todd Akin's comment on how women rarely get pregnant after being raped. Then the GOP vice president candidate's comment on how proud he is with his pro-life view and it doesn't matter the method of conception. I found that I'm constantly surprised by how stupid, okay that's rude, let me rephrase. I found that I'm constantly surprised by how nonsensical (is that a better word?) people can be.
During my time studying at the US, I lived in a relatively conservative household but a fairly liberal state. I think eventually, the opinions from my more conservative family members and my liberal friends cancelled each other out. They were usually quite willing to debate their view points as well. As a result, I have always been under the impression that people in the US are quite reasonable. Then Sarah Palin happened, and I had to wonder about the Republican party's strategy. although I did think it must have been just a genuine one time mistake (albeit a pretty outlandish one), since as we all know, the US didn't pick McCain and Palin in the end. But if Palin was just a one-time political mistake, meant to draw in female voters, and counteract the Hilary Rodham Clinton effect. Then what is this new strategy of putting out a very uncharismatic candidate, and then trying to compensate for it by picking an attractive VP running mate with a P90X exercise routine? I am confused.
I have to say though, entertaining as the US presidential election campaign can be (I often compare it with TV soap opera, particularly the US produced ones). I think both parties had been missing the point a bit. They were so focused on pointing out the other party's flaws and shortcomings, they didn't really talk about what they want to and will do for America. 
Back to the discussion on rape. I leave you with this. Jon Stewart is a very witty and funny man.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The curious thing that's FC Barcelona right now.

I am a watcher of football, I watch football games. There are a few teams that I support. Among them is the much loved and at the same time equally hated team that's FC Barcelona. I can certainly understand the reason for the polar opposite opinions of the team, but I digress, that is not why I'm writing about them. The reason I'm writing is because something must have happened to the players, something like an aliens abduction or something.
Let's start with Don Andres, Andres Iniesta. The magnificent midfielder was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Euro, and deservingly so. He was absolutely great during the Euro Cup, dribbling around opposition defenders and midfielders, and giving assists. He also got married just days after Spain's historic 4-0 victory against a strong Italian side (until they went a player down, poor Italy). But his last few games back from his short summer vacation was definitely not up to his usual standard. Given, even a sub-par Iniesta is still better than a lot of other players. That and Cules around the world have been quite spoiled by an Iniesta that's just beyond words.
The same can be said about two times Ballon d'Or winner, best player in the world, Lionel Messi. It's really hard to complain about him most times. Just like Iniesta, but even more so, even a sub-par Messi is a step above most players in the world at the moment.
For some strange reasons, both of them had been quite off their game in the last few matches. And because the Barça system is built around Messi and a great team of midfielders, when they are off their game, Barça became less like Barça.
I am thinking some aliens from outter space, maybe some kind of body snatchers? might have abducted two of our best players and replaced them with clones that obviously still play football, just not as well. Those aliens are likely running tests to see why the ball seems practically attached to their feet by a string when they dribble, and how they sometimes seem to defy the law of gravity and stay on their feet despite the best effort of opposition defenders. I am hoping whatever tests those aliens want to run on our beloved Don Andres, and our Messi-ah, they would be done really soon and be able to send the originals back as soon as possible. Because even though we still have our cerebral midfield maestro Xavi (I love that man!), and the lesser half of our center back duo Piqué seems to have located the user manual of his brain, plus the wonderful return of Villa (welcome back! David maraVilla!). We still need our dynamic duo back, pronto.