12 May 2014

Final Food Journal in China

Since the last time I blogged about our food in China, there's been a lot of noteworthy food.

Thanksgiving Celebration at Hult photo 2013-11-28143759_zps81250919.jpg
Somehow I ended up with the Hult Thanksgiving celebration on my shoulders, and ironically, most of the people who helped me make it a success weren't American. We made oven pans of pumpkin/butternut squash pie, a pyrex of apple pie, whipped cream, and stuffing, all of which disappeared in a rather quick manner with the turkey we'd commissioned a nearby sandwich shop to make for us.

Tangent: I made this Thanksgiving YouTube playlist which you are welcome to use at future Thanksgiving celebrations.

Orange Rolls photo 2013-10-25191725_zpsa068031f.jpg
I made my mom's potato orange rolls for Michael's class to enjoy after a test. Yum.

A Room photo 2013-12-01145645_zps3ef1cdff.jpg
Honestly, we didn't try the food (just hot chocolate), but we liked the atmosphere of this cutesy place called "A Room." And on the way to finding it with Michael's cousin Jiu-yi, we accidentally walked into someone's house. Ha ha ha.

German Breakfast photo 2013-11-25103918_zps6a9eee58.jpg
I went to a German program and immensely enjoyed the breakfast (and German).

German Christmas Dinner photo 2013-12-06192532_zps24376b8e.jpg
I went to a German Christmas dinner and immensely enjoyed the food (and German).

 photo 2014-01-13182808_zps5c6404c9.jpg
Claire came to visit and we were so hungry while looking for dinner that we settled for a tourist-trap place called "More Than Toilet" that is toilet-themed. Unfortunately, the food itself wasn't much more than toilet.

More Dominosteine! photo 2014-01-22180253_zpsb647abf9.jpg
In January, my friend Kate showed me all the expat shops in Shanghai and I almost died when I found all the Dominosteine leftover from Christmas on sale. And then after I recovered, I almost bought all of them.

Giant Lindor Truffle Ball photo 2014-01-22173835_zps28fa0768.jpg
They also had a giant Lindor ball!

Baking Cookies with Lucia photo 2014-01-25121100_zps58997fd4.jpg
After Thanksgiving, one of the Hult employees, Lucia, asked if I could teach her to bake. We made cookies a few months later.

Brown Sugar Lumps photo 2014-01-27085424_zps5a1b83d3.jpg
Strangely, all the brown sugar I've seen in China has hard lumps, and without a mixer, it always took me forever to get out all of the unsmashable ones and smash the others.

Also, it took me a long time to adapt my chocolate chip cookie recipe to China. It turns out that the best thing to ensure success is to freeze or at least refrigerate the dough so that the butter doesn't have time to melt all over the pan before the cookies finish baking.

Here's the weird final version:

Michelle's Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe for China:

  • 113 g. softened butter (½ cup, a little less than half of a Chinese stick, one stick in the U.S.)
  • (1/2 c.) of sugar, ⅓ of which is brown sugar (the rest is white sugar) 
  • Cream together with a wooden spoon, taking out brown sugar lumps that won’t go away, until there are no sugar crystals 
  • One egg 
  • About 1 c. flour
  • 2.5 ml (½ tsp.) salt 
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 5 ml (½ Tbsp.) vanilla
  • 2.5 ml (½ tsp.) almond
  • chocolate chips

  • Chill the dough for 24 hours
  • Don't grease the pan and wait until the oven is all the way heated before inserting the pan
  • Bake at 176 Degrees Celsius for about 10-15 minutes. The cookies will be darker than expected, but leave them in until the middles don’t feel squishy anymore.

Apple Pie with Lucia photo 2014-01-25125348_zps91b5163b.jpg
Lucia and I also made apple pie.

Jiaozi photo 2014-01-20175414_zps1681ba2e.jpg
Hult scheduled an activity for students to learn how to make jiaozi at a nearby restaurant. This flat pile of dough is the result.

Di San Xian (Potatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant) photo 2014-03-20192203_zpsdeca25d6.jpg
While eating at that restaurant, we ordered Di San Xian (地三鮮—"earth three fresh"), a fried mixture of potatoes, eggplants, and peppers with brown sauce. I liked it so much that I looked it up online and taught myself how to make it.

My Version of Di San Xian photo 2014-04-15130013_zps730c5683.jpg
And then I started adding other things to Di San Xian because the sauce is what makes it so good. It turns out that chicken, tofu, green beans, and carrots all are really good in this dish. Basically, you'll fry each of the chopped items separately (I find it's good to start with some chopped onions and garlic and make sure that the potatoes stay in long enough to be soft), with peppers being last and shortest in order to reserve some of the crisp. Then you pour them all in to the frying pan together with a solution of dark soy sauce, hot water, and sugar. You mix all of it until the sauce thickens, then eat. Yum!

Taiyaki photo 2014-02-24154355_zps5c4d8701.jpg
Michael found taiyaki in Shanghai. Cream-filled pastries will always be a favorite of mine.

Best Veggie Burger photo 2014-01-08203404_zps8961d38a.jpg
Everything at Pure and Whole, a vegetarian restaurant with a sister sushi restaurant next door, from which we also ordered, looked this great.

Pure and Whole Vegetarian Restaurant in Shanghai photo 2014-01-08205644_zpsef0a2241.jpg
We tried a lot of Pure & Whole's amazing food with anime films running on the screen behind us.

Enchiladas photo 2014-02-10203753_zps9ead9b9f.jpg
Claire brought a big bag of shredded Costco cheese to us from Taiwan. Oh, the joy. Our whole diet completely changed. It turns out you can use half a pan to make enchiladas.

Omelet Burrito photo 2013-12-11202817_zpsf3a957f3.jpg
Cheese on taco omelets!

Mexican Food photo 2014-01-16200225_zpsf9977420.jpg
Cheese in burritos!

Michael Makes Pretty Meals photo 2014-04-20124016_zps19f991ab.jpg
Michael likes to make food look pretty (and he does a good job).

Peppered Ham with Eggs, Cheese, and Toast photo 2014-04-02102701_zpsba1ca966.jpg
Cheese with eggs and peppered ham on toast.

Farine Bakery photo 2014-02-10145346_zpsf6cac765.jpg
I started checking out the Shanghai bakeries, most of which were near Changshu Road and the Shanghai Library, like this one, Farine.

Eclairs at Sunflour Bakery in Shanghai photo 2014-02-11163434_zps0031d2e6.jpg
I was happy to finally find an eclair at Sunflour on Anfu Road, though it was a bit pricey at 16 RMB (nearly 3 USD).

Baker & Spice Bakery photo 2014-02-10165334_zps434120e4.jpg
Why does the atmosphere of a place make such a big difference? I took Michael on a tour of the bakeries I'd found one morning and we quite liked Baker & Spice as well.

Butter Eclair photo 2014-04-12155017HDR_zps958bcaac.jpg
Then one day I saw that a Chinese bakery on Wulumuqi Road had eclairs! I was so surprised and I went straight in to buy one (I think it was between 8 and 12 RMB). Unfortunately, the "cream" had been whipped too long and I felt like I was biting into butter with each bite.

Salad Brought to You By Lauri photo 2014-01-25192326_zpsa376fa4d.jpg
My mom sent us a whole bunch of American goodies, like Cheese Fantastico.

Birthday Cherry Pie photo 2014-02-26131717_zps622c4d45.jpg
She also sent cherry pie filling, which I put into use on my birthday.

Re-used Pickle Juice photo 2014-03-20181504_zps7dd5569c.jpg
And she sent pickles, which were used with the cans of tuna that Claire brought us. When the pickles ran out, I thought, "Why shouldn't I be able to re-use the juice?" I googled it and ended up chopping up cucumbers and making more pickles a few more times (yum!), until someone stole the whole thing while we were in the Philippines. :(

Birthday Dinner at Blue Frog photo 2014-02-28191852_zps75120eea.jpg
Blue Frog had a pretty good burger.

Mint Chocolate Biscuits photo 2014-04-06125351_zps9d6d86c8.jpg
My friend Kate gave me a cooking magazine from Australia and I had to give these mint chocolate biscuits a try. Of course, the mint-chocolate combination is one of my favorites, but the Europeans who tried them seemed a bit doubtful.

Fast-cooking Taiwanese Noodles photo 2014-04-30123612_zpsf92dd5b1.jpg
Michael's cousins kept bringing us noodles from Taiwan. When I discovered that they tasted pretty much like any American pasta, but that they cooked in about two minutes, I was very happy to keep making them.

Hershey's: Chinese vs. American photo 2014-04-25123734_zpsc740ee8c.jpg
Interestingly, I compared Chinese and American Hershey's, and the Chinese version is better.

 photo ScreenShot2014-05-12at95800AM_zpse7e1ba4d.png
I absolutely fell in love with these Dove bars that were sold at every store in Shanghai. Wow, there was this amazing melty-honey taste that I could never get enough of.

Food Straight From India! photo 2014-02-23232509_zps8e693274.jpg
We probably had Indian food more than we had Chinese food.

Mexo at the Bund Chorizo in Shanghai photo 2014-04-18213209_zpse25cb220.jpg
At a Hult event, I won a gift certificate to a Mexican restaurant called "Mexo at the Bund." Not only was their logo design gorgeous with chairs upholstered to match it, the food was pretty, too. This chorizo was to die for.

Dried Ice Ice Cream photo 2014-04-18215455_zpsfdd78c6f.jpg
We had this lemon ice cream pie at Mexo at the Bund. They poured dry ice on it and eating it was so weird, but it definitely tasted good.

Expensive Cheetos photo 2014-04-19155904_zpsd16584cb.jpg
Michael picked up some Cheetos at Carrefour a few weeks ago. It was only after he'd arrived back at the hotel and looked at his receipt that he said, "These Cheetos must cost one RMB each!" Then he proceeded to jump every time I accidentally dropped one. "These are precious!" he said, "We can't lose a single one." Ha ha.

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