Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Joy of Cooking

Chinese Style Salad with Pork and Carrot CupcakeDSC_4302

I cooked in a real kitchen yesterday. No, not my kitchen but a neighbor’s. She kindly offered to let me cook in her lovely kitchen. She has lived here 19 years and we’re two years behind. We have known her and her family for 17 years and she always has been a great neighbor. We‘re surrounded by really nice people in this suburbia cul-de-sac. I feel blessed that we accidently ended up here. DSC_4274Ah…. Are we having rabbit stew tonight?

She happens to have an OVEN in her kitchen, I wanted to bake a cake. Simple but with an Easter theme. Carrot cake sounds Easterish? No? My husband likes carrot cake. Our wedding cake was that. HIs mother saved the top tier of the cake in her freezer for years. We were supposed to eat it on our first anniversary but we were no where near that place. I remember her phone call one night, ‘Guess what I found?’ I totally could not come up with any guess because I didn’t hear her ‘in the freezer’ part, I threw random, boring answers at her - money? a ring? keys? She probably thought that I suck at this game. She and his dad were a real hoot, we miss them very much.

I kind of understand that my neighbor is eating healthy so this Chinese style salad will fit the bill. The meat sauce goes well with variety of vegetables. I uniformly and thinly cut  to enhance the oriental flair. DSC_4270Very talkative Molly

Ingredients for Pork meat sauce

  • 2 lb. pork (not ground pork) cut in small pieces
  • Vegetable oil 2-3 Tablespoon
  • Soy sauce about 1/4 cup or more/less
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  1. In a skillet (preferably wok), heat oil at high heat.
  2. Add pork and sauté until meat turns color (no longer pink)-only 1 minute or so.
  3. Pour soy sauce and cook until sauce is bubbly. If you like you can add a teaspoon of sugar.
  4. Add garlic and stir.
  5. Pour over your favorite vegetables and rice sticks or bean glass noodle.*DSC_4320

*Thin match stick ginger and cilantro would add nice flavor too.DSC_4303I don’t like cilantro actually. I add young pea sprouts instead. 

Ingredients for carrot cupcakes Make 12 regular muffin cups.DSC_4300

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour-sift with baking powder below.
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 Tablespoon fresh orange juice, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners then spray with Pam for easy paper removal.DSC_4279
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, maple syrup and orange zest until pale and creamy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Stir in the carrots.
  5. In small bowl, mix together orange juice and baking soda.
  6. Add half of sifted flour and baking powder and orange-baking soda then mix.
  7. Add rest of flour mixture and orange mixture and combine. Do not over mix.DSC_4287
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake about 20 minutes. Cool.DSC_4290

Ingredients for mascarpone icing

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 oz. cold mascarpone cheese
  1. Beat together butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in lemon zest and mascarpone until blended.
  3. Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate if you like.DSC_4297

DSC_4304DSC_4308DSC_4283She made chocolate covered strawberries for us. Yummy!


Spectacular neighborhood cherry blossomDSC_4309DSC_4310DSC_4311DSC_4315

I thought sheet rock process is the messiest but painting cabinet on site might be a winner! They took long hours to prepare for paint. They took doors and drawers off from cabinets, cover everything, primed and sanded by hand. I’m just grateful for their hard work.DSC_4330DSC_4333DSC_4334


  1. 明美さん、

    1. 神戸大好き! 息子は花屋敷に住んでいました。北野ホテルに泊まったことあるけど、とてもステキなの。また行ってみたいです。美味しいもの食べてますか? コメントありがとう。

  2. Thanks, Honey, for the great meal. It'll be nice to have a kitchen again, won't it!

  3. I can't wait to try and make this! The kitchen is coming along beautifully!

    1. Thank you Danae.
      I'm so blessed to have you and your family as my neighbor.