While perusing the interweb for an amazing font I saw yesterday (though I have yet been able to find it again) I came across a “What Font Are You?” quiz. IT’s actually some sort of promotional thing for the movie Helvetica (which is an amazing movie). So I figured, may as well try it out, and guess what?
I actually think this is terribly funny since I use courier and another typewriter font on this site. So here is what the quiz said about me:
Like a typewriter-style font on a computer, you go proudly against the grain. You’re not afraid to let your opinions be known, and for you, anything is better than being known as “conventional.”
I don’t think I mentioned this before, but last week I submitted a proposal for a competition at the Dawson printshop. If selected, you get to attend a free 4 day workshop to create your proposed project and they will sell it in their shop. Well, I was selected! I must say that in the midst of all of the stress waiting for invitations to other things, this was a nice one to get. I’ll be giving updates of my progress as I go through the workshop. It starts this Saturday.
Other good news: Mike and I finally have our vacuum. It was a gift from my parents for Christmas, but we didn’t have room to bring it back earlier. There’s something about the clear dust canister that is both satisfying yet very frightening. And I am such a sucker for nicely designed things.
If you tried to access this page earlier today, you may have noticed that the css kept getting odd and messed up. This is because I was making a bunch of minor changes to the site today. Most of them probably aren’t that noticeable, but they’re things that had been bugging me for quite a while. I also added nice buttons for the portfolio section (as shown in the image above) and I finally made the header a link back to the index. You can try to find all the other tiny changes if you want.
So this is the last Chinese New Year recipe I’ll be posting for a while, since the New Year was technically yesterday. I love nian gao, especially if it’s reheated in the frying pan (you don’t even need oil). This recipe is a baked version, technically you are supposed to steam it and then fry it, but this way is easier for me since I don’t have a steamer big enough to make it in. This recipe is the same as the one posted here, but it looks nothing like the image they have (I believe they’re showing a picture of a steamed cake, which is sort of funny since the recipe is for baked cake).
- 1 package of rice flour (roughly 2 cups)
- 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups of milk
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups of sugar (I used a mix of sugars, but it’s really up to you)
- 1 tbsp of baking soda
- Sesame seeds
- You can also add pitted red dates
- Mix everything together
- Pour into greased baking dish
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 – 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
To continue on with the loads of cooking for Chinese New Year, here is Mike’s and my recipe for rice packets.
Ingredients (for 10 small ones)
- 2 cups glutinous rice (sweet rice)
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 20 dried (large) banana leaves
- 3 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp hoisin
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 4 ounces (113 grams) boneless, skinless chicken (mixture of light and dark meat), coarsely ground
- 1 Chinese sausage, cut in 1/4 inch rounds
- 2 ounces (56 g) Char Siu, cut in 1/4 inch dice
- 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
- Rinse the rice until the water runs almost clear.
- Add 1/2 tsp of salt and enough fresh water to cover the rice, then let it soak for 2 hours.
- To rehydrate the mushrooms, just put them in a small bowl and pour some warm water over them and then let them soak for roughly 45 minutes.
- Rinse off the mushrooms, cut off the stems (since they’re a little hard), then dice them.
- While the mushrooms are soaking you can also start soaking the banana leaves in some warm water.
- In a small bowl, combine the soya sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin and sugar.
- Heat a wok or frying pan and then add oil. Stir fry the chicken for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, Chinese sausage and soya sauce mixture and stir fry for another couple minutes. Then add the cornstarch and water mixture and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from heat.
- Drain the rice and then put in rice cooker. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2
tsp of sesame oil and 1 1/2 cups of water then cook.
- When the rice has cooked, and cooled, divide it into 10 portions.
- Arrange the banana leaves into crosses (each cross = 2 leaves)
- With wet fingers, spilt each portion in half.
- Put one half portion on a banana leaf, spoon on some of the filling and then add the other half portion on top.
- Fold the leaves over and then tie it with a piece of twine (like you would a present with ribbon).
- Steam for 20 minutes.
The packets keep very well and can easily be frozen or refrigerated and then reheated.
As you may or may not know, tomorrow (the 26th) is Chinese New Year. In light of that, Mike and I have been cooking up a storm. Last night we made sticky rice for a small New Years potluck and today we’re going to make rice packets and dumplings. I also need to whip up some sort of 年糕 (nian gao/lin gow) for one of my classes tomorrow.
Though nian gao and spring rolls are two of the more stereotypical new years food, I don’t have a good recipe for those right now. So instead I’ll share my very own jiao zi (dumplings) recipe.
饺子 (jiao zi)
- 1/2 kg (1 pound) ground meat (this can be any ground meat, my favourite is ground chicken, but I have done it with turkey, pork, tofu, tofu chicken, and tofu beef)
- 2 tbsp soya sauce
- 2 tsp brandy or sherry or rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 or 3 stalks of spring onion
- 1 1/4 cups of bok choy
- Make sure everything is chopped up reasonably finely
- Mix it all together
- Put a spoonful into a dumpling wrapper and fold. This part can be a little tricky, but what I do is hold it in my palm, wet the edges just a little with a bit of water, then fold the wrapper and pink it. I then sort of pleat the edges of the wrapper starting at the middle, going to one end and then going back to the middle and pleating the other side. I think this sounds more complicated than it is, but you can take a look at this picture.
- To cook, heat up a deep (non-stick) frying pan that has a lid
- Once it is hot, put in a bit of oil and as many dumplings as can fit without touching each other
- Fry until they’re just brown on the underside
- Pour in one cup of water that has had a “generous splash” of rice vinegar mixed in it
- Put the lid on the pan and cook for roughly 10 minutes. You may want to push them around just a tiny bit while they are cooking just to make sure they are not sticking, but that depends on the stickiness of your frying pan.
- I like to eat my dumplings with a sauce of equal parts soya sauce and rice vinegar, maybe with a little bit of chili paste mixed in
If you are extra hardcore, you can make your own wrapper instead of buying the premade ones. I’m not very good at judging the measurements of flour to water but it’s roughly 3 cups of flour to 1/2 cup cold water and 1/2 cup hot water. You may need to add more flour or water depending on the consistency.
I’m currently taking “Designing Type”, which I must say is one of my favourite courses this semester (though it is hard to compete with “Drugs and Behaviour”). The prof decided that as a class project, we will digitize a font that has never been digitized. The school just so happens to have a large print studio and a lot of old wooden type and we even get to print the letters ourselves using a Vandercook press. Yesterday we even got to set the type (which is quite easy when each character is roughly 4 inches tall). It was very fun, even with getting ink all over myself.
Today I get to go in and help my friend print Valentines. I’m pretty stoked. I will try to get photos, though I may not post them until the actual day (as to not to spoil the surprise).
I’m also thinking that if I get better with the press I might print the invitations to the neuroscience charity dinner on the press, as it would make it seem much classier and we’d probably get more people to come. In other other news I submitted a proposal to the letterpress shop to make some small booklets to sell in their little store out front. If it gets accepted I’ll actually be formally taught how to use the different presses which would be quite amazing.
This is the new design for the microbio/immuno society (if you couldn’t infer that from the text on the image). It’s the T4 virus, don’t worry it doesn’t even infect people. It’s actually a bacteriophage (bacteria eater) and it’s one of the most recognized viruses out there (as far as shape is concerned). I could go into more ugly details about how this image is based off a micrograph taken with a transmission electron microscope of a virus that was shadowed, but no one want to know that.
Ever look back at stuff you did a long time ago and start to think that maybe you didn’t suck as much as you thought you did then and that, perhaps, you wish you were a little more like you were back then. I’ve been all existential crisis-y as of late. I suppose that is to be expected when you are on the verge not of a transition, but a rather abrupt stop-start. But man, I need to doodle more. I was much better at it then.
The reason I’ve been looking back is that I have to throw together a makeshift portfolio for a project I’m applying to. Come on letterpress!
Deep down, I still love dragons.
So finally, I present the leg warmers that I was working on way back when. These ones aren’t actually the pair that I showed then, these are the other pair. I finally managed to snag a shot of them today.
I’m told that both have been well received and often worn. Leg warmers have been the most practical gift I have ever given, since we’re having an abnormally cold winter this year. Maybe I’ll need to knit myself a pair…