Sunday, February 8, 2015

Spicy Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Beans have been soaked

A few Sundays ago I stopped by Kensington Farmers' Market and was offered some samples at Tofu Yu's booth. I grew up eating all kinds of tofu products, so it would take a lot to impress me. I was however impressed with their red quinoa sushi and soy cheese sushi although I could detect slight cilantro in them. They were quite good, and I wished they didn't contain cilantro. I was immediately addicted to their Cajun spiced garbanzo beans. I got a bag and just couldn't stop eating them. During the week, I went to a couple natural food stores trying to find some but nobody sells those spicy garbanzo beans even though they do have other Tofu Yu products. In fact, spicy garbanzo beans aren't even listed on Tofu Yu website. I don't understand why!  Two Sundays later I went back to the same vendor at Kensington Farmers' Market, and this time he had five spice garbanzo beans. I should have bought 2 bags instead of one. They are $5 each bag, but if you buy more than one item, the vendor gives you a dollar discount for each item.

I decided that in order to support my addiction, I need to make these beans at home. I was able to find a bunch of recipes on the internet. They all use canned garbanzo beans, which would probably be my first choice if I didn't happen to have a bag of dried garbanzo beans a.k.a. chickpeas.


I soaked the beans overnight and then left the beans to dry in a colander. I can easily mix some ground cumin, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper together but I happen to have a bag of spicy rub from "tale Gator." It was given to me at some natural food festival. I just used the rub and some extra virgin oil to coat the beans. I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper and spread all the beans on it evenly in one layer. It was then put to bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or until you see the beans start to jump.

This spicy rub is way more spicy than the mix I put together last weekend. The smoky chili
pepper permeates my entire kitchen and living room. I can't wait to eat these beans!  I also learned something from my last batch - don't put the beans in a sealed bag right away even if they seem to have cooled down. Leave them out overnight. The beans lost their crispness after I put them in zip locked bags.

While I just love the crunchiness and spiciness of the roasted chickpeas, they are also one of the healthiest foods that's high in fiber and lowers cholesterol.  Since I only roast my beans in extra virgin oil, there is no added animal fat.  I won't feel guilty eating them non-stop at work. Oh, be sure not to rub your eyes after eating these beans with your hands. That was another mistake I did last time.

All done!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Transplanting the Kiwi

Shortly after moving to the new house, I got myself a pot of one female and one male fuzzy kiwi plants.  For months, the pot lived in the corner of my kitchen. I watered it regularly but the leaves continued to dry up and fall off until there is hardly any leaf left. I was concerned at first and read many articles about growing kiwi particular growing kiwi in the Bay Area.  It turned it is normal for the leaves to fall off during the winter.

As the weather starting to warm up, I decided it is time to move it outside so they can expend their roots and get open air and rain.

It took some struggle to remove the plants out of the pot. I laid the pot on the ground sideway and pressed it all around with my knee and shin to loosen it up.  I almost wanted to just cut it open, but I had something else in mind with the black planter and didn't want to destroy it.  Finally it all came out in one piece. There are so much roots. I spent a great deal of time trying loosen and break open some of the roots so that they can integrate into the ground better.

Now I am just going to hope Cracus will leave it alone otherwise I would have put up a barrier of some sort.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pomelo Hat

Famous Limecat

I love pomelo. A week ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see pomelo in Giovanni's, the neighborhood produce store. Even though it was $3.99 each, I grabbed one. I don't know why I haven't seen any pomelo at the farmers' markets. I had this big pomelo sitting in my fruit basket for a few days. When my neighbor Katie came over, she asked me what it was. I told her, "It's a pomelo!" She had never seen anything like it, so I cut it open and shared some with her. I was very happy that this young girl liked the fruit. I then proceeded to tell her about all the cat pictures on the internet wearing pomelo hats.  Since I didn't tear apart the pomelo peel this time, it served as a pretty good hat.

After we enjoyed the healthy treat, I took my pomelo hat and went out to the yard to let Kelsey and Cracus try it on. It's a bit small for Kelsey. It's about the right size for Cracus, but he just wouldn't hold still. I barely managed to put it on him for a second.  I went over to Giovanni's and got another pomelo after work today. I am going to enjoy this incredible fruit while it's in season. Pomelo has many health benefits including anti-aging and fighting cancer not to mention it tastes great. I love grapefruit, too, but pomelo tastes even better!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Biggest Storm Since 2008

On Wednesday, we got the news that the biggest storm since 2008 was coming on Thursday. All day we were monitoring the latest news on the storm and whether the school was going to close on Thursday. Some people laughed at the word "storm." They don't think California has storm. Some people laughed at the possibility the school would be closed because of this "storm." Having been a resident of Northern California for over thirty years, I knew it could be bad. While we are usually suffering from drought, when it rains, it could rain hard for days, and then everything breaks down - traffic lights, big trees, cars (get stuck in gigantic pools of water), power supplies, hills (mud slide), etc. At the end of Wednesday, we got the words that Oakland Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, and many other schools were closing on Thursday in order to avoid putting any student and school staff in danger. When I made the announcement to the entire school community, the staff members started cheering. I was extremely relieved that I didn't have to take a sick day. My voice was completely gone as I had been sick and still dragged myself to work.

On my way home from work, I could feel the wind picking up speed. The sky was a dreadful shade of gray. I stopped by the store to get a bunch of canned soup. All I wanted was hot soup when I wasn't feeling well.  When I woke up around 4 a.m. on Thursday morning, I noticed that the power was out. It was still out when I got up at 7 a.m. I could see BART train running from my window but all the houses around me were completely dark. I went looking for my camping stove and lamp to make breakfast. The heavy rain was steady and coming from all 3 directions. I couldn't open two of my doors without my floor getting wet immediately. The only door I could opening without forming a puddle of water inside of the house was the door to the dog run from the garage. Kelsey and Cracus stayed inside all day. I took Cracus out 3 times to go to the bathroom. He got almost completely soaked just from being out for a couple minutes. Kelsey absolutely refused to go out. She barely drank any water and didn't go to the bathroom all day. It was a treat for all of us to be able to stay home on a day like this.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cracus' First Off Leash Walk

The weather cleared up briefly today for a change. It was the perfect chance to take the dogs somewhere so they could take a nice long walk. I have taken Cracus to Point Isabel a few times already but always kept him on a leash. I guess having a couple Alaskan Malamutes as my first dogs, I am always unsure whether a dog would just take off. Not that they were bad dogs, but Malamutes are very independent and tend to go on their own adventures. Niki and Okami escaped and went on a few trips of their own although they always managed to come home.

By now I know Cracus is a lap dog. How did people ever create lap dogs? He just wants to sit on my lap all the time while I am at the desk or watching movies. He follows me everywhere when I am home. I was pretty sure if I let Cracus off leash, he wouldn't just run away to be on his own. Well, it turned out that he was more well behaved while we were out. He followed me closely and ran up to me whenever I called his name. He wanted to play with other dogs regardless of their size. Having Kelsey as his big sister, he's fearless of large dogs. He didn't run into any mud puddle or jump into the bay.  He didn't bark at any person or dog and didn't act crazy at all.  People thought he was cute.