Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yum yum yum

Crack Bars (AKA pecan/kurumi bars)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
11/2 cup flou
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans/kurumi

1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Cream butter and sugar together and blend in flour.
2. Using fingers, press the dough into a 9x11 pan and bake for 11-12 minutes.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the hot, baked crust. Try to use gravity to make sure the kurumi are evenly distributed. Pushing them around may break-up the crust. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes 20-24 bars.

Seriously though, this recipe of my mom's is like CRACK. Everyone who eats them can't get enough. I'm amazed that they even stand up to Japanese standards of dessert (because of the whole not liking too-sweet things). I think it's because the sweet isn't over whelming and they're soft (I've had lots of reactions when I bring in a tougher cookie. I guess they're just used to soft ones here). I made these Sunday for my 5th graders today. They were giving me somen for lunch so I felt like I needed to contribute. I also made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting for Nat-chans birthday Saturday. I forgot to take a picture of that, but I'll post the recipe some time.

I was also proud to make my very own VODKA SAUCE today. At Inokuchi yesterday, I went with the first and second graders to pick tomatoes. To say I was allowed to pick a lot is an understatement... I had too many for a family of 5 to comfortably eat! SO! In addition to keeping some for salads this week, I decided to make vodka sauce (had 1/3 of a bottle laying around...). I used 1/2 an onion and 7 cloves garlic, blended them and started frying them as I blended a bunch of tomatoes (I think that the resulting blended tomatoes came out to be 4-ish cups). Added the tomatoes, 3/4 cup vodka and 1/4 cup soy milk plus lots of spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, corriander leaf...)! Boiled it all until it was thick, and bottled it for future use. :D

Shiyakusho Monday when an impromptu parade went down.
My 6th graders at Ioki doing suna-e (sand drawings)
My iPhone has basically turned into my main camera. I don't feel as put-off carrying it around (obviously) and going to the picture function is so much easier than turning on my point-and-shoot and waiting for it to take a picture. I'm also in love with instagram (as is obvious when looking at my tumblr photo blog). I'm able to document so many more interesting little moments because of it (which is making me think of a fun photo project I could do with it).

Friday night was another night-out with the girls. We went to Tanuki for all-you-can-drink (2500 yen for drinks and food) and then went out to a few bars (A-chan's circle bar in Hirome and York, my fav American-style bar). Once it was kinda late enough, we headed over to One Love. Luckily it was free, because the girls left after maybe an hour because there was just no one there. I was getting chatted up by this DJ guy so they left me at the club to go home. I talked to the DJ for awhile, and then talked to the bar tenders for awhile. Everyone was so young!! I couldn't believe it! They were all MY AGE (22)!! That's just unheard of around here. Anyway.... DJ man asked for my number (I blame it on the hot dress I was wearing) and we danced until 4AM where I was too tired to keep going (the random free shot of tequila at one point probably didn't help) so I went to sleep in my car until 7AM when I drove home, made a cake for Nat-chan while snoozing, and waited until noon when we were supposed to meet up and make me a table for my house! Saturday was a great day. The sky was beautiful! We built my table at Nat-chan's dad's house and then went swimming in the river. After, we went to her mom's house to have dinner and chat. It was really nice getting to get to know her mom :)  We also had cake and then went back to Ryoku-chan's place to watch Whip It. Nat-chan also opened the present I got her (2 volumes of One Piece in English) and really liked it. Good Saturday~

Thus far, this week has been really really lazy. Monday, I basically had anti-work because I got to go swimming, study, eat lunch and pick tomatoes. Nothing stressful! Also, when I got back to the BOE, there was a parade going on, and a high school girl was doing live calligraphy in front of the city office. WTF. Sometimes, feeling like I live in a circus town is really fun and refreshing and reminds me of why I came here. :) (Of course, there are those times when I wonder WTF I'm doing here.)

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