Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Green New Start

You know it's a lie when a writer says "I'm writing this just for myself, I don't care if no one reads it." This is what I said when I started this blog. Now I think I just wasn't serious enough a writer, or a blogger. Truth to be known, I really wasn't that serious.

Still wondering how many people out there are actually reading this, I decided to take it more seriously, hoping that people will actually read this.

Therefore, on this gloomy Sunday right after St. Patty's Day, barely out of slumber, still in my boyfriend's X-Large "Made in Ireland" shirt, I begin once again this journey of blogging. While our cat Mushu is finding his own way to dreamland on my lap, I struggle to conceal my excitement of this Green New Start so that I wouldn't stir him up where his playful paws will likely leave trademarks on my bare arms again.

This time I'm coming back with more cooking adventures and PLUS: more reading adventures. Growing up in a family full of food-lovers and great cooks, I have finally found my own stand in a kitchen. Juggling my new passion with my old passions, "reading and writing," I suddeny had an idea that almost seemed too impossible to carry out: writing about reading and cooking. Finally, it was my devoted boyfriend who articulated the idea of blogging about what kind of dishes would go with what books you are reading: something I'm still not so sure that I can manage to make enough sense of for my readers but am more than willing to try.

Just so you know, this is not going to be a straight feast of "one book matching one dish" kinda thing, I will more than likely talk about the books I'm currently reading and the recipes I'm making. Forgive me if sometimes there may not be an apparent connection between the two things; I will definitely try to make some most of the time.

I know you probably can't flip the page while stirring the food, but you can certainly enjoy eating the food while you flip the page. Flavors are words for the tongue; words are flavors for the mind.

I didn't exacatly follow the measurement of the frosting when I made my St. Patty's Day green velvet  cupcakes, but it turned out just fine as it was not too sweet like most frosting but more creamy.

I apparently have to teach Chris how to use my camera so the picture wouldn't be blurry...

Green Velvet Cupcakes (Adapted from "red velvet cupcakes" from

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 (1/2 ounce) bottle McCormick® Red Food Color
1 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

  • Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1/2 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) box confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.
  4. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese, softened, butter, sour cream and McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

This is half of the original recipe, I made 12 cupcakes.

Ironically, I've been reading Iris Chang's The Chinese in America lately and the early Chinese immigrants seemed to have had some interesting relationships with the Irish immigrants, especially after the construction of the continental railroad when the hardworking Chinamen began to spread from the west to New York City where they won the employers over with their humbleness and low demand of wages while the Irish people, like the rest of the white immigrants, lost their jobs to the Chinamen. However, the Chinese-Irish marriages seemed to work well. "Irish women often migrated alone, without their families, and sometimes outnumbered Irish male arrivals two to one. It was natural, then, for these women to form relationships with those of an immigrant population that suffered a serious shortage of women." And that population was the Chinese vendors. You would think that the interracial marriages would help change the social status of the Chinese, but apparently the discrimination against Chinese immigrants had not yet fully started at that point of the history.

I think I should just feel lucky that I wasn't born in the 1800s where people would have judged my relationship with my half-Irish half-German boyfriend.

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