Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Minutes Sketch


I sketched this nude at the Academy Art Museum around 2008. They have a group that gathers every Wednesday with a live model. Only member can participate. So I went there for the first time and created several sketches.

I attended a similar nude class when I was in art school but never did 2 minutes sketches. So you have to move fast because every 2 minutes the model will change her pose.  I sketched several but the picture at the top here is the one that I like most.

The sketches at the bottom are the ones I made during an innkeeper seminar.

I hope I can make it back to that two minutes sketch group again....soon.

Tomatillo Guacamole Recipe

Tomatillo Guacamole
This is the first time I bought tomatillo. All this time I thought they would taste just like green tomatoes.  Surprisingly they taste quite different. The texture is crunchier, more tart and mild fragrant that reminds me of water apple in Indonesia. I used to make guacamole with tomatoes but from now on I will just use tomatillo. For me, the combination is just so much better with tomatillo.


1 avocado,
1/2 of medium size tomatillo, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chpped cilantro
dash of kosher salt


Combine all ingredient in a bowl and mix. Use a fork to mash the avocado. Chill before serving with you favorite chips.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Caramel sauce

Caramel Sauce with Ice Cream


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavey cream, warmed to 100 F
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon grand marnier
pinch of salt


In saucepan combine water, sugar and corn syrup  cook in medium heat , cover bring to a boil about 3 minutes. Uncover and lower the heat, cook until the mixture turn to brown color. Remove from the stove add remaining ingredients, whisk quickly.
Served with vanilla ice cream and banana.
The left over caramel sauce can keep for several week if store in airtight container and refrigerated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gazpacho Soup Recipe

Gazpacho Soup


5 Roman tomatoes, peel,seeded
1 medium cucumber
3 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup sweet onion
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon basil


In blender combine 2 tomatoes, half cucumber, 1 cup watermelon and pure. Strain to get the juice.
Combine the rest of tomatoes , cucumber, watermelon, onion, red wine vinegar, salt, and jalapeno pepper. Blend until well combined but still slightly chunky, add in basil. 
Chill at least 2 hours before serving.


Rotiboy - Sweet Coffee Bun recipe

Rotiboy-Sweet Crispy Coffee Bun Recipe

"Founded in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia in 1998, the first Rotiboy was a neighbourhood bakery which baked fresh breads and loafs for household, kids to bring to school, cakes for birthdays celebrations, home-makers were our best friends. We've been growing ever since, and our brand has evolved into specialty stores and bakery cafe concept stores at over 150 stores throughout Asia. .."

We had this Rotiboy many times....and we bought it again  this winter at the Jakarta International Airport on the way home. They were so tasty.... crispy on the outside and soft inside.
I found this recipe online  that the buns turned out very close to the original. The Rotiboy consists of three yummy parts of filling, topping, and sweet dough. You can smell the coffee aroma while baking the is best to eat them warm from the oven. 

It is fine to make the filling and the topping ahead and store in refrigerator.


3 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
3 oz salted butter, room temperature
1 oz brown sugar


Butter filling
With an electric mixer,  mix butter and brown sugar for three minutes, pipe on a plate. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.


7 oz softened unsalted butter
7 oz castor sugar (fine grain)
3 eggs
2 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved with 1 tablespoon water
7 oz all purpose flour
a pinch of ground cinnamon


Beat with mixer on medium speed until butter and sugar are light and fluffy, around 5-8 minutes.
Gradually beat in eggs, beat for another 5 minutes. At this point make sure all the sugar has dissolved, if not beat couples more minutes.
Add in coffee mixture, sift in all purpose flour and mix on low speed.
Put in piping bag and refrigerate.

Sweet bun dough

4 1/2 cups bread flour
3 oz confection sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 packages  ( 1/4 ounce each )  active dry yeast
2 tablespoons bread improver ( vital wheat gluten )
1 egg
11/4 cup milk, warmed
2 oz softened unsalted butter


Mix 1/2 of the flour, confection sugar, yeast and salt in electric mixer with the beater on low speed for 1 minute.
Add egg and warm milk and mix on low speed for another minute.
Mix in butter and run on medium speed for 8 minutes until dough forms like spider web.
Change to dough hook and add the rest of the flour slowly.
Mix five minutes more on medium speed until soft, smooth and elastic (but not sticky) dough forms.

The dough should looks like this

Divide the dough into 2 oz  portions you will have 17 portions.  Roll each portion into a ball, use butter to grease your palm so it won't stick. Cover the balls of dough and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

To shape and fill the Rotiboy buns, flatten a ball of dough with the palm of your hand.
Place a ball of filling in the center of the sweet dough.

Gather the edges and pinch to seal. Make sure to seal well or the filling will come out during baking.
Pat into shape and place them on a greased foil on the baking tray.

Repeat with remaining portions of dough.
Place each bun about 3 inches apart on your baking trays. Cover and prove for 45 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat oven 390 F
Bring out Rotiboy topping and let in room temperature for several minutes before use. Pipe the topping on the buns in a spiral shape, starting from the center.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until its golden brown.... serve while warm....enjoy!


Sunday, July 24, 2011


I started planting  tomatoes 4 years ago, cherry tomatoes particularly. Four plants were plenty...and they provided us with lots of fresh tomatoes all summer until fall.... ate them fresh, cooked them and freezed some :)
Since then every spring they just coming back.
This year I added 2 more varieties of grape tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes. Both varieties are doing fine, considering the clay soil that we have. My husband helps  me to improve the soil by mixing in lots of organic matter.
This last several days has been extremely hot....we have rabbits that live outside the house and we had to put them in the garage. The only good thing from this heat is that a lot of tomatoes got ripe. On hot days like this a cold fresh tomatoes soup, gazpacho will be great!
I will prepare the gazpacho soup now and post it latter...

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Beefsteak Tomatoes


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fried Garlic Oil

Fried garlic oil is used in a variety of Chinese dishes, you can add it in a soup, garnish on vegetables dumpling ( chai kue), porridge and saute or steam vegetables.
I always have some fried garlic oil in my kitchen in a tight glass jar. It saved a lot of time since I use it often.


2 bulbs garlic
1 cup of oil


Peel and finely chop garlic or pulse in food processor.
Heat up oil in nonstick pan, fry the chopped garlic on medium low heat. Continue stirring is require to prevent uneven or burn. Once it turn light golden yellow, remove from the stove. Do not wait until the garlic turns golden brown before you turn off the flame. This will burn the garlic....burn garlic taste bitter.
Keep stirring even when the stove is off, because the oil and the pan are still hot and the garlic  will continue to cook. If the  fried garlic turns to golden brown, transfer to a bowl to stop it from cooking. Let it completely cooled then store it in an air-tight container. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cat's eye

This is one of my oil paintings but is not for sale. I painted this cat picture 2 years ago and  have it hanging in my studio. It reminds me of the many cats my family had in the past. Yes, my family had 15 cats above 10 years ago. We adopted all of our cat, they were just abandoned  from the street. Our emotional connection to the cats started when we gave food for homeless cats just passing by.
once got food, it keep coming back...after awhile seemed like they just moved in to our house.
So once upon a time we had 15 cats. Each of them have a unique really liked to eat vegetables, the other liked ice cream...most of its still liked fish of course. But the funny thing is all of them had the same name  Meme :)
Sure, my mom wasn't happy about was to much to take care of 15,we gave them  to other people that loved to have cats for adoption. Now we only have 2 cats. They are still named  Meme, we just refer to big Meme or small Meme. 
Sometimes I still can hear they meow when I have voice chats with my family in Indonesia.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Peach Salsa Recipe

Peach Salsa Recipe

Summer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland brings a lot of peaches to market. I'm happy the season of the peach is here. I just bought some big fresh and juicy peaches yesterday. My husband and I ate the whole peaches last night. Today I will make a fresh peach salsa since my jalapeno pepper is ready to pick in my backyard garden. I always like it when there is fresh food to pick from the garden.


2 peaches, peeled, pitted, and cubed
2 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of kosher salt


Stir in all ingredients in a  bowl. Cover and store in refrigerator. Let it stand at least 25 minutes to allow the flavors to blend in . Serve peach salsa as a dip or serve as accompaniment with any type of grilled meat.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Plant Garlic


Garlic bulbs

Beside watching the plant grows....harvesting is the most satisfying feeling from planting ^_^  especially when it produces a good result. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect because it was my first time planting garlic. I didn't even think I gave sufficient enough fertilizer or care, but luckily I was surprised with a bountiful harvest.

I planted the garlic in late October of 2010. I chose a garlic bulb with plump cloves, because clove size will be a determinant for future bulb size. I divided the garlic cloves from the bulb and soaked in water overnight.
In the morning I dug holes 4 inches deep....placing the garlic cloves in the holes with the pointed ends up.

From my knowledge garlic is supposed to be ready to harvest around June or until most of the garlic leaves dry out. Yes, I have to be patient to wait this long.
At mid June me and my mom dug out some garlic....she has the same pleasure like me when harvesting.
I'm glad she can experience pulling garlic from the ground. We left 1/3 of plants to harvest that time just half of the leaves were dried out.
The picture above is the second harvest around July 7th, when all the leaves had already dried.
Definitely I will plant it again this fall.

Garlic on 20th May 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Orange and Soda Ice Drink

Orange and Soda Ice Drink

When it is really hot outside, this fruity orange drink will cool you down for sure! Serve with ice tea spoons to easily scoop out the yummy orange sections.


6 oranges
1/3 cup sugar
2 cans 7 up or lime carbonated water, chilled
Mint and orange slices, optional


 1. Cut off ends of oranges and cut off peel around fruit. 

2. Cut out the section between membranes. You will end up with a juicy handful of orange   
    innards in your hand. Squeeze the juice out of the sections, and discard remains. 

  3.  Add sugar to orange sections, stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate .

4. Just before serving, stir in 7 up or carbonated water. Place in the glass and add crushed ice 
    on top. Garnish with orange slice and mint leaves.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder


18 clams to get 2 cups of clams meat.
5 cups water
3 pieces of bacon, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrot
2 cups potato, cubed
4 tablespoon flour
11/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 sprig of tyme
chives for garnish


1. In a  large stockpot bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes. 
    Uncover and  stir, remove the open clams.
    Cover the pot again and continue cooking the clams that haven't opened yet for 3 to 4 minutes.
    Cooking time will varies depend on the size of the clams.
    Reserve 4 cups the clam juice by strain the liquid with a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter.
2. Remove the shells and coasely chopped the clams.
3. In another pot render bacon until golden and crispy. Add onions and garlic , cook until soft.
    Add carrot, celery and potato, cook for 10 minutes.
4. Stir flour in to combine and gradually add the clam juice and milk.
5. bring to boil and reduce to shimmer. Simmer for 15-25 minutes or until the potato soft.
6. Add heavy cream and clam meat at the last minute.

If you like a thicker chowder, mash some potatoes againts the side of the pot. The starch in potato will thicken the broth.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffin Recipe

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffin Recipe


21/2  cups all purpose flour
11/4  cup confectioners sugar
11/4  teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/4  teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
11/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven 400 F, position rack in the center of oven
2. In large bowl sift all dry ingredients together. At this point stir in blueberries until they coated with flour.
    Coating them with dry flour will prevent berries sink in the bottom.
3. Mix eggs, melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla in smaller bowl.
4. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in liquid ingredients, mixing quickly and gently .
    Do not over stir or the muffin will tough
5. Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when
    inserted in the center of muffin. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before removing from the pan.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chicken Wrapped in Bacon

Chicken Wrapped in Bacon


1 lb skinless and boneless chicken thigh meat
14 pieces low sodium bacon
1 egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons chipped green onion
2 tablespoons tapioca flour or corn starch


1. Place all ingredients in food processor except for the bacon. Process until the chicken is smooth.
    Add flour and green onion, pulse to mix well.
2. Use your palm to shape and wrap with bacon by rolling it gently.
3. Heat up the oil on medium high heat and deep fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.
4. Serve you chicken wrapped in bacon with your favorite sauce.


When shaping the chicken you can insert a cheese cube in the middle before wrapping in bacon. The flavor will be slightly different.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque

This lobster bisque is quick and easy to make, it doesn't need hours and hours to cook. Taste as good as it looks.


1 medium lobster
5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoon butter
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped chives for garnish


1. Fill stockpot with water, make sure enough water to cover the lobster and bring to boil. 
    Place lobster  in  water head first, let the water re-boil then turn down the heat, cook for 15 minutes. 
    Remove lobster from the pot. Clean claws and tails of lobsters and reserve meat.
2. Place in chicken broth and  the roe in stockpot, shimmer.
3. In a medium size pot over medium heat melt the butter. Saute garlic and onion until soft and fragrant.  
    Add carrot and pour in chicken stock that been simmering.
    Continue to cook  for 15 minutes  or until  the  carrot soft.
4. After the carrot cooked, puree and then return the soup to the pot. 
5. Stir in the cream and white wine shimmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    A few minutes before finish add in lobster meat in the bisque, don't over cooked the lobster.
    Place in remekin , add lobster claw and chives as garnish.

If you prefer your bisque to be thicker, you may add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or  flour. You also can add a sprig of thyme.

Greek Salad recipe


5 oz romaine lettuce, washed and dried, then cut
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 medium green pepper, julliane
1/2 medium yellow pepper
1;2 cup kalamata black olives
1/2  medium red onion, sliced thinly
6 oz feta cheese

Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl . Pour in vinaigrette dressing and feta cheese, and toss gently to combine before serving.

Vinaigrette dressing

5 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
11/2 fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper,and red wine vinegar.

Royal Highness Rose

Hybrid tea, Royal Highness

I bought this plant last year online. It came in a really small size, but grew fast and sent out some bloom not long after I put it in the ground. It was labeled as a very fragrant rose, so I planted it outside my master bedroom windows.

Royal Highness Rose in bloom