adventures with the wok

adventures with the wok

T and I continued our summer cooking challenge by randomly picking a shelf of cookbooks at the main library and picking a cookbook to try!  We ended up at 641.5951, or, Chinese Food!!


After much deliberation we went with Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking (mainly for the pictures).


Kwong is a Chinese-Australian chef with successful restaurants and a TV show! Here she is being famous in Australia:

So we went with this book because we wanted to use our wok and wanted to try a pork recipe that looked good enough to eat with lettuce wraps (usually, I am not down with a lettuce wrap!)

We immediately ran into some problems!

First the store didn’t have pork, well I should say that the store only had low fat pork, which is pork with an ejected water solution or Italian style ground pork (which is amazing but not what we need here).  We needed the fat, and an ejected water solution seemed weird so we went with ground turkey (with fat).

Second, Kwong’s writing style was not intuitive at least for us and who we like to cook so we had to rewrite the recipe so it made sense to us.  Another example of why you should read a recipe a few times before you get started! Especially when you are stir-frying things and everything has to be fast!!

Finally, white wine.  We forgot about this but thankfully I still had the bottle of Blue Nun that my Uncle Vinny gave me in April!  German wine in Chinese food?  No problem!


After all the prep, and notes, and scrambling (and let’s be honest, he did most of, if not all of, the work) we were rewarded with deliciously flavored turkey with crunchy vegetables, wrapped in lettuce, making it the only way I want to eat lettuce.  We settled down with big bowls of meat, the rest of the Blue Nun and The Departed.  Because when you make Chinese food with German wine, the next set is to watch a movie about the Irish mob!

So here it is, the perfect bite!

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I had a lot more bites after this!






This has been such a lovely week.  Taking walks and long lunches with friends, reading, working on exciting  library work.  The best part of summer break is that there is not a lot of difference between the week and weekend.  I feel like the Dowager Countess!


So this weekend?  More reading (Isabel Allende’s The Japanese Lover is flames), more walks with friends (this time over the Big Four Bridge) and more House of Cards because I miss Robin Wright after Wonder Woman!

Here is my current jam:

all the bright places

all the bright places


What is up with YA books and how sad they are?? This is not a new thing of course.  I remember girls loving Lurlene McDaniel books when I was in middle school and high school.  Anyone remember the book Don’t Die My Love?  Back then the books were a little more obvious when pulling on our heartstrings.  Maybe it has something to do with teens wanting to feel all the emotions, deeply, but these kind of books have always been very popular

All the bright places by Jennifer Niven was requested by a 7th grade student and then recommend strongly to me by an 8th grade student (“I read this in a day, Ms. Serrano!!”).  Well it took me longer to read than a day, but it was fast, funny and heartbreaking.

The book starts with Finch, an outsider with a bad reputation standing on the top of his school’s bell tower considering jumping but then changes his mind, thinking of the mess he’d leave behind.  He turns to see Violet, a girl in his grade who just lost her sister in a car accident on the ledge and talks her down.  This starts an unlikely partnership (looking for off the beaten path curiosities in Indiana) that becomes a life changing love.  And then, you know, tears.  Lots of tears.  It touches (maybe too lightly?) on mental illness (bipolar disorder), grief and loss and first love.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book.  First, it took place in Indiana, my second home. There is even a Crawfordsville shout out (C’ville is where I went to high school):

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Finch and Violet and beautifully written and you care about both of them.  The relationships feel realistic.  Although I don’t know if teenagers talk on Facebook very much any more.  One downside that I’ve read in reviews is that there are no consequences for the bulling that Finch faces at school, mainly due to his mental illness.  And I don’t know how realistic that is.  And that it romanticizes mental illness and suicide.  I can see that but I can also see how this is a starting point for healing and understanding for teens.  So, maybe mixed review?

I love reading YA books, the only problem is that now that I am 33 I am way more likely to take the parents’ side.  I kept on yelling “Violet talk to your mother!!!!”

After this and Wolf Hollow I need to read something lighter!  Next on the docket is The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende, so that is not likely!!







Looking for a book to read? Consider these suggestions from Martha Stewart Living’s February issue (article titled Hitting the Books!).  And don’t forget, you can read the magazine for FREE on your tablets or computers using the Zinio app if you are a member of LFPL! This has saved me tons of money that I used to spend on magazines.  Although I am thinking about subscribing to MSL because I am taking lots of screenshots and saving past issues, and it might be nice to get issues to keep.  Either Martha Stewart is aiming for a younger, cooler audience or I am just getting older!  I choose to believe the former!

Here are some book ideas from authors and figures that I admire!





Hope you had a wonderful weekend.  It was beautiful out here in Louisville and I was able to go out and about as planned.

In no particular order:

The San Fermin show at Headliners was wonderful, my favorite live show in quite some time.  So many talented performers in this group and, I won’t lie, I was excited to see a diverse group of musicians performing and having fun on stage together.  It was like a much cooler and talented version of California Dreams. 

GlobaLou was at Iroquois Park on Saturday, lots a great food and music in a very nice park that I haven’t really been to yet.

Bunco with some ladies that I’ve already started to miss from work.  Bunco is a game that I never heard of that reminds me of Yahtzee and made be very competitive even if you are just lucky.  Its rolling dice after all!

Sunny’s art show downtown! Sunny Ra is such a talented artist, I love going to her pop up shows.  Buy her art!!

Then on Sunday I went to see Wonder Woman!!!! Man oh man I was excited about this movie and it did not disappoint.  I cried throughout, and not just at the parts that were supposed to be sad but at the parts that had bad ass women being dope and doing cool stuff.  So, you know, happy and proud tears!  I just wish there was a prequel movie all about Robin Wright!




img by Nikki Miles 

What are you plans this weekend?  I am going to an art show, figuring out how to play bunco (I am imagining that it is a lot like shooting craps, and going to a show!! And this is all tonight, the rest of the weekend will probably involve laying in bed and watching House of Cards.  I’m leaving you with my current running jam, Be My Baby by Ariana Grande.