art center

the best class ever is the drawing class i am currently taking at the art center. it even beats tom mannion’s cooking class! it’s from 9-4 every saturday at the art center in pasadena. it’s FREE because caltech and the art center have a mini exchange program, but i think most of the exchange is from caltech to the art center. i don’t know any art center students that have taken classes at caltech, but maybe there are some.

anyway, since this is a food blog, i’ll mention the food. they actually have a really good and cheap cafeteria for the students. you can get a good hearty lunch for 3.50-5.00 dollars. they have freshly made sandwiches, hot prepared food, and a small salad bar. last week they had yummy fajitas.

the following is for my legions of fans (i.e. my brother and bing). here’s pictures of my homework (draw your hand and foot using the 3-d technique we’ve been using for drawing figures) from one of the weeks:

my hand
my (giant) hand

my foot
my (gigantic) foot

mary (our instructor) said she liked the foot better. she said she’d buy the foot as a picture :) i like the foot better too. lena said my foot isn’t actually as beautiful as in the picture.

here’s wei’s ear (giant size):

my ear

and my ear collage (we had to draw an ear with our left hand, right hand, and some kind of creative interpretation):

ear collage

and finally, since this class is mainly a figure drawing class, some nude figures (but only ones with parts covered up!):

woman leaning, backside

some people in my class liked this one (above, a 40-min pose) a lot, and my mom did too, but i actually don’t like this one that much. i feel like the proportions are a little off.

unfinished man backside

this one was a short 20-minute pose so i just started working on the back. i liked the lay-in a lot though. his head looks a little big… but he did have kind of big hair.

man seated

this one is from last week. this was a 60-minute pose (with two breaks). i thought it turned out pretty well. his face turned out okay, but it didn’t really look like the model so that kind of bummed me out. i need more practice drawing people’s faces.

this class is really awesome. i really love our teacher too. she is really encouraging and nurturing. and she always has helpful comments for everyone. i didn’t know anything about drawing the human figure before this class. we started from the basics and built up, and it’s been great. i think it’s also helped me with drawing in general. last week i tackled the OPI piano…

babylon opi piano

i don’t think i would have done as good a job on this piano if i worked on it before taking this class, and i don’t think i would have had enough confidence in my abilities to tackle it either. yay for art center! and thanks to scott for also helping with the main part of the piano (ken and cameron also helped us with the lettering and keys).

thai stir-fried noodles with beef

my handy-dandy essential wok cookbook has some pretty tasty looking noodle recipes so a while ago i tried making some thai stir-fried noodles with beef (pad see yew). this dish is always really tasty at the thai restaurants and the recipe looked pretty easy so i tried it.

thai stir-fried noodles with beef

thai stir-fried noodles with beef

500 g (1 lb) fresh rice sheet noodles, cut lengthways into 2 cm (3/4 inch) strips
2 tbl peanut oil
2 egs, lightly beaten
500 g (1 lb) lean beef fillet, thinly sliced across the grain
1/4 cup (60 mL/2 fl oz) kecap manis (indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 1/2 tbl soy sauce
1 1/2 tbl fish sauce
300 g (10 oz) gai lan (chinese broccoli), cut into 5 cm (2 inch) strips
1/4 tsp ground white pepper

1. cover the noodles with boiling water and gently separate the strips. drain.
2. heat a wok over high heat, add 1 tbl oil and swirl to coat. add the egg, swirl to coat and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until set. remove and slice.
3. reheat the wok over high heat, add the remaining oil and cook the beef in batches for 3 minutes, or until browned. remove.
4. reduce heat to medium, add the noodles, and cook for 2 minutes. combine the kecap manis, soy and fish sauces. add to the wok with the gai lan and white pepper, then stir-fry for 2 minutes. return the egg and beef to the wok and cook for 3 minutes.

comments: i bought one of those 2 lb. packs of noodles (fun) at the store so i just added more of everything. it was pretty tasty. that kecap manis is really sweet. i think i added a little too much of it. besides that, it was a pretty easy recipe, and it turned out well. i might add more eggs next time.

chinese new year

this one’s for my brother. i know he misses mom’s delicious food. i’m sure i will when i move away. gotta eat as much as i can!!

mom's chinese new year food

mmm… nothing beats mom’s food. if i had to choose a favorite, i’d choose the nin-gou (nian gao/rice cakes). they never fail.

duck fried rice

one of my favorite chefs on the food network is actually tyler florence (apparently other people don’t agree since they don’t show his shows that much anymore :(). he used to host the show food 911, where he went to people’s houses and helped them cook recipes they’ve had trouble with, and his more recent show is tyler’s ultimate, where each episode he find the ultimate recipe for a particular dish. his recipes always look really delicious, but doable, and he seems really nice and helpful without seeming condescending (like some other chefs on the food network).

i was looking through some of his recipes and i found this one that looked pretty good, so i made it.

duck fried rice

duck fried rice with napa
from food network, tyler florence, food 911

5 tablespoons peanut oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 small head Napa cabbage, cored and chopped
1 (8-ounce) can straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas, run under cool water for 2 minutes to thaw
1 generous pinch kosher salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pint cooked long-grain white rice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup cooked duck meat, cut in pieces
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Heat 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over medium-high flame. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes; stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the cabbage, mushrooms, and peas, stir-fry until the cabbage is wilted and soft, about 8 minutes; season with a nice pinch of salt. Remove the vegetables to a side platter and wipe out the wok.

Put the pan back on the heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, pour the eggs into the center of the pan. Scramble the egg lightly, then let it set without stirring so it stays in big pieces. Fold in the rice and toss with the egg to combined well, breaking up the rice clumps with the back of a spatula. Return the sauteed vegetables to the pan and moisten with the soy sauce. Toss everything together to heat through and season again with salt. Spoon the fried rice out onto a serving platter, lay the pieces of duck on top and garnish with cilantro.

comments: if you look at the picture, you can tell i didn’t use napa. the chinese supermarket didn’t have napa?! well, there were a couple heads left, but they didn’t look good, so instead i bought some baby bok choy, and instead of frozen peas, i found some crispy green beans that looked really good and fresh. also, i don’t like mushrooms as much, so i just left those out, and i used four eggs instead of two because i used more rice than he did. eggs are also delicious.

mmm… this was really tasty. i put in a lot of vegetables (a whole pack of baby bok choy and a bunch of handfuls of the green beans), which was very yummy. and i bought half a duck from sam woo, which i tore the meat and skin off of and cut up into chunks. i ended up using about twice as much rice as he used, but i added extra of everything so it was good. other people on the food network website said they used the chinese bbq pork, which i’m sure also works really well. but duck skin and duck fat is so delicious.