Shit happens

hard_drive_died_jan_23_2009
My hard drive died. It was a new computer, bought in last Aug. I never had computers died on me in such a short period. No matter how hard I had tried, that stubborn piece of iron kept its mouth shut tightly.

I searched online, it says data retrieve servers would cost 700 to 2000 US dollars. I am not willing to pay the even 700 dollars, neither to say, I don’t want to give away all my secrets and passwords which were locked in that piece of iron. So I decided to let it go, damn… I would kowtow to it if I could have my files back.

Few days later, had a same model and new drive in hand, I gave it a last try… switched both electronic boards… trying to make a jump start, sadly, it still didn’t work.

So, that’s the end of the story. I lost tons of pictures which I had been working on and without backuped, I don’t even dare to count how many of my pictures, recipes, files, had gone forever.

The moral I learned from this incident:

1. never trust anything, even a machine could cheat on you…

2. everything will gone eventually, sooner or later…

3. never back up, so you always will have opportunities to start fresh.

Let’s Hot Pot!

2009_hotpot_caddie_sherry_alena
Had quite a few Hot Pots since the 2009 starts, once was with friends in Orland Michelle’s home, that was the biggest Hot Pot get-together I ever been to, then was with our American friends, had other 2 couples came to our home, prepared 2 pots.. one was with mild broth, one was a spicy hot one. It was a lot fun just by watching them using chopsticks, folks, knifes to fight with floating meat balls and sliced paper thin raw meats.

Then this time, was with my Chinese-American friends Caddie, Litao, her hubby JD, and Alan’s older daughter Alena. It was Alena’s first Hot Pot experience.

The making of marinated pork

the_making_of_marinated_pork
Foods are pretty… no matter cooked or uncooked. I love to pick up good quality ingredients… prefer they are perfect looking when they are on shelves, often ended up finding myself standing in front of rows of fresh products for half hour, couldn’t make my mind… which package is the best looking one. Then back to home, use the carefully picked ingredients step by step make a handsome and tasteful dish, then I would have the satisfaction as if a mission is successfully completed. The process of making and cooking food has been always a very pleasureful experience to me.

Soy sauce marinated pork – “jiang you rou” is a food relates me to my childhood. I remember my parents bought “Jiang you rou” from market, carefully sliced it to thin pieces, then stir fried them with giant leeks. The meat had strong almost smoked taste, its fat became translucence when cooked through, as you bit into it, the oil from the fat busted into your mouth… The flavor and texture of “jiang you rou” made everything tasted better no matter what.

The other day, I saw some really good looking pork bellies in a Chinese market, couldn’t help myself bought 5 lbs of it. And found some general information of making soy sauce marinated pork online, made these pretty “babies”. It was a simple process… brine those pork bellies in a container with soy sauce, bay leaves, Szechuan pepper, salt, cinnamon sticks, drops of liquid smoke… then keep it in refrigerator for a week to 10 days, flip meat every 12 hours. Then drain and leave them on counter till they are dried, slice them into thin pieces, keep some in refrigerator if cook them within few weeks and store the rest of them in freezer for future cooking.