Cooking with Baby Bellas

Well, I’ve been pretty busy making things lately. I’m making 3D printers pretty much every day. I’ve tried a handful of new recipes including marinated mushroom and sweet potato tacos this week and baked mushroom baozi earlier in the month. I’ve managed to update my fan fiction and am finally writing the crucial scene I know many of my readers have been waiting for. I’ve also finally gotten myself to write another flash fiction for ThanInVain‘s Flash Fiction Challenge. The prompt was just too good to pass up and I found myself with a little time tonight, so let’s start with that.

Prompt: A woman’s cat goes missing. Two days later she receives a ransom note.

Catnapped

Ellen Helmsby shrugged out of her overcoat and settled into her chair, heedless of the layers of cat fur. She squirted a little hand sanitizer into her palm to her to rid her hands of the metallic smell of dealing with other people’s coins all day.


She clucked her tongue behind her teeth and waited for Tire to materialize for their pre-dinner cuddle. She’d tell him about her day and he’d purr and life would be just a little bit better. Then she’d open a packet of food for him, and put a TV dinner in the oven for herself.


But cluck and call as she might, Tire didn’t come. She got down on her creaking knees calling out to him under the bed. Finally she was reduced to swearing at the damn cat to show up. He didn’t. She sat in the chair all night.


The next day, cars honked as she gave people the wrong change or or her mind drifted. Her supervisor thought the exhaust fumes might be getting to her head and sent her home. A note, in purple crayon, was wedged under the door.

Deer Cat Lady,
My bruther loves your cat. He wants it, but can’t rite. He’s 4. If you give me a bazillion $ I’ll steal it back. But it has to be a bazillion or I can’t, cuz he’ll cry when I take it.

Ellen heard the hedges rustle and saw the grubby six year old from next door watching her.

Being a cat person myself, I couldn’t resist the prompt and I’m glad I gave it a go. It feels good to be writing.

I’m trying to lead a more healthy life-style, and building printers all day is certainly a lot more physically active than my last job. I’m also trying to be mindful of healthier new recipes and fewer sweets. So far, it’s working. However, there’s an amazing frozen custard shop not far from where I work, and I want some…right now. However, I’ve got some very good motivation for wanting to get healthier right now. I’m looking forward to a long life with the man I love, and I want to be healthy.


The marinated mushroom and sweet potato tacos were absolutely delicious. I’m not going to lie, I ate several and they were all gone before I could take a picture of them. One lingered on someone else’s plate (the tortilla got a bit burnt) and I did manage to snap a picture of that before it too disappeared. 

Marinated Mushroom and Sweet Potato Tacos

I cut and cooked the sweet potatoes the night before, so they weren’t as crisp as I could have hoped, but they were delicious and it saved me an hour of prep-time right before dinner, which was good since by the time I get home, I’m pretty hungry. I used baby bella mushrooms and topped it all off wit a little cheese, sour cream, and green onions. I always keep a container of sliced green onions in the freezer to add to meals. They keep for ages and defrost almost instantly when I add them to any dish.


A few weeks ago, I watched the new reboot of Sailor Moon that just launched. I then followed it up by indulging in a few of the classic episodes as well. I remember watching the original episodes on television as a kid in the morning when I got ready for school. I think there’d usually be an episode of Sailor Moon for me in the morning, and an episode of Mighty Max for my brother. Eventually Sailor Moon only aired on cable, and my family didn’t get cable until I was in middle school, so I missed out on most of the later seasons.

Watching it recently I was surprised as how much I remembered and still felt familiar, but I was also delighted by what I didn’t remember. I’d forgotten that Serena/Usagi tends to eat a lot. One of the things she was snacking on was stuffed pork buns, which I remember as a delicious treat from my time in Taiwan. 

Usually stuffed pork buns are steamed, but as I don’t have a steamer at the moment, I specifically wanted to find a recipe for baked buns. I toyed with the idea of barbecue baked pork buns, but the recipe I found was for mushroom baozi, and I am so glad I found it.

I don’t have much experience baking, particularly with making dough from scratch. This recipe called for me to make the dough and give it an hour or two to rise, but I was going to be working and didn’t want to delay dinner by two hours or more once I got home, so I made the dough and let it rise over about 8 hours in the fridge (it turned out great).

It still took longer than I was expecting when I got home to roll the dough out into pieces and put the filling inside, but it was totally worth it. Most of the baozi I made were the mushroom recipe I found on the website, but I also made a handful with shredded pork from the crockpot and barbecue sauce. 

The mushroom ones actually turned out best (I didn’t use enough barbecue sauce, so the pork ones were a bit dry). I wasn’t real sure about being able to seal them up well, so I put them together upside-down. 

Mushroom Baozi

I also should have rolled out the dough a bit thinner, and maybe added a little more salt, but I will definitely repeat this recipe. 


So, there you have it. I haven’t been blogging as much as I should, but I’ve certainly been making things, and more than keeping busy. There’s always more to get done and more to learn. Are there any other recipes you’d suggest using mushrooms? Baby Bellas are my favorite. Any advice for loosening hand muscles after building something all day?