Sunday, September 27, 2009


So, while this should be a post about either a soup or dessert (I hadn't decided), you may have noticed from the lack of pictures that it is in fact not. The reason being that I have indeed contracted the flu, and if you've ever had the flu, then you know that the last thing you really want to do is eat let alone cook. (However, drinking Powerade mixed with water has never been more of a party).
Therefore, I will work to get something up sometime this week, it's just not going to be getting up today. Stay healthy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Boba in the microwave (aka the best day of my existence)

If you know me at all, you would know that it was only a matter of time before I would try to make Boba, or Bubble Tea, in the microwave. I have spent more money than I care to admit on $3.00 boba, so when I found a pack of tapioca pearls in Chinatown for $1.35, I couldn't resist.

The instructions on the back of the pack seemed straight forward: boil 10 cups of water for 1 cup of bubbles, cook for 5 minutes. It sounded basically like pasta.

Attempt One: I poured about a quarter cup of bubbles into my handy-dandy pint-size microwavable bowl(for serious, if you have a microwave, get a microwavable bowl) and filled the rest up with water. Then, I microwaved it on High for about 5 minutes. The bubbles were cooked! (you can tell that they are cooked when they have all risen to the top of the water when you open the microwave door) buuuut, they were definitely
al dente.

Attempt Two: I poured the same quarter cup of bubbles into my handy-dandy etc etc bowl, but this time I only filled it up about an inch and a half above the bubbles. The logic was that water has a crazy high heat capacity, increase the cooking rate per minute by lowering the water needing to be cooked. Then, I microwave it on High for 3 minutes. When I opened the door the water was boiling, but the bubbles were perfectly cooked.

Perfectly cooked bubbles are important. If they feel starchy at all, similar to the feel of a unripened banana, then they haven't been cooked enough. However, if you can bite straight through the bubbles, and their consistency reminds you a lot of jello, they've been overcooked. You are looking for something where the outside if soft and squishy, but when you bite them they have a gum
my-esque texture.

*quick cool fact (to help formatting): most tapioca pearls are made with potato or sweet potato starch. GASP*

Now that you have Boba, you can put it in a drink. One of my favorite mixes is milk and aloe vera drink. The taste is sweet, clean, and great with any bao you might come across. Seriously, though, you can put almost anything with boba: tea, juice, water (if you want), soda. Another thing which is really yummy is boba with sliced mango and coconut cream, either by themselves or over warm and salted sticky rice (which you can also make in microwave, more on that later). Anywho, enjoy! Omnom =)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Bruschetta Brunchinner

After a week of dining hall food, the weekend offered a wonderful reprieve. This morning I bolted from my dorm, shopping list in hand. I needed: tomatoes, basil, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, bread, and, love of all loves, garlic. I was so excited because today was making my very own brunch, a brunch of bruschetta (which turned into brunchinner pretty quickly)

I was able to get a lot of the ingredients at Reading Market. I guess because it's out of season, though, I couldn't find any basil. Eventually, I turned to my favorite place in the world, Chinatown, and was able to pick up a small bundle of Thai basil for a buck.

The other trial and tribulation came from looking and looking and looking for good tomatoes. I'm pretty convinced Philly has none. For this recipe I ended up using stewing tomatoes which have a decent amount of flavor. However, ideally, I would like to use and would encourag
e you to use if you can the tomatoes in the above picture. Yes, they are heirloom tomatoes, but no you should not ever spend an insane fortune on them, and just because they are heirloom does not mean they are heavenly. These were the tomatoes I used and photographed like crazy the first time I made bruschetta. If you want any heirloom thoughts, just e-mail me =P

Quick note, my camera was feeling less than cooperative, so the pictures for this post are limited, sorry! Alright, so let's get started.

You will need:
-Two medium sized tomatoes that have some smell (actually pick them up, put them to your nose, and inhale. It's fun, trust me)
-Two-three cloves of garlic
-Six large basil leaves
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Olive oil to what feels right
- about five slices of bread (preferably bread with a crackly crust)
-enough butter at room temperature to coat five slices of bread on both sides

Core and then cut up the tomatoes into about half-inch cubes. Throw the cubes and remaining juices into a bowl. Mince the garlic and add it to the bowl. cut the basil into ribbons and add. Finally, add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix. Isn't that simple?
While that mix sits and equilibrates, cut and butter your five slices of bread.

Now, toast your bread using an iron. The directions for this can be found in the previous post Grilled Cheese! With an Iron!, just follow that minus the cheese. When it is golden-brown and releases from the foil with ease, your bread is done and you can cut it in half and top it with bruschetta. The one down-side is that I really like bruschetta thick and crunchy, but the weight of the iron often removes this characteristic; Unfortunate, but still worth it to have easy dorm-made bruschetta!

So, leave your door open and inhale as the bouquet of bruschetta fills your dorm.
This is serious omnomming!

OH! and don't forget, I still need your input for the Test of the Best: Ramen Edition. Share your favorite ramen, additions, or anything else you feel is important!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Announcements! Announcements! Anou-ouncements!

FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT: The MiniFridge and Microwave will be holding its first Test of the Best very soon. A Test of the Best takes an assortment of some kind of food and puts it to a taste test of a panel of testers (i.e. dormmates, friends, and random people I snag off the street...kinda).

The first Test of the Best test will be (drumroll): RAMEN. There is nothing more quintescential "college eats" as ramen. There are a lot of different kinds of ramen out there, some good and some dreadful. We will decide which has the best noodles, broth, overall best etc.

But! Are there any types of ramen you think should not be overlooked? Is there a specific characteristic whose best carrier must be decided? Clue us in so that we can make this the best Test of the Best possible.

SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT: Also, if you hadn't seen yet, Mini and Micro is now on Twitter at (really creative right?). So, now you can follow the important food activities and the not as important but still delicious everyday food activities of Mini and Micro! Yay!

LAST ANNOUNCEMENT: Philly College kids, head down to Chinatown for most of your shopping almost always. Cheaper food and often super fresh produce. Seriously save money and it's more fun =)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Funky Food: Dry Soda

Funky Food #2: Dry Soda

Should you try it? I would recommend this soda for crazy soda lovers or for people really into floral flavors.

Where can you find it?
Random vendors listed here and of course

$3.50...for a soda...

To put that in perspective, I resent paying more than that for breakfast let alone one carbonated drink.
But, how could I resist the lure of a slender and clear bottle marked simply in a minty green as "cucumber soda."

In high school, I spent a lot of time exchanging soda bottles with a friend of mine in an effort to find the best and weirdest varieties. As far as weird goes, Dry Soda's flavors probably take the cake. I tried Cucumber and later Juniper Berry, but there was also Lavender, Vanilla Bean, Lemongrass, Kumquat, and Rhubarb.

The actual flavor of the soda is unexpected to say the least. I'm a fan of dark droughts of root beer, syrupy sassafras, or a spicy bottle of ginger beer, but Dry Soda is light in its flavor, very, very delicate, and, I mentioned before, floral, but almost to a perfume-y level. Cucumber, unfortunately, reminded me a lot of the cucumber smell in Bath & Body Works lotions. It was one of those flavors that almost works before striking a chord in you mouth that just does not sit well. What were good were the sugar levels. There was definitely sugar present, but it was not the over-powering sweetness found in most sodas.

Juniper Berry was a real treat once I got into it. The flavor is like violet with a hint of heavy earthiness in the background and then this rich purple flavor (to add some synethesia) like the purple of Concord grapes.

I wanted to try more of the flavors but on a limited budget and having already spent over $7.00 on two bottles of soda, I turned towards cheaper and far less funky things.

However, if you have the cash and are wondering what to do with it or if you are simply gaga for new and exciting foods try out Dry Soda. You can order it here.

If you do get a chance to try any of the other flavors or even the two I mention, please, let me know how they are!

P.S. It is so obvious college has started because almost everyone has disappeared from the internet. Come back, college students, we miss you! =P

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Philly Cheesesteak Classic: Pat's? or Geno's?

Figure 1. Pat's: both with cheese whiz, one onions, one peppers
No Philly visit or, in my case, four year residence is complete without the ultimate comparison of Pat's and Geno's Cheesesteaks. So, without delay I went for the comparison of the two rival establishments (located right across the street from each other in the Italian Market) and waited in the HUGE lines which were spilling out across the streets. Pat's is the original cheesesteak place. They started as a food cart business in 1930 and soon became a big hit for their chopped meat sandwiches. Geno's started in 1966 and ... that's about it. Now, there is a pretty legendary rivalry between the two and between people who put their love with one or other. It's actually really silly, but most everything good in life is.

So, which is in fact the better cheesesteak?

First, you should know that both have the same bread, so the competition really does come down to the cheesesteak aspect. Pat's had a lot and huge pieces of meat [fig. 1]. The cheese whiz (which you MUST get to really appreciate the Philly cheesesteak) was fine, you can't really screw up cheese whiz, but not enough for all the meat in the sandwich. Unfortunately, Pat's meat was also really thick and kind of overcooked, so it was pretty chewy.

Geno's was really surprising [fig. 2]. They season their meat really nicely. I didn't even realize that Pat's didn't have seasoning until Geno's. Their meat also had thinner and better consistency than Pat's. They also had a decent amount of cheese =)

Figure 2.
Geno's: Both with onions, one cheese whiz, one American. Go whiz.

You've probably guessed which I would recommend, but I'll state it officially for the record. The MiniFridge and Microwave officially says that Geno's is truly "the Best."BUT, is Geno's the best cheesesteak in Philly? I happen to know it's not, but I'll keep you updated with new places as I get to them. For now, head down to the city of brotherly love and omnom.

1219 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5005
+1 215-389-0659

1237 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5060
(215) 468-1546

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Perfect Thing for the Microwave: Chocolate and Banana Bread Pudding (ftw)

First off, sorry that I didn't update again last week. A lot came up; college adjustment is a bit more complicated and crazily busy than anticipated. However, this recipe is pretty delicious, super simple, and perfect for nights just chilling in the dorm. Bread Pudding is one of those fantastic desserts (or breakfasts) which has a basic concoction (stale bread, milk, eggs) and then whatever in the world suits your fancy. All in all very straight forward. The only "issues" arise between those of us who like a drier bread pudding, more like a cake, or a wetter bread pudding, more like, well, a pudding. I stand by wet. If you are one who is horrified by the thought of un-arid bread pudding, then relax on the milk in this recipe.

For Chocolate and Banana (the best combo of flavors ever, by the way) Bread Pudding, you will need:

  • A circular microwavable container. Mine is about a pint in volume. To see what a microwavable container is see the previous post, Basic Microwavable Pasta.
  • 2-3 slices of decently dry bread. If the bread isn't dry, then it can't absorb all the things added which are delicious and good.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana. The one I got wasn't ripe; while the bread pudding was still wonderful, every bite of unripened banana had a hint of sadness =(
  • A handful of chocolate chips, maybe about 30. I have to take this moment to proudly state that I used just the right amount of chocolate chips. I'm saying this because some of my friends recently dined upon chocolate and banana pancakes, which I may have made "86% chocolate, 12% batter, and 2% banana."
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of milk, you know, roughly
First, mix together the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs in the microwavable bowl. You want the eggs mixed really well or else you will have chunks of cooked egg in your pudding. Cut up pieces of bread into strips or bit size pieces and then soak them in the milk, vanilla, etc mixture. Move the pieces around if you have to. Mix in slices of banana and the chocolate chips. Cook the whole group in the microwave on high for about 5 minutes or until there is no liquid that you can pour out.

While the bread pudding cooks, it may begin to expand. Mine started rising, and I freaked out, fearing another Panda Bread incident. However, it settles down again once you stop cooking it.

This recipe makes enough for probably two people, unless you really like bread pudding in which case omnom!