Tuesday, June 29, 2010


There are many great ice cream place in the San Francisco Bay Area, but Ici just belongs. It's just so cute, and refreshing, and cute. Kids and faculty (HI LINH AND VANESSA) from our highschool frequent Ici all the time. yumyumyumyum I hear their honey lavender is quite delectable. I'm personally quite enamored with their basil. I had a scoop of caramel pecan and fresh creme apricot (which tasted quite like the Bakesale Betty's scones).

Their cones are quite delicious with chocolate at the bottom. The weather was warm enough that the chocolate was soft at the bottom. Yum.

Summer Rolls

It's summer. Let's make some summer rolls.

1. Chop up veggies. I used cucumbers, carrots, jicama, and green onions. For herbs I used mint and cilantro. Also lettuce.

2. Marinate tofu slices. You don't have to do this but it makes it tasty. I used peanut sauce, a little soy sauce and some rice vinegar.

3. The rice paper wrapper you can get at most grocery stores and they are really cheap. I got Vietnamese Bánh Tráng brand Spring Roll Wrapper Galettes de Riz. You need a shallow bowl of water. Swirl the rice paper in water for about 10 seconds until it gets soft.

4. Load up the goods.
5. Roll it up. I don't have a very special technique for this, just fold the ends in and then roll it tight.
6. EAT. With Peanut Sauce. I used Thai Kitchen Peanut Satay Sauce, which was pretty good, but not the holy grail of peanut sauces. Should probably hit up Little Saigon for that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rosemary & beets

Yesterday my brother and I made pasta. We used the recipe from the pasta machine, which is 500 grams of flour and 4 eggs. Since we had some beets, my brother had the idea to make the pasta beet-colored. We weren't sure the best way of getting the beet color into the dough. We ended up food processing some and kneading it into the dough, which wasn't perfect since it left little piece of beet that made a whole in the dough when we tried to roll it really thin. We also added food processed rosemary. My general rule of thumb for using herbs and spices is that you can never have too much. I grabbed a veritable branch from our rosemary bush and chopped it up. It looked like a huge amount, but it gave a nice hint of flavor that wasn't at all overpowering.
Max rolling the pasta
Word of warning: do not do this. Just because there is flour does not mean that the pieces won't stick. Next time we will use layers of wax paper.
The bottom layers stuck together. We actually cooked it just like that because we couldn't figure out what else to do with it and it turned out fine; you couldn't really tell. The pasta cooks in about 3 minutes because it's fresh.The finished product. We used a sage butter sauce, which is literally just sage leaves and butter sautéed. There were also sautéed shittake mushrooms.These are the beets. I have had beets in many shapes and forms and this is the best way to cook them in my opinion. It's really simple too. All you do is cut them up and bake them with salt and a little olive oil until they are soft when you stick a fork in. I added some of the extra rosemary too. If you cut them sort of thin they carmelize a little and it is delicious.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

grilled goodness

tonight's dinner had two themes: almost every item was a) grilled and b) on sale at safeway.

spare ribs were on sale so i went through my folder of bookmarked recipes on my computer and found one that i've been wanting to make: coffee-infused ribs. you make your own bbq sauce (yum) and one of the ingredients in it is coffee.

counter-clockwise, from left: coffee-infused ribs, brussel sprouts, assorted grilled vegetables, brown rice

we weren't planning to make brussel sprouts for dinner but yesterday i saw this really simple but delicious-looking recipe for grilled brussel sprouts, and since they were on sale—why not? topped with shaved parmesan cheese, mmm.

assorted grilled vegetables: portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, & eggplant.

we had brown rice because the brussel sprout recipe mentions this:
Oh and in case you are wondering why they are good for you, let me give you a small explanation. Brussel sprouts are high in protein. Although the protein isn’t complete, it can become complete with whole grains. Which means? Yet another way to get complete protein NOT from an animal!! Plus they are low in calorie and high in fiber.
and lastly, we had some buttermilk to use up so for dessert, my mom and i made a lemon buttermilk cake with raspberries.

we used this recipe but instead of frozen strawberries we used fresh raspberries, and we made 3/4 of the frosting recipe, skipping the lemonade concentrate and adding a little lemon extract along with the lemon zest.

looking forward to the leftovers.

Friday, June 25, 2010

magnolia cupcakes

one of my best friends left for argentina today. she's studying abroad there for the whole year, so i won't see her for a very long time. i sort of hate emoticons but if i used them i would put a sad face here.

she had a potluck a couple nights ago to see everyone before she left. i made cupcakes, using the magnolia bakery recipe. i mean, it's the one from their cookbook but i'm not entirely sure they would release the exact recipe they use in the bakery. still, they tasted pretty darn similar to me, and therefore they tasted pretty darn good. (maybe it was because for the two batches of cupcakes and two batches of frosting, i used 9 sticks of butter total. mmm mmm butter.)


Thursday, June 24, 2010

blueberry-orange scones

I made these scones the other day. I'm not sure where the recipe is from (the internets somewhere) and I changed a few things based on what we had available. I also made up an orange glaze to put on the finished scones.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • grated rind of two oranges
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a bunch of blueberries! (maybe 1 or 2 cups, however many you like)
    1. Mix the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a blender, until fine.
    2. Mix wet ingredients and then add to the dry, stirring until the mixture is moist. Add blueberries.
    3. Drop spoonfuls of whatever size you want your scones to be onto parchment paper.
    4. Bake at 400 F for 18 minutes.
    5. While the scones are still warm you can drizzle them with a glaze of the juice from the oranges and sugar. You can also add in some of the rind if you have any left. This makes the orange flavor even stronger, but if you like crispier, drier scones you shouldn't use too much of this because it makes the scones a little soggy if there's too much. The last thing I did was to sprinkle the scones with sugar, just for extra crunch/sweetness.

    I bet other fruit/berry combos would be good and fun to do also. I think this recipe made about a dozen scones, but I made them pretty large. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Summer in New York

    Yesterday, Cpk and I went to Bryant Park to watch Goldfinger. I love the James Bond series. I own all the movies at home. I knew Cpk would hate the movie (the Bond Girl's name is Pussy Galore), but I think she liked being outside. The weather at night has been really nice, so the HBO film festival in Bryant Park is going to be quite a treat. Cpk guessed that there were several thousands of people on the lawn. Considering that's where they used to pitch the tents for fashion week, I'd say it's possible.

    There are other movies playing at the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Central Park - actually all around. I can't find the page on gonyc, but it's there.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    gastronomic endeavors, 6/21/10

    today was quite the food-filled day. i woke up and my friend made some chocolate chip pancakes (i had twice the amount of chocolate chips as everyone else) and some fresh squeezed oj. my friend who made them's secret was to put half a mashed up banana in the batter. it was yummy because you could taste just a hint of banana flavor, which went well with the chocolate. no pictures.

    for lunch i was supposed to go eat with the same friends, but around 2 i give him a call and as he picks up, i hear "oh shit i forgot we were supposed to call nicole.. hey what's up?" nice. so instead, i went to the city with another friend with the mission of grabbing some lunch, then making our way to an ice cream place called humphry slocombe. little did i know, this would be the start of an epic food adventure, perhaps the most epic food adventure of my entire life.

    i suggested ike's place, which is a sandwich place i've heard a lot about. but then i realized i also wanted to go to pizzeria delfina, another place i've been meaning to go to. DILEMMA! the mission has an overwhelming amount of fantastic sources of food—so what were two hungry youths like us to do? compromise: split one sandwich at ike's, and split one pizza at delfina. problem solved.

    the line was 4-5 times longer than this.
    i only had my phone today, so sorry for the crappy quality of pictures.

    as we pulled up to ike's place (primo parking spot snagged right across the street, btw) there was a huge line out the door. this place is effin' popular. and for good reason; i recently saw two of their sandwiches featured on grub street's the san francisco sandwich register (a follow-up to their previous review of the 101 best sandwiches in new york), among many other accolades. after deciding on a sandwich and waiting about 15 minutes to order, then maybe another 15 minutes to get our sandwich, we made our way to dolores park to devour said creation.

    the peg bundy before: breaded eggplant, french dressing, avocado, smoked gouda, + all the basics every sando comes with ("dirty sauce," lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles, banana peppers)

    the peg bundy after (they even give you a lollipop!)

    we digested for a bit in the park, then went to delfina. on the way we passed bi-rite creamery, and it felt wrong to be so close and not get any ice cream there, though i knew we were going to ice cream after delfina. but a roadblock in our plans came when we found out that delfina wasn't open yet for dinner, as it was that awkward limbo time between lunch and dinner. so, we stopped in at bi-rite market, where i picked up some ginger beer that i had been craving and two types of cheeses: one from pt. reyes, and one handmade by nuns in france, called secret du convent ("which means 'secret of the convent' in french," it read. no shit!).

    since we had some time to kill.. i thought, why not get a bit of post-lunch, pre-linner ice cream (before our planned post-linner ice cream)? this certainly wouldn't be the first time i've had ice cream more than once in a day. bi-rite creamery's ricanelas (cinnamon ice cream with snickerdoodles) and brown butter pecan are my favorites.

    counter-clockwise, from top left: ricanelas, brown butter pecan, and balsamic strawberry

    finally, to pizzeria delfina. we got the last outside table, perfect for people-/hipster- watching. i was craving artichoke hearts, and luckily one of the special pizzas of the day had sauteéd artichokes on it.
    capricciosa pizza: proscuitto cotto, artichokes, nepitella, panna, & mozzarella

    humphry slocombe is in the southeastern part of the mission, so we had a bit of a walk to get there. perfect for walking off a bit of my growing food baby. when we got there, i was greeted with such ice cream flavors such as balsamic caramel and secret breakfast, and sorbets like cucumber ice milk, hibiscus beet, or thai chili lime. what? wait, what?! check out their full list of the flavors here. we sampled literally every one, except for maybe vanilla and chocolate.

    between the two of us, we ended up getting balsamic caramel, mcevoy olive oil, peanut butter curry, and cucumber ice milk.

    the balsamic caramel was really intense. they definitely captured the strong balsamic flavor (unlike bi-rite's balsamic strawberry, where you can't really taste the balsamic) but by the end it was a bit overwhelming. the olive oil was flavored with a bit of citrus, which you could taste at the beginning and then shifted to an olive oil aftertaste. it was nice until i realized that between the citrus flavor and the olive oil flavor, it tasted kinda soapy. hmm. and together the two were interesting (à la olive oil & balsamic vinegar).
    the peanut butter curry was my favorite; it tasted just like peanut butter at first, but you were left with a delicious curry aftertaste. together with the cucumber ice milk, the combo reminded me of eating the cucumbers that come as a garnish for chicken satay, dipped in peanut sauce.

    lastly, as we walked back to the car, we stopped at ritual roasters, a mission staple. yes the number of pretentious hipsters that inhabit the trendy café is unmatched, but the coffee is also pretty tasty. also, my friend is obsessed and demanded we stop in.

    we got lattes.

    LASTLY, seeing some saffron threads at bi-rite market gave me the idea to make paella for dinner. so when i got home i started cooking some paella, switching recipes three times before settling upon a recipe for express paella using a pressure cooker (best invention ever), mostly because my family was hungry and it was already 9:30. i added all the spices that were listed in all the other recipes though, which i think made it a lot better. it came out a bit liquidy, but tasted yummy.


    Summer mint

    I've been having a variation of this breakfast a lot this summer. This particular bowl has Kashi Strawberry Fields cereal, yogurt, peaches, mangoes, cherries, and fresh mint from the yard. My mom adds 2 leaves of mint to black tea every morning. It adds a nice fresh flavor. It's also really good in iced tea or fruit juice drinks. I made brownies the other day and melted mint chocolate into the batter to add flavor. My dad made a lemon tart and mint went well with that too. It's not hard to grow either. When I helped my friend Niki move into her apartment we smelled mint by the front door; I spotted some 'volunteer' mint growing in the grass.

    happy father's day, here's a pint of blood!

    a couple years ago, my dad asked for a pint of blood for his birthday. and by that he meant he wanted my brother and i to each donate blood in his honor (neither of us had done so before). my dad donates regularly, but my mom doesn't because she gets queasy around needles, and so does my brother, so i figured i would be too. but then i realized that i was totally fine with getting shots etc., so i signed up for my high school's blood drive. and it was totally fine. i give blood regularly because it's a quick and painless way to help other people out, and it reminds me of my dad which is nice.

    so in honor of this father's day, my dad and i are donating blood together. cute father-daughter bonding activity, no? i gave him this card. kinda ugly but hey i made it quickly.

    i'm a fan of the paper-cut cursive right now.. though it's a BITCH to glue since the paper is so skinny and fragile.

    except for when i gave it to him, he didn't realize it was a pint of blood, and thought it meant i was giving him a pint of ice cream. (his other present was an ice cream maker / the ice cream that i promised to make him from it. i actually just bought the ice cream maker for myself)

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Pizzas & Pico de Gallo cheese spread

    Today I discovered why pizzas have crusts. When you make pizzas as fat as we do, you're gonna need that extra dough on the sides to keep the whole thing from burning up. Can't imagine why this never occurred to me sooner. I guess I've always suspected some foul play on pizza makers' part because I really love my pies thin.

    From the bottom up:
    • pizza dough
    • tomato sauce
    • sliced fresh mozzarella
    • tomatoes
    • onions
    • green onions
    • chopped jalapeños
    • bacon
    • crumbled feta
    • shredded parmesan

    Pico de Gallo cheese spread
    This is adapted from a mediterranean spread that they had at Westside's sampling area.
    • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta
    • 1/2 of a jalapeño (or more, depending on how much heat you can handle)
    • 1/4 of a tomato with the seeds and pulped removed
    • 1/4 of an onion
    • handful of cilantro
    All you have to do is finely chop the vegetables and mix it all together. I'd add more tomato to kinda liquify the texture a bit more. Since this spread is a bit chunky, it tastes like pico de gallo, which is never bad in my book. I ate some with the pizza crust, which makes me think that it would be a nice variation of bruschetta. mmm.

    The spread at Westside (from what I could taste) had some olives a littttle bit of garlic.

    Photobucket Photobucket

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    molten chocolate cake

    During New York Restaurant Week, the Famiree went to Nougatine at Jean-Georges, which we found delightful. One of the most memorable dishes was the Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Livy took this picture of it:
     It was really good. Maybe because Jean-Georges is the (self-proclaimed) creator, inventor and popularize-er of the chocolate molten cake. Some French guy says otherwise. (This is according to wikipedia). Tonight I was in charge of dessert so I decided to try and replicate Jean-Georges' version. The recipe is actually a lot simpler than I thought it would be; it only has a few ingredients. Even so, I had some execution problems. It was still pretty yum though - what can be wrong about super hot melted chocolate pouring out from inside a layer of chocolate cake?
    The middle-liquidy part spilled out each time I tried to flip the cakes out of their dishes, so that by the last one I decided to leave the lil guy in there and just sprinkled some powdered sugar on top. I think baking the cakes for a little longer than the recipe's suggested 6-7 minutes would allow the outside, solid cake layer to be thicker and thus (hopefully) support the melted insides better when flipping it out of the baking dish. It could just be my oven, too. I will continue to experiment. This would be perfect with vanilla ice cream, which we did not have, so I served it with mint chocolate chip and lots of whipped cream. 

    Sunday brunch? BLT&eggs

    Bacon and eggs for brunch, but in a sandwich. Yum yum yum. I love wiping up the egg yolk with bread. It was a very bad idea to put the lettuce by the bread. Cooked lettuce is a bit funky. Anyways, the cheese was so creamy and lovely next to the salty, crunchy bacon. Yum yum yum.

    • bacon
    • tomatoes
    • lettuce
    • Havarti cheese

    We're going through bread at an alarming rate. I really want to try my hand at baking bread. Do I foresee a bread machine in my future? Hopefully.

    Nicole sent us a care package with monogramed cookies! Thanks boo. They were delicious. We'll put together a package for youuu - and one for Nessa too. Considering that I'm going back to the Bay Area next weekend, I'll hand-deliver them.

    Pizza My Heart

    Not the place from Norcal. Instead, we made pizza from scratch in our janky kitchen -- dough and all!

    Then, Yooni and I topped the pizza with:

    • Tomato sauce
    • Chicken apple sausage
    • Mozzarella cheese (for this, we used slices, but shredded tends to cook better and more easily)
    • Crumbled feta cheese
    • Fresh basil leaves

    I took this to work for lunch the next day. Honestly, one of the best antidotes for paper-pushing bureaucrat woes.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Eggs Benedict

    eggs benedict

    This is the eggs benedict that I mentioned in the last post. The recipe for the vegetable eggs benedict is available on Sprouted Kitchen. We ended up using a hollandaise sauce instead of the bell pepper one - we also used lime instead of lemon juice. Girl gotta use what she has at hand.

    On the side is an apple chicken sausage with feta cheese. The sausage was a bit too sweet for my tastes, but it went well with eggs benedict.

    Poaching the eggs was quite an adventure. I completely botched it the first time, because the whites broke and became too wispy. The second time, with Caroline's help, I cooked it in the spatula. The issue then was the egg sticking to the sides of the spatula. In my third attempt, I put more water in the spatula, but still had the problem of it sticking to the spoon. It was fine, but scrubbing the egg residue later was annoying. Does anyone have a fool-proof method of poaching eggs? Please share.

    famiree time, sans famiree

    my day was constituted by nearly every aspect of this blog. namely, i crafted, and i cooked, and at some points in time i was both crafting and cooking simultaneously (side note: studies show women are better at multitasking. fuck yeah). the only thing missing was the famiree.

    home alone, i decided to spend my time making and assembling a small package for my friend. awhile ago he had asked for a collage, and i've also been meaning to send him a cd.

    cd cover outside; inside. made from a colonial-era atlas page.

    my dad recently did a major cleanup of his office, and he's been throwing out all sorts of fantastic collage materials, such as a huge pile of road maps, a gigantic encyclopedia, and a colonial-era atlas. all these materials make an appearance here.

    you know what's fun about giving collages to two people who don't know each other? you can make two that are almost identical!

    "hello"; "fête des pères"

    and for dinner, i made salmon, pasta, & arugula salad. frozen salmon fillets are fantastic when cooking for one; so is pasta. come to think of it, so is salad. these are genuinely easy and quick things to prepare. so much so that i pretty much eat this stuff every single time i'm starving and need to make a meal for myself really quickly.

    balsamic salmon
    1. buy frozen salmon fillets from costco! they're the best. great for a mini meal when you're starving but too lazy to cook anything.
    2. mince some garlic, then place it in a pan with olive oil.
    3. place salmon fillet in pan, pour some balsamic vinegar in the pan too. cover with aluminum foil.
    4. cook it. i am terrible at cooking fish / any type of meat, so you better not follow my direction here.

    basic pasta
    this stuff is the best. it makes plain pasta a little more interesting. my friends always rave about my mom's pasta, but it's actually really simple to make.
    1. cook pasta according to package directions. i find that cooking the pasta for the exact time it says on the package yields the best-cooked pasta. except for today when it said to cook for 15 minutes.. at 13 minutes it was already overcooked. sad.
    2. while pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil and minced garlic in a pan. i typically use 1 clove of garlic per 1-2 people. add a bit of salt and pepper to the olive oil / garlic mix.
    3. watch carefully! you do not want the garlic to burn. it gets brown and crunchy and really weird. if the pasta has awhile to go, make sure to turn the heat of the oil down to low. the garlic should become fragrant.
    4. strain pasta, put in a bowl (or just back in the pot). pour oil / garlic mix into pasta and stir.

    arugula salad with lemon balsamic champagne dressing
    you should know how to make a salad. so i'll just tell you how to make the dressing i used, which is also delicious to dip the salmon in if it doesn't have enough flavor.
    1. i mixed girard's champagne dressing (my favorite; mixes well with lots of things) with some balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
    2. wait, you totally knew that just from the title anyway. this totally didn't need directions, did it..