Sunday, July 25, 2010

japanese food

i tried to think of a creative title for this post for awhile. the thing is i just suck at thinking of creative/interesting titles. like on essays, you're supposed to have an interesting title to grab the attention of the reader but i usually just leave it blank. oops.

anyway, there are a lot of upsides of working at a michelin-rated restaurant. one of them is that i don't have to pay as much for really delicious yet expensive food. one downside is that i always want the food though. yet one more upside is that they give me really good ideas for recipes / sushi combinations so i can just recreate them. which is what i did last night.

i thought my dad took some pictures of the sushi but instead there's just this picture of me right after someone had called my name. cool.
anyway, besides the sushi i also made tempura shrimp and green beans, which can be seen at the very bottom of that picture. you know what's fun? panko! so fun and crunchy and makes tempura so much better.

today i worked the lunch shift and every time someone orders a california salad, i die / crave it so badly. it is made up of spring mix, cucumbers, tofu, crab, and avocado, with miso-tahini dressing. IT IS SO SO DELICIOUS. so i recreated that for lunch, except with salmon instead of crab because who keeps crab at their house?
for the miso-tahini dressing, i combined mainly soybean paste & tahini (essentially sesame butter), mirin (or sherry), rice vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, some sugar/honey, and some water to thin it. it's really deliciously addictive dressing.
EXCEPT I FORGOT THE AVOCADO!!! so when i had yet another salad for dinner i made sure to eat it with avocado.
also i made tempura tofu because there was a lot of extra tofu and also extra tempura batter and extra tempura sauce. everything was really effing good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

mochi and macarons

For my friend's birthday I decided to make mochi and macarons. 
Traditional mochi is much fancier and more difficult than what I ended up doing, but the final product tasted right. I followed this recipe, which uses the microwave and mochiko (glutinous rice flour) as opposed to $200 mochi makers or a mallet and bowl to mash rice into paste. I divided the mixture and used food coloring to make the green and pink ones.

This was the first time I've had semi-success with making macarons. The recipe I used was sort of a mixture of things from the book "I Love Macarons" by Hisako Ogita and this recipe. They ended up more meringue-y than I would have liked, but still pretty tasty. The middle is a buttercream recipe also from the "Macarons" book. It was almost too sweet, though. I'm going to keep experimenting with different macaron recipes until I finally get it right!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I miss France and am aching to go back -- and for more reasons than one. There, I said it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Curried Quinoa with Mango

OH WHAT UP, first time on FT. I shall introduce myself as the one that sucks at cooking, but could be wined and fine dined for eternity. Today was one of those perfect weather days in the East Bay. This morning, I went to Berkeley Bowl and felt like I died and went to organic produce, yuppie heaven. I bought a bajillion fruits and vegetables, and came home and made this weird dish for lunch. I wanted to try to make quinoa, because no one in my house knows how to cook quinoa. Thus, no judgement. I sort of stuck to this recipe, but added red onions, cilantro, and lime. It resulted in this:

Laughter ensued. Today I learned that I cannot chop a mango. Who knew it could be so difficult to chop up a mango. It was a mushy, mushy (yummy) mess. Anyway, it was pretty good but it's hard to get the texture of the quinoa right.

PS New froyo opened up in Montclair. Montclair was actually lookin pretty cute today.

- L

Peach and cherry fruit crumble with candied walnuts

A while ago, CPK and I went to TJ Maxxxx and Michaels to buy some life supplies (and kitchen ware). Peaches are on sale for 89 cents a pound at the store, so I thought of making a crumble in our newly purchased ramekins.
Ramekins are small ceramic bowls that are usually ovenproof and are used to serve all sorts of yummy goodness: molten chocolate cake, baked mac&cheese, ice cream, souffles, and CRUMBLES!

I used a combination of several crumble recipes from the Martha Stewart website - fun fact she's a Barnard Alum. Then I topped it with some candied walnuts. My mom used to make candied walnuts as a treat for herself (and I obviously snuck some) and I think they are a perfect topping for most anything sweet - crumbles, french toast, ice cream, etcetcetc.

3 peaches, cut, pitted and peeled
1 can of drained canned cherries (for pies, make sure there's no sugar added)
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
squirt of lime juice
half a stick of butter
graham crackers, any type of cookie you can crush up
oats (we probably used 1 1/2 cups
sprinkling of cinnamon (some for the crumble and walnuts)

2 cups of walnuts
sprinkles of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger
serves 8

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. put your fruits in a bowl with 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, and a bit of lime juice. mix 'em up and let them sit as they become syrupy.
  3. we just used whatever we had on hand: half a stick of butter, crushed up graham crackers, a ton of oats, and cinnamon. mix 'em up too, making sure the butter is creamed/evenly distributed.
  4. put a bit of the oat/cookie mix at the bottom of each ramekin before you put a spoonful of the fruit. set the rest of the oats mix on top of the fruit and stick 'em in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. while the crumbles are in the oven, spread the walnuts on a pan at a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. The amount of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves have to be put in by your own judgment. Constantly stir the walnuts as you sprinkle the sugar over the pan - your stove is probably too hot if the sugar starts caramelizing immediately. You want to give yourself time to coat all the walnuts before the sugar starts melting. Once the sugar starts melting, add the spices. Feel free to constantly be adding more sugar, it's supposed to be candied after all. When you're done, you should have little rocks of sugar and spicy goodness at the bottom.
  6. Take the candied walnuts and the yummy sugar that was a byproduct of candying, and place a hearty spoonful on top of each crumble.
  7. serve with milk.
  8. nom


When I was back home, my friend Mara took me to THE BEST TACO TRUCK EVER. El Grullo is located on 26th and International in Oakland, CA. You absolutely cannot miss it. Thinking about it is making me supa hungo again.

Mara got the (i think) beef tacos, pictured below - YUM. I got the ultimate carnitas quesadilla FOR SIX DOLLA BILLS and it was perfection. The pork was so perfectly cooked, and it was ooooozing with a beauty of a cheese. Even though it was super cheesy, it wasn't nearly as greasy as I was bracing myself for, which I can appreciate. I especially love the radishes on the side.
The mister in the truck gave me much more than I could actually eat, so I'm planning on fasting before the next time I go so I don't waste a single bite.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hibiscus and the best sandwich ever

What is the most delicious sandwich that is also very easy to make, you might ask? The answer is an avocado and cheese sandwich. This is an old dad recipe of which many variations exist.

1. Take some bread (in this case an English muffin from the Cheeseboard) and toast it.
2. Put a slice of cheese (I used Pepper Jack) on each piece of toast and broil them for 5 mins or less.
3. Put avocado on the bread. Add chili flakes/other salsa depending on what's around. Salsa verde is very tasty or anything with tomatillos.

Now for some tasty drank. Have you ever had the Hibiscus iced tea at Peet's? That is where I was first introduced to this delicious beverage. Now that I think about it I've had it at Bissap Baobab, which is a Senegalese restaurant. If I recall correctly they make it with ginger! I should do that next time. My friend Alice made her own version last summer, using dried hibiscus from Mi Pueblo, a Mexican grocery store at 1630 High Street. I was in the Mission recently and I got some there. This is what it looks like:
I presume it comes from this plant. Which we now own. My mom wants to dry our own since those shrivelly guys kinda freak her out.In Spanish the word for Hibiscus is Jamaica, which is pronounced Ha-mike-ah. It turns out this isn't just a Mexican drink, it's popular throughout Latin America, and in some parts of Africa and Asia as well. It has its own Wikipedia page in fact. It's full of vitamin C too!

To make it, I kiiinda followed this recipe. I used different amounts of stuff though. I used 6 or 8 cups of water, almost a full cup of dried flowers (wash them off first and they expand), and a little more than a 1/2 cup of sugar.
I boiled the water first and let the flowers and sugar steep for 15 minutes.
Then you have to strain it and let it cool. I added the juice of 5 limes, which was a very good addition.
You might want to water down the juice or at least add a few ice cubes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Making your mouth water just because I can. Actually, it's just making my mouth water because I can't have it in New York. It was the first thing I ate when I went back home 2 weeks ago. In-N-Out is only available on the West Coast: Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

Fun fact, they were the first to conceptualize a drive-thru, hence the name IN N OUT. derr.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's 97 degrees in New York.

What's better than coming home from work on a paralyzingly hot day to homemade orange popsicles that Yooni and I made yesterday?