Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I saw some plantains on sale at Mr. Coco, my favorite grocery store. And I was craving Cafe Habana / Habana Outpost plantains so I thought we could give them a try. One thing to know before buying them: if you are planning on making savory fried plantains, buy them greenish, if you are making sweet plantains they should look like an overripe banana. I bought them sort of in the middle, so we had to wait for a few days.

All you do is put some butter in a pan and stick them in there. It takes longer than you would expect, also it's probably better to have the butter pretty hot when you put the slices in. You can add some brown sugar to help the caramelizing process along.

We had one plantain left that I made today. The secret to making it better was more butter and more patience. Probably the solution to many things in life.


When I got home to the apartment today it was at least 75 degrees inside. I had to immediately escape to the fire escape (ha!) but I needed a cold drink to rehydrate myself. This may look fancy, but it is basically a homemade slurpee. All it is is about 6 ice cubes blended with some store-bought grapefruit juice and the juice of a lime.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Naengmyun (냉면)

The summertime calls for some korean cold noodles. Now there's two ways we could do this, the first being mul naengmyun, which is the noodles in a cold broth. The second way is bibim naengmyun, which is served with gochuljang, a spicy korean sauce. "Bibim" mean mixed, and that's exactly what you're supposed to do with dish. Get in there with your chopsticks and aggressively work it so that the sauce gets on every bit of noodle!

There's even a song about naengmyun which is uh, pretty popular in Korea (?).

Bibim Naengmyun Recipe

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Nicole's ice cream project got us pretty jealous, unfortunately we ain't got none ice cream machine. So we did the next best thing: vietnamese ice cream popsicles! (mostly condensed milk) All we did was drop some condensed milk at the bottom of a couple plastic cups, some vietnamese coffee (coffee+even more condensed milk) on top of that, plopped a spoon in it and stuck in the freezer. Cut off the cups and there you have it!

Currently gnawing a mango and raspberry popsicle: just blended up mango with some whole raspberries.

ice cream endeavor, part 3: butter pecan

my ice cream recipe book does not include a recipe for butter pecan ice cream, though it does include a recipe for buttered pecans to mix in. but i wasn't sure if butter pecan ice cream was really just vanilla with pecans in it, or something else. i thought of all the times i've had it and tried to remember just the ice cream's flavor... i couldn't. i asked my dad, butter pecan ice cream aficionado, for his take. "no there's something weird going on," he said, "it's not vanilla. it's BETTER than vanilla."

right he was. the recipe i used makes a very strongly flavored ice cream, more so than any butter pecan ice cream i've had. that being said, it's creamy and buttery and delicious. it's a great combination of salty and sweet. lastly, bourbon goes wonderfully with the flavor and it gives a perfect hint so i would recommend adding a bit to the ice cream, but that's optional.

butter pecan ice cream
recipe adapted from simply recipes (which has great pictures of the process) and the perfect scoop.
(makes 1 1/2 quarts)

for the ice cream:
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
2–3 tbsp bourbon (optional)
for the pecans:
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1. in a medium sized heat-safe bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until well blended. set aside.
2. pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and set a medium-mesh sieve on top. set aside.
3. in a medium thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter. cook it, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown. add the brown sugar and salt. stir until the sugar completely melts.
4. slowly add the milk, stirring to incorporate. it will foam up initially, so make sure you are suing a pan with high enough sides. heat until all of the sugar is completely dissolved. do not let boil or the mixture may curdle.
5. whisk in hand, slowly pour half of the milk and sugar mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to incorporate. then add the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/sugar mixture.
6. stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5–7 minutes. a line drawn across the back of the spoon should not flow back together, comme ça:
7. pour the custard through the sieve and stir it into the cream. add vanilla and stir until cool over the ice bath. chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
8. meanwhile, make the buttered pecans. preheat the oven to 350. melt the butter in a skillet. remove from heat and toss the pecans with the melted butter until well coated, then sprinkle with the salt. spread evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10–12 minutes, stirring once during baking. remove from the oven and let cool completely. chop coarsely.
9. once the ice cream mixture is thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
10. once the ice cream has been formed in the ice cream maker, it will be fairly soft. pour in bourbon, if using, at the last minute of churning. fold in the chopped pecans. put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several. if it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.


Friday, May 27, 2011

om nom nom

Digging through my photos from highschool - this project seems oddly appropriate for this blog. 

shot the first one down

Monday, May 23, 2011

chocolate chunk walnut cookies

Last night I dreamt of levain cookies. Even though I brought some home on the plane with me (yeah, really) I still miss them so much and my belly is sad. So today I tried to make them based on this interpretation. They turned out yummy and almost sort of satisfied my craving. The only thing I wish is that they were more gooey on the inside because that's one of the reasons why my heart and tummy cannot resist loving levain. It's hard to get that perfect balance between golden on the outside but raw dough-y on the inside because they're so GIANT. You can experiment around and see what works best.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

ice cream endeavor, part 2: pistachio

disclaimer: my ego is very high right now.

we just finished having a party, at which i served this pistachio ice cream with a chocolate tart. the ice cream got such responses as "amazing" and "intense" (from people who don't even like ice cream) but also "i don't remember having a better ice cream... in my life." how do you respond when someone tells you that you just made the best ice cream that they have ever tasted in their entire 50+ year life?? apparently, it was that good. i feel a little like harper lee—if i've made something this good already, maybe i should just stop now. if i were to continue, will it only go downhill from here? except unlike harper lee, i will make more, since this is my summer endeavor.

i made pistachio because it's the favorite flavor of the guest of honor at out going away party. the perfect scoop didn't have a recipe for it (what?) so i used epicurious.

pistachio ice cream via epicurious with my notes embedded
(makes 3 1/2 cups)

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, toasted, coarsely chopped. didn't use these

finely grind 1 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar in a processor. make sure not to turn into butter. bring milk and ground pistachio mixture to boil in a heavy saucepan. remove from heat. mix in almond extract.

whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl. gradually whisk in hot mixture. return custard to saucepan. cook over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes (do not boil). strain into large bowl. chill cold, about 2 hours.

stir 1 cup whipping cream and chopped pistachios into custard. instead, i used the pistachio pieces leftover from the strained mixture and toasted those. also only added half the cream. turned out fine. process mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. transfer to container and freeze.

had to serve it with something, so i made a chocolate tart, consisting of: chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. oh, and also some chocolate. it was really rich.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

S is for SUMMER and SALSA.

Nessa and I are kicking off BK right. All the Mexican groceries nearby make me feel right at home; you know your spices are great when they come in those little plastic baggies. People who have normal prices for tomatillos and peppers have no idea how good they have it (F. U. UWS.) -- A HUGE PACKAGE OF SERRANOS FOR LESS THAN TWO DOLLARS??? Unheard of in Manhattan.

Speaking of groceries, this morning (afternoon? i can't keep track of time) we went to the Fort Greene Farmers Market, which is only a couple of blocks away from our summer apartment, and picked up some tomatoes for our pico de gallo.

Unfortunately, our apartment doesn't get a lot of light and all the pictures I take of our food are rather hard to see. On the plate:
  • refried beans
  • quesadilla with monterey jack and cheddar
  • pico de gallo
  • tomatillo salsa
  • unsalted tortilla chips

How I make tomatillo salsa

Friday, May 20, 2011

V-Nam Cafe

So my food adventure with Anthony wasn't quite over...
We decided to walk to Chelsea Market from the Meatball Shop and on the way we fatefully passed by V-Nam Cafe. I had seen this comic review in the Village Voice just the other week as I was cutting up publications to make collages. It obviously caught my eye because it was a comic and it claimed to have really spicy banh-mi. I honestly take it as a challenge when someplace claims to have the spiciest of anything SO OF COURSE I NEEDED TO TRY IT. The chance just so happened right after eating 4 giant meatballs and a bowl of polenta.

The thing that they added to make the sandwich spicier than its peers is a bunch of thai peppers that were marinated in (what I think is) fish sauce. Their roast pork wasn't as good as I'm used to having in my sandwich - alas Dorthy, we are no longer in San Jose; and the bread isn't very crusty so the extra banh mi that I ordered to go didn't keep very well. On the upside, the bread was warm and just crispy enough when they first served it.

The verdict: YOU SHOULD GET BANH MI AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, just don't take this one to go.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


 Anthony, my foodie friend from high school, was in town so I took the opportunity to go to a restaurant that I've had my eye on since seeing it on Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel. The last time I was at the Meatball Shop I was with a different friend from out of town, but we couldn't get in even after waiting for over an  hour because of a party of 30+ for a birthday party. (No worries, we {me + him + his girlfriend + his girlfriend's friend} spent the time drinking two pitchers of frozen margaritas at El Sombrero). Thankfully, we got seated immediately as we got there.

What you can expect:

  • fun menu that you can write on with dry erase markers to place your order
  • a lot of other people
  • relatively quick service considering how many people will be there
  • a waitress who insists on the desserts
  • really hip customers in black and super tight jeans running in and out of the restaurant for a smoke break (well, duh. you're in the lower east side)
  • approximately $15 for straight up food, no drinks. 

Seriously guys. It was so creamy and absolutely delicious - I really can't say enough about it. The meatballs were good but merely scored an "OK" in comparison to the polenta. Holy shit, guys. So good.

I hope that Anthony and I were not the anomaly for getting seated and served so quickly. I highly recommend it for a fun, cheap outing with friends. And thanks to Anthony for taking these pictures! It really isn't fair how the iphone4 takes such good pictures in comparison to my sad htc hero.

Monday, May 16, 2011

ice cream endeavor, part 1: vietnamese coffee ice cream

my food endeavor this summer is to make ice cream (at least) once a week. while at barnes & noble, i took 20+ pictures of ice cream recipes to tackle, and there are more than 20 weeks in the summer. then i realized i should just buy the book that all the recipes came from.

i landed last night at 8, got home at 9:30, and got to work on my first batch by 10. i don't waste time.

this ice cream is unbelievably simple. it's even easier than normal coffee ice cream (which involves infusing milk with coffee beans, or something more complicated like that). it uses espresso and sweetened condensed milk, just like real vietnamese coffee.

vietnamese coffee ice cream from the perfect scoop by david lebovitz (of course)
(makes about 1 quart / 1 liter)

1 1/2 cups (600g) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) brewed espresso (or very strongly brewed coffee)
1/2 cup (125 ml) half-and-half
big pinch of finely ground dark roast coffee

whisk together the condensed milk, espresso, half-and-half, and ground coffee. chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Worst mistake of Cee Lo's life

Famiree (or at least most of us) is obsessed with this show, and this week has got us all crazy. Vicci and Niki need to get together forever because they are amazing. Devbo, Nicole and I bought the song on itunes.
Skip to 4:55 and watch until the end. The group hug kills me.

Cee Lo's outfit is also amazing. And very, very red.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dim sum and shaved ice! Our flushing adventure.

Guess what time it is? It's I-have-a-paper-due-tomorrow-so-of-course-I'm-going-to-blog-tonight time! You gotta take some time away from your serious stuff so you can come back to it with fresh eyes - hence, the sudden increase of blog posts around midterms and finals.

This past saturday, our lovely lady Steph invited us to her stomping grounds: FLUSHING.

We took a brief tour around the Flushing mall before getting dim sum.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

famiree google docs

never gonna give you upnever gonna let you downnever gonna Tiramisu aroundand DESSERT younever gonCHINESE FOODna make you crynever gonna SAAAYBANH MI neveICE CREAMr gonna tell a Lattestop it livySTOPPPPPPPPPPABRACO ALL DAY EVERY DAYAGREEEEEEEEEYAYYYYYYYPPPPPPPPPPPPPand hurt PHOchocolate

I highly recommend simultaneously editing a google document with your friends.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

es en double o pee dee o double jee


On April 30th, 2011, Snoop Dogg graced Columbia University's campus and the Famiree got crunk.
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we do other things besides eat and sleep

A bit of the eurotrip scrapbook I'm working on (currently on hiatus because of school). It will get done.... eventually.

study snacks pt. 2

Terren really loves to eat dried fruit as her study snack. When she goes to Trader Joe's, she often gets "Nothing but... Banana, Flattened" and says that the dried Green Mango is like what she imagines crack to be like. Yum.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Today, half of the famiree went down town to get some of that BIG GAY ICE CREAM TRUCK. The guys who run the damn thing are so friendly and make conversation with people in line. Our regular late night Cooking Channel marathons have been featuring street food in New York. Big Gay Ice Cream Truck has a feature in Eat St - even thought we knew about BGICT before, we REALLY needed to seek it out after salivating all over our telly.

Nicole got Cococone - which she highly recommends even if you don't like coconut, because she doesn't like coconut but it was spiced with curry powder which was an awesome and tasty combination.

Nessa and Terren got the SALTY PIMP which has dulce de leche and seasalt on vanilla soft serve dipped in chocolate.

I got the WASABI CONE and it was so so so so delicious. I could not have imagined how great it would be - who da F knew that wasabi and vanilla were meant to be?????

spontaneous saturday brunch!

At around midnight last friday/saturday, we decided it would be fun to have brunch in the morning. Here's what we ended up with:
  • cucumber coolers
  • cranberry-orange scones
  • leek, white asparagus and squash frittata
  • crêpes with brie, jam and fruit
  • cheddar and dill scones
  • strawberry and mango fruit salad
  • plus toast and orange juice! (not pictured)

Monday, May 2, 2011

study snacks pt. 1

This is how Steph arranges the Koala cookies before she eats them.