You know, I used to hate Valentine’s Day. This so-called Hallmark holiday fabricated to get people to buy heart-shaped paraphernalia and Valentine cards—I thought it was all rubbish.
At the same time, I had never been in love until I met Mr. Williams. In fact, he was my first Valentine. Now I get what all the hype is about. It’s nice to spend a day celebrating each other’s love for one another. Well actually, I think I like Valentine’s Day more because it gives me an excuse to dress up and go out to a nice dinner. I mean, come on, how many occasions out of the year can I wear my fancy Rachel Roy romper?
This year the world is fortunate enough to have Valentine’s Day fall on a Saturday—meaning the celebration doesn’t have to only begin after work when we’re all tired and feeling gross from sitting in a cubicle all day. I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a romantic breakfast in bed? The answer is yes, which is precisely why I came up with these Valentine’s French Toast Breakfast Sandwiches.
For starters, we love breakfast sandwiches. But for Valentine’s day I wanted to crank things up a notch—thus, the French toast. Yes, they are heart-shaped. And yes, you can still make these if you are single. Continue reading
Pesto is and will always be my favorite sauce/condiment/flavor in the world. It’s so versatile. From pesto pasta (see recipe below), to pesto pizza, to even using it as a salad dressing, pesto just goes with anything.
If you checked out my blog post last week, where I made a Pumpkin Cilantro Pesto, you know that I’ve been looking for creative ways to amp up my pesto game. And there are so many ways to do it! From using dandelion greens to kale, and from using traditional pine-nuts to almonds, it’s easy to create a gourmet pesto if you follow the right greens to cheese to nuts ratio.
This is why I’ve created my Perfect Pesto Guide to help all you pesto Shefs out there get the right proportions down when it comes to swapping out ingredients to make that signature creative pesto of yours.
My pantry is taking over my life. Each time I open my pantry doors, I anticipate something to fall out and spill all over my kitchen floor. What will it be this time? The high-mountain green tea my Mom brought me from Taiwan? Or the canister of Greek olive oil from Santorini that I carried with me for a whole month while backpacking through Europe?
I really need to start organizing my life and use up all these ingredients. One thing about being an avid cook is that the ingredients really do pile up. For example, I have a hefty 1 lb bag of pumpkin seeds that’s been sitting in there for quite a while, from which I’ve only used a few cups worth for my 7 Ingredient pumpkin spice granola. Living in a tiny studio apartment, space becomes real precious. Time to use up those pumpkin seeds!
I’ve actually been fiending for pesto lately. But I wanted to make something creative, not just the usual basil and pine nuts combo. Recently, I had an amazing pumpkin seed salsa from my favorite vegan restaurant in San Francisco. The flavor in this thing was pure umami. The salsa was indescribably nutty, deep, slightly smoky, and creamy. I never knew that pumpkin seeds could taste like that! Thus, I was inspired. Rummaging through my fridge I search for what I could use as the green part of the pesto. To my surprise, I find a huge bunch of cilantro that I’d completely forgotten to use for a Spanish Chicken dish I made for supper on Sunday. Don’t you hate when that happens? Luckily, it inspired me to make this Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto. Continue reading
It’s been rather chilly here in the Bay recently, and there’s nothing that will warm you up better than a bowl of warm curry. Especially, some spicy red pumpkin curry.
My pumpkin of choice is the Kabocha squash—also known as a Japanese pumpkin. It’s that dark green, squat shaped melon-like thing you’ve been seeing at the grocery store. It’s delicious. It’s flavor is much like a butternut squash, but 10x sweeter and much creamier in texture.
It works magically in this curry recipe because as the curry simmers, the pumpkin sort of melts away and breaks down and thickens the sauce. No cornstarch needed here.
I threw some cauliflower into the mix to add some crunchy texture amidst the rich creaminess of the overall dish. I also threw in a few red jalapenos as well, for a pop of color, and also because I like things to be nice and spicy. This curry is packed with flavor, mostly because I didn’t skimp on the aromatics—ginger, lemongrass, and chili. No I didn’t use the dried stuff, it is pertinent here to use fresh. And although you will end up with more lemongrass stalks than you can think of ways to use, the flavor is incomparable and totally worth it.
By the way, anyone have some lemongrass recipes for me? Continue reading
I’ve been feeling rather stuck lately…
Career going nowhere. Check.
Relationship woes. Check.
Feeling lost. Check.
Feeling bloated. Check.
Questioning the point of my existence. Check.
Okay I may have exaggerated on that last part. But whenever I’m feeling like this, what does the mature, independent woman inside of me want to do?
I just wanna go home
Of course it is not possible to simply go home to mommy, whenever I’m feeling emotionally unstable. At 24 years old, I think it’s safe to say that I am a grown-up. Therefore, I usually satisfy my nostalgia for home in the form of food…such as dumplings. Back at home, my mom always keeps the freezer stocked with plump little handmade dumplings that she gets from the dumpling lady who makes them out of her house somewhere in the San Gabriel Valley (where the best dumplings come from).
So I decided to satisfy my yearning for some much-needed comfort food by making dumplings for myself. Geez, it’s been years since I’ve wrapped a dumpling. How do are you supposed to do it again? Whatever… maybe my muscle memory will come into play.
It’s almost time. In less than one week I will finally be in Paris! Over the course of the next two months, I will be backpacking throughout Europe. I can already taste the warm flaky croissants and fresh baguettes from Paris, paired with the world’s most sublime cheeses. I can already smell the smoky porchetta in Rome, slowly roasting over a spitfire for hours. I can hear the clanking of wine glasses filled with spicy Tempranillo from the vineyards of Spain. In order to prepare for the onslaught and debauchery of pure carbs, rich fatty meats and lots of alcohol over the next two months, I am amping up the veggie content in my diet here at home.
One of my favorite veggies are brussels sprouts. Often times, eating only veggies for a meal leaves me feeling hungry too quickly. However, because brussels sprouts are so hearty and packed with fiber, I end up feeling full and satisfied. Not to mention, they are packed with potassium and B-vitamins, which are essential for veggie-lovers. I also used some portabello mushrooms, which I love for their meaty texture.
I’m back! I apologize for being MIA this past month. Planning this Euro-trip has been at the top of my priority list, as I will be taking off in just a few short weeks! Recently, my life has been a whirlwind, from giving my 3-week notice at work, to dealing with my apartment, to starting a new workout regiment (Sean T, you never fail to impress me), to freaking out about my
lack of career options when I return (especially since I anticipate being broke, and my “inner-independent-womanly” self absolutely refuses to ask mommy and daddy for help), and figuring out how to pack my apartment into a few boxes. However, I think I’m handling things pretty well. Consequently, breakfast has taken a backseat in my morning ritual. What used to be my favorite meal of the day, is now nothing but a fleeting obligation of stale raisin bran cereal flakes, and a bitter cup of gasoline coffee. So today, I decided to remind myself of what breakfast is supposed to be.
It’s time for a detox. For the past few weeks, I have been spoiling my body with unnecessary indulgences, such as eating out way too often (which is also hurting my wallet), having one too many cocktails while eating out, and consuming heavy amounts of sugar from tasting new dessert recipes at work. I feel fatigued, my body is dragging me down, and my energy level is low. I also experienced my first bad sugar withdrawal. You know…that feeling you get when your body is craving sugar and the only thing you want in this world is a decadent red velvet cupcake stuffed into your mouth. So what’s a girl to do? Well whenever I am feeling like this, like the life is slowly being sucked out of me…there is one friend that I can always depend on…
KALE to the rescue! My life would not be the same without this superhero vegetable. I am a big fan of kale recipes, and this one may be the best one I’ve ever come up with. This kale salad is loaded with antioxidants, protein, and fiber, which is why I’ve called it a DETOX salad. It will make you feel fully satisfied without weighing you down, and the nutritional benefits will boost up your energy level.
The little sis is here visiting for the holidays.
And after a few days of touring the city’s finest eats, it’s time to take a breather and eat something green and good for you. Especially after killing an entire plate of San Tung’s famous dry fried chicken wings. This marinated kale salad does just the trick, and it takes barely any effort.
Cliché Alert: I LOVE FARMERS MARKETS.
What’s not to love? Every time I visit my local Civic Center Farmer’s Market, I discover ingredients I’ve never seen before. From long cranberry bean pods to Uzbek sweetness melons, and from Arkansas Black Apples to cherry tomatoes that come in all colors of the rainbow, the farmers market continues to feed my creativity in the kitchen. It is truly a treasure to be able to find such exotic colors, smells, and tastes right in the middle of the concrete jungle of downtown San Francisco.
This week I picked up some Heirloom Purple Potatoes.