Sunday, October 12, 2014

Persimmons

persimmons
I grew up eating persimmons, but thought it was an Asian thing. So, I am pretty pumped that they seem to be more mainstream now with recipes popping up everywhere; just look at Food 52's Your Best Persimmons contest! These little guys are Fuyu persimmons and I love them. Just so cute and cheery! Although, persimmons are a little more serious than other cute and cheery fruit (like Rainier cherries) because they herald the beginning of autumn, which I think of as the season of gravitas.

Winter is like a whole other thing because it has the emotions of the holidays and, depending on where you are, an enduring wait for spring/light at the end of the tunnel feel to it. I don't hear as much "when is it going to be over?!?!" exclamations about autumn. But, to give winter its due, it's the more "complicated" season (maybe that's a backhanded compliment).

Anyway, if you see persimmons and have never tried them, I encourage you to give them a whirl. It's difficult to explain what they taste like, it'll be easier if you just go for it. Unless you dislike most fruit, in which case, I don't know what to tell you.

And lastly, here's some delightful stuff I've seen online lately:

-Jolly Ranger Vodka from A Beautiful Mess! Sounds like a partayyy.

-3 Everyday Eyeliner Shapes from Cupcakes and Cashmere. I've been wanting to try a cat eye and these tips look very helpful.

-An articles club from A Cup of Jo. Love this idea, mostly because I am that person who is always telling you about this article or that op-ed someone wrote. I'd imagine it's more fun and a longer conversation (ha) if you discuss with friends who have also read it.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Huevos a la Mexicana

huevos a la mexicana

Sometimes, I choose a recipe because it looks easy and the ingredients list is fairly short (okay, on most occasions, this approach is how I decide what to cook). When I was looking for something new to make for breakfast, this Huevos a la Mexicana recipe from Simply Recipes spoke to me (like, eggs? I know how to crack eggs. Tomatoes? We have great tomatoes here! And so on and so forth). I made a couple ingredient changes: instead of green onions and jalapeno, I used half a yellow onion and canned green chiles.

Well, I was floored by how good these turned out! I am so happy I made this dish!!! Don't think I've been this excited about eggs in a long time, not exaggerating. This thing was so good. I highly recommend it for a weekday breakfast when a packaged granola bar just won't cut it or a friend brunch gathering that needs some pizzazz; it will be a surefire hit. I'm definitely adding this one to my repertoire.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pears & Cheese

pears and cheese

I usually take forever to pick cheese at the store. For sandwiches, it is not a labored process. Easy peasy. But, when I am looking for snack cheese, the beguiling wedges of domestic and imported alike can throw me into a loop of indecision. Sometimes, I even abandon the quest. But, this time, I persevered and emerged with something called Uniekaas Robusto, which is firm and nutty. Try it with pears or really, anything you like. This cheese is legit.

Other stuff I've been doing aside from looking intently at cheese:

-reading The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. Real good.

-watched my first TED talk by Mac Barnett! I get it now, guys.

-resisting the urge to follow too many pet Instagram accounts. I don't know why, everyone needs some cute in their lives (perhaps my daily quota is higher than others). I will probably get over it. Here's one of my favorite dogs.

Happy weekend!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pan-Fried Shrimp with Cherry Tomato Corn Salad

shrimp with tomato corn salad
Note to Summer: please stay. I am not ready to face the last months of the year. Let me luxuriate in the long days, pink sunsets and artisan ice cream a bit longer. I realize my tune has changed as I used to dread your high temps, seeking out air-conditioning like it was a life force. But this year, it feels different. I am different. So, please stay.

Based on what I've learned over time, this request will go unheard. So, I will take solace in the fact that a lot of nectarines, plums and peaches were consumed this summer. And I got to make this festive dish of pan-fried shrimp and a cherry tomato, corn and red onion salad. I am always amazed at how much flavor comes out of letting veggies or salads sit around in some lemon juice and olive oil. When in doubt, reach for the lemon and olive oil. You will get super results about 98%-100% of the time. You cannot say that for most things in life.

Happy long weekend!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Strawberry & Blue Cheese Spinach Salad

strawberry blue cheese & spinach salad

This spinach salad is an excellent example of something I like to make at home mainly because I can control the size of the blue cheese crumbles. Also, this salad needs strawberries of high caliber and I knew the strawberries I had on hand would fit the bill nicely. In a restaurant, I usually just hope for the best with fruit quality. Most of the time, it's passable, but not anything that could be classified as good.

The only component that requires some attention is the balsamic vinaigrette; my version is a bit of Dijon mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper whisked together furiously with a fork until emulsified (meaning everything has combined and the olive oil isn't a separate layer on top). A whisk probably works better, but I just use a fork.

If you want to get cute, you could throw in blueberries instead and call it a "blue" spinach salad. Just a thought!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Caviar + Crackers

caviar with crackers
I have been thinking of caviar and crackers for some time now, but could never commit to buying any of those tiny jars. But, finally the caviar-at-home dream has come true! Not an everyday thing for me, but salmon caviar is one of the more affordable types out there and a little goes a long way. Admittedly, I went overboard when spooning out the caviar, but I have never been one to shy away from salt. I added cream cheese to the mix and would recommend it highly because not only does it work well with the caviar, you will have a very good reason to stock up on bagels. Let's hear it for occasional splurges!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Japan - Part 2

Let's continue with the delectables from Japan! The ramen below was from a shop that had a vending ticket machine outside where you pay before entering and handing them your ticket. Interesting note: I only had ramen once while in Japan, but eat it quite often in daily life. Additional note: I am starting this post talking about vending machines again, although of a different variety.

japan ramen

Yakitori had to happen and what you see here is grilled cheese mochi.

japan grilled cheese mochi

A bit rich, but as I look at this picture, I want to have it again. And again. We had a bunch of other stuff, but I was very drawn to the mochi (it IS one of the best food items ever and I hadn't encountered such a skewer before).

Of course, more desserts to share! Here is a wafer cookie holding red beans, green tea ice cream and... you got it, mochi!! Not entirely sure if these qualify as mochi or if I should just call them sweet, chewy rice cake things, but either way, this dessert was totally wonderful.

japan red bean green tea ice cream

By the way, the red beans are remarkably good in Japan. Beans are beautiful in sweet and savory forms, end of story.

And lastly, doesn't everyone love a roll cake? Especially as pretty as this one?

japan roll cake

That's all for Japan! Parting thoughts: when traveling and in life, not every little delicious thing is photogenic. But, getting a good photo wasn't difficult in Japan because so many of the dishes were presented beautifully.

For a few more food photos from the trip, please check my Instagram!