Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It was my sister's 24th birthday yesterday and these days I prefer to make the cakes myself, so I made a chocolate cake, 1st layer: raspberries and whipped cream, 2nd layer whipped cream, 3rd layer more raspberries and whipped cream. The cake was a chocolate genoise (with Green & Black's dutch processed cocoa powder, aka cocoa powder processed with alkali. Most cocoa powders aren't even labelled Dutch process, so it's best to check the ingredients list for cocoa powder processed with alkali. Green & Black's isn't that good, I think... It's a lot like natural, but that's all they had at the Cupertino Whole Foods...alas, they didn't have that precious European red box, who's name escapes me now, like they do in NY), which is an unleavened cake; it gets its volume from beaten (and beaten and beaten to soft peaks) whole eggs. Only three tablespoons of [clarified] butter in the whole thing, and soo good.. I used a pint of cream whipped to soft peaks. I tried to beat that cream by hand, but it took way too long. I was beating for 10 minutes, probably, until I gave up and used my mixer. Why do I beat by hand? exercise, I suppose?... and I think It's kind of fun.. I beat the eggs by hand :> I am looking forward to a very large right bicep. Anyways, the cake was soaked in a Grand Marnier sugar syrup (didn't have any Framboise like the recipe called for, but t'was a good substitute) and layered up. The cake was supposed to be baked in just one pan, but I made the mistake of baking it in two (like I did with my mother's birthday cake...), but I just sliced them in half and we had four layers of cake; no big deal; I just had to use my whipped cream sparingly. Anyhooze, it was a delicious cake and everyone should give genoise a try. It's a little bit delicate to make, but it is a goodie that few, if any, bakeries these days sell.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


(pardon the phone camera won't send photos anymore, therefore I used a screenshot of facebook...)

Since it has been finals/end of the semester, I haven't exactly had the time to do any real cooking/go out after I'm in the comfort of my apartment, so I have (somewhat shamefully) been eating instant noodles. Yesterday evening I stumbled across a new flavor (Katsuo) of sanukiya udon at my beloved Sunrise Mart on Stuyvesant (twixt 3rd Avenue and 9th st.). Now these aren't those famed Maruchan Cup of Noodles eaten by many a stereotypical college student; these are par cooked noodles with a nice dashi broth (there isn't a shizzle lot of sodium or a shizzle lot 'o fat) and I was quite giddy when I saw that there was even a little packet of bonito.

Zap it in the microwave for 6 minutes and you have a delicious japanese meal for $2.50 (And no dishes to do!). I also like their other flavors...mild somen (I can't take the spice of the regular, but I'm weak sauce), and the other udon flavor who's name is escaping me. Yes, I am a tad ashamed to be writing a blog about instant noodles, but...they're so good... :>


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cookie Marathon Part II

from back: iced sugar cookies, lemon wreaths, cranberry thumbprints

Finally I am posting part deux. I made chocolate pretzels (not pictured here) and iced sugar cookies. Both recipes are from martha stewart. For the iced sugar cookies, I used royal icing and I made my own cornets! It was quite exciting, though I overfilled the red and it oozed out everywhere... The cookies were a success! I think my favorites were the cranberry thumb prints.

Also, yesterday I went to Whole Foods and they have this huge bar of Icelandic chocolate (the brand is Sirius) for 3.99!! It's literally two chocolate bars in one and the chocolate is amazing! I got the 70%; I like the bitter stuff. They make a clean breaking sound and they come off in nice little 2cm squares. Give it a go! It's a lot of chocolate, and it's going to take me a while to eat, but so cheap!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cookie Marathon Part I

Preparing for an x-mas party tomorrow. I've finished making 2 of 4 kinds of cookies: the first were lemon wreaths (from december 2009 martha stewart living) and cranberry thumbprints (also from martha dec 2009). i'm too tired to write more, but just a few notes: lemon wreaths' hole must be made a lot larger than the thickness of the ring because the cookie spreads and fills in the hole... most of mine have lost their hole and aren't really wreaths, but in any case they are tasty.


Friday, November 20, 2009

I've been eating persimmons lately, well, I had three and now I'm trying to finish my apples. They just remind me of my parents, mostly, but anyhoo, they are quite delicious and have this crisp texture in the center. Remove the skin when you eat it. However, it should be said that just straight, they're kind of funky in flavor, so i add some honey (I bought some honeydew honey from Buon Italia at Chelsea Market, which is really dark and flavorful) and eat it with yogurt and it takes the funk out.

Also at Buon Italia, I bought some roasted, salted fava beans which are quite good, they're really really crunchy and taste like wasabi peas minus the wasabi.

I'm hoping to do some more interesting cooking soon for Thanksgiving and Christmas, school is eating up a lot of my time, so we'll see...


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Concord Grape Pie

So, I made the concord grape pie on Friday!

I got the grapes from the greenmarket (they were quite pricey...$6 a box, and I needed I spent $12 on grapes, but "when in Rome", eh?) and concord grapes really aren't useful for anything other than jam making or pie because they have thick skins and seeds and a difficult to chew pulp, so they really must be cooked or juiced or something.

Anyways, I used a recipe from ( and their recipe for pate brisee (what I always use for pie crusts). It was a big undertaking; I had to peel the grapes (not that difficult, just give the grapes a squeeze and they pop right out, but doing it to 8 cups of grapes can take a while, so I watched Pushing Daisies, the show I always watch when I feel like pie making) then cook and cool for two hours then push through a sieve. But, the resulting color was beautifully purple and I got three cups of fresh grape juice from peeling the grapes, which tasted fantastic.
I baked the pie and let it cool overnight and then I bought some cinnamon ice cream (PJ Madison's) to serve with it! The ice cream is quite necessary, in my opinion, otherwise the grapeyness can be a bit jarring and the cinnamon is quite complimentary. It should be noted, however, that this pie was verrryyyy soupy (maybe it needed more corn starch, but I didn't want it to be starchy). You need to fish out your slices with a spoon. I'm just thinking of inviting some people over and throwing the ice cream on top and eating it out of the pie plate. I'm chilling the pie in the fridge right now to see if it solidifies any, but in any case, it is a fabulous pie and should be made if you happen to have concord grapes available!

p.s. blast! My bad, I strained out the skins and seeds rather than just the seeds... that's probably why it was so soupy and unwieldy...ah well

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I got some fresh black eyed peas last week. They were still in the pod! I shelled them and simmered them in water with some butter and baby spinach. T'was quite good!
I was also in Chinatown to get a mooncake (lotus paste with egg yolk is my favorite) for the mid-autumn festival and I also picked up some Chinese sausage. I put one (sliced up) in my pot of rice, but I realized it's better to put it in after the water is almost all absorbed. My mom usually puts it on top of the rice and then all the fat is absorbed by that top layer...soo good.. Thankfully I have another one left and I'm going to do it right this time!

Next on my to do list: concord grape pie! It will be made Friday after my exam and after I do my laundry. I'm excited!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lacking in inspiration, but not in tasty food

I got some beets and fingerling potatoes at the Greenmarket on Friday. Beets were $2 with greens on and the potatoes were $3 a pound. I bought some regular yellow ones and I also got some purple peruvian potatoes. They taste pretty much the same, perhaps because I cooked them together, but they look cool. Anyways, I roasted the beets and steamed the greens with some olive oil (Again. I'm running out of ideas that will accommodate my laziness and lack of equipment). The potatoes were cooked in vegetable stock (Trader Joe's didn't have any chicken stock) with dried oregano (I would prefer thyme, but I didn't have any) and salt in a skillet until tender and the stock was all concentrated and saucey. I think it's time for me to research some more cooking ideas. Summer's [pretty much] over and I don't want to get bored!

Curry Carrot Soup

about 1.2 lbs carrots
2 medium sweet potatoes
5 cups vegetable stock
curry powder
fresh ginger

don't ask me why, but this soup was GREAT. seriously. best texture ever. and naturally vegan.

peel carrots and sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and all spices except the ginger and ROAST in the oven at 400 until they are brown and crackly. meanwhile, heat the broth. after the vegetables roast, add them to the now boiling stock until they have completely softened. grate copious amounts of ginger into this pot as well.

blend all. serve hot. with sour cream? perhaps.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dinner and Lunch

The bottom two photos are from the lovely dinner I shared with Suzanne last night. A simply roasted chicken breast, bone in and brined beforehand in water, salt, and apple cider vinegar. Massaged with poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and into the oven. On the side: collard greens and apples sauteed with a bit of nutmeg, sourdough mushroom stuffing, and a sweet potato.
The soup was today's lunch. Curried Corn Chowder. I simmered apples, potatoes, curry powder, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper in vegetable stock. Cooked two corn husks, the kernels from one I added to the pot. The contents of the pot were pureed in my food processor, and the kernels from the final ear added at the end for texture. Better than it looks, I swear!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Local apples have officially arrived at Whole Foods, which means now no one has ANY excuse to not eat them ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY!!! APPLE SEASON!


Monday, September 21, 2009


I went to Momofuku Milk Bar for some horchata soft serve today. It was freaking amazing. Sadly they don't have cones anymore, I think, but I just licked at it anyways because I find to be a more satisfying ice cream experience.
Just thought I'd share :)


Using Up Leftovers!

Try to see past the two shittiest pictures ever taken and join me on a journey of making a big pile of things that don't have much to do with eachother taste really really good together.

Picture 1: Half a loaf of day old Sourdough Bread. Cubed. Dried out in the oven. Then tossed with light cream, one egg, a poultry seasoning from Aphrodisia, chives, parsley, chopped crimini mushroom stems, and celery. Baked. Voila: Stuffing.

Picture 2: Herbed polenta on the bottom. Sauteed collard greens and apples and nutmeg over that. Then, a layer of pre-cooked potatoes. On top of that, fresh tomatoes that have been salted and drained. Finally, 6 beaten eggs, herbed and nutmeged as well. Voila: Tomato Pie.


Friday, September 18, 2009

squash blossoms

Finally fried up those squash blossoms.
I stuffed them with ricotta from Murray's, dipped them in egg beaten with a little water and rolled them around in cornmeal (use some flour with the cornmeal for a more tender crust; I didn't have any in my pantry) with salt and pepper. I shallow fried them in canola oil over medium heat and turned them over when golden brown, then drained on a paper towel. Yay! First time frying on my own without getting horribly burned or wasting a ton of oil. Tasty, tasty.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I got some fall foods at the greenmarket today: kabocha squash ($2.10) and collard greens ($2). I boiled the collards (chopped up) with some mushrooms and olive oil and I roasted the squash (sliced into 16 wedges)at 400 for 40 minutes. I dressed half of the wedges in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and the other half in red curry paste mixed with some water and olive oil. Be generous with the oil; the squash can be kind of dry if you don't add enough.

Lately I have also been eating poached eggs. Break your egg close to the (boiling) water and then take it off the heat and cover for a few minutes to desired done-ness. I like mine with the whites firm and yolks runny, sopped up with some toast. Lovely. My mom told me to take the pot off the heat right after you break the egg so that the egg doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan; it makes clean up much easier.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shopping List!

Things that are coming into season that I want to buy!

Collard Greens
Winter Squash/Pumpkin


bah I know I'm getting ahead of myself. I still haven't quite finished the bounty that September is known for (tomatoes, corn, summer squash, bell peppers, etc)

But I'm ready for autumn!!


Saturday, September 12, 2009


I don't have pictures, but generally this endeavour is proving easier than I thought!

Let me just say that if it was possible to overdose on peaches/nectarines, I would be long gone.

What I've been enjoying: kale, MUSHROOMS!, eggplant, peaches... waiting for apples and such to really get going!!!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Went to the Union Square Greenmarket today. I got some purple carrots (sweet potato-y in flavor and beautiful to look at) [$1.75 for a bunch], 3 peaches [$1.50/pound] and I splurged on some squash blossoms [$5.00 for a box].
I roasted the carrots and tossed the squash blossoms in some polenta (I sliced two of the blossoms up for my bowl and put them in for the last few minutes of cooking) topped with ricotta. For dessert I had a peach, but it wasn't very sweet, so I added some ricotta and honey which made it quite tasty.
Ricotta is good.


Saturday, September 5, 2009


Seared Tuna with a Soy/Honey/Sesame Glaze
Brown Rice
Corn on the Cob

Tuna from the Lobster Place. Tuna is apparently "in season" right now according to a few sources, so that's good! Seared for a few minutes on each side, keeping it raw and buttery in the middle.

Corn is organic and local and seasonal, sweet, delicious, and MICROWAVED. That's right. Leave the corn in the husk and nuke 'em for about 2 minutes per cob. Then wrap them in a towel and let 'em sit for a few minutes. Then, you will find that they are still warm, but easy to peel, and perfectly cooked.

The brown rice... was brown rice. Cooked in some veggie stock!



Leftover Sandwich

Leftover baguette + leftover fixin's = sandwich!
I spread some of the roasted garlic on one side of the bread and the makeshift pesto on the other and squished the other stuff in the middle. delicious!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Farewell NorCal

Since Monday will be my last day in my glorious hometown of Cupertino, CA, I thought I'd better enjoy the California bounty while I can (and the low prices of the suburbs!).
I went to my local farmer's market and got a load of produce for only 9.25!!
For 9.25 I got

a bunch of beets (greens on),
a bunch of carrots (greens on as well, but I didn't know what to do with carrot tops, so I shamefully threw them away),
an onion,
a lil' basket 'o figs,
a huge bunch of basil (the roots were still intact too! If that isn't fresh, I don't know what is!),
a big squash that was half green and half yellow and,
lastly, an heirloom tomato (only 2.00 a pound!)

The menu:
Roasted beets, carrots and garlic
Squash-heirloom tomato salad
Sauteed beet greens with caramelized onions
Honey-ed figs with yogurt

Roasted beets, carrots and garlic

Preheat oven to 450. Trim greens off the beets and carrots. Put beets in parchment lined foil coat in olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and close up the package. Halve the carrots lenghtwise, coat in olive oil; add salt and dried thyme toss those onto a foil lined baking sheet (easy clean-up) and toss the beet package onto the sheet with it. Coat the garlic clove in olive oil; add salt and dried thyme. Wrap the garlic in its own little foil package and put it on the baking sheet. Throw the pan in the oven for 30 minutes, take the carrots out (they should be tender!) and roast the garlic and beets for 30 minutes more (until tender). Fabulous :) the carrots especially. And your house/apt/dorm will smell deliciously roasty and garlicky.

Squash-heirloom tomato salad

Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, shave a squash (or two if they're small) until you reach the seeds then turn and repeat until you get a square & seedy center (save this for something--a sautee or something else tasty). Slice your heirloom tomato (stem cut out) very thinly and set aside. The dressing I used was a makeshift pesto: 1 bunch of finely chopped basil with a 1/3 c. of sliced almonds, salt & pepper, 1/4-1/3 c olive oil and juice from 1 lemon. I tried putting it in the blender, but it didn't break down much at all, but if you have a nice food processor or a better blender, by all means pulverize it to pesto-like consistency.

At serving time, mix the squash ribbons with the tomato and pour in some of your pesto (not all of it..this recipe makes a lot).
tasty, refreshing, summery.

Sauteed beet greens with caramelized onions

While the vegetables are roasting, slice 1 onion thinly and sautee over low to medium low heat in olive oil (or butter if you wish) for an hour, giving it a stir every now and then with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper. (With this time you can prep the salad and figs and other things you have to do around the house) When the onions are nice and brown (or as brown as you care to make them because they take so damn long, which is what I did--a nice light caramel color was good enough for me) throw in your chopped beet greens and sautee until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Honey-ed figs with yogurt

Mix about 3tbs of honey with 1tbs water and 1tbs lemon juice until honey is dissolved Slice 9 figs into half moons and mix with the honey mixture. Serve over some plain yogurt.

Roasting vegetables is my favorite thing ever and leaving the vegetables to roast gives you plenty of time to do other things and make other dishes. This 4 part meal for 4 (with leftovers) took less than than 2 hours to make and was under $15 (I also had to buy yogurt and bread). All can be eaten at room temperature (PICNIC!!) and serve it with a nice, crunchy baguette and enjoy the rest of your summer!


Today's Finds

From Whole Foods Market, Bowery:

Conventional Local Peaches
Conventional Local Eggplant
Organic Local Sweet Corn on the Cob
Organic Local Cherry Tomatoes
Organic Local Shiitake Mushrooms

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


grits and kale topped with two poached eggs (organic, but not local. apparently whole foods only sells local duck, quail, etc eggs, but not chicken!) and a side of sliced heirloom tomatoes. all covered in a healthy dose of salt and pepper.


Today's Finds

From the 4th St. Food Coop:


Heirloom Tomato

The Philosphy

Welcome to Going Seasonal.

Here are the guidelines:

1. All produce will be seasonal and semi-local. This means no fruits or vegetables that could not grow in the temperate climate of the mid-atlantic (no tropical fruits ah!). Also, obviously, no fruits that aren't in season. Ideally, they are from the closest farms our grocery stores and Greenmarkets can find.

2. Fish, Poultry, and Meats will definitely be seasonal, although the local factor is more lenient. After all, I wouldn't want fish that came anywhere near the East River.

3. Other foodstuffs will be staple grains (brown rice, corn meal, etc), bread, barley, canned or dried beans, and seeds and nuts from a temperate climate. If it's local, all the better!

4. All meals will do the best they can to incorporate these things simply and without any additional effort. This can be done by simply changing the fruits in your smoothies, or switching up the vegetable you always eat for dinner, etc. Pantry/fridge staples like mustards, butters, spices, oils, etc. will be used considerately and conservatively, to complement the seasonal food items properly!

YES I REALIZE THIS IS HARD! Especially if you're terribly used to eating products that are sourced from all over the world, and especially if you aren't used to buying produce. The guidelines above are for a very strict adherence to going seasonal, and you should adapt based on what your lifestyle can handle at the moment.


Tomorrow's Proposed Shopping List (because you never know what will work until you get there):


Heirloom Tomato



I'm thinking grits with heirloom tomatoes and eggs. Also a quinoa salad with watercress... or a strawberry/watercress salad... brown rice with baked eggplant...