Saturday, December 28, 2013

bonus: sacramento, california

saturday 30 november - monday 02 december

two weeks in indonesia flew by and before we knew it we were on our way home. BUT vacation wasn't quite over for me; i still had a couple days in california before really heading back to reality.

our travel day started off super early at 5am as we zipped through empty streets on our way to the jakarta airport. we made it there in plenty of time for our flight to bali, which meant bumming around and random breakfast snacks: chocolate buns, beef sausage bun, coffee in red holiday cups (!) and (free) sugar donuts from JCo, and provisions for later (chocolate mint candies and purple yam puffs).
it's a good thing we had our morning fill of snacks because once we made it to bali's international terminal things were sorely lacking due to airport construction. we wandered and napped and splurged on neck pillows for the long flights ahead (red for deb and black for me). for our next round of snacks we bought some cappuccino tim tams, bacon/ham sandwiches (limited options), and the true star--haagen-dazs crispy ice cream sandwiches.
we had been waiting to get the ice cream sandwiches, and they did not disappoint. debby got the  caramel, and i chose the vanilla with chocolate. for $9 (yes, that's nine US dollars--EACH) we were treated to a totally self-contained (read: no melty drips or broken wafer bits) ice cream sandwich with the delicious quality you come to expect from haagen-dazs. excellent treat before boarding a full flight to taipei.
the rest of our travel day was spent on a plane to taipei (5 hours sleeping, reading, and watching junior master chef: aussie edition, wolverine, the amazing spider-man), a few hours walking around the taipei airport (hello kitty lounge! and charging stations galore), and finally a plane to sfo (11 hours of sleep mixed with more movies: people like us and madagascar 2). we landed in san francisco  around 7pm the same day..technically speaking. deb's parents treated us to some in-n-out burgers and fries before we passed out in the car. 

the next morning started with a nice breakfast of hash browns, apples, persimmons, and jane's sourdough bread (chocolate and cherries--yum!). ah, i can't tell you how much i missed fresh produce! (we would definitely make up for it in the next couple days~) after breakfast we left novato and made our way to deb's place in sacramento. 
stopped by the sacramento farmers market (we got there a little late so things were close to wrapping up, but we still picked up a few things), trader joe's for some lunch items, and safeway in search of it's-its (they were all out but luckily we found some at good ol' reliable target), then we had a nice californian lunch of tj's kale and edamame salad, mandarins, sugar snap peas, brie with big wheat thins, red grapes, and G7 coffee. the caffeine started to kick in, and we got noticeably extra chatty. just in time for a walk around the neighborhood with thea and her dog callie. the weather was typical of a northern californian fall/winter--mid 60s, cool and sunny--which felt great after the balminess and humidity of indonesia. after our walk we met up with some of deb's friends for vietnamese spring rolls. SO good! it's a good sign when you lose track of how many rolls you've wrapped and eaten and are still chomping away. on our way home we took a detour to east sacramento to look at the decorated houses. they even decorated the sidewalks with lighted archways. fancy~ once we got home, we capped the night off with a proper dessert of vanilla it's-its.

my last day of vacation was deb's first day back at work. i bummed around the apartment checking out cyber monday sales, watched some tv (hello, saved by the bell), and made myself a california snack of sugar snap peas, grapes, brie and wheat thins. 
debby had about an hour for lunch, so we went to jack's urban eats; went halvsies on the turkey sandwich and the california cheese steak with a side order of urban fries (garlic fries with blue cheese and herbs). so flavorful and so filling. deb went back to work, and i made a quick stop at the arden mall for some see's lollypops to bring back (chocolate, butterscotch, cafe latte, vanilla, and christmas mint...and the free chocolate sample, of course). i walked around the mall a little but just wasn't in the holiday shopping mood, so i made my way back to the apartment and packed. deb got home around 530pm, and we were off to zumba! this was my first time at a real zumba class and managed not to make a fool of myself, although that's not to say that my sense of left and right and coordinating my arms and feet were close to being correct :P hey, A for effort, right? an hour of cardio, a quick shower, dinner of thanksgiving leftovers at jae hyoun's, and my last day in sac was coming to an end. deb dropped me off at smf (smurf!), and i waited patiently for my red-eye back to new york...back to reality.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

part three: jakarta

monday 25 november - saturday 30 november

we said our goodbyes to bali and spent the morning at the airport. after a breakfast of noodles, rice, and candy (no judgment--we're ON VACATION), an hour-plus delay, and a two-hour flight, we made it to jakarta.
not to be rivaled by other southeast asian cities, jakarta traffic was pretty notable (this would be a theme for our car time in the city ;P), and we spent almost two hours to get to marcela's family's house in pondok indah, south jakarta.
for our first full day in jakarta, marcela booked a city tour for me, debby, and dan. the tour started at 9am, and the first stop was the national museum, or commonly referred to as the elephant building. we walked through exhibits featuring collections from different regions of indonesia. fun fact: indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and consists of hundreds of different languages, not to mention over 17,000 islands! after the museum we made our way to old chinatown (glodok), and the rain really started to come down. thankfully the tour had giant umbrellas for us, otherwise we would have been soaked. we trudged through quick-forming puddles and flooded streets to check out a buddhist temple and multiple produce and meat stands. too bad they didn't have extra galoshes too :P we took a little break from the rain in old town batavia, where we had lunch and toured a traditional wooden puppet museum. the intricacy and artistry of the puppets was really impressive. by the time we wrapped up the museum tour, the sun came out and we made our last stop at the old port in sunda kelapa harbor. jakarta was, and still is, an important trading port for indonesia, so it was cool to see all the shipping boats and dock workers in action. all in all, a very full day that offered a glimpse into indonesian history and culture.

the rest of our week was spent living the city life. shopping malls are no joke in jakarta and are a common hangout spot that have EVERYTHING you need. we indulged in a hair cream spa, cheap but good massages, mani-pedis (not great but it's because we picked a random place), lots of tasty food and snacks, and a premiere movie experience (la-z-boy seating!). the highlights from all our mall time would have to be the la-z-boy movie (cushy leather recliners, fleece blankets, caramel corn, and the hunger games' catching fire--YES!), massages (an hour and a half of total relaxation), and customizable magnum ice cream bars (wholly unnecessary but completely delicious). aside from the malls, we had a great time just chilling with new friends and family. such a nice way to end a super fun and enjoyable two-week vacation.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

part two: nusa dua, bali

friday 22 november - monday 25 november
after a two-hour drive and a couple loops around the resort area we arrived at our LUXURY RESORT, the laguna, in nusa dua. the place was gorgeous--beautiful open lobby/reception area, flowers everywhere, and lagoon-like pools spreading out towards the beach. we were a little early so our room wasn't ready yet, which gave us some time to explore the hotel and walk along the beach path to neighboring resorts. it was noticeably warmer and sunnier here so we decided to snack on some tim tams in the air-conditioned computer center (free internet time!) before heading to our freshly made room.
our room overlooked one of the many pools, but we opted to plant ourselves on the beach for the next few hours. cushy lounge chairs, fresh young coconut, and free wifi...this is the life.

woke up at 530am on day two in nusa dua--guess our jet lag hasn't quite worn off. we started with a breakfast of papaya with lime,  muesli with milk, and some strong balinese coffee. today we had a driver (putu) who would take us around bali for the day. first stop was a balinese dance show which told the traditional story of the barong; there was more acting than actual dancing, but it was neat to learn about the story. next up was a small coffee plantation where we tried luwak coffee (beans pooped from a mongoose O.O) and a selection of teas and flavored coffees. we liked all their teas (even the ginger one!) and really enjoyed the coconut coffee and vanilla coffee. also, sugar goes a long way in enhancing flavor in all the drinks. now it was time for lunch and a little shopping in seminyak. we ate gado gado and nasi goreng and stocked up on snacks from cocomart. from there putu drove us to uluwatu temple with a quick stop at padang padang beach. uluwatu is set atop a cliff and offered up some really stunning views. the sun was peeking through the clouds and cast some beautiful beams of light on the ocean. it was pretty refreshing to be so high up and out in the open. after taking in the sights, our last stop for the day was a jimbaran seafood dinner on the beach at new moon cafe. we picked out our seafood (red snapper and mussels/clams) and sipped our young coconuts (finally we got spoons to scrape out the coconut meat!) while enjoying the sunset and awesome-looking sky. what a great way to end our balinese-filled day.

finally a solid night's sleep :) yay! a little bit of tv time and a breakfast of mangosteen and cocomart snacks and we were off to the beach. searched for the perfect spot under a tree and proceeded to read, nap, dip in the water, collect shells, snack, and repeat for the next four hours.
given our SUPER taxing day, we needed some nourishment and made dinner reservations at bumbu bali. seating was outside in a courtyard setting that resembled a traditional balinese home. this caused for some bug bites with our dinner, but at least we were distracted by the bounty of food. we dined on the rijstaffel, or "rice table," which consisted of the following dishes:
  * cram cam (chicken soup with shallots)
  * sambel be tongkoi (tuna salad with lemongrass)
  * sate babi, ayam, lilit (pork, chicken, and
    seafood satay)
  * ayam pelalah (shredded chicken with chili, and
  * tum bebek (minced duck in banana leaf)
  * be celeng base manis (pork in sweet soy sauce)
  * be sampi mebase bali (braised beef in coconut milk)
  * kambing mekuah (lamb stew with cardamom)
  * ikan bakar (grilled fish fillet)
  * pesan be pasih (diced fish  grilled in banana leaf)
  * two vegetable dishes: jack fruit salad and green bean salad
  * desserts: seasonal fruits, balinese cakes and glutinous rice flour dumplings, green bean in
    coconut milk
the highlights for us were the pork and chicken sate, lamb stew, braised beef, and the fruit plate. and let's not forget the welcome flowers ;) free shuttle back to the laguna and a satisfying way to wrap up our last night in bali. off to jakarta in the morning!

Friday, December 6, 2013

part one: ubud, bali

tuesday 19 november - friday 22 november

after almost 36 hours of travel (layovers included), we finally made it to bali! the jet lag was definitely kicking in, and i was feeling more than a little disoriented. our first afternoon/evening in bali was spent relaxing in our plush jungle villa (bima 3) at alam ubud. we were greeted with a floral foot bath and welcome leis, and our room was stocked with bottled waters and a tiny fruit basket (snake fruit? no thank you). to keep things easy, we ordered room service for dinner and tucked in early.

our first official day in bali started off super early and with a little rain. we were the first ones to arrive for breakfast at 6am :P and had the whole place to ourselves. we each had a mixed fruit platter, coffee, and asian breakfasts (congee for deb, fried rice for me), overlooking the infinity pool and jungle-mountain landscape. i'd say we were off to a pretty good start. after breakfast, we hopped on the shuttle to ubud center. first thing was first: exchange money. with an exchange rate of 11,500 IDR:USD you can imagine the mental math and confusion of too many zeros. don't worry, we got the hang of it by the end of our trip--hah! once we were plush with cash it was time to eat :D we made our way to ibu oka for their roast pork special, which has been mentioned by bourdain and the times--and for good reason. after we stuffed our faces, it was time to explore: lots of shops/restaurants, temples, cocomart (stocked up on snacks), monkey forest, ubud market (haggled for sunglasses and scarves), and balinese massages ($8 for an hour massage? yes, please. of course it did come with some awkward moments, but i'm gonna overlook that...). after a rather full first day in town, we ended with a dip in the infinity pool and room service.

day two in ubud was sunny and warm, which was ideal for our morning bike ride through the rice paddies. we borrowed the hotel bikes and headed out after breakfast. started off great--the scenery was gorgeous--but after some uphill and strong bali sun, i totally wimped out from overexertion. wah wah. we turned back and stuck to some flatter areas but were still able to see some rice harvesting. man, it is SUPER labor-intensive; i will never waste rice ever. we headed back into town for some more (sweaty) wandering: stocked up on mangosteen, shared a fresh coconut and some free wifi, coffee break, lunch at bebek bengil (the crispy duck was SO good, probably our favorite meal of the trip), fifteen-minute fish foot soak, and an ice cream reward.

for our last morning in ubud we enjoyed a leisurely poolside breakfast and some reading time in our room before a two-hour drive to nusa dua. see ya later, alam ubud villas~

indo, here we go

two weeks in indonesia with debby went by way too fast. what's better than going on a southeast asian adventure with your best bud! our days were filled with lots of laughs; heat, humidity, and sun (with the occasional rain shower); snack time galore (we love you, cocomart); and a ton of pictures. as per usual i went a little camera crazy, so i'll have to limit my recaps to the highlights.

here's the indo itinerary:
* part one: ubud, bali
* part two: nusa dua, bali
* part three: jakarta
* bonus: sacramento, california

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MOVE IT! sono to bklyn

one fourteen-foot moving truck, 3 movers, 32 moving boxes, 8 plastic storage boxes, 5 suitcases, 6 duffle bags, 19 kitchen bags for hanging clothes, and a bunch more assorted pieces (not to mention furniture), and i am now a brooklynite.

man, who knew packing up 7 1/2 years' worth of stuff and then UNpacking it would be so much work. actually, i think everyone knows how much work it is...especially when the stuff belongs to a superior hoarder and hider. hah~ so, after six days of non-stop unpacking and organizing, here are the new digs!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

pick 'em, eat 'em, bake 'em

a little late in the season but we finally made it apple picking. we drove up to bishop's orchards in guilford, where we had first gone years ago. it was pleasantly warm that day and felt more like late summer than fall. the downside was that most of the apples had already been picked or had fallen off the branches; there were piles and piles of overly ripe apples around the tree trunks. sad.
we still managed to fill up a couple small bags with a decent variety of apples--golden delicious, braeburn, rome, empire, fuji, jonagold... even abby helped pick some.

after assessing our haul, i'd say my favorite was probably the golden delicious. with the other apples i decided to bake some fall treats. the first thing i made were apple muffins (which used only TWO large apples..leaving me with nine o.O). i used a recipe from smitten kitchen and was able to make a dozen muffins and two mini loaves. (had some minor issues with the loaves--gooey and underbaked? whoops~) the original recipe used two types of flour, but i only had all-purpose which worked out just fine. there were lots of apple chunks in each muffin, and the combination of the yogurt kept everything nice and moist. i think this recipe would work well as a cake-loaf, maybe i'll try that next.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
:: apple muffins ::
(adapted from smitten kitchen)
yield: 12 muffins and 2 mini loaves

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8oz) greek yogurt
2 large apples*, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

preheat the oven to 450°F. grease and flour muffin tin and set aside.

mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. in a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. beat until fluffy. add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. mix in the yogurt gently. stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

* since apple sizes vary, you might not need all the apple chunks. use your discretion on how apple-y you want the muffins.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

fall feet

it seems like fall just kind of popped up out of nowhere. one day i was sweating like crazy from the summer humidity, and the next i'm bundled up in my favorite ucsd sweatshirt. as much as i like summer i'm pretty happy about saying goodbye to the sweltering heat.

i'm looking forward to the leaves changing, turning all the trees into warm, glowing canopies, and (hopefully) a weekend apple picking/pumpkin patch adventure with little abby (& co). i'm also ready to bust out my minnetonka mocs and brand new toms (fleece-lined and sparkly!).

(and if you're wondering, yes, these are children's shoes; i'm all about being cost effective...)

the transition weeks between seasons are my favorite times of the year--summer to fall, winter to spring--probably because they remind me of california. fall just feels nice, with its cooling temperatures and slight crispness in the air. even the lighting seems nicer, like things are a little sharper and clearer. while i'll always enjoy pleasant and predictable california weather, i gotta say, seasons are kind of special~

Thursday, September 26, 2013

fig and cardamom almond tea cakes

the leaves are starting to turn, and pumpkins are showing up everywhere. while i'm not quite ready to dive into all those pumpkin recipes, i am easing my way into fall baking/cooking/eating with FIGS.

figs have such a short season that i try to hoard as many as i can. this year i hit the jackpot when jade's parents brought over a huge box of them from their tree. amazing. i'm trying to ration them, but since they're pretty ripe and delicate i need to use them up quickly. mostly i'm eating them fresh or cut up in a salad (my go-to lunch: arugula, avocado, and figs—scallions and quinoa if i have them on hand), but i've also been looking at making them into some figgy sweets. i've already made fig ice cream, so i looked for something baked: fig and cardamom almond tea cakes.

a freshly cut fig is so pretty and glittery (and strange-looking); it's nice to show it off. this recipe makes light and spicy (i may have been a bit heavy-handed with the cardamom…oops…) tea cakes, each adorned with a fresh fig half. the results are visually appealing and pack a good amount of flavor in a small bite with just the right level of sweetness. i'll probably use a lot less cardamom next time, or omit it completely, to better highlight the almond and fig pairing.

so that used up six figs—only twenty or thirty more to go!
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

:: fig and cardamom almond tea cakes ::
(recipe from indiaphile)
makes 12.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup rice flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated (i left this out and upped the cardamom)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
4 egg whites
6 fresh figs, halved

preheat oven to 375F. butter the insides of a muffin tray lightly and set inside.

heat the butter in a small saute pan until it turns medium brown. keep an eye on it, it can burn fast! turn off the heat and set aside.

combine the ground almonds, powdered sugar, rice flour, salt, cardamom, nutmeg and lemon zest. add in the egg whites and mix. add the browned butter and stir until the mixture is well blended and smooth.

divide the batter into the muffin cups. top each cup with half of a fig and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan. remove cakes and cool on a cooling rack.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

union square cafe

one last fancy meal before sean headed off to the great white north (aka canada, or more specifically montreal). what better send off than an old-school danny meyer place.

our reservations were at 615pm, which is pretty early for us, but it gave us enough time to grab a beer at heartland brewery, enjoy a leisurely dinner, and still get home before 11pm! heehee.

we decided to go a little light and skip entrees, ordering appetizers and small plates to share. started with oysters: kumamotos (ca) for me and little bays (nh) for sean, and two snacks: crispy pig ears with tarragon mustard and a stuffed squash blossom. next up, the scallop crudo with summer peppers and sungold tomatoes and the crispy pork and watercress salad with pickled green tomato relish, avocado, and black beans.
then as our mains, small portions of the ricotta gnocchi with tomato-basil passatina and pecorino romano and the summer squash raviolini with slow roasted tomatoes and basil. in place of dessert we opted for some "corrected" coffees (coffee with bailey's).
as always service was spot on, and we couldn't have been more pleased with the meal. i think this was a nice way to celebrate the beginning of sean's new adventure~ montreal, get ready!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

pink ice cream duo

with the end of summer fast-approaching, it's time for more ice cream! this time around i made two summer fruit inspired flavors: raspberry and fig.
the raspberry ice cream came about as a way to save some seriously sad, almost-flavorless berries. the little red gems were so pretty, but one taste and i was bummed--so bland! where was the bright tang and juicy tartness? i couldn't just toss them out (waste!), so i looked through a bunch of recipes until i decided on raspberry ice cream from bi-rite's "sweet cream and sugar cones." it's a variation on their blackberry ice cream, which i also want to try (if only i didn't always end up eating all the blackberries in one sitting...). straightforward recipe using a custard base (watch those eggs!) and resulted in a nice pink and fruity ice cream.

the fig gelato was serendipitous. i had the exact amount of ingredients to make half a batch of gelato. i love when things work out so i'm not left with random ingredients sitting in the fridge. this recipe was super easy and simple--no eggs or cream. the rich jammy flavor of the figs really comes out in this gelato. i had a scoop of it with some honey ice cream that paired nicely--i think lily approved, if the kitten nose is any indication. hehe.
side note: i generally don't like the idea of warm fruit, but cooking down the raspberries and figs into a sort of jam was oddly satisfying. maybe i should give jam-making a shot ;P
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

:: raspberry ice cream ::
(recipe from sweet cream and sugar cones) makes about 1 quart

for the raspberry puree
2 half-pint baskets raspberries (2 cups)
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, as needed

for the base
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk (i used whole)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

cook the berries
1. combine the berries with the sugar, using 1/4 cup if they are very sweet and 1/2 cup if less so (guess how much i used..), in a small nonreactive saucepan and stir well. put the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the berries are soft and the liquid they release has reduced somewhat, about 10 minutes.
2. let cool slightly, then transfer the berries and their juice to a blender or food processor. puree until smooth. strain half of the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much puree as possible. discard the solids. add the unstrained puree to the same bowl and stir once to combine. cover the bowl and refrigerate.

make the base
3. in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in half of the sugar (1/4 cup). set aside.
4. in a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) and put the pan over medium-high heat. when the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
5. carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. repeat, adding another 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks. using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
6. cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
7. strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. set the container into an ice-water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. (i didn't do this and just let it sit to cool.) remove the container from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight.

freeze the ice cream
8. whisk the raspberry puree into the chilled base.
9. freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. while the ice cream is churning, put the container you'll use to store the ice cream into the freezer. enjoy right away or, for a firmer ice cream, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.

:: fig gelato ::
(recipe from foodwanderings)

1lb organic black mission figs
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups 5% milk (again, i used whole)
juice of 1 small lemon

snip tips of fig stems and quarter figs. add the sugar to the figs in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. mix occasionally for 20 minutes. take fig jam off the heat and let cool. once cooled refrigerate until chilled or overnight. 
pulse fig jam in a blender, add milk, teaspoon of vanilla, and lemon juice and pulse for couple seconds longer. pour mixture into chilled ice cream bowl and churn for 20 to 30 minutes or so or until fig mixture solidifies into soft serve consistency. scoop fig gelato into a container with a tight lid and keep in freezer until serving. gelato can be served soft serve as well directly out of ice cream machine.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

milk oolong ice cream

heat and humidity: the definition of summers on the east coast. i'd like to say that after 8 years in connecticut i've learned how to successfully stay cool and manage the summer weather, but that would be a big fat lie. more often than not i'm a sweaty, frizzy mess, and my only strategy for staying remotely cool is drinking gallons of water and consuming large amounts of ice cream. but since all that dairy and sugar probably isn't the greatest for my summer weight, i've limited myself to the occasional weekend scoop and spoonfuls of homemade ice cream.

to continue the asian-flavored ice cream theme, the latest flavor i made was milk oolong. i first heard about milk oolong in a post on seriouseats and was immediately intrigued. until now i only used the leaves to brew tea. when i was looking through different ice cream recipes, i came across this recipe for (regular) oolong tea ice cream. i was feeling indulgent and was curious how the creamy flavor of the tea would come across in ice cream, so i subbed the regular oolong for milk oolong. i'm happy to report that the subtle milky floral flavor of the tea really comes out in the ice cream, and unlike some tea-flavored things, it's not too overpowering or bitter. but like most tea-flavored things i wouldn't consume massive amounts of it in one sitting, which i suppose is a good thing... i think this ice cream would pair well with a rich chocolate cake or brownie--something densely chocolate. maybe that'll be my next treat ;)
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

:: milk oolong ice cream ::
(adapted from weallscream)

2 cups half-and-half
3 tbsp milk oolong tea leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar

1. heat half-and-half until simmering. do not boil.
2. remove from heat and add oolong tea leaves. steep for at least 15 minutes.
3. strain into saucepan. add heavy cream and sugar and stir.
4. heat until simmering. do not boil.
5. refrigerate overnight or until cold.
6. churn in ice cream maker until thickened.
7. transfer to container. freeze for a few hours or overnight.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

mid-july recap

okay, i've been lagging a bit in posts so here are some highlights from the past couple weeks:

* june 29th - 30th: montreal AGAIN. this was kind of a random trip but nevertheless another nice weekend with yummy food. we tried a few places that we meant to the last time we were there. first was patisserie kouign amann in the plateau area. tiny shop with a very old-french feel and an open view into the kitchen. there were so many other tempting pastries, but we kept it fairly conservative with a café au lait to share, pain aux chocolat for sean, and a slice of kouign amann for me. the kouign amann was deliciously buttery and sugary, almost like honey, and a slice was just enough.

next up was la banquese for poutine and a pogo. POGO! it's just a corn dog, but apparently in canada they're called pogos. who knew! it may also be the brand name cuz i noticed the stick of my pogo was stamped with a pogo logo. (yeah, i totally just rhymed.) i'm not the only one who was entertained by ordering a pogo; the girl at the table next to us sheepishly tacked on a pogo to her initial order then giggled after the waitress left, "pogo!" in the end, it's just a corn dog--freshly fried but nothing special. the poutine (with a side salad) was again good but nothing special. we also over-ordered with a large, so that may have dampened our enthusiasm (and busted our bellies).

the last place we tried was pizzeria magpie. it's not better than the places we've gone to in manhattan and brooklyn, but that's not really a fair comparison. we ordered a tomato salad to start, the magpie margherita, and the artichauts (artichockes, spinach, fontina, and parm with a tomato sauce). the salad was kind of disappointing; the overall salad lacked much flavor, and the tomatoes were particularly sad. i guess tomatoes haven't been doing so great this season~ fortunately the pizza was much better. both were good, and i don't remember which one i preferred. i'd come back again; it's got promise~

* july 4th: lily joined our crew. i found lily on when i was randomly searching for kittens in stamford. she was a rescue that was being fostered by community cats (a volunteer organization whose mission is to "humanely stabilize the free-roaming cat population in our community, primarily through spay and neuter, education, and responsible adoptions"). they found her back in april when she was just a teeny tiny kitten who was probably abandoned by her mother. because of that, she's needed some kitten etiquette lessons; lucky for me her foster mom did a lot of that. she's still very much a playful kitten, a bit sassy, and a little diva. quite the opposite of mr. scared-of-life casey…although he's seemed to have mellowed out with her around (perhaps all his attention and focus has been trying to figure out what the deal is with this infiltrator…). casey is still unsure of the situation, but i'm sure he'll learn to love her ::fingers crossed:: best part is, now sean and i have matching cats :D

* july 13th: in honor of abby's first time in connecticut, sean and i put together a homemade pizza lunch:
- two standard margheritas and one flatbread pizza topped with corn, zucchini, red onion, jalapenos, feta, and parm
- shaved brussels sprouts salad with avocados and lentils and a pineapple-poppy seed vinaigrette
- fig and citrus olive oil cake/loaf with haagen dazs vanilla bean ice cream
i have zero pictures of the food because i was too busy making and eating it :P and also staring adoringly at abby <3 

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