Tawainese Snow Ice: The New Thing

My bestest friend came up to the city to have a delicious sushi dinner with me on Clement Street in Inner Richmond, near where I am staying. The street is almost entirely restaurants of various Asian cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Indian… and this colorful dessert place called 100% Sweet Cafe that I found on Yelp. We went in and sat down and were handed an actual menu that was like 12 pages long with lunch, dinner, and dessert options. The regular food was recognizable, but so was the dessert section was… odd. Think glass noodles in coconut milk or steamed sweet tofu. But one item stood out to me as a must-have:

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Snow Ice.

I had never heard of it before so I ordered it (chocolate, of course) and the waitress came back with a HUGE serving of fluffy, sweet shaved ice. It was bigger than my head, I proclaimed that I would not be able to finish it all. But it was so light and airy that I realized it was almost gone and I didn’t feel stuffed. I finished the whole thing handily, which was easy because that shit is addictive. Ok, it tasted a little synthetic but I wasn’t in the florescent cafe to feel wholesome.

Read more about this impending phenomenon here. Snow ice is is about to become the new froyo/cupcake/ice cream sandwich.

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Wild King Salmon Over Pasta with Caprese Salad and Margeritas

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It was so hot this past weekend in Palo Alto, I couldn’t even function. The temperature hit 90 and I simply went comatose for a few days. The only thing that saved me was a nice long swim on Saturday in the late afternoon that made me feel cool and invigorated. When I got out of the pool, I had a text from my friend, Lauren, asking if I wanted to make dinner. My first reaction was YES! but my second was oh wait… it’s too hot too cook.

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Caramelized Sweet Potatoes

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Yes, I made sweet potatoes into a dessert. Just as carrots can be magically transformed from unexciting root vegetable to scrumptious cake, a little butter, sugar, and lemon juice made the savory sweet potato live up to its name. The story goes like this: my parents came home late from playing hockey and I wanted to cook them sweet potatoes to go with their salads, but before the water had even boiled they were already inhaling their meal. We finished the salads long before the potatoes were ready so I had some half-cooked vegetables and I had to do something. Inspiration struck, and with a wave of my magic wooden spoon I made a warm, sugary dessert in almost no time and even fewer ingredients.

My recipe: Caramelized Sweet Potatoes

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Beignets: Deep-fried Ambrosia Made Healthier

One of my friends goes to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was shocked when I admitted that I’ve never been to Nola in downtown Palo Alto. So we made a dinner date for Friday night to sample this southern cuisine.

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My friend is all smiles before the feast

After several drinks (including the aptly-named The Hurricane), lots of chicken, mac ‘n cheese, bread, and carbs, my friend went ahead and ordered dessert I’d never heard of: beignets. Oh my god. I could have rolled out of there just after the first massive drink but when those little rectangles of heaven on a plate showed up I forgot all of my full-tummy woes.

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Dough. Covered in sugar. Deep-fried. Covered in powdered sugar. Served with caramel, chocolate, and raspberry sugar syrups. Holy shit.

As you can see, there were 6 beignets and 2 of us… not a problem. I put one in a box to take home to my dad and we split the rest. It was sinful. My favorite sauce was the raspberry because it added a tart edge to the otherwise sweet, sweet, sweet doughnut pastry. I had been eating healthy and working out all week so I didn’t hate myself after consuming too many of these sugar-coated temptations, but I resolved myself to find a healthier alternative that I could enjoy even more without a gnawing mixture of feelings of guilt and fuck-it-I’ll-get-fat excitement.

**I realize that my description of these beignets is saturated with religious undertones… I may have had a religious experience during my interaction with the dessert, I’m not sure.

So here is the healthier recipe for oven baked beignets, courtesy of Jenna from Eat, Live, Run.

Jenna’s recipe: Oven Baked Beignets:

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Happy Father’s Day!

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Ok, I know it is way past Father’s Day, but I have been super busy with my new internship that I haven’t been writing blog posts–but I always remember to take pictures of my food. For Father’s Day I made my daddy his favorite breakfast, eggs Benedict, and his favorite dessert, Boston cream pie

Making the eggs Benedict was the first time I had every poached eggs–it was easier than I had expected. Of course I had my mum there watching me and telling me what to do but still, I gave myself a mental pat on the back. I also found a tip online to put a splash of vinegar in the water to keep the egg whites together. I basically taught my mum how how suck (poach?) eggs.

My recipe: Eggs Benedict

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What omelet? Check out my farm.

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Every day I spend at my house in Palo Alto reminds me how lucky I am to live in and come from such a kickass area. My farm kicks all the other farms’ asses (except maybe the real ones). I appreciate it even more when I wake up in my bed after a long week of interning in San Francisco and overnight babysitting jobs.

She's judging me with her eyes

She’s judging me with her eyes

Speaking of my internship… it’s the tits. I am working for the non-profit organization One World Children’s Fund as a Communications and Marketing Intern for the summer. Basically, I am cleaning up the website and using social media to increase awareness of our organization and improve communication with our existing partners. The last 2 days I made a video/photo slideshow of the children we help in Africa, India, and the Americas to be shown at the big luncheon event in October. I was that white girl sitting at Philz Coffee looking at lots of pictures of disadvantaged children on her Macbook. I swear its for my job.

My boss, Allie, may have hired me to help her but I feel that I am getting the most out of this relationship. I am learning and growing up so quickly experiencing my first real job, life in San Francisco, and what real responsibility feels like. My “jobs” at Wildberry Yogurt when I was 16 and the front desk of my dorm at USC last semester were absolute jokes. I am typing this from my cousin’s apartment on Haight St after a long day working at the office in the Presidio and doing Bikram yoga at a studio in Sea Cliff that I basically belong to now–this is real life.

View from the office

Ok back to food.

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Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

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In my house, chocolate chip cookies have always been a constant feature. We always have a lump of homemade dough in the freezer waiting to be baked up. It was the very first thing that I learned how to bake. My mum doesn’t even need a recipe anymore, she just throws it together in minutes. So it felt a little bit like sacrilege to tweak this dessert that is one of my favorite childhood memories…

But I’m so glad that I did.

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The point of this recipe is to substitute half of the butter with an avocado. What the fuck? I was dubious at first too but the promise of healthy fat and fruit etc was too tempting to just pass over. Even though the avocado gives the dough a slight greenish tinge, the biggest problem with these cookies is that they are so delicious and “healthy” that I end up convincing myself that its ok to have 5 in one sitting.

My recipe: Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

 

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After a long day out of the house, I came home from babysitting around 8 pm, starving. My parents had made pasta with zucchini for dinner and even though there was still some left over, zucchini is probably my least favorite food so I was not about to have some of that. Thankfully, I was feeling inspired. 🙂

I forget where I saw lettuce wraps (definitely somewhere on the Internet some morning when I had nothing to do) but I bought romaine lettuce heads right after with the intention to make some this week. My favorite dish at P.F. Changs is the lettuce wrap with iceberg lettuce leaves, but I read somewhere (Internet again…) that romaine lettuce has more nutritional value than iceberg so I went with that instead. It worked well, they look more like lettuce tacos than neat little wraps and that leaf on the right was kind of squished but it was delicious all the same.

The best part by far was the sauce: I mixed peanut butter and soy sauce for a Thai flavor and cooked the chicken in it so it was all warm, mixed, and thick. Everything else was just whatever I had in the fridge/pantry and sounded good. The sweet corn, pecans, carrot, and fresh ginger each added their own unique textures and tastes to the dish that made every bite divine.

My parents were eyeing my lovely creations as they had seconds of the pasta, I think I know what to make for dinner next time!

My recipe: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Pesto Shrimp on Angel Hair Pasta

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I was watching Giada on the Cooking Channel this morning and her rendition of pesto shrimp over pasta had my mouth watering. When I asked my dad what he was planning for dinner he said “leftovers” and I said “Unacceptable, please pick up some shrimp when you come home, I’m making dinner.”

Sadly, he came home with cooked, frozen shrimp and I was so looking forward to grilling them myself. But that’s ok, I will specify next time. The only spaghetti-ish pasta we had in the house was white angel hair and I figured I should use it up before I go out and buy a whole new box of wheat. When I have my own apartment, there will never been white pasta in the cupboard.

We picked fresh basil from the planters to make a deliciously fresh basil and spinach pesto, yum yum.

My recipe: Pesto Shrimp on Angel Hair Pasta

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Chocolate Banana Mouthgasm

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I am now going to call this bowl of frozen goodness the Mouthgasm because it is that delicious. And you know how sex is good for you? So is this dessert.

I was walking through the San Francisco International Airport on my way home after a long day of traveling when I saw my favorite froyo place that had just opened a store in the United terminal. Ecstatic, I made a beeline for the register only to be told (not very nicely) that they had just closed and the machines were off. I tried to guilt trip her but that chick was not having it so I carried on, defeated. I was so disappointed.

BUT THEN, I remembered that I had frozen banana chunks in my freezer! As soon as I got home, I buzzed the banana with a little yoghurt* and cocoa powder to create an even better chocolatey frozen dessert. The best part: I got to pile on as many strawberries as I damned well pleased–I DO NOT SKIMP ON FRUIT. I also drizzled on a little magic shell just for shits and gigs.

*TIP: After the banana chunks have been in the freezer for a few days, they dry out significantly. The last time I made some Mouthgasm with some long-frozen bananas, I had to fake it because it was all lumpy and not creamy at all. This time, a large scoop of fat-free yoghurt solved that problem–just toss it in the food processor with the banana chunks and it creams them right up.

My recipe: The Mouthgasm

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