Apple cake with honey frosting and an oat walnut crumble

Happy Autumn! For the Apple theme for “Eat Around the World“, I made a cake! The occasion was me and my sister’s birthday. Of course it is very like me to make my own cake even if my friends and family have insisted they’ll get me a cake for my birthday.

I got this recipe from Fearless Fresh. My first thought was there’s fruit and oats — is it breakfast? I made a few modifications to this recipe:

Continue reading Apple cake with honey frosting and an oat walnut crumble

Apples in salad

The last couple of weeks this month have been too hot for baking so I decided to explore some cold dishes using apples. The simplest way is to throw them in salad for that tart crunch.

Brussels sprouts with apples salad

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The Apple cultivar so far…

I’ve taken plenty of photos of apples in many forms from hard ciders to salads. They’re in the media gallery just waiting to be shared. Rather than put all the photos into one post, maybe it’s best to divide it up. For this post, I want to focus on some of the cultivars I’ve tried so far.

I mentioned that whenever apple season rolls around, I like to try all kinds of cultivar. It’s one of my many “quirky” traditions to celebrate the changing of seasons. It’s like how in January people give up alcohol for a month after a bacchanal holiday season. Or how some people’s go to Starbucks to buy a pumpkin spice latte to welcome autumn. My pumpkin spice latte is just eating different apples. I do enjoy the very occasional PSL at Dunkin’ however. Los Angeles not really have seasons so I make mines up. Do you have any “quirky” traditions?

Continue reading The Apple cultivar so far…

Apples around the World

Oh dear…this theme might be a little challenging for this *points to self* home cook. The ingredient for September is apples!

There are so many kinds of apples. In fact 7,500 cultivars of apples. I recalled in my last job, I was naming these types of apples to a coworker (jazz, mountain rose, opal, macoun, winesap, jonathan, jonagold, etc.), he thought it was making it up. When it’s apple season, I try to buy and try as many cultivars as I can (as my grocery budget allows). Apples come in all types of colors (inside and outside), tastes, and texture.

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Cold dishes for a hot August (Eat around the World)

As I write this post on the last day of August, the weather finally cooled down. In the beginning of the month, I thought about all the thing I would make with tomatoes like a savory tart, curry, and pasta sauce. But it was way, way, way too hot to make any of those all month long. But it gave me a chance to play with cold dishes. I’ve noticed I’ve been eating less ice cream too. For years every time the weather was so hot, I would end my day with ice cream. I love ice cream, but with a job where I spend most of my day in a desk, I would enjoy this indulgence once in a while. With all these cold dishes I’ve been making, I can reach for something much healthier.

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Simple tomato dishes

As I mentioned for this month’s “Eat around the World” challenge it will be mostly home cook meals from me. A lot of the recipes are simple and friendly for the busy person. Basically it takes less than 30 minutes to make a meal. Here’s what I’ve made incorporating tomatoes so far:

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Tomatoes around the world

The ingredient of August will be tomatoes!!! I apologize for the late post. My writing has been slow lately. My husband is out of town for two weeks. When he left for training, my daughter was sick for a good part of the week and now I’m fighting the sniffles. I am so thankful I have my parents living near by where they could watch her while I went to work though the commute was twice as long. I’m surprised I was able to even squeeze in some writing this past week.

Anyway, I chose tomatoes for August because I want some excuse to make some good gazpacho. The gazpacho I’ve attempted to make in the past has tasted somewhat off…maybe there was too much bread or maybe it was too acidic. Maybe I have not found the right gazpacho recipe. I’m still willing to look around because people rave so much about gazpacho. Plus it’s appropriate for the summer time because it’s too darn hot for ramen, pho, and chicken noodle soup.

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Making and eating ice cream (Eat around the World challenge)

I thought this would be a fun recap of all the ice cream I tried this past month for July. Since August is a hotter month, you’ll still find me eating some more ice cream…maybe I’ll find some time to make more ice cream and popsicles. Don’t forget — I’m also going to be experimenting with tomatoes and looking for dishes that incorporate tomatoes. That will be fun!

I’m pretty much writing this post almost half asleep. This week has been chaotic and incredibly energy-sucking. I’m surprised I am even able to squeeze some time to blog. I’ll share more for this upcoming weekend coffee share.

Continue reading Making and eating ice cream (Eat around the World challenge)

A Heavy declutter weekend

It’s great day to have a coconut sundae! Yup, I am still writing about ice cream for my July “Eat Around the World” challenge. Don’t be intimidated by how indulgent it looks. It’s less of a sugar bomb compared to the ice cream sandwich I had the other day.

I can’t wait to share the other ice creams I’ve had this past month! I even made a couple of ice cream popsicles.

Continue reading A Heavy declutter weekend

Pistachio Kulfi (Eat around the World challenge)

I was planning on using my ice cream maker for this challenge, but I don’t think I have room for the bowl. My brother-in-law has been living with us for the past year and he loves to store far more food than he needs. He says it’s also for me and my husband, but we normally don’t eat that much meat throughout the week. Our fridge and our pantry is packed to the brim. I recalled when he first moved in, he asked if we could have a deep freezer and I go “for what? Where’s the room?” And then he asked if we could get a bigger fridge. I told him we’ll buy a fridge after we remodel the kitchen.

Our fridge is a standard size fridge. We’ve had a roommate before and she’s never had a problem with our fridge size. I don’t understand why he has a problem with our fridge size.

When I say “after the remodel” I don’t mean “it will never happen.” Kitchen remodels are expensive. If we don’t like what we’ve envisioned, then it’s an expensive mistake. A kitchen remodel will happen, it just won’t be tomorrow, this month, or even this year.

Anyways rant over. I came across kulfi, a traditional South Asian frozen dessert. The base is evaporated milk garnish with cardamom, pistachio, and saffron. Unlike regular ice cream, you don’t need an ice creamer maker. I can even use popsicle molds. One time I was making ice cream on a really hot day — the ice cream maker couldn’t make the ice cream properly because the bowl was condensing as soon as I took it out of the freezer.

Another reason why I wanted to learn how to make kulfi was that it was eggless recipe. Honestly, I prefer to avoid ice cream recipes that calls for eggs because I tend to accidently scramble them. Also, I get to make use of the leftover milk. My BIL for some reason like to buy a gallon of milk but he never drinks it. He says the milk is for us, but the thing is we don’t drink cow’s milk because of its short shelf life. That’s why we buy alternative milks. When the milk was about to go bad, I would make Japanese milk bread. I even kept a jar of tang zhong in the freezer because we had so much. Anyways, it’s good to know there’s another recipe where I can use leftover milk. I was starting to get burnt out on bread.

I bought a small tub kulfi at the Indian grocery store. I usually like to buy the final product to know what I should be looking for when making the dish. Though the technique does not require whipping, it is still creamy like ice cream. It’s not like a block of ice. I also observed it does not melt as fast ice cream either. Plus I love finding pistachio chunks!

Have you tried kulfi? Comment below!

Pistachio kulfi
Pistachio kulfi
Pistachio Kulfi
There’s pistachio chunks!

“Eat around the World is a monthly writing/photography challenge where I invite people to share a dish around a theme, ingredient, or technique. July’s theme is ice cream. All themes are open to interpretation. Cooking skills are not required to participate. Deadline is July 31st.

Just a grain of salt…

Happy weekend coffee share! Let’s have a light brunch at Huckleberry in Santa Monica. I’ve been hearing great things about this place for years. I even borrowed their cookbook from the library to try out some recipes even though I’ve never been at the time. The jam-filled brioche loaf on the cover page caught my eye and that’s why I borrowed it. I was ambitious to venture into brioche-making. When I was about to return the library book, my miniature Schnauzer, Teddy, ruined the cover. Maybe he thought eating the cover page was a delicious idea. The library did not want want the book back in that condition (obviously). I had to pay for a replacement and got to keep the wrecked version.

To be honest, the damage is not as bad you think. Thank god for hardcover. Plus the pages are in great condition.

I guess I never bothered going because there are many other great brunches between there and where I lived. This morning I decided to finally go because it’s hot where I live. I wanted to escape the heat of the Valley for a little bit and hang out at Santa Monica. I am happy to say I am glad I made the small trek. This quiche gruyere and mushroom quiche is amazing! I also had their fruit crisp. This place definitely lives up to the hype. I’ll definitely go back to re-read this cookbook and replicate these dishes.

Anyways, if we were having coffee, I want to share a thing that bothered me. Background: my daughter’s daycare is at my work in the hospital so I get to see her during my lunch breaks. The other day, I decided to have lunch at the daycare to watch Lana do waterplay because it was first time doing waterplay. I like to see her have fun and engage with the other kids. I asked the daycare supervisor if I could eat lunch at the daycare and he said it was ok but as long as I’m not eating chips or other junk food in front of the other kids. He was explaining the importance of modeling good eating habits for the kids at the daycare. Also, he did not want to have some kid say “hey I don’t want to eat this watermelon, I want to chips because she’s eating chips!” I understood where he was coming from and I am not against this policy. Funny thing was that I had a bag of chip with me. All I had to do was walk a few feet to the staff cafeteria and eat them away from the kid’s sight. No big deal.

But that is not the part that frustrated me. After work, I met up with my husband for dinner and his friend tagged along. I shared with my husband about their lunch policy because we don’t want Lana become a picky eater as she gets older. But his friend exploded saying “Oh my gosh…ugh…they’re social engineering your kid. This is why you should not put your kids through public school, blah blah blah. This is why homeschool is far superior blah blah” Side note: this friend does not have any kids. And if you think public health and teaching kids and anybody about healthy eating (and washing your hands, brushing your teeth, etc.) is social engineering, then sure… Then hope you have one or all the things as a result of not doing any of these healthy habits. Also daycare is not the same as public school because I pay for daycare. It’s completely ridiculous. As much as I am ok with hearing other perspectives, I prefer to keep them at arm’s length. I commend my husband for taking these comments with a tiny grain of salt, while I am a little bit more sensitive.

Ice cream around the world (and June recap)

Wow, it’s July already!

I had a lot of fun sharing some celebration themed treats in June. I shared my treats celebrating my wedding, the middle of the week (hump day), and when my husband’s first Father’s Day. I even made a cake with layers. I saved some cake scraps from the matcha cake and made some cake truffles. It’s very simple: break the cake scraps into crumbs, mix it with a little bit of leftover frosting, roll it in a ball, and freeze. After it’s set, melt some chocolate and roll the truffles in chocolate. It’s incredibly rich. I should have added toppings like almond or coconut shreds or white chocolate chips for better presentation. Also, I should learn how to temper chocolate for a shinier, smoother finish.

matcha chocolate cake truffle pop

Thank you Liz from One Million Photographs for sharing your dish celebrating the welcoming of summer with a crab dinner from Pike’s Place.

Anyways for the theme Ice Cream — my favorite dessert! I eat it frequently because it’s so darn hot where I live in the summertime I’ve had some ice cream kicks on my blog sharing some of the interesting ice cream flavors we have all around Los Angeles. Here are a few I’ve had:

I look forward to also using my ice cream maker. This month should not be too hot to make ice cream.

What kind of ice cream flavors or textures can we find in your part of the world? Participating in “Eat around the the World” is easy! You can either comment here to submit your entry or pingback to this post. Cooking skills are not required to participate! You can also use the tag, “Eat Around the World.” Deadline to participate is July 31st.

The August theme is already set for Tomatoes. I look forward to playing with that theme in seeking out tomato themed dishes and making some myself. I would love expand my use of tomatoes beyond putting on a salad or a sandwich. September is still TBD so I decided to make a poll (viewable on browser not on the WordPress reader app for some reason).

“Eat around the World is a monthly writing/photography challenge where I invite people to share a dish around a theme, ingredient, or technique. July’s theme is ice cream. All themes are open to interpretation. Cooking skills are not required to participate.