Candy around the world (A Virtual trick-or-treat!)

This month’s theme for “Eat Around the World” will be candy. I chose candy because it’s October and I immediately think of trick-or-treating. It’s an annual Halloween tradition in the U.S. where children in costumes go around the neighborhood ringing door-to-door saying “trick-or-treat” asking for treats. Usually treats come in the form of candy. One year I received a toothbrush and another year I receive an apple — those homes quickly became the least popular places to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood.

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Apple Rose Tart

One of my signature dishes is this apple rose tart. I regret to admit I did not take a lot of photos of my finished apple rose tart nor did I track which recipes I’ve tried. I’ve served it as a warm pie fresh out of the oven and as a cold pie with fresh pastry cream as the base and fresh tart apples on top. There was no iteration I did not like.

I made this frequently because it was a dessert dish people always requested; my coworkers wanted this pie for an office gathering and my friends asked about this pie when they came over to my place. I guess there was a reason why I did not take or share photos of the pie. Everyone was asking to make this pie when I wanted to make other pies.

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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:

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.