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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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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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.

Matcha cake with white chocolate cream (Eat around the World challenge)

I think I wanted to do an Eat Around the World blog challenge because I wanted an excuse to make foods I normally do not make. Take this matcha cake for example — or any cake in general. So far a lot of the foods I shared around the theme of celebration have been foods made by others like this wedding cake or this croissant. As someone who calls herself a home cook, I wanted to show something I made.

This past Sunday was Father’s Day and I wanted to take the opportunity to make a cake to celebrate my husband’s first Father’s Day. I normally don’t bake cake because it looks intimidating, it looks like it is a lot of work in terms of time or resources. But also I feel like if I have to make cake, it needs to be for a lot of people. I don’t think I would make a cake for just me and my husband.

This matcha cake is coated in what was suppose to be white chocolate whipped cream that turned into white chocolate buttercream. I whipped the heavy cream mixture for too long. I should have caught it when it started looking like stiff peaks. Anyways it’s all good. Maybe my mistake is an excuse to try again :-).

The recipe for the matcha sponge is from Delish.com. The whipped cream frosting is from Carve Your Cravings. It’s not as intimidating as I thought. The ingredients for the matcha sponge are ingredients I already had at home — yup, including the matcha powder. Instead of using a round tin, I used a bread loaf tin to bake the sponge. I made the sponge on Saturday night to let it cool into the following day. From there, I sliced the sponge in half and made the frosting. I chose white chocolate whipped cream because I did not have any cream cheese on hand.

Here is the final product:

Matcha cake with white chocolate frosting green tea
Matcha cake with white chocolate frosting green tea
Matcha cake with white chocolate frosting green tea

I saved the cake scraps because I did not want to waste food. Plus I learned there are recipes that use cake scraps; you can make cake pops, cake truffles, mix it into ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, cake in a jar, and a milkshake.

Things I would do differently the next time I make this cake:

  • put fresh strawberries or pistachios in the filling or on top
  • make them into cupcakes or donuts!
  • stopped whipping the cream when it gets to stiff peaks
  • cover the cake with whipped cream frosting with touch of maple syrup

“Eat around the World is a monthly writing/photography challenge where I invite people to share a dish around a theme, ingredient, or technique. June’s theme is “Wedding Cake…and other Celebratory Treats.” All themes are open to interpretation. Cooking skills are not required to participate.

Produce box

When I go to the grocery store I usually get spinach, cucumber, kale, apples, baby bell peppers, and bananas. Occasionally I like to pick up a random fruit — something unusual and unique for the season. To change things up, I decided to pick up a produce box at my local community garden to support the work that they do. Also at work the other day we had a mobile food drive for the community and there was a leftover produce box I took home too.

So anyways I wanted to go through all the produce I received and figure out what to do with them. I enjoy cooking and food prep. My favorite activity to do on a Sunday is go on a food prep marathon to plan for all the meals to make for the week. Usually I plan meals up to Wednesday. Thursday is for leftovers/cleaning the fridge and Friday we like to dine out or do takeout.

Celery — and there’s lots of it too! Celery is generally in my grocery rotation. I can make celery juice and sweeten it with a little bit of apple but I think celery juice alone is just fine. I also like to have it by itself as snack. I do find the celery in the center not taste as good. So what I do with the less appetizing celeries is chop it up and freeze it in a bag. I have bag of chopped carrots, onions, and celery so I always have a mirepoix on hand.

Oranges – These were in the pantry box I got through work. I usually eat these as a snack. Maybe I can use it to brighten a salad.

Dandelion greens – I got this from the community urban farm. Honestly this was arugula but it tastes different — it’s less bitter and the stems are a little thicker. I made a salad yesterday along with the lettuce.

Pakistan mulberries – these have an interesting taste. It’s earthy yet citrusy.

Asparagus – I’ve been eyeballing to make a cream of asparagus soup.

Avocado – Well there’s lot of things to do with an avocado. You can put it in toast and in salad. If I am feeling indulgent, I make an avocado smoothie — it’s just banana, almond milk, and half an avocado.

Radishes – I love eating radishes as a snack — raw and nothing else. I also like to put it on butter (or avocado) and toast. A couple years ago, I was on a pickling kick because I was learning how to pickle stuff. Maybe I could pickle the radish? Honestly, I’ve never cooked radishes — maybe I could try this garlic roasted radish dish.

The radish greens could be a stirfry to get rid of that fuzzy texture.

Kale (or are they collard greens)- I would eat kale raw in a salad or a smoothie. I would eat kale cooked if it was in a stew. In the winter time, I like to make a kale, bean, and sausage soup.

Carrots – save the carrot tops for a pesto. The carrots can be roasted on a cast iron skillet for a side dish.

Fennel – for the bulb, I would make this green shashuka. For the fronds, I would make a pesto (could I mix it with the carrot top?) or cook it with salmon.

Lettuce – I used it to to make a garden salad yesterday along with dandelion greens.

Potatoes – Maybe for a challenge, I could make these honey butter potato chips and top it with ice cream.

Yellow squash – I received lots of yellow squash from the leftover mobile food pantry. Could I experiment with yellow squash in place of zucchini bread? Or could I make a squash noodle lasagna?

Any recipes or dishes you recommend with any of these produce above? Comment below!