1. weekend breakfasts (if you look closely, these are basically the same dozen ingredients):

    1. asparagus, tofu, tomato and mushroom ‘hash’ with comté on bread + pomegranate kombucha from Craft Kombucha

    2. Trader Joe’s creamy polenta (I have about 2 bags in the freezer at any moment), arugula, mushrooms, egg

    3. avocado + pepper toast, medjool dates

    4. arugula, avocado, tomato, medjool dates, smoked rainbow trout, raw pecans. dressing: raw honey, lemon juice, hummus, olive oil, pepper, soy sauce

    5. porcini + truffle gnocchi (World Market), tofu, asparagus, tomato sauce

    6. leftover polenta plus egg and mushrooms over avocado toast + coffee

     
  2. some more catching up. snaps from fall 2013 to now, this time taken on my phone, including some from the old Instagram. L to R from top left:
    1. Lobster PLT (lobster and crispy pork belly) + sweet potato fries at Black Swan, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
    2. Mikkeller's Mexas Ranger - my favorite Danish microbrewery found stateside
    3. The Geometry of Pasta - got this on sale at the Hirshhorn, another one checked off the wishlist
    4. homemade shrimp and veg dumplings with the family
    5. glass at Fat Rice, Logan Square, Chicago
    6. gruyere + jam on toast with coffee
    7. animal crackers with coffee + cream at Open City, Woodley Park, D.C.
    8. tea at Intelligentsia, downtown Chicago
    9. oyster mushrooms, heirloom tomato, arugula + tofu
    10. Ed Witt of The Partisan at Graffiato’s Industry Takeover Night in March - probably one of my favorite food events in D.C.
    11. shoyu ramen at Daikaya, Penn Quarter, D.C.
    12. affogato at Pitango Gelato, Penn Quarter, D.C.
    13. lentil coconut curry with shrimp and asparagus
    14. Lunar New Year dinner at Sichuan Pavilion, Golden Triangle, D.C.
    15. thumbprint cookies
    16. coffee at Founding Farmers, Foggy Bottom, D.C.
    17. sunny side eggs on avocado toast - my daily breakfast for a couple weeks
    18. the kitchen at Dough, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
    19. pumpkins at the Evanston Farmers Market
    20. Turk au lait + mezze plate at Sofra Bakery, Cambridge - my favorite stop near my hometown
    21. beer flight at Pizzeria Paradiso, Dupont Circle, D.C.
    22. cauliflower soup
    23. pesto croissants
    24. eggs benedicts at The Bongo Room, Wicker Park, Chicago
    25. peanut noodles

     

  3. cold-brew coffee

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    'tis the season, for cold-brew, as D.C. reached its second 90-degree day of the year today.

    I just started making cold-brew coffee this year, and this is my second batch. I took a mix of tips from Serious Eats and The Kitchn and was surprised at how easy it is to do.

    The easiest way to do it is probably to use a french press, but I don’t have one (I only have a Bialetti), so I hacked it with a giant pyrex cup and coffee filters. Note: My version is extremely janky. In fact, this could be made much easier with a simple sieve, which I alas do not have at the moment either. But even so with my hacked equipment, it’s still super easy to make a giant batch for the week.

    I start out by measuring. Different sources mention different ratios, but I like to do 1/3 cup of dry coarsely-ground coffee to 1.5 cups of slightly lukewarm water.

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    Once these are mingling, I take a spoon to give it a good stir. I put a lid on my Pyrex cup (stolen from a tupperware container) and pop it in the fridge overnight for at least 12 hours. Often times, I sort of forget about it and it’s left there for almost 24 hours. Not sure if this makes it worse, but so far it hasn’t been a problem.

    After I take it out of the fridge, I do an initial pour into another container sans coffee filter. The grounds should stay at the bottom.

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    (I dump the coffee grounds into the soil of my plants once in a while, especially when I make cold-brew because the grounds are extra moist.)

    I take the liquid and filter it this time through a janky contraption of three coffee filters over an empty vessel. Like I said, I don’t have a sieve but if I did I would put that between the filters and the glass.

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    After this, the liquid is about 100% clear and good to go. Since this is coffee concentrate, I parse this out into multiple containers.

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    Four containers, one for each day of the shortened week. I stick these in the fridge, and I think they’re good in there for up to two weeks.

    In the morning, I fully prep a jar with one part concentrate to two parts filtered water. Then I top it with a bit of soy milk until it looks like a disgusting (but tasty!) frosted drink.

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  4. vegetarian ramen

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    this was my third time making ramen, and I think I’ve finally got it. I don’t eat meat at home and never cook meat, so “authentic ramen” was a big challenge because so much of real ramen relies on the rich pork broth.

    this time, however, instead of trying to imitate a meaty ramen, I chose to just diverge entirely and make a noodle soup that uses ramen noodles, but the similarities with “authentic ramen” stop there.

    the trick is in using dried shiitake mushrooms. dried is the key here, because they exude so much more flavor when you soak them for a couple of hours. and the secret is using that giant bowl of water they’ve been soaking in to boil the noodles.

    I started out with a bunch of aromatics for the base: minced fresh ginger, garlic and scallions. tossed in the tofu and fried it all up for a bit in soy sauce. then I threw in the rest of the ingredients: sliced shiitake, some greens in the means of swiss chard, and dumped the bowl of shiitake mushroom liquid into the pot. 

    I topped my bowl with some fresh scallions, poached egg, sesame oil and a squeeze of sriracha. like I said, it wasn’t authentic but it was still fantastic.

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  5. some stragglers from last summer in New York. L to R from top left:
    1. shrimp po’ boy at LIC Flea, Queens
    2. tomato sauce at Eataly, midtown
    3. soup dumplings (xiao long bao) at Shanghai Cafe, Chinatown
    4. eggs benedict at Harefield Road, Williamsburg
    5. lobster roll at Nathan’s Best, Coney Island
    6. spinach boureka at Greenflea, UWS
    7. carrot cake doughnut at Doughnut Plant, LES
    8. seafood laksa at Aux Epices, Little Italy
    9. root vegetables at Union Square farmer’s market
    10. Bolivian salteña at Smorgasburg, DUMBO
    11. signs at Coney Island
    12. takoyaki at Smorgasburg, DUMBO

     
  6. so it’s been a really long time since I did anything on here. but now that I’m an “adult,” I can spend more time cooking like good adults do, right? (Also, a facelift to my Tumblr theme!)

    I’m also giddy still from (continuously) stocking my first kitchen that’s 100% mine. I seasoned my first cast iron pan two weeks ago and it’s probably my favorite thing in my whole apartment.

    My latest curiosity: black rice. I have half a dozen jars of different grains in my cabinet and have been trying different combinations recently. Tonight I did black rice and red lentils (shouts to Trader Joe’s for about 80% of my groceries).

    I didn’t know anything about black rice and so I just cooked it like regular rice. Much to my surprise the water turned a really rich bubbly purple, and I realized that black rice is almost nothing like regular rice. Whereas regular rice (I’m thinking jasmine or basmati here) is brittle and then fluffy when cooked, black rice (at least the kind I got) is a glutinous rice. Thanks to trusty Wikipedia, it also has a lot of stuff that’s good for you, and also colors everything in a deep black purple. Don’t wear your Sunday’s best when cooking this.

    I threw it on a bed of curried eggplant and tomatoes. This was probably one of the best meals I’ve cooked. I can eat black rice just on its own all day if I had to. It’s much more chewy and stickier than white or brown rice and has a nice nutty flavor.

    Also, my leftovers for lunch tomorrow look pretty horrid (it’s a giant black muddy mess and my tupperware will probably be permanently dyed).

    Next project: use black rice in some sort of dessert?

     
  7. vegetarian sandwich: tuscan pane, red pepper eggplant spread, cayenne-seared tofu, wilted spinach, egg, cheddar gruyere, sriracha

     
  8. The one-time New Amsterdam Market was held on June 23 earlier this summer, by Peck Slip next to South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan. The endangered market, which used to be held weekly, was restricted this summer but will return monthly in the fall. The market included local producers including bakers, fishmongers, farmers, butchers, cheesemongers as well as a selection of ready-made food. I really loved the market because most vendors seemed more straight-from-the-source compared to other farmers markets in New York. The New Market Building is the only building in the South Street Seaport Historic District that is not protected as a national landmark and is danger of being torn down for commercial efforts. Advocates are appealing to officials to halt its destruction.

     
  9. egg kale scramble: eggs, potatoes, kale, cayenne

     
  10. hot food bar
    @ Woorijip, Koreatown, New York City