It’s almost here! We’re actually, really, truly getting married this Saturday and I’m so excited I can’t sit still. This is the last post in this series on our reception food, and after that I’ll finally stop yammering to you about it — in three days, we’ll be noshing on these caramelized onion & Boursin tartlets, this spicy ahi poke parfaitini, and slicing into a real-people version of this cake, among other things (like a rosemary-perfumed short rib and vibrant purple Okinawan sweet potato puree, be still my heart). And as our wedding favors, we’ll be handing out this last recipe!
It’s the last installment in B2’s birthday series! You can see parts one (hurricane popcorn!) and two (chicken katsu plate lunch!) here.
These babes aren’t something that B2 actually ever requested I make — I think I mentioned homemade malasadas once, way back, and B2 chewed on the idea and said it just sounded like too much work to make at home. Usually, when he says he’s not so into something, I take it at face value (or else things happen like I know you said you didn’t want Oreos but, Oreos! And they were on sale! and then I have a pack of Oreos to finish by myself. It’s true, there are worse problems to have.) But I figure the thing about birthdays is that, hey, it’s nice to get something you didn’t have to ask for. And there are things that you might like a lot more than you suspect. As it turns out, a platter of warm, yielding, airy malasadas filled with smooth pastel curd, the kind that brings back B2’s childhood memories of school carnivals and afternoon runs to famed neighborhood bakeries, is one of those things.
Right around this time two years ago, I christened this baby-blog with a little birthday series for Bowl #2 — they were something like my third, fourth, and fifth posts, and they were recipes for some of his favorite foods from back home in Hawaii. With another one of his trips around the sun approaching (and because I can never have enough food from Hawaii), I thought that this would be a good time to do a repeat of sorts — this time with a little bit extra! His birthday is just a couple weeks before a little event I can’t stop talking about (sorry) and ever since we figured out our reception menu, I’ve been planning to try to recreate some of the dishes to share with you. Since we happen to be getting married in Hawaii, it seemed perfect to mash it all up! So for the next six weeks or so, I’ll be sharing a couple more recipes for his favorite childhood Hawaii dishes, mixed in with a few homemade versions of the eats from our wedding menu. Since I can’t invite you all to our shindig, I figured this was the next best way to celebrate it with you. <3
Hi friends! How was your weekend? We spent a fun one down in North Carolina at the wedding of one of Bowl #2’s college friends. This might just be me and the fact that I haven’t gone to that many yet, but I feel like I love weddings more and more with every one I go to, even when I’m a plus-one and I’ve never met the bride and groom. (But also there’s a 20% chance you’ll find me crying in my office to YouTube highlight reels of strangers’ weddings on any given afternoon. Just so you know what kind of constitution you’re dealing with.)
It’s a Pig & Quill baby shower!! I can’t remember when I first came across the sassy sunshine that is Emily’s blog, but it’s one of my oldest reads — Emily’s irreverent vivacity and passion for good eats make the Internet that much brighter, and on the days when she turns reflective, it’s the kind of writing that hits home, lingers, and inspires. Also, she knows how to enjoy her SPAM. I don’t know what else I could ask for from a blog. The best news is that Em is having a mini-Em in just a few weeks, and when the amazing Gina and Sherrie put together a virtual party to celebrate, I couldn’t wait to join in.
Spring is coming! It’s true, we did just spend the majority of last week’s commutes skating through pools of slush, and there are still attractively sooty mounds of snow piled in the purgatory between the cars and the sidewalk. But they’re melting so fast. We’ve been waking up to a cacophony of long-lost birds outside our window, I’ve (tentatively) traded in my Michelin-man puffer for a wool coat for the first time in 2015. I’ve graduated from leggings to tights under my work pants. It’s supposed to be a high of sixty today?! I almost didn’t type it because I feel like I might jinx it. Spring is tiptoeing our way, and — even though I know it’ll probably desert us at least a few more times this year — I’m so excited.
I’m a sucker for food with meaning. I associate food with all sorts of things — a means of gathering together, a mode for celebration, a medium of remembrance, a conduit for family traditions, all those grand words. I love it all. This means I probably end up ascribing too much significance to my food sometimes — wait no we have to get peanut M&Ms before we board because we always have peanut M&Ms on the plane! — but somehow, I just love how much food can mean to us, and how much power it carries beyond just sustenance.
This Taiwanese popcorn chicken is a case in point — I was so, so excited to recreate it for Food52 a few weeks ago, because it comes from such a special place and time. Bowl #2 and I first discovered its glory on a short weekend trip to Taipei a few years ago (a mini trip inside a big, big one I’ve mentioned a few times before) and after we first tried it, I dragged B2 all over Taipei to try every other Taiwanese fried chicken joint I could Google in the rest of our short days there. (Resulting in us getting lost on more than one occasion. And ending up in a deserted garage trying to describe our difficulties to a baffled Taiwanese man on a moped.)
B2 and I spontaneously decided to work from home together yesterday. As mundane as it sounds, I think it was the best decision we’ve made in weeks — instead of the usual Monday malaise, feeling sluggish amid a flurry of phone calls and emails, we spent a quiet, pajama-clad day at our sun-warmed dining table, with home-brewed coffee and baked oatmeal, getting more done than we — or at least I — ever would have in the office. (Except when B2 farted in the middle of my conference call and I spent the rest of it laughing instead of listening to my co-worker.)
This week, a new class of associates is starting at my firm. This is strange for a whole host of reasons (like, wait, I still don’t know anything, how can anyone be junior to me?) but mostly because it doesn’t feel like a whole year has passed since I started. Maybe the thing that stands out to me most about this new “grown” quotidian is that time suddenly feels a little unchained. Instead of living life in neat, segmented bites of time, fed to us through semesters, summer breaks, and midterms, it’s now nebulous seasons, the next three-day weekend, a new wave of co-workers.
So it all feels more free-form, and hallmarks seem to ambush me a little more. (Do not let me say “I can’t believe it’s almost [insert month or holiday]” again. … But really I can’t believe it’s almost October.) I realized while making this bread that it was only about a year ago that I first ventured into baking with yeast. Which is remarkable, because even though I still find rising dough completely crazy — it’s alive — it’s now hard to imagine a kitchen without it.
This loaf might just be my favorite yeasty recipe in my nascent bread-making life. I was a tad freaked when I first started testing recipes for it, given that Hokkaido milk bread has a reputation just about as lofty as its sky-high crumb — but thanks to a recipe adapted from this one by Christine’s Recipes, the result was everything I imagined it would be. Soft, wispy sheets of bread with a rich, tender crumb and just a touch of sweetness, good enough to eat plain, but even better toasted and smothered in condensed milk. You can find the recipe on Food52.
Wishing you all lovely weeks ahead!
So here’s what happens when you live with someone who is usually indifferent to food. You’ll go for weeks racking your brain for what to make for dinner or what to post on your blog, procrastinating at work by making lists and going down Pinterest rabbit holes, feeling generally uninspired … and then one day, as you’re drifting off to sleep, he’ll pipe up casually with something like, “Hey … what about bulgogi nachos?” And then you won’t go to bed for another 20 minutes (while he falls asleep right after) and you’ll spend about 10 seconds of that thinking why didn’t I think of that! and the other 19 minutes and 50 seconds contemplating whether making nachos at 1 AM on a Wednesday is a normal and worthy endeavor.
And then, as soon as you can (though maybe not at 1 AM), you make them and post about them. Because dude, bulgogi nachos. With kimchi, and plenty of melted cheese, and a pile of spicy greens on top? Perfection. Of course, Korean Mexican fusion is nothing new, and it receives a healthy share of ire as the poster child (it seems) of what people perceive as unnecessary fusion cuisines, but I really feel like it works here. The well-salted tortilla chips are a fantastic balance to the savory-sweet beef bulgogi, and the tang from the kimchi helps liven up those otherwise heavy flavors. And anyone who’s been here in Cambridge knows that there’s nothing closer to heaven than a healthy pile of melted mozzarella on tender Asian-marinated beef.
The best part is that I’m not the only one feeling the need to put Asian food on nachos this week (which is how you know you’re onto something!) because Steph at I Am a Food Blog put a California roll all on tortilla chips and it looks so, so good. Can I just start a diet where I eat only things on nachos? I feel nothing but good things and low cholesterol can come of this.