As it turns out, studying for the bar is no fun. No fun at all. But if there’s anything that makes it okay, ridiculously fluffy homemade banana pancakes must be high on the list. This past Sunday, I thought we would take a break from memorizing the law by indulging in a traditional lazy, full-fat, extra-syrup brunch, and for the first time, I decided to make pancakes from scratch instead of reliable old Aunt Jemima. It turns out that it might be even easier than premade mix (me, for once, deciding not to buy premade things!), to the point where I don’t know why I didn’t do it before. And it was absolutely worth the sluggish non-studying we did the rest of the day.
One of the first blogs I ever started following was Cupcakes and Cashmere. It’s remarkable how much my focus has shifted over the last few years in terms of what blogs I like to read; initially it was purely fashion blogs, but as I’ve come to cook more and more, and especially in the years since I’ve come to live in my own apartment, blogs on cooking and interior design have almost totally eclipsed my former interests. The great thing about Cupcakes and Cashmere is that, while I initially found her through her fashion posts, the wonderful mix that she posts of all three of my interests keeps me constantly engaged in reading her blog. A couple of weeks ago, she posted a recipe for a Triple Berry Pie from Cook’s Illustrated (and first made here) that looked absolutely amazing — so, since I’ve never made a berry-based pie before, I thought it was time to try it.
A few weeks ago, I came upon this ingenious idea for porter milkshakes on Yellow Brick Home, and was so floored. Beer milkshakes! Why did this never occur to me before? We’re not frequent porter drinkers, but we are huge fans of Left Hand Milk Stout, and usually have it in constant supply. So it was an easy step to go out and buy some vanilla ice cream to make this happen.
Butter mochi! The subject of my third and final installment of this little series on Hawaiian foods (parts 1 and 2 were on ahi poke and Spam musubi). I love all the ways that Hawaii is a blend of Asian and Western influences — when it comes to food, it can only mean good things. For instance, I’m not the biggest fan of traditional Asian mochi, like the Chinese nian gao with red bean paste, because it’s a bit too chewy and bland for me. But when amped up with more sugar and a whole (!) stick of butter, the Hawaiian version becomes pretty delicious. READ MORE
Spicy ahi poke is perhaps my greatest love in the food world. First introduced to me when I visited Bowl #2’s family in Hawaii, poke is pretty much just fresh chunks of tuna marinated in soy sauce and other ingredients. Some describe it as a Hawaiian ceviche, which I find apt but not all-encompassing of its utter perfection (I just describe it as bliss). The standard version is one marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and a few other ingredients, whereas our personal favorite is a slightly unhealthier, spicy mayo-based kind that we usually get from Foodland, a Hawaii supermarket chain. This particular kind was part 2 of the Hawaiian birthday feast (part 1 is here), and here is the stunningly simple recipe for how to make it!
Hello! It’s been awhile! Pretty much a week after I started this up, I went into a whirlwind month and a half where we took our very last finals ever as students, left Boston, moved to New York (where we had 10 days to furnish our new but totally empty apartment before hosting family), went back to Boston, graduated from law school, visited family, and ended up back here mostly intact, when we are now supposed to be studying for the bar. Supposed to. Most relevant to this blog, however, is that I also acquired a hand-me-down digital SLR! So I can hopefully start posting pictures that are a little more palatable.
So — to start, last week was Bowl #2’s birthday! He’s from Hawaii and misses it constantly, and since we aren’t going back until after the bar this summer, I thought I’d do the typical thing, “bring Hawaii to him,” and make him his favorite Hawaiian foods. We had a little feast of spam musubi, spicy ahi poke, and butter mochi for dessert. Here’s the first recipe of the three — spam musubi.
I have never seen anyone anywhere eat with the capacity and fervor of Bowl #2 when he orders spicy basil fried rice for delivery from a Thai place. No matter how monstrous the portion is, he will finish it (even if it means total immobilization and agony for hours afterwards). So, given the tumultuous events in Boston yesterday, I thought I would try to recreate it as a comfort food amidst all the lockdown insanity. (I won’t talk too much about everything that happened, since it’s been done much more eloquently than I could attempt to, I’m sure. I will say that I’m not ashamed to admit that we probably did exactly what we would have done on any other day with no obligations — stayed home in our pajamas, watched TV, cooked food, noshed on food. But, other than the fact that what we were watching that day was breaking news, wasn’t half of the lockdown’s eeriness simply knowing that you couldn’t leave if you wanted to?)