I grew up in a relatively small city in the South. It’s big enough to have an airport, but small enough that that airport only has five gates (and one direct flight to NY that I never take because it costs approximately a billion million dollars) — big enough that some people have heard of it, but small enough that a nod and an “Oh, right, right,” is as much as they can muster. 🙂 (Occasionally, I’ll meet someone who actually drove through it.) It was also small enough that, growing up, I can remember the first restaurant of almost every kind of unusual cuisine opening up in town — the first Korean restaurant, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. — and I can also remember the first time I ever had any of those kinds of foods. The first time I had pork bulgogi, then known to me only as “Korean spicy BBQ pork,” I thought it was the most ridiculously delicious dish I’d ever tasted, and I thought that that one god-like restaurant must have been the only place in existence that could create such a magnificent mouth-party. Logical. (And thus began a lifelong love affair with Korean food.)
I have a problem. It’s now been a week and a day of my visit home to my parents. In that time, I’ve baked three dozen mini matcha shortbread cookies, a dozen almond rosemary shortbread cookies, some topsy-turvy cinnamon rolls (next time I’ll roll you properly, little ones), pumpkin cupcakes, and green tea cupcakes. It’s a little excessive. It’s gotten to the point where, every time I come into the kitchen, my mother cries, “Not again!” and leaves the room muttering about her waistline.
OK, so I know what this looks like. It looks like another summer recipe. (After I already posted a fall recipe, saying that it’s fall.) But it’s a really versatile summer recipe! You can sub apples and make it a fall recipe! Or sub frozen blueberries and make it an anytime recipe. Plus, some people in the world haven’t even had summer yet. And maybe some people live in a magical place where white nectarines are in season all year long. So I’m going to say it’s appropriate, and just run with it.
Happy Monday! It’s such a foreign idea to me that summer is ending. With the bar exam just a few weeks behind us, it feels like it’s barely begun. Even so, I know I should get my blueberry recipes out of the way now, so here’s the second of the two I made this summer. Last week I posted the first of two blueberry recipes I made this summer, blueberry buckle coffee cake, and today’s recipe is just plain old blueberry muffins.
Just like with chocolate chip cookies, it seems like everyone has their own preference for what the best blueberry muffin should taste like. They can be biscuit-y or cake-y or drier or moister or sweeter or milder; there are variations with yogurt, with streusel topping, with brown butter, with sour cream, with buttermilk and turbinado sugar and everything in between. There have been showdowns. It’s serious business. And overwhelmed by choice, I couldn’t commit to any of them and just went with something simple.
Happy Tuesday! After all the excitement of Sunday, it’s just been sunny peacefulness as usual here. (Phew.) Before blueberries go out of season, I thought I’d share the first of a couple of recipes with blueberries that I made earlier in the summer, during one of those kicks where boxes of fat blueberries are overflowing on the grocery shelves and going for something like a dollar apiece and the sale-monger in you can’t resist buying like four. (Maybe that’s just me.) The first is an amazing blueberry buckle coffee cake recipe from Annie’s Eats, and the second is a simple blueberry muffin recipe that I cobbled together, which I’ll post sometime next week.
OK, so I have two confessions to make. One, I have to admit that I don’t know what exactly makes sangria sangria. Does it have to use wine? Citrus fruit? Liquor? This uses … none of that. So I’m not really sure if it’s sangria at all. (But I promise that whatever it is, it’s still delicious.)
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.
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.
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.