It’s the most polarizing holiday of the year! Yay! The Bowl household is pretty neutral on the V-Day. We don’t mind it. But we’re also a tad lazy. So what happens is I end up making goofy foods into heart shapes (what do you mean Spam’s not romantic? And, um, no, I’m pretty sure bindaetteok were meant to be made into hearts), then we just pig out and watch movies in our sweatpants.
Normally, I’m all about the Super Bowl finger foods. Carbs wrapped in cheese wrapped in carbs, usually mini, often involving some combination of “Panko-crusted” and “stuffed” and “pizza”? It is my thing. (Football, not so much.) But, either because Bowl #2 and I both had somewhat hectic weeks, or just because January has felt very long and very January, I just felt like a gentler, quieter dessert was in order. One that you can stuff yourself full of and just feel comforted, instead of immobilized. And maybe that you ate two days’ worth of calories in 30 minutes… instead of four. So I made these red bean mochi balls. (I know, even though I just made these. Does that mean it’s topical? Sorry for being a one-note these days — I promise I’m moving on to non-mochi edibles and potables after this.)
Happy Lunar New Year, friends! It’s been kind of a long week, so I won’t write too much today. Instead, I’ll just leave you with this super easy-peasy recipe for the quintessential LNY dessert — cute little teeny mochi, up on Food52 today. I was absolutely thrilled with how these came out. The only variations on mochi I’d made in the past were nian gao, which is a bit cakier, since it’s baked uncovered, and butter mochi, which is quite a bit oilier, because … butter. These are made tightly covered with foil, and they came out of the oven dreamily soft but still chewy, substantial but still light, with just the right amount of sweetness. And cutting them up and powdering them made me feel like an old-timey red-and-white-stripes confectioner.
You can do so much more with this blank canvas recipe, too. I made another batch using one teaspoon of matcha powder (whisked into the dry ingredients) and 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract (added to the wet), and was obsessed with them. (Not shown, because our carbon monoxide alarm went off just as they went into the oven … a story for another day… and they came out looking kind of special.) I’m also kind of dying to try it with rosewater? (Turkish delight, but MOCHI.) So many possibilities.
TGIF and happy Year of the Horse!
Here’s what not to do when making tea eggs. Do not:
1. Go to law school, and in your first year, get really stressed and sleep-deprived, then decide to destress by making them in your communal kitchen that is down the hallway and through some locked doors from your dorm room.
2. Make them in your faraway communal kitchen, at night, when you are tired and sleep-deprived, and then think it is a good idea to leave them unattended while they simmer for a few hours. No biggie.
3. Go back to your room.
4. Fall asleep.
5. Until the next morning.
It’s December! Which means all I want to do these days is bake Christmas cookies and post about them. But, while that’s definitely coming, I felt like I needed to do a post first on this Korean staple (again, all about the blog staples!) because it’s so essential in some of the recipes I’ve posted, and because I’ve already been talking to so many of you about it in comments. So I’m resisting the ginger snaps, cranberries, and peppermint extract for now (so hard!), and sharing with you all my (limited) experiences with making homemade kimchi.
It’s almost Thanksgiving! So this week I thought I’d post on what seems to be the Thanksgiving vegetable of the year. If last week was about bucking trends (or being unable to participate), this week is definitely all about falling in line with them. At this point, I think I may be the last blog on the Internet not to have done a post on these toy cabbages. But just in case you’re not already Brussels’ed out, here’s several more ways to roast them — as chips and as hearts, and in three different flavors. (In other words, if you’re not Brussels’ed out, after this you will definitely be.)
I realized this weekend that it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything savory. Which is funny, because I consider myself a pretty novice baker — I guess we just rotate much more frequently between tried and true meals, whereas Bowl #2 never has any input on sweets, so I just try any new thing I feel like. Anyway, I thought I’d change it up by posting about one of our very most favorite “tried and true”s — kimchi fried rice.
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.)
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!