So I’m pretty sure I never really knew what horchata was for the longest time. It was just a drink that sounded vaguely delicious and that I suspected I was missing out on until I got distracted five seconds later. And then I came across these these dreamy cinnamon horchata popsicles last summer, I finally sat down and read Jonathan’s beguiling words about it — and it suddenly became one of those things that sounded so crazy delicious and ambrosial that I wondered what I was doing with my life that I hadn’t had it yet. If you’re vague on it like I was, it turns out horchata is a sweet, creamy drink made from (among other variations, depending on where it’s from) rice, almonds, and cinnamon, served chilled and over ice. The soaked rice and almonds produce a richly milky, opaque sip of heaven that’s still completely dairy-free, and with a touch of heat from the cinnamon, it’s kind of the only thing I want to drink all summer long.
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.
So, if you’ve been around this blog (or on the Internet in general) for more than half a second, I think you just might be familiar with the work of art that is my dear friend Stephanie’s i am a food blog. It’s got awards galore under its belt; it’s home to my favorite Sunday reading. It’s always got something unbelievably cute and mini, or else it’s swoon-worthy melting and cheesy (or cute, mini, and melting-cheesy), and no matter what her latest post is, it’s always delicious, and always as stunning as it is delicious.
Long story short, Stephanie’s created one of my favorite places on the web — and now the best news is that she’s morphed it into a cookbook that’s every bit as wonderful! I’m in awe of this book. It’s 99 flawless recipes, each with their own endearing, catch-up-over-coffee anecdotes, vibrant photos, and their own graphics. And every page, cover to cover, is designed by Steph herself. I read it on the subway home from work last week, and one stop from home, I looked up to find both my seat-neighbors craning over my shoulders to read it, too. It’s that great.
If you read Stephanie’s blog, you’ll know that she’s not just one of the most talented bloggers around — she’s also one of the most cheerful, genuine, and caring people I’ve had the honor of calling a friend. (Not to mention the humblest!) The best part about Easy Gourmet is that that fun-loving, approachable personality shines through in every page. For every recipe that breathes new life into an old classic with joyful, Stephanie-esque spirit, there’s a recipe that makes an otherwise intimidating technique seem accessible, fun, and inviting thanks to her guiding words.
For me, risotto was the latter, and I knew instantly that if I ever successfully made it, it’d be with Steph as my guide. Sure enough, Stephanie’s easy-going, friendly instructions led me straight into these plates of savory, comforting, Italian goodness. One bite took me straight back to the first revelatory taste of risotto I ever had, and if I didn’t see my own hands make it in front of my eyes, I might not have believed it was me. So good.
In a book that’s all about the easy, Steph has done what is, in a lot of ways, most difficult — she’s put a finger on the real, the wholesome, the crave-worthy food that’s accessible yet fantastic (or, should we say, easy yet gourmet?!) I’m in love with it, and I have no doubt you will be, too.
Courtesy of Page Street Publishing, I’m giving away one copy of Easy Gourmet: Awesome Recipes Anyone Can Cook! To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me a kitchen skill or special dish you’ve been meaning to conquer. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents, and ends next Tuesday, September 30th at 11:59 PM EST!
The giveaway has closed! Big yays for Lily Sheng! Look out for an email with more details. I hope you adore Stephanie’s new book.
We’re back! As of an hour ago, Bowl #2 and I are back in our Brooklyn nook, a little tanner, a lot rounder, kind of sleepy, and trying to remember what it’s like to be hungry.
Before I go nap off our red-eye, I just wanted to drop in a little hello and a note that I have a guest post up this morning on With Food + Love! Sherrie’s blog is a gorgeous and inspiring take on vegetarian, gluten-free eating, and I’m so excited and honored to be able to contribute something today (especially as a gluten-ful omnivore!)
When it comes to tofu, I’m generally not persuaded by it unless it’s the chewy dried version that crops up in stirfries and savory braised meat dishes (or, if my dad is involved, eaten plain out of the package). But when Bowl #2’s mother introduced me to this banchan last fall – incidentally, on our last trip to visit his family almost exactly a year ago – I was totally smitten, even despite my textural bias. The tofu is pressed with paper towels to remove moisture, then briefly panfried to add a touch of crisp, and finished by braising in an intensely flavored soy sauce and sesame oil mixture, punctuated by bright scallions, garlic, and a touch of red pepper. It’s vegan, and if you use tamari, gluten-free – more importantly, it’s just really good. Hop on over to Sherrie’s blog for the recipe!
And now it’s time for a nap! Hope you’re all having lovely Wednesdays!
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!
Ahh, welcome to my new blog! I thought I would start it off with something I was really excited to learn how to cook: bibimbap.