Check out my foodie adventures at Foodspotting and Foodgawker

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seven Truths About Vegas

Number 7
If your brother turns 40 on 11/11/11, there is only one thing you can do.

Convene in vegas for some shenanigans.

And, against all better judgment, invite all family and friends to do the same.

Number 6

Let me guess. Your second cousin suggests the birthday boy should play beer pong at 1 AM before gambling at a craps table, too? (And he talked your uncle into refereeing the game and staying up past midnight,which is way past his bedtime). Who are these crazy kids?

Number 5
If ever there was truth behind a legend of an Asian girl known as La China Poblana who was kidnapped by pirates and shipped to Mexico, I am ever so grateful for its inspiration in the foodie collision of China and Mexico. Jicama and Avocado on glass noodles with sesame dressing? Sounds implausible, but it is actually perfect. Mind-blowing, even.

And who am I to argue with putting twenty (20) vegetables in fried rice? I must recreate these dishes at home (stay tuned).

Number 4
When your friend, in all seriousness, suggests jumping off the 108th floor of the Stratosphere, it's obvious her judgment has been seriously impaired. Be a good friend and take her home before anything unmentionable happens.

Friends don’t let friends take 855-foot freefalls.

Number 3
If someone in Vegas asks you to tell him or her your deepest, darkest secret, do NOT do it! It’s a ploy that can only lead to bad things.

Vegas is for keeping secrets, not for sharing them (I don’t need to tell you that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas). This is not the time for such vulnerability and you are in no shape to divulge.

If you absolutely must spill the beans, tell this guy.

At least you can be certain your secrets are safe with him.

Number 2
Nobody can be trusted to make good (or rational) decisions on three hours of sleep. Nobody. See #6. Or #4.

Number 1
If you leave Vegas feeling defeated, then you’ve won!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Momofuku Milkbar in San Francisco

If New York comes all the way to San Francisco, you get your ass to the landing dock to greet New York with open arms.

You tell your boss, friend, husband, dog, whathaveyou that, come hell-or-high-water, you need to drop what you are doing to be at the front of this line.

My first glimpse of the coveted bounty turned me into a sugar-grabbing feisty greedy little rapscallion. I felt feverish and downright selfish. It was a quick transformation that surprised even myself because I am not known for having a sweet tooth at all. I mean, I had kale-apple-lemon-ginger juice for breakfast.

But my eyes glazed over and I morphed into a sugar-crazed demon (before any actual sugar had even crossed my lips). My friends wanted to get some savory lunch at Fatted Calf, and in no polite tone at all, I growled “I’m having sugar for lunch, thank you. With a side of sugar”. Say again?

crack pie
compost cookies
blueberry cream cookie
cornflake-toasted marshmallow-chocolate chip cookie
chocolate chocolate cookie
corn cookie

Everyone, including yours truly, was reaching for the crack pie and the famed compost cookie – a veritable mash up of chocolate, cornflakes, pretzels, chips and coffee grounds – all the things that you might shovel into your mouth after a bad break up and have completely lost all rationality. But at the end of the line, a golden ray of sunshine caught my eye. Corn cookies.

It looked like a standard sugar cookie, but unapologetically yellow, signaling its solid foundation of corn and butter. Corn. And Butter. Say it with me. It’s Thanksgiving and we’re in this together.

Don’t go all chocolate chip on me and be tempted to question her logic to put corn in a cookie (or ice cream, while we’re at it). Surrender to a mouthful of old-fashioned spoon bread, rich with sweet corn flavor and studded with gritty stone-ground corn meal. Compress that corn pudding flavor into a cookie with a thick, dense chew that can only be achieved by patiently chilling your dough. I made myself dizzy wondering How can this one bite be so full of flavor? Obviously (it’s not obvious at all), it’s a no brainer to use corn flour and mix it with sugar, eggs, flour and salt until it resembles a thick scoop of wet sand. But Tosi stretches her brain to fit in even more corn flavor by turning dehydrated corn into corn powder. Zing! Houston, do you copy? Thank you, corn. Thank you, Tosi.

You can tell that this cookie didn’t achieve its perfect state of flavor and texture (oh my god, the texture) because Tosi waved around sticks of cheap grocery-store grade butter and generic all-purpose flour. No, this takes mindful effort (and a lot of it). This kind of magic is unmistakably the result of sleepless nights, large cups of creativity and espresso shots, and baking boot camp at 2 am (when all the best work happens). Sissys need not apply.

These bakery masterpieces are the brainchild of respectful collaboration between hardy people who push each other to be better, to do more, to work smarter. To create something out of nothing and to actually create the challenges they want to learn how to overcome; it’s the honest path to improvement. Hot damn, that’s what I call inspiring!

David Chang warns you: “Don’t let her nice demeanor and southern charm fool you; underneath she is a ruthless killer . . . just like her recipes in this book, where deceptively simple flavors and ingredients combine in ways that make grown men whimper. Resistance to her sugar manifesto is futile.”

I whimpered, all right.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Diamonds are Forever

"They say it takes pressure to make diamonds. So, let's get these babies cut!"

If your Body Bump instructor says this, you should:

a) suspect that he is on dangerous levels of steroids;
b) expect to get your ass handed to you because you are in no way prepared for a super-advance-weight-lifting-marathon; or
c) let it slide, if he is cut like Superman and says it with a cute Aussie accent.

The answer is all of the above.

Then you limp home and melt into the couch, never to move again. You order take out and watch the Season 5 finale of Dexter and call it a day.

Then, over your morning coffee, you contemplate whether it's a good idea to go back to Body Pump. Like, tomorrow.

After all, take out and TV are only a temporary fix, but diamonds are forever.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Foodbuzz Festival 2011

This year’s Foodbuzz Festival was not about the food. It was about the people. And a lesson in social media and the importance of having a twitter account.

And I got schooled.

I was instantly taken back to how I felt the night before the first day of 5th grade.

I had meticulously planned out an outfit that I thought (at the time) would be fashionable and perfect for the first day of school. I was sorely misguided on what that meant and wore light denim short overalls with caramel leather boots with mauve-colored socks. With lace ruffles. I’m sure they were on clearance at Mervyn’s. The popular girls were wearing Esprit and Guess everything.

I figured I would be super friendly and smile to everyone in the hallways to try to lure them into being my friend. Instead, people wondered “who is this crazy girl and what is she so happy about?” and I’m sure I grinned and gestured in ways that can only be interpreted as creepy.

I was wondering what I would say during each of the endless rounds of 3-minute schmooze sessions with strangers trading business cards and blog names. I was nervous about fitting in and feeling left out. I searched for a friendly face and an invitation to join a dinner table.

I wanted to find just one person who was genuinely interested in talking with me and sharing why they were at the conference, what they blogged about and what they liked to cook.

I found three. Megan, Heather and Teri were full of smiles and happy to share in good company.

And then some.

I also had the good fortune of sitting next to Lauren and Kellie and her most welcoming smile.

So, what do bloggers do at a blogger conference?


As I learned from Irvin's and Stella’s session on social media, an experience or moment isn’t real or doesn’t even exist if it isn’t memorialized on Twitter or Facebook.

Ashley also put together a really informative presentation on the basics of photography and moving away from auto mode. It’s not easy to teach via power-point, especially when you have a lot of material to cover, but she waded through victoriously and handed out homemade peanut butter cups to keep the crowd alive. After seeing several line ups of the same shot with varying ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings, things started to make more sense. Here’s to ditching auto mode!

(Don't tell her that I had to manually try to correct the exposure on the slide about the exposure.)

Tyler Florence did a cooking demonstration for cider-brined pork chops with herbed spaetzle and braised red cabbage.

Now that’s some good eye candy. And I’m not talking about the pork chops. But, honestly, most of the bloggers seemed more interested in wanting to talk to each other. And eat!

Saturday’s “Taste Pavilion” is essentially a food trade show where companies bring along samples and you get to see some of the new foods on the market and meet the people behind the labels. I was hoping to find this year’s “dough balls” that would capture the blogosphere like it did at the 2010 Foodbuzz Festival. Nothing stood out in quite the same way, but I did find these pickled raisins from Boatstreet Pickles in Seattle.

Boatstreet Café is what had inspired me to make pickled grapes for the Underground Market.

I learned that endive grows in the dark. Odd. But delicious.

There was a panel discussion on ways to take your blog to the next level: from photography, to finding (and developing) your voice, podcasts, and cookbook deals.

I snagged one quick moment to talk to Joy the Baker and her advice was do it because you love it.

But you know what pleased the crowd even more than all this good blog advice? Mama Pea’s dough balls that she had toted to San Francisco with love all the way from her kitchen in Oregon.

I wish I had known this trick to making friends back when I was in the 5th grade.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Art of Sharing


I guess it’s pretty obvious around here that I took a hiatus. A three-month hiatus. And I want to talk about why.

Since we last spoke, I’ve crammed in all sorts of things that I wanted to share with you.

1. I’ve flown to Colorado for a wedding of a dear friend (and drove to Denver, Fort Collins, Englewood, Larkspur and Boulder in a span of four days).

2. I’ve volunteered at the Kendall Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival. I volunteer every year and it’s one of my most favorite weekends because an enormous bounty of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes (in over 150 varieties!) are at my disposal. For free, people.

3. When a friend of mine broke up with her boyfriend, I took her for a classic bay area adventure: hiking in Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve and then getting lobster rolls for lunch. Fact: The Bay Area is equally as obsessed with lobster rolls as Boston.

4. I saw James Blake in concert. Holy crap, he is talented.

5. I flew to Japan for a family vacation. For two weeks! My sister-in-law, Hiromi, is from a remote northern village called Nagai in the Yamagata prefecture. It’s nestled at the base of the Asahi mountain range and it is C-O-L-D. It’s pretty obvious why she jumped ship (islands?) and moved to Maui where she met my brother, Chad. The purpose of the trip was to introduce my 6-month old nephew, Raidin, to his Japanese side of the family. Meanwhile, my mom and I introduced ourselves to countless bowls of ramen and onsen spas.

6. Before Maya closed, I weaseled the bartender into sharing the coveted recipe for their coconut mojitos (stay tuned). But not before I knocked back a couple of them first. In memoriam.

7. I went to the New Wave 80’s Sing-A-Long at the Roxie. If you have no idea what that might entail from the title, you are not alone. I didn’t either, but purchased a ticket immediately. It turned out to be a theater full of people dressed in 80’s gear (no doubt, fueled by American Apparel) and they played 80’s music videos with karaoke style lyrics on the screen while the crowd sang along (no doubt, fueled by free shots of whiskey being passed around). The emcee wore a banana hammock, an afro wig and boots. And nothing else. This kind of event would only happen in San Francisco.

8. I saw a documentary called Dirty Pictures, which is about a rogue chemist who discovered the psychedelic effects of MDMA (aka Ecstasy). He lives in the Bay Area, too, naturally.

9. For Halloween, we threw the largest party we have ever held in our 2-bedroom San Francisco apartment. Over 75 people attended, in full costume. And you know Jason insisted on getting a local keg of Drakes Denogginizer (turns out, most people aren't prepared to tackle a keg of beer with a 9.75% ABV, but they try anyway).

10. I saw Cirque du Soleil: TOTEM. I have been fortunate to see a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows, and the pricey tickets are worth every penny. I cannot even describe to you what these talented performers do with their bodies, but my jaw was on the floor for the entire 3-hour show.

11. I attended the 3rd annual Foodbuzz Festival, where food bloggers from around the country gathered to share their stories about why they blog, how they blog and what they blog about.

Which brings me back to the reason for the hiatus. Yes, I’ve been insanely busy (see above). But somewhere along the way, I lost my mojo.

I still cooked.
I still ate.
But I didn’t blog (despite thinking about it almost daily).

I had forgotten why I had started blogging in the first place. I was preoccupied with figuring out what to write and “finding my voice” instead of just talking openly and reaching out to connect to you. I had put the camera down in frustration over trying to teach myself the basics of photography instead of just picking up the camera and learning by trial-and-error.

At the blogger conference, we talked about identifying our goals for our blogs. Giving some serious, honest thought to that is what brought me back to why I created this space. I wanted to connect to those who are as passionate as I am. I wanted to belong to a community that gushed about seasonal produce (how nerdy!) instead of celebrity gossip (ok, maybe not instead of, but in addition to). And I wanted to share with you what I make in my kitchen because my passion lies in the sharing of food, community and love – the inherent connection that is built between people who eat together.

Photo courtesy of Jesse Friedman

I hope you will forgive me. I’ve got a lot of sharing to do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

dinner after the gym

I am not a runner. Let me repeat. Not a runner.

Somewhere near the two mile mark I feel like I might die. Really. I'm the jerk you don't want to have as a partner when you have to do "Indian Runs" at boot camp because I hold up the whole group puffing and panting. Sorry, Elizabeth!

So I was pretty shocked when one year ago a podiatrist told me that my really high arches were causing plantar faciitis. Common for runners. Pfffftwaaaaah??

Doesn't this foot look like it was born to be in heels? Instead, I got myself some orthotics and simultaneously signed up for grandma-in-training courses. It helps. A friend of mine who just finished massage school offered to study up on some foot massage techniques. Couldn't hurt. And I found that changing up the types of workouts helps a lot.

Here's what my past week of workouts looked like:

Saturday: 2.5 miles on elliptical + 25 mins swimming laps
Sunday: 25 mins swimming (while daydreaming about what I can make for lunch)
Monday: 60 mins strength training using free weights at 24Lift class
Tuesday: [rest]
Wednesday: [rest]
Thursday: Urban Bootcamp. Yeah, I did hold up the team. But I also did lunges, squats and push ups.
Friday: [rest]
Saturday: Whitewater rafting! (Seriously, that company is the BEST)
Sunday: Whitewater rafting!

When I come home from the gym and I am starving, I pull out all the veggies I have in the fridge and make a BIG chopped salad.

Spinach, corn, black beans, tomatoes, carrots and mozzarella!

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette: Small spoonful of yogurt or vegenaise + balsamic vinegar + salt & pepper.

Served with Anderson's pea soup (my favorite canned soup) + grilled flatbread made from my sourdough starter!

I usually try to make soups I can store in the freezer. But, in a pinch, you can't beat this pea soup. It has a simple list of ingredients, the smoothest texture that makes it seem oh so creamy and naturally fat free. Zing!

It's really hard to cook when you are starving and tired. So I buy pea soup by the case because I come home hungry and tired a lot.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sourdough Bread

A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Arie, came over to teach us how to make beer bread. I'm not talking about a quick bread made with beer. I'm talking about chewy, yeasted bread that uses wort in place of water! Wort is the amazing liquid created during the process of brewing beer. The boiling of grains and sugars create a sweet, malty aroma. Imagine a big giant bath of honey, grains, maple syrup, oatmeal, and brown sugar. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? The wort lends all of these flavors to create some of most flavorful bread I have ever tasted.

One of my favorite qualities about Arie is that he truly loves teaching and sharing his knowledge. I'd love to share that knowledge with you, but there were spreadsheets involved!

Like, Excel spreadsheets.

He busted out the metric scale and started talking about mathematical equations, baker's percentages and hydration ratios and I packed up my bags to leave my own house. No, I didn't. I got my hands dirty in the floury mess. But don't worry, Arie has detailed his process to share with you too!

The process starts with boiling malt grains to make wort that is typically used for brewing beer. I can't wait to show you what else you can do with these boiled grains!

If you get the chance to pop into a local homebrewing shop, go sample the various types of grains! The grains range from light beige to pale gold to caramel to amber to deep, rich chocolate. Crunchy tasty.

You gotta have a starter--a simple mixture of flour and water that sits out and collects the naturally occurring yeast in the air. Then, you add the wort and some bread flour to your sourdough starter and let it hang out. It sits out at room temp and bubbles up to make a "sponge".

This is where the spreadsheets come in--you weigh how much starter and water you used to determine how much bread flour and salt to add to create a dough.

The dough is heavy and dense and you can tell right away that it will pack a nice yeasted malty flavor.

After kneading and letting the dough rest, you can shape it into rounds or baguettes and let it triple in volume. Then, like a kid putting sprinkles on the cupcake, you can decorate with seeds, salts, and spices as you wish. Using a sharp knife, you can cut some slashes in the dough if you want to get really fancy.

I have always loved "everything" bagels, so I put on a coating of sesame seeds, dehydrated garlic, poppy seeds, oregano, fennel seeds and salt.

Bake. Bake. Bake.

And wish for a more evenly heated oven.

Thank you, Arie, for sharing your bread knowledge with me. With us.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Potato cake

I was digging through my kitchen pans and re-discovered some long lost items! The design of my apartment kitchen is less than desirable. There are small cabinet doors that open to deep large spaces with little to no shelving. In order to find a pan, I have to twist my head to the side and reach my hand into the darkness and hope I can pull out whatever it is I'm looking for out of the pile of pots, pans, dishes, and lids. It's terrible!

I did this blind digging hunt recently and found my mini cast iron pans. LOVE these!

The thing about these little skillets is that you sometimes need to adjust recipes that use a normal deep dish cast iron skillet and you definitely need to alter the cooking times! I've made things in the little skillet that definitely overflowed, overcooked and underwhelmed. So, I checked around the internets to see what you guys are making in these little skillets.

I like to use these mini cast irons for making fancy potato cakes. You use a mandoline to slice a russet potato into paper-thin slices, arrange them in an overlapping circle with a sprinkle of parmesan to glue the layers together. It creates fantastic texture--crispy, ruffly edges with a soft creamy chew to it. They look like something you'd see at a steak house, no?

You could put your favorite cookie dough recipe into the skillet and make a homemade pizookie.

You could make mini cornbread cakes.

You could make mini pear tarte tatin's with brandy.

You could make Heather's gorgeous rustic apple tart.

Got any good ideas? I want to put these little babies to work!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Living

Um. Hi.

Yeah, it's been awhile. Two weeks of working 12-hour days makes your head spin so fast you barely remember how to get home so you can shower and get back to the office.

But I've been learning how to still fit in some reminders of summer.

1. If you buy those "living butter lettuce" things with the roots still attached, you can make yourself some tasty Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Cups and put those roots back into some soil with plenty of water for another round of lettuce goodness! I wasn't sure this was going to work and none of my internet searches provided any confident answers. But, on the 4th of July, I was enjoying some sunshine and playing washoes out on the deck and I decided I'd test it out.

And now nearly 3 weeks later, check out this little guy.

2. If you don't have time to grocery shop or get to the farmer's market and you've been eating take-out (or order-in) meals at your desk for the fourth day in a row, you can still get a CSA box of produce delivered to your door. And sometimes you get surprised by unfamiliar items, like these Spanish black radishes.

Thank you Groupon, for letting me try out Farm Fresh to You for only $15!

Unfortunately, not everything was ripe upon arrival (see those sad looking green heirloom tomatoes?!), but most things improved within a couple of days. I can't say I'm gonna stick with the service though, because I love the ritual of walking around the farmer's markets oogling at all the fresh bounty and meeting the farmers who have put so much care into their work. Yup, I'm a produce nerd.

3. I managed to round up the troops for our annual August whitewater river rafting out at Cache Creek. People get busy quick and it's so easy to overbook the weekends or say that it's too much work to herd cats for a summer outing. But I am always glad to put this trip together and I look forward to it every summer because it's the perfect time for such a trip. I'm particularly excited for this trip because my friend, Aja, and her husband, Chris, are driving up from Los Angeles to join us! And, just this morning, we finally found an affordable tent at Sports basement. Bring on the camping adventures!

4. If you wake up at 7am and its already sunny out on the deck, taking just 20 minutes to sit in a reclining chair before going to work can make you feel like you've been lounging around on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes it's those little stolen moments that will get you through the week until Saturday rolls around and you can lounge around all afternoon...

5. Check out this Beach Buddy!

Oh. my. Raidin. cutieface.

I love being an aunt! I need to get back to Maui. Don't we all.

Summer, you are delicious.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June SF Underground Market

In May, I went home to Maui to meet my new nephew, Raidin. I call him Raidin Button, as in Benjamin Button because he sometimes wrinkles his face up like a wise old man in a baby's body.

I ate this for breakfast everyday:

And I spent the entire ten days eating my way through my favorite island eats that I had missed so much. For example, Da Kitchen takes island classics like loco moco and SPAM musubi to a whole new level of insanity - they coat their SPAM musubi in panko breadcrumbs, deep fry it and glaze it with a sweet teriyaki sauce! BAM!

Simply put, I'm in love with the food of the islands. It renewed my interest in and love of cooking dishes that are popular in Hawaii to share with the San Francisco community. I make everything from scratch, including making my own "SPAM" from a special blend of pork, duck and chicken.

For all of you who came to the March market asking where you could get more homemade "spam" and those who didn't get to try it before we sold out, I have good news! I will be selling more Maui Eats at the June SF Underground Market this Saturday, June 11 from 6pm -midnight.

Hawaiian Punch
Passion-Orange-Guava with a Hibiscus Twist

Homemade “SPAM” Musubi
Special blend of pork, duck and chicken! That's right--I made the "SPAM" myself. It might be my one and only proprietary secret (I've learned how to finally make this weird "mystery meat" in a respectable manner that takes away the mystery and puts Hormel to shame).

Soy-Glazed Tofu-Takuan Musubi
VEGAN musubi with glazed tofu, pickled daikon radish and seaweed seasoning.

Kalua Pig Tostadas
Slow-roasted pork cooked in banana leaves, cabbage slaw, smoky chipotle crema, and Maui onion* salsa.

* Note: Sweet Maui onions are a prized commodity. They are small, delicate and so sweet and mild that they are best enjoyed raw. I grew up with these bad boys, so I definitely notice when supermarket onions are bitter and sharp. I even used to help my friend, Lauren, peel and bag onions in the garage on her dad's Maui onion farm after school.

I am very excited to make Maui onion salsa with only the best onions around. What, you didn't think I would stuff fifteen pounds of raw onions in my suitcase bound for SFO?

You bet your sweet onions I did.

See you there!

Monday, June 6, 2011

French Macaron Smoothie

I used to think smoothies were a joke.

That some people high up at Jamba Juice are laughing themselves all the way to the bank because people thought they were being healthy when really they were sucking in an average of about 60 grams of sugar.

But after reading CrazySexyDiet (thanks for the recommendation, Mama Pea!), I started to come around to understanding that you can make smoothies that are filling and good for you by adding a general ratio of 3:1 vegetables to fruit. Let me be honest, adding that quantity of vegetables to a smoothie is not second nature and most times I stick to the tried-and-true combo of spinach-peanut butter-banana. Kris Carr suggested romaine leaves in her Green Guru Smoothie. Romaine leaves?! That's what I said. But it's pretty yummy, after all. I just try not to linger on the lettuce part.

This tropical green monster has been my latest favorite because you know I have soft spot for the islands.



* 1/2 avocado
* 1/2 banana
* 1 cup spinach
* 1 kiwi
* 1/2 cup chopped mango
* 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
* 1 cup apple juice

Combine in blender until smooth and creamy.

But I don't need to be eating lettuce and cucumbers for breakfast all the time. Especially not at 8 am on a Monday morning when I have conference calls. I sometimes consider just getting up out of my desk while people are still talking and booking it down to the bottom floor of my office building to buy a sugary snack and and some coffee from Peet's to help me get through the call. But now I don't have to do that because I have Mama Pea's Cake Batter Green Smoothie and I am perfectly happy to sit calmly while five lawyers fight for a chance to hear themselves speak.

I have also been slurping up Kath's Dough Boy Smoothies and they are fantastic!

And if Mama Pea says you can have cake batter for breakfast, then I think you can have french macarons, too.



* 1 cup rolled oats (do not use quick oats!)
* 1 cup almond milk
* 1 Tbsp. almond paste
* 2 Tbsp. almond flour
* 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
* 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Combine all of the above ingredients in your blender and place in fridge overnight.

Add in the morning before blending:
* 1 banana
* another 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (soy, almond, etc.)

I can't wait for breakfast tomorrow. We'll call it dessert.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kongnamul: Soybean Sprout Salad

Sundays are sometimes a blur. There is laundry, grocery shopping, bills, sifting through piles of random paperwork and receipts (why do I even keep these?) and cleaning the kitchen floor and then suddenly it's 4:30pm and I haven't even thought of what I should make for dinner.

I did manage to sneak in a wonderful Anusara Yoga class at Yoga Tree. It was hard work, but I felt so proud of myself for stretching through the tight spots and taking some time to breathe and clear the clouds, so to speak.

The rain clouds have been rollin in this week and it's been a little cold and gloomy around here. Perfect for some Korean Tofu Kimchi Stew. And definitely some banchan, which I like to call vegetable snacks that are generally very easy to prepare. You know I love me some Korean food.

Kongnamul is one of my favorite types of banchan. It's a crunchy soybean sprout salad with a hint of sesame.

It's really cheap, too-you can buy a whole pound of sprouts at almost any asian grocery/market for about $1.20. I like to buy the loose ones and not pre-bagged sprouts because those tend to get soggy and rancid very quickly.

Note: I made that cute little ceramic plate at Color Me Mine.


* 1 pound of soybean sprouts
* 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
* salt to taste
* Optional: small amounts of chopped green onion, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, soy sauce


* Fill a medium pot about 2/3 full with water and 1 tsp. of salt and bring to a boil.
* Rinse the sprouts and discard any wilted sprouts.
* Toss in the sprouts, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.
* Drain and rinse in cold water until cooled (or plunge them into a bowl of ice water if you like it extra crunchy).
* In a bowl, combine the drained, cooked sprouts, sesame oil, salt and any other optional items you may be using.

Ta-da! So easy.

This dish will not keep more than a day or so in the fridge (it becomes soggy pretty quickly), so I highly recommend eating it up fresh!

Friday, May 13, 2011

SF Food Blogger Bake Sale: May 14

Saturday is a big day. It's the Second Annual National Blogger Bake Sale.**

Organized by the amazing Gaby Dalkin of What'sGabyCooking, this bake sale is held across several cities, drawing in cupcake eaters and brownie scarfers alike to benefit a non-profit called Share our Strength, which is dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in the United States by 2015.

Hunger is a searing pain that snatches all thoughts and locks onto one single goal: eating. But when food supply is short, expensive or unavailable, nothing can take your mind off the uncomfortable feeling of an empty tummy. Brooke of Food Woolf shared a powerful story about her memories of being hungry as a child. And in all honesty, her story inspired me to participate in this bake sale.

I feel honored to have the opportunity to participate in such a worthy cause. I also find it incredibly inspiring to see everyone come together to get creative in the kitchen and bring their finest for the occasion. San Francisco alone raised $1700 in last year's bake sale! That is surely something to be proud of.

For you, I made an island favorite - mango bread.

A lightly spiced cake made moist and sweet with fresh mango puree and cubes of mango.

I also made Coffee & S'mores Chocolate Bark. Made with organic dark chocolate, coffee beans, marshmallow, graham cracker and maldon sea salt.

I hope you will find your local Blogger bake Sale and get yourself a tasty treat that you can feel good about. If you're in San Francisco, head over to Kiehl’s store (on Fillmore at Washington St between 12pm - 4pm) or 18 Reasons (on Guerrero at 18th Street between 10am and 6pm). I should disclose that I am also a volunteer for 18 Reasons because it is a non-profit aimed at something near and dear to my life and upbringing in Hawaii - building community through food.

On saturday, you can find my baked goods at 18 Reasons, but I will also be hawking other Hawaiian baked goods at another charity fundraiser for The Food Pantry. Can you tell I really, really, REALLY don't want anyone to go hungry? I don't.

I am returning to New Taste Marketplace with the beloved custard mochi.

Photo By Sonya Yu.

And I might tote along a few jars of pickled grapes.

Photo by Sonya Yu.

Hope to see you on Saturday!

**Pay no attention to the fact that this is being posted just hours before the event. This is not at all indicative of how I survived my college days. Nope. No Siree. Better late than never, right?