Tagged: lemon

Almond Lemon Birthday Cake

As I’ve been gathering up the mismatched and hitherto disregarded pieces of my scattered brain, one thing has been steadfast which has allowed me to maintain my sanity (a little) and keep me from feeling completely incomplete. I’m talking about friends, the mere existence of them.
Some friends you make in kindergarten over chocolate-covered fingers and faces during the ever-anticipated recess. Some you happen to meet in playgrounds and day cares, instantly making you mischievous partners-in-crime. Others you grow up with, remembering everything about them from their first bicycle to their first heartbreak. Then there are those that you meet in between and along the way, that fit into and fill the deepest crevices of your heart – making you feel whole, unbroken. The ones that aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, even if it isn’t what you want to hear – for your sake and not theirs. The ones that transcend the constraints of both distance and time. The ones that you can call at practically any hour on a whim to have a drink or some ice cream, just because. I am blessed to have met these friends, amongst whom I have made a family of. And today happens to be one such friend’s birthday. Happy birthday, Joanne!
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Buttermilk Creams with Strawberries

It is no secret that summer has finally arrived. (Well, it never really is in Hawaii, now is it?) The sun is blazing making it impossible to look directly at, azure skies are smeared ever so delicately with wispy clouds, lithe (and not-so-lithe) bodies glisten on planes of white sand in nothing but stringy bikinis and man-thongs (more often than not, to my utter disgust and dismay), and best of all: school is out, meaning I get to bask in all the world’s pleasures (except for when I am planted behind a desk and a laptop to do work or to provide you with other worldly (specifically gustatory) pleasures, like so.
Now, if the aforementioned characteristics of summer are not so readily available to you as it is to me causing you to now loathe my guts with burning envy, hate not! I bring a peace offering in the form of bright, sweet, and zesty strawberries over a soft, supple, and surprisingly light buttermilk cream; the purest flavors of summer and heaven. Love me now? If not yet, you will.

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Chocolate Cake Pops

I’ve mentioned this on more than a billion couple occasions: I am not a good baker. Honestly. I am routinely green with envy (and going ga-ga for self-explanatory reasons) when obsessively gawking at astounding works of art created with such passion, patience, and dexterity. I am awestruck, at an absolute loss for words. How, I ask myself repeatedly, are these wonderful works of sweet art even possible? and WHO, I demand, is capable of producing such beauty?! I, for one, have finally conceded that I am not skillfully worthy to be this type of imaginary (and uh, I secretly hope nonexistent) person in question.

I have tried the whole layered cake baking gig and I even got into the cupcake craze for a minute or two, but obviously such catastrophes works are not displayed here for very valid reasons. Baking is ostensibly not my vocation. But, as a true lover of baked goods and bread in all forms, I believe learning is still worth the embarrassment. Luckily (and unluckily) for me, this inept and outdated baker has finally jumped on the cake pop bandwagon, at least for the time being!

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Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil

It has become unavoidably evident to me recently that when life throws you lemons, you do not pucker your cheeks and cower in fright. Nor, do you make lemonade. Instead, you make a lemon curd tart that, in all its bright and happy glory, transforms even the most sour lemons into a delectable treat. I obviously mean this both literally and figuratively. Growing up (not that I’m all grown-up quite yet), I’ve learned the hard way that life can be a cornucopia of disappointments. You plan the precise steps and measures you must take in order to reach your envisioned nirvana, but more often than not, you find yourself in the limbo of all your hopeful dreams – not here, nor there.

It is in such equivocal moments that I find myself questioning the next step I’ll make and usually, this means taking no step at all until something (presumably a “lemon”) finally hits me. The most recent disappointment came when I found out that going off to grad school was not in the near-sighted future. This isn’t to say I won’t go to grad school eventually, because I’m earnestly looking forward to that day, but it was a devastating let-down nevertheless. I spent days and weeks pondering on what I would do once I graduated college, but my mind would draw a blank every time. I definitely have overarching dreams and a bucket list of things I must do, but when it came to the very next step I would take post-college, the answer came to me in a most unexpected way. As a matter of fact, I should really be expressing my utmost gratitude toward this frequently unheeded blog (sorry!) and its ardent(?) readers. It is from you, that I have received this opportunity to obtain….. Continue reading

Side Effects.

Something noteworthy about Koreans is that they love their sides. At any and every Korean meal, in or out of a restaurant, you are absolutely guaranteed to have 반찬 (ban chan, or side dishes). It is usually the prelude and then also the accompaniment to a wonderfully orchestrated meal. While other cuisines may not be so elaborate on their sides, I still find the necessity to have some form of them in every meal. Even if they may not be extravagant Korean sides, I’ve managed to make, create and master some delicious American sides to be served alongside any magnificent meal. The most simple ones tend to be the most useful and versatile for adding that extra oomph to glitz and glam up any entrée.

Although cooking the perfect meal can presumably imply an overbearing amount of time and exhaustive exertion of energy, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. If you strategically break down your to-be-executed meal, each step involved really isn’t too bad. Simple sides can make your already fabulous meal more wholesome and they shouldn’t be marred by excessive ingredients and complexity. For example, these recipes for Wilted Spinach with Shallots and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are straightforward and easy to make to go along with any meal. The spinach has a fresh tartness from the lemon juice and  a savory flavor from the shallots while the potatoes have a rich and creamy flavor from the butter, milk and buttermilk. Continue reading