Thursday, December 4, 2008

Best pumpkin pie ever?

This past Thanksgiving, Roy and I went over to the lovely Uyehara household for Thanksgiving, and I wanted to bake a Kaz-friendly dessert for it. I ended up finding a fantastic recipe using coconut milk and a bunch of spices, and it was amazing! It turns out that pumpkin and coconut milk are extremely compatible. I'm making this pie again for Christmas dinner this year, but with a buttery pat in the pan crust instead.

This is a rather plain view of the pie. It looks so much better when it's cut into slices. You'd be able to see the layer of crushed walnuts between the crust and the filling that gives the pie a lot more texture and flavor. AND as a bonus, this pie is incredibly resistant to being dropped upside-down! (Not that I would know personally, of course...)
From Edacious Eatings

Roy and I made the pie using a 9-inch pie pan, and we ended up having a lot of batter left over, so we ended up making pumpkin muffins by adding about 1/2 cup of flour and tiny pinches of baking soda and powder to the batter, and baking at 350ºC.
From Edacious Eatings

And the best thing about those muffins was that we could eat those right away!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Not your typical college student's midnight snack

Bethanne and I went to Trader Joe's a while ago (a really long while ago, I just never got around to this post), and came away with some delicious snacks.

A little caprese:
From Edacious Eatings

And some fresh avacado:
From Edacious Eatings

Classy? Definitely.

Friday, November 21, 2008

SEPTA fail

An addendum to my last post:

From Edacious Eatings

Yes, it really does say 85 minutes late. The other picture we didn't take involves the entire board of train times in red. Major SEPTA fail.

In other news. It snowed at Swarthmore today. It was absolutely gorgeous. Best present ever.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fuji Mountain

Chris and I went to a Japanese restaurant in Philly last Friday for our one-year anniversary (!). The weather was gorgeous and warm, and the streets and trains were filled with semi-inebriated people celebrating the Phillie's win.

The funny thing about Fuji is that Chris and I have previously passed it before, and I dubbed it as "generic looking." And I booked a reservation a week ago not knowing that it was the same restaurant. When we got there, it was TOTALLY empty. I was really worried that it really was going to be a bad restaurant. But then we realized that it was 6:30 on a Friday night, and we were being total old people getting in on the early bird special, so we took our chances and went in. Luckily, my intuition was totally wrong and it ended up being a sweet little restaurant.

I ordered the Nabeyaki soba, which is a huge bowl of buckwheat noodles in clear broth with fish cake, eggs, and some veggies. One of my main worries about soba is that it will turn out hard and chewy, but theirs was perfect -- tender but not soggy. Definitely a solid dish. Chris, on the other hand, got a yaki udon, essentially thick white noodles in a "special sauce." It turned out a bit too saucy and the meat was a bit funky. He ended up giving the dish a grade of 90%, although I think there was some grade inflation involved here. Other than that, their sushi was good, but tempura was oily and not excellent. Get the mochi ice cream for dessert. It's worth it. And the service was pretty decent.

From Edacious Eatings

From Edacious Eatings

The real kicker from the night was our adventure back to Swat. Because of the parade, SEPTA was completely backed up. Silly Septa thought that they could handle the number of people in the streets that day. But the fact that our train was 85 minutes late definitely told otherwise. We ended up taking the sketchy subway to 69th street and taking another sketchy bus, finally arriving back on campus at 11pm at night (we got to 30th street at 8:30). Oh man. By that time, I was just glad that I wasn't alone.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I have fallen in love with this season again. Completely, in an over-my-head sort of way. And remember: I'm the girl who, when in an argument about what's the best season, would always take spring's side. Who would want a season when everything dies? (Of course the fact that my birthday is in May brings no bias to the table). But now, I'm considering ditching the pink and sprightly season of spring and embrace something more mature and bountiful and beautiful. Seriously, is there anything that this season can't do?

My first real encounter with fall this year involved our wonderful backpacking trip to the Whites, which I'll tell you more about as soon as I get my hands on some of the pictures my compatriots took. But in the meantime, a teaser: It involves golden, yellow, and orange leaves still on the trees and on the ground as far as the eye can see and remarkably comfortable beds of leaves everywhere you choose to sit. The air is crisp and the sky is clear, revealing an almost-full moon. There is a warm fire next to you, with a pot of couscous containing fresh onions and mushrooms bubbling away. Chris and I agreed that this must be the prettiest campsite in the world.

Oh man, the fall foliage. It's somethin' else.

Now I'm back at Swat, feeling the full force of nature and endorphins withdraw and spending too much time in lab where there's no sun and too many Dana bugs. The only good thing right now is how much I'm buying food and cooking for myself. It's nice feeling a sense of control over what you're putting into your body.

I went to the co-op right before it closed tonight and fell in love with the amount of fresh local produce it had.

From Edacious Eatings

Asian pears, bok choy, spinach, heirloom (?) cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, and (not pictured) apples of every variety (I got Jonagold, Winesap, Gala, and Fuji).

Of all the things I got, the pears, apples, spinach, and tomatoes are all local. Talk about carbon footprint-reducing and delicious.

And the tomatoes. I have to tell you about the cherry tomatoes.

Not only do they look absolutely gorgeous and smell exactly the way all tomatoes should smell (even though few do these days), they are some of the juiciest, tastiest, sweetest tomatoes I've ever eaten. They have a really thin layer of flesh enveloping all the tart, sweet juices and seeds, so thin that you really have to consciously make sure your mouth is closed when chewing. I told myself I'd save some for later, but ...oops.

I love fall.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yangshuo food pt. 2 - dragon beard noodles

Having to write a lab report really is the best way for keeping up with a blog. This must be why I so rarely updated this summer.

From Yangshuo
In a small corner of Yangshuo, where tourists are rare, I encountered something pretty extraordinary. While it definitely wasn't a local food, it's definitely worth blogging about.

Noodles are a HUGE part of Chinese culture. Just to name a few: there are the rice noodles I blogged about last time, the thick chewy noodles cut straight into a boil pot from a blob of dough using a very sharp knife and a quick hand, Lanzhou pulled noodles, thin, transparent cellophane noodles... and then you have dragon beard noodles, something completely in a league of its own.

Just imagine: you need to roll out a sheet of dough until it's so thin that if you put it over a book, you can read the text on the page. Then you have to cut this sheet into hundreds of strands, each about a milimeter wide (about 200 knife strokes for a foot of sheet dough). Then you have to find a way to cook these noodles so that they can maintain their delicate shape and texture. If there was ever a dish to eat more for the techniques involved than the actual taste (although I have to admit that they taste exquisite), it's this one. Forget Ferran Adria with his foams and pearls, there is more skill involved in these noodles without any of the flash so typical of famous TV chefs these days.

From Yangshuo

From Yangshuo
Old Mo cooks these noodles by heating the soup base in a small clay pot until it boils. Then he immediately takes the clay pot off the heat and sticks carrots, mushshrooms, ground pork and noodles in it, cooking all the ingredients with the heat from the soup. The result is light and flavourful. The noodles taste so light with each strand still completely separated and not at all sticking to each other.

From Yangshuo
As we ate, we talked to him about how he is having trouble finding a apprentice to pass on this skill. Old traditional food that is more labor intensive is becoming less popular, especially in touristy areas like Yangshuo. And finding someone who has the talent to make noodles like these can't be easy.

Old' Mo's noodles on Guihua Road in Yangshuo. You'll see him on his makeshift cart after 6pm.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Yangshuo food pt. 1

There is a general rule about food in Northern vs. Southern China. Northern Chinese food is wheat-based (noodles, buns, white doughy mantou, etc) while Southern Chinese food is rice-based. A visit to any countryside farm in the two regions will make this clear. In the north during wheat harvesting season, the fields are golden and not unlike the image I have in my head of Kansas. In the south (oh the magical Southern China), during rice harvest season, you will encounter the most glorious sight of rice paddies extending as far as the eye can see.

But before I go on, let me first give you a sense of your setting. This is the Li river framed by karst formations in Yangshuo, which is an hour away from Guilin.

From Yangshuo

There is a phrase in Chinese that translates into "The mountains and waters of Guilin is the first in the world, but the scenery of Yangshuo beats even Guilin." Maybe a little illogical, but I hope you get the idea.

From Yangshuo

This is only one of the hundreds of rice paddies we passed by. The best thing about them is probably the way the mildly sweet scent of the rice stalks permeated every cubic inch of air in the area. You can't walk by without catching a whiff of it. It smelled like the way a countryside should smell like.

But let's get back to the food.

Rice noodles are the staple food of Guilin and Yangshuo. The locals pretty much eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are either prepared in broth or stirfried. And by broth, I don't mean Swanson's chicken broth. I mean the real stock that's been boiled from the bones of beef and/or goat that tastes like how every soup should taste -- hearty, light, and oh so flavorful. We had them mostly for breakfast since there were SO many noodle shops right outside of our hotel.

The way they're usually served up for breakfast is that the shopkeeper would have boiled a HUGE load of noodles beforehand, and all he/she would do is to skillfully get a two or three liang into a metal bowl using a single, long chopstick, ladel some soup into the bowl and ask you to add the rest of the ingredients (garlin, scallions, ginger, pickles...) yourself. Every shops has its specialty and all their soups taste different. You find your favorite and go back every morning.

From Yangshuo

My sister, enjoying a breakfast bowl.

From Yangshuo

One of the days we went to one that specialized in soups with snails. Very enjoyable, although the soup base was quite spicy for so early in the morning.

That was the other thing, when you asked people what shop they recommend for noodles, they would first fire back the question "spicy or not spicy?" And inevitably, the not spicy shops' soups were spicy as well, but just less so than the actually spicy ones.

Another thing I noticed is that all the shops, regardless of whether you're in Guilin or Yangshuo, use the same type of yellow metal bowls for the noodles. The shopkeeper I asked says that they actually don't wash any of the bowls but instead send them off to the official bowl cleaning place nightly to get them washed. Not exactly sure why they do this.

I miss rice noodles.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And now for something completely different!

I'm a horrible blogger. I leave for weeks and weeks, eat mountains of delicious food, and then don't even write about it. My first post in weeks has nothing to do with anything that has happened to me in the past two weeks. This is why I will never make it with the big boys (or often girls, actually) of the food-blogging world.


In any case, I found this little game, the Omnivore's Hundred, on Andrew Wheeler's blog, very good taste. It's a (very subjective) list of what every omnivore should eat at least once in his or her lifetime. Here are the rules:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (does Alligator count?)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (the staple fish of any Chinese kitchen)
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns (See previous entry! Yay!)
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (perfect on backpacking trips)
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (I think I might die)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (I don't think Bowle bar at my school's dining hall counts...)
33. Salted lassi (I think I've always ordered the sweetened kind, unfortunately)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (too bad I don't like root beer, because this seems like a lovely idea)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly (teehee)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (I'm assuming ants out in this case)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (Really want to!)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer (home made by me, in fact!)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (Almost as much as I want to try fugu)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (I've had them separately, does that count?)
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu (the famous Chinese "white wine")
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (in my 8 years in the states, never)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (no, but I’ve had lunch at Le Bernardin)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse (Horsemeat rice noodles, anyone?)
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Hmmm... I'm only on 51.

Will have to go to Japan and Scotland to have fugu and haggis, respectively. And soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shanghai Shengjian

I left the lovely banana house about a week ago. After a brief sojourn at the Grandparents' house, my parents and I left for Shanghai to look at the new apartment they're renovating. So I spent two days exploring the city and getting over jetlag.

I'll have a separate entry for all the cool things I saw in Shanghai, but first I have to gush about the most amazing street food I've ever tasted. It's more flavorful than my favorite eggy pancakes or the lamb kabobs every kid in Beijing loves. Oh my god they're good.

They're called Shengjian bao, (生煎包), literally translated as Raw Fried buns. Instead of simply steaming the pork filled buns, the raw buns are fried in a shallow cast-iron pan and covered with a bamboo top to capture the steam, which ends up cooking the rest of the bun. The resulting bun has an amazing crispy bottom, a soft top sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped chives, and a filling with tons and tons of yummy juices.

The place I went to, Yang's Fry dumplings (I really don't know why they translated bao as dumplings, but every real Chinese-American knows that they're called buns), is a hole-in-the-wall place which apparently everyone in Shanghai has discovered, especially during lunch time. It has become so popular that an identical store opened right next to the original one, and there are a bunch more throughout the city.

The filling is made with little bits of gelatin that melts during the cooking process. So the resulting pork filling is actually floating in a sea of delicious juices, all held by the wrapping. I didn't know this the first time I bit into these buns, and the scorching-hot juices sprayed all over the table and my face. The fact that this little place doesn't provide napkins doesn't help the matter at all. As I discovered later, the right way to eat a fried bun to actually to first bite a small hole and suck all the juices out. Then dip it in vinegar and finally gobble it up. Yang's sell four for 4 yuan. Best lunch ever? Definitely.

These buns take an assembly line to make: one to roll out a whole strip of dough, two to roll out round skins, and two to fill the skins with a pork filling.

The buns are fried in these really really big pans.

Check out their golden and delicious crispy bottoms

Dip them in a vinegar and chili sauce = most amazing thing ever.

Every table needs a large pot of chili to keep the customers happy.

Definitely check this place out if you're ever in Shanghai. Yang's Fry Dumplings on Wujiang Road.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gluttony at its best

It always works like this. Weeks will go by before I come across an exciting food item worth posting, and even then they're really not that exciting (Quinoa cereal? Please, that's SO passe). But then, I'll spend a weekend eating so much delicious food that I can't even bring myself to start a blog entry because I know I'll never stop gushing about how much happiness my digestive system experienced in such a short amount of time.

But, it's Wednesday, and if I don't talk about this past weekend today, it will be too late (alas).

It started out Friday night after seeing Wall-E (if you are that one person who hasn't seen it, go see it!). Unfortunately, the movie got out at the most inconvenient time when the Vietnamese restaurant Chris and I planned on going to closed (at 9pm on a Friday night? How are you still in business?), so we dropped by the Greek Lady nearby. It was the perfect late-night snack place (with surprisingly amazing tzatziki), so much better than your average pizza parlor stuck in the middle of a two-street intersection.

Saturday lunch was at a small Japanese place, where I encountered a dish new to me: Hew dup bap, which is kind of like the Korean version of Japanese Chirashi (Raw fish over sushi rice). Also, I have no idea why they have that one Korean dish thrown in their menu. Aside from raw fish, the Korean version has lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and Gochujang mixed in. I thought that the Gochujang would completely overpower the raw fish, but it actually worked out really well. This is definitely a dish that can be made at home. And I'll definitely remember to take pictures, because it's quite lovely looking.

Continuing our walk in West Philly, Chris and I dropped by the Naked Chocolate Cafe. Being a savvy member of Philly Carshare, Chris got us a major deal where we can get two desserts (both under $6) for the price of one. We naturally got two things that were as close to the six-dollar mark as possible: a cheesecake and an Oreo tart (which was HUGE):

Half way through, we both realized that this was more than we could handle. We had learned our lesson: instead of acting like kids in a candy store (or in this case, twenty year-olds in a chocolate store), we should have gotten something small, and made of chocolate. But, this was definitely an experience. Next time I go, I'm getting the drinking chocolate.

Our day concluded with dinner at Zot, a Belgian place where you choose the type of meat that you want along with your choice of sauce and side. But we went instead for a whole kilo (it goes surprisingly quick) of mussels steamed with rosemary, onion and garlic. It was SO good. At the end, I ended up dipping the last of our bread and even frites (Belgian Fries) in the remaining savory, seafood-y, creamy white mussel juices. I was so tempted to ask if I could pack it out, but was a bit afraid to ask.

Sunday was another glorious day. We went to Linvilla Orchards for berry-picking. I came back with a pound each of blackberries and blueberries, and 5 pounds of peaches and nectarines. I now have so much berries that instead of having berries with yogurt, I eat yogurt with my berries:

Life is good when it's filled with fruit (and a dollop of yogurt with a drizzle of honey) on top

But when presented with so much fruit, there is only one other thing to do: make a fruit tart. When my parents and I lived near a Whole Foods, I could always, without fail, buy one of their mini fruit tarts and polish it off as soon as I get home. Frankly, I would choose a fruit tart over something chocalate-y any day. Any time I see the combination of a buttery and slightly crumbly crust, the amazingly light but smooth pastry cream, and the fresh fruit on top, I'm immediately convinced that this is the best dessert ever, only something like a perfect creme brulee can occasionally out-compete.

Fresh Fruit Tart (From the Joy of Cooking)

For the Dough:

Wisk together in a bowl:
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cups of sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces*

Mash with the back of a fork until mixture resembles course crumbs.

1 large egg yolk

Mix together with a spatula until the dough comes together in a ball. Great the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Dust the pan with flour and tap out excess. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Thoroughly pick the bottom and sides with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Bake until golden brown, about 22 minutes.

For the Pastry Cream:

Beat in a medium bowl until thick and pale yellow:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 tbs cornstarch
4 large egg yolks

Combine in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer:
1 1/3 cups whole milk

Gradually pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking to combine. Scrape the egg mixture back into the pan and cook over low to medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping the bottom and corners of the pan to prevent scorching, until the custard is thickened and beginning to bubble. Then continue to cook, whisking, for 45 to 60 seconds. Scrape the custard into a clean bowl. Stir in:
3/4 tsp vanilla.

Cover the custard with parchment paper, and refrigerate.

Now, for the tart!

Brush the crust with some melted fruit jelly to moisture-proof your tart. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to set the glaze. Spread:
1 cup of pastry cream**

Arrange over the cream your favorite fruits. We put a layer of thinly-sliced peaches on the bottom, and spread blue- and blackberries on top. If you have any of the melted jelly left, feel free to drip that on top of the fruit.

*Don't think about this part (...especially the fact that every slice = a tablespoon of butter) too hard.
** If you're like me, who continued for 60sec when you really should have only gone for 45sec, and discovered that your now refrigerated pastry cream looks more like clotted cream, just add a splash of whole milk and stir it in.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I'm sick of greasy omelets. As much as I enjoy going to Vicky's and gobbing up their mushroom and cheddar omelet in between bites of buttered whole-wheat toast and highly paprika-ed hash browns, sometimes, I just can't go about the whole day feeling like I've ingested the daily output of an entire dairy farm. So, instead, the healthy omelet! It's a one-egg omelet with some cheese melted on top of the still-warm base and lots of greens in the middle. I like sharp cheddar, but any cheese will do fine (feta, anyone?)

Lunch! A one-egg omelet with cheddar and spinach.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Quinoa Cereal

Let me say this out right: I love grape nuts. I love them with soymilk and warmed in the microwave for 45 seconds so that they're chewy and and nutty and absolutely delicious. It's the greatest compromise between my love for having something warm and grape nuts in the morning. Ever.

It's kind of my idea of perfect breakfast.

Are you done giving me those looks now? Ok, let me tell you about the real purpose of this log entry now.

Once in a while, disaster strikes, and my family-size box of grapenuts runs out and I'm too annoyed by the co-op to buy their small box which costs almost 6 dollars. That's when I look for any kind of grain I can get my hands on the night before, boil it until it's soft, and heat it up in a pot with some soy milk, nuts, cinnnamon, and fruit. I did it with quinoa for a while, and have done it with barley. And I have to say, it's almost has good as grape nuts.

Quinoa cereal

1. Prepare grain according to the directions on whatever container it came it. For quinoa, it's typically a 2:1 water to grain ratio. Bring water to a boil, add quinoa, bring it back to a boil. Then turn the heat down to a simmer until it's soft and chewy, about 15 minutes. Use immediately or store in the fridge.

2. In a small sauce pan, combine quinoa and enough milk or soymilk to cover. Add fruit, cinnamon, nuts, yogurt... etc. Heat until warm but not boiling.

Quinoa in soymilk with cinnamon, a banana, blueberries, and topped off with yogurt.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I made pizza last week, using this recipe for the dough (although I ended up adding a lot more flour in order to make the dough un-sticky). For the toppings, I brushed some olive oil, some of the pesto Natasha brought from home, sliced tomatoes, and some cheddar (I didn't have any Parmesan or mozzarella at the time. Oops). If its success were to be measured by its prettiness, I'd say it turned out quite well --

Chris was skeptical about the cheddar, so he requested one side to be cheddar-less. I think he was won over by the unconventional deliciousness in the end though.


The sous chef, calmly doubting my choice of cheese amid the kitchen frenzy.

The pesto + tomato combination was delish, but the dough tasted more like a very large cracker instead of a stretchy, doughy pizza. And I don't know whether I should have kneaded the whole thing more or let it rest more before I baked it. More experimentation definitely seems to be in order.

The pizza's endgame.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Banana House

I realized that I've been living in Prof. Ken Sharpe's house for almost a month and I still haven't taken any pictures of it and our daily life here. The house certainly deserves lots of comments, given its peculiarity. For those of you who don't know, Madeline Sharpe believes that the banana is her alter ego and therefore has placed banana decorations all over the house, especially the first floor kitchen. Having a fully stocked kitchen has been ridiculously wonderful. I don't think I've eaten this well for months (in fact, now that I remember what Sharples is like, I'm almost certain of it). Faye Walker, one my housemates, is a particularly adventurous and expert cook. And with the added bonus of being spontaneous enough to make things whenever the mood strikes her, provides us with an endless amount of delicious food day in and out.

In an effort to capture all the delicious food that we make, and make up for the numerous un-photoed vittles in the past, I'm starting this blog. It'll probably filled with mostly pictures (usually under bad lighting circumstances since the flash on my camera is broken) of food and sometimes other things that's going on in my life.

So here we go.

521 Elm Ave, amidst a "jungle-like atmosphere"

Our porch

The first of many bananas to come...

Hark! A banana light!

Our gorgeous kitchen. Can you find the hidden bananas?

The the Sharpes decided that it was a great idea to rewire their dining room light. Notice the reduction in the total area lit as a result. The person sitting there is Faye, the aforementioned chef of brilliance.

The first of Faye's banana house series, documenting actual exchanges in the kitchen:
Helen: I've only eaten two of these potatoes? What am I going to do with all of them?
Faye: Why don't you make gnocchi? That'll put a dent in the bag.
Sunjay: Oh snap, you guys make your own gnocchi?
Faye: Snap! That's how we roll!
Helen: Ye-Ah!
Faye: Rock on!

We started a bread starter, and we named him Sunjay.

My side of the room shared by me and Natasha.

Today Faye decided to make baklava using Dessert Candy's recipe. I helped, mostly because of the anticipated reward.

It was delish.

We had a mountain of phyllo left after the baklava, so Faye and I decided to make those spinach triangles (Spanakopitas) we see so often, most recently at Trader Joe's frozen section. But we didn't have feta cheese, so after consulting some recipes that use phyllo in the Joy of Cooking (hereafter referred to as the House Bible) instead we combined recipes for a spinach tart and mushroom triangles to make spinach mushroom triangles.

We sauted mushrooms (cremini and shiitake) with onions and garlic, added some fresh spinach, and hodge-podge of cheese (cream, goat, and deli swiss) to make the filling. After layering two strips of phyllo with some clarified butter (leftover from the making of balkava) in between, we spooned some of the filling into a corner and rolled the whole thing into triangles. Then we baked them at 400ºF for about 15 minutes (we may or may not have lost track).


But! We STILL had phyllo scraps left! The only solution Faye saw was to toss them into the remaining clarified butter (if you haven't noticed by now, we clarified A LOT of butter for the baklava. The original recipe called for 3 sticks, but I think we used less. Otherwise it meant having 2/3 of a tablespoon of butter in every PIECE of baklava, thus making eating multiple pieces the biggest guilt trip ever), added cinnamon and sugar, and tossed it into the oven while the spinach tarts were still baking. The result:

Just like candy.