Tuesday, August 23, 2011


As of today, I'm no longer living in Seattle! I'm currently on my way driving cross country, (hopefully) in time for the start of my masters program at the MIT Media Lab.

However, you can follow my adventures in Boston, food related and otherwise, here.

Note to self: never name a blog with your current geographical location.

Monday, August 15, 2011

White Chocolate Green Tea Cookies

I've been neglecting this blog due to the whole move-to-Boston-to-be-a-grad-student thing. But I really, really need to share this recipe. I tweaked the original recipe so there'd be more matcha and white chocolate  (I also ran out of sugar, but I ended up really liking the reduced sugar version). I'm so excited about this final recipe that I just had to share it!
Green Tea White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: adapted from Joy the Baker
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2  tablespoons green tea powder (matcha)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and green tea powder. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla  extract, and beat on medium speed until mixture is fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate chunks or chips with a spatula. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.
4. Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto the prepared baking pans, spacing them about 1 1/2-2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven, and allow cookies to cool on pans for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Post-Wisdom Teeth Celebration, a Photographic Essay

Okay, this should really be called "stuff face with Kathy and Colin". If you're sensitive to food pornography, please turn away now.

We went to Huong Binh last weekend for what was to me authentic and outrageously tasty Vietnamese food. It happened to be the first time I ate real, proper food in a week. All I remember from the meal, really, is a feeling of supreme contentment. ("All this food! I can eat it all! Everything's so delicious! Oooh duck!")

To illustrate the ridiculous nature of the meal, we started with dessert - glasses of sweet coconut milk full of goodies like jack fruit, tapioca, and agar jelly.

Then the duck arrived.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Who Needs Chinese Bakeries? Part I: Red Bean and Coconut Buns

The last time I visited my grandparents in China, my grandmother took me by the hand, looked me straight in the eye, and said "You know, you're almost twenty-five. It's time to get married..."

So, dear readers, seeing that I'm already twenty-five, I'm going to boost my husband-catching chances by learning how to make things he might like to eat, like these fluffy baked buns you might find in Asian bakeries. Surely I'll be able to lure a host of serious, steady-income potential husbands with my baked goods!

All joking aside, I wanted to learn to make these so I wouldn't have to venture out to the Boston Chinatown in the snow whenever I had red bean bread cravings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oral Surgery = More Baking

Wisdom teeth extraction sucks. The worst part, though, is not the pain, or the swelling, or the nagging feeling that you have four deep suture-bound holes in your mouth. The worst part is that, for days afterwards, you're haunted by the visions of food-you-can't-eat.

Day 1: Trying to come to terms with the fact that half of your face is numb. Once the gauze situation is under control, protein shake and apple sauce is about all you can handle. Taking pills is a difficult operation.

Day 2: You go to town with the frozen fruit and yogurt you stocked up before the operation. Lacking a blender, you use the food processor. You uncover a talent for making smoothies.

Two smoothies later (strawberry banana and blueberry-banana-peanut butter), you can't stand the sight of smoothies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Exploring My Southern Roots, Part I: Peach Cobbler

A standard piece of cocktail party trivia I like to tell is that I was raised in the South. I love to tell people I grew up in Texas* and watch their reactions. To be fair, it's not like I lived on a ranch and lassoed cows after school. I lived in a cookie-cutter suburb and hung out at the local Barnes and Nobles when I wasn't at math club practice. Still, I was left with a deep love for cornbread and a tendency to blast country music out of my trusty rusty Honda Accord.

Lately, however, I'm realizing I should extend my Southern upbringing to desserts...

*There's a school of thought that Texas is not part of "the South". I don't want to hear it. 

Last Sunday was one of those freak days, where the weather goes up to the 60's and no one knows what to do with the obscene amount of sun. Well, except for those who own boats. They can be found out on the water. The rest of us have to settle for sunny spaces on land. Luckily, my friend Lincoln had a party on the rooftop deck of his condo building. Check out the view!

As if the view that wasn't enough, Lincoln had also smoked twenty pounds of pork shoulder the night before. Endless amounts of pulled pork plus an ample supply of beer and sun meant a good time (and sun burns) for all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chocolate Mousse Cake for Maggie

I'm a firm believer that cakes are for special occasions. And truthfully, the kind of cakes I make really should be reserved for special occasions only, for the health of everyone involved. Last week, I had the opportunity to dust off my cake ring and offset spatula for my friend Maggie's last day at work.

Maggie and I shared an office together as interns. When we both decided to come back the same team after college, we (surprise!) ended up in the office again. Even though we are in different disciplines and look completely different, I can't tell you the number of times I've been called Maggie, even after almost three years!

Last days are work are a funny thing. When someone leaves the company to pursue their own interests, like starting their own company, people celebrate. Taken out of context though, it could seem pretty horrifying. When Maggie went to the cupcake shop on the morning of her last day, the conversation went something like this:

Sales girl: "So what are these cupcakes for?"
Maggie: "It's my last day at work."
Sales girl: "Oh my god I'm so sorry! What are you going to do next?"
Maggie: "I... don't really know yet."
Sales girl: "..."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Healthy" Desserts

No, I haven't gone completely mad. I still love butter and cream, and you won't see recipes for tofu cheesecakes or fat-free brownies any time soon. It just happened that I made some desserts this weekend that might seem healthy at first glance: banana coconut chocolate chip cookies and plain frozen yogurt.  

I read about these "healthy" cookies on Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog and was immediately seized with a morbid curiosity to make some for myself. This is possibly the strangest cookie recipe I've ever seen.

Here are the things this cookie does NOT contain:
- butter
- sugar
- eggs
- flour

Is this possible? Yes. Does it taste good? You bet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baking Orgy at Kathy's

I haven't had time to post in a while due to grad school application/decision craziness. Thankfully that's all settled now, and it'll be "Paris Sweets in Boston" come September (note to self, don't include geographical information in the blog title next time).

Last week, I was suddently struck with the desire to make bread. Beautiful, warm, domestic-goddess-style bread, and lots of it. Some people have dreams about wanting lots of babies. I wanted bread. I knew I couldn't possibly handle all this bread-making by myself, so I turned to my friend Kathy.

Kathy's my partner-in-crime when it comes to baking. She's technically my coworker (along with 90,000 other people), but we really bonded over food (I made her wedding cakes last summer). Once in a while, we'd get together and unleash our culinary prowess in furious, multi-hour baking sprees. And Kathy's sugar-loving husband Colin usually ends up with lots of mixing bowls and spatulas to "clean".

Really, we're scary efficient when it comes to churning out baked goods. This time, we whipped up sage garlic bread, blackberry coconut bread, cinnamon bread, and mango tres leches cake in less than three hours.

(At least we had one savory item this time. Last time we made cranberry tart, French apple cake, and Paula Deen's insanely decadent pumpkin pie. My heart still hurts when I think about that one.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Salmon Head in Agar - Jet City Gastrophysics' Modernist Dinner

I recently had the privilege of being a guinea pig for a group of wildly creative and talented gentlemen who go under the name Jet City Gastrophysics

Their mission? To learn modernist cooking techniques. It isn't easy when one doesn't have a research kitchen and bottomless funding, but sous-vide machines can be built for under $100, and ebay is a great source for lab-grade equipment. (One person's blood sample centrifuge is another's pea butter maker). 

They had been preparing for a "Thesis dinner" in April to showcase their newfound knowledge to some very special guests, and a small group of friends and family were invited to attend the trial dinner (it was limited to friends and family, so we'd be too polite to sue in case of food poisoning). 

You can read the official writeup on the Seattle Weekly blog, but I've got more, let's say, disturbing, pictures.

The dinner started with a plate of gorgeous home-cured duck breast prosciutto, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and edible flowers. Mr. Eric Rivera has some serious knife skills. 

It was an Asian-themed dinner, so chopsticks were the primary utensils. It should be noted that authenticity was not the point of the dinner; the flavors are Asian-inspired, but the food is uniquely Jet City Gastrophysics