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: "..."