June 29, 2016

June 2016

Life is super hectic at the moment! Instead, have some links I've enjoyed in the past month:

ogumotori-goe trail red torii gate
ancient pilgrimage route deep in the woods

- I've been feeling natsukashii (nostalgic) about Japan recently, and then the NYT does an article about the Kumano Kodo, which I have hiked because it's located in my prefecture! My town, Tanabe, even gets a shout out.

- Musical theatre fans, you must watch this Carpool Karaoke video with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Jane Krakowski and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. I had the same reaction as they did when I heard the first two notes of "Seasons of Love," and their rendition of "One Day More" is ah-mazing.

- On a more sombre note, if you haven't already, please read the powerful letter the Stanford rape victim read aloud to her attacker. The amount of victim blaming that occurs when a female is sexually assaulted is infuriating. I don't know what's more disgusting about this whole case: that the offender's father didn't think his son should be punished for "20 minutes of action," that the offender is blaming alcohol for his actions and that HE will have to live with this for the rest of his life, or that the judge gave him such a light sentence.

- The immigrant history of small-town Chinese-Canadian food. It's all about the families.

- One of the most tragic things I've read recently: the underground race to spread medical knowledge as the Syrian regime erases it.

- I was obsessed with The Baby-Sitters Club as a kid so I enjoyed this ode to the series.

- If you are a West Wing fan, The West Wing Weekly is for you. It's a podcast hosted by Josh Malina, who played Will Bailey on the show, and he gets the best guests. My favourite episodes so far: "1.10 - In Excelsis Deo with Richard Schiff" (Toby was my favourite) and "0.01 - West Wing Reunion, Live from ATX" (featuring Aaron Sorkin and a good chunk of the cast).

May 29, 2016

Spring has sprung!

spring has sprung

What I've been up to: undertaking a massive cleaning purge, relishing the return of spring produce, basking in the spring summer-like weather.

April 29, 2016

Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

salted tahini chocolate chip cookies

Whenever I bake a dessert, whether it is a cookie, cake or bread, I immediately want to add nuts to it because I am a nut-fanatic. I think they add a unique flavour and texture, and can bulk up a meal (like this one, which is still one of my favourite pasta dishes).

mix two eggs...

However, I have a colleague who is allergic to nuts so whenever I want to bring something into work, I have to remind myself to bake nut-free goods. It's more difficult than you think. I don't know how parents do it these days, making lunches for their kids to bring to their nut-free schools.

...add chocolate chips

When I stumbled upon this tahini chocolate chip cookie recipe, it was an "Aha!" moment. Instead of using peanut or almond butter, it uses sesame seed butter, which gives it that nutty flavour. It's great timing that I'm going through a tahini phase at the same time as the food blogging world.

ready for the oven

March 28, 2016

Moutabbal

eggplant dip

You know what I learned during my travels in Turkey? The Turks can prepare eggplant really, really well. I find it such a finicky vegetable to cook with, as it can be too mushy or bitter, but without fail, every eggplant dish I ordered was insanely delicious (and I ordered many of them). One of the most memorable eggplant dishes that I ate was a meze - an eggplant dip with an intensely smoky flavour, one that I was hoping to replicate.

eggplants

Unfortunately, I don't have a gas burner so I improvised and threw the eggplants under the broiler in my oven. While this method does not result in a smoky flavour (I'll have to try grilling it on the barbecue in the summer), it does make a wonderful eggplant dip.

Note to self: do not line the baking sheet with parchment paper when broiling things because the paper will BURN. Please see photographic evidence:

charred eggplants

February 28, 2016

Banana Bread

banana bread

I have a weird relationship with bananas. I like to eat them when they're still green, just past the starchy stage, so that they're nice and tart. Once they start ripening and turn sweet, I can't eat them. The aroma of ripening bananas turn my stomach.

ripe bananas

And yet, I love bananas baked in goods, so I allow the bananas to overripe and become super sweet. I then freeze them for future baking projects or add them mashed to a warm bowl of oats.

ingredients for banana bread

I realize that I have a really small opening to eat a banana as is. But think of all the banana breads I can make!

mashed bananas, flour, walnuts & eggs quick bread comes together... quickly