You might be aware that California is in the midst of a terrible drought this season. Well this past weekend it finally rained in Santa Barbara—and it rained hard! (We’re talking torrential rains and coastal flooding.)
Although they’re reporting that the storm wasn’t enough to re-fill the state’s dried-up reservoirs, those few days of rain were still good news for California. And bad news for my car.
For some reason that none of the various mechanics I’ve taken it to can figure out, my car seems to hate the rain.
Unfortunately the rainstorm followed an exhausting dissertation week—when I’d still managed to do quite a bit of cooking—so it was one of those lazy weekends when Paula and I both wanted to throw in the kitchen towel and just go out for brunch.
But of course we couldn’t drive anywhere in the rain without my car threatening to die. Good thing we had this brunch-worthy recipe up our sleeves.
Paula keeps suggesting that I post a recipe for Thai coconut milk curry… she doesn’t care what kind—yellow, red, green, panaeng, whatever. But I’ve rejected this idea every time, with the (lame perfectionist food blogger) excuse that I’d want to make my own curry paste first.
You know, so I could seem extra impressive with my authentic made-from-scratch curry paste, never revealing that I usually just use the Mae Ploy brand (which is delicious by the way).
Maybe someday I will post a recipe or two for homemade curry paste (after all, I used to make some about once a year and then freeze it for future use!).
But besides my laziness, there’s another problem with that kind of blog post. I start imagining the response: “That’s nice that (she’s a graduate student so) she has time to make her own curry paste, but who else has time for that?! I’m going to stick to my storebought brand!” Or worse yet, “That looks like way too much work and way too many ingredients; I’m going to stick to never making Thai curry!”
Lucky for all of you hypothetical pessimists, I came up with a way to make a quick, easy, peanutty version of a yellow Thai curry without needing any curry paste at all.
Can it be? It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and I am actually posting something appropriately sweet! (And pink and red!)
Nothing chocolatey though, since I like tangy fruit desserts even better than chocolate ones. (Good thing every other food blog out there has got you covered…)
And no, I’m probably not going to start being on top of themed holiday posts all year round; I didn’t even intend for these to be Valentine’s-y… I made them last week, for Paula’s birthday.
At first she requested the same zesty lemon lime bars I made for her birthday last year. But then she changed her mind and asked for blood orange bars. This would have been easy enough to accommodate, since it’s just swapping in a different kind of citrus juice… until she also asked me to add raspberries. An inspired flavor and color combination, to be sure, but I was at a loss as to how to do it.
I’ve been obsessed with the idea of this soup for ages.
I love all things eggy and all things lemony. Put together, the rich mixture of tempered eggs and lemon juice gives this soup a decadent, creamy feel, and without any milk or cream.
I used to think of it as a rare restaurant treat—a complicated and mysterious miracle of science. How else could you add eggs to a simmering stock and end up with a smooth, velvety lemony broth, without separating the eggs into the messy striations of egg drop soup?
Once again Santa Barbara’s shortage of decent restaurants—of Greek restaurants, in this case—led me to take the miracle-working into my own hands. As with learning any new recipe, this started with demystifying it: it turns out there’s a very simple step to making such a luxurious broth.
Every once in a while I post recipes that are not really recipes, and I assume everyone will see right through them and think less of me as a food blogger.
But I am also such a fan of snacking and procrastination (and procrastisnacking*) that I often get into the habit of making myself a certain type of elaborate snack or another, and then I get to thinking about sharing it with you.
This one is not that elaborate, but it does take some time (6 minutes to be precise) standing over the stove, flipping the mochi as it grills. Then you get to enjoy the most delightfully textured warm, comforting snack of soft chewy mochi wrapped in crisp salty seaweed.
Yakimochi (grilled mochi), seasoned with soy sauce, and wrapped up in seaweed is called Isobeyaki. I like improvising little variations on isobeyaki, like adding some citrusy ponzu and sesame oil to the soy sauce, or sandwiching a slice of melty cheese in between the seaweed and the mochi. (Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.)
As much as I love Mexican food, I’ve always been a little intimidated by some of the dishes.
I’ve made mole, tamales, tacos, rice and beans, but in the past I’ve always taken shortcuts when making the dishes, using canned or bottled sauces. Since Allison started this blog, I’ve been more up to the challenge of tackling recipes from scratch, but the one recipe I was still too intimidated to try was pozole. I just thought it would be far too complicated to make.
At my old job, I had a co-worker who told me that pozole was so easy, and that she would write down the recipe for me. But she never got around to writing it down, despite the stacks of post-its and note paper available all over the office. She and my other coworker would just condescendingly tell me how simple it was to make.
Now I have a new job with co-workers who are quick to help me out; I can tell they are genuinely happy when they see me succeed, not just in ophthalmology, but in cooking as well. My co-worker, Linda, mentioned she made pozole one day. When I asked her for the recipe, she told me it was really easy, while grabbing a bit of paper and scribbling down some simple directions.