Monday, October 7, 2013

Vintage Mondays: Vera butterfly towels


I have a Vera obsession.  So much so that I can just look at a square inch of a pattern and know instantly whether it's Vera or not.  This comes in handy during estate sales where they fold and tie up all the linens in bundles or put them in clear bags so you can't go through them all.  It's a limited talent but a skill set nonetheless!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Mini tiered cakes


Super adorable and easy to make.  Just use your favorite cake and frosting!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday: Smeg refrigerator

A completely superfluous wishlist item but I can't stop squealing each time I see these Smeg refrigerators!











Monday, September 30, 2013

Vintage Mondays: The Book of Knowledge


BK's estate pick this weekend prompted a lot of ooohs and ahhs from the cashiers.  This 1920s encyclopedia for children has all sorts of random information and facts.  I guess this is what people did before Google.

A few of my favorite entries:



And this one is hilarious--how to tell good drawings from poor ones:





Friday, September 6, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Butter Cake


This is probably one of the most ambitious cakes I've ever attempted to bake (there was a whole separating egg whites and whipping them into peaks part).  It was delicious but I think next time I might just go with a Sara Lee frozen pound cake :)  Recipe here.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Trip report: San Francisco

We took a long weekend trip to San Francisco a few weeks ago and enjoyed the cool weather and good food.  SF is a favorite destination of mine and here are a few must see, must do, mostly must eat places on my list!

Our first night there we stayed right on the Embarcadero (the above picture was the view from our room) and while our flight was delayed so we couldn't make it to the farmer's market on the pier, we still had a great time walking around the Ferry building.  Loved the neat displays at Far West Fungi, the delicious rolls at Acme bread, and as tradition, bought some mugs to add to our Heath ceramics collection. 


We also got to sample the delicious empanadas at El Porteno (highly recommend the jamon y queso and the champinones), the bahn mi at Out the Door (from the owners of the famed Slanted door) and finished off with dessert at Miette--their macarons are really the best I've had in the US (not pictured unfortunately, I scarfed those down).  We also made it to breakfast the next morning at Frog Hollow farms and their fruit yogurt parfait is amazing.  I would've bought a crate of their peaches if we had room in our luggage!


Japantown is another favorite destination--with Kinokuniya--a bookstore with fun Japanese fashion magazines and stationery.  Sophie's Crepes was unfortunately closed the day we were there but we more than made up for it by buying boxes of fresh mochi manju at Benkyodo Co. (everything's great but especially the fresh strawberry and blueberry ones).  

 
Fillmore Street is a short walk from Japantown and there are lots of great shops to browse.  Two of my favorites are Steven Alan and Crossroads Trading Co. (an awesome consignment store)


We happened into the Woodhouse Fish Co. for lunch and had some delicious fish and chips and crabcakes.  SF is the best place for seafood!


Finally my last recommendation and it's a splurge, is the Sunday jazz brunch at the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel.  We booked a few nights at the Palace and our package came with a restaurant credit and we sure made good use of it!  Not only do you get to dine under a gorgeous glass dome ceiling with chandeliers dating back a hundred years, the food is simply amazing in terms of quality and selection.  There were several stations that included breads and pastries, dim sum, seafood, cheeses, meats and a prime rib carving station, waffles and omelets made to order, and an assortment of desserts.  Among our favorite items: the shrimp and lobster claws, freshly squeezed orange juice, this amazing crab salad, fresh strawberries and delicious sticky buns.  Definitely my favorite US buffet! (top international billing still goes to the St Regis Bali)

There was a lot of walking around the city to counteract all the eating though we did leave SF with a box of See's Candies as a memento.  Hopefully we'll be back soon--along with our new little one!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Vintage Monday: Welch's T-Rex jars


This fun jar with a T-Rex on it was a staple in BK's grandma's kitchen.  He claims that grandma served "schwan drink" in it.  He also could not explain what that was and said only his family would know.  Anyone want to help me out here?

I made a lychee and peach smoothie in mine--3oz lychee juice, 8-9 lychees, 4-5 slices of frozen peaches and 4-5 ice cubes.  Yum!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Tofu salad with peanut dressing


I'm been busy trying out recipes from My Kitchen Snippets, one of my new favorite food blogs.  This tofu salad is perfect on a hot summer day--lots of crisp veggies and the peanut sauce has a real kick to it if you add in the sambal chilli sauce.  I happened to come across it at our local asian food store and was so excited because it's such a familiar flavor--it's used in a lot of Singaporean dishes.

Tofu Salad with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 2 pcs of firm tofu
  • 1 cup of jicama - julienned
  • 1 cup of cucumber - julienned
  • 1 cup of carrot - julienned
  • 1 cup of beansprouts
Peanut sauce:
  • 3 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp of sambal Oelek (more or less--I suggest less--whew!)
  • 1 clove of garlic - chopped
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of water (more or less)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar (more or less--always more in my case)
Directions:

  • Lightly fry the tofu until heated through
  • Wear your fingers to a nub trying to cut jicama, cucumber and carrots into little matchstick pieces
  • In a small saucepan, heat the peanut sauce ingredients and allow to boil and thicken
  • Assemble veggies, tofu and put as much sauce as you want on top, sprinkle with extra crushed peanuts for good measure
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday: Momofuku cake tasting package


Does this not look like the best thing ever you could get in the mail??

Friday, July 19, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: BBQ Pork Puffs (Char Siew) using Paratha bread


We had some left over BBQ pork from the local Chinese restaurant and I used it as filling for some pastry puffs.  Normally I would use puff pastry but read about using frozen paratha (a type of Indian flatbread) and it was so much easier and super delicious.  I can't wait to make cuffy puffs with this type of pastry now!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Austin eats: Pamela Jane's lobster rolls


Talk about winning the pregnant lady's lottery!  I recently won a lobster roll box from Pamela Jane's New England lobster rolls.  Delicious!  I've been wanting to try this lunch box and it is definitely worth the hype!  Lots of fresh chunks of North Atlantic lobster in a crusty bun and yes, I poured all that roasted shallot butter on top!  The box came with bottled water, crunchy kettle chips and 2 delicious homemade whoopie pies (one for me, one for baby).  I highly recommend treating yo-self sometime with one of these lunch boxes.  These certainly rival the lobster rolls I've had in Boston and NYC.   And much better than the Perla's and Dock n Roll versions here in Austin as well.  What a great way to start the week!  Thanks Pamela!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Peanut Pancake (Apam Balik)


This was one of my favorite treats growing up in Singapore.  It's basically a chewy pancake filled with crushed peanuts and sugar.  Fillings also include sweet red bean paste, coconut, or kaya jam.  I stumbled upon some great Singaporean/Malaysian food blogs lately and they have triggered my longing for foods from home.  I was so excited that this was relatively simple to make! 

Peanut Pancake (Apam Balik)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup soy milk/milk
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract 
  • Filling (which can be crushed peanuts mixed with sugar, jam, or Nutella in BK's case)
 Directions:
  • Whisk dry ingredients and then add in egg, milk and vanilla
  • Let the batter sit and bubble for a bit while you heat your nonstick pan up to medium
  • Pour a thin layer of batter in the pan and let it cook/bubble
  • Add your filling when batter is all the way cooked
  • Flip into a semi-circle, cut and serve warm!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Good news!


A new addition to our family arriving this November! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vacation!


We spent a week exploring Kaua'i--90% of these markers on my google map were food places!  Trip report to come soon!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Mango and Sticky Rice


Finally found a relatively simple way to make sticky rice!  I used a cup of glutinous rice (soaked for a few hours) and then put it in my microwavable rice cooker with two cups of Silk coconut milk (lighter than the kind in a can) and a dash of salt.  Then I used canned coconut milk (heavier) and mixed it over low heat with some sugar.  The rice was a bit mushier than if I had steamed it using the traditional method but put enough coconut cream on it and you can barely tell :)  Cut up some mango on the side and you've got yourself a delicious dessert!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vintage Monday: Gravy ladle


I picked up this spoon at a local estate recently b/c the wooden handle reminded me of my canoe muffin collection.  However, I'm not exactly sure what this spoon is actually used for--ladling out gravy perhaps?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Peasant bread


This is a super easy and very tasty bread--it took about 2 hours from start to finish which is really quick for fresh bread.  The recipe and lots of tips can be found here.  I especially love the idea of baking them in pyrex bowls so you get these round loaves of bread.  We've had it this week with marinated tomatoes, as grilled cheese and prosciutto sandwiches and will use the last of it for french toast this weekend!


Peasant bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 lb. 2 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
  • room temperature butter, about 2 tablespoons



Directions:

  • Whisk the flour and the salt in a bowl
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the sugar into the lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast over top and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy 
  • Then add the yeast/water mix to flour and begin to mix the dough.  It will be pretty wet
  • Cover bowl with a tea towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour
  • Grease two oven-safe bowls or loaf pans with about a tablespoon of butter each
  • Using two forks, punch down your dough, scraping it from the sides of the bowl which will loosen the dough entirely from the sides of the bowl
  • Take your two forks and divide the dough into two equal portions, then scoop up each half and place into your greased bowls/pans
  • Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes while you preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 22 to 25 minutes longer 
  • Once golden brown, remove from oven and turn the loaves onto cooling racks. If you’ve greased the bowls well, the loaves should fall right out onto the cooling racks. If you're like me, it'll take a knife, fork, and finally a spoon to get these little suckers to budge :)
  • ENJOY!




Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Yumm sauce


This recipe is for my friend Suz who is currently on a great northwest adventure!  The northwest is at the top of the list for a visit soon and when we do, we'll be sure to visit a Cafe Yumm, most famous for their yumm sauce. It's a bit difficult to describe--sort of a creamy, tangy sauce with a hint of curry that goes well in rice bowls, on wraps, drizzled on salads or used to dip your veggies.  Here I assembled a bowl of brown rice, tomatoes, avocadoes, olives and grilled chicken topped with homemade yumm sauce.


Yumm Sauce adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup cooked soybeans or 1/3 cup tofu
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
Directions:
  • Blend all of the above
  • Use generously on your favorite foods!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chicago fun

Just a few pictures from our Chicago trip last weekend!  


We finally got to Wrigley for a Cubs game (and they won!)


Totally lives up to the hype


Best dessert ever--
salted caramel cinnamon soft serve ice cream with apples and pie crust
--from Grahamwich



Monday, June 3, 2013

Vintage Mondays: Lawyer's bookcase


We finally caved and bought this beauty at a local antique mall.  Love the dark wood, clean lines and the awesome way the glass fronts slide back upon opening. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Vintage Monday: Kilim pillows


Found these awesome pillows at our neighborhood garage sale!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Around the garden - May


Some new flowers and plants!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

HEB poteet strawberry ice cream


If you live anywhere in Texas near a HEB, I highly suggest you run down to your nearest store and pick up this ice cream, made from the famous strawberries grown in Poteet, TX.  BK and I have been fighting over this all week.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good day!


After a whole week at the vet's and emergency care, Link finally got to come home for the night!  We are so happy that he seems to be on the mend--thanks to the excellent care he's received from his doctors and nurses.  There are more tests and hurdles and day trips to the vet to get through but it sure was good to have him home last night.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Garden roses


This is our second year of garden roses and I love having fresh flowers in the house!  My favorites so far are St Cecilia and Queen of Sweden.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Curry Puffs


So in Singapore we have these delicious pastries called "curry puffs"--which is really quite self-explanatory--they are little puffs of pastry filled with curry.  Well imagine my surprise when I  learned from my good friend A that they are actually called samosas!  Granted, the Singaporean versions are still a little different in terms of the dough and especially the surprise slice of hard boiled egg in them (my favorite!).  I had some leftover curry this week and decided to mash up the potatoes, boil some eggs and bake them all in puff pastry (easy way out).  They were sooooo delicious and reminded me of great memories of buying these from Old Chang Kee and eating them as an after school snack with my dad. 


Friday, April 26, 2013

Favorite Friday Recipe: Cauliflower soup


This delicious soup comes via the Pioneer Woman.  I love cauliflower and this soup was perfect for one of our surprisingly chilly April evenings.   I cut out a lot of the butter and dairy from the original recipe and added more vegetables, but if you're looking for a good time, the original recipe is here.

Cauliflower soup (with slight modifications)

Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 whole Onion, Finely Diced
  • Half a bag of baby carrots, Finely Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Cauliflower Head (roughly Chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped
  • 2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • 4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1.5-2 cups 2% Milk
  • 2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature (optional)
Directions:

  • In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter 
  • Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown
  • Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes
  • Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine
  • Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes
  • After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter 
  •  Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine
  • Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly
  • Add mixture to the simmering soup
  • Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary
  • Just before serving, place the sour cream in bottom of bowls and stir into soup (this is optional--it tasted great with or without it) 
  • Serve immediately.