travel | bangkok, thailand 2014

Bangkok, Thailand 2014

i’ve been trying to write this
for awhile
from many places
– while walking sidewalks brimming with food vendors
– crossing a busy street, clutching dw’s hand tight
– from cramped airplane seats, recycled air pressed down on me
– early morning thoughts while combating jetlag
– dreary late night musings, preparing for reality

Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014

there is a heat in bangkok
that seizes you
it gets caught mid-breath
and you’re left gasping
for some it’s oppressive
for me,
it’s joyous
i don’t mind the heat,
or the slick tendrils of hair at my temple
or the pit stains
i’m 16 again
wearing slippers, dusty toed
and ignoring hawkers as they
implore & vie for my attention

i’m caught up in the magic
of travelling
of wandering a foreign city with my love
never mind the blisters on
both feet
and
the stink i’m sure i’m emitting

Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014

all i know is
i am in love with everything:
dw
being lost
the dirt
the heavy air
dw
even the lack of soy milk for my coffee

and i am dreaming of our next adventure

bangkok information and resources:
i’m sorry, i won’t be able to highlight every place we went to, i don’t remember & most places were on a whim

accommodations: 1 bedroom condo we found on airbnb. we kept the place even when we went to chiang mai for a long weekend.
dining: no lie, i think we had khao man gai 7-8 times. i asked the landlord for recommendations and then i asked shesimmers, and if i saw a joint that had it, we’d stop for it. i’ll list just the two leela endorsed cus they were gooooood. Khao Man Gai Monkhon Wattana (ข้าวมันไก่มงคลวัฒนา) and Khao Man Gai Heng Heng (ข้าวมันไก่เฮงเฮง). if you really want to know more about those places, email me & i’ll send you the info.
urban kitchen: we met up with dw’s cousin and he took us to this great cafe. i’m now obsessed with bruised cucumber salad and drunken chicken. i will eventually recreate that meal
Methavalai Sorndaeng: dw’s parents visited thailand after their stint in india with the peace corps. they dined at this restaurant, so we did too!
shopping: we hit up most of the shopping malls, whole sale and retail, and bazaars. i could not tell you where i bought the cutest tea cup set, cus i don’t know, and cus it was by luck. i did hit up all these and the weekend market
sights: the grand palace, adhere to the dress code

Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014Bangkok, Thailand 2014

next: our chiang mai leg, specifically, walking with the elephants!

other wanderings:
vietnam 2012
barçelona2010
rochester
pittsburgh

coconut peppermint patties

Coconut Peppermint Patties

it’s not so much the daily
wake up ritual we partake in,
where sometimes i coax you out of slumber
with promises of kisses,
or i downright threaten to withhold kisses
it’s not so much the
evening hugs we make time for,
no matter how much i need
to go pee
this is a deep & abiding glimpse
of this love we’ve been working on

Coconut Peppermint Patties

this month you mark another
yearlong trip around the sun
it was never about the destination
i only ever care about the journey
as long as i’m with you
cus darling,
we are adventurers in this
life we’ve been working on

for your birthday this year
i made your favorite combo:
chocolate + mint
because i adore you
and because i’m your
Ride Or Die Bitch

Coconut Peppermint Patties

coconut peppermint patties
yields: 24 patties

*note: in lieu of the coconut flakes, you can use all powdered sugar. i decided to use the coconut flakes because this particular brand soaks up moisture really well, and i wanted to cut on the sweetness.

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, i used Let’s Do Organic
2 tsp pure peppermint extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBL softened (just below room temp) coconut oil
2 TBL coconut creamer, i used So Delicious

beat everything in a mixing bowl with a paddle. everything will start out crumbly and ugly and alarming, walk away. come back after 30 seconds – a 1 minute, it should be creamy and well incorporated. when you touch the mixture, it will be soft but not sticky. if it is sticky, add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until it’s no longer sticky. it’ll be stiff.

scrape mixture out of bowl onto a long piece of plastic wrap. form into a tube, about 1 1/2″ in diameter. wrap up well and be sure to tie the ends up. fridge up till firm, about 45 minutes. cut into desired thickness, aim for 1/4″. dip into melted chocolate and allow to cool and harden.

i chopped up a 5oz bar of chocolate, at least 70% cacao, melted over a double boiler. ( i used scharffen berger)

BAM!

Coconut Peppermint Patties

my other dw birthday concoctions:
homemade thin mints – 2013
mint chocolate cake – 2012

quinoa chocolate cake

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

friends
we’re missing an hour
never before have
i wanted an hour back
like i do now

daylight saving time
never bothered me before
growing up
either because my body didn’t
register the loss
or the countries i lived in
didn’t participate in DST

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

it’s an adjustment
certainly
much like making minor
dietary changes
we made the decision
recently to cut back on
our gluten intake,
for health-reasons
and as it happens,
our close friends are
also attempting the gf lifestyle

for less than 2 weeks
i’ve missed bread
i’ve missed pasta
no lie:
i’ve cheated
and i have to remind myself
that much like when i went
dairy free
it’s not so much what i’m missing,
it’s what i could be gaining
the challenges i could tackle
in the kitchen

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

quinoa chocolate cake – gluten free & dairy free
adapted from Quinoa 365

*note: i baked this cake for my dear friend Nuria’s birthday. i’ve made many, many desserts for this hooker, including her wedding cakes, and she said this was her most favorite. the flour wasn’t missed.
*initially i had wanted to make it a two layered cake with whipped coconut milk but the coconut milk was too runny, though delicious, and i wasn’t confident that it would make the trek to the party. so i topped with powdered sugar and called it a day.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (about 1/2 cup dried quinoa, though just cook a full cup and find another use for the unused)
1/3 cup coconut creamer, i used So Delicious
4 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid but cool
1 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

cook up the quinoa according to package instructions, be sure to fight the urge to NOT cook it with broth, cus i damn near forgot… allow to cool completely.

preheat oven to 350F and prep 2 8″ round pans.

in a bowl, sift the dry ingredients.

in a food processor, whizz up the eggs, coconut oil and coconut creamer. add in the cooled cooked quinoa and process until smooth, or as smooth as you want it to be. pour mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and mix everything until fully combined.

divvy up into pans equally and bake for 28-30 minutes. the sides will pull clean from the pans.

cool on rack and either top with powdered sugar or frosting of your choice.

BAM!

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

crochet | starburst baby blanket

Star Burst Baby Blanket

Star Burst Baby Blanket

Star Burst Baby Blanket

Star Burst Baby Blanket

i say it often
but these days i find myself
deadline crocheting
there is always a project
to start
to complete
i reach for my yarn
and hook by rote
and if i’m not,
i’m searching for a pattern
to get immersed in

despite lamentations
this winter has allowed for much
productivity
a pot of soup simmering
dw beside me,
either doing a crossword puzzle
or napping,
my fingers tangled in yarn
sometimes i’ll stop
to stretch overtired wrists
and hands
and fingers
and then back at it
sweat-shop style

this blanket was part of
my contribution for the
baby shower
we had at work this week

for the main color, i used caron’s one pound yarn in cream (or maybe it’s off white…)
for the trim/border, i used bernat’s baby coordinates in baby pink
i used a J-hook

i used this pattern, which was so easy to memorize

fyi: mini elephant pillow is Monsignor Boh Regard Nguyen, made by the lovely wendi of Bon Appetit Hon.

my other crocheted creations:
owl rattle
minecraft skull hats

happy weekend friends!

ultimate white cake

chocolate kissed white cake

when she was a girl, and still growing, ravenous, whenever there had been a cake – a sponge cake, dusted with sugar, which mrs. hill had conjured up out of eggs and flour and creamy butter — sarah would never even herself look at it, because she knew that it was not for her… so sarah would stare instead at the carpet underneath her feet, or the rippled yellow curtains in the parlour, and would do her best not to breathe, not to inhale the scent of vanilla or lemon or almonds; even to glance at the cake was an impossible agony.

and for months, she realized, james had hardly looked at her at all.
~Longbourn by Jo Baker

this book
just read it
i will freely admit
to feeling anger towards
elizabeth
even jane
and mr. darcy
the book is written from
the perspective of the servants
in Pride & Prejudice
and our hero & heroine
are not painted in the most
forgiving light

anyway
just read it
you’re welcome

Chocolate Kissed White Cake

chocolate kissed white cake (dairy free)
inspiration attire
adapted from garlic girl

*note: one of my hires is expecting a wee lass. we’re having a shower for her today and this was one of my contributions to the fete. i’m not for superlatives but i will say that this was one of the easier white cakes i’ve dealt with, the last one being nuria’s wedding cake which was a chiffon cake. that was a more involved cake and i need something quick to fall back on. this just might be that cake that i turn to.

5 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup soy milk cream, room temp, i used organic valley
345 grams cake flour, sifted
350 grams sugar
1 TBL + 1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks soy margarine cut in cubes, room temp, i used earth balance

preheat oven 350F

prep two 8″ round pans, grease/flour/whatever

in a glass measuring cup mix the egg whites with 1/4 cup of the soy creamer. set aside

in mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. add in the butter and remaining soy creamer and mix until moistened. in increments of 3 add in the egg/soy creamer mixture to the batter, scraping down the sides continuously. beat on medium until batter is fully incorporated

divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans.

bake for 25-35 minutes. i checked on them at 30 minutes and kept them in there for another 5 minutes. the cakes do rise to the very brim of the pan (my pans are 8×2″). allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, the cakes will pull from the sides just slightly. invert onto wire racks and cool completely. cover with plastic wrap, can be left out at room temp for 2 days, in fridge for 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

vegan cream cheese frosting

12 oz tofutti cream cheese, room temp
1 stick of vegan margarine, i used earth balance
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
optional: coloring gel. i used a dab of wilton’s pink

in a standard mixer, beat the cream cheese and margarine until fluffy and incorporated. gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides often. use your best judgement on consistency. you can add more or less powdered sugar depending on how warm your house is, or how comfortable you are with thicker frosting.

chocolate glaze

6oz of good chocolate, at least 70% cacao
half stick of margarine

place ingredients in a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water. be sure that not a drop of water gets into the bowl. it’ll make the chocolate seize and that shit’s just ugly. mix well. mixture will be shiny and smooth.

to assemble

i made this a 4 layer cake, so dw halved the two layers for me into equal 1″ layers. stack the layers accordingly, with frosting between. crumb coat, leave in fridge for 30 minutes. do final coat of frosting as smooth as you can. finally, pour the chocolate glaze over top, do this slowly, and smooth out the top so that it spills artfully over the sides. believe me when i tell you that it’s not as easy as it sounds, just be patient.

BAM!

chocolate kissed white cake

another of my cakes: minty snow cake