a beautiful love – vegan carrot cake

for rc + dh.

with rc by her side (as well as a legion of ardent angel friends), dh is facing a battle with grace, humility and aplomb. to read more & help if you can, go here.

videos courtesy of mandy frye and john carnahan, and used with permission

doubled vegan carrot cake + cream cheese frosting
almond paste succulents and carrots, free-handed by my kitchen wench slash new living arrangement roommate nuria, but inspired by: cake central.

Vegan Carrot Cake + Almond Paste toppers008003

730 days later: anniversary

wedding pic

photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission

darling love,
let’s always eat cake!

730 days down, infinity to go.

Chocolate Cake

6″ double chocolate cake
adapted from movita beaucoup

*note: i have a tendency to bake my cakes under, i like the fudge like consistency. however, for icing/frosting/decoration purposes baking the cake till done or just slightly over is best, as it will make the cake sturdier. for real, do as i say, not as i do.

Yields one 2 layer, 6″ cake

1 cup AP flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup strong black coffee, cool
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon chocolate extract

preheat oven to 350°F. grease + line two 6″ baking pans with parchment paper.

in a bowl add all the dry ingredients except the sugar, whisk to combine.

in a large mixing bowl, mix together the coffee, sugar, sunflower oil and chocolate extract until combined. add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

divvy up the batter evenly between the two baking pans.

bake for 18-22 minutes (aim for the full 22 minutes). cool for a few minutes, then remove from pans, remove parchment paper, and cool completely on a wire rack.

chocolate frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
healthy punch of salt
1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature (i used Tofutti vegan cream cheese)

Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa and salt and set aside.

in a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy.

add in the dry ingredients in increments, beating on low, until smooth and no lumps remain


Chocolate Cake

one year ago: chocolate tahini cake with rosemary infused buttercream

bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup

bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

lately i’ve been thinking a lot about
vietnamese food
specifically the foods i ate growing up.
it’s that weird, icky, emo
akin to nostalgia,
an emotion that is so foreign,
and unwelcome,
to me
that i would like to punch it in the face.

instead, i think i will attempt to feed it
because starving is just not our thing.

bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup
loosely adapted from wandering chopsticks

*note: i seem to recall seeing snails in this dish growing up. that’s an ingredient that i cannot locally source and if i’m to be honest, it’s something that i like to consume when prepared by professionals. i’m not there yet to make it myself. instead, i made do with local maryland crab and csa tomatoes – hooray for in-season AND local. alas, the fish cakes were purchased frozen and already prepared. this is when dw will turn a blind eye, conceding that some things just cannot be helped.

this makes a lot. like, an ass clown amount. we’ve have it for leftovers for a week, and we shared this with cousins who recently welcomed a baby boy, leaving them with portions too.

i won’t post the full recipe, because it’s fucking long WC does a great job of writing it all out. below are my short cuts and methods that worked for me.

i used two 32 oz boxes of organic seafood stock. i wasn’t about to make crab stock. i did use shrimp shells though.
i purchased backfin crab meat from whole foods, because lump meat would’ve been a waste of good meat and money.
i did not use canned tomatoes, instead, we’ve been drowning in csa tomatoes and so i diced up 15oz worth of tomatoes and rough chunked 4 big tomatoes.
spare ribs were also purchased at whole foods, and i think may have been dw’s favorite part of the dish.
i added two extra eggs to the rieu, because i like it extra eggy. i did not bother with keeping it whole, i just free formed balls with spoons and dropped into the broth.
if you can’t get your hands on banana blossom, shredded cabbage is fine.

last, this dish was just ok on the first day, in fact, i was a little disappointed. but the following days were so much better.


bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

1 year ago: quinoa sushi rolls
2 years ago: blueberry breakfast cookies

other vietnamese goodness:
homemade bánh cướn chay
vietnamese bò kho – beef stew
phở gà
tôm rang muối – vietnamese salt & pepper shrimp
vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl – bun thit ga nuong
chả trứng thịt hấp – vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf

chả trứng thịt hấp – vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf

chả trứng thịt hấp

by all counts we’ve had a good summer:
on a national level: one love
the heat this week has made us turn on the AC uh-gain
and made me secretly relieved for the inevitable return of autumn
which means i will be forced to hit the kitchen
and cook again
taking advantage of the bay’s haul
i grabbed a half pound container of crab
and made something comforting
something so easy
something that’ll ease me back into the comforting rhythms of the kitchen


chả trứng thịt hấp – vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf
*note: the way my dad sent me the recipe it was all a bunch of words with guesses on measurements. i’ve made this a few times and the measurements below are what i generally stick with. i use 5 ramekins (like, individual creme brulee dishes) and 1 double sized ramekin, as shown in the picture, so the steam time is slightly abbreviated and done in batches. using a bamboo steamer is ideal but i use a steamer insert in a regular big pot, which works perfectly for me. alternatively, you can do it bain marie style in the oven, 350F for same amount of time, just make sure you cover with foil.

1 lb lean ground pork
8 oz crab meat, i bought from Whole Foods, but in a typical vietnamese household they use canned with liquid drained & discarded
1-2 cups worth of vermicelli noodles that’s been softened by submerging it in hot water for 15 minutes, rough chopped
2 good sized pieces of black fungi, submerged in hot water and then julienned
3 stalks of scallions/green onions, diced
4 eggs, reserving 2 yolks
3 TBL fish sauce, we use red boat
2 TBL sugar

in a mixing bowl, mix the ground pork, eggs, fungi, vermicelli noodles, fish sauce and sugar. seriously it’s like meatloaf, don’t over do it but make sure everything is well incorporated.
gently fold in the crab meat. don’t break the lumps up tooooooo much, but you want it to be nice mash up.
in a heat proof bowl or dish, smear a smidge of oil along the bottom and along the sides.
put the meat mixture into the prepared bowl or dish and steam for about 20-25 minutes.
top with scattered chili and spread a layer over the surface of the bowl or dish and steam for an additional 2-3 minutes.

(this is just for looks) serve with white rice and cukes, or between bread, sandwich style…

chả trứng thịt hấp

one year ago: spiced poach pears
two years ago: meyer lemon bars

other vietnamese goodness:
homemade bánh cướn chay
vietnamese bò kho – beef stew
phở gà
tôm rang muối – vietnamese salt & pepper shrimp
vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl – bun thit ga nuong

summer salsa

salsa fixingssalsa fixings

we haven’t turned on the oven or stove much this summer
save for the quick pasta salad fixes
or soft boiled eggs
or slow roasting tomatoes
we’re also training –
me for the half (WHO AM I?)
he for the full (HE’S CRAY)
all i want to do most nights is throw things in a pile
douse in olive oil + balsamic vinegar
and top on toast or crackers.
so that’s what we do.

this salsa is a deviation from that,
using lime juice instead
and tortilla chips are the vehicle to bring
summer’s deliciousness to your mouth.

Summer Salsa

summer salsa

*note: depending on the liquid seasoning that you use, this can be either a salsa or bruschetta topping. in parenthesis i’ll add in what alternative ingredients you can use to make it a rustic, summery toast topper.

1 large just ripe peach, pitted and diced
1 half red onion, diced
2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, sliced as close from the cob as possible
2 large tomatoes
juice of two limes (drizzle of olive oil + balsamic vinegar)
bunch of cilantro, rough chopped, leaves + stems (bunch of torn basil leaves)
salt + pepper, to taste

this is not rocket science, slice and dice to your hearts content. depending on how sweet your peaches or how tart you like your salsa, season to your taste.
mix in a bowl.

allow to mix and mingle for a few hours, ideally overnight.
serve with tortilla chips.


Summer Salsa

1 year ago: peach ginger scones – vegan
2 years ago: vietnamese pickled carrots + daikon

other dips or toppers:
mango pomegranate guacamole
za’atar socca + middle eastern smashed avocado
roasted bone marrow