pickled jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

i read a meme recently
that basically said
the month of August
is like a long Sunday night
for teachers/educators.
while i am not a teacher
this rings such truth for me.
i feel a sort of melancholy that
the summer is half over,
never mind that it’s over a month out.

summers of late
have me pickling,
which leaves our fridge littered
with random jars of experiments.
we tend to have purges
of the most random soured/salted/sweetened
vegs piled high on toast,
the essence of summer in messy, briny bites
during the dark of all other months
where temps don’t go further than 40F.

Pickled Jalapenos

pickled jalapenos
adapted from gimme delicious food

*note: the first time we made this we deseeded the jalapenos and followed the recipe exactly. it was delicious, but the 2nd time we made this i only deseeded half the peppers and i used a rice vinegar instead, because we ran out of the white stuff. still delicious. it has a spice kick to it but that doesn’t deter me from snacking on them. they would be great chopped up and added to tuna or chicken salads, or topped on hot dogs.

1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, smashed & rough chopped
3 TBL sugar
1 TBL salt
7-8 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, deseeded

wash and slice jalapeno peppers, aim for thin, but it’s up to you. you wanna be careful, the spiciness can stay on your finger tips for awhile, so don’t rub your eyes or other parts of your body. deseed if you want. set aside.

mix all the ingredients in a saucepan. bring to a boil and add the slices. mix it up, make sure all the slices are sufficiently dunked.

carefully transfer the contents of the saucepan to a mason jar. i used a quart jar.

allow to cool before lidding.

BAM!

Pickled Jalapenos

4 years ago: chocolate + coconut macaroons
3 years ago: homemade bánh cướn chay
2 years ago: popcorn
1 year ago: zucchini ravioli

all other pickled stuff:
bread & butter pickles
brinjal pickle hummus
pickled beets
veitnamese pickled carrots & dakon

blueberry almond blondies

Blueberry Almond Blondies

i think it’s common knowledge,
i don’t know,
that blondies are brownies?
but without the chocolate.
i never understood that,
because without chocolate
what’s the point?

it’s mid-july,
my hair is in a ponytail
we survived our week with the nephews
(i’m officially the shortest Wilson now…)
and, somehow, i find myself
ridiculously entangled in a Korean Skincare Routine.
most of the things i do is for the laughs,
and this right here is garnering a shit ton of that,
especially since i’ve been video-ing the washing my face endeavors.

in other news,
we watched The Big Sick, which made me laugh-cry-cringe-roll-my-eyes
we’re watching Big Brother, and stupidly i’m hooked
we’re also watching A Place to Call Home and the Doctor Blake Mysteries,
both on PBS (the latter on netflix, too!)
we watched hasan minhaj’s homecoming king, that was sad and entertaining and mainly funny
being from baltimore, of course we watched the Keepers, which is a tragic and frustrating watch.
last, i’ve been listening to a silly lil podcast that usually has me howling: Potterotica. yeah. no words.

to answer my question above,
the point is,
i had all the ingredients,
plus blueberries
and i thought it was high time i tried blondies.
and now i get the point.

Blueberry Almond Blondies

blueberry almond blondies
adapted from dolly+oatmeal and tending the table

*note: the original recipe calls for arrowroot powder, which i don’t have and i didn’t want to add yet another random ingredient into the cupboard. thankfully cornstarch makes a great sub. also, it calls for an ass amount of sugar and since i seem to measure things with my ass, and not wanting to add more inches to said ass, i cut the sugar amount by alot (i don’t know what the math equation is, just know i cut it back). it’s still plenty sweet.

1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
handful of fresh frozen blueberries
sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish

preheat oven to 350°F. grease 8×8″ square baking pan, set aside.

in a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt, mix with whisk or fork.

one by one by, add in the liquid ingredients: eggs, olive oil and extracts.

still till combined, it will be thick. don’t be alarmed.

pour batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly to all corners.

bake for 14 minutes.

remove and strew berries around, try to not be like me, and spread out the berries evenly.

bake for another 15 minutes, until the edges get browned and looks crispy.

cool and remove from pan, scatter the toasted sliced almonds, cut into squares, or tear off chunks and eat by handful, whatever, i’m not judging you.

BAM!

Blueberry Almond Blondies

4 years ago: chocolate wonderfuls
3 years ago: blueberry clafoutis
2 years ago: strawberry + kefir popsicles
1 year ago: chicken enchilada bake

jasmine tea + mango jello

Jasmine Tea + Mango Jello

hot damn,
it looks like a post
will go up for june!
barely made it.

we’re headed into july,
which means we are hosting our nephews soon,
and i’m ridiculously excited about it.
we’re headed into the woods,
where i’ll worry about bears and ticks
and mosquitoes,
oh my.

hope your summer is going well!

Jasmine Tea + Mango Jello

jasmine + mango jello
serves 2

note: dw loves him a good boba tea, i don’t care for it, but the local boba shop has pineapple jello that they add to their jasmine tea and damn if i’m not addicted to them.

brew tea according to preference, chill

1 mango, skinned, pitted and cubed
1 1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/2 tsp agar agar, i use the telephone brand, in powder form
maple syrup to taste, optional

in a small sauce pan heat up the water. when it reaches a boil, add the agar agar, remove from heat and stir to melt.

in a vitamix or blender, blitz the cubed mango, you want it as smooth as possible. add the maple syrup if the mango isn’t sweet to your liking.

carefully add the hot water to the blender and blitz to mix through.

pour into a container with a flat bottom. i used a rectangle pyrex container.

cool to room temp and then put in fridge to chill further and harden. (at room temp, it should be hard to the touch already)

when ready, cube the jello, be mindful of the size and that they’ll go up the straw.

to assemble:
add a few tablespoons (or whatever amount that you fancy) of the mango jello cubes to glass. pour the cold tea over it and play the game where you try not to eat all the jello pieces before the tea is gone.

BAM!

4 years ago: s’more donuts
3 years ago: veggie dumplings in spicy sauce
2 years ago: meringue cups + mango curd
1 year ago: raw blueberry coconut tart + nut crust

cháo cá kho

Chao Ca Kho

today marks 3 years since
my beloved gpa passed away.
we are currently in CA,
in celebration of his life,
visiting gma,
and taking a much needed breather.

today’s recipe is one of my childhood faves,
which i have gone & bastardized.
normally it’s eaten with rice,
but gpa would make it with
rice porridge
and we’d have it for breakfast.
gpa always ate it with chopsticks,
which is weird,
this is stew-soup-porridge,
but the man was deft with them sticks.
he is dearly missed.

Chao Ca Kho

cháo cá kho
cháo amount makes 4 small servings, or 2 hefty servings (which is the norm)
cá kho amount makes 6 servings

*note: in feb, dw & i visited charleston, sc, and one of the places we dined at, Xiao Bao Biscuit had a special: fishball congee that was fresh and completely different from any congee experience i’ve ever had, at home or at a restaurant. i only like vietnamese style congee, which is called chao, every other version is not good to me, no offense to all other congees out there. their version, the balls were deep fried and proportion of balls to congee is the exact opposite of what i’m used to. chao is supposed be a quick filling and warming meal, bland with a few bites of salty. their version tipped it to the opposite side of the scale and my version attempts to even it out. the presentation is a little on the precious side for me, but it was a special occasion.

*note: the consistency of this chao is on the thick side, which is my preference, almost to the point where you could stick your chopsticks upright in the bowl and it won’t topple (don’t do that though, especially in japan).

Chao Ca Kho

fishballs
1 1/2 lb catfish filets, skinned and de-boned
knob of ginger, skinned and thin sliced
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions, rough chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
oil, for frying

in a food processor add all the ingredients except the filets. pulse until all the ingredients are rough chopped and mixed together. with a spatula, push down the mixture and clean the sides of the bowl.

chop the fish filets into bite sizes and add to the processor. pulse until all the ingredients are chopped and mixed through. you don’t want it to be mush but you do want it to get incorporated.

using a tablespoon or if you’re fancy, a ice cream scooper, scoop up about 1.5 tablespoons worth into your hand and roll it around until it’s ball. place on plate or parchment lined cookie sheet. do this for the entire mixture.

in a pan, heat up a splash of oil. fry the balls until they’re all browned on the outside. don’t worry if they’re not fully cooked on the inside (though they probably are). set on paper towel lined plate and set aside.

braising/caramel sauce
1 generous tsp sugar
1/2 cup – 1 cup coconut juice (water if you end up sipping all the coconut juice waiting for the sugar to caramelize)(no judgement)
half onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
a knob of ginger, thin sliced
1-2 TBL fish sauce

you’re working simultaneously here:
in a pot heat up some oil. saute the onions until they are richly browned, add in the garlic and ginger, all the while stirring to prevent burning.

meanwhile, in a small sauce pan heat up the sugar. it’s going to melt, it’s going to harden and you might smell some burning. don’t freak out like dw did, add the liquid (coconut juice or water) and mix it all together and the liquid starts to simmer. at that point, add it to the pot of onions/garlic/ginger.

mix it all through and then carefully, nestle the fried fishballs into the pot. allow the pot to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. turn the balls to allow for even coatage, add more liquid if the pots gets too dry.

while that’s doing its thing, make the chao.

cháo
1/2 cup rice, rinsed and drained (any kind, whatever your preference)
3 cup water

in a medium pot, add the water and rinsed rice. heat on high until boiling, stir, and then lower heat to medium low, until just a simmer. semi-cover and ignore for 20 minutes. check on it, stir and check consistency. you’re aiming for a thick porridge, if you prefer looser, add more water. take off heat. as it cools, it will thicken, just add water to loosen.

toppings/garnishes
pickled red onions (paper thin sliced red onions in a sweetened vinegar mix)
fried onions
fried garlic
green scallions
sliced red chilis

to assemble
in a bowl add the chao then top with fishballs. drizzle with the caramel/braising sauce. add the garnishments to your heart’s content.

BAM!

Chao Ca Kho

previous gpa posts:
citrus curd mille feuilles
salt & pepper shrimp
guinea hen liver pate

butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

it’s Sunday morning,
10:00am,
i’m under a thick blanket
my friend Nuria knitted for me,
a parting gift made up of
old, random strands of yarn i had laying around.
the sun is full on bright out,
but the day lies,
because it’s below freezing.
i’m watching The Mind of a Chef,
season 4, episode 3,
trying to be motivated
and inspired to make something in the kitchen,
instead, all i can think about is
sipping a negroni.
first, i don’t even like gin,
the shit tastes like shit.
second, it’s taken about 4 watches of
Gabrielle Hamilton for me to even like her.
third, it’s now going on 10:30 in the A M.
BUT!
the way she describes
how the gin ebbs the edges of a hard day,
how the campari’s bitterness coaxes an appetite,
the combination leaves you warm, hungry,
and then the vermouth brings it all together.
damn, an aperitivo for breakfast, please!

and, should you find yourself,
later in the day, still awake,
breakfast for dinner it is…

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage
makes 4 servings

note: this dish came about because we had a butternut squash on our counter since autumn. for a hard veggie, it doesn’t really take that long to cook, especially when it’s chopped small. cooking two ingredients that take a fair amount of time to be done, together, seemed to make sense. and then to bring it all together, i topped with breakfast stuff. i’ve always viewed breakfast for dinner meals to be fun, somehow whimsical, but always satisfying and warming.

1 cup of polenta
a cup, give or take, of cubed butternut squash
1 bay leaf
4-5 cups of homemade veggie stock, or water

veggie breakfast sausage patties, chopped
1/2 onion sliced
olive oil
1 glove garlic minced

medium-hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
chopped chives, dried or fresh, optional, for garnish

in a large pot, heat up the veggie stock or water, along with the bay leave. bring it to a boil and slowly stir in the polenta and squash. reduce heat to medium and simmer. stir every so often, when you think of it, but think of it often. you’re aiming for a soft creamy mixture, anywhere from 20-30 minutes. you might have to add more liquid if it gets too thick. salt/pepper to taste. if you’re fancy, mix in a pat of butter.

between stirrings, in a skillet, heat up a splash of olive oil. add in the sliced onions and a sprinkle of salt. mix until well coated and then add in the minced garlic. you’re aiming for soft and tender and browned caramel-y onions. don’t burn the garlic.

push the onion/garlic mixture to side, and heat up the chopped veggie sausage.

to assemble, ladle in a scoop or two of the polenta. top with sauteed onions and chopped veggie sausage. finally, add on half an egg and garnish with chopped chives.

BAM!

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

another polenta option: creamy polenta and roasted mushrooms
3 years ago: ultimate white cake
2 years ago: overnight steel cut oats
1 year ago: ny style cheesecake