The Great (e)SCAPE part 2

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Sautéed garlic scapes AND kale stems! I feel guilty for sometimes using kale leaves in salads and discarding the stems (I don’t compost anymore) so nowadays I save them and use it in other dishes such as a stir-fry. I seasoned this with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

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This fatty pizza was made using leftover pita bread and this recipe ONLY because I had asparagus AND triple cream brie in my fridge. Roasted garlic scapes taste way better than sautéed, as I’ve learned so far.

 

AND 2 other non-scape dishes :

IMG_8143I originally got asparagus because a few weeks ago, I had dinner at Grassa (handmade pasta restaurant) and tried this shaved asparagus salad as part of this veggie sampler trio and I was blown away by how simple and good it was–plus, I’ve never had raw asparagus before, let alone shaved . I tried my best to recreate it using olives, shaved parm, salt, pepper and a lemon juice/evoo vinaigrette. The actual dish at Grass at herbs, probably parsley but I didn’t have any.

PS: Shaving asparagus is the pits! Cooking is fun but sometimes I dread prep work.

IMG_8153I had some cilantro that needed using up so I whipped up a quinoa salad with corn, black beans, red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers. I didn’t really season it too much (heck, I can’t even remember if I added a bit of evoo) aside from salt, pepper and maybe some chili lime Mrs. Dash.

 

Sadly, that has been the last adventure so far with scapes as I’ve put the remainder of them into the freezer along with frozen batches of scape pesto (YAY—sooo delicious) because I had to make way for CHERRIES. The past 2 weeks have been cherry madness in the kitchen.

Also, I had some projects using various brands of chalk paint. You’ll see them soon!

 

Until next time (week, month–I know, I’m lazy!)

 

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The Friday Five!

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This week’s FF is called “Veggie Thing”

1. What’s your favorite tomato thing?

Caprese salad. I can’t wait for the heirlooms to arrive next month at the farmers market! Last week I made a caprese-like salad with baby San Marzano tomatoes but used crumbled blue cheese instead of mozzarella. I got the idea from New Seasons market because they were giving out samples and recipe cards for the salad. They also included capers and olives but I only had olives and don’t care for capers all that much.

2. What’s your favorite celery thing?

Ants on a log OR as a bloody mary garnish

3. What’s your favorite broccoli thing?

Roasted with some nooch (nutritional yeast) OR mixed into some mac n cheese

4. What’s your favorite eggplant thing?

Baba ghanouj OR moussaka

5. What’s your favorite spinach thing?

Creamed spinach from House of Prime Rib in SF.

 

I like this week’s set of questions because I had a very veggie dinner last night (see photo). I had to cook up all the veggies I got at the farmer’s market on Sunday otherwise they’d go to waste so I roasted up purple and green cauliflower and kohlrabi (first time ever eating it and it is DELICIOUS roasted!) with salt and aleppo pepper. I roasted red potatoes with rosemary (from my garden), sautéed purple kale, swiss chard and garlic scapes with lemon, salt and pepper and made a side of couscous since I was too lazy to make quinoa. I’m crazy for using the oven at over 400 F when it’s been in the high 80s all week and the apartment has no AC…then again I must be nuts since I’ve been standing over a hot stove every day with bubbling sugar and boiling water for the past week since I’ve been canning cherries (that is going to be a whole ‘nother post).

 

 

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The Friday Five! (wow, it’s been a while)

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(That mint ice cream is my FAVORITE mint ever. It leaves your mouth tingly-minty-fresh.)

1. What’s something this past week that made you slightly bananas?

The indecisive weather! It’s been warm and sunny one day then the next it’s rainy and windy. Today it was rainy and windy AND warm and sunny.

2. What did you do last Sunday? What are you planning for this coming Sunday?

Last Sunday was spent at the farmers market, antiquing and going out and about around town with out of town guests. Next Sunday afternoon will be spent at Sundae PDX 

3. What’s something you fudged this past week?

Not working out (I semi-promised myself I would start this week)

4. What was this week’s most interesting scoop?

I got started on a new project which is turning an antique steamer trunk into a coffee table. Got the trunk last Saturday and the necessary supplies today at Home Depot (sandpaper, varnish, stain). I’m not going to restore it completely, just give it a nice coating and sand the inside after I strip away the old paper (which I did today for 2 hours). I will make a separate post on this!

5. What was the cherry on top of your good or bad week?

I won an Instagram contest on Monday for the Sundae PDX party. The prize is a vinyl copy of Bizzare Ride II  album by The Pharcyde. I don’t even have a record player anymore (not since I moved out of my parents house). This is actually the 2nd record I’ve owned (the first one was a 45 of some Liz Phair single/EP from back in high school).

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The Great (e)SCAPE!

IMG_8123So my big box of garlic scapes arrived yesterday. It was $20 for 4 lbs but they told me they’re sending me 5 lbs! I put my Sigg (0.6 liter) bottle next to the box for size reference. That box was filled to the top with garlic scapes!

IMG_8124This is what the box the looked like after removing about 1/4 of it to use for some pesto and pizza.

IMG_8125Here are the tips of the stalks that are right above the buds. I cut them off because they’re yellow and I don’t want to use them.

IMG_8126I’m prepping these scapes (I cut them into about one inch pieces). I read that some people don’t use the buds in their recipes but I want to use as much as possible. I noticed that as I was chopping the scapes, their scent reminded me of papaya salad from Thai restaurants. I don’t know why, but it has a delicious fragrance!

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IMG_8128I made 3 batches of garlic scape pesto; 2 for the freezer and one for this week. I made it the typical way you’d make basil pesto but I added some lemon juice. It tastes garlicky with a little bite, but not so fiery like garlic cloves. It also reminds me of the chive pesto I made with all the chives I grew last summer (Side note: my chive plant isn’t as abundant this year because I made the mistake of introducing my chocolate mint plant in the same planter so it kind of just took over and caused my chive plant to not grow as big so I had to transplant it to another pot).

IMG_8129The rest of the box of scapes emptied up into the sink for washing. I’m really looking forward to trying other recipes with these curly babies.

IMG_8141For dinner, I made a pizza using leftover pita bread, garlic scapes, baby kale, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and an Italian 4 cheese blend from Trader Joes. I spread EVOO on the pita, topped it with tomato basil Mrs Dash (I was out of Italian seasoning and had no basil on hand) and the rest of the ingredients. Baked it for 10 minutes at 415 F. I always eat pizza with crushed red pepper on top after it’s done baking. The baked garlic scapes tasted like garlic flavored green beans! They were sturdy and crisp and didn’t have much of a spicy bite (as they do when they’re raw) but they still retained a slight garlic taste.

IMG_8142I washed it down with a bottle of this soda picked up from Rocket Fizz. It’s nowhere near a ginger ale/ginger beer that I’d prefer but it does have a spicy bite at the end which was pleasant. Best ginger beer I’ve had to date is at this vegan/vegetarian place called Harlow which makes them in-house. I love super strong ginger beers/ales with a super gingery bite. I used to like Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew several years ago (it was my preferred mixer for soju) but it just became too sweet for my taste so I don’t drink it anymore.

Anyway, stay tuned for more garlic (e)SCAPE”ades” as I slowly start cooking with them. I have several ideas in mind and I just have to remind myself to take pictures so I can write about them later.

 

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Farmers Market Finds

IMG_8105Last week, I went to the farmer’s market by the co-op and picked up some things that I’ve never tried before in addition to the very familiar strawberries, radishes, kale and mustard (though I’ve never tried purple mustard before). Those curly green onion looking things are called garlic scapes. They’re actually the stems of hardneck garlic flower buds that are typically cut off to redirect the energy into growing bigger bulbs. I googled recipes for garlic scapes and the most popular search result was garlic scape pesto (made the same way as basil pesto). I will make a separate post on these cool scapes because I’m expecting 5 lbs to arrive at my doorstep soon. The leafy greens with the long stalks in the foreground are called Misome which is very new to me and I asked the vendor how it’s typically prepared and she said you can use it the same way you’d use spinach (so in salads, stews, sautéed). The leaves remind me of chard or dino kale.

I decided to throw the misome into a stew just because I admittedly had old carrots and limp celery in my fridge that needed to be used up and I figured a stew would help conceal the fact that my carrots were sort of drying up. I found a can of kidney beans, a can of italian style tomatoes, chopped up onion, used a chicken bouillon cube and simmered away.

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The misome is on the right. The left are radish tops also from the farmers market haul. I try to use every part of the plant when possible (beet tops, carrot tops, celery leaves).

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Midway through the simmering, I added maybe a quarter cup of buckwheat groats to add more body to the stew. When I finally got to eat it, it tasted kind of like a minestrone so I was happy it turned out well. I also spiked it with some parmesan shavings.

 

Also recently (last week) I was out of town for a wedding and had a layover in Phoenix. My sister reminded me to get some cactus candy because we would eat that during our family trips to the Grand Canyon. Brings back memories!
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Coconut Flour Cookin’

Hello Everyone! I sort of just fell through the cracks and just didn’t feel like posting (that and working out but that’ll be another post) and when I saw that it’s been nearly a month since I last updated, I feel like it’s time to dust off my blog and get crackin’ cookin’.

Last year I got a can of Coconut Secrets coconut flour because there were a few recipes that I wanted to try when I was on my super fitness-health kick and since then I’ve just wondered what else I could do with it. Fast forward to last week at Costco, I saw a big bag of Nutiva coconut for about the same price as the super small can of the Coconut Secrets brand so I had to get it out of principle and plus they might not carry it again once it’s out. I knew I had to start using the flour once and for all so I found a few recipes on the internet this week and cranked out a few items:

Coconut Flour Pancakes from Nourishing Days:
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These pancakes were really fluffy! The stack you see on the plate are all misshapen because I flipped them too early. I didn’t realize that I had to wait at least 5 minutes before flipping them (see above photo with the griddle). I used medium-low heat on my cast iron griddle pan greased with coconut oil, of course! They’re good plain but I put some jam on mine.

Coconut flour banana bread from Comfy Belly:IMG_7888

IMG_7891I used really old bananas in these and probably could’ve omitted the honey since I’m sure the bananas made it sweet enough. If you see the 2nd photo (the slice of bread), you can see that it’s wet toward the bottom. That’s how the bread came out once it was cooled down. Coconut flour has a sort of grainy texture and spongy texture when cooked and this banana bread was sort of spongy…like tres leches cake. It still held up pretty well for something so fragile. Tastewise, you can’t tell it’s coconut flour.

**Notice my nails are SHORT???? Yep, I cut them last week. I usually do it once a year as a “breather” and it’s never a happy time. I consider it a necessary evil. **

Coconut flour chocolate chip cookies from The Detoxinista:IMG_7889

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These are actually the 2nd batch of coconut flour chocolate chip cookies because I made some earlier this week and they were pretty much gone by the time I made the ones pictured above (made these last night). Truth be told, I did use another recipe for the first batch (link here) and while those were really good, I wanted to find a recipe that used honey (since I have lots of it) instead of sugar. Speaking of sugar, the recipe for the first batch used 1/2 cup of sugar (which didn’t fully dissolve in the batter) and I found that the cookies could’ve used less after eating them. The second batch (the Detoxinista’s recipe) tasted similar and didn’t have obvious granulated sugar crystals in them thanks to the honey.

The cookies look crunchy but they’re not. They’re quite soft. Not chewy like a typical chocolate chip cookie but more like a dense cake/bread. Whatever, I dig them.

ALSO I used carob chips ONLY because that’s all I had! I love carob chips (admittedly to just eat by the palmful if I’m not putting it into my yogurt).

I still have tons of coconut flour left (I learned that when you use coconut flour, you only need a little to yield a large quantity) so I’m on a mission to find more recipes to try out.

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Spring 2014 Nail Spam

photoRevlon “1000 Volts” from their Spiderman collection. I love this little green ladybug. Growing up, we had calla lilies around our front yard and I’d always find green ladybugs inside the flowers. This one “peed” on my hand after I got it to crawl on my skin but I find that they don’t stink like the kind produced by red ladybugs.

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IMG_7540Milani Sugar Burst (3 coats over 1 coat of Zoya Erika)

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photo 3Zoya Dillion with Zoya Monet glitter topcoat. These were my Easter nails that I painted on the day after Easter!

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OPI “My Boyfriend Scales Walls” from the 2012 Spiderman collection


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It’s More Fun in the Philippines

This is probably going to be my last travel compilation in a long time because I don’t see myself going anywhere anytime soon (well, other than the Bay Area again in 2 weeks but that doesn’t count) so enjoy!

And yep, it really is more fun in the Philippines. It is the friendliest place I’ve ever visited. I wished we stayed longer. Still so many places I want to go to: Banaue, Vigan, Cebu, Zambales, Palawan, Boracay, Baguio, Bohol…the list goes on and on.

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It never fails

IMG_6919(Taal Lake, Philippines)

I’ve noticed that every time I return home from a trip abroad, I always get sick. It’s most likely from the plane trips and schedule changes (time zones) but I always seem to catch a cold even though I load up on Emergen-C packets and Airbone tabs before the flight and during the flight.

Well, I’m sick again and I’m dosing myself with oil of oregano (people say it tastes nasty but to me, it tastes like pizza sauce minus the tomatoes) and a mixture of water with several drops of Peppermint Cure:

ricqles-peppermint-cureI picked this up in Hong Kong for $31 HKD. I wanted to get this last time I was there but didn’t so I got it this time around. Before knowing what this stuff was, I mainly drawn to the old school packaging and bottle. It just looks like it was found inside a time capsule. It’s supposed to help relieve stomach issues and headaches but I feel like it can’t hurt if I use it for colds just because it’s minty and smells refreshing.

OH and here’s a useful tip: It’s about 2 oz and even though it’s 80 % alcohol (it does look like airplane liquor), I removed it from the box and put it in my TSA clear liquids baggie with no problems.

I was only in HK for 2 days. Believe it or not, I only visited ONE Sasa store and for about 10 minutes since it was right before closing. I only got a few items (Biore sunscreen and Heroine Make mascara) since I got a ton of makeup on my last visit in December so I didn’t really need any new items. Our stay in HK was supposed to just be one day but we didn’t make it on our Sunday flight since it was overbooked so we tried for Monday and made it on. The bulk of the trip was spent in the Philippines where I saw my parents again, met up with my relatives from Hawaii and attended the 50th wedding anniversary/ceremony of my uncle (mom’s brother) and auntie. We were only there for a week and every single day was jam packed with activities. We really had no “rest day” on this “vacation”. We even did stuff up until we were dropped off at the airport. There was no such thing as leisure time or sleeping in. More like staying up late and waking up at the butt crack of dawn every day. The only “real” sleeping in I’ve done was in HK when I woke up at a late 8am!

IMG_7126Reunited with my Hawaii family!

Since I knew we’d have limited time in HK, my only real goals were to eat at Ichiran ramen again and take a picture at each stop on the MTR Island line. Happy to say I accomplished my goals:

IMG_7335Level 16 spiciness at Ichiran (Causeway Bay). You can go up to level 10 for free but 11-20 level is an extra $10 HKD. In December I tried level 10 and decided that I can go higher. This time, I settled on 16x spicier even though I wanted to do 20x. 16x was decently spicy but because there was so much chili powder, it made the soup a bit gritty and I didn’t like that. The soup was still very delicious. I don’t know if I’ll go up to 20x if I ever go back because of the grittiness. Still, my favorite ramen I’ve ever had. We even had Butao ramen the next day (I ordered their spicy Red King ramen) and it was “meh” in comparison.

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Here is a collage of all the MTR Island Line stops in order from the Chai Wan station located on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island westward to Sheung Wan. This was accomplished by getting off at each station, snapping a quick picture (all shots are one take except for Central since we were hanging around that area beforehand) and jumping back inside the train before the door closed. It was a little tricky because we had to snap the photo before it became too congested with people. If I knew I’d be staying in HK longer, I would’ve brought coordinating outfits to match with each station. That’ll be my next goal.

 

To Serve Man (and YES Galactic in Pearl)

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My Pee-Wee Herman babies, the “Galactic” by YES in Pearl. On the website, it looks like a pearly white patent but they’re actually a dingy pearly white. Still, they’re very cool. I am so going to find me a grey blazer to wear with my grey pants and do a Pee-Wee Herman look with these shoes. If only I had permission to stand up on a bar counter and dance to Tequila.

(see my red “Galactic” shoes here)

So lucky to have gotten these shoes on sale because last week, Solestruck had this March Madness thing going on where people got to vote online for the shoe brands they wanted on sale. It started off at 30% off with 4 winners and from those 4 winners, 2 were going to be at 40% off then between those two, one brand would be sold at 50% off. During the 40% off voting, it was between Miista and YES and I was voting the shit out of YES the whole day (well, not the WHOLE day) and for a while it was in the solid lead then all of a sudden the votes for YES were not registering and Miista votes started coming up out of nowhere. Even in the poll comments, people were complaining that they couldn’t get any YES votes in. Strange, right?

So anyway, Miista became the winning brand (though, unfairly I may add) but there was a “glitch” and the website suddenly switched the winner to YES and I jumped on it immediately and ordered the shoes. Out of curiosity, 20 minutes after ordering, I checked on Solestruck to see if YES was still the winner but they switched it back to Miista, while YES back to full price…so score!!

Speaking of sales, this dvd box set of the entire Twilight Zone (including the hour-long season 4 episodes) was on sale on Amazon so B ordered it over the weekend and it arrived today. What’s your favorite episode?

 

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