Monday, December 26, 2011

a "first" fest

Here are a few things I learned this year: AP chemistry will kick your ass if you don't study. Sharing baked goods will give you a lot of hugs. Arepas are Amazing, with a capital A. A few good friends is all you need. Instagram is the best app because then you don't have to do a tedious ritual in order to upload pics from your DSLR. Speaking of apps, Temple Run is addicting. You don't need to have a hand mixer to make cake. Your first cake will turn out fine.

Monday, December 5, 2011

monday pick-me-ups | spiced and candied nuts

(adapted from smittenkitchen)

Ever since I was little, my mother included tree nuts and broccoli into my supper. As as young girl who had a voracious appetite, I didn't care what the substance was on my plate. If I could eat it, good. I'll eat it. So I did. I suppose my love for tree nuts started then.

I adore nuts with chocolate. With green beans and garlic. In warm cookies. In oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar. But the simplest preparation is to roast them. Well roasted almonds are one of my favorite snacks. They become a whole different flavor when roasted. They are deep, complex, and sweet.

Dry roasting almonds has become second nature to me. My mom has done this ritual since I was a tot. But roasting them with cinnamon, sugar, salt, and paprika? Whoa, buddy. The extra crunch from the sugar shell is just magnificent.

This recipe can be adapted to any nut and a variety of spices. I can't wait to play with different flavor combinations!

Monday, November 28, 2011

monday pick-me-ups | furiyake popcorn

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You like? I think I'm starting a new Monday series - pick-me-up Mondays. Because everyone needs a pick-me-up on the dreary Mondays that haunt our lives. Seriously. Every Monday I will try to post a quick snack recipe that you, my dear reader, can make on Monday to, well, pick you right back up. Snack on this flavorful popcorn all week. You won't get sick of it. If you do, have no fear! Next week, I will have a new, mouth watering snack recipe for you to try! Til then, snack on, my Monday haters, snack on.

Note: I messed up on the second slide. It would be 2 tablespoons of white corn that would make 3-4 cups of popcorn! Please take note. Also, I know the watermark-like "bread and silk" tags look horrifically tacky, especially because they are so close to each other. I'm new-ish at this Photoshopping business. Please bear with me!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

double trouble

double chocolate crinkles

You look like you need a cookie. A warm, chocolate cookie with crunchy walnut bits and gooey dark chocolate chips. I apologize, non-chocolate lovers (if you guys do exist) because this post is all about the double chocolate crinkle cookie. Once upon a time, it was just a chocolate crinkle cookie. Then, I vamped it up with just a couple of ingredients. Really simple and swoon worthy. The only con is that if you live in a house of four, like me, these chocolate morsels will disappear in a matter of days.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

scrambled pancakes are happiness.

Hi lovely. You promise you won't judge me? I screwed up pancakes. Yeah. Pancakes. I was surprised too. The pancakes kept getting stuck on the cast iron pan. I ended up just... well, scrambling them like they were eggs. Before I took a bite, I was expecting the worst. Instead, I got a creamy, flavorful mouthful of bliss. Although they aren't the prettiest plate of brunch, I took them to my Mac and watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother. I was laughing at Marshall's recitation of "The Raven" in between bites of my scrambled pancakes. This was happiness. In that moment, I was glad there was something funny before my eyes and something delicious in my mouth. It took my mind off the loads of work in store for me. Total bliss.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

fall feast

Hey ladies and gents! Sorry I've been so MIA. With my sport practices, games, and school work, I've been swamped with things to do. Here's a short photo diary of the cute/delicious food I've been noshing on. Happy November!

1. mac and cheese with eggplant on the side - 2. egg (white) in a hole - 3. pumpkin swirl brownies - 4. homemade udon noodles and broth - 5. fresh shrimp with butter, garlic, and parsley - 6. pasta and  meatballs with a flurry of grated parm

Enjoy the extra hours of sleep!

All pictures are mine. Instagram: @hernameisnicole

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

bring back the knitted sweaters.

Hits: T by Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Isabel Marant
Misses: Miu Miu, Celine
Meh: Acne

Here's a late review of the fall 2011, ready-to-wear collections. (Rather than looking at Spring '12, I rather look at some weather appropriate pieces to inspire me for the chilly season.) I've been caught up on loads of school work and volunteering opportunities. Thank God for Rosh Hashanah and its four day weekend. It's time to critic, admire, and lust for these outfits!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

a toast to toast

the elvis

Give me a choice between a few slices of bacon and a chunk of a baguette, smeared with strawberry jam and pat of butter, and I'll choose the latter. While some people take pleasure in eating ginormous hamburgers sandwiched in between deep fried bacon grilled cheese (ie. these guys), I prefer simpler alternatives. Bread. Toast. Pasta. With butter. With jam. With olive oil and garlic.

So basically, I love carbs. Its pure comfort food to me. When I feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or hungry, I reach for it. Its a problem, yes. But I'm working on it!

Today, in particular, I wasn't having s great day. When I got home, I was hungry and needed something to fuel me up quickly because I had a volleyball game in two hours. I was in no mood to wash a ton of dishes and pans. I glanced toward my counter and saw a glass Pyrex filled with bread slices. (Specifically, bread that my momma made the night before and cut this morning to make me my lunch.) I toasted a slice right up and decided to see how many different kinds of open faced sandwiches/ toasts I could make. I made three.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

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another brick in the wall

Oh how I love a good brick wall! It brings a rustic sense to any room. It is best to keep its scarlet, vibrant shade. However, an all white room can be benefitted with a white washed brick wall. It brings texture but at the same time, clarity. When a brick wall is paired with a muted wall color, it is just simple elegance.

Pictures found on tumblr, NY times, and other sources. They are not mine.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

quick summer photo diary

Where did the summer go? Unfortunately, I barely took my camera around with me so I can't share the deets. I usually just snapped quick pictures of the meals and snacks I was about to consume at home. I guess you can tell I really dig those royal blue bowls. Enjoy.

pizza prebake
baby eggplant
wild strawberries
blueberry muffins in bad lighting
lemon lime

1. figs from my neighbor's garden - 2. sweet papaya - 3. mum's frittata - 4. fresh mozz, tomato, basil pizza pre-bake - 5. pizza, ready for slicin' and chompin' - 6. eggplants from my family's garden - 7. korean braised potatoes - 8. wild strawberries - 9. blueberry muffins in terrible lighting - 10. lemon and limes - 11. bonus! hemingway, also in bad lighting

letting go of the last bits of summer

Ah, the end of summer. It has always been a sad part of the year for me. No more delicious popping-out-of-its-skin stone fruit or refreshing watermelon to look forward to after a long day. No more excuses for gorging on more pistachio ice cream ("It cools me off!") or making salads for dinner ("It's too hot to cook."). At the same time, I have a lot to look forward to: pumpkins, denim jackets, camel colored suede, cinnamon infused desserts, warm hot cocoa, Thanksgiving. Even though I was always sullen about summer ending, autumn's arrival is something to celebrate. Let's celebrate with good food. Goodbyes are easier with food, don't you think? Let's cook some summer-y dishes to use up the last of the produce and our longings for summer food. Let's look forward to autumn.

There are those dishes that you would prefer to eat only in the summer, right? For me, its those salads with mayonnaise based dressings, the ones that are sweet, slightly tangy, and have little bits of crunchy surprises, that call for me during the summertime. This broccoli chicken salad is seriously the epitome of what a easy summer side dish is to me. Its simple and tasty. It has a medley of different flavors that meld together effortlessly. Its summer time, and the living should be easy. Take sips of ice cold Coke in between bites of this magnificent salad and other barbecue staples. The only regret I have with this salad is that I discovered a few weeks before summer comes to close. I wish I had time to eat more of this... Anyway, enjoy!

broccoli chicken salad, cropped

broccoli chicken salad 
inspired by Whole Foods' Broccoli Crunch
serves 4-8

2 - 2 1/2 heads of broccoli
2 1/2 tsp sugar
3 oz vinegar
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 medium onion
2 - 4 chicken breasts, boiled or grilled
2 oz pecans, or any other nut
4 oz raisins, or any dried fruit

First, make the dressing. Dissolve the sugar into the vinegar, mixing every few minutes. When almost completely dissolved, add the mayo and mix well. Cut the broccoli into florets. Wash then blanch them in heavily salted water for a few seconds, immediately dumping the florets into water and ice. Drain and toss with the dressing so it can soak up flavor.. Dice the onion. Add them to the broccoli. Toast the nuts. While they are toasting, dice the chicken into bite size pieces. Add the chicken into the bowl. Set aside the nuts to cool for a bit. If they are pecans or any other large nut, chop into smaller pieces. Toss in the nuts and dried fruit. Dried cranberries and raisins can be used whole. Apricots, and other fruit in the same size range, should be diced. Toss everything together. I like it much better when it is served immediately. The flavors are more vibrant. However, this salad can be chilled. Try to savor this dish within a day or so. Enjoy.