Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My heart bursts at the seams looking at these.  This is one of the reasons why I love having two pugs.

Bunni resting her head on Rikki's belly

Bunni never would have done this when Rikki first came into our lives.

Bunni is not so generous about sharing her couch nook, though.

Speak to the paw, Rikki.

That's a cuddle if I ever saw one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Sometimes things just don't go as planned.  It started with the idea of making a tasty, zesty blueberry and lemon olive oil cake.  So promising! It was going to be great!

I had plump, sweet delicious blueberries and a simple cake recipe. What could go wrong?

Plus, I had Heineken keeping me company. I ask you again, what could go wrong? (Yes, I'm drinking beer out of a wine glass. And yes, in retrospect I'm wondering whether Mr. Heineken had anything to do with the detour.)

I should have started to suspect that things were not going well when I started dropping eggshells left and right into the batter.

From then on, there were things like discovering there was not enough baking powder, trying to make it up with baking soda, the cake starting to burn before being cooked through, the cooking time taking eons longer than it was supposed to...and ended with me throwing the cake in the trash after determining it inedibleness.  Ah, those beautiful blueberries.

After that detour, I righted myself and focused on something definitely more promising.  I present to you my two little ottomans of joy.

Yes, that is pug fur sprinkled on the carpet.

Yes, that is a pug fur sticking out of Bunni's eye.  I swear that stuff is like kudzu.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another Kind of Comfort Food

I make a lot of pasta recipes (just see my recipe page)--I love making and eating pasta. It's a one-dish meal, super versatile, so yummy and filling, and so on. In a way, pasta is a comfort food to me because I turn to it so often.  But it's not a comfort food in the sense that there is one or two dishes that bring a rush of nostalgic memories or anything. I guess pasta is more of my go-to as opposed to a comfort food.  So I'm basically flip-flopping mid-paragraph and don't know what I'm talking about.

Because when it comes to comfort food, the thought of sitting down to a spread like this at my parents' house gets me every time...

One super awesome thing about Korean food is banchan, an endless variety of small dishes served at the beginning of the meal (and to be picked at throughout the meal). They're generally pretty salty so a little goes a long way (though I can really hork 'em down), and they are meant to be eaten with rice.  The above picture was not the full buffet that my mom put out that night, she continued to plunk down dishes after I took this picture.  Besides the rice and beer, and here are a few of my other favorites:

Jangjorim.  This is cooked, shredded beef marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar, and...other things I don't know. It is salty, tangy, savory, and absolutely one of my most favorite banchan EVER.

Radish kimchi.  I love traditional cabbage kimchi as well, but if I had to choose, I would pick radish kimchi for my deserted island.

These are fresh sesame leaves and a green called soot-ghat from my parents' garden.  We dip it in a mixture of miso paste and red pepper paste. Deewish.

This is also a heavy favorite of mine--gaetnip. It's sesame leaves marinated in soy sauce, red pepper and garlic. One of these wrapped around some nice, fluffy rice is heaven to me.

This is a slightly astringent, bitter green sauteed with garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and stuff. No I don't know the name. I didn't say this post was supposed to be educational.

Myung-ryang-jut.  This is preserved salted pollack roe. I didn't take a close-up picture so I found this on the webz. I don't even know what a pollack is, except that it's a fish. A little pinch of this with rice is a bit of salty, briny, savory heaven.  I know it sounds kind of unusual and looks odd, but I love it and is an absolute favorite among Koreans.  This isn't the kind of fish egg caviar that you find in sushi restaurants--the eggs are much smaller.

What are your comfort foods?

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Went to Alaska and All I Got...

...was motion sickness.  Seriously, I've been back almost a week and I can still feel the room swaying.  I was on an Alaskan cruise with my family last week, and it's taken me this long to be able to look at the computer monitor long enough to write a post without hurling.

But really, the cruise was great.  I have a hard time describing the cruise without sounding like a cliched cheeseball, though I will mention that on not just a few occasions was I reduced to a little girl jumping up and down, clapping my hands, and squealing because I saw the spout from a whale or the bobbing nose of a seal. I mean, I let the entire 1900-passenger cruise know if I saw something in a very loud, clear, and high-pitched manner.

One of the stops we made was in Ketchikan, where my sister, her husband, Kevin and I had the brilliant idea of going tandem sea kayaking.  I won't go into great detail, except to say that out of a group of 15 tandem kayaks, there were three that fell noticeably behind.  "Noticeably behind" means about a mile. Of the three kayaks, my sister and I populated one, Kevin and my brother-in-law a second, and a 70-year old couple in the third.  And while I would like to tell you that the other twelve groups were comprised of robust, Olympic-caliber kayakers, that was most certainly not the case.  I would also like to tell you that there was a shark that latched onto one of our paddles and was dragging us behind the whole group and my sister and I engaged in a heroic battle alternately using our paddles to row and to beat off the shark, but that would be a lie and I think you would know that.

But I did get a few *amazing* shots. Like, I am so impressed with myself I don't know what to say.  Let me set the scene.  I took the front seat of the kayak while my sister took the back (our instructor told us that the person who could walk and chew gum at the same time should sit in the back and steer, hence the ordering).  You can't turn/twist too much in a kayak because then you'll find yourself in a flipped kayak, upside down in the water, but I did want to make sure I got exciting action shots of me and my sister kayaking.

So I lifted my camera above my head, and lowered it behind me between my shoulder blades, with the camera pointing at my sister.  Then I hit click a few times. The results were, as I previously alluded to, absolutely stunning.







This is my optical illusion shot. Looks like it's just me in there, eh?

Well you would be WRONG! How's that for some photography magic? Boo-yah!

I am overcome with the awesomeness that is myself.  It's nice to be back and share it with you all.