food

Mami pequiña vs. planchita enorme

Bolivian food with my honorary Bolivian family (you too, Nate & Christian) at Luzmary in Falls Church! Larry and Alé have decided that Luzmary has the best salteñas in the area:  the thinnest crust with the best not-too-sweet filling. My go-to is pique macho, the quintessential Bolivian drunk food of french fries, hot dogs, steak, jalapeño, onion, tomato, boiled eggs and served with ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard. It blew my mind when Chef Larry made it for family meal at the Fair one day. Any cuisine that loves hot dogs as much as Lao people (one of these days I'll make hot dog nyam, i.e. hot dog salad, for you to see) is aces in my book. Last night, however, I ordered chicharrones (fried pork with potato & corn), very tasty, though Alé's mom ordered the planchita (imagine all the things you'd want on one sizzling platter) and I was a little envious until she shared some hot dog with me. I've mentioned hot dogs at least three times in this paragraph. I'm not that obsessed with hot dogs, I swear.  

Just describing the pique macho has made me super hungry so off I go in search of coffee and breakfast. This afternoon is a bbq at Casa de Rachel y Travis, photos later! 

Smallest person at the table = biggest dish ordered. 100% gangsta. 

Cuñapé

Chicharron

Silpancho

Planchita

Cheeseburgers and Ice Cube Trays

When I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday, he responded, “Ice cube trays. The big cube ones, for whiskey. Maybe the spherical ones, too.” 

...sure, Dad. You got it. I think it's kind of cool actually, to turn 66 and not really want anything more than ice cube trays. G status. 

When I asked him what he wanted to have for his birthday dinner, if he wanted to go out or stay in, he requested cheeseburgers and hotdogs. I took care of the cheeseburgers (nothing fancy, recipe to follow), Pa & John brought hotdogs (some kind of veal situation with a great snap), baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and we had potato chips, fries, and a Boston creme pie. Dad spilled root beer all over himself (and the floor) and Mom put horseradish sauce on her burger. Pa and John bought him fancy crocs (*sigh) and, knee-deep in a food coma, we watched the Dimitri v. Murray match at the U.S. Open. 

Happy 66th birthday, Daddy. I can only aspire to your level of cool. 

(the ten second concept drawing of Dad and his birthday burgers)

A simple recipe for simple (but delicious) cheeseburgers

Thank you to my sister, aka my reluctant hand model

Ingredients
- ground beef chuck (20% fat)
- salt and pepper
- American cheese or sharp cheddar
- lettuce, tomato, red onion
- Duke's mayonnaise and spicy brown mustard
- potato buns

Directions
- Make burgers: salt & pepper the chuck. Form into balls (you can food scale it up, though we generally just eyed it), flatten into patties, and use your thumb to make an indentation in the center so they cook flat. 
- Cook over grill or med/high heat in a cast iron skillet on stovetop until desired doneness. 
- Assemble: Bun, burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, bun. 
- Make your family pose for photos before they eat. Oh, maybe that's just me.  

Behind the burger scene at Casa de Sananikone

We made sliders too, because the slider buns were too cute not to bring home. 

Mango & Coconut Rice Popsicles

I'm from Virginia. I'm very familiar with humidity and mosquitoes. That being said, today was 99 degrees and felt like 110. Eff. That. Ess. Here's a recipe for mango & coconut rice popsicles to help you cool down from this satan's armpit of a summer. Made it in the flavor of my people, because a. mango & coconut rice is my jam and b. as someone whose motherland is a tropical climate - I definitely can not stand the heat. 

Side note, the killer thing about these popsicles it that they're more rice than liquid, and therefore don't melt as quickly. Score! Double side note: I'm teaching a styling and food photography workshop in ONE week at the Lemon Bowl! Few spots left! I'm incredibly excited about this one. Hope you can join! 

Tickets to Aug 20 Styling & Food Photo Workshop

Mango & Coconut Rice Popsicles

Ingredients
- 1-2 mangoes, cubed
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 3/4 cup of jasmine rice
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of milk (I used whole, but feel free to use almond or coconut)
- fresh coconut, shredded (optional)
- black and white sesame seeds for topping (also optional)

Instructions
- Make rice: Mix water, sugar, shredded coconut, and half the coconut milk into a medium saucepan. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add the rice and turn the heat to low. 
- Cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is soft, about twenty minutes. Remove from heat, add remainder of coconut milk and the cup of whatever other milk you're using. You're looking for the consistency of oatmeal, or y'know, cooked rice with more milk in it. 
- Stir in mango and season to taste with sugar. (the 1/3 c. was fine for me, but I'm not one for very sweet desserts. In fact, I may add some salt next time around.)
- Set aside to cool. Once cool, pour into popsicle molds and put in freezer to set for a few hours. 
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy! 

more photos  | original recipe via Sun Diego Eats

 

Jaew bong ribs & cucumber salad

Spare ribs marinated in jaew bong (Lao chili paste of garlic, chilies, galangal, pork skin, fish sauce, and about a hundred more ingredients), cucumber salad (thinly-sliced cucumber, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chilies), rice that I made with too much water (dear god, please don't tell my mom), and iced Kona coffee from a can. 

I'm not going to write a proper recipe, but I will give you this: 

  1. Ribs were cooked at 350°F - 30 minutes one side, 30 minutes other side. 
  2. UCC Hawaiian Kona coffee with milk, purchased from H Mart.
  3. One of these days I'll write about the tried & true trick of cooking rice by the knuckle method. Apparently I didn't do it right today. I've brought so much dishonor upon my family, despite the rice being mushy and delicious.  

I made too much if anyone wants to come over. That, or I'm set for the next few days. I'm also trying to post more often, in case you're wondering why I may post in rapid-fire succession. 

Gochujang with chef Angel Barreto

I had the great pleasure of photographing a friend of mine, chef Angel Barreto of The Source by Wolfgang Puck (and my friend Brandi's beau), and a few dishes he was trying out for his culinary repertoire. For example: Japanese Curry emulsified with uni, Icelandic cod crusted with black tiger shrimp, English peas, roasted fingerling potatoes and chili oil - he's definitely going somewhere, y'all, and I'm not just saying that because Asian cuisine is near and dear to my heart. In fact, I'm saying it BECAUSE Asian cuisine is near and dear to my heart. The word fusion runs a cold shiver down my spine (get it, get it? cold fusion, low-energy nuclear reactions?) but Angel's food combines spectacular ingredients, modern technique, and my beloved Asian flavor profiles. It was a real pleasure watching him work and I loved spending time with them in the kitchen (she's a trained pastry chef & current manager at Restaurant Eve). Even better, I loved tasting everything after putting down my camera in between dishes. Follow him on instagram. 

Angel Barreto | Full Photo Set

You So Fine-Apple Upside Down Cake

I'm ready to cook the pineapples from last week's workshop. I've been very patient while they ripened. Today, pineapple upside down cake - tomorrow, pineapple tea. I'm thinking pineapple ginger popsicles and maybe some kind of savory to follow. It can't all be cakes and sweets, ya know. 

Ingredients

Cake
7 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

Caramel
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/2 pineapple, cored, sliced (or diced)
2 Tbsp apricot jam

Directions

Make the caramel: Cook the sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved into a dark amber color. Pour the caramel into a round nonstick cake pan. When the caramel has cooled, arrange the pineapple on top of the caramel. 

Preheat the oven to 350. 

Using an mixer, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour and mix well. Pour cake batter over pineapple. 

Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for an hour, turn cake out onto platter. 

Heat apricot jam with water and then brush evenly over cake. 

Watercolor Tableware Workshop #2 and Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Photos from my second Watercolor Tableware Workshop at The Lemon Bowl! I had a great time, not that the first workshop wasn't amazing, but I streamlined things a bit, packed a little smarter (and lighter - those plates are heavy!) and was a little more at ease. Like the first time around, everyone's painting skills were mind-blowing - the Lemon Bowl space breeds creativity. Looking forward to my third and final watercolor workshop at the end of the month. Keep an eye out for a picnic class in the spring! I've also attached the recipe for the brown butter chocolate chunk cookies with French grey sea salt as a sweet thank you! 

See the full photo album hereThe Lemon Bowl


Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies with French Grey Sea Salt 

An amazing recipe from one of my favorite blogs - all recipe credit goes to Joy the Baker. I even forgot a couple of key ingredients the second time around (molasses + granulated sugar, though I remembered the sugar eventually) and they were still amazing. My only changes were I used a bittersweet chocolate bar (Scharffen Berger), no pecans, and a French sea salt that my aunt from Torcy brought for me the last time she was in town. Enjoy! 

1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

- Place half the butter (8 tablespoons) in a medium skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. It’ll foam and froth as it cooks, and start to crackle and pop. Once the crackling stops, keep a close eye on the melted butter, continuing to swirl the pan often. The butter will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will form in the bottom. Once the bits are amber brown (about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or so after the sizzling stops), remove the butter from the burner and immediately pour it into a small bowl, bits and all. This will stop the butter from cooking and burning.  Allow it to cool for 20 minutes.

- Beat the remaining 1/2 cup butter with the brown sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract and molasses. Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl, along with the granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth; the mixture will lighten in color and become fluffy.

- Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for one minute more. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, beating on low speed just until everything is incorporated. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and pecans and finish incorporating all of the dry flour bits into the dough.

- Scoop the dough onto a piece of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Flatten it slightly into a thick disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. About 15 minutes before you’re ready to begin baking, place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat your oven to 350°F.

- Scoop the dough in 2 tablespoon-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave about 2″ between the cookies; they’ll spread as they bake. Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt, to taste — as much or as little as you like. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to rest on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving them.

- Serve warm; or cool completely, and store airtight at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, wrap well and freeze.