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Archive for February, 2015

Weekly Wanderings {week 3}

Started off the week with a bit of green.


One of my favorite comfort foods is a bowl of brown rice topped with sliced cucumbers, then topped with a swirl of Kewpie mayonnaise, a generous drizzle of okonomiyaki sauce, and a hearty sprinkle of bonito flakes. It’s light but filling, and fairly healthy. My favorite sort of “reset” meal.

Cucumber okonomiyaki


It’s tradition for us to watch the Australian Open every January, and I’m a little disappointed now that it’s over. But holy cow, that last match between Djokavic and Murray was exciting!

It’s crazy how hard they work. I’m pretty sure I’d collapse on the court after the equivalent of just one of their rallys. o_0


What’s going on here?

green onion

Lots of people refer to inari sushi as “footballs”, so obviously they make the perfect Super Bowl snack!

inari sushi

But I couldn’t just bring plain inari. It’s become tradition for me to bring my spicy shrimp inari every year. They’re easy to make, and everybody loved them.

spicy shrimp inari

I also made my grandma’s seven-layer dip recipe, which the guys were crazy about. It will definitely be coming back for next year’s Super Bowl party.

Also at our Super Bowl party this year: Rolo pretzels, chocolate chip cookies, eggrolls, pizza, and fancy wine (because that’s how our guy friends roll).

seven layer dip

One of my favorite things about our Super Bowl party – every year, one of the guys brings fancy Japanese desserts from Chantilly. And every year I nab the black sesame cream puff, because, well, it’s a black sesame cream puff, need I say more? 😀

black sesame cream puff


The calendar says it’s hot chocolate season, but the mild temperatures in LA make iced coffee seem way more appropriate.

iced coffee


Found some awesome chili. I still haven’t tried making chili, but I was craving it and needed a quick, easy meal for when I don’t have time to cook, so we tried this chili from Good Eggs. SO GOOD.



Guys! I poached eggs for the first time ever!

This is a super big deal for me, because traditionally if I’m intimidated by a new recipe or technique, I will procrastinate the hell out of it. But this time, I just went for it, and it didn’t turn out half bad!

Going to poach allllll the eggs now.

The poached eggs were for a Lyonnaise salad, which was really freaking delicious. Recipe coming soon-ish, with much prettier pictures that Son took.

salad lyonnaise


My sister requested poke for her birthday this week, but I’ve been overloaded with work and stuff, so I didn’t think I’d have time to make it. But then I ended up having to be very close to Jus’ Poke on her birthday, so I picked up a couple of pounds of poke for her. And spam musubi for us. 😀

spam musubi


Fun cactus flowers.


It rained! Sort of. More like sprinkled, but we’ll take what we can get in California.

While I ran laps in the rain, Son took pictures of flowers. And then told me to run more. 😛

rainy day flowers


It’s a tradition in Son’s family to take pictures of the birthday person with their birthday cake. This week was Son’s dad’s birthday, but since we didn’t have Son’s camera with us, we had to improvise a bit. For the record, using a double-layer of paper towels to diffuse the flash actually worked really well.

son taking pictures


Guys, I think I’ve found my next band name – “Syntactic Sugar”. Son said that in a meeting with a client this week, and I had to mute myself so they wouldn’t hear me cracking up.


Links I’ve loved lately:

I love scallion pancakes. I love quesadillas. So I’m pretty sure I’d love scallion pancake quesadillas. WHAT.

If I never make these banana muffins with toblerone chunks, it will only be because I know it would be waaaay too dangerous to have them anywhere near me.

Also, this chocolate chip banana cake. Merry-Jennifer’s writing makes me really want to take up knitting.

Dude. Cookie butter macarons. Come to think of it, I do have a bunch of egg whites just hanging out in the fridge…

Can we have a Super Bowl do-over? Because I just found out about these kalbi chunked tots with gochujang cheese sauce, and I really need an excuse to have them in my life.

Also, this Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

This spicy garlic eggplant with ground pork sounds like the best kind of comfort food.

I need to try this recipe for creamy scrambled eggs, because that first picture is exactly how I wish my scrambled eggs looked.

Four words: chicken pot pie burger.

I kind of want to make this, mostly because it sounds really neat: sous-vide egg yolk tacos.


I just found out about the food blog Le Jus D’Orange, and I’m kind of obsessed. Case in point, this blood orange black sesame ice cream. Also, the scallion pancake quesadillas mentioned above.

Allll the garlic.

I want to make this lemon curd ice cream, but with the passionfruit curd I have in my pantry.

This article about motivation vs. discipline is exactly what I needed.

This cake. Now I need to go hunt down some Girl Scouts…

Friday Fridgg Favorites

{photo credit: Little Family Adventure}

a few of my favorite things on Fridgg this week:

these pulled pork sliders {Turnips2Tangerines}

always in the mood for doughnuts {Articook}

haven’t had pierogi in ages, but now i’m craving it {adventurefood}

son wants me to make these fried chicken livers {Lara Quinn}

mango + tiramisu = mangomisu {From My Lemony Kitchen}

pretty perfect (gluten-free) waffles {Nurture My Gut}

johan’s blog posts are always super informative {Johan Johansen}

pancakes to die for {Food By Mars}

always looking for new ways to eat my veggies {The Endless Meal}

these grits look so warm and comforting {MJ’s Kitchen}

son adores panna cotta, and he’d definitely love these lychee panna cottas {Oh My Dish}

intrigued by this miso cashew cream sauce {Create Mindfully}

salad dressing at japanese restaurants is the best, so i definitely want to try this {Otaku Food}

these indian-spiced yogurt chickpeas remind me of a dish i had in london last year {Blossom to Stem}

these caramel-swirl brownies, please {Alicat Bakes}

i want to have a party, just for an excuse to make these fried cheese balls {Articook}

pretty little cookies for valentine’s day {Kitchen Sanctuary}

chicken. fried. ribs. what. {Mantitlement}

the best. {SugarHero!}

this sauce. i need it in my life. {Girl Gone Gourmet}

now i’m craving peking duck {Dude For Food}

yum. {Shrinking Single}

this italian cream sauce sounds amazing {Cooking on a Budget}

spaghetti squash is fun {The Endless Meal}

i wouldn’t be able to stop at just one {Little Family Adventure}

love these carrots {Tastes So Fine}

snickerdoodle cookie dough. YES. {Sweep Tight}

heloooo, comfort food! {Hello Little Home}

the most perfect macarons {Southern Fatty}

these savory waffles {Sugar n’ Stuff}

DUDE. {SugarHero!}

homemade chicken feet! {From My Lemony Kitchen}

my Friday Fridgg Favorites are a very small selection of the photos and recipes on Fridgg that I’ve loved in the past week. this is by no means an all-encompassing list of what’s awesome on Fridgg this week. take a look, and find your favorites!

do you have a favorite that I didn’t mention? let me know in the comments!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

I know I’ve been going on and on about my new toaster oven, and by now you’re probably thinking, “toast is great and all, but how much toasted bread can one girl eat?”

Well, I’m here to tell you the very, very best reason to pull your toaster oven out of storage.




Make the cookie dough over the weekend, and if you have the time, roll the dough into balls, then stick them in the fridge. Then, during the week, any time you want a warm, gooey, fresh-baked cookie? Just place a ball of dough or two on a little parchment-lined baking sheet, stick it in your toaster oven, and 15-20 minutes later, fresh-baked cookies! The best.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe from my Aunt Lydia


  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) good European unsalted butter (I used Plugra), melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (we prefer TCHO dark chocolate baking drops

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, or up to two days.
  5. Form 1/4 cup-sized balls of dough, and place on prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of space between cookies.
  6. Bake, switching the positions of the cookie sheets halfway through, until cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to harden but centers are still soft and puffy, about 15 to 22 minutes (every oven is different – my aunt bakes hers for 22 minutes, but mine, baked using the convection setting on my toaster oven, were done in about 15 minutes, so keep an eye on them).
  7. Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve warm, or store in airtight container.
  8. Enjoy!

Weekly Wanderings {week 2}

What’s been up in the world of Allison since my last Weekly Wanderings post?

I got a haircut!

I got a haircut!

Normally I don’t get particularly excited about haircuts, but this time…

Son cut my hair.

Which just goes to show you I probably belong in the looney bin, because Son had never cut anyone’s hair before. Ever.

This happened totally on a whim – I was going to cut his hair, and spontaneously blurted out, “hey, you want to cut my hair too?” (In my defense, I *really* needed a haircut, and haven’t had the time or gumption to bother with making an appointment to have someone cut my hair.)

And heck, he actually did a pretty darn good job of it! I was worried I might have to wear my hair in a ponytail for a couple of months until it grew out again, but I’m actually really happy with how it turned out.


You know how yogurt companies like to advertise that their yogurt tastes just like dessert, but they never really do and it’s just disappointment all around? Well, a week ago, my foodie aunt (who is waaay more of a foodie than I am – this lady knows what she’s talking about) introduced me to Noosa yogurt. “It tastes just like panna cotta – you have to try it!”

Now, I’m normally not a huge yogurt fan (see: disappointment, above), but when Auntie Lydia tells me I have to try something delicious, she’s never wrong. On our way home, we stopped by Whole Foods and picked up a raspberry Noosa. … and then went back to Whole Foods a few days later, to try out every other flavor they have.

Noosa yogurts

Their lemon flavor tastes like lemon meringue pie. I didn’t think I’d love their coconut flavor, but Son took one bite and told me, “you’ll love this – it tastes just like those Girl Scout Cookies…” He wasn’t kidding, it tastes just like Samoas and is now my favorite flavor that I’ve tried so far.

If you feel like signing up for their newsletter, they’ll give you a coupon right now. Or, if you’re buying it at Whole Foods (I don’t know where else Noosa is sold), ask about the Noosa coupon in the Whole Foods coupon book when you’re checking out. 😀

(P.S. Noosa doesn’t know who I am, and I have not in any way been compensated for writing about them, I just really really love this yogurt!)


By the way, store-bought tortillas are buttheads. They fool you by looking all nice and delicious, and then three bites into your taco they fall apart in your hands. Is it just me?

(On that note, I found this recipe for homemade flour tortillas this week, and really want to try it.)


We visited Son’s family last weekend, and got to go to our favorite tofu soup place.

One of the reasons we love it is because in addition to the normal banchan, they also give you a bowl of edamame, and each person gets a yummy little fried fish to start off with.

Little fried fish

I always have to get the bulgogi soon tofu, no spice thankyouverymuch. (I know I’m totally playing into the stereotype of the white girl who can’t handle spicy foods, but I can’t help it – without the spicy sauce they mix in, it tastes very much like miso soup! I can’t resist the comfort food.)

Bulgogi soon tofu

Son loves their octopus bibimbap, which he hasn’t been able to find anywhere else. It’s suuuuper spicy, so I generally don’t partake, but he adores it.

Octopus bibimbap

It was crazy windy that day. We came across two different fallen trees, and I had to go running across a parking lot to catch a random runaway shopping cart before it got blown into any cars. (Feel free to laugh at the mental image of me scampering across the Target parking lot, yelling, “come baaack!!!!” at the red plastic shopping cart. 😀 )

Fallen trees


The next day, the storm came to our part of LA.

(Heh. I say “storm”, but it was really just a blustery day with a bit of rain in the afternoon.)


Before it started raining, Son and I headed out to get a quick run in.

I found a hopscotch. Yes, I immediately set aside any semblance of dignity I have, and hopped the hopscotch.

He found a leaf.

Son found a pretty leaf


By the next morning, the storm had passed.

It left a pretty sunrise, which almost made up for having to attend a 7am meeting.

Early meetings = pretty sunrises


We both had to go to the dentist this week, so we took it as an excellent excuse to head to our favorite Thai restaurant.

Tom yum noodle soup, pumpkin eggplant stir fry, and pad Thai.

And Son being a goofball.

Pad Thai! And Son goofing off!


The best thing about having a good toaster oven? Cookies anytime! No waiting for the oven to preheat – twenty minutes, and I have warm, fresh, gooey chocolate chip cookies.

Cookies and milk


It was my dad’s birthday this week! We picked up El Pollo Loco, which he loves, and spent the evening with him and my siblings.

El Pollo Loco

Every year, for his birthday, I make my grandma’s hot milk cake. It’s his favorite.

However, I haven’t ever been able to complete the last step of broiling the top of the cake – the broiler in my apartment right now is missing parts so I can’t use it (plus broilers scare me. Am I the only one?)

But… with my awesome new toaster oven, I can now broil things! And it’s big enough to fit an 8×8 baking dish easily! And it has a glass window, so I can see if it’s about to burn, instead of having to open the broiler drawer every five seconds! This is all very exciting.

So what this means is this year, I made the best hot milk cake I’ve ever made. 😀

Hot milk cake

And then we played Cards Against Humanity (dad won), snacked on senbei, and stuck mochi ice cream on chopsticks to eat. (This is, obviously, the only right way to eat mochi ice cream. 😉 )

Mochi ice cream


Links I’ve loved lately:

I recently signed up for the Now I Know newsletter, and I’m loving it! Every day it’s something new, and it has always been interesting so far. A little something I look forward to every morning.

Hello, Matcha Cinnamon Rolls with Black Sesame Cinnamon Filling. If any of you ever decide to randomly show up at my place for breakfast, bring these, please and thank you. 😉

This Chocolate Tart with Blood Oranges makes me swoon.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Pancakes. WHAT.

These Baby Bloomin’ Onions are super cute, and remind me of the time a waiter at Outback Steakhouse sat down in my lap. In front of my grandparents. I didn’t even know him. I was SO EMBARRASSED. They all thought it was hilarious.

I want this no-knead cinnamon raisin english muffin bread for breakfast.

A little disappointed I didn’t know about these homemade cough drops before I got sick a few weeks ago. They sound amazing.

Son loves shumai, so I’m definitely going to have to make this shumai recipe sometime soon.

We don’t have Vietnamese food as much as we’d like, now that Son’s dad has stopped cooking. I didn’t realize how much I missed it, until I saw this Bo Kho (Vietnamese beef stew) recipe. Going to have to fix that soon!

You all can keep your deep dish. This is my kind of pizza.

I really want to try these pandan cupcakes with lychee buttercream. I’m pretty sure Son would love them.

Everyone and their mother has linked to this recipe for peach splits this week. But can we talk about that goma praline? I’ll happily skip everything else and just steal the praline out of all your bowls. 😀

I really want a slice of this pretty brown butter apple tart. The glossiness of the apricot jam! So good.

This Vietnamese caramelized pork belly pasta is SO happening in my kitchen soon. We’re normally not pasta people (I’m convinced Son can’t survive a day without a bowl of rice) but we would be all over this pasta.

I love black sesame pudding, and this version looks like a piece of art!

These Thai peanut sweet potato skins sound SO GOOD! I love sweet potatoes, but never know how to eat them, so this is perfect.

This fried cauliflower with dill yogurt sauce sounds like a super tasty way to get your veggies.

I just discovered the CommitStrip webcomic. This is my life in so many ways. (Heh.)

This chestnut montblanc tart is SO FREAKING PRETTY.

I really want these fried pork dumpling kimchi nachos to magically appear at my Super Bowl party.


Weekly Wanderings posts may include affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Seriously, I am not kidding how excited I am about that toaster oven. 😀