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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

homemade mayo

Homemade Mayo
Homemad Mayo

i like mayo. there. i said it. it's a controversial condiment that sparks either absolute adoration (of which i am an ardent team member) or pure disgust (of which dw feels every and anytime the stuff is around). to be fair, he does not cringe away from foods that might have a slathering of it, like say, banh mi thit but he does clearly state "no mayo" when ordering a simple sandwich.

we don't have the stuff at home. we have all sorts of condiments: a few varieties of mustard, hot sauce, two kinds of fish sauce, even stinky tofu. is that weird? not having mayo, i mean? i thought so. it was a situation that, despite my severe cold over the weekend, and the fact that i wasn't planning on eating sandwiches anytime in the near future, had to be remedied. i recall making homemade mayo when i was younger, back when i still lived at home and the seeds of being a domestic goddess were planted. it was not hard. it is not hard. for this latest attempt i used only organic products, for optimal freshness and safety.

*consuming raw products may be dangerous, please use the freshest/best/organic ingredients possible. i feel compelled to jot that down, in case anyone tries this & ends up with explosive trots, or worse.

Homemade Mayo

Friday, February 24, 2012

Honey Roasted Moroccan Spiced Cashews

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lest you think i've fallen off the face of the earth, hello. it has been awhile, hasn't it? i spent a few dulcet days in kentucky, where i immersed myself in late mornings, sleeping in while my darling love spent precious time with his kinfolk. the pace was decidedly slower, some moments punctuated with the gaiety only young ones can provide, and other moments of quiet solitude. exactly what i needed after the hubbub of the holidays and a trip to the motherland. (it sure is hilarious to require a vacation from a vacation, yes?)

one morning dw woke up with the notion to make snacks with his mom. i lazed in bed, either reading or watching something on the ipad -- because, you know, it's what i always figured southern belles did on monday mornings. this was dw's second time making this treat, the first time creating such a sensation among friends at an ice cream for breakfast social that i insisted he make it again, for his mom who is allergic to peanuts. it's a versatile recipe, you can add a pinch more of this or that, in accordance to your whim and available ingredients. personally, i like the sweeter notes with a slight burn of chili in the background.

snack on these immediately, or store in an airtight container.

happy weekend, friends.

recipe barely adapted from Anja's Food 4 Thought.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hot Milk Cake With Meyer Lemon Buttercream + 3 words

Hot Milk Cake + Meyer Lemon Curd

i didn't grow up in an "i love you" household. in fact, i didn't utter those three words until i was out of the house. and despite not hearing it often, or vocalizing it at all until i reached adulthood, i have no problem saying them out loud... i love you. see. easy. not that my love is easy, or that i am quick to spout it out.

i believe that i should not waste the light, when the moment presents itself: do something, be something, say something. be sincere about it, because an authentic heart can never falter.

february is a hard month in the winter, merging eventually into the milder days of printemps but still holding onto the memory of bitter winds & maybe even snow. it is also the month that has a day that celebrates love. take it or leave it, valentine's day is a fixture during this time. for dw & me, it is the month we met and for me, it is the month i fell in love with him.

happy love day friends. but most importantly: happy 1 year dw. i love you, you are my heart.

the Loving ~ Hot Milk Cake

Hot Milk Cake with Meyer Lemon Curd & Lemon Curd Buttercream

Hot Milk Cake: recipe from Miette. i will not post the recipe, because it is super long & detailed, tho i did find it online.
Lemon Curd Buttercream: again, recipe from miette and not posting. i will say to use real butter. i used soy margarine and the oils did not gel quite right. it was a dream to spread tho.
Meyer Lemon Curd: recipe from anthimeria

*note*: poem is from an episode of Cold Case, Best Friends 2005. to view, start at 1:08

previous February 14th related posts:
curried lentil soup (dw gave me the recipe!)
heart day cards (back when i made cards!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

love | Nuria + Jesse

Nuria + Jesse
couple - without frame
Nuria + Jesse
date - color

it is february already. in fact, valentine's day is in a few days. if you're anything like me, you're wondering where the days have gone. the slumberous hours of winter have gone with nary a sign of slowing down. soon it will be spring and with it, the day this young couple will join hands and become husband + wife. it's beautiful, isn't it? their love. they're beautiful, in love.

for their wedding invites, they asked me to snap a few shots. on a cold, very blustery december afternoon we met at the johns hopkins campus. i gave us 30 minutes to make magic. these images were what came of that.

ain't love grand?
happy weekend lovies.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

vietnam 2012

Vietnam - flag + motorbike
boats
water
fisherman
Vietnam - churches
Buddha
buddha's feet
Vietnam - stairs
little girl
steamed snails
Vietnam b+w
boat + water
chinese checkers
dragon

it has been quiet around here. i've been in a funk. a post-vacation funk. i'm only just now surfacing from my shallow wallow of self pity as i try to get back into the daily grind. dw & i spent 8 days in vietnam. it was a whirlwind, punctuated with a beat down sun, permeating heat that held onto your body & would not let go, no matter how vigorous you tried to shake it off.

at first, our days were spent traversing saigon, dodging motorbikes carrying whole families, grandmothers, babies & all, seeking food stands that i scoured the internet for. alas, due to the lunar new year and basically not knowing how to navigate the map, or speak the language well enough to be understood, we didn't find a single food place on our list. don't rub it in, i'm still bitter over it.

for the rest of the trip we traveled to Nha Trang, my hometown. a coastal city by the water, with a cooler climate. for this leg of the trip, we met with cousins who were also vacationing there. we walked the beach, hiked to the temples, even rode a cable car to a neighboring island.

if you're wondering about the food... i will confess to a feeling of disappointment. vietnam is a beautiful country, but it is poor. the water system is not the best. as much as i hated to, i avoided the fresh fruits and veggies -- you just don't know how they're washed. the times i wasn't careful & consumed any herbs with my meals, the hours after were tinged with worry & belly aches. i bonded with pepto bismol pills on this trip. further, everything just seemed less in flavor, watered down. as someone who has embraced the organic and whole food diet, this was hard for me.

this is not to discourage anyone from going, nor will this be our last trip there. we would love to visit the northern part of the country, eventually. in the meantime, these pictures will tide us over until we can make the long trek again to the other side of the world. i am not yet ready to open the vietnam photos for public viewing on flickr, dw has only just uploaded his 800+ photos, so please enjoy the ones i've shown here.

please note, the swastikas on the bottom of the buddha's feet are not nazi-related. interesting background on that symbol before it got bastardized.

The dish pictured is actually my fave of the trip: steamed snails with lemongrass & ginger.

additional information:

hotel we stayed at in Saigon, thanks to cathy for the reco.

Thien Thao Hotel - extremely clean and efficient, the staff was wonderful.
Nhat Thanh Hotel - in Nha Trang. this was actually paternal grandparents' home before it was converted into a grand hotel. the room we reserved was big. the hot water was tempermental. it was a bit too local for our liking, the rooms not very sound insulated. we did not stay the entire time we booked it, i begged dw to go to a resort instead.
diamond bay resort - we spent our last night in nha trang here. clean and beautiful, but still the hot water situation was driving me crazy. however, the staff was very accommodating.
City Hotel - we did not spend the night here. our last day in Vietnam was in Saigon and we had a full day there. being as it's so hot there, we wanted to shower before our flight out later that evening so booked a room to freshen up before we trekked it to the airport. it was dw's favorite, due to the super cleanliness of the place, as well as the location, just a mere half block from Cho Ben Thanh.