one crazy decade

last night i went through a huge suitcase of memories, brought up from when i last visited my parents.

oh, the memories!

there were journals upon journals, starting from about the 7th or 8th grade. writings about who i liked, what i had done, movie stubs, chinese new year red envelopes, birthday cards, bits of birthday present wrappings. it was simultaneously exciting and mind-numbingly boring.

so much has happened in a decade:

- studied abroad in florence, italy
- moved to tampa
- met & fell for anthony
- acquired yammie
- bought at least 4 cameras
- voted against bush
- received my master's degree
- "career job"
- visited china
- visited england & italy
- lost friends, gained friends
- have a beautiful godson
- insane amounts of fun had at girlfriend sweatshop weekends
- said goodbye to thomas
- got married

i was planning on making this a very exciting post full of things that had happened and then i bored myself. not that i find myself boring, not at all! i'm just mentally exhausted and am SO ready to ring in the new year with a glass of delicious fizzy lifting drink.

for some reason, 2010 feels crazy exciting. and that's a good thing.


fig and onion bruschetta {recipe}

i am late and early on this one - the holidays have thrown me off. however, if you're looking for a fabulous and delicious appetizer, possibly to bring to a holiday potluck, this one melts my face.

a friend made it for an after christmas potluck and it was simply divine. just melt in your mouth heavenly. i ate too many of them and am still slavering for more.

the longest part, it seems, it the re-hydrating of the dried figs - it takes about 45 minutes, unattended. after that, it seems to go rather quickly.


*big yawns*


cozumel is THE place to be if you work in my department. i am slowly beginning my collection of mexican sand and gaudily painted shells - i'll keep you updated.

oh yea, merry christmas! happy holidays, seasons greetings and the like!

didn't it all pass too quickly? i guess we still have new year's.

christmas eve was spent at ant's family's home while christmas day we relaxed, slept in and then went to the new granada xmas show at new world where ant was playing. i'll get to see part of my family this weekend when we head off to a wedding together in st. pete. hurray!

our weekends are insane right now with house hunting. uuugghh. funny story, we saw a house we kind of liked. so we put in an offer. they counter offer. we visit the house again and decide 'hell no' and back out. the sellers come back again, practically begging us to take the house for 3k LESS than our original offer. hilarious. and yet, still a no. the hunt continues apace.

i am currently sick with a sore throat from sunday night, not to mention from attempting to swallow ginormous garlic and zinc pills at lunchtime. seriously, i almost gagged and choked up water at my desk - not so pretty. i am counting down the hours until i can leave. the days between christmas and new year's just drag ever so slowly.

*big sigh*

pictures later. have been attempting to understand flash, which is elusive and tricky.


yum {recipe}

whoops! almost missed today's recipe (because i just know the hordes of readers here will go out and make it immediately....). ha!

in any case, this is a super easy, entertaining type of recipe. it's kind of my backup food to make when i don't actually have anything in my house to offer.

we used to make this A LOT when we lived in italy and we named it (cleverly) "yum". because... it's... yummy. it's what you say when you eat it. it's quite possibly one of the dumbest and embarrassing names we could have called it, but it's the truth. so there.

olive oil
2 onions
4 cloves garlic
balsamic vinegar
delicious bread

  1. cut up onion and cook in some olive oil over med/med-high heat
  2. allow it to get soft and brown (this can take 20 minutes to 40 minutes depending on how hungry you are)
  3. add the garlic - diced, minced, sliced, whatever
  4. when it smells delicious (or you just can't wait anymore), pour the mixture into a bowl and add balsamic vinegar and more olive oil

all measurements are totally made up. for a small gathering i might use the 2 onions noted here. maybe up it to 4 if there's a bigger crowd. it really is just whatever i might have on hand. i bet some basil leaves might even be good in there.

the only thing you don't want to do is burn the garlic, but if you keep the heat under the 'high' setting, you should be ok. burnt garlic just tastes kind of bitter.


dear unknown co-worker

i realize that 70% of our employees are located on one floor. in fact, it's the floor that was meant for storage and was never meant for humans to occupy. it's the floor with only 2 bathrooms.

but could you please, please, please, stop leaving your disgusting shiny skin (?) flakes all over the toilet? it's completely insensitive and foul and unsanitary to boot.

thanks, i hate you.


butternut squash & hazelnut lasagna {recipe}

i'm not going to lie - had i looked this recipe up on my own i would not have chosen to make it for 2 reasons:

1. no-boil lasagna sheets? really? isn't that like, super white trash lazy?
2. the cracking, then toasting, then the rubbing off of hazelnut skins

the hazelnut issue is one that has haunted me for years. i once made linzer cookies from complete scratch for the holidays one year and stayed up with anthony, frazzled, until 3 or 4 in the morning rolling, freezing, cutting, baking (repeat until you want to crawl into the oven yourself) hazelnut dough. i remember the frustration of trying to rub and scratch the stupid freaking skins off those little nuts, having the skin bits collect under my nails in pain.

luckily for me, we made this in gainesville at the last 2009 girlfriend sweatshop weekend last week. it was so rich and divine!! we made sure to coat all bits of the no-boil lasagna so nothing would be hard or chewy and even though i was called in for hazelnut skinning duty, many hands made light work. additionally, we only had to work on 1 cup of nuts, as opposed to what felt like 50 cups of nuts when i'd done it previously.

also, i admit, i was the lazy one this weekend, doing almost nothing but working on my heart-shaped bokeh filter for my camera. thanks guys!


Yield: Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 1 1/2 hr
Total Time: 2 1/2 hr

For squash filling
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup hazelnuts (4 oz), toasted , loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and coarsely chopped

For sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups milk
1 bay leaf (not California)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

For assembling lasagne
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 oz)
12 (7- by 3 1/2-inch) sheets no-boil lasagne (1/2 lb)

Make filling:

Cook onion in butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt, and white pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Cool filling.

Make sauce while squash cooks:

Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and white pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. (Cover surface of sauce with wax paper if not using immediately.)

Assemble lasagne:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss cheeses together. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 3-quart baking dish) and cover with 3 pasta sheets, leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and one third of filling, then sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.

Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagne in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let lasagne stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.


last weekend - girlfriend sweatshop gainesville






it was as lovely as you can imagine - cold, with the warmth of friends, spiked hot chocolate, and a crackling fireplace.



i'm starting to feel super lethargic after my cold pizza lunch today. my tummy feels overly full of masticated and dry crusts. it was good, i just feel... gross.

*big sighs*

this morning was very slightly cool and windy and humid walking in to work - it made me long for travel again. real travel, not just sorta-travel during a conference in another state, when you can't do everything you want. like go to wineries at 10 am because you have to be listening to a lecture in a too-cold conference center room.

i'm feeling antsy. and i'd love some more coffee, but know it will keep me up later... isn't that just the worst feeling?

i'm reading 'trail of crumbs', which is kind of good and kind of bad. i'm not sure i'll be able to be coherent about it, so i'm going to ramble starting.... now. i like reading about other asians and their experiences growing up as a minority in america. the food recipes at the end of each chapter however, are distracting and throws me off every time. admittedly, i'm jealous as well that she's still rather young and so well traveled and can cook like a goddess.
and while she mostly writes well, it really reads like she took a creative writing class. and i don't mean that in a good way. also, she eats sea urchin raw from her fingers, straight out of its body. the only edible parts of a sea urchin are its gonads. that's just nasty.


a wednesday thanksgiving

our family doesn't like to stick to tradition, so we celebrated thanksgiving on the wednesday before the actual holiday. it was also the only day my brother could get off. i really love that my family is so flexible.

tons of king crab leg sushi, sauteed veggies and steamed chicken with ginger/garlic/scallion sauce. delicious food heaven! i'm so hungry right now... *whimper*


my parents, looking adorable and my mom slightly tipsy.


kevin & bo, attempting to smile despite their cultural desire to show no emotion to the camera (it is SO HARD to get a picture of the two of them that looks genuinely happy!).


the bro, with ubiquitous bottle of wine in hand.


lee, who learned how to wink and did so at every opportunity (including our family picture). man, and can you believe those teeth?!


anthony, learning tiffany the ways of the iphone.


the family photo op (complete with the wink).


endives {recipe}

grilled belgian endive

earlier this week we bought endives at $4.99/lb.

is this a good price for endives?! seems kind of steep. we're almost broaching lychee territory with a price like that!

in any case, we'd never had (to our knowledge), nor cooked, endives. they're like little white rockets! so wonderfully plump and shapely.

we paired it with white rice, which is my staple pairing food partner because i SUCK at fashioning "menus". i head out with lots of little bits in mind with no way to bring them all together in one delicious meal. but rice goes with anything, or maybe that's just my chinese heritage rearing it's aromatic and tasty white rice head.

also, it seems that MANY of my recipes involve roasting or broiling (which is basically what this recipe is). oven on high, shove the veggies in, a few turns of the pepper mill, turn occasionally. we have a few pair of tongs, which are FABULOUS for turning stuff that's hot in the oven. this seems like one of those 'duh' kind of things, but really, we'd never had tongs before and i'd always just used chopsticks. my superb chopsticks skills notwithstanding, tongs make for an easier time in the kitchen. plus, they're longer and don't bend. they're a bitch to clean, of course - dishwashers kind of rock (too bad ours sucks so hardcore).


♥ ♥ ♥


last tuesday, anthony and i had to put our sweet thomas to sleep. it was utterly heartbreaking.

having to come to that decision and actually following through was the one of the most grown-up and awful things i'd ever had to do.

he went in to the vet on monday, after having thrown up everything in his tummy on sunday. when his bloodwork came back on tuesday, the news was not good. he had really bad liver problems and diagnosis and treatment would have meant ultrasound, tissue sample and 6-8 weeks of intensive treatment/kitty hospitalization with a feeding tube down his throat. he hadn't eaten since sunday morning and was so sad and listless.

i'll miss his stinky kisses, the way he'd settle his bulk over my arm or stomach, his crazy soft fur and little paws. if there's a cat heaven, he's there making biscuits, shredding colorful tissue paper, enjoying the sun while on his back showing off his bits and shoving others out of the way of the food bowls.

the stinky man