Apple Season


This weekend marks the first “winter storm” of the year in Portland, which means it will start raining today and won’t stop until April… but also, it makes me go into emergency preparedness mode, which is 25% being prepared and about 75% being paranoid. I have about 48 Larabars and 10 bags of chips that will hopefully keep me, Bryce and the dog alive for 3 days until someone will come to our help.

But, since the storm is supposed to be here are there is no wind and no rain currently, we can just continue to enjoy how beautiful it has been the last weekend and how apples are just taking over the farmers market with their sweet goodness.



My favorite way to enjoy an apple is probably just sliced apple and peanut butter, Justin’s honey peanut butter to be exact. If you haven’t tried it, it is a must! it will change your life. Interestingly enough, when I was in 5th grade, this was one of our home ec lessons in cooking.


food-4But when I crave something a little more because I went a little crazy at the farmers market and bought way too many apples, apple hand pies is the way to go. I dunno, there’s something about a handpie that makes everything a little bit cooler, because it’s a pie… that can fit in your hand. (or maybe I’m just craving the $1 for 2 apple pies from McDonalds)

Apple Hand Pie

3 C apple (firm tart variety)

1/4 C brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of salt

pie crust

melted butter

sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven 425 degrees. Cut apples into 1/2 inch squares and mix together all ingredients. place a little less than 1/4 C into each pile on half the pie crust and then fold over crust to cover all the apples. Press firmly around each pile of apple filling to seal pouch. Separate each sealed pouch with a knife. Brush the top of each pie with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before eating.





Apple Season

Simple Orange Salad

Olympic Provisions is the old name of this beloved Portland cured meat shop and restaurant. But apparently, the International Olympic Committee had a thing to say about it and so now it’s Olympia Provisions… Because the first thing I think of when I purchase a smoked kielbasa is of figure skating and track and field events… Anyway! I recently ate here for brunch and had an amazing eggs Benny!! I think ham is a difficult… It’s either too salty or too sweet, I usually go for other options, but being as Olympia Provisions is known for their pork products, I thought I would give it a try, and MAN was it worth it! Just the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Charcuterie board is delish, as always. My favorite is always the rillette. But with all that meat, the orange salad was a perfectly paired touch of freshness. 

I don’t think I ever appreciated how good oranges are until I bought a bunch of in season organic varieties, and my life was changed forever! There is nothing better than a juicy sweet orange, and there’s nothing more disappointing that a dry non-flavorful one…

Inspired by this seasonal goodness, I put together this instant classic. The main trick is to make this salad when oranges are at their best! This does nothing  more than pay tribute to how great citrus is in the wintertime, turning our Pacific NW seasonal depression right out of snap! 


I used cara cara and naval oranges, but feel free to use any great citrus you can find.

1. Peel oranges and slice into 1/4″ slices and top with roasted pistachios, chopped mint, and chèvre. 

2. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and salt

And that’s it! A simple but elegant salad that has a lot more than meets the eye!

Simple Orange Salad

Almond Milk

Milk004 It’s probably easier to make almond milk than to buy it at the store, and as always it tastes so much better when you make it yourself. All you need is a cup full of almonds, water and some sort of sweetener. It’s a great alternative to dairy milk and I feel that it’s a meatier milk, if that makes sense in any way. I enjoy using it in granola, drinking it straight and using it to thicken up my chia seed puddin’ (FYI- I think it’s disgraceful when then g is added to the word puddin’). Warning though, if you try to microwave it, it’ll curdle and overflow (I learned this the hard way…). To be honest, my favorite way to use almond milk is to use it to make a mean hot chocolate. actually, now that I mention it…


Almond Milk

Makes 1 Quart

2 Cups Almonds

4 Cups Water (more for soaking)

2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Put almonds in a bowl and fill with water so almonds are completely covered with some room for expansion. Soak overnight.
  2. Strain almonds and rinse with cold water.
  3. Blend almonds and 4 cups of water in blender until smooth
  4. Strain mixture through a fine mesh nut or cheese cloth and express as much liquid as possible.
  5. Add in maple syrup and vanilla extract, stir well and enjoy!


If you’re feeling really ambitious…

All that extra almond grinds, you can turn into about 1 Cup of almond flour. Simply spread   almond paste on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees until dry (about 1.5 hours) re-mixing it every 30 minutes or so. After it is dry, pulse it in a food processor until it has the texture of flour.


Almond Milk

Summertime treats


Once I see asparagus at the farmers market , I can’t help but count down the days and weeks until all the summer produce come around. Of all the delicious produce to ripen up and overtake the markets, my favorite by far is the strawberries.

Strawberry picking isn’t my fav though. The berries are not at a very comfortable picking level, and they have little stickers or something that make my arms swell and itch… not the most inviting berry I would say, but the allergic reaction was well worth every tiny burst of juicy berry!(Pro Tip: the smallest berries are the sweetest berries).  After I gobbled as much as I could down fresh, I couldn’t help by make strawberry shortcake.

Excited to finally use the biscuit recipe from The Boat, A Whale and a Walrus, I was able to complement and elevate the flavor of the Oregon Strawberry, by adding just a touch of sugar to pull all the sweet juices out of the berries. You don’t want to add too much, because then you’ll loose the flavor of the strawberries in all the sugar, and all you’ll have left is sticky sugar. Same thing with the whipped cream. Make sure you don’t add too much sugar to the cream, I hardly add any sugar, because the cream, is mainly to make the dessert smooth, not to make it sweeter. (can you tell i’m anti-tons and tons of sugar in desserts?) And the biscuit. Well… that speaks for itself.


Summertime treats

Lettuce is in the House.

plants-beginningplantsplantsprogressIt takes a significant amount of effort for me to not buy plants at the farmers market in the springtime. Every year I just need to purchase whatever my little porch will allow and hope for the best. In the past it’s been quite tricky trying to chase the sun around my shady apartment. At my first apartment, I would take my planter down three flights of stairs in hopes to get a few hours of sunlight. Then my second apartment, I would bring the planter from my front porch through the apartment to the back porch in hopes to get the most sunlight. Third year is a charm and so far my plants are doing wonderful!

Gardening is essential to truly appreciate good food.

There isn’t anything quite like having fresh out of the ground food and sometimes it can be a little tricky to obtain, but with a little love, time, water and sunlight you can grow your own summer veggies too.

Beginners Tips

Know your sun. Pay attention to how much sunlight you get in your yard or porch. If you don’t get very much sunlight, then hope is not lost, you just need to get different plants. From my experience, you don’t want to buy a dwarf blueberry plant, if you only get 3 hours of sunlight a day. But, lettuce is does great! Lettuce probably does better with just partial sun, because then it doesn’t bolt.

Know your space. …and size of pots lettuce allows for shallow pots, but carrots and root veggies need something a little deeper

Know your grower. I have never been been ambitious enough to start from seeds. To me, since my sunlight has been vary variable and everything is in pots, it is easier to just start from starters. Also, this way when I buy them from the farmers market I can ask a bunch of questions from the grower as far as what is and isn’t reasonable. Taking to growers is the best resource you have as a new gardener.

Know when to water. In the summertime I always water my plants in the early morning or late at night, that way if it’s a really hot day, the plants have plenty of water to last all day. Then, if I come home from work and notice they’re looking a little dehydrated, I can add a little more water.

Know how to try. It never hurts to try. That’s the beauty of gardening, is that sometimes things don’t work out and sometimes they do. Every time you grow something it always adds into a memory archive to help you grow a better garden the next year. I was always warned about growing lettuce because it comes out bitter, but it turns out that if it stays cool and you don’t wait too long to harvest, it will turn out great!

and of course, don’t forget to weed. My spinach was looking pretty sad and pathetic until I realized that a giant weed was hiding and sucking out all the nutrients from under my plant.

Let me know if you have any tips for me to grow my little plants!

Lettuce is in the House.

Spicy Lemongrass Soup

spicyLemongrass I love new cookbooks! This new adventure takes me back to my Bay Area Vietnamese roots, yet it’s not the same. All the recipes have a familiar ping, but with a new modern tone. The majority of the recipes have few ingredients, but are focused on the quality of the ingredients. This is my flagship recipe trial. Spicy lemongrass soup. I’m not exactly sure if I made it correctly, being as my version doesn’t look anything like the picture in the book. I changed a few things to make it easier for myself, which may have been why mine doesn’t look a thing like the example. spicylemongrass1 Instead of making the fish stock, I just bought some. easy way out, I know. I don’t know about you… but I’m not exactly sure where I would find  pounds of fish carcasses. oh yea, i’ll just hop on over to Fred Meyer and get some fish carcasses. Despite making a few changes, it turned out pretty good! Now onto the next recipe! Wish me luck!

Spicy Lemongrass Soup

New-Old Traditions: Lucky Dumplings

dumplings1 dumplings2

dumplings4 dumplings3 My favorite family memories consisted sitting around our dining room table, with a big bowl of  minced meat and vegetables, wrapping dumplings.

Our neighbor, Wendy, would come over on a Saturday afternoon with a bowl of freshly made dough, while my mom made the filling. An award deserving duo. My mother would elicit the help of anyone that she could lasso and most of the time we would willfully volunteer, knowing quite clearly that the faster we made the dumplings, the faster we could devour them!

Stories and laughter filled the kitchen as our fingers intuitively folded pleats into the pocket of each dumpling. And of course, the “non-competitive” competition of “whose dumpling looks better” arises every time.

This year, I ventured to continue my family traditions on my own. I adapted a recipe from . I added a little more ginger, because I love the extra spicy kick and I always add more vegetables because I love how much more depth I get from more vegetables.

I couldn’t get enough of the sweet smell of chopped Chinese chives dancing through the air, releasing a new crisp movement every time my knife made another cut through the bunch.

My first attempt at making the dough, was quite the dilemma and debacle as every wrapper I made, I gained more respect for Wendy’s skill. Thankfully, I remembered my sweet husband bought me a pasta maker a while ago. I could finally get to the part that I was good at: wrapping the dumplings.

Now I can make new memories to add along to old traditions.

New-Old Traditions: Lucky Dumplings