Category Archives: food

Chocolate (filled) Babka

Source for the base recipe (uses a chocolate glaze):

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup whole milk, warmed
2.25 tsp (or one packet) yeast
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Mix the milk and yeast, let sit for a few minutes
2. Mix in the eggs
3. Mix in the dry ingredients until a dough forms
4. Mix in the butter, which takes a little bit — even with a dough hook. Scraping down the sides is a must.
5. Cover in saran wrap, let sit for two hours, then refrigerate overnight
6. Pull out of the fridge and let sit for an hour or two before baking (maybe not necessary)

12 oz chocolate
1.5 sticks butter – both melted together
optional: poppy seeds, nigella seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper, spices (probably nuts, though I haven’t tried that)

1. Split the dough, roll each into a rectangle that’s about a foot wide and however long it can be (probably 1.5ft?)
2. Spread the chocolate (and other fillings) on the inside, then roll it up, pinching the ends. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
3. Place the logs in the freezer for ~10 minutes
4. Slice lengthwise, then put each in a parchment lined loaf pan, twisting the two while they face up twice.
5. Let rise until puffy (~2 hours), and bake at 275 for 30-40 minutes (depending on dough temp etc)

Loaf pan size: 9×5 makes a flatter loaf, 8×4 makes a slightly overflowing loaf

6tbsp sugar
1/3c water or whiskey (or both)
1. Cook together until a thin syrup forms
2. Once the loaves are pulled from the over, brush glaze over (it’ll seem like a lot, but the loaves can hold quite a bit)

Cardamom Peach Crumble

Based on this and this.

5 peaches, not super ripe, peeled and microwaved for 4-5 minutes
Tossed with:
1.5tbsp flour
2tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom (could do cinnamon instead)
a pinch each of cinnamon and ginger
a few scoops of leftover strawberry jam (optional)

Scant 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, beaten well
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Whisk together the peach toppings, then add the sliced peaches. Arrange in a 9inch pie/tart pan.

In another bowl, combine the dry topping ingredients. Add the egg and mix with your hands, forming clumps. Sprinkle evenly over the peaches. Then spoon the butter evenly over the topping.

Bake for 30-50, or until the top is golden brown. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Note: Reheat leftovers in an oven set to 300 degrees.

Photo A Day: Week 1 Recap

I started the week lazily — with an iPhone picture. I had tried to take some pictures of these pens with my DSLR, but the iPhone one was the best of the bunch.

A tokidoki unicorn sitting on my patio table. DSLR + prime lens.

A shot from dinner at Kusakabe. I tried using my DSLR here too, but the iPhone seems to outperform in dim light. Oh how technology has changed.

My newest pen arrived on the 3rd, and there’s a picture of it with my Starbucks planner — they match! Taken with my iPhone.

A photo of my team at lunch at Mourad. Turns out when you’ve set yourself a photo challenge, you bring your camera places.

I wasn’t ambitious enough to set myself goals around drawing or calligraphy, but I do still enjoy trying to do both. Taken with my iPhone.

Moogle inspecting the pool. I’m not sure why he does this… but it’s cute and he looks silly, like a monster may jump out to get him at any moment. DSLR + prime.

Summary: 3/7 – DSLR photos

Blood Orange Buttermilk Pound Cake

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
zest of 2 blood oranges
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice

Preheat the oven to 325°F & line a loaf pan with parchment. (Or grease it)

Beat together the butter, sugar & zest until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the buttermilk and orange juice.

Pour into the pan, bake for about an hour and ten, until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Then let it rest for fifteen minutes, then lift it out of the pan to cool on a rack.


Welcome, Deep Fryer

(to my life)

tempura from the box — fried better at 375. don’t use the basket.

Omakase! (Pictures + thoughts)

Last Saturday, I had dinner at Omakase. We did the Yamato Omakase: 2 appetizers, 2 sashimis, 12 nigiri, 1 yakimono and 1 owan.

I didn’t take great notes (or photos, really) while eating, so my descriptions are pretty vague…

Ball of fish over rice. One mouthful of nom.

Smoked some-sort of fish (trout, I think?) marinated with tomatoes

Sashimi! with fresh wasabi. Lobster on the right.

Japanese abalone with abalone liver sauce. These abalone are much more flavorful than the abalone I’ve had recently at other Japanese restaurants. Also, wonderful sauce. Even when eaten off of chopsticks.

Lobster and geoduck sashimi. I really like geoduck sashimi. I wonder if I can do this myself at home…

akamatsu, black sea perch

hokkaido sea scallop. zomg, I generally don’t like scallops, but this one was all sorts of creamy and delicious.

hirame something cured with kelp. (Japanese fluke)

alaskan wild king salmon. i love salmon, and this one was amazing.

golden big eye snapper. This one was torched a little bit before serving. I’m not a huge fan of skin-on nigiri

Marinated tuna. Pretty good. Fatty but not super fatty.

Hokkaido uni with house cured ikura (over rice). I found the ikura a little salty, but the Hokkaido uni was amazing — no fishiness at all, and very creamy.


puri. lightly smoked wild yellowtail. interesting, and smoky. (surprise)

aji. Japanese horse mackrel. Skin on, not a huge fan. A little fishy — good, but not my type of fish.

Japanese mackrel with caramelized sugar. Once again, not a huge fan of skin-on, but the caramelized sugar made this bite really interesting. And it magically paired pretty well.

otoro, slightly torched. NOM NOM NOM. How can you go wrong with otoro? Additionally, I really liked the slight sear — made it seem even more fatty.

tamago. A soft and custardy tamago — much lighter than most tamagos.

Wagyu beef, brocollini, japanese mayo, peppercorn sauce and truffle salt. I was so excited to eat this that the picture is a blurry mess. It was, not surprisingly, delicious — but a slightly too-large portion for me, after all that fish. I couldn’t handle much more rich food.

Lobster and mushroom broth. I don’t think I had reasonable judgement at this point in the meal. I would have preferred a lighter broth at this point.

Overall — the food was great (Even for the types of fish I generally don’t like) and it was a fun experience to sit at the counter and see the chef in front of you prepare your food. However, for $200 a person, I think it’s a little steep. I’d happily do the shorter menu ($150) if I could pick which nigiri. Sign me up to eat the salmon, tunas & uni again.

Ridiculously Rich Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Adapted from Serious Eats

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
3/4 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups flour, half whole grain, half normal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Heat the oven to 325F and line your loaf pan with parchment
2. Mix all the wet ingredients, then add in the dry ones. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Bake for an hour, or until a tester comes out clean. (Took me exactly 1:05)

This banana bread came out ridiculously moist and buttery. The whole wheat adds a bit of a nuttiness and the chocolate chips add… well, chocolate. Will make again. And again.

Homemade Twix


Followed this Serious Eats recipe. It was amazing. I never want to eat a “real” Twix bar again. Now just to figure out how to make Butterfingers…

The base shortbread was fantastic — no need for caramel or chocolate.

Adapted from the Serious Eats page above:

2.5 ounces (1/2 cup) steel-cut oats
7.5 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour (I subbed for a half cup of whole wheat, just because I want to use it up)
1.5 ounces (1/4 cup) cornstarch
3 ounces (2/3 cup) confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into halfinch-ish chunks

Dump all the dry ingredients into a food processor, then add the butter. Process until a dough forms. Then roll it out into cookies! Bake at 450F for ten minutes, then 300F for another 15 minutes, rotating halfway.

I made both cookies as detailed in the link above, and a tray of Twix. Half a recipe of the dough filled an 8×8 pan. I had a hard time getting an evenly thin layer of chocolate in the tray though.

Would (will) make again! Maybe just the cookies.

Cookbook Club: The Cuban Table

Inspired by Serious Eats, I hosted our first cookbook club, tackling The Cuban Table.

Overall, everything turned out delicious, but the book seemed to be written assuming that its readers had a decent amount of cooking experience and could guess at some of the steps. For example, the guava cheese pastries (pictured above) mentioned making a glaze, but never when to apply the glaze to the pastries.

I made croquetas de jamon — which were pretty straight forward and easier than I expected them to be. Will probably make again. Will also cook the filling longer so they’re easier to shape. Or perhaps add some cornstarch to thicken the batter.

Overall, I’ll probably cook out of this cookbook again. But I likely won’t follow the recipes to the letter.

Pineapple Upside Down Cornbread

Preheat the oven to 350F, and a cast iron skillet

Melt 1/4c sugar, 1/2heaping cup of brown sugar, then arrange the pineapple slices in the butter

Then mix, in another bowl:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4oz green yogurt (or buttermilk, might be better)
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons melted butter

I ended up with batter that was slightly too thick, so I thinned it with a little water.

Pour over the pineapples, bake until a tester comes out clean (approx 40 minutes)