Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tailored Tuesdays

Perfect poolside attire:

Bikini coverup? Check.
Cute sandals? Definitely.
Sun shades? Yep.
Oversized tote? Got it.
A bit of bling? Absolutely.
1. Tibi 'Beaded asymmetric mini dress'
2. Miu Miu 'T-bar patent leather sandals'
3. Ray Ban 'Classic aviator sunglasses'
4. Fendi 'Peekaboo canvas tote'
5. Fendi 'Bangle set'

all images can be found at net-a-porter.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

Keep Calm

I'm obsessed with the Keep Calm website. I've been seeing this print 'Keep Clam and Carry On' everywhere with tons of different variations on the quote too. But besides this one, this website has tons of great prints that are so incredibly charming. I'd love the last ones in my kitchen!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pavlovas with Bananas in Cardamom Praline Sauce

Have you ever just looked at something so splendid that it really just made your heart flutter, literally, flutter? A quick flap of the heart that makes you feel nervous yet calmed at the same time? Quite luckily, I've experienced this more than once in my life. Most of the time associated with something larger in life than something as trivial as a pavlova, but the matters of the heart and what it desires cannot be controlled.
Call it odd as you may, but Pavlovas have always had a spell cast on me ever since I laid eyes on them. As fluffy and as delicate as a cloud in the sky, they're just plain beautiful.

Pavlova with Bananas in Cardamom Praline Sauce

Yields: 1 large Pavlova or 4 mini ones (4 servings)

Banana recipe can be found here.

For the pavlova:

3 egg whites

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 tsp. vinegar

1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the bananas:

1/2 stick unsalted butter

4 bananas, haved lengthwise, then crosswise

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

pinch of ground cardamom

3/4 tsp. lime juice

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

To make the pavlovas, preheat the oven to 250 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, 1 tbsn. at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until the mixture is smooth to the touch and their is no graininess. Fold in the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla. Pour mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and form into a round (of four mini ones, if you want), creating a shallow depression in the center of each. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the pavlova is cream colored and the surface is dry and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar. Allow the pavlovas to cool in the oven until they can be handled.

To make the bananas, heat 1 tbsn. butter in a 10 inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Then saute half of the bananas, cut sides down first, turning over once, until golden, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total. Transfer with a slotted spatula to a bowl. Repeat with remaining bananas. Melt remaining 2 tbsn. butter in skillet over moderate heat, then add brown sugar, cream, cardamom, and a pinch of salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. When ready to serve, place the bananas on top of the pavlova, top with ice cream then spoon sauce over everything.

A gooey-ooey, sticky, delicious mess.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gaja {Torrance, CA}

Some places are simply known for their one item; that item that headlines their entire menu and restaurant. Gaja, located in Torrance/ Lomita, is known for their okonomiyaki.
If you aren't familiar with okonomiyaki, it's probably in your best interest to invest some time in it, immediately. Basically, it's the Japanese version of the pancake, except savory, and except 20x better!
Gaja is special because they have tables where you can cook your own, making it interactive and authentic! My favorite part is conversing with your dining mates while waiting for the okonokiyaki to sizzle and crisp up. But that's soon topped once you grab a piece for yourself and chow down.
There's tons of options on toppings, from sauces, to bonito flakes and Japanese mayonnaise. It's all necessary, yes ALL of it. Mmmm okonomiyaki!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fukada {Irvine, CA}

One of my best friends has been lushing about the joys of Fukada for the past five years, and shamefully on her part, just recently took me to try it out together! Let's just say I've been waiting for this moment for a long time!
We both got the combo meal for dinner which comes with a rice bowl/ don and soup. I chose the spicy tuna don to go with my large bowl of udon noodle soup. First, I was surprised by how delicious the spicy tuna don was! The tuna was chopped almost into a paste, making it so incredibly creamy and unctuous. Paired with the brown rice, it was fantastic.

The udon, which I had never tried before in my life, was surprising because it was so light. The broth actually felt cleansing as it went down! I loved the thickness of the noodles and their texture. Overall, a great dinner with a great friend.

Tailored Tuesdays

Perfect for this warm, sunny weather.
1. Donna Karen 'Sleeveless crepe vest'
2. Marc Jacobs 'Silk heart camisole'
3. Current/ Elliot 'Distressed skinny jeans'
4. Kenneth Jay Lane 'Multi chain necklace'
5. Alexander McQueen 'Faithful medium polished leather satchel'
6. Brian Atwood 'Gaynor cork medium heels'

all images can be found atnet-a-porter.com

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Green Tea & Strawberry Daifuku

Spring. It's here and although Winter is my all time favorite season, it's time for that much needed sunshine. I went to the market today and was greeted by a flurry of gorgeous fruit: berries, peaches, and nectarines galore. I was literally a kid in a non-artificial candy store.
What to buy? What to make? Oh the possibilities! I ended up making Daifuku, or Japanese mochi treats. I can't think of anything more fitting to welcome in the new season. Luscious strawberries wrapped in green tea tinged mochi. A perfectly refreshing snack for these warm sunny days.
At first, I followed the recipe to a tee which yielded in hard, very unmanageable mochi! Ick. But after some further research, I found that the mochi mixture only needs to be zapped in the microwave for a couple minutes (it's fixed in the recipe). Other than that, this is a quick snack that is fun to make and fun to eat, plus it's looks don't hurt either. So cute!

Green Tea & Strawberry Daifuku (Mochi)
Yields: 12 small Mochi
Recipe from here.

1 cup Mochiko flour or sweet rice flour
2/3 cup strong brewed green tea
1/2 tsp. matcha powder
1/4 cup sugar
6 strawberries, washed with green tops removed
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Stir together the tea and sugar, microwave for 30 seconds or until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the rice flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap, then microwave for 2 minutes. While the mochi mix is microwaving, commune the corn starch and powdered sugar and liberaly dust your cutting board, set the prepared fruit nearby and get out a spoon. Stir mochi and then cook another minute. Once done, carefully turn out onto the dusted surface, WATCH OUT, the mochi will be HOT! Dust your hands in the sugar-cornstarch mix and break off a piece large enough to cover the entire strawberry (eyeball it), flatten it out, then place a piece of fruit in the center. Pinch up the sides and seal, then repeat for remaining mochi dough but be sure to work fast before the mochi gets cold. Keep in the refrigerator or freezer.

The Garden Collection [H&M]

I am dying over this collection & its affordability, as well as environmentally conscious approach.
Must... get... hands... on... red... dress.
More information here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Olive Oil Granola

As a baker, you get a lot of praise, because well, you make things that people love and then that love transfers over to you. Nice huh? Well with that said, sometimes I feel like a cheat. Most of the time I use recipes rather than making things of my own doing because baking is a science and one that I haven't particularly mastered yet. I know, I know!

It makes me sad to say I do not whisk these ideas up in my own head and I nod my head in shame when people say, "I love YOUR recipe." Well, thanks but no thanks because it's not my recipe, but that's fine by me too because the joy of spreading good recipes is a reward all in itself. My favorite kind of recipes are the ones you can change to your liking, that way I can feel like the recipe has just a little bit of me in it.

For example, this olive oil granola. I don't even know the path this granola took to find me but the last hand off was Shannalee of Food Loves Writing and boy I'm glad I was next in line for this one! I don't usually eat granola often. Granola bars? Yes. Oatmeal? Yes. Regular ole' granola? No. After reading Shannalee's awesome blog post on this beauty, I knew I had to make it. Well, I did and guess what? I simply love it. Wholesome and filled with all kinds of customizable goodness. Add/ subtract/ change what you'd like, and even with all that math, you still end up with some good eats!

Olive OIl Granola

Yields: about 5 cups

Adapted from here.

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped

1 cup coconut flakes

1/4 cup flax seeds

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

heaping 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

heaping 1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, flax, coconut, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer (use parchment paper or a silpat to make it easier to transfer the mixture later). Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and toasted. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add apricots and cherries, tossing to combine.

RIP Nujabes (Jun Seba)

A tremendously great artist who will be missed. Sadly, he died at the young age of only 36 in a tragic car accident in Tokyo. {Article here}

Here are some of my favorites:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tailored Tuesdays & Just A Penny

Mmm glamour, all wrapped up in a cozy cardigan.
1. Aubin & Wills 'Scarisbrick shrunken cable knit cardigan'
2. Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Striped silk bustier top'
3. Diane von Furstenberg 'Pareses cropped pants'
4. Miu Miu 'Large sequined leather tote'
5. Miu Miu 'Satin platform pumps'

all images can be found at net-a-porter.com


Just wanted to give a short introduction to Just A Penny.

It's nothing much; just a modest little inspiration blog filled with things that make me smile or think or whatever things like this do (link also to left).

Hope you enjoy & follow!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Matcha Pancakes

I've got matcha. I've got lots of matcha. In the form of fluffy, pillow-y pancakes to be exact. Joy the Baker knows pancakes. I mean she's created a few dozen types and recipes that are literally to-die-for. I fell completely in love with her Chai Spiced Pancake recipe. Literally, they are perfection. Fluffy and light, and ever-so-slightly spiced.
So, with that, I decided to use her yummy recipe as a base for a creation of my own doing. Matcha pancakes. Minus a couple ingredients here, add a couple ingredients there, tweak some things here and there and voila! Matcha pancakes. I added quite a bit of Matcha powder which just gave the pancakes a hint of that earthy, green tea flavor. It's really hard to get a prominent Matcha flavor but the suggestive flavor is really beautiful.

Matcha Pancakes

Yields: 20 - 30 medium sized pancakes

Adapted from Joy the Baker, which can be found here.

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1 cup whole wheat flour (you can use all regular flour)

3 tbsn. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsn. matcha powder (or more, for more matcha flavor)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup water

4 tbsn. butter, melted and cooled

1/2 tsp. vanilla

oil or cooking spray, for cooking

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. In a small bowl, mix the matcha powder with the water until well combined. Add the buttermilk, matcha mixture, butter and vanilla to the eggs and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until smooth, let sit for a few minutes. Heat pan over medium heat. Add tsp. of oil or spray with cooking spray. Once pan is hot, pour two tbsn. of batter onto the pan and cook until bubbles start to form on the top, about 1 - 2 minutes. Flip over and cook another 1 - 2 minutes or until golden brown.

It ain't easy being green:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Kreativ Blogger Award!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Howard & Sylvia from A Baked Creation!

What a great way to start a Sunday morning! It's such an honor to receive an award, especially a creative one. Woo hooooooo is mostly all I can say, pretty speechless to say the least!
Rules of the award:
1. You must thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Copy the award logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link the person who nominated you for the award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they've been nominated.

Seven things you might find interesting about me:
1. I must always, always, always finish a meal with something sweet.
2. I'm a Biology major.
3. I'm one of those people who make noises when they eat/ are enjoying delicious food. What can I say? It's a passion.
4. I smile every time I get a comment (makes me happy to know I have readers).
5. My biggest love right now is my dog, Baba Ganoush.
6. My most feared animal is the shark, which is why it's imperative that I watch Shark Week. After all you must keep your enemies close, right?
7. I'm graduating college soon, something that exhilarates me and scares the crap out of me simultaneously.

1. Judy in her Natural Habitat: The Kitchen, if cupcake heaven exists, it's here!
2. Picky Cook, vegetarian-smegetarian, his blog has great recipes, period.
3. Milk and Honey Cafe, where good design and delicious eats clash (in a very good way).
4. Rants & Craves, a new favorite and now my directory to LA eats!
5. Melanger: To Mix, my favorite place to peruse some
6. Shared Sugar, a baking story of two friends; it had me at hello.
7. So Good and Tasty, I simply adore her food photography; simple and straightforward yet undeniable delicious.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Enjoy, my loves!
Just some things I'm a bit obsessed with.

As a sidenote, much thanks to David, a reader of this blog, for introducing me to Bibio and Local Natives! You all know I love to share music but I also looove when you guys share music with me. So anything you'd like for me to give a listen to or think that I'd love, please send my way :)

*Ack, seems like I will not be able to post mp3s anymore, will figure these issues out!
St. Vincent {Save Me From What I Want}
The Dirty Projectors {No Intention}

Bibio {Lovers' Carvings}

The Hood Internet {The XX Gon' Give It To Ya - The XX vs. DMX}

Vampire Weekend {Giving Up the Gun}

Local Natives {Airplanes}

Four Tet {As Serious As Your Life}

[NOTE: these photos are not my own, all images were found through Google images and were edited by me]

Tailored Tuesdays

Perfect for the nondescript weather we've been having lately.
1. Missoni 'Lurex crochet knit scarf'
2. Stella McCartney 'Sheet silk satin shirt'
3. Helmut Lang 'Slouchy cotton blend shorts'
4. Nancy Gonzales 'Extra large crocodile hobo bag'
5. Alex Monroe '22 karat gold plated key necklace'
6. Miu Miu 'Wedge leather espadrilles'

all images can be found at net-a-porter.com