You can blame Josh & working at DAVIDsTEA for my pun-ny humor/dad jokes for days. I’m not proud of myself & neither are my puns. I’ve put off this post long enough, so here it is in all of its mouthwatering & wanderlust invoking (mayhaps?) glory! It’s another filler post, I know, oh well, I promise lots of recipes are coming your way inspired by my trip to Vietnam!
A few months ago during work, I couldn’t stop thinking about how my next meal would consist of crab rangoon & some other noodle-y dish. When I walked across the street to a Thai restaurant that I knew served crab rangoon, I was so excited to dip these deep fried stuffed wonton apps in some delicious sweet & sour sauce. As I walked out of the restaurant, I opened the take-out bag to pop one of these pyramidal pockets of goodness in my mouth, but to my great disappointment, they were more melted cream cheese than imitation crab. I continued to crave these for weeks until I decided I would just make them myself after my second disappointment, which was from my new go-to Thai delivery joint. What is with Boston’s inability to make some half-way decent crab rangoon?! Well, I take that back, there is one restaurant that is mediocre Asian food at its finest *cough* Teriyaki House *cough* & they make a pretty solid serving of crab rangoon.
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Wow, you guys, I actually forgot how to blog for a good minute there; it’s been so long since I’ve posted an edible recipe. Last Monday, I received my box of soap goodies from Bramble Berry, which got me so excited to make cold process soap for the first time. Melt & pour soap is really easy to do & I love the instant gratification of using your soap a few hours after you’ve made it, but since I’m a control freak, I need to have power over what goes into my soap. I don’t like the cheap feel of soap leaving your skin dry–something you can get from low quality melt & pours–so I just sucked it up & bought the Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit. I’ve made 2 bars of soap so far, so in 4-6 weeks–it takes at least 4 weeks for soap to cure–I’ll finally have my belated birthday giveaway! I guess it’s way too late to even call it a belated birthday giveaway, I’ll just call it my summer giveaway or something. Anyway, more details on that when the soap finishes curing.
Before I get too carried away with soap, let’s talk about my new edible recipe, which features a mix of oyster mushrooms & crimini, kale, cashews, & of course, creamy polenta. Don’t mind the flattened look of the polenta–took a picture of this when the polenta was at its least creamy aka the next day, heated up–this recipe will produce a very creamy bowl of polenta, which you can top off with your choice of mushrooms, greens, & nuts. It makes a really quick & easy vegetarian dinner & if you’re still hungry, you can grill some other veggies like asparagus or squash or any protein (tofu, fish, etc) of your choice!
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This January, I dedicated a post to a fallen foodie friend in which I mentioned I still dream about her. Last weekend while I sat reclined in my bed against my fluffy pillows, I found satisfaction in knowing I finally finished posting a new recipe for Shrimp Wontons with Coconut Tom Yum Sauce. My former LA roommate, fellow Bruin, & friend Gabriela sat next to me in her pajamas, looking through New York’s live SnapChats. It was Gaby’s first time in Boston & we were planning our next foodie destinations. Without a story to write, I decided to put off writing a blog to accompany the recipe, hit the lights, & went to bed. I dreamt that Gaby & I were riding the MBTA throughout Boston except the T was an outdoors roller coaster. When we got off at our destination, we were greeted by Kim, my friend who passed away more than a year ago. It took me a moment to register that she’s no longer with us, which meant I was dreaming so I quickly hugged her & we were off on some adventures at what seemed like a strange amusement park. I awoke to a foggy recollection of the warmth of her embrace, the smoothness of her skin, & the echo of her laughter in my head.
These shrimp wontons are special because they were inspired by 7 Seas Restaurant, which hosted one of Kim’s memorials. I ate a lot of things that day I can’t remember, but those wontons were unforgettable & it made me wish Kim could still be around to taste it. Josh, Vy, & I inhaled this place of delicious shrimp wontons, but I was determined to remake the recipe. 7 Seas is now closed, but if I can revive one thing about that place, it’s those wontons. This recipe is also dedicated to Annie Kim Pham, who loved her shellfish, wontons, & cheese. It’s funny that even after her passing, we still find ourselves meeting at places with good food. Although she couldn’t be there physically with us, we were there because of her. I wish the circumstances of trying these wontons for the first time were different though.
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This Ma Belle Vie is a little different from others because I’m combining it with Georgina’s A Day in the Life Linkup. Well, to be honest, it’s really not that different. I captured photos from morning until night, however I couldn’t exactly document what happened after we returned to the hotel because that Hand Grenade knocked me out. I hadn’t felt that horrible in a long time, so lesson learned: don’t take on an entire Hand Grenade if you can barely handle more than 5 shots of hard liquor.
On February 19th, Josh attended the 56th Annual Convention of the International Studies held in New Orleans & flew me out for our 2 Year Anniversary. It was my first time in Louisiana & also my first time in New Orleans aka The Big Easy. This city has experienced a lot of tragedy & hardship in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina drowned 80% of the city, due to a major engineering mishap: the levees designed to protect the city against major hurricanes failed. Thousands of people were displaced, lost their homes, lives, businesses, & many were trapped in their own homes when the waters rushed in. Since then, the city has slowly, but surely recuperated. Tourism is very much alive & Mardi Gras is still a much celebrated event. Our trip to NOLA was a week after Mardi Gras, so most of the city still looked like the day after a frat party, but I chose not to photograph the trash. I don’t want to depict the city’s disheveled appearance, hoping to highlight the wonderful mixing of various cultures, food, & architecture. New Orleans is appropriately named America’s most unique city & while it might be a far cry from Paris, Amsterdam, London, or Bern, it is still such a worthy visit. There is no other city in all of the US like it & the culture & food is phenomenal. It’s a perfect blend of Southern comfort, Caribbean & Spanish flavors, & most notably, French influence. NOLA is a pescetarian’s dream come true: seafood for days. It’s also a great hub for meat eaters & veggie lovers alike.