Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl

Sunday, February 7, 2016

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Living away from home always reminds me of how fresh seafood is such a luxury. Colleging in DC, living in Copenhagen - it only gets progressively harder to obtain mah quality seafood. Gone are the affordable Asian supermarkets and come are the mad expensive specialty fishmongers.

But some days you just need a little extra pizzazz. I already go pretty hard when I grocery shop, so I had a ball when I encountered the display + sweet stench of fishies on fishies over ice at Torvehallerne. Granted, it's a bit more of an investment but still cheaper than eating out and a great way to incentivize grocery budget priorities (less trans fat chips, more omega 3 fish amirite??). I also like to justify more substantial purchases by looking at the greater picture - the whole economic & environmental ecosystem, if you will.

Growing up in a small business owning family, I feel as if I've been inherently tuned to empathize with vendors and artisans of all sorts. It's rewarding to take ownership of your work yet also challenging beyond what you could ever imagine. Give me a native fishmonger and quality, locally sourced fish, and I'll gladly support. The hands-on experience and increased proximity to a craftsman and his/her craft makes a difference, and I'm glad our consumerist society is coming to re-recognition of it.
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Anyhow, poké is a raw fish salad bowl traditional to Hawaiian cuisine + now trendy in the states. It's super simple to prepare, refreshing, and totally awesome over rice. I've never had an authentic poke bowl (#goals), but here's my take on it with ahi tuna.

(Side note: I don't measure anything, so take my approximations as you will heh.)

Makes 1 bowl
Ahi Tuna Marinade:
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh sashimi-grade ahi tuna, cubed
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 small stalk scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1/4 tsp garlic, chopped or grated
  • 1/2 cup white rice, room temperature
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 small radish, sliced
  • 1/2 - 1 sheet seaweed
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
       (I didn't have any on hand but def rec)
  • Sesame seeds, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste
1. Mix together the marinade seasoning ingredients and then toss in the ahi tuna. I found it most effective to just use my hands. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Assembly is a quickie! Lay out the tuna and cucumbers over a bed of rice. Tear up the seaweed sheet and stuff it in. Top with radish and sprinkle sesame seeds to taste.

Southern Vibes | Earthy Tones

Thursday, January 21, 2016

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Uniqlo shirt | Delia's sweater (home for the holidays = high school closet) | Uniqlo pants
Banana Republic jacket + necklace | Sam Edelman boots | Kate Spade purse

Some days I feel extra Texan. Plaid shirt, riding boots, earth tones, gig 'em. (I mean hook 'em?) It's especially telling in retrospect now that I'm living in the frigid that is Copenhagen. Expect a temporary lull in style posts once I get through my backlog from home; any ones from there on out would have been titled Eskimo 1, 2, 3, and so forth.

Though I do hear pockets of the US are also enduring rough weather patches - stay safe and stay hygge, everyone!

La Ménagère | Florence, Italy

Monday, January 11, 2016

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Just wanted to share one of my favorite restaurant cafés from my few weeks in Florence. Thank goodness my wallet was never stolen, but regularly patronizing this charming café was the closest I got.

It seems creative food & retail concept trends are popping up everywhere these days. Even so, La Ménagère is an impressive manifestation: a restaurant-cocktail bar-florist-minimal home goods-café all in one. It's an eyeful to take in, but service is friendly enough (by European standards) that you don't feel like you're violating demure tourist code to ask about the different sections.

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In all honesty, the caliber of the food doesn't quite compare to the aesthetics, but I was too busy gawking at the prettys the first time to really care. I enjoyed my seafood stir fry (as Ellie did her sandwich), but the flavors weren't anything special for the price (especially with this babe in town). Happy hour plates looked vibrant but fell flat taste-wise. But no matter, my heart will only allow itself to believe that the culinary innovation will catch up to the visual.

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Honestly, I'm just happy to see creative culture flourishing worldwide. 'Twas a privilege to meet, La Ménagère.

La Ménagère
Via Ginori 8R
50123 Firenze, Italy

Fearless | My Theme Of 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Psalm 46

I'm not really a new years resolution type of person. The most glamorous thing I do to hail in a new year is bake bread at home by myself settle on a new theme word for the year. Short and simple, that's the motto.

Taking stock of fall semester and winter break has been revelatory, as I've come to a number of powerful and sometimes painful realizations. Given my ultra-positively-wahoo-gr8times oriented disposition, I tend to focus on what motivates me into action, not what prevents me from action.

A personal pursuit that college inspired is fluency in the language of culture (take that, all you talented quadrilingual peers!). But as elaborated in the next paragraph, I underestimated the fetters of self reference criterion—unconscious reference to my own cultural values and experiences as a basis for decision (look ma, learned something from international marketing).

Fear doesn't strike my radar too often. Or at least I thought, until I realized its stains on an aspect of my life for a while. As intrigued as I am by multicultural interactions, it was and remains the most challenging to evaluate my own cross-cultural upbringing. Though I knew I wasn't meant to take on familial anxieties and pressures on my own, I acted like I was, and I in turn fell culprit to them. 

The start of this new season presents a timely moment to recalibrate my convictions with the realities of this world. To remember that his love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war. To remember that with more wisdom comes more responsibility, more sorrow yet more joy.

(And most importantly, to eat carbs because life is short.)

And in preparation for the summer internship scramble—to also fearlessly explore the tension between our next vocational, world-changing, culture-making move and how our lives affect those around us (Eddie Kaufholz for RELEVANT Magazine).

Here's to renewed living, inspired by freedom and driven by godly fear and godly boldness. 

Black Sesame, Pistachio, & Honey Star Bread

Sunday, January 3, 2016

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There's something about bread that inspires me to contemplate the greater things of life. Or it might just be that bread-making is so happy-making which leads to a content mind of mine prone to thought-pondering.

Anyhow, growing up both a maker of things and a bridger of the Asian-American intercultural dynamic is no easy feat. Kicking and screaming notwithstanding, I'm thankful for all the lessons my mom signed me up for, from piano to ping pong (no kidding, summer of third grade). Little did I know then that my opportunity to even take lessons and practice discipline was privilege itself. Plus I know all the childhood exposure I had to creative pursuits had a huge role in my future development, so thanks ma.

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However, there exist still many cross-cultural elements I'm left to navigate by myself. Like the most beloved - foooood!! Since older generations usually have a rough time adjusting their palates to American tastes, my baked good offerings to holiday Asian-party-dinner-potlucks never received much love. Year after year, my cupcakes and cookies were relegated to kids corner status.

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But this year, that was all going to change. Look at me now; I'm a big kid.
Which got me to thinking about what a big kid young adult & Asian palate-friendly dessert looked like. Given our pantry's inexhaustible supply of nuts and seeds, those were both a yes. Carbs? That's what the C stands for in our genetic bases. Sugary sweetness? Eh, not so much. Breath-taking aesthetics? A vicksquisite condition.

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Thus the black sesame, pistachio, and honey star pull-apart bread was born on New Year Eve's morn. It has a slightly nutty and subtly sweet flavor - perfect as a universally pleasing light appetizer or dessert. If you ever needed a way to impress the Asian parents or the in-laws, here it is in all blazing star shaped glory. And no worries - it's also deceptively simple to put together...but that can be our little secret.

Adapted from Food 52

3/4 cup + 3 tbsp whole milk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter, melted
6-8 tbsp honey (flexible, I recommend at least enough to fully cover each layer)
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
3 tbsp black sesame seeds
3 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Egg Wash
1 egg
Pinch of sugar

1. Microwave milk for 40 seconds and pour in yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes to activate (get puffy).
2. Combine dough ingredients and knead until you have a soft, smooth ball of dough.
3. Let dough rise in a covered bowl (damp towel or plastic wrap) for an hour, until the size has doubled.
4. Divide dough into 4 sections and roll out each piece into a 10'' circle.
5. Lay out a circle atop a parchment lined baking pan, brush with melted butter, and cover the surface with a light layer of honey. I used ~1-2 tbsp per dough layer, but feel free to adjust based on how sweet you want it (mine was pretty light - I'd suggest more).
6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the pistachios and black sesame (+ cinnamon if desired - I forgot when I made this, but I think it'd add some nice depth to the flavor).
7. Place second dough circle on top of the first, and top. Repeat with third dough circle, and place fourth on top.
8. Place a ~2 in rim glass or jar in the middle of the top circle of dough (don't push down). Use a sharp knife to cut 16 equal slices outwards from jar to the edge of the circles.
9. Take 2 strips of dough and twist them away from each other, making one full twist on each slice. Repeat around the circle until you have 8 pairs. Squeeze each pair together so it forms a point.
10. Brush with egg and sprinkle sugar on top.
11. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until light golden brown.

Note: Best served warm, so keep heated in the oven at 200 degrees if needed.

Oversized Ease | Understated Femininity

Monday, December 7, 2015

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Basic House shirtdress | Zara trench | Ralph Lauren boots | AE necklace | Diament Jewelry ring | Michael Kors watch

{Keeping it short because today is one of those days when my brain is just no.}

I like low maintenance outfits. Pop a shirt on, slip some leggings on, throw a necklace down, and we're golden. Add in an oversized feel and basic accents, and thus born is subtle femininity. (One day I'll invest in a silver watch...oh, graduation goals.)

Such is the beauty of simplicity. 

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