Leeks (& Lykke Li)

The glorious bounty that comes with Fall makes me want to do a jig of joy. Yes, squashes and apples are wonderful, but the two that make my heart sing are leeks and persimmons. I haven’t done a cooking post in a while so thought I’d feature a most delightful dinner I had a couple nights ago. And, because I was thinking about the word “leek” a lot, some Lykke Li seemed fitting as the chosen culinary musical accompaniment. (This song, specifically.)

I’ve been touting this word, “bricoleur,” around to the bemusement of friends, but it truly defines the way I prefer to do my cooking. And many other creative endeavors, for that matter. I make things with whatever happens to be available around me and judiciously throw things together. And that is how this leek-y dish was born!

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Apologies for the terribly wrinkled linen. Hopefully that nice wooden spoon is successfully distracting!

In the fridge: leftover anchovy + dashi stock, already chopped leeks + shallots, and some springy dino kale. In the cupboard: somen noodles. Leeks are so sweet and good on their own that I just let them do their own thing in a pan with some shallots, then spruced up regular kale chips by adding an ever so thin drizzle of sesame oil. I added some memmi soup base to the stock, soft-boiled an egg, chopped up some kimchi and shazam, a new Fall-favorite dish was born! So easy and so good.

Color Me | Mint

[Color-Me]-MintAutumn is officially here, the air is getting snappier, and adding another layer is becoming necessary, but I wanted to do one last tribute to summer. Mint in its more subtle and gray tones is when I like it best, and when it reminds me of summer most. I love the beginning of any new season, though often times I feel rushed to say a proper farewell to the previous one. I will dearly, sorely miss the summer days of adventuring in Europe, of leisurely reading in sunny cafes, and of justifying two ice cream cones in one day. G’bye, summer! Thank you for being so good to me! (But the Autumn palette is such a good one, I’ll probably be back with a post about that quite soon, heh.)

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Current Reads

Happy Monday! If you remember this Paris post, a nice looking magazine first made its appearance into my photographs, where I unabashedly displayed my penchant for arranging aesthetically pleasing things. I also mentioned exploring Artwords Bookshop in the previous London post, as well as the poor state of my wallet afterwards. These beautiful magazines are the wonderful culprit, but I have no regrets as I’ve been so inspired by the writing and photographs within the pages of the Travel Almanac, The Gourmand, and Hole and Corner. Here are documentations from the circumstance in which I read each journal and my favorite quote from each:

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This was taken as I was sadly packing to leave beloved Cambridge. I did a similar post like this about my airplane necessities from when I went to Japan (here) but this is the live version!

Ned Beauman, on his developing love for all things gastronomical – “Recently I went to a restaurant and had ‘ama-ebi, smoked lime yogurt, radish, and bee pollen.’ That’s the point when you look at the menu, and think that, yes, we are witnessing the decadent phase of our civilization. But then it’s unfair to single out food, because everything I do in my life is representative of that. It’s not like anything else I do is more ‘real.’ My whole lifestyle is decadent!”

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And this one taken a couple days afterwards, when I was so jet-lagged but so determined to fight it.

Ella Carstairs, on her straw museum- “There is so much to see here. The rice straw from the Far East. Wild oats, which are her favorite ‘because the colour is so soft–and it’s long.’ A doll’s house entirely made of straw. A Tutankamun. Everyone’s seen a corn dolly but have they seen a bodice made of crocheted straw thread? ‘Everybody thinks all you do with straw is make corn dollies. It’s the most peculiar thing!'”

And my favorite quote from Travel Almanac:

Carsten Höller – “I think [traveling] makes you a foreigner to yourself, it gives you a certain distance. It’s almost like taking you out of your comfortable way of sitting in yourself. This might give you the opportunity to see yourself differently–possibly.”

After reading these three, I just wonder and marvel at how many magazines out there that I’ve never heard of or seen! (And I’m a little thankful, cause then my wallet would be extra sad and skinny.) But I’d love to hear any recommendations!

City Squares | London pt 2

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How my heart already yearns for London! Though I’m officially back and settled in the SF Bay Area, my mind still occasionally wanders to the incredible adventures had and to be had in London. Went on several day trips to different neighborhoods including Islington, Covent Garden, the Strand, and Shoreditch, and each day felt so serendipitous in all the random discoveries and cool sights we chanced upon. When we got off the tube, I only had a list of possible destinations AKA must-eats and everything else just fell into place. (Important sidenote: When I plan my day, I’m very much inclined to do so by planning everything else around what I want to eat. Embarrassing? Maybe. Yes. Oh well!) Here are some of my favorites:

– One of Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurants in Islington, where I got to see the glorious eggplant, yogurt, pomegranate seed recipe come to life and taste numerous other delectable things! Their flourless confections were perfect for dessert, too.
– Albion in Shoreditch, a cafe, bakery, and shop that has a delightful and bright interior, crazy good scones, and yummy, yummy kedgeree.
– Another gem in Shoreditch, one which I could have spent hours in, is called Artwords Bookshop. I have never seen such a well-curated and well-stocked bookshop before! Especially in those design and art books/magazines. My poor wallet!
– London has a slew of fantastic museums and galleries, mostly all for free, and the photo I included here is from Tate Modern Art Museum. But fun story from the National Portrait Gallery: on Friday nights, they have later hours and planned activities, which I only learned because we were escaping from some surprise rain. We stumbled upon many folks sketching in the hall with all the busts, and some sketches were truly impressive! It’s completely free to join in on the fun, so we grabbed some paper, sketchboards, and chalk for ourselves and had a good time drawing men busts showcasing a diverse range of facial hair.
– If you’re craving Indian food, and want it in a hip environment, pick Dishoom! So many flavors, all so tasty. We went to Dishoom in Covent Garden, but I passed by the other one in Shoreditch and it might have been the cooler-looking space. Conclusion? Shoreditch is just the best.

P.S. I’m quite sad that this will probably be the last of the CIty Squares series from my travels in Europe…time to go back!!

City Squares | Paris

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It’s a little crazy, how quickly and deeply I fell in love with Paris. For all the hype/literature/cinema/everything that is always said about Paris, I thought my high expectations would surely not be met, but I’m so glad they were and more! It helped that a certain gentleman, fresh baguette in hand, was waiting to meet me at a small park in Montmarte after two months of being apart. Exploring Paris with Garrett and our friend Michael, and other wonderful friends was surreal and it made the entire weekend that much more special. I’m already scheming as to how I can get back to this incredible city ASAP, and I have Marais at the top of my list for neighborhoods to explore. Some favorites (although actually everything was my favorite):

– Rue de Montorgueil. A lovely street lined with fromageries, boulangeries, patisseries, and so much more that I didn’t get to quite explore as we were pressed for time. This article was very helpful though!
– Picnic-ing at the Versailles gardens, complete with the stinkiest of cheese, a bottle of rosé, and huge baguettes. We might have also had an obnoxious dance party to some Phoenix to aid in digestion…
– Strolling along the Seine, which was even more beautiful than I imagined. There was also an interactive portion, with a giant chalkboard, fun games and maps painted on the cement, and pop-up restaurants/cafes that made the Seine a bustling, fun place to be on Saturday evening.
– Le Marais! I only got a tiny glimpse of this neighborhood, but the falafels, cool bar/bookshop, and other little shops I sorely wish we could’ve popped into, made me determined to go back next time when in Paris.
– Musee de Orsay. They had an awesome temporary Fauvist exhibit, but the Impressionist Gallery took my breath away 10+ times. Renoir! Manet! Monet! Degas! SO much beauty!!! Even though we got to enter the Louvre for free (after 6pm on Friday nights for 26 and under), the Orsay was my hands down favorite.

Paris, you’ve stolen my heart! ‘Til next we meet!