I am a Monster.

Hello! The school year has begun and I am exhausted and always sweaty. Azusa has been in the 100s, and it has been quite humid some days and extremely dry the others. Not even a trace of a light breeze going through. A big fat bummer if you ask me… I can’t tell if it’s worse than Kai’s new dorm room in hot, humid Hawaii, where he lacks an AC unit. 

A few weeks ago, I had the CHORE of traveling to Hawaii with my mom and brother so we could move Kai into his dorm for freshman year at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The trip started off a little rough, because we were scrambling and trying to get ourselves situated with a rental car and other things. It definitely didn’t help that we were all so unbelievably hungry and grumpy because no one wanted to eat the mediocre airplane food. They did give us a Honolulu Cookie Company shortbread cookie, which are the best cookies in the world, but I will get back to that later. Anyways, I hate to admit it, but I was absolutely the WORST culprit. I was snappy and made too many sassy comments while we were waiting for Kai’s checked bags to come down the carousel and my mom was trying to get us a rental car. I usually carry snacks wherever I go, but for some reason didn’t think too far into how I’d feel after a 5 hour plane ride. 

We finally left for the airport and told my mom to stop at this little place called Joe’s Grill Express, which was recommended to me because apparently they have some pretty good Loco Moco. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out. Beef, spam, runny eggs, rice, and gravy goodness in a styrofoam take-out container. Well, it turns out, my mother missed the exit and so we headed out to our Airbnb still hungry and cranky… or at least it was just me that was hungry and cranky… 

Farmer’s Market finds!

While Kai napped at the Airbnb, my mom and I headed out into the most touristy area in Waikiki in search of something to suppress the monster inside me. After a few blocks, we came across a farmer’s market, which I was totally not expecting, but was very pleased with. There was so much fresh fruit. We bought pineapple and bright red pitaya (also known as dragon fruit) which led to some interesting pink pee! Sorry, that was probably too much information… 

Not only were there vendors selling the best fresh fruit I had ever eaten, there were people selling my mom’s new favorite thing, Crispy Beef Jerky, teriyaki-furikake flavor, and cute old grandmas selling baked goods and spam musubi. Speaking of spam musubi, my count was at nearly 10 in the first 24 hours of our trip. Honestly, my count would’ve been higher, but I wanted to try other foods and not fill my belly with spam and rice. 

Walking Village!

For dinner that night, my cousin who just moved out there, came to pick us up and suggested we go to this underground Japanese walking village underneath the massive Ala Moana mall. We agreed to let him take us and it was such an interesting experience. There were so many vendors and little restaurants strung together in a huge maze of food coma-worthy meals. We ate way too much while we listened to people get up and sing some songs for the Karaoke Night that was going on. 

The next morning, my mom and I woke up at the (butt) crack of dawn because Hawaii is three hours behind LA, so we were waking up at our normal hour. We stayed in bed for an hour or so and I researched and scouted out some breakfast. We settled on checking out the 7-Eleven, since our cousin told us that they had some good spam musubi there. I was excited, so we walked a few blocks from our Airbnb to the closest 7-Eleven. Let me just say, that spam musubi was probably one of the best ones I ate during the trip, of course right behind the ones the sweet elderly woman made because grandma love… ya know? 

Then we headed out for probably the LONGEST day ever. We went to Target, then Bed, Bath and Beyond, then back to Target and then to Kai’s dorm… We probably went to target at least 40,000 times during that trip, and I am NOT exaggerating one bit. His dorm looked really interesting from the outside, because it is a circular building. But, as soon as we walked in, we noticed how old, dirty and scrappy it all looked. And to top it all off, there was no air conditioning. I was sweating buckets and once again was so cranky and tired due to lack of food in my body. We wandered around to check out eateries around campus but everything was closed due to special events and such. We settled on a mini market a couple hundred feet from Kai’s residence hall and I bought, you guessed it, spam musubi. 

We stayed with Kai for a little longer, but my mom and I needed a meal more substantial, so we headed out to Foodland. It was the end of our second day, and I still hadn’t eaten any poke, so we bought a few groceries and a  1/2 pound of Limu Poke. I opened that container in the car, and my mom and I consumed a good portion of it in the car before we even got back to the Airbnb. That night, parking was a nightmare, but I felt at peace with it because of the beautiful tub of raw fish in my belly. My mother would probably say something a little bit different… 

POKEEEEE

On Thursday, we had a pretty full day. We walked a lot and were constantly checking the health app on the iPhone to see how many miles we walked or how many steps we took. In the morning, my mom and I woke up and headed out to explore Waikiki and get some food. My mom and I decided to go to Marukame udon which is a pretty reasonably priced udon place with tons of tempura sides— cafeteria style. The thing is, the place didn’t have air conditioning, and eating a big bowl of hot noodles didn’t help. I was sweating BUCKETS. It was so gross… SO gross. 

My mom and I wandered around and then headed back to our place to get ready to pick up Kai for another day of shopping and gathering things we missed for his dorm. We headed out to the Ala Moana mall to pick up a mini fridge from Target, dropped it off, picked up Kai, and then headed right back to the same mall to shop around. I would just like to say that the whole situation was very overwhelming and probably could’ve been done more efficiently. But it already happened and it doesn’t matter. I just remember being cranky that day, the reason being it was past lunch and I was hungry

We shopped around but realized no one was in the mood to do anything unless we had some food in our bellies. Earlier in the week, Kai joked about how he wondered if there were any Islands restaurants in Hawaii and coincidentally, we passed by one in our search for grub. We all made eyes at each other and simultaneously suggested, “How ‘bout Islands?” I don’t think anyone actually said the words, “Yes,” but somehow we found ourselves sitting in a booth that felt so familiar, eating a big plate of cheese fries, along with burgers and sliders to go around. My mom mentioned that it was some of the best food we had eaten that trip, which I had to partially agree with. I mean sure, the poke and spam musubi were delicious, but we were in the mood for some big, hefty, feel-good meals. 

We dropped Kai back off at his dorm and my mom and I headed back to our Airbnb and went out to the International Marketplace once again. But this time, we were going to do some serious purchasing. Remember how I mentioned the Honolulu Cookie Company? Yeah, we spent way too much money there. To be fair, we weren’t purchasing the cookies to pig out on all by ourselves, we were buying gifts for our friends and families. Speaking of which, I think I still have a few cookies left in my fridge, which I will be munching on throughout the duration of this blog post. 

I have to also mention that we stopped at the same Farmer’s market that day, but didn’t score too well because apparently you gotta get there early to get the good stuff. We still bought some dragon fruit and pineapple to munch on, as well as some beef jerky that my mom and I almost forgot to pay for because we were so excited. 

At this point, we still hadn’t seen the ocean, so I begged my mom to walk with me to look for 5 minutes, risking the lives of all our chocolate dipped cookies. To be completely honest, I didn’t care one bit. I even had a second thought to put my bathing suit on real quick before we left, but didn’t think I would need it. I walked so fast with my mom trailing close behind me. As soon as I saw the water, I was in awe. You could see Diamond Head to the left, and the sunset to the right. The water was clear and warm and I felt like a little kid. 

Henry’s Place Sorbet

On the way to the beach, I passed by this little hole in the wall ice cream and sorbet shop called, Henry’s Place. It was recommended to me, but wasn’t a top priority this trip. Boy, was I wrong. When I say it is the best frozen dessert I’ve ever put into my body, I absolutely probably mean it. Sorry, it’s hard for me to commit to statements of that nature. I bought the pineapple-mango sorbet and it was indescribable. They use natural flavors in their products and the funny thing is, they put their sorbets and ice creams in little styrofoam cups with the flavors written in sharpie. It’s far from glamorous, but it is the best darn sorbet you’ll ever eat. After that evening, I made it a priority and stopped by every single night until we left. Something to note for next time is that they run out of all their best flavors pretty early in the day, so try to go early! 

For dinner that night, we met up with Kai and our cousin and headed back to the International Marketplace. We decided to eat at a Korean restaurant that served a bunch of BBQ dishes and spicy tofu soups. We’re pretty lucky to have grown up eating high quality Korean food, living near Koreatown and near our family members who can really cook up a storm. The restaurant wasn’t too special and didn’t have very good kimchi, but definitely got the job done. Also if you look closely at my seaweed packet, you can see that I had a cute date! 

Anyone spot my cute date?

Friday was one of my favorite days of the entire trip. We spent the day on the North Shore and had a slower morning. My mom and I visited the Honolulu Coffee Company near our Airbnb before we grabbed Kai from his dorm. The inside of the building had a giant area in the middle where employees roasted coffee beans in a crazy looking machine. There was a window where you could see people baking the treats for the café area, there was a gift shop, and plaques and photos all over the walls to tell the story of the company. I’m not a huge coffee gal, but I was so stunned at everything going on. Afterwards, we grabbed Kai and hopped on the road for the hour long drive to our destination.

Honolulu Coffee Co.

We spent the drive reminiscing and hanging out. So about 13 years ago, my dad filmed a movie, called Forgetting Sarah Marshall, at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore. He was there for a couple months, so my mom put us in an independent study at school and we left for a little less than a month. We stayed at the resort with our dad and got into a little routine where we went to the beach in the morning, came back to do some homework and rest, and then went out to the pool. On weekends when my dad was off, we went around the island and explored. We visited Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and so much more. It was a dream and I feel so fortunate to have been able to experience that. Another fun fact about that whole situation: My brother and I are in the Cast and Crew photo for the movie and we are sitting right in front next to Mila Kunis and Jason Segel. Apparently my dad introduced us to a bunch of members of the cast and crew. Do I remember? Absolutely not. 

Kai: Post-Snorkel

Anyways, we went back to the beach we played on every day and made a pit stop at Foodland for some more poke. We rented a couple chairs, an umbrella and a mask and snorkel for Kai to mess around with for an hour. Every time he went under, he’d see fish and immediately hand the mask for me to look, but every time, without fail, I would go down right after him and see absolutely nothing. But also I would go down first, see nothing, then Kai would go down immediately after me and see fish! So frustrating. We also ended up ordering a yummy light lunch from a Cafe/Take-out window on the beach, so we could pig out later on this special meal in Haleiwa.  

After we wandered around town, we planned on going to this shrimp truck called Giovanni’s. When we got there, we saw this massive line of people and didn’t even want to try to get into the little parking lot. We decided to find another place to eat even though we had been looking forward to the garlic shrimp plate throughout the entire trip. We were a little bummed about missing that opportunity, but headed back to another shrimp truck we passed by on the way to Giovanni’s. While it wasn’t quite what we were anticipating, it still satisfied our craving (for now) and we even got to check out a new açaí truck parked right next door. This açaí place was incredible. The açaí was so pure and didn’t have any added fruits or anything. It tasted unlike any other açaí bowl I’ve ever had AND it was pretty dang inexpensive (chew on THAT, Santa Monica/Brentwood açaí bowl rip-offs). 

Garlic Shrimp!
Acai!

We headed back to Honolulu and dropped Kai off at school for some other orientation activities he wanted to go to. My mom and I headed to our Airbnb for a much needed fat nap and some food. My pal recommended Maui Brewing Co. for good beer and good food, so we settled on heading there for dinner. I was a few days away from 21 at that point, so I couldn’t drink but I could absolutely eat. I looked MBC in Google Maps and found out there was one nearby AND within walking distance. My mom and I decided to walk over for dinner and let me just say it was an EXPERIENCE. We were seated at a table under a drippy ceiling and came across a couple employees trying to wipe the metal beam so it would stop dripping. My mom ordered a flight of beer (which I took sips of… shhh) and we also ordered pork buns as well as probably the most INCREDIBLE salad I have ever eaten. 

THE salad.

SIDEBAR: Let me tell you about this salad. It was the perfect combination of tastes and textures in my mouth. It was a kale salad with sliced red onion, locally sourced feta cheese, and CRISPY QUINOA. Let me just say, it was incredible. The crispy quinoa?! Who even thought about that? I think that was the ingredient that determined whether or not it was a good salad. I mean sure, the kale was pretty good and the red onions and feta from a local vendor, but man, that crispy quinoa brought the whole thing up to a whole other level. 

On the way back to our Airbnb, my mom and I couldn’t stop talking about how incredible the salad was. We even joked about going back and eating the salad again before we flew back to LA… Or at least we thought we were joking. On the way back, we also stopped at Henry’s place pretty late in the evening to grab another sorbet. Because it was a Friday, and because it was pretty close to closing time, there wasn’t much of a selection and so I grabbed the last exciting flavor, açaí-berry. It tasted like the extra added sugar version of a plain old açaí bowl, but I wasn’t complaining. It was still an incredible sorbet that I gobbled up pretty quickly walking back to the Airbnb, which wrapped up our second to last night in Hawaii. 

On the morning of our very last day in Hawaii, we woke up fairly early (as we had been the entire trip because TIME ZONES YAY… Hawaii is 3 hours behind LA) and headed out to the Kapi’olani Community College Farmers Market. It was closer to Diamond Head Monument which was pretty cool to see up close. But let me tell you, the KCC Farmer’s Market is INSANE. It’s like the Saturday Downtown Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on major steroids. There were so many booths set up early in the morning with vendors, farmers, performers, you name it. I was 100% in my element. I could not believe the variety and options I had. My cousin ended up meeting us there because it turns out his place was nearby. He was looking for fresh produce and of course, I was just looking for snacks. I bought a box of sliced mango (which was unbelievable. Far tastier than any mango I have ever eaten) and a mango lemonade. I wanted to spend all my money buying produce and trying foods from all the vendors, but I had to keep in mind that we had less than 24 hours left in Hawaii and there was no way I would be able to eat everything I wanted to buy. After wandering around for a while trying friend green tomatoes, different types of pineapple vinegars, and a bunch of fruit, we headed to Kai’s dorm to pick him up for one last (half) day of fun. 

KCC Farmer’s Market

We were trying to figure out where to eat lunch, so our cousin asked us what we had in mind to try and gauge what the vibes were. My mom had mentioned that we hadn’t had any good Hawaiian comfort food yet, so we headed to the famous Rainbow Drive-in. We ordered two big Loco Moco plates, another plate with fried fish, and a Loco Moco bowl, which in hindsight was a dumb idea because there was too much food AND we had already eaten a little bit at the Farmer’s Market. The food really hit the spot though, and the four of us stuffed our faces to the brim. We also mentioned that we hadn’t had shave ice yet and so we headed next door to the shave ice and poke place. I know I did explicitly state that we were so stuffed, but if there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I always have room for dessert… no matter what. I got a huge, round shave ice cone with POG (passionfruit, orange, guava) and watermelon and it just really hit the spot like none other. 

Shave Ice!

Kai wanted to watch his school’s very first football game of the season down at Aloha Stadium, so we ended up taking him back a bit early so he and his roommate could catch the big buses that were taking students over. It was definitely an emotional goodbye, but I tried to suck it up to make it a little easier. My mom sobbed and I could tell Kai got a little teary, I know I definitely couldn’t help but let a few tears out. It was definitely crazy to think about Kai being a whole ocean away, but as I am finishing this blog post, it has already been over a month and I think everyone has adjusted pretty well (again I apologize for such intense procrastination on my part hehe). 

As my mom and I headed back to the Airbnb, we stopped to grab Foodland poke one last time. I even snagged a bag of Maui onion chips as well. We gobbled up about half the container in the car and finished eating the rest when we got settled inside the Airbnb. Shortly after, I food coma-ed out and took a little snooze while my mom chatted on the phone and read a little bit of the book she brought. Then I was up and ready to do something but my mom was getting ready to take a nap herself. 

I decided to hit Henry’s Place one last time and grab a treat for now and a treat for later. Because it was pretty late in the afternoon on a Saturday, the fridges with the styrofoam cups of sweet, sweet goodness were running low for the day. I managed to snag a coconut sorbet and decided to try one of the ice creams as well, the honeydew ice cream. If you didn’t already know, I am a big ice cream gal and hold all ice creams to very high standards. I ate the coconut sorbet while my mom was still napping and decided to save the honeydew ice cream for the after dinner dessert. The coconut sorbet had chunks of coconut in it and was perfectly sweet, I was chowing down but also trying to savor the cup. 

More Henry’s Place!

When my mom woke up from her nap, we headed back out to Maui Brewing Co. for the best salad in the world and some other bites. This time, we ordered the kale salad and a burger as well. My mom also ordered a margarita for us to share on the sly (don’t rat us out, I was two weeks away from turning 21). It was a pretty darn good burger, but that salad really hit home once again.

SIDEBAR: I tried to recreate the salad when I got home and invited a few pals over for an impromptu dinner party. I used the oven to crisp the quinoa, but it didn’t turn out as light and crisp as the (probably) oil-fried quinoa from MBC. Nonetheless, the salad was pretty dang close to the original and I’m proud of that. Shoutout to my dad who somehow passed on the skills of being able to taste something and recreate it at home down to me. 

After dinner, we wandered around and shopped a little, looking for last minute gifts to bring back to friends and family and then headed back to the Airbnb to get some rest before our incredibly early flight. As soon as we got back, I ran to the fridge way too eagerly and cracked open my cup of honeydew ice cream. To be completely honest, I didn’t really enjoy the ice cream. I really loved the flavor and the taste, and I’m not sure how they made the ice cream, but it left a waxy feeling in my mouth and it felt like there were waxy chunks of who-knows-what scattered in the ice cream. I couldn’t even finish the cup and was sad to throw it away. I mean I really try not to waste food, but we were heading to the airport in a few hours and there was really nothing I could do. 

It was definitely a pretty crazy, packed trip trying to move Kai into school and visit the places we wanted to visit. As you might have guessed I had an extensive list of food stops that I wanted to make on this trip, but because of all the craziness that came with logistics, we hardly made a dent in the list but then we tried a few places that were not on the list. The next time we go visit Kai, we’ll definitely focus more on food since this time, we had no idea what to expect. 

Rainbow!

Thank you for reading this extra long blog post and thank you for being patient with me! It took a little longer than anticipated to write this baby, but I’m glad it’s finished. School, Internship, and just plain ol’ life really gets the best of me sometimes. Expect a recipe for the Kale Salad soon!

Quiche.

Butter is Magic.

Hello! This summer is finally winding down. I just had the busiest two weeks of my entire life. I subbed at a preschool for a week and grew so attached to this little ones! Then I spent the next week volunteering for Vacation Bible School at my church and wrangled a bunch of new kids to get attached to. I got to use my dad’s camera this week at camp and ran around all day snapping pictures of every single cute face in attendance. I think I’m gonna slowly start weaning my dad off his camera and eventually steal it. 

BUUUUT, Corynn is officially back, which means more Corn and not just Quiche! I am so excited because that means we will be living together so so soon. Blog posts will be more regular again and the world will be more balanced and at peace. 

Lately I have been very into mushrooms, but not the cremini mushrooms or the bland white mushrooms. I love the more uncommon breeds of mushrooms like king trumpet mushrooms or beech mushrooms. They’re a pretty good source of protein and have such a clean, earthy taste. 

Here’s how I prepare my mushroom rice bowl.

Sauté mushrooms in a generous amount of butter.

(TANGENT: I really love butter and would love to cook everything in butter if it was a reasonable option. Turns out a lot of butter every day isn’t all that healthy for you… Butter is such a complex ingredient and the different types and brands can make a huge difference in your dish. My favorite brand is Kerrygold * AHEM sponsor us* and sometimes, I will slice a really thin sliver off the block and let it melt in my mouth.)

Anyways yes, sauté the mushrooms. If you are using larger mushrooms, it’s a good idea to slice them so they cook faster and have a larger surface area hitting the heat of the pan. 

ALSO DO NOT OVERCROWD THE PAN!!!!!! 

Mushrooms have a lot of moisture so if you overcrowd, the mushrooms will steam instead of getting golden brown and crispy(ish).

As far as seasoning, wait until towards the end of your mushroom cooking process because salt draws out moisture and again, we want crispy mushrooms, not steamed mushrooms. Lawry’s garlic salt is my favorite to sprinkle on these little babies because for some reason, butter and Lawry’s is a match made in heaven… Probably because garlic and butter is a the most beautiful combination to ever exist. 

You can also use salt and pepper, or any other spice combination you can think of. Test something out and leave a comment if it turns out well!

In my mushroom rice bowl, I start with a bowl of rice then top with my sautéed mushrooms and add a fried egg or two on top! I even fry my eggs in the same pan as the mushrooms with give an interesting umami flavor to the eggs… also because I’m lazy and don’t want to pull out another pan and then wash it after I’m finished. Lazy or practical??? My vote goes to practical. 

Thanks for reading!

Nothin’ Whack.

Hey friends! It’s Jennifer. I apologize for the lack of blog content, but this summer has been more busy than I anticipated. I’ve been subbing at a preschool on and off, as well as working on my online summer course (ughhhh 1 week left), and doing my internship with the youth at my church. At this point, I don’t know which is more exhausting: working with youth or working with small children.

On a brighter note, it’s one of my favorite holidays of the year! Happy National Ice Cream Day! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a sucker for ice cream. I will eat it any time of the day and will always say yes to accompany you to grab a scoop or two or three… actually, might as well make that a pint. I’d love to share my favorite ice cream joints and flavors in another post, if you’re into that. 

Anyways, for this week’s post, I wanted to share my love for beach picnics! In the wise words of Queer Eye’s Tan France, I love a good beach picnic! Okay, he didn’t actually say that and I wasn’t going to admit that, but I didn’t want Tan’s lawyers to come for me. 

This week, my friends and I planned a beach picnic at Ocean Park. It’s definitely our go-to spot because it is much quieter than Santa Monica. I mean the lifeguards are definitely way cuter at Ocean Park than Santa Monica… not that we were looking… All jokes aside, I have to say, we were a little bummed that the weather was gloomy because we wanted to tan a little, but it was absolutely perfect weather for a picnic! I mean, if it was unbearably sunny, we’d be eating food that had been zapped by the heat of the sun and that’s no good, especially if you knew what was on the menu. 

We planned a potluck style picnic and everyone brought a thing or two to share. I was so excited to see what my friends would bring. I spent that whole morning trying to replicate a salad that I had at a camping trip a couple weeks prior. It was made by a woman at my church. She always makes such amazing dishes to share and she has some of the cutest kiddos around!  The salad was made with arugula, pesto, easter egg radishes, orzo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. She used beans in her salad but for some reason, I couldn’t find the beans she used… or maybe I just didn’t look hard enough. 

Ever since I ate the salad, I had been thinking about it non stop and I regretted not asking for the recipe. Thanks Dad for blessing me with the genes and ability to replicate things I taste without knowing the recipe.

Here’s the recipe for the Orzo-Pesto Salad!

  • 1 bag of wild arugula from Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 container of TJ’s pesto
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 bag of TJ’s Orzo (cooked according to package instructions)
  • 6 radishes sliced thin (preferably using a mandoline slicer or a knife if you’re brave and/or skilled)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all that together and if you think it needs more or less of something, go for it! Be bold and make your own decisions. Trust your instincts. I added a little extra olive oil to the salad because I felt like it was a bit dry without it.

Along with that beautiful salad, which I made too much of, I brought salami and crackers. I love this brand called, Applegate (not sponsored, but hey! we’re open to it) because they use simple ingredients and nothing whack. My friends brought chips and salsa, and another salad, so we ate pretty healthy! Except at the end of our picnic, we decided to watch the Bachelorette together (Hey Connor S. I’m single) and made a pit stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home for pancake bread and ice cream! See? It all comes full circle. 

This is me promising to post more often. Please hold me to it @jenniferifer on Instagram. Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!

Nostalgic Eggs and Jackson Pollock?

HELLOOOOOOO! It is Jennifer, here with a new blog post! We just want to apologize for being M.I.A. for a month… and I’m gonna be completely honest I can’t remember what M.I.A. stands for, but I know I’m using it correctly. Okay. I just looked it up and it stands for missing in action… which I definitely knew, I just have a little bit of summer break brain. Yikes, I start my online summer classes tomorrow, so my summer brain better get itself in check. 

Anyways, so yes, we’ve been M.I.A. for the past month because Corynn has been in Kosovo and I’ve been getting some stuff done, like starting to figure oUT MY FUTURE. Being an almost adult is so hard. 

Highlights from the first month of this summer:

  • applied for a credit card
  • Celebrated my brother committing to the University of Hawaii, his 18th birthday, and his high school graduation (a little too much celebrating him if you ask me… mom, I’m just kidding it has all been fun)
  • helped my mom out with her overcomplicated, extravagant end of the year tasks (again mom, kidding, it has been a great time)
  • Got a job at a cute dessert bar, but quit a week later due to unforeseen complications… it’s a long story, but now I’m sad because they have the coolest little store and I can’t go in there because I’ll have to face the people who hired me… 
  • I got a different job!!! Back to interning at churches!!
  • Picked my online classes… really not looking forward to that…
  • And I spent a lot of time with family! It was so refreshing to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in a while.

Also another HUGE update: Corynn actually started working at a camp for the summer which means I’m solo-ing the blog this summer, but I’ve got a few posts queued up (in my head). The thing is, when she gets back, we’ll be living it up in the same apartment at APU and we couldn’t be more stoked about it. 

So for this week’s blog post, let me just say it took me soooooo long to figure out what in the world to write about. I was so stuck, but as I spent more time thinking about what to make and scrolling through instagram for some inspiration, I remembered just how much I love eggs. 

This school year alone, I went through dozens and dozens of eggs. It’s easy, cheap protein. It’s pretty funny though, I hated eggs growing up. I refused to eat them and only would consider it if they were drizzled in a little bit of ponzu, which is a citrus-based Japanese sauce made of rice vinegar, bonito flakes, and seaweed. It sounds kind of weird, but trust me the umami really gets you and soon enough, you’ll be carrying a bottle in your pocket 24/7. 

I had been reading about curing egg yolks in salt mixtures or in soy sauce, so I thought it’d be cool to try to drop a couple of hard boiled eggs into a bowl of ponzu for a little pool party. I looked through the pantry to see what I could add, even though they would’ve been fine just with ponzu, and found a tiny little container in our freezer filled with bright red pepper flakes. Not just any pepper flakes, Korean pepper flakes. You know, the flakes that are used to make the up and coming, ever so popular Korean side dish, kimchi! 

I put about a cup of ponzu in the bowl with about a tablespoon of flakes. I let that sit for a while as the eggs boiled. I timed it out so I could get some jammy eggs and as soon as I cooled the eggs down in an ice bath, I peeled them and dropped those suckers off at the pool. The sauce didn’t fully cover the eggs, so i just rotated them every so often. Also it is important to note that anything that is not a jammy egg is incorrect. But at the same time, I’m not a big jerk and you should do whatever makes you happy.

Along with the eggs, I made a Korean style rice porridge dish, which is pretty much just overcooked rice but it’s mushy and glorious. My mom used to make it for my brother and me when we weren’t feeling good. I also sautéed some asparagus and broccoli with salt and pepper and a couple spoonfuls of the chili flake ponzu mixture the eggs were sitting in. This entire meal was pretty nostalgic with the ponzu and rice porridge. Lastly, I garnished with sesame seeds, a drizzle of sesame oil, pepper flakes, ponzu, diced radish, and green onions. 

When I turn the kitchen into a test kitchen, there are a few things that always go down without fail. I always spend too much time styling the dish and perfecting the presentation so I can photograph it, which then exhausts me like no other. That dish always goes to my mom, so she can see the pretty side of things. Of course I make my brother and my dad look at my work of art just so they can imagine what their dish should look like and then whip out a couple of Jackson Pollock-esque dishes for the two of them. I usually eat out of the pans and scarf down whatever is left, but this time, I shared the photographed dish with my mom. It definitely was a magical experience, a regular sized spoon and dish, not the spatula and pan like I’m used to. 

Anyways, I have some exciting things headed your way on our blog, so stay tuned my friends! Thanks for reading and thanks for waiting! 

Pantry Pizza

Hello! We almost didn’t post today (yikes) but we thought we’d put out some content especially for our 4 faithful readers! Hi mom! It’s me, your daughter! Anyways… Corynn and I have been kicking booty at writing papers and are thrilled to be LIVING TOGETHER next year along with each of our current roommates! Obviously that means producing content will be easier (might need to bite my tongue, we’ll see how this goes haha)!

This week was probably the most draining week I’ve ever had in my entire educational career. I pulled two all-nighters trying to write papers and get them submitted in time… two too many if you ask me. Four papers, two presentations, and one artistic interpretation down, one paper, one presentation and two exams to go. 

While I learned a lot about a bunch of different subjects, I definitely would’ve appreciated a few extra hours of sleep here and there. I had so much caffeine pumping wildly through my body, it’s ridiculous. Ask me about anxiety disorders in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, or Psalm 63, or even the inherent value that This is Us has on our culture and I’ll drop some knowledge. Actually please don’t, this entire week is a blur and all I remember is frustration and hopelessness.

Yikes that was as deep as corn and quiche will probably ever go. 

Anyways… When I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s for this week’s groceries—which I nearly inhaled completely by day 3 but that’s not the point— I saw a bag of pizza dough. I thought to myself, “why the heck not?!” I bought that thing AND my favorite mini San Marzano tomatoes (which I wrote about in the pasta sauce article!) along with a bunch of other pizza fixings. Except when I think about it, I only bought mozzarella and garlic… 

Okay, look I know I didn’t buy sauce because I had every intention to make it myself, but it would’ve added another 25 minutes to my already busy pizza to-do list. I had to pull out the dough from the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes, prep all the toppings, stretch the dough, and assemble. On top of that, I was getting a little cranky because I hadn’t eaten much that day. 

Over a period of 30 minutes, not including the 30 minutes the dough needed to rest, I spent time stretching the dough to fit a big ol’ sheet pan bc I didn’t want a big clean up… not lazy, just practical. Turns out the tomatoes spewed out a bunch of juices, so clean-up was still a bit time-consuming, which in hindsight makes a lot of sense… duh.

You might’ve noticed that I didn’t buy any sauce. I had every intention in the world of making the sauce I posted about a month or so ago. BUT, as I stated earlier, I was so so hungry and cranky I needed to consume some sort of edible material STAT. With that being said, I didn’t put any sauce on my pizza, so can it really be called a pizza? Let me know at cornandquiche@gmail.com.

This flatbread is super easy to make. I find that the Trader Joe’s pizza dough doesn’t cook quite all the way if you leave it pretty thick and you don’t blind bake before you add the toppings. So, before I added the toppings, I oiled it up with a little olive oil and baked for 10 minutes. 

After 10 minutes, I pulled it out and topped it with slices of garlic, salt, pepper, fresh mozza, red pepper flakes, and mini San Marzano tomato halves. I stuck it back in the oven for about 25 minutes or until everything was a beautiful toasty brown color and the cheese was bubbling. Of course you can get creative with it, but that’s all I had in my pantry, readily available. As a poor college student, I just gathered up whatever was in my pantry and threw it on the dough. Not the chocolate chips and sprinkles though… Enjoy!

Sourdough-ga?

Hello, this is Jennifer! This week, we finally bring to you our special post we’ve been hinting about! Once again, many apologies for not posting for a little bit. These last few weeks of school have been and will be kicking me in the butt and I’m sure Corynn’s butt is being kicked as well. I’m definitely glad to be in the swing of things again, so look out for new posts every week again. 

In honor of National Sourdough Bread day a few weeks ago, we thought we would finally release the post everyone has been waiting so patiently for. Corynn and I have a friend here at APU named Tim. If any of you know him, you know that he is a master sourdough baker.

Tim reached out to us and told us he’d teach us how to make sourdough bread. Corynn and I were so excited. And I mean SO excited. Now, because sourdough is a pretty complex project, this post is not a recipe, but a recollection of our experience that day.

Corynn cutting into that bad boy!

It was a pretty rainy day, so when I went over to his apartment I immediately felt warm and cozy. I thought his heater was on but it turns out it was actually his oven turned up to 500 degrees. (*Note: I said ‘I’ because Corynn is always late but we still love her) He had everything set up for us on his dining table and so Tim got me started on my very own loaf! He had me measure water and flour into a bowl for the autolyse stage. 

Then we waited. As it turns out, making bread is just a whole lot of waiting, still very exciting of course. In the mean time, Corynn finally got her butt across campus and into Tim’s makeshift bakery… also known as his kitchen. Corynn got started on her loaf and while we waited, we just hung out and chatted. The next stage was adding the starter and salt.

Starter is a mixture of water and wheat flour which then becomes a natural yeast. Let me just say, making your own starter is one heck of a process. After the whole experience with Tim, I was inspired to get on the homemade sourdough train, so I researched and began making my own jar of starter. It requires a lot of love and care… like almost as much love and care as you would give a child probably… I mean I’m no parent, but I think it is safe to assume. When you’re first starting out, you have to feed your starter about twice a day. That whole process requires you to dump out a great portion of the flour and water goop and add more water and flour.

my starter!

Back to bread. Now after adding the starter and salt, the next step is a series of stretches and folds. I guess you could say it’s yoga for the dough… Dough-ga…? Ah never mind. So throughout a period of a few hours, you have to grab your dough and stretch it out and fold it over itself. This happens every 30-45 minutes or so (If I’m being honest, I can’t remember how long in between).

But, in the mean time is a lot of waiting. In that time, Tim showed us his cookbooks about bread and another on fermentation by René Redzepi, who just so happens to be my all time favorite chef. I just want to say I was so excited when he pulled out that book because I recognized it immediately. We also watched Youtube videos of cute elderly Japanese women being interviewed about traditional dishes they make. 

Tim also had prepared a few loaves for us to bake and eat while we were at his apartment. Corynn and I learned about how to finish off the loaf and the baking process. It was one heck of a wholesome experience and it makes me happy to think about the beautiful loaf I made and handed off to my family to inhale. I went back home and stole the second Le Creuset dutch oven in the Kishi household.

This weekend, I just tried to bake a loaf myself for the very first time. Unfortunately, it was dense and the crumb made me sad to look at. Maybe I didn’t stretch and fold enough, or my starter wasn’t quite ready for me. BUT, the outside was beautiful and it tasted good! I’ll be trying again soon. Thanks for reading! 

my dense loaf … yikes.

San Marzano, the Best Tomato

These babies are SOLID GOLD!

Hello and happy belated Galentine’s Day and National Random Act of Kindness Day! My friends and I celebrated by going to a Korean spa (we got naked and sweaty) and eating a hefty Korean soft tofu soup. Our wallets are screaming, “help” but our bellies are happy as can be. I’m not even joking, I walked out of that restaurant looking like a pregnant woman who was about 5 months along.

My weeks are getting busier and busier but break is only two weeks away! I can’t wait to get back to West LA/Santa Monica for all the good eats and the WEDNESDAY SANTA MONICA FARMER’S MARKET. Ugh, I’ve missed that market. 

This week, I’ll be sharing a tomato-based pasta sauce with you! It’s buttery, glossy and so darn good! If you don’t already know this by now, I really love pasta. My favorite pasta sauces require white wine, but I’m not quite 21 yet (7 months away!!!!). I can’t make any of my good pasta dishes when I’m at school, but you bet when I go home, I get my parents in on it. They’re 21+ (yes, hard to believe I know) and have become my official dealers. Ah don’t you worry, they know I only use white wine to cook!

My sauce, as mentioned above, is tomato-based. My favorite tomatoes in the entire world are the mini San Marzano plum tomatoes in the red bag with the handle at (you guessed it!) Trader Joe’s. They are beautifully sweet and make for a great tasting sauce with a lot of depth. Sweet, salty, a little acidic. Trader Joe’s, I know you don’t sponsor, but send us some goods because we love you and we are poor college students.

Anyways, here is my recipe for San Marzano Tomato Sauce:

The sauce is coming together, and yes I did take the pot off the stove to take this photo.
  • 1 bag of San Marzano Plum tomatoes from TJ’s
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine *optional
  • 1 medium shallots or 1/2 a medium onion
  • 5+ cloves of garlic (I say ‘+’ because let’s be real. Garlic is delicious and there’s no such thing as too much garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*SALT DISCLAIMER: if you’re using this sauce for pasta, your heavily salted pasta water will do the trick. Save about 1/2 a cup of that starchy, salty goodness (because your pasta liquid should be saltier than you might think) and add that to the sauce at the end to help it cling to the noodles!

Prep: Roughly chop aromatics (garlic, shallots, onion) and halve tomatoes (this will prevent the tomatoes from actually exploding because the heat makes the tomatoes want to expand and eventually the little tomato skins can’t take it anymore).

Sweat the garlic and shallots or onion in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft but not browned! Add wine and tomatoes until softened. Once tomatoes are a bit softer, add butter, salt and pepper. Let the sauce come together. The tomatoes will break apart and the butter, wine and tomatoes will come together like one big happy family. Towards the end of cooking, add the starchy pasta water and mix with noodles!

Putting the sauce to good use! Also PARM! Ugh, yum.

Now, I didn’t include this in the actual recipe because I just wanted to give you a base, but I love to add things into the sauce. Spinach and mushrooms are good additions and you can always include some sort of protein. I have not tried this yet, but use it as a pizza sauce! I hope you use my recipe and my instagram direct messages are always open for questions, comments and whatever the heck else you need! If you make this, please let me know!