farmers' market


Downstairs from my new apartment there's a farmers' market once a week. It's a very small one, which I would expect since it's downtown and across from a bus station, but it's nice that it's there. I love looking at fresh fruits and vegetables. I think that these are the prettiest onions ever.


Here are two meals I made from the fresh vegetables. The first was a salad with green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, and pumpkin seeds, topped with olive oil and black pepper.


Later that day, I turned leftover tomato pasta sauce into a pseudo-curry by adding toasted Madras curry powder and a heaping spoonful of sambal oelek. I used it to cook the eggplant and some corn, topped it off with fresh basil and served it over brown basmati rice.



interviewing mociun


A while back I chatted with Caitlin Mociun, and this past week I finally got an article done for my school newspaper. Caitlin blogged about it here! It was really interesting and definitely eye-opening to hear about the lessons that she's learned from working in fashion and her new directions for the future.


I'm going to keep this super short today since I'm fairly swamped with work, but definitely check out the beautiful fabrics from her Spring 2011 collection if you haven't already. And the great displays from her Brooklyn pop-up shop, as below.



the solution to carb hangover


It was my friend's birthday yesterday, and I made her a spiced chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and a cherry-berry compote. While it turned out pretty nicely (I've had some very bad cake disasters in the past, so I approach special-occasion basking with a bit of trepidation), along with the noodles and calzone I'd also consumed earlier in the day, it was a bit of a carb excess.


So this morning I was trying to think up a good way to use the leftover compote, and all the usual recipes came to mind-- pancakes, waffles, shortbread, french toast, etcetera-- and nothing sound appetizing. Don't get me wrong, I'm a breakfast/brunch food fan, but this morning the idea of mixing up more flour and butter just seemed kind of... gross.


After searching up and down my very understocked fridge, I came up with a head of lettuce, some broccoli sprouts venturing near their expiration date, and eggs. And thus this salad was born.


Arguably one of the most important skills I've learned in college so far was self-taught-- how to make the perfect soft-boiled egg. Growing up, I never was an egg person, and I always preferred my eggs scrambled or in an omelette over their straight-up boiled cousins. I finally gained an appreciation for the boiled egg after marveling at the impeccable soft-boiled ones that ramen shops churn out to top their steaming noodle bowls.

Last fall I became convinced that I too could boil these exquisite specimens, and began boiling egg after egg in search of soft-boiled perfection: tender but fully cooked white, intact but creamy yolk. The eggs I remembered hating as a kid were either rubbery, with pale, greying yolks, or so runny that the white was still oozing and disintegrating on the plate. After many attempts, I've settled on a successful formula.

1) Bring water to a boil in a roomy pot on the stove. As water is heating, leave eggs out at room temperature to warm slightly.
2) When water is rapidly boiling, carefully lower eggs into water with a large metal spoon/spatula/pasta server, or whatever you have.
3) Let boil for 7-8 minutes (depends on your stove and your heat setting-- I keep my electric on medium). While boiling, grab a large bowl and fill it with cold water.
4) When the eggs are done, lift them out of the pot and place them in the cold water. Roll them around to cool. Crack, peel, eat. (Peeling them underwater in the bowl makes the shell come off much more easily.)

I'll admit that I've never been huge on salads-as-meals, but there's definitely something rather refreshing on eating a plateful of greens... and berries.


why hello again


So I disappeared off the face of the earth, locked into the studio at school for two crazy intense weeks of midterms. And then after my weaving critique, I promptly got sick and spent the next two days cooped up in bed. Hope you had a far better Easter weekend! I'm feeling fine now but utterly lazy.

I do have plenty of new work to share, just no time with available daylight to document it... photos will eventually come once I get around to taking them. The picture above is a sneak peek of sorts-- it's a shot of the merino-silk yarn I hand-dyed for my machine knitting midterm project.

Other than the actual project, something that came out of the past few weeks is an interest in podcasts. I've actually never been into podcasts before, but as the music selection on my iPod became staler and staler during the 60+ hours of weaving (in chunks, of course), I decided that I needed something new to listen to. So far I've been liking Spilled Milk (fun stuff as a food blog fan), a selection of NPR's extensive programming (including the Fresh Air interview with Tina Fey and the live concert recordings), and stories from the New Yorker.

On a similar path, audiobooks also seemed like a good idea, although in the past I've never really been much of a fan-- extreme lengths can be off-putting, and I'm likely a little picky when it comes to narrator voices. I decided to start simple by checking David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day, since I figured that short stories would be an easier way to ease into audiobooks, and Sedaris reading his own comedic tales would be agreeable. It was indeed.

What podcasts/audiobooks do you recommend? I've only been dipping my toe in the water-- help me dive in!




A friend of mine "commissioned" me to make this piece for her friend, who had lost her favourite silver ring. I've been entrenched in textiles-related work for the past few months, so it was kind of nice to get back behind the jeweler's bench and reunite with my old friends, the saw and torch. I think the ring still needs a final polishing, but it's pretty much done otherwise.


It's a simple design-- essentially a band of Xs-- but I like the way it seems fancier when you look beyond the individual crosses and see the negative shapes and ridged pattern. Not that I actually designed it, since I was work from a sketch that my friend gave me so that I could replicate the original. Still, I quite enjoy it, even though I don't get to keep it (it's too big for me, anyhow).

And on the subject of crisscrossy things...


I've always wanted to make challah and so I finally did. Braiding was an interesting process, to say the least, with me running flour-handed back and forth from the kitchen to the youtube videos on my computer. In the end I basically winged it-- unfortunately, running out of eggs to lacquer on the beautiful glossy finish-- but it turned out all right nonetheless. Tender eggy crumbly goodness.


spaetzle + soup


A few weeks back I saw this recipe feature on Design Sponge, was intrigued, and planned to eventually make it. It wasn't until tonight, though, that while scouring some of my favourite food blogs for lentil soup ideas that I happened upon Smitten Kitchen's latest post and remembered that I needed to try making spaetzle.

My limited knowledge of German food doesn't extend far beyond schnitzel, Bavarian sausages and Black Forest cake, and so spaetzle is something new to me. Though it took me a Google search to figure out how to pronounce it properly (shpets-luh?), it's incredibly simple to make. One-line recipe: mix flour, eggs, milk; let sit; spoon into boiling water; remove when floating. I actually used almond milk, since I don't keep regular milk around, and it all turned out perfectly fine.

As for the final dish: Butter-Sauteed Thai Basil Mushroom Spaetzle garnished with Wasabi Fumi Furikake. Basically, fusion at its oddest. But hey, it ended up delicious.

And no, I didn't forget about the lentil soup! A fairly faithful (by my standards) adaptation of this recipe because it used so many things that I had in my kitchen already, but I started it from homemade chicken stock I cooked up yesterday instead of water. It seems like I'm at the point where I make stock from scratch every week. It's a beautiful form of homework procrastination.



six photos, six songs: tranquil

A few days ago I went to the library, perused the photography section, and made scans to keep on file for inspiration-- here's a few of them. I guess I was in the mood for these calm and light-filled images. Ever since I've started working with my Pacific Northwest theme for my textiles classes I've been highly drawn to shades of grey-blue and sandy beige.

Tree By The River - Iron and Wine
Knight of Wands - Au Revoir Simone
So Far Away - Carole King
Acid Tongue - Jenny Lewis (I saw her perform this live back in the fall-- it was incredible)
More Than This - Roxy Music
Blue Skies - Noah and the Whale


false creek

I'm taking a machine knitting studio class right now for school, and our first larger assignment was to design and make a striped fabric inspired by a landscape. Since I'm working with the theme of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Vancouver, I decided to make a scarf-stripe that referenced False Creek, a place where I had fond memories growing up.


Here's a colour chart I made myself to help me pick yarns--I used this photo by Craig Macintosh as a reference. You might see that I tweaked the proportions of colours slightly in the final knit, but it was a good starting point. I was also inspired by the kiddie-coloured Aquabus ferrying through the Creek, because I knew I wanted to play with the bright primary colours against the more muted hues of the natural landscape (and the not-natural skyscrapers, I guess).

Vancouver, False Creek - Aquabus


because I'm super grandma


This little knitting hobby that I picked up nearly a year and a half ago blossomed into a full-blown obsession this past fall and winter. It was the first year that I was dedicated (and fast) enough to knit Christmas presents to go around-- precisely, a baby sweater vest, a baby hat, three adult hats, two cowls, and a set of armwarmers.

At the beginning of 2011 I was itching to get going on something new and potentially scary, and after seeing Jenny Gordy's delightful sock knitting posts on Wikstenmade, I became determined to knit my own wool socks. There's something ridiculously archaic yet wonderfully exciting about spending hours laboring with tiny yarn and needles to make what really is such a utilitarian and basic part of our wardrobe.

So far I have one and a half pairs, as evident above. I'm still working out the kinks of gusset and toe shaping (turning heels ended up being much easier than I'd imagined!), but I'm pretty proud of what I've got so far. As you can see, I decided to dive right into knee-highs, which is slightly insane when you're not used to working with size 2 needles. I felt that it was necessary to do justice to the space-dyed wools I chose (when the green yarn came in the mail, I died of joy).


Just in case the first part of this post didn't highlight my penchant for domesticity, I'll share my latest cooking venture: using tomatillos for the first time. I'm sure I've eaten them in salsa verde at some point, but I've never bought them before, so I decided to try them out-- in this case, sauteed with corn and spinach, topped with a fried egg and served with corn tortillas and green tomato relish. The overall dish was good, but I'm pretty neutral on the tomatillos themselves-- they didn't really wow me in any way, though I'm sure there are more interesting ways to cook them.

After a week of being cooped up in studio doing homework and skipping meals in lieu of snacks, I've come to realize that I really miss cooking homemade food, even simple things. Yeah, yeah, I should probably just go ahead and become an octogenarian already.


after the quake


Five straight days she spent in front of the television, staring at crumbled banks and hospitals, whole blocks of stores in flames, severed rail lines and expressways.

Thus opens Haruki Murakami's story collection After the Quake, which I checked out of the library on Thursday. I'd been curious to read Murakami's work after a friend's recommendation, and Quake was the only title left in the library the day I happened by.

The next day, I heard the news about the 8.9 earthquake in Japan (apparently now rated 9.0), and my selection of the book seemed eerily prescient. The stories revolve around the months following the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and though I haven't read through all of them yet, they're intriguing, poignant, and melancholy. There's an interesting relationship in how Murakami places these intimate, character-driven stories against the backdrop of a massive natural disaster, and I can only wonder about the people in Japan right now-- not just in terms of numbers and statistics, but as people leading everyday lives amid staggering circumstances.


okra + eggplant


I've been told by fellow college kids that I eat ridiculously fancy food. I guess if you compare the types of things that I cook for weekday dinners with say, a cup of instant ramen or Easy Mac or slices of takeout pizza, I am practically gourmet. But really, it's all pretty simple. While I do love reading gorgeous food blogs (like these), I'm not much of a recipe follower-- I'm more of a throw-all-the-stuff-in-the-fridge-together type of person. Cooking is essentially my dorkily domestic method of procrastination.


This brings me to the meal that I whipped up last night. Okra and eggplant are two vegetables that I hated as a youngster and have now magically become some of my favourites. The change of heart might have had a little bit to do with maturity and a lot to do with at a kickass sambal rendition at Malaysian restaurant back home in Vancouver.


Admittedly, my kitchen is a fledgling one, and I sadly lack the dried red chiles, tamarind, lemongrass, and candlenuts needed for that Malaysian authenticity. I do, however, have a package of dried shrimp that travelled cross-continentally with me in my suitcase, and it makes a world of difference in flavour when you've got sparse pantry shelves.


And after soaking them, I sauteed them with yellow onions, garlic, and ginger... which produces a decidedly heavenly aroma. Throw in some Thai fish sauce and it's a pretty damn good attempt for a college apartment kitchen.


From what I've seen and read, some people like to chop up their okra into diagonal slices. I prefer them whole (though with the tips and caps trimmed), so that they keep their crunch and all their slime intact. Whatever floats your boat.



So there are probably reasons why I abandoned this blog, and why I'm (hopefully) back at it, but isn't it more fun to talk about food? I have ideas for some other things going forward... right now, I'm starting fresh.