Oh, Valentine’s Day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a really crappy Valentines Day and it kind of makes me feel queasy. There are the ladies who compare who got better flowers/dinners and for all the men out there who have so much pressure to either select a great restaurant, make some phenomenal meal, and/or pick a stunning “thoughtful” gift.
Well, wanna hear my cringe worthy Valentine’s Day story? Whether or not, too bad. I purchased tickets for a guy that I was dating for a gondola cruise by Cali’s Newport Beach back when I was living in LA/OC and… he basically broke up with me days before via phone. I called immediately requesting for a refund and they apologized, explaining to me that because they have too many sob stories of people breaking up, they couldn’t refund me – and I ended up taking my aunt on the gondola ride with me instead. Did she know? Yes. and was it awkward? Yes; Just imagine the gondola singer having to change his list of songs to be family friendly last minute.
One of the best Valentines Day gifts/nights I had was with my first “real” boyfriend, A, back when I was in USC’s School of Architecture. He knew that I was feeling particularly crappy and overwhelmed because of a family crisis. Although A was a romantic, he knew it would bother me if he splurged and/or showered me with roses (Almost all my friends know I only like roses if the petals are edible) So he did something creative for me: He bought a bottle of pink champagne, made me some dinner, and invited me over to just watch a Star Wars marathon with him on his couch in Webb Tower (all you USC folks know that lovely on-campus housing that I’m talking about 😉 )
Now, fast forward to February 2019.
I am more than grateful that O remembers Valentine’s Day is coming up and asked me what we should do, because he hadn’t grown with many American holidays. I am so proud of him for making a squid ink pasta feast with me, binge watching Game of Thrones with me and suggest we go to the aquarium (no zoo because it’s too cold here in NYC) Cheers to new memories and ways to revive love all over the world.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a wire whisk, mix the mochiko, coconut milk, water, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder together in a large bowl until well blended.
Divide the mochi batter into 2 bowls. One bowl will be used for the chocolate layer, the other for the strawberry swirled with vanilla layer.
Add the sifted cocoa powder into the bowl that will be the chocolate mochi batter. Mix in well.
Spray the baking pan with an even spray of non-stick spray.
Pour the cocoa batter mixture into the pan and gently shake the pan to even it out. Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until set.*
When the cocoa layer has set, pour the vanilla portion over the cocoa layer and slightly shake it to even out the layer. Cover it loosely with foil and bake for another 20 minutes until lightly set.
When the vanilla layer has set, drop a few dollops of strawberry syrup over the batter and swirl it with a butter knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake the cake for about 10 more minutes or until it is fully set.
Carefully remove the baked mochi from the oven, and place it on a cooking rack to cool completely. When it’s completely cooled, slide a lightly greased knife between the edge of the cake and slice into desired size of cubes or rectangles. Enjoy!
Chef’s note: Strawberry syrups like Torani are recommended. As a substitute, strawberry syrups can be substituted.
Guysssss. I feel that I have a new bright life blossoming now that I’ve become a temporary freelancer (potentially with AutoCAD!) and part time cafe barista and possibly, ramen-maker. The two past weeks of being unemployed have made me initially extremely emotionally insecure (1. Scared shitless of telling my mom/dad about my job loss, put phone on airplane mode because I’m so damn insecure / 2. Realized it was a waste to keep moping and hating individuals so I have to get my shit together with the teachings of invaluable book: “You Are a Badass.” / 3. Study a bit of UX/UI design courses then apply for bootcamps and programs. / 4. Actively look for a food/cafe/freelancer part time job opportunity.
PRAISE. THE. FREAKING. LORD. I FINISHED MY 2 APPS AND GOT ALL 3 JOBS I WANTED: 1) Ramen cook for Ippudo / 2) Barista for Bluestone Lane / 3) Freelance designer for AutoCAD.
From here, I have to figure out my schedule to see which one(s) to keep. But, It’s been a huge relief to know that as soon as I was losing my insanity and insecurity, I found relief (so far) in not having a 9-6 job of drawing lines and struggling with construction details that I spend hours scrolling in/out of that my coworkers/boss were displeased with. (Oh, bless those of you who do that! and PRAISE CONSTRUCTION-LITERATE PEOPLE) Although I’ll probably go back to that 9-6 standard shift in the future, it’s been a refreshing change to not be limited to those hours.
I’m so happy to tell you guys that even today at my Bluestone Lane group interview… after competing in legos with other team members, we had to work with recipe ideas. And, quite appropriately and coincidently? they asked for a toast recipe. Yes, which makes this toast recipe that much more perfect. I think it’s meant to be a keeper, and who knows? Maybe Bluestone will (hopefully) adapt this recipe.. By the way, feel free to use chives for more flavor OR basil for something refreshing, depending on your preference.
Spread desired amount of brie cheese onto slices of toast. Broil the toast in oven for 2 minutes, flipping halfway, or toast in toaster.
Slice the fresh shiitake mushrooms and lightly fry them on a pan with sesame oil for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan and top over toast with parmesan cheese.
Finely chop the chives or basil and top over the mushroom toast.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and furikake and serve immediately.
Guys, I’ve (basically) finished 1.5 months of living in NYC, and two weeks of working as an architectural/interior designer here in NYC. How have I been? I’ve been everything: shocked, terrified, frustrated, and totally blissed by my new life in NYC. I am struggling to adapt to my new office because I’ve realized I suck in AutoCAD more than ever (CADing real buildings like bars and restaurants for people is a bajillion times harder than CADing food) I am overall going on a crisis to figure out how to properly balance my health, work, blog, and finances in this insanely cold weather that is just going to continue to drop…. So I guess I’ll talk about happier, more flavorful and exciting things like this buttery, soft french toast ice cream sandwich topped with pomegranate seeds… AKA “ICE CREAM FRENCH TOAST SANDWICH.” Yes, I created this recipe when I was working at Salt and Straw in LA…. YES, I worked there after I lost my job as an architect and wanted something fun to do that could inspire my blog. YES, I miss bringing home free tubs of ice cream like their sea salt with caramel ribbons one every week.
I had so much ice cream that I had to figure out something to do with it rather than just put it on a cone. And lately, I’ve been in love with eggs and baguettes. They’re so simple, and when together – it becomes magical. Sandwich these hefty toasts with ice cream and wow, you’ve got an ice cream sandwich. Top it off with confectioner’s sugar AND pomegranate seeds and HELL YUH. We get an appropriately festive soft, crunchy, creamy, and juicy sandwich.
Not sure if you’ve also heard, but I have been living at my brother’s (until Feb?) and am pleasantly surprised by how I sleep like a baby on a couch here (yay for warm homes and blankets!) If you hadn’t heard, I’ve also lost a ton of photos…I am quite devastated that all other images of this recipe and all of my Stockholm trip have vanished (I swore I used the right memory card!) yet I am looking forward to overcome this obstacle and find my own new ways to photograph and execute new recipes. A few weeks ago, I met with my designer/blogger crush: Alice Gao, who suggested that I invest in a beauty dish, but I have no idea how all of that works (do you know?) and what I could do considering that the kitchen I’m going to be using until February is my brother’s. PLEASE DM me if you have any suggestions of how I can continue my food photography. I’ll bake you a happy batch of cookies – promise! Stay sweet and warm ya’ll.
Slice the baguette into 1/2″ thick slices.
Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk it well with the milk together with the sugar and vanilla extract in a wide shallow bowl. Dip the bread into the egg wash, rotating to soak evenly.
Heat a non stick pan with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. When the pan is hot, fry the egg-soaked bread in batches of 4 or 5 slices on low-medium heat on each side until golden. Fry remaining batch until golden and repeat coating with remaining toasts.
Allow toasts to cool slightly. Take one french toast and top it with a scoop of ice cream. Place another toast on top. Gently press the top down to adhere the toast to the ice cream. Top it with confectioners sugar and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately!