Guys, sorry for being dormant for a while. But let me tell you all what’s been demanding my 90% attention. So far, I’ve made it 1/4 way through this “UX Design Immersive” (AKA UXDI / UX bootcamp program) at NYCDA and lived 2 weeks in my first apt with an S.O. for the first time. Although O and I argued about ridiculous things we’d never thought of – like which clothes hangers to get, our biggest problem is me tending to take up 90% of the bed. I’m happy to say that the blessing of living with O overshadows the issues of unemployment and having a slanted floor (yes, it’s been weird cooking and seeing my egg yolks slip towards me).
O’s been incredibly supportive around the home especially when I’m at this crazy UX bootcamp. I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been sweet to see conventional gender roles switch, like when he helps prepare my breakfasts/lunches while I try to rest or sleep a little longer, and to come back to a cleaner home. More on deviled eggs though…
On the flip side, trying to toughen up from the stupid amount of cat allergies I’m having (@#$@#$ the chances of picking an apt with a previous cat!) and working weekends at Bluestone Lane with all sorts of angry customers. Generally, I’ve been juggling an innumerable amount of ups and downs.
Anyway, this creamy wasabi-deviled egg can reflect my past few weeks: hot, spicy, refreshing, and creamy? nah, but it’s been comforting. It was quite the happy plate for both of us; not sure how long it took O, but I woke up from a nap in his arms to realize the plate was empty; he basically ate 90% of these eggs and didn’t have any stomach problems. That’s what I call… a complete and happy recipe.
Place 6 eggs in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cover.
Remove the pan from the heat. Let stand 13 minutes and drain.
Transfer eggs to ice-water bath until cold.
Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise.
Transfer yolks to a medium bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in wasabi mayonnaise, wasabi and lemon juice.. Season with salt.
Pipe or spoon filling into whites. Garnish with chopped chives.
The two past weeks have been total back to back charette weeks. I started working at Bluestone Lane as a barista trainee / cashier / avocado toast maker / banana toast maker / whatever toast maker, while graphic designing avatars and logos for my UCLA doc friend’s health app, preparing UX/UI design slides for a grocery store while applying for a UX/UI bootcamp program, and collaborating geeky projects with AutoCAD like preparing this tantalizing pie for every mathematician’s favorite holiday: PI DAY.
Every time I think of the pi day, I flashback to my high school moment of being confused and excited to see swarms of tiny students carry all kinds of magnificent pies to their classrooms before first period started. Yet once I wiggled my way through geometry, I learned that geometry wasn’t as terrifying, that proofs weren’t as difficult as everyone made them seem, and pi was more than just a strange 3.14 number to memorize; it’s a glorious number that enables us all to calculate anything circular. Oh pi, I’ve always loved working with you in the classroom and in my kitchen.
So, what pie do we have here? I wanted to prepare a green dessert because I’ve realized I haven’t had a recipe for St. Patrick’s Day and found a cool lime pie recipe, but required too much work for me with the handmade crust and tools that I didn’t want to purchase, especially because I’ve been living with my brother in his tiny cute apartment. So I figured I could save myself (and ourselves) tons of time and money by preparing a St Patrick’s Day pie with a ready made crust that we can all find in Target and/or other grocery stores, and focus more on a creamy boooozy part, with the magic of 2 tiny bottles of tequila, fresh limes, and a tub of fluffy cool whip.Yes, every spoonful or forkful of it… is purely tantalizing. So, go grab your ingredients, your bottles of booze, and whip up some of your own pi day pie for pi day / St. Patty’s / whatever spring holiday or gathering.
Make the margarita curd: In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the lime juice, extra lime juice / tequila, sugar, eggs and egg yolk.
Whisk continuously and place over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until a creamy, thick custard consistency forms, 6 to 8 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the cubes of butter until incorporated and remove from the heat. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Freeze until completely firm, 4 to 6 hours.
Make the lime whipped topping by squeezing the juice of one lime into the 9 oz. cool whip tub. Using a spatula, mix the whipping cream and spread over the pie.
Freshly zest one lime onto the pie. Carefully place a 3″ ring mold over the pie and garnish the blueberries into the ring mold. Remove the ring mold. If you don’t have a ring mold, garnish with blueberries evenly over the pie. Serve immediately or tightly wrap and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days.
I’m not sure how to tell you guys how heavenly and fun this strawberry tart was to make and how delicious it was at every step of the making and especially at the end. I’ve always been nervous preparing dough because of my huge fails with croissants and pretzels (sorry no fails page up yet) but this pie crust recipe was a sure keeper after reading all the tips. If you’d like to prepare the same flaky buttery crust that I had, I’d advise you to chill the butter in the freezer for at least 10-15 minutes, use a very sharp knife to chop it up, and use cold water. To chill the water, put the water in the freezer for a few minutes until ready to use. Seriously, kneading and rolling the dough in my hands felt like I was getting my hands massaged.
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Remove the excess.
Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Remove any excess with scissors or a knife.
Prick the crust a few times with a fork and add a few pie weights to secure the pie crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Allow it to cool to touch before assembling the pie or tart.
Did you also know that strawberries and balsamic vinegar complement each other PERFECTLY? I can’t express how much I love pairing them together. You can read more about balsamic vinegar and how to use it here.
I added this creamy soft citrus mascarpone filling underneath to enhance the fusion of the two even more and to celebrate the refreshing flavors of spring (and soon, summer) I was a bit worried if all of these flavors are too much, but my cousin, who’s a huge foodie and came back to visit us from Seattle – LOVED IT. My mom shrugged me off for getting a bit carried away all morning preparing the pie crust and making a (little) mess in the kitchen…but my cousin, uncle, aunt, and mom loved it so much at our family gathering, that even though they were full, they each plated themselves with another slice. I not only had a whole family’s stamp of approval for this, but my coworkers who had my second tart loved it that they complimented me while I was working at my desk. I’m so thankful that I have this glorious tart recipe for my gatherings. It’s been a kickass week, really. And I’m ordering my apron for my film gig with AutoCAD. Life is pretty rad right now. Thank you friends for all that love and support!
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the mascarpone, sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about a minute, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Beat in the orange zest and vanilla extract. Scrape filling into cooled crust, smoothing it evenly to the edges with a spoon.
Wash the strawberries, slice them into desired thicknesses, and carefully mix them into the sugar. Let them soak for about 10 minutes.
If you don’t have balsamic glaze, pour 1/4 C balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until thick and syrupy, about 4 minutes; it should still swirl in the pan. If too thick, simply add another teaspoon of balsamic, stir, and remove from the heat.
Assemble the tart by spreading the citrus mascarpone cream evenly throughout the (cooled) tart. Evenly spread the strawberries evenly over as layers, then drizzle the balsamic glaze over and serve.
Double Charette week. I finally presented The ChefCharette at USC in pecha kucha format last night. NO, I didn’t fall on my face. NO, I didn’t mess up my words (I don’t think?). Yes I was nervous at first but YES, I loosened up and the audience and I laughed when I told my story of getting caught by JMA’s project director for CAD-ing a baguette while working in Tokyo. Man, I am relieeeeeved to be done with my presentation, because I practiced for a bajillion hours and it paid off and I have a story I can share of how The ChefCharette was created. … But damn, the following morning (this morning), I had to rush in to cram with my team to finish off our site resubmittal… which was due by 5PM today. So I’m pretty exhausted and I’ve never been this excited to rest this weekend (and bake espresso brownies!)
Isn’t spring soooo soothing? Receiving a bouquet of fresh flowers (thanks Diana!) after my presentation really brightened my week. But anyway, back to these cupcakes. I made these mini lavender cupcakes with honey buttercream frosting last weekend for my Arquitectonica coworkers, Gensler and Callison RTKL friends. This recipe was based off my first wedding cake I made for my friend Jenny back in 2012. Because it was a wedding cake (post here) I HAD to test it out at least 5 times and ask for feedback from various friends at the Gamble House. So after several revisions, and the generous help from my friend’s mom, Jenn (a graduate from a pastry school) I’ve decided to publish this recipe. Thank you SO much Tony for the honey from France. It was just enough to use for this recipe. And no, nobody was able to get seconds on these cupcakes. Apparently our desk receptionist rushed to the kitchen just as one of our other architects was popping the last one into his mouth.
Chef’s note: To get dried, edible lavender, I recommend ordering this heaping 1 pound affordable bag from Amazon – with tons you can use for fragrance sachets around your house or under your pillow. I ordered it years ago for the testing, cake, to craft gifts and fill my home, and this time. Also, make sure you test out with less lavender and gradually add more (since it can be strong and some people understandably just don’t like eating flower buds.)
Line forty-eight 1-3/4-inch muffin cups or eighteen 2- 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. and preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, and vanilla; beat until combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In another large bowl, mix the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a food processor, or in a small bowl with a whisk, mix the milk with the chopped lavender buds.
Alternately sift in the flour mixture and milk mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined. Add the milk and food coloring.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, just slightly below being completely filled.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes for mini sized, 1-3/4-inch cupcakes (or 16 to 18 minutes for full sized, 2-1/2-inch cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks until cool to the touch.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and honey until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.
Use piping with frosting 1M tip (For mini cupcakes, I recommend Wilton’s, with the finest one) and frost those COOLED DOWN cupcakes!
*Chef’s note: If you don’t use all of the frosting, refrigerate the remaining frosting in an airtight container for up to 1-2 weeks. Whenever ready, bring it to room temperature and frost again!