Broccolini, Garlic and Goat Cheese Galette


This recipe is a cross between one I found on Smitten Kitchen as well as one from good old Martha.  I used the dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen (they are just so convincing in their narratives), but more closely followed Martha’s preparation of filling ingredients because, well, it was closer to what I had in my fridge.



I followed this Smitten Kitchen recipe directions completely.



1 pound of broccolini washed and cut into 3-4 inch stalks half – with thick spears cut in half lengthwise.

2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of parmesan cheese

3/4 cup of goat cheese

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 lemon

To prepare filling:

1.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil into a large skillet on medium-high heat and drop in sliced garlic for about 15 seconds until soft.

2.  Add cut and washed broccolini and toss on high heat in pan with desired salt and pepper for about 5 minutes then remove from heat.  Add lemon juice and toss. [Note: I stored my broccolini and made my dough the night before; allowing me to just assemble and bake today]


3.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

4.  Roll out pastry dough on parchment paper and add half of your parmesan across the bottom center of the dough where your broccolini, garlic and goat cheese will be piled.


5.  Add broccolini, garlic and crumbled goat cheese evenly onto the pastry center.


6.  Fold sides and transfer to baking sheet.


7.  Brush the top/exposed pieces of goat cheese and broccolini with olive oil, and brush exposed pastry crust with egg wash.


8.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let rest for 5 minutes before transferring to plate.


[Note: baking on parchment paper made it extremely easy to transfer to dish]


Baked Asian Turkey Buns


When I was home this Thanksgiving my mother taught me how to make Vietnamese steamed chicken buns based on a Charles Phan’s recipe we found at my sister’s house (cookbook highly recommended).  I did my own variation at home that was a little more simplified, and baked (which doesn’t require large steamers, and tastes better reheated).  I took out a few of the ingredients and also substituted in ground turkey which is easier to find at your local grocery store.


What you’ll need (recipe makes 16 buns):


3 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup warm water

1 packet of active dry yeast

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 beaten egg (for egg wash before baking)



1 pound ground turkey (not too lean)

1 large white onion minced

1-3 shallot onions minced, depending on size

2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 teaspoons of shallot oil

1 tablespoon of fish sauce



1.) Dissolve sugar into warm water, then add yeast and let sit for 10 minutes (don’t stir).  The mixture should foam up – if not, you can assume your yeast is not active and should restart the mixture with new yeast.


2.) Combine mixture with sifted flour and oil and knead for 10 minutes.  Note: I used my dough hook on my Cuisinart for the first time and found I still had to knead it in the end.  It saved me about 6 or 7 minutes of kneading but probably still not worth the clean up.

3.) Form your kneaded dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl, making sure the entire ball is coated in oil (to prevent the outside from hardening).  Cover bowl and dough with a kitchen towel and let rise for 2 hours in a warm place.  Note: I usually warm the oven to 175 degrees, turn off, and then place dough in the oven to rise.

4.) While the dough rises, sauté garlic in the shallot oil in a large skillet for about 30 seconds or until garlic is brown.  Add in minced shallot and white onions and toss/saute until browned.  Combine sauteed onions with the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well.

5.) After dough has risen (should have doubled in size), punch down dough and form into a long tube shape; then cut into sixteen pieces.  Keep dough from drying out by placing a damp paper towel over them while you roll them out one by one.

6.) Before rolling, form the single-bun-sized portion of dough into a tight ball, then place on rolling surface and press lightly down.  Only roll out the edges of the ball, working clockwise, constantly rotating your dough as it expands.  This will help keep the center of the dough should be much thicker than the edges.

7.) Place dough in your left hand (or non-dominant hand) and add 1/16th of your filling mixture to the center of the dough.  Pinch dough counter-clockwise with your right had as illustrated in this video, until the dough is completely sealed around your filling.  Note: Since I am still terrible at this, as illustrated by the sad picture below, I turned all my buns upside down so you just saw the smooth pretty side. Tastes the same, I swear.


8.) Space out completed buns on a lined cookie sheet and let rise for 30 minutes before baking.

9.) Using a brush, spread a thin layer of beaten egg over buns to add a nice golden finish.

10.) Cook in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about  20-25 minutes or until golden brown.


Serve warm and enjoy!

Food Coma


{Linda’s view from our brunch after Thanksgiving}

After a great weekend (OK, full week) of eating and catching up with friends and family, we’re back in Seattle and ready for winter.  With Thanksgiving behind us its time to focus on finishing up our apartment, and getting ready for Christmas guests and gifts.  Going to try and post some good DIY going on with these things this month.  In the meantime, happy Monday :).

DIY: Meyer Lemon and Jade Wreath


What you’ll need:


1. Wire wreath base found at Micheal’s, but similar can be found online here.

2. Natural materials for personalized wreath (ours came from our backyard).

3. Green floral wire (used 22 gauge) to secure lemons and branches onto the wreath, similar can be found here.

4. Incredibly crafty mother who came up and actually executed this idea.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and see you next week!

Efficient Kitchen: Lily Pad


My father-in-law introduced me to this adorable and super handy storage tool last week.  The Lily Pad is a silicon sheet that you place over any round, continuous surface for air-tight food storage without using plastic saran/cling wrap.


I’ve been using it everyday since I bought it; it even worked perfectly to cover my usually awkward-to-cover Cuisinart food processor when I had leftover cream puff filling (not that it lasted that long in the fridge).  Would make a perfect holiday gift for your favorite foodie.

Around my Hometown

It’s been a long time since I lived in Mill Valley. I grew up there for elementary school and high school, and have spent a few short stints since, but nothing long term. But it’s the place where I grew up with my parents, learned to drive and make friends, made really poor fashion choices, and captained my high school wrestling team. A lot of cringe-worthy growth happened here.
Since leaving Mill Valley, I’ve called eight cities home. Each new city also has distinct favorite neighborhoods, restaurants, and old memories of learning and reinvention. Each new city taught me how to be a new person, usually just for a year or two, before I headed on to a new place to be newborn all over again. While each of these cities are truly special, nothing really ever compares to your hometown.


Coming home to Mill Valley, California always ignites an almost aggressive “local” mentality. Sure, I’ve lived in places long enough to feel like I know them, but I’ve never considered myself a local anywhere else but this place. Where I know so many hiking trails without names, and can tell you what a “Darrel’ is and why you shouldn’t date one. Normally a timid driver, I drive around this place like a maniac because I know every lane, turn, speed limit, and alley; honking and cursing at tourist drivers who have no idea there’s more than one way to drive to Stinson Beach. Driving to Stinson takes my normally much faster driving husband about 45 minutes, I am confident I can there in safely under 30.
I don’t want to call what I do when I get home regressive exactly, but you get a weird catalog of local knowledge when you know a place so intimately, but only as a teenager. I can’t help but inadvertently slow down outside of 7-11 or In-n-Out late at night to see, you know, “if I know anyone there,” while my husband looks on in confusion as I survey carloads of teenagers. I call every restaurant and store by the place it used to be 15 years ago, such as, “Where Sakes Alive used to be,” or, “That bakery where the hardware store was,” or, “That hill where we used to drink 40’s on a Tuesday night.” I assume it must feel like when Evan showed me the “Best Teriyaki Chicken” in Seattle, one of the best foodie cities in the world. I sat with him next to crack heads downtown and ate $5 plates of teriyaki chicken smothered in ranch dressing, thinking, “Yeah, if I was 16, this would have been pretty amazing.”


I have often asked my co-workers, most of which are ex-patriots with fully grown families of their own, about their hometowns and how often they go back. I wait to hear stories about how they summer there every year, bringing their children and grandchildren to play in each of the parks they once did as children themselves. Instead I usually hear, “I don’t go there anymore; all my friends and family have also moved on. What would be the point?” As a transient with no other real home base, I find this resolution to be incredibly unsettling. If anything, coming back after being abroad and away for so many years can make my hometown feel closer than it really is. I find myself regarding everyone who went to my high school as if they were a distant relative at a family reunion. I assume they’ve surely heard of me from one of my former teachers, coaches or our at least our grumpy Uncle Charles. And if they haven’t, they should at least fake it. If I see someone with a Tamalpais High School Baseball T-shirt I want to scream out, “T-High! You know!”
I take my small town mentality with me pretty seriously wherever I go. For the past year I couldn’t hold my excitement from hearing an American accent, let alone someone from the west coast. If I met someone from California I’d immediately do everything just short of asking them to spend Thanksgiving with my family. If you saw me running into someone wearing clothing from my college (a place that regularly holds 40,000+ students), you would probably assume they had been my prom date. I can’t help but pounce on them saying, “Go Bears!” Only to usually get a quizzical look back before they finally look down and say, “This is my roommates sweatshirt,” or, “Uh, yeah, I guess I visited there once,” or, “Just please stop hugging me, I don’t know what prom you’re talking about.”
I love being in new places, but truly at the cost of being away from where I’m from. Seeing someone from where I’m from has been an occurrence so rare, I can feel it light up my eyes and heart and voice as I go through all the things I love, miss, and can’t stand about being where we’re from. So over this Thanksgiving week, when I’m actually in California, in the bay area, in my hometown, and see someone with my high school sweatshirt, it takes just about everything I have to restrain from saying, “Hey! Can you believe this?!” Because, even though I know we may be growing apart, it’s still a rare reunion of me and where I’m from.

Mountain Kitchens


I’ve written about all the great food we ate on our Himalayan trek this fall, but wanted to emphasize the impressive kitchens and food supply systems we saw up and down these mountains communities.  All fully stocked with snickers, naturally :).



{Stopping for lunch}


{Staying warm while making tea}


{Transporting goods between villages}


{And of course, between buildings}




When trekking last September, Diana’s Cuban heritage implored her to carry a heavy set of dominoes all the way up the mountain.  I can’t emphasize how much fun the four of us had playing dominoes. Four people is the ideal number to play, and we would do it pretty much every night drinking hot whiskey with lemon and honey.  A highly recommended past time for parties of four.


Wynwood – Miami, Florida

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In Miami, Florida my friend and old MIT classmate Benji  gave us an amazing “city planning” tour right off the plane from the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning.  It turned out to be the perfect cure for a Caribbean hangover, especially for the birthday girl who got to sleep it off in the backseat of the car.

I had gone to middle school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida which makes Miami familiar (as in, “Take me to the most delicious pork in the world, I know it’s here,” kind of way; which Benji totally nailed by getting pan con lechon here), but also exciting to see how much the city has changed, particularly in our tour of Wynwood, an incredible art district that seems to be booming. Cute restaurants and coffee shops abound between industrial block-sized art projects and parks.

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{Adorable and most fresh Panther Coffee}

Caribbean Craved


My first stop after leaving the World Bank was to celebrate my girlfriend’s 30th birthday in the Dominican Republic, and then a few days in Miami, Florida to visit my friends Jonathan and Benji. Beach vacation in the DR included a lot of sunbathing, embarrassing banana boat rides, and cocktails. But like any 30 and over vacation, it was counter-balanced with equal parts water and sunscreen.

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{The Birfday Girl}



{Spotting the ultimate booze cruise}

It was awesome being a tourist in a bathing suit after a Delhi summer and before a Seattle winter. Good memories to bring into these shorter and colder days.

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