Spicy Lobster + Clam Boil

spicy-lobster-clam-corn-boil | le jus d'orange-13 copy

What a happy weekend. I saw the classic colors of America hanging off windows, billowing in the wind, painted onto teenage girl’s shorts, and popping up from windowsill planters. Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone! I hope you had a lovely time. All over social media I happily devoured (visually) celebrations over barbecue, fresh blooms signifying spring, trips to the beach, freshly caught salmon, making cheese, moments with family and friends, pie, and so many other precious visual stories that I just wanted to tuck away into a virtual scrapbook, for my inspiration continually and always will come from you.

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韭菜盒子 Jiu Cai He Zi (Chive Boxes)

jiu-cai-he-zi-chive-boxes | le jus d'orange-24 copy

韭菜盒子 (jiu cai he zi), or chive boxes, are another childhood snack, of which I seem to have a lot of. What can I say? My mom spoiled me with Chinese food. There are so many variations of chive boxes. I’ve seen them as big as a dinner plate or as small as these guys here. Like I said in my dumplings post, one thing I love about Chinese cuisine is the numerous variations and regional styles. Every family has their own way of making dumplings, and I’ve found that the same could be said for these chive boxes. My friend’s mom makes the skin with boiling water and ends up with a lovely translucent, soft skin. Another family I know makes them larger, without any leaveners so that the skin is more crispy and thin. My mom actually uses self rising flour to create impossibly fluffy clouds of skin with a crispy exterior, and that is what I grew up on. For this recipe, I altered it by using chemical leaveners. I didn’t have self-rising flour on hand, nor do I use it much, so why buy a bag of self-rising flour when I could just substitute it with all-purpose and baking powder?

jiu-cai-he-zi-chive-boxes | le jus d'orange-22

You can order these at a lot of Chinese restaurants. I actually ordered one at Gourmet Dumpling House in Boston Chinatown, but I was surprised. I see yet another variation: it was huge! Like 3 of mine laid side by side. It was stuffed with the same stuff, plus dried shrimp, but the skin was about 1 mm thick. It was crispy and flaky. It was good, but overall, I think I prefer mine: fat, soft, pillowy yet crispy.

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Rhubarb Rose Mint Jam + Event Recap

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“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ― this quote by Thornton Wilder perfectly sums up how I felt about this weekend. Meg of Bread + Barrow and I co-hosted our first little event / workshop at Olives & Grace in the South End, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Boston. I hesitate to call it a workshop because it was really a gathering to talk about edible flowers and how to use them in food photography and styling. I knew from our very first in-person chat that we were of the same mold and therefore would work in perfect harmony. We sat in a coffee shop, talking about wild idealistic dreams of leading foraging adventures in Cape Cod, teaching photography by the shores of Big Sur, or even just hosting a beautiful gathering at her house in the fields. I am a dreamer, an in dreaming I can find what’s important to me or makes me happy, and translate that into a real-life action plan. Rhubarb Rose Mint Jam | le jus d'orange-1

What a great group of people. We couldn’t have asked for a better group. My favorite part of this event was just meeting people in the area. They weren’t all food bloggers either – we had beauty bloggers, other photographers, and just anyone who wanted to learn more about how to use flowers in food. We kept it casual, fun, and a way to throw our arms up into the sky and fully embrace spring, which has finally hit Boston. And, since it was such a lovely day screaming of bright sunlight and summer, we shot outside!!! You’ll notice that the light is very different from what I normally shoot with, and it was SUCH a blast. And a big thanks to Chloe of Scoopsies for providing three mouthwatering flavors of ice cream: white chocolate lavender, strawberry hibiscus, and cardamom rose.

We had so much fun and such overwhelming positive responses and requests, that -YES – Meg and I are going to be hosting another event in a month! I’ll provide full details in the next post :)

edible flower | shoot + stye | le jus d'orange-1edible flower | shoot + stye | le jus d'orange-8

Anyway, read on for more photos, the recipe for a rhubarb rose mint jam. The beautiful scones are up on Meg’s blog!

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Rose Hokkaido Cupcakes with Pistachio-Infused Cream + potluck + event!

rose hokkaido cupcake | le jus d'orange-24 copyHi everyone, I’m back in the States!! We arrived, exhausted from four plane rides, in Boston yesterday late afternoon (that’s what you get for traveling with miles, I suppose!). New Zealand was an incredible experience. Alex and I did a self-drive adventure, embarked on many trails and hikes, gingerly participated in adventures such as floating down a river in a pitch-black cave, illuminated only by the glow of 2 million glowworms suspended on the ceiling, and combatting sea-sickness to go 20km out into open sea to swim with 500 dusky dolphins. 500!! Before and during the trip, we heard this question constantly: why New Zealand for your honeymoon? The short and quick answer is just because. We’re young, we crave adventure, we’re photographers, we want to go somewhere new and different. The long answer, well, you can go do your own research on the amazing experiences New Zealand can offer.

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rose hokkaido cupcake | le jus d'orange-1

That being said, I’m so excited to have a post ready for you the day I get back~!! Like a good girl, I’d prepared this way before I left so that I wouldn’t be scrambling to take photos and make cupcakes on Sunday night. Like a not-so-prepared blogger, I didn’t have anything written up except the recipe I’d developed. Oops. Because my mind is still fuzzy from travel fatigue and sorting through hundreds of emails + snail mail, I’m going to keep it short. I’d like to talk to you about three things:

1. I’m participating in a virtual edible flower potluck!! See list of links at the end of the post. So delighted to be joining all these talented bloggers. Please go check out their posts – there are some amazing things being done with flowers!
2. My contribution: rose hokkaido cupcakes with pistachio infused whipped cream. Pistachio and rose are a match made of dreams, and I couldn’t resist yet another infusion. I couldn’t really find any previous recipe about infusing whipped cream with pistachio, but I did find quite a few for hazelnuts. I applied the same principle and – it totally worked! I wanted to eat the rest of my pistachio-whipped-cream by the spoonful. I’m never going back to regular whipped cream again! As for the cupcakes, they are a super soft cupcake, made in a similar style to a chiffon cake, that is supposed to collapseThey’re supposed to get wrinkly and then puffed up again later by filling it with a custard or cream. Isn’t that amazing? I found this recipe and this to be very helpful in developing the resulting cupcake recipe. I made a few tweaks and ditched the custard cream completely, instead choosing to fill it with a soft whipped cream infused with pistachio. Yum. See recipe below.
3. I’m hosting an event with Meg of Bread+Barrow!!!!!! and YES it is about edible flowers!! If you’re in the Boston area, I’d love if you would stop by and hang out with us. We’re going to talk about edible flowers, how they can be incorporated as a flavor, decoration, and styling element, and you will have the opportunity to play around with the props and do some photographing yourself. Also, we’re so honored to have Scoopsies ice cream at this event!!! It’s free of charge and you can RSVP here. 

rose hokkaido cupcake | le jus d'orange-28

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Duck Bone Broth Ramen

duck bone broth | le jus d'orange-6 copyRemember my last post roasting duck legs to make lettuce wraps? Well, I’ve got a related post. Bone broth has been something that is becoming more and more popular – there are even bone broth bars popping up everywhere. When I first read that, my first thought was confusion. Hasn’t this been done for ages? It’s certainly been a constant in my family – it was unusual to just throw away cooked bones. It was considered a waste. Instead, bones were simmered in water on a stove for hours on end, coaxing out the flavor and ending up with a deep, rich broth. By the end of making this broth, I was taking little sips, savoring each hot spoonful. I knew I couldn’t just throw away the roasted duck leg bones. I’ve had duck bone broth before – at a specifically duck joint in China where they served half a duck in pancakes with the broth from the bones, Momofuku’s whole duck meal, and a Nan Jing 南京 favorite: duck blood soup (which is SO GOOD, even if it sounds gross). This broth turned out so good. It is a perfect base for ramen, or any other type of noodle, I’d imagine.

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Roast Duck Lettuce Wraps, for Food52

Roasted Duck Lettuce Wrap | le jus d'orange-25 copyHope you all had a lovely weekend, everyone! By this time, I should be in Queenstown, NZ!! After almost a year of marriage, Alex and I are finally heading off to our honeymoon. We will be spending twelve nights in the South Island, renting a car so that we can listen to our hearts and drive to the many attractions in the South Island. Alex had just finished his Step 1 for medical school. For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s one of the hardest exams he has to take on his path to becoming a doctor. I’d say this is a well deserved vacation for him! Are any of you lovely readers from New Zealand or have been there? I’d love to hear tips or food recommendations! I admit our trip is mostly for the beautiful landscape and the myriad of activities (such as bungee jumping!!), but I’m always open to good food recommendations.

Roasted Duck Lettuce Wrap | le jus d'orange-6

We love to travel. Of course, taking photographs and documenting our travel story has always been something we strive to do (China+Japan, California), so we’ve loaded up our gear. For you gear-lovers out there, isn’t it so hard to choose which lens to take? I have my favorites, certainly, but there’s always the silent but persistent voice asking me, what if? What if you need a longer lens? What if you need the widest lens you have? What if!!??? We ended up just choosing two bodies and three lens, so I hope that will be enough. I’ve scheduled a couple of posts while I’m gone, but for the most part I will be MIA. See you in two weeks! I’ve got some pretty amazing collaborations coming your way!

Roasted Duck Lettuce Wrap | le jus d'orange-10

To hold you over, you can hop on over to Food52 to see the Roast Duck Lettuce Wraps article I wrote. I talk about lettuce wraps, the universality of wrapping meat in various materials, and this version including shredding roasted duck leg.

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Roasted Carrot Daikon Galette

Carrot Daikon Galette | le jus d'orange-3-2 copy

Yesterday, all I wanted to do was run across a cheerful field of grass with my arms thrown out to the sides, singing at the top of my lungs. It hit 70 in Boston!! I wore a light blazer, a silk black jumpsuit, and flats. I wore flats. For the first time since Labor Day (not really, but it feels like it), I was able to wear my thin flats without worrying about mud, remaining snow, or gross sleet forming puddles all around the road. This past weekend was similar. I walked around in high spirits, soaking up the rays of the sun. Meg and I actually sat in Stella’s outdoor patio, sipping on chilled glasses of rosé and Riesling, talking about exciting future projects and just exchanging stories of our silly puppies.

Carrot Daikon Galette | le jus d'orange-1

What a glorious weekend. And now, I bring to you a galette of vegetables. Carrot and daikon. I’m  going to be honest with you. I’ve only had daikon sautéed on a pan, shredded and turned into patties, or cooked into soup. But the point of this blog is not only to honor my mom’s recipes but also to push boundaries and try new things. I also felt like it’s been way too long since I’ve had a flaky pie crust, so I put roasted carrot and daikon together in a simple, rustically formed galette.

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