The best laid plans always seem to go awry, doesn’t it? I try to stick to a blogging schedule… but when that fumbles and I’m up to my arms in the best ice cream I’ve ever made that I just know would be perfect for this holiday weekend, I have to wipe my hands of this pre-made schedule and just hit publish. I love this holiday, not only because it celebrates America, but also how communal it is. BBQ parties, seafood boils, watching the fireworks explode across the sky, giggling as you see who actually coordinates their outfit to be red/white/blue… but of course, what interests me more is seeing the beautiful red/white/blue treats that permeate the blogging community, like this, this, this, and this. What I’m sharing now is not a specifically July 4th dessert, per say. Instead think of it as an ice cream that screams summer. That happens to include red hues. That’s just delicious, and really, isn’t that the only reason you need to make this?
This ice cream is entirely inspired by Skye. She keeps posting photos of red wine marinated plums, red wine poached pears, and red wine roasted figs and stuff. I had opened a bottle of cabernet sauvignon for our one year anniversary and had some left over, so I immediately knew what to do with the rest. I let the cherries marinade in wine for about an hour, then tossed it with some olive oil and threw it in the oven to roast. I highly recommend you make double what you need, because you’ll want to just eat these wine-roasted cherries straight out of the oven. Continue reading →
I’m really giddy because today is a super special day – exactly one year ago, to the day, I married my best friend. My confidant, my biggest supporter, and the one who can always make us smile. While this day marks our first year as a mr & mrs, we’ve actually been together for 7 years! Seven years!! I love him so much – I never knew that I would meet the man of my life in high school (who thinks that these days???? In fact in high school my mom was so whatever about meeting him because she never thought I’d meet the one so early). I fully realize I gush, unnecessarily, on this blog so I’ll stop this for now. We had a pretty typical weekend – date night on Friday, photographed a wedding together on Saturday, and then yoga (me) + taking Annie to her first nose work class today. Then of course, Alex made steak, his favorite dish. We drank some cab sauv and danced to our wedding song. Then we finished editing our New Zealand trip photos (finally), which you can find HERE. I’ve included some because I just love them so much, and it just transported me back to a beautiful, lush, country full of wonderful, kind people, sheep, and awe-inducing landscapes. It was probably one of our best trips, ever.Two other happy things: 1) we all know about the awesome supreme court decision, which made everyone in the vicinity tear up and hug each other with joy. 2) Definitely nowhere near as exciting, but I was super humbled and flattered that this little blog was mentioned in Culture Trip’s USA’s 10 Most Talented Food Bloggers to Follow. Yay! Ok, let’s talk cheesecake shall we? Continue reading →
June 14th was a beautiful Sunday morning. It was kind of morning that made you want to take your dog out for a long walk- crisp, clear, sunny, with no humidity but a light breeze. It was the kind of morning that invited you to spread a picnic blanket out on a field and sip on wine and gaze at the clouds. At 8am, our attendees began to trickle in, clutching cups of coffee, because who gets up at 8am on Sunday?? However, they arrived, smiling and enthusiastic, a group of wonderful foodies who wanted to learn about food photography. I’m not going to lie – Meg and I were nervous. At least, I was definitely a bundle of nerves. My hands were still stained a bit pink from handling beets, and I tried to hide that as I smiled at the attendees. It turned out we didn’t have to be nervous at all – this group was GREAT. How did we get so lucky that our first group turned out to be so perfect?? I’m really excited to share this day with you all. I was so happy and honored to teach photography and styling, but honestly? I feel like I learned so much from this experience as well. I absolutely loved meeting everyone – there’s something really special and heart warming about meeting other like-minded individuals (aka, people who would actually go into excited squeaks over good food, discussions about props, and enjoying a meal together). I’ll also be sharing recipes for half the menu here – specifically, stone-fruit salad with hibiscus syrup, elderflower strawberry galette, citrus marinated beets with burrito and pistachios, and rosé sangria with cherries, strawberries, lemon, and basil. You can find the rest of the menu at Bread + Barrow. If you’re interested in future events, shoot me an email at bettysliu07 [at] gmail, and I’ll put you on the emailing list so you’ll be the first to know. We will be doing more events this fall. Also, feel free to follow me on instagram, as I always post updates there as well :). Continue reading →
Happy Monday, lovely friends! Since the start of wedding season I’ve been feeling a bit bedraggled. I often feel like I’m chasing the minute hand on a big clock, furiously trying to get ahead of it even while the hour hand inescapably moves on its path. Where did the hours go? How is it already almost July? July is an important month for me – it’s always been the mark of mid-summer, the month of July 4th celebrations, my birthday, and anticipation of humidity in Boston. But it’s in JULY. A month far in the future, to be anticipated. Now it’s right around the corner. June is crazy. It’s officially the crazy but beautiful month. Morning dashes to the shower, dragging Annie to the park telling her to hurry up and do her business while pretending she’d understand and comply, converting to Bostonian traffic-isms and finally letting out my road rage. But it’s also the ultimate wedding month. We have weddings every single weekend plus engagement/rehearsal dinner sessions. No matter how busy we get and how little sleep we manage to steal, it’s worth it. We’re photographing love. Sorry for the sap, but we just had an amazing awesome love-filled wedding. Having done so many weddings, I think I’m pretty seasoned and won’t tear up during ceremonies anymore. But this. This one was so beautiful, so touching, and so darn magical that I couldn’t help but being to tear up. I love these guys so much. I can’t wait to blog about it on my photography page. And this little tidbit about their reception really hit home for me: As part of their centerpieces they had pots of herbs: cilantro, mint, basil. They provided little scissors next to these pots. Guests could use said scissors and snip some herbs and distribute it in their drinks or food!!! Isn’t that just so cute and amazing? I love it. Now I want to have a dinner party with basil as the interactive centerpiece.
This little outburst brings me to this post: kimchi pork belly pies. I actually made these several weeks ago but just didn’t have time to edit all the photos and put it together in a post. With everything going on I’ve had difficulty finding time to really blog. I have so many ideas floating in my head, but each idea takes hours to execute. Food blogger friends – am I right?? There’s recipe development, then testing, which arguably is the most important and time consuming part, then photography, editing, and writing. Then all the social media stuff that makes my head hurt sometimes. However, it’s FUN!!!!! I love fiddling around in the kitchen with a challenge – to make something new and weird and hopefully awesome. Of course, new being the relative term – hand pies exist but I wanted to do a riff of it, in my own way. Then photographing it and styling – you know how much I love doing that! I had leftover kimchi and bossam from last time, so stuffing them in pies was the natural next step.
上海鲜肉粽子 (Shang Hai Xian Rou Zong Zi) translates to Shanghai pork zong zi. What is this strange pyramid shaped thing? It’s a gift. It’s breakfast. It’s comfort food to be devoured in celebration for 端午节 (Duan Wu Jie), or Dragonboat Festival. This year, it falls on June 20th, this upcoming Saturday. Visit any Chinese supermarket and you’ll find vacuum packed zongzi. Or, you can make it simply at home.I call Zongzi a gift because it’s always been one to me. I used to think it was the coolest food in the world – that you are presented with a neat fragrant package, smoke still curling up from the zongzi, completely with two bows to untie. Despite scalding fingers, I’d always quickly undo the bows with one quick tug and then gently unfold the sticky rice from the bamboo leaves. When you unfold it, it literally tumbles out onto your plate. My mom always sent me with a bag of these to give to cousins, my best friend’s family, my boyfriend (now husband)’s family – anyone who would care for some zongzi. Very quickly, they became famous. They were my mom’s thing. Actually, along with the shaomai she would always freeze and send along with me to college, these zongzi also made their way from California to St Louis, and I had such pleasure not only eating them, a mouthful of comfort and memories away from home, but also introducing this uncommon treat to my friends. If you’re in the Boston area, let me know and I’ll send you away with a bag of these as well :). Continue reading →
Imagine going to a friend for tips on making kimchi, and not only does she go above and beyond, giving me advice directly from her mom, but she also describes another dish, home-style: you make boiled pork belly with minimal flavoring, so that the pork flavor is uncompromised. You boil it until it is super tender and will melt in your mouth. Take a thin slice of it and wrap it in a whole leaf of kimchi. Put the whole thing in your mouth. The sour, tang, and spice of the cocooning kimchi will seep into the pliable pork belly and the textures of almost crunchy kimchi and soft pork belly will meld together in a perfect marriage of senses. Of course, I paraphrased and embellished because I do not have photographic memory, and I did not write down her word-by-word quote, but essentially she described an amazing one mouthful experience that I could not NOT try. I’ve been really excited and bursting with eagerness to blog about this. It’s my first fermentation experience and I’m officially obsessed.The photo above is what the napa cabbage looks like before fermentation but after the overnight brine. The leaves will be flexible so that you can stuff radishes/carrots/scallions between the leaves. This is a very photo-heavy post, because I’m going to show you the step-by-step for not only the brining process, which some say is the hardest part of making kimchi, but also the yangnyum sauce, stuffing the kimchi, and using it to make bossam. All step-by-step, and by the advice of my two amazing friends from Korea, Bomin and Matt.I’m not going to pretend to be a kimchi expert, because I’m not. My parents are from Shanghai so I have no family tradition of burying kimchi and fermenting it for ages, but I think kimchi is personal. Kimchi is unique to every family and is flexible enough that you can develop your own way to do it. Some families use fermented anchovies, others use fermented shrimp, or some just use fish sauce. Some bury it for months. Some make the sour kind and just ferment at home. Kimchi is personal. I came up with this with a lot of help from my friend Bomin and learned more about different types of kimchi from Matt. They were both dear friends from college, and we were all architecture students. We were in the same studio, sitting next to each other, so you can imagine all the late-night sleep deprived chats we’ve had. Oh, the memories. Continue reading →
In New Zealand, we drove, a lot. On our first day, we drove to Mt Cook and marveled at the bushy terrain and zipped by packs of sheep (herds?), daydreaming about our upcoming adventures. We talked about what types of food we’d eat, if we were fit enough to make some of the hikes, if kiwis were as nice as we’ve heard they were. We also talked about our dreams – the future kids, the future house (and kitchen), our business, traipsing the world, living in the cottage by the sea- all the rosy things you talk about during your honeymoon. Of course, I inevitably had to talk about food, and I was hit with this longing to do videos. Stop motion videos, to be exact. They’re nothing new (heard of Coraline?) but for me, it was the perfect little marriage of photography and video. A stepping stone to when I attempt an actual video. As I was on the way to Mt Cook, I couldn’t exactly get to work until I returned to my computer. I think this happens to me a lot. Inspiration would hit me out of nowhere when I least expect it. I’m almost always focusing on something entirely unrelated or just not available to start on a new project. Sometimes I wonder if my subconscious is telling me to slow down, put on the brakes, and just take it in and think. Absorb. Process it before executing.When I was studying architecture, I always kept a sketchbook with me. And a pen. I developed the habit of sketching constantly. I didn’t sketch buildings or landscapes but ideas, fleeting moments that must be immortalized on paper. All too often an idea would pop up and fly away, unable to be recalled the next day. A little concept sketch or even some words can (and should) be the seedling of something bigger.
I feel like I’ve been talking about this post for a long time, giving little peeks of taro here and here, but it’s taken me awhile to process these, because I have my first little film up!!! I’m super excited to share it with you.