Green Tea Ice Cream

I admit defeat.  Following the summer high off of our trip to Japan, I was committed to post a week, then post a 2 weeks, then… after 2 months of non-stop / non-glamorous travel and a week-long cold, I let my writing commitment slip. Aside from not blogging consistently, I know it’s REALLY bad when the stack of disposable utensils from ordering delivery (that I can’t bear to throw out) starts piling up and jams up our kitchen drawer. NOICE.

Speaking of my forever cold, soups and teas are standard remedies, but somewhere along the lines I am pretty sure I was told ice cream is good for a sore throat Continue reading

Mom Pesek’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream

Fall travel season is upon us!  With family spread all along the coast, Preston & I try our best to see everyone as a couple, but time and budget constraints can definitely put an occasional damper on that.  Speaking of which, Preston had initially planned on making a solo trip to the Pesek household in Texas 2 weekends ago, but after receiving a few photos of our then 3 month old nephew, severe FOMO set-in and I had no choice but to join him.  “Mission: Fat Baby Fingers” works every time.

Having now lived in the States as long as I have lived in Hong Kong, the struggle to define ‘home’, to keep my roots alive with traditions, foods & language is constant – there is just something so soothing about the concept of “going home”.  I therefore relish every trip we take to the Pesek household in Texas where the following (non-exhaustive) list of activities is encouraged: Continue reading

Is it Fall Magic? No, it’s Apple Saucery!

This year, my husband and I finally got our act together, managed to organize an Adirondacks Fall camping trip (more on that later) and squeeze in our first apple picking experience!

Ok, so apple picking is actually quite a bit of work and is not like the calico skirt, birds chirping, pretty basket experience that I had envisioned, but it’s totally worth it!  Not only are the apples crispier and sweeter than our farmers market apples, it gave us a healthy appreciation for how hard it is to actually pick (let alone grow) the perfect apple. Here’s a quick shout out to Hicks Orchard, which despite my Manhattan food snobbery, does have the best Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cider Donuts…

To reward our hard work and as a continuation of my husband’s birthday week celebration, I decided to try my hand at making apple sauce!

Branching Owl's Homemade Apple Sauce

Branching Owl’s Homemade Sugarless Apple Sauce

I’ve never done it before, but making apple sauce like a boss isn’t as hard as it might seem. First of all, upgrade your mom’s apple corer with this, it is worth the $10, second, making apple sauce really does involve boiling the crap out of some apples.

Ingredients (Yields 12 – 15 servings, or 1 serving for my husband)

– 15 Apples

– 2 1/2 cups of water

– Juice of 1 Lemon

– 2 Tsps of Cinnamon

– 1 Pinch of Nutmeg

– 1 Pinch of Salt


– Wash and core all your apples, cut them into chunks. We kept the skin on, since that’s where the flavah lives!

– Put apple chunks, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a big stock pot

– Bring the water the boil, the lower to a boiling simmer. Stir frequently and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, until the apples are mushy (i.e. boil the crap out of the apples)

– You can use a potato masher, or an immersion blender to smooth out the consistency

Here’s the result: The Homemade Apple Saucery Tower of Power:

Homemade Apple Sauce Tower of Power

Homemade Apple Sauce Tower of Power

Apples from Hicks Orchard

Honeycrisp Apples from Hicks Orchard

Edit: As a demonstration of his gratitude, my husband contributed this helpful reference image:

apple saucery - duh

apple saucery – duh

Pumpkin Gingerbread Mini Loaves – Yay Fall!!!

Ready or not, the weather’s gettin’ nippy. But it also means the arrival of pumpkin and apple season – and it’s the best!!!  What better way to welcome the fall than some Pumpkin Ginger Bread?

This Buzzfeed post led me to this delicious Good Thymes & Good Food recipe.  To make it super irresistible and easy for gifting, I used these Paper Mini Loaf Molds from Sur la Table and added some personal touches to it. I find myself coming back to this recipe again and again because it’s been such a hit.  Continue reading

The FroYo Revolution! (Updated)

Hey friend, do you love Froyo but you don’t love all the gunk these popular chains put in their “frozen yogurt”? Maybe you just want a giant thing of Froyo for yourself but refuse to overpay for it. Well I am you!

After failing to find a readily available, organic, plain frozen yogurt treat on the marketplace, I set out on my personal odyssey to find the best home-made recipe out there. Below, you’ll find a eat-right-out-of-the-ice-cream-maker good Fro-yo recipe.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

I have experimented with using natural sweeteners + all sorts of yogurts:  full fat, non fat, regular, Greek, you name it.  While the taste was genuinely yogurt-ish, it wasn’t tangy enough and the consistency was sometimes icy or hard to keep.

The secret ingredients to this simple formula I think, are 1. Full Fat Greek or Regular Yogurt 2. Sour Cream 3. Lemon Juice.  Adapted from Just One Cookbook the combination of these ingredients makes for a decadent, tangy, slightly icy but creamy treat!

Recipe (Yields about 2 Quarts)

– 4  cups Organic Full Fat Plain or Greek Yogurt (I like Stonyfields for plain or Wallaby’s for their Greek version)

– 1 cup Organic Cane Sugar (adjust according to taste, can also be other natural sweeteners)

– 2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice (more or less depending on the amount of tang you enjoy)

– 1/4 tsp. Salt

– 1/2 cup Sour Cream (less if you like it icy)


– In a large bowl, mix in all ingredients until well combined

– Strain mixture through a sieve for a smoother Froyo (you can skip this step for plain frozen yogurt)

– Process mixture in ice-cream maker (this is the one I use) until frozen, about 25 – 30  minutes

– Store in air-tight container and freeze for several hours for a firmer consistency  (or just eat it right out of the maker, no judgement)

Serving Tip: After the Froyo has been in the freezer for 24hr+, it can become very hard to serve, you almost need a chisel to get the good stuff out!  If you have a big container of it, I recommend letting the container sit on the counter for at least 10 – 20 mins to soften before serving.