Back to Basics: Homemade Chicken Stock

Hem… what’s the story this month? Travel, travel, & more travel!  Granted, it’s been mostly the good kind of travel that involves family & friends – the kind where you don’t mind cramming yourself for 3 hours in a $150 Spirit Airlines seat that doesn’t recline. I take that back, Spirit Airlines still sucks balls.  Good or bad travel aside my body just can’t take abuse like it used to (I believe the scientific term is “gettin’ old”).  Here is my current list of travel “must-do’s”: Continue reading

The Holt’s Apple Butter

Having now lived in NYC for almost a decade, I don’t know how many times I’ve said to myself something to the effect of “I’m <insert colorful descriptor> done with this place”.  The frequency of such complaints is inversely correlated with falling temperature and positively correlated with the rising rent – which happens right about this time of year.  After such declaration, the “NYC Triple Threat” invariably happens where we meet some incredible people, walk past some amazing piece of architecture, and / or have our minds blown by some experience. It’s as if New York is telling us: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.  Stay just a little while longer”.  Rinse and repeat, the love-hate relationship continues.

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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

Roasted Peach Ice Cream with Honey & Balsamic Vinegar

That’s it folks, there is no doubt that fall is in the air.  We finally had our first sub-60ºF day yesterday and first harvest apples made their appearance in the market, son of a peach!  The truth is, September / October in New York is actually the best time of year, the air is crisp, everyone’s refreshed from the summer break, and it’s also my husband Preston’s birthday!!!!! 

I for one am not ready to embrace fall harvest just yet even though Preston’s favorite treats are pumpkin punkin and pumpkin… while summer needs to wait for its churn again (how many ice cream and peach puns can I work in a post?!!), I think it needs a last hurrah.  Sunshine and warmth may not be captured in a bottle but peaches are miraculously still in the market, and it can definitely be made into ice cream.

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Thanksgiving Dinner for Two – Yes We Can!

The silver lining for us unfortunate New York City transplants with no family nearby, I suppose, is that we get to create our own quiet traditions!  With some modifications and a twist to the traditional meal, I hoped to recreate the warmth and festive feeling of this holiday.

Menu:

– Butternut Squash & White Bean Puree with Bacon Sage Croutons

– String Beans “a la Marc”

– Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Breasts

– Roasted Figs with Home Made Honey Ice Cream

It’s hard to imagine that the star of a meal would be a side. But try out Big Girl Small Kitchen’s Butternut Squash & White Bean Puree with Bacon Sage Croutons and I think you’ll agree with me. A dish with such a nice sweet / savory combination and great crispiness to break up the puree, what’s not to like!

Butternut Squash White Bean Puree with Bacon Sage Crouton

 

As another side, I wanted to make a lighter version of another Thanksgiving favorite, the String Bean Casserole.  I loved this String Beans a la Marc recipe from BGSK – the nice garlicy notes went very well with the bird of the evening.

And now, the Thanksgiving bird! I decided to pardon a turkey and make a zesty & refreshing Lemon-Garlic Roasted Chicken Breasts (at this point, I might as well rename my post, a Very BGSK Thanksgiving…!). 

String Bean A La Marc

To end the evening just right, we gave thanks to the wonderful fig & honey. I made some beautiful roasted figs which accompanied the nice vanilla bean in Maison du Miel’s Honey Ice Cream so well (especially with a hint of richness added by butter used for roasting the figs).

Roasted Figs with Honey Ice Cream

Menu / Floral Design:

Using rich burnt orange palette, I created a menu with paper punched fall leaves & a petite fall arrangement with Mini Calla Lillies, Roses, Waxberries (too cute, like mini lychees!).

Rose Calla Lily Floral Arrangement