Black Sesame Waffles

Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles
Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles
Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles
Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles
Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles
Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles
Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles
Easy and Simple Black Sesame Waffle // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/black-sesame-waffles

January is a month of fresh starts, juice cleanses, Whole30, Cook90, Marie Kondo purges, and strong gym attendance… for some people. I’m cooking the same tasty and satisfying food I love, which is definitely not compliant by any diet’s standards. I’m refusing to watch the Marie Kondo special, for no particular reason. And I’ve been to the gym a handful times, which I’m actually pretty proud of! I tried to not set too many resolutions for myself this year and just focus on being a happy and productive human bean. That’s a pretty good goal I think!

I do have a few normal and boring general life goals though. This year I think will finally be the year that I become really, LIKE REALLY, organized. I can feel it! Or maybe this is the year I learn to actually make the bed every morning. That would be something. I’m trying, Mom! I’m also trying to make a conscious effort to waste less. That means:

  1. Eating all my vegetables and salad greens before they get gross.

  2. Buying less plastic things. You should have seen how much paper and plastic I purged from our office. OMG. I’m so sorry, Earth!

  3. And using up all the boxes of lasagna noodles we have in the cupboard from when Reuben and I couldn’t decide on the perfect noodles to make the best lasagna.

When you’re a food blogger or even just like a well stocked home cook, you end up with a ton of food products taking up space in your fridge or cupboards. I have SO MANY random bags of various flours and starches. When is the next time I’m going to bake with oat bran???? How many jars of coconut butter is normal? 5? I looked in the fridge a week ago and realized that I had like 4 half full jars of tahini! So I’m trying to work through all the excess things in my kitchen little by little so that I can hopefully reset my kitchen pantry with the necessities. That would be butter, flour, sugar, salt, and oyster sauce.

This recipe for Black Sesame Waffles used up the last bit of black sesame tahini hiding in the far end of my fridge. You know that back corner right by the open box of Arm & Hammer that’s been there since you moved in? That’s where the jar was hiding. I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t use up this jar sooner because I LOVE black sesame everything. Muffins. Cake. Cookies. Sprinkled on 90% of my meals. I’m obsessed. I might even get a black sesame tattoo! JK I won’t ever do that. But a black sesame tattoo would just be like an extra freckle, right?

These waffles are deeply nutty from the black sesame. Almost like peanut butter but 1000000% better. The texture is light but with a nice chew, which I’m all about. You can find black sesame paste or tahini at your local asian or Mediterranean market, Whole Foods might have it, or you can just order it off the internet! You could make it from scratch too! Regular tahini also works if you’re having a hard time finding the black sesame variety. Once you’ve introduced black sesame into your kitchen, these waffles are super easy to whip up in the morning, because I know you don’t want to be separating eggs and whip egg whites to stiff peaks on the verge of a hangry meltdown. You just want to eat! I love topping my waffles with yogurt, but dreamy whipped cream and pomegranates make for a slightly fancy and luxurious breakfast situation. You deserve it. It’s January and you’re already kicking booty!


Black Sesame Waffles

serves 4-6

materials:

2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup black sesame paste/tahini

steps:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

  2. Add greek yogurt and water in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Add in eggs, butter, vanilla, and black sesame paste. Whisk again until combined. If your black sesame paste is a little thicker you may need to mix a little longer, but a few small chunks of sesame paste is okay!

  3. Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Avoid over mixing. The batter will be really thick.

  4. Heat up your waffle iron. Fill iron accordingly, so that it does not overflow. I place about 2/3 cup of batter in my waffle iron to make these. Cook until desired doneness (3-4 level for me).

  5. Serve warm with whipped cream, maple syrup, and pomegranates! Or with whatever your heart desires!

Brûléed Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Bruleed Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Bruleed Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Bruleed Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Bruleed Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Bruleed Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Bruleed Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Bruleed Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Helluuur! How's it going??? Since we last spoke, I feel like I've racked up a whole bunch of young person culture points. 2 weekends ago I flew back home to Cleveland to watch Hamilton. I was never a huge Hamilton fan before... now. My brother on the other hand is a HUGE fan. Like knows all the lyrics to every single song and all the historical references type of mega fan. So his enthusiasm for the musical definitely rubbed off on me in the days leading up to the big show! It was obviously amazing. I loved every single minute of it. I can listen to Helpless over and over and over again. Have you listened to the Ashanti and JaRule version from the Hamilton Mixtape?! SO GOOD. Now that I've seen it, all the songs makes so much more sense lol and now I find myself listening to it while I'm working late on deadlines at work. So enjoyable! 

I also watched Crazy Rich Asians! OMG AMAZING. It's great if you love a good romantic comedy and value Asian representation in Hollywood. Reuben and I watched it at an asian theater full of other asian people. There were a bunch of asian beauty pageant queens and businessmen at our showing for some reason. It was the most magical thing! The overall experience, not the queens and businessmen. The energy in the theater was so crazy. You could feel how excited and happy everyone was to finally see a film full of people who looked like them that weren't material artists. I laughed a lot, cried a ton, and smiled practically the whole time. I think I'm going to see it again this week! I can't wait! Please go see it if you've haven't yet!

Back on the couch front, Reuben and I are watching Freaks and Geeks. It's so painfully embarrassing, I love it. So pretty much I've been watching a lot of things that make me feel current and finally up to date with pop culture references. A lot of times, I feel like a grandma because I don't watch the Bachelor, see all the popular Broadway musicals (they're so expensive in SF!), or have a twitter. 99.9% of the time I'm okay with feeling like a grandma because that means I get to go to bed early, drink tea, and eat oatmeal. ALL things that I love deeply.

I had one of the best oatmeals of my life when I was in Cincinnati last summer at Cheapside Cafe. It was a Creme Brulee Oatmeal. Ahhhh, it was so simple and decadent. I remember thinking to myself that this is how oatmeal should always be eaten. In order to keep this breakfast still on the healthyish side, I'm voiding making an actual custard for the creme brulee. To compensate for the lack of decadent custard, I slowly simmered the oats in water and milk until they broke down into a super creamy texture. I finished off the oatmeal with a splash of heavy cream and a brown sugar topping for that extra treat-cho-self touch. I highly recommend you brulee your oatmeal on a daily basis. It makes Tuesdays feel A LOT less like a Tuesday.


Brûléed Brown Sugar Oatmeal

serves 4

materials:

1 cup rolled oats
3 cups water
1 cup milk
2 tbsp brown sugar + more for topping
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
seasonal fruit for topping

steps:

1. Bring water and milk to a gentle boil in a medium pot. Stir in oats and reduce the heat so that the oats are simmering. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal is thick and creamy.

2. Add salt and brown sugar, stir and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and stir in heavy cream. Allow the oatmeal to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Place oatmeal into a heat proof bowl of ramekin. Sprinkle the top with 1-2 tsp of brown sugar. Use a kitchen torch to carefully brulee the brown sugar. 

4. Top with your favorite seasonal fruit or eat plain!

Big Beautiful Buttery Buttermilk Biscuits

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So a few life updates.

1. Reuben and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary last Friday! Holy cow, 4 years! We had plans to go out for a fancy Spanish dinner, but then we were both feeling slightly sicky and exhausted. So we decided to stay home, make bacon topped butternut squash mac and cheese, and watch The Office all night. It was awesome.

2. I'm watching The Office for the first time! I know, I know, I know. I'm incredibly late to this. We started watching The Office one week ago and we are in the middle of season 4. Yeah, we're pretty hardcore. I love it so much! Honestly, I'm happy that I'm watching this now instead of when it was actually airing. I was 13 years old when the first season aired and I guarantee you that I would not appreciated how hilarious this show is. I was more focused on Gilmore Girls at that time. Plus I have a few years of office experience now, so I can truly understand the nuances and absurdities of an office environment. Unfortunately, I think our downstairs neighbors are also watching The Office or just taunting us, because I swear they are playing the theme song really loudly right after we start an episode. What is going on??? They will not win. 

3. I'm going to my first food photography class in Seattle next month! CANNOT WAIT. More details soon!

4. I think I might finally enjoy almond milk now. Actually, never mind. I'm still on the fence. Someone get me some oat milk though! That stuff is gooooood.

5. I'm planning my first bachelor party! Yes, a bachelor party. We are going to Palm Springs/Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree next month and there will be lots of desert exposure and a pool. Jeff, I'm excited!!!

6. I can officially make the biggest, most beautiful, and most buttery buttermilk biscuits! Hooray!

We'll I've figured out how to make great biscuits about a year ago in the form of Everything Bagel Biscuits. But I figured Eat Cho Food needed a classic biscuit recipe! I got really into making biscuits a little over two years ago when we were in Portland and ate at Pine State Biscuits. OMG they are so good. I immediately had to figure out how to achieve their level of deliciousness. I've researched many recipes and tested out a bunch of different techniques. You always read about how you want everything to be really cold and to avoid overworking the dough. True. But I've found that the dough can actually handle a good amount of working and still turn out pretty stellar. I feel like I have a controversial approach to biscuits. I like to roll out the dough and fold in my layers. It's sort of like laminating dough for croissants or puff pastry. It honestly works so well! The biscuits turn out super tall and flakey. You can pull them apart just like those Pillsbury Grand Biscuits of our childhood. When I was a kid I literally ate those things layer by layer. It tasted better that way, duh. But these are seriously so good! They are perfectly buttery and salty on their own, but turn into pure magic when drizzled with some honey or smeared with some jam. Please make a breakfast sandwich with them!

A few weeks ago, I was at a friend's southern dinner party. I love going over to other people's places for dinner because it is such a treat to just be a guest and not a host! I seem to always find myself helping out in the kitchen some how though. I was helping out by deep frying balls and stirring pots of stuff. BUT. There was a girl helping out with the biscuits. I watched in horror as she overworked the dough to an inch of it's life and I could tell the dough was getting way too warm. AHHHH! I really wanted to just jump in and save them, but Reuben reminded me that I was a guest and that it would be rude to assert my biscuit making dominance in a room full of strangers. So I sucked it up, zipped my mouth, and just focused on frying balls the best I could. In the end they tasted okay but were real flat. The balls were real cripsy though. That's my biscuit story.


Big Beautiful Buttery Buttermilk Biscuits

makes 6 big beautiful biscuits + 1 scraggly biscuit

steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.

3. Cut your butter into 1/2" cubes. Add the cubed butter into the flour mixture. Incorporate the butter into the flour mixture by pinching the butter with the tips of your fingers and breaking them apart. You still want to be able to see the chunks of butter. The flour mixture should be crumbly and sandy. Pour in the buttermilk and mix everything with a wooden spoon or by hand until just combined.

4. Lightly flour your work surface and dump your biscuit mixture onto it. Knead the dough for 2 - 3 mins until you have a consistent dough ball. Roll out your dough into a rectangle and fold the dough onto itself in thirds. Roll out into a rectangle again and fold the dough onto itself in thirds one more time. You just built in your layers!

5. Roll out your dough into a 6" x 9" rectangle about a 3/4" thick. Trim the edges with a sharp knife and cut 6 large biscuits, about 3" x3". Keep the scrapes to form your extra scraggly biscuit. 

6. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush melted butter on each biscuit and sprinkle flakey sea salt on each. Bake the biscuits for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

7. Allow to slight cool and enjoy with your favorite honey or jam!

materials:

3 C all purpose flour + more for dusting
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp frozen butter
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter
flakey sea salt

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Grandpa's Scrambled Eggs

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Do you remember the first thing you learned how to cook? I have a super hazy and possibly slightly reconstructed memory of my grandpa teaching me how to whisk eggs with chopsticks when I was a little. Scrambled eggs were the first thing I ever learned how to cook. Every single time I make them I remember him telling me that a good whisk is all in the wrist and that if you move it just so, you won't make a huge mess. It makes me smile every single time I whip up these eggs for breakfast. You probably already know how to make scrambled eggs. Who knows?! Maybe you don't. But here is a recipe, and I really just wanted an excuse to tell you about the person who instilled in me my love of food.

I'm the most sentimental person you will ever meet and the holidays make me extra sentimental and sappy. This post might be an epic ramble as I spiral into an emotional tailspin. You've been warned. Around this time of year my homesickness reaches an all time high and I start to tear up at restaurants if I see a big Asian family out eating dinner together. I'm instantly balling if there are grandparents surrounded by little grand-babies. Gah, it gets me. I miss my family all the time. I grew up in a pretty close knit family and I'm the only one not in Ohio. My entire mom's side of the family (parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma, errbody) lives in the Cleveland area, with the exception of an aunt who lives in Columbus. Family dim sum, lunches, and dinners were constantly happening. We were always together and moved around in a pack. For the first decade of my life, I grew up seeing everyone almost daily at my family's restaurant. At the time, I definitely did not appreciate it, but now as a somewhat-adult, I'm really thankful to have grown up in a restaurant surrounded by family.

Cooking and eating food that reminds me of them makes me feel connected to them somehow. When I whisk eggs I think of my grandpa. When I chop vegetables I hear my mom telling me to tuck my fingers in so I don't lose a finger. When I have chocolate ice cream I think of my other grandpa and how he kicked my ass at climbing a giant hill (it was really a tall city park) in Hong Kong, and once I finally met up with him at the top he was peacefully enjoying a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Food is so powerful that way. Every recipe comes with a narrative or a memory. My absolute favorite stories are the ones my mom would tell me of her growing up or of my grandpa when he was little. Like the tasty after school snacks her grandma would make her. Or how my grandpa would sell peanuts when he was a little boy to make money and that's why he is so good at math. I could listen to these stories all day!

My Grandpa, or my Goong Goong as I would call him, was pretty awesome. He was an only child supporting his single mom, who created quite a life for himself and a big family of his own. He was a teacher and calligrapher back in Hong Kong, but he decided to move to America for a better life for his family. He and my grandma, his mom, my mom, and her 4 siblings all flew over from Hong Kong and landed in Chicago, where they lived for a year before settling down in Cleveland. Like so many immigrants, he started working in restaurants. While he learned how to cook he also learned all the intricacies of running his own business. Eventually he opened up his own restaurant, and continued to open and operate them until he retired. He worked so hard and was such a great cook! It makes my eyes all teary when I think about how much he accomplished and what a great life he gave my family. Gosh.

He wanted me to study something related to computers when I went to college. I probably should have listened to him, but I wanted to do something more creative. Architecture happened. Now food has my focus, but I think he left such an amazing framework for me to do something with food. My entire life, he was always sharing food with me, whether it was plates of food or recipes. I would sit next to him at dim sum and he would whisper in my ear how the different dumplings were made. I was young and dumb and didn't retain that information, but I remember him telling me! I would giggle and then get distracted by a new dumpling coming to the table. We would share a crispy taro dumpling (our favorite) and I would ramble on about something silly like Pokemon or try to annoy my brother. That's normally how dim sum went.

He passed away 8 years ago around Christmas. I remember being in the hospital room with my entire family, we move around in a pack remember, and as my grandpa passed away I had never experienced sadness like that before. But at the same time I don't think I have ever experienced my family love each other that way. I'll never forget how that felt. Just like how I will never forget my grandpa's giant smile, the way he sang my Chinese name, and the way he taught me how to whisk my eggs and appreciate food. I miss him so much.

In a way I think my grandpa, and the rest of my family, is the reason why I cook, why I write, and why I share. I want to share the food of my family. I want to attempt to recreate the centuries old recipes my grandma makes from memory (it's really hard). But I also want to share my own personal experiences with food and create an archive of sorts for my future grandbabies to read about 50 years from now. Gaaaaaaah! Tailspinning... (compose yourself, you're almost done!) Okay. Anyway, all I wanted to say is that my hope for this blog is to create an archive and celebrate the joy and the stories behind food!

Sorry if this got really sad, but it cheered up a little didn't it?? If you have any stories you'd like to share I would LOVE to hear them! You can post them in the comments below. I hope you have a lovely beginning of December!


Grandpa's Scrambled Eggs

Materials:

2 eggs

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp olive oil

salt+pepper

Steps:

1. Crack eggs into a small bowl, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and add milk. Give it a quick whisk.

2. Heat a skillet over low heat. Add oil and egg mixture to the pan while it is only slightly warm. Continue to slowly whisk or scrape the eggs as they gradually cook and set up. o

3. Enjoy as is or on some buttered toast with hot sauce and green onions!
 


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wee dumpling with grandpa

Scallion and Parmesan Scones

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No plum recipe this week! Hooray! Are you sick of plums yet? I am. However, I do have a pretty great plum recipe coming up in a couple days, but this will be my last one until there's snow on the ground in Cleveland. I promise.

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon living out my Princess Diary dreams. Friend Claire and I went to Musée Mécanique to get creeped out by the arcade games and get our photo taken in their old timey photo booth - it smelled like farts but made some pretty cute keepsakes. Then we ate corn dogs (key to my heart). All we needed was an old baby blue mustang and you could call us Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. Despite the crowds of tourists, it was an A+ San Francisco afternoon! I hope Princess Diaries is on Netflix. I spent the rest of our small stay-cation and this weekend cleaning and organizing our apartment. Less fun. HOW DO TWO PEOPLE PRODUCE SO MUCH STUFF?! WHY DO I KEEP MAKING PILES OF THINGS?! HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE IN SUCH PRISTINE INSTAGRAMABLE HOMES?! I feel like I clean and then all of a sudden our dining table is covered in mail and random objects again... But I think we are getting somewhere. A organized home/desk/kitchen feels so good once you get there. I'm going to order a duster right now.

This upcoming weekend is going to be pretty momentous. Reuben will have taken his last architecture exam and our living room won't be covered in notecards and scattered pages about HVAC systems. Hooray! You're excited about that too right?? I don't even know what we are going to do with ourselves! Go on a hike? Visit a Brewery? Drive to target and buy new pillows? We'll probably binge watch more Law and Order SVU. I'm about 18 years late to the SVU bandwagon... but I'm catching up now. Mariska is great. *IF I can wake up early enough, I'll be a nice girlfriend and buy Reuben some bagels from House of Bagels this Saturday to celebrate his freedom. Every few weeks we get a craving for a good bagel ... but again, those are hard to come by here. House of Bagels is pretty good on Reuben's New Jersey bagel scale (RNJBS score = 5/10. 10 being a real jersey bagel.). Their croissant bagel literally kills me, it's so good but so bad for you. I still don't have the mental energy and patience to tackle making bagels again, so biscuits and scones are going to have to keep us satisfied for a while.

These Scallion and Parmesan Scones definitely curb our bagel and lox craving. I feel like scones get such a bad rap. When scones are good, they are so amazing! These scone are perfectly moist but light and flakey. No dry and sawdusty scones in my house. The parmesan adds a great salty bite that balances beautifully with the fresh and fragrant scallions. Scallions make everything better - lesson #21 from Cho Momma. I constantly have a glass of fresh scallions sitting in my kitchen. I put them in or on everything! The base recipe is from The Joy of Cooking, aka my new cooking bible. When Reuben and I were in New Jersey last summer his mom sent us back with a copy! It came with a photo of Reuben and his ex-girlfriend in it, but I'm just going to ignore that 😁 


Scallion and Parmesan Scones

makes 8 scones

Materials:

1 3/4 C all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 C grated parmesan cheese

6 Tbsp chilled butter

1 1/4 C chopped scallion greens

2 large eggs

1/3 C heavy cream

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and parmesan cheese.

3. Cut chilled butter into cubes and add to flour mixture. Using either your hands or a pastry cutter, incoporate butter into the flour. You want the dough to have a sandy texture with a few larger chunks of butter.

4. Beat your eggs in a small bowl. reserve about 2 tsp of egg in a separate bowl for your egg wash. Mix in heavy cream with the remaining egg. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Gently mix together and add the scallion greens. Combine the dough with your hands until it just comes together. Try to not overwork the dough!

5. Dump out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a 3/4" thick disc. Cut into 8 equal wedges. Place scones on a parchment paper lined backing sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese.

6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Until beautifully golden! Let cool and enjoy!