Monday, June 7

you know you're learning a foreign language when...

You mistakenly write:

Please choose 3 from the following nuclear weapons:"

instead of:

"Please choose 3 from the following bulleted list:"

Seriously - how are those homophones?!!

and, to steal from my friend's blog tag:
mood: humbled.
cups of coffee: 1

Monday, May 31

I would love to know more about

European history, post-Middle Ages (a glaring hole in my prior education)
the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, especially the Velvet Revolution
Martin Luther King, Jr. and christian influence/underpinnings of the civil rights movement
modern art - how to understand and appreciate it
human trafficking/modern day slavery

Great book, movie, or other resource recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, May 11


Now, everyone can finally get what I mean when I say 'I went to the sauna.'

And - you can even experience this Asian phenomenon in the flesh. In Centreville, of all places!
Who wants in this summer? I promise it's an experience you won't regret. Any takers?

Wednesday, March 24

obsessions of the day

the avett brothers cd I finally bought and downloaded, I and Love and You. Incredible. Everything I love in music - dance-able, deep and witty lyrics, acoustic instruments, southern accents, killer harmonies and punk sensibility (they scream a little, love it!). They even have a song about falling in love called Kick Drum Heart, it made me swoon a little.

browsing random people's fashion blogs. like here and here.
maybe i'm getting too into project runway? Or just on a heeled knee-high boots over jeans and down-coat overload and seeking some visual style stimulus. that's pretty much all you see here from Novemeber until April because no one ever takes their coats off.

the imperial diced chicken (lit. translation) dish from the restaurant that is literally right downstairs. I mean literally - the kitchen has a door into our elevator lobby. It was so good tonight for dinner - being hungry sure helps, but man, it was tasty! You might have had this dish on the other side of the pond under the alias of kong pao chicken. But believe you me - you've never had it like this - heavy on the peanuts and featuring a sauce made from pickled red chilies and a ton of ginger. yum!

ok, that's all for now. signing off.

Monday, March 22

edible ramblings

At a recent group hang out at our favorite Irish pub in town, Justin asked everyone to respond with two life goals: the first to accomplish within the next two to five years, and the second by the time we reach 50(ish). My answer to the first was to start my own garden and grow some veggies! To the second, it was to get a masters, eventually. But that one is far less fleshed out and for another post.

I believe that a kitchen garden could be feasible even within a city context, but don't quite have the gumption to try my black thumbs at anything more than small potted herbs in our apartment here. (3 mint plants down already. But I do have a thriving lavender plant going right now!)

However, while I haven't done anything drastic yet to try and realize my 'foodie/green/I'm young and rediscovering how cool farming is' aspirations in Asia, I wile away the time reading about such topics. And eating amazing food, available everywhere, freshly made with (to the best of my knowledge) mostly locally grown produce (albeit, definitely not organic, but I take what I can get) for cheap prices. Eating is definitely one of the best things about where we live. There is literally a whole world of food that my eyes have been opened to since living here. And none of it can be microwaved.

Anyways, you can imagine, given all this latent Asian food love/locavore obsession thing I've got going on, how happy I was to find several of my favorite topics all featured in a recent New Yorker article I just read on my Kindle. (Thanks Stephen!) Not only was the article about foodie die hards, so into eating they'll follow a chef around not only restaurant changes within a city but between several states, it also featured other favs of mine: spicy Asian cuisine and Charlottesville, Va. All in one article. (It even started in Fairfax.)

In other realms of food for thought, I also read this article today from the NYT. I thought it brought up a lot of interesting ideas and trends. Any responses?(to pique your palate - the article is titled: The Femivore's Dilemma)

p.s. Although it may seem incongruent, the photo is indeed of me eating a hot-and-now krispy kreme donut. Seriously, they're good. Especially when it's the first of its kind to open over here. It made me proud to be an American.

Sunday, January 3

a gift to you

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

Since this was our third Christmas together as a married couple, Justin and I again resumed our (annual) discussion of creating our own holiday traditions. So far, most of what we've come up with has been food. Justin has been working on perfecting the art of mulled wine, while I've finally managed to replicate a recipe of the order that everyone asks you for it. Be wary, it's good, but it's decadently rich.

Earley Christmas Cheese & Onion Pie

(preferably served warm as a savory addition to Christmas morning breakfast, and cold for leftovers later)

For the all-butter flaky pie crust:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold

For the cheese and onion filling

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 large onions, finely chopped
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into very thin slices
2 1/2 cups strong farmhouse-style cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
3 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 sprig thyme (leaves only), finely chopped
Sea salt
Pinch (or two or three) cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper


Make the pie crust, separate into two parts, with one slightly larger. Wrap both up and chill for 30 minutes at least. If you haven't done it before (or desire better results) - check out this excellent step by step at my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen.

For the cheese and onion filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until softened. Add the apples and cook for a few minutes; they should not lose their texture. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature, then add the grated cheese, 2 of the eggs, cream, thyme and salt and peppers to taste, mixing well. Set aside.

To assemble: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have ready a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the larger piece of dough to a 10-inch round and transfer it to the pie pan. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and moisten the edges of the dough with a bit of the egg. Re-flour the work surface and roll out the remaining dough in the same manner, but slightly smaller. Add the cheese and onion filling and top with the remaining rolled-out dough, crimping the top and bottom crusts together at the edges. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Add decorative slits in the top crust in your favorite festive shape with a sharp paring knife. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen link above and the Washington Post - original here.)


Sunday, December 6

asian version of the space race

text (translated into English by yours truly) found above an illustrative cartoon above the urinal in a male/female salon bathroom around the corner from our apartment:

one small step forward, one giant step for civility

It echoed of Neil Armstrong, only, the subject matter is rather less concerned with the final fronteir and more with personal hygiene.