These days I've been doing a lot of stress-eating while watching the news. (If you couldn't tell already, food is my everything/ of course I'm an emotional eater.) It even seems that politics have dominated my conversations way more than they ever have. I do less scrolling through Insta before bed and more checking around Twitter for odds and ends in news updates. It's been strange to have political anxiety occupy so much space in my daily life. I've seen reports about the election lowering productivity in the workplace. I get that. Right after the exchange of pleasantries, my coworkers and I will discuss our concerns about our rapidly changing government. We never did that before. It's been hard to remain focused, to operate business as usual, to allow myself to be creative. It's hard to snap out of this survival mode need to stay woke, but life must go on. I've got to remember to let the light in and forget about the news for a minute. So, on a lighter note, here are some happy things that I've been up to lately/am looking forward to:
I just got back from a super quick weekend trip to L.A. It was totally on a cold, gray Seattle whim that I booked the trip. Some highlights included:
- Guisados- Bomb tacos made with fresh house-made tortillas. Shout out to their cold brew-horchata.
- Dan Sung Sa- It fashions itself as an steamy and charcoal smoke-filled old school soju bar with a comprehensive menu of Korean drinking snacks and small plates. We went iiiiiiin. Kimchi dumplings, shortribs, eel hand roll, spicy salmon hand roll, beef skewers, scallop skewers, gizzard skewers, omelette were all bomb. Would def hit up again.
- Crashing a random birthday celebration at a karaoke bar in K-town.
- Watching Per sing his favorite Pitbull song at said birthday celebration.
I've started re-watching Girls to get hyped for it's final season. The show first aired when I freshly graduated from college, so I feel like we've been going through it together. It's giving me all sorts of existential-staring-into-the-abyss-What's left of my 20s?-feels.
Per and I had a chill no-frills V-Day. We've done the romantic night out, something I'm decidedly not into on Valentine's Day. Holiday prix fixe menus are generally a cop out on the restaurant's part to simplify things on their end. We've done the duck breast and pasta eleganza at home. This time 'round, we snuck snacks in our sweatpants and made our way to The Lego Batman Movie. Best. Valentine's. Ever. <3 :D :D :D
I've got jury duty in a couple of weeks. Is it weird that I'm excited for it? I never thought I'd be the type to be into it, but I guess I'm feeling more civically-motivated these days.
For my birthday, months ago, Per got us tickets to see Baby Cobra a.k.a. Ali Wong! Her show also happens to fall on St. Patty's Day. Maybe I'll fangirl as a spectacled pregnant Asian leprechaun.
My mom recently visited my aunt in Hawaii and brought me tropical goodies from her backyard. This included the freshest papaya I've had since the last time I was in Hawaii and the most otherworldly flavor-bomb lilikoi bars. They were so good, it was a problem. I'm super jeally that I don't have a lilikoi tree in my backyard, but I baked myself a little bit of paradise with the help from my local Asian grocer to recreate those bars. The result was an addictively bright, tropically-perfumed superior to your average lemon bar. You need these in your life.
barely adapted from Tartine's Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup +2 tablespoons lilikoi juice*
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
6 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
confectioners' sugar for topping
*lilikoi or passion fruit can be found at some Asian or specialty markets. To juice them, place a fine-mesh strainer atop a medium bowl. Slice the lilikoi into hemispheres. Scoop the pulp into the strainer. Using a large spoon, press the pulp to the strainer to extract its juice. Continue until only the seeds remain in the strainer. Discard the seeds once all the juice has been collected in your bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9x 13-inch baking pan.
To make the crust, sift the confectioners' sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the flour and stir to mix. Add the butter and beat on low speed just until a smooth dough forms. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. It should be about 1/4 inch thick. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake the crust until it covers evenly to a deep golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees if the crust appears to be baking unevenly.
While the crust is baking, make the filling: Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until blended. Add the fruit juices and zest and stir to dissolve the sugar. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the whole eggs and yolk with the salt. Add the eggs to the fruit juice mixture and whisk until well mixed.
When the crust is ready, pull out the oven rack holding the crust and pour the filling directly into the hot pan. Reduce the oven temp to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until the center of the custard is no longer wobbly, 30 to 40 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and chill well before cutting. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares or as desired. If you'd like, dust the tops of the squares with confectioners' sugar. They keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.