FALL HARVEST STRATA, AKA ROOT VEG, PINOT-SOAKED SALUMI, AND A SMOKED GOUDA TOP- Another Western Bento, and a Weekend Recap

So, I’ve learned that what I’ve been calling a “bake” is actually a “strata.” I’m always down with fancy label upgrades–and let’s be real, this thing is way too hefty to fall into the feeble “fritata” category–so this week BEHOLD a kickass FALL HARVEST STRATA that dare I say is a vast improvement over last week. 

2014-10-19 12.59.49LAYER 1 – beets, golden beets, parsnips, sweet potato, and heirloom carrots from the Templeton Farmer’s Market roasted to a butter-like consistency in evoo, a little honey, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and some garlic salt.

LAYER 2 – pinot noir-soaked cured salumi stir-fried with onion

LAYER 3 – eggs whipped with almond milk.

LAYER 4 – effing smoked gouda from Cal Poly Creamery. 

*oh and I guess there’s a side salad of spinach, shredded heirloom carrot, and honeycrisp apple with Kewpie deep-roasted sesame dressing, aka #thegoodstuff.

Is this very similar to what I made last week?! Not if we get technical. Not if we emphasize that there is SMOKED GOUDA of the HIGHEST CALIBER atop this strata, and not if I can accurately convey how delicious and Fall-appropriate my kitchen smelled after all those root veggies had roasted in that foil bag in a cinnamon-strong mix for an hour.

I promise promise I’ll be back to Asian cooking soon, but for now I’ve just let myself identify with healthy, farm-fresh California food that is the pride and joy of this county. In a way it’s a bit of a coping mechanism to being finally bound to one location, a way to nest. Keep in mind I’ve hardly spent two consecutive years in the US since high school; further, this is the first time I’m not plotting my next *perhaps slightly reckless* leap to some far-flung corner of the world. For now my instinct can’t be to reach for something too distant; I just want to want what’s right in front of me, what I can touch and feel. Like those impossibly vivid beets from the corner cart at the farmer’s market. Those purple carrots that, if you cut them in half, hold a perfectly circular flaxen core.

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Speaking of embracing SLO county, this weekend was Harvest Festival in Paso Robles and every winery was throwing down; it was the perfect time to live it up. I scored a ticket to a release party at Doce Robles, which came with free-flowing wine, jerk chicken, and very very special jerk chocolate.

I mean, just look at that chicken, which I will note could comfortably feed several men. I’m pretty sure it’s actually a pterodactyl. Mine is the wheat-free plate, because that’s how I roll. 

2014-10-18 18.57.45After hoovering our respective pterodactyls, my friend Alex and I actually went on a hay ride through the winery. 2014-10-18 19.55.56 AND I CANNOT RESIST POSTING THESE STRATA PROGRESS PICS. My hope in posting these is to encourage anyone reading this to feel comfortable learning to cook intuitively, and to muster up the wherewithal to comb farmer’s market for something you love, to actively prioritize your body and health. A perfect Sunday in my world involves spin class and then an easy, apron-clad, day in the kitchen cooking for the week. I fully understand that’s not feasible or desirable for most; that said, putting in effort for just one day can keep a person eating healthy for an entire week and it’s entirely worth it. I make more veggies than I need for the strata so I can have leftover roasted veggies for salad dinner bowls, and use beet greens for smoothies every morning; there are ways to use the proverbial “whole hog” that maximizes the money and time involved in eating fresh, local food. 2014-10-19 10.39.34 2014-10-19 11.56.09 *2014-10-19 12.01.32 *2014-10-19 12.01.38That’s all for now! I’m still doing a ton of juggling with this new work schedule, but expect more soon!

xoxo

Liz

WESTERN BENTO – BIG HERB-Y BEET AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE PALEO BAKE + SPRING GREENS/CARROT/POM SEED/KEWPIE SALAD

Oh yeah. There’s a lot of win in this bento, and a veritable truckload of healthy, whole ingredients. I made a big delicious bake on Sunday, my ordained batch cooking day, so I could stuff my bento and face with minimal effort over the week. I’ll get back to Asian cooking soon, but for now BEHOLD:

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SO WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!

(1) SIDE SALAD. Spring greens, shredded carrot, pomegranate seeds and some deep-roasted sesame dressing from Kewpie, aka “the good stuff.”

(2) BIG HERB-Y BEET AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE PALEO BAKE. The Bake was kind of a complicated operation, so I’m going to describe it in layers:

LAYER 1 – Beets and golden beets from the Templeton Farmers Market roasted in evoo, balsamic, sage, rosemary, garlic salt, fresh cracked lemon pepper, and coriander.

LAYER 2 – Purple onion and pesto/sun-dried tomato chicken sausage from Farmers. I ended up chucking the casing and stir-frying the lot.

LAYER 3 – eggs and almond milk topped with parmesan cheese.

So, eggs are kind of an issue in my life. I have spent endless hours googling their overall nutritional impact–because let’s be real, I go through many phases where I’m eating two eggs a day for weeks on end–and I’m still unsure as whether my heart is set to stop at any moment, or if I’m just a bona fide protein monster. When I make something I enjoy this much, I like to imagine it’s the latter.

Another fun fact: those are seeds from wild pomegranates! Deep in the heart of Paso there’s an abandoned lot with a very productive pomegranate tree that has been completely left to fend for itself. And omg the seeds are like DISNEY RUBIES, this unbelievably deep red; I can feel the antioxidants working just by looking at them.

Anyways, I’ve posted some process pics behind the jump in case you’re wondering how the bake was prepared.

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Seoul Was Awesome, Pt. 3 – Adventure Time!

I started work at my new firm and I’m loving it! New crazy work schedule notwithstanding, I’m determined to lay down a new post wrapping up the Korea trip series with some pics of our most excellent adventures in Seoul.

From my perch as a newly functioning attorney, it’s a little hard to imagine that the trip took place and that it made me so sincerely happy. There’s much more to say about the power, grace, and all the difficulties that define Korea, but I’ll withhold my own commentary in favor of sharing these pictures.

OH THE ART. We started our urban canvassing at Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

*IMG_1541My favorite work was a big installation piece called “Home within Home within Home.” It was beautiful to behold in terms of scale and detail, but you definitely felt the artist’s loneliness and sense of conflicting identities. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIf you’re on a trip with me, jumping pics are happening.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Poop snacks are kind of a thing in Korea. Luckily they’re full of tasty red bean paste!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES My crazy internal clock and type A personality ensured that I was up by 6:30 am every. One morning I just woke up and went for a walk. As you may know, Seoul doesn’t really “wake up” until around 9am, but this walk proved a lovely chance to see the morning rhythms of the city. Here’s some fresh kimbap in the window.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Sej! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESShopping at Lotte! Don’t worry, I was promptly shamed/chuckled at by several teenage Koreans after taking this selfie.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI expected Seoul to be a bit like Tokyo–aka a Bladerunner-esque mega metropolis–but it wasn’t like that at all. Seoul is large but it’s comfortable and laden with trees, with wide streets that ensure you’re never shoulder to shoulder in a crowd. You can also get to neighborhoods like Buamdong on the outskirts of the city, nearly tucked in the base of the mountains. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES A beautiful chopsticks shop.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES At the movie screening with Sej, Mike, and some of Sejin’s friends. It was an amazing experience and a top-notch film that gave us a lot to talk about over the next few days, especially in terms of bullying in Korea, Korean school systems, and teenage friendships in general.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Garosu-gil! We ate a ton of pork, waded through some very hip designer goods, and generally enjoyed the energy of “young Korea” very fashionably kicking ass and taking names.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Skyline!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES One of my dearest college friends has a cousin in Seoul. He and his friend took me to a very tasty kimbap and tacos lunch!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCheonggyecheon, where I have never felt more conspicuously single in my life.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe most delicious-looking street food I didn’t try. REGRET.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Getting my palace on.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Yep, I went “full tourist” on this particular day. Please note the tiny earbud that evinces my use of an audio guide. And, yay year of the dragon!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES View from Seoul tower!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
National Museum of Korea, one of the best museums I’ve ever visited.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe did an epic, strenuous hike in Bukhsan National Park. I’d been having some weirdly severe lower back and achilles tendon issues on the trip (lots of walking without proper shoes was the cause? OR GETTING OLD, POSSIBLY?!?!?) and was initially dreading this hike. I’m so glad I trooped through because this ended up being one of the most memorable excursions of the trip. If I wasn’t in love with Korea and Seoul before, I certainly was after reaching the peak.
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Sam, a fellow Michigan Law grad, was randomly in Seoul for his very cool job. It was my last night, so we all went out to Gangnam! Becky, Sej’s friend from undergrad, was also visiting and was an absolute delight to hang out with!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

That’s it for Seoul stuff, at least for now! This adventurer could not be more grateful for the trip!

xoxo

Liz

IT’S A DOSIRAK [AKA KOREAN LUNCH BOX] !!! – PALEO CHAP CHAE, KIMCHI, AND MYULCHI BOKKEUM

This post contains a DOSIRAK and WEEKEND PICS FROM MY FRIEND’S WEDDING. 

To explain, a dosirak IS a bento; it’s the Korean word for a boxed lunch full of Korean culinary tastiness, which is more or less what’s going on here. Semantics. Feel free to correct me! I made a clean eating boxed lunch after eating super dirty all weekend with friends. Real talk: abs that take months to make are way too easily undone. Here’s to getting back on the wagon.

1) SPAGHETTI SQUASH CHAP CHAE – I used roasted spaghetti squash instead of noodles! Prep was super easy: cut and clean your spaghetti squash, then drizzle a bit of sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper. Place it on an oven tray face-down and roast for around an hour at 400 degrees. Prep all your chap chae veggies like you normally would and then toss them all together when the squash is done! I used carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. The flavor profile was hot hot hot, as in white pepper, black pepper, and red pepper were used.

2) MYULCHI BOKKEUM – aka stir-fried anchovies with roasted walnuts and almonds. It’s one of my favorite banchans and–sorry US customs–I smuggled some tiny choves home expressly to make this dish. Took some inspo from Two Red Bowls!

3) KIMCHI – because fermented, salty things are great.

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These lunches make it official. I am dialed in to the US workforce, and not as an INTERN or a fellow or a decorated volunteer, but as a REAL SALARIED EMPLOYEE using her degree for its corresponding profession. I have never felt more lucky or grateful.

This past weekend was the perfect proverbial “last hooray” as some of my besties came into town for a wedding. The first of my old high school posse tied the knot, so we took advantage and spent the whole weekend brunching, laughing, dancing, and gossiping shamelessly.

Had to snap a selfie while getting ready for the ceremony because I debuted my one-of-a-kind Tiff Manuell bag. I discovered her on Instagram @happytiff and knew one of these vibrant pieces would be mine.
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THE WEARHOUSE [A HAMMER SALON] – PASO ROBLES, CA

More Seoul posts (and NEW JOB + BENTO POSTS!) are pending, but I got a great haircut and I had to blog about it.

My hair was at “She-Hagrid” levels of unkempt by the time I made an appointment with the Wearhouse. I last cut it in early May, wanting to hold on to my beachy hair for the summer as I knew a more professional cut would be in order come Fall. Please observe the “BEFORE” pics below, where I am trying to be photogenic and wearing my fav Korean “no makeup makeup” look.

This hair might be acceptable if I were running a booth at Burning Man, but since I’ll be handling your legal documents I decided something more adult was in order for my next cut.

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I decided to go to the reputed best of the best, the Wearhouse in downtown Paso Robles, CA. My stylist Josh Lucas came recommended and has quite the online following, so I felt safe putting him in charge. Josh has fully embraced the advantages of the 21st century and makes himself available via email, instagram, and Facebook in case clients want to make an appointment or, awesomely, send him a picture of their desired cut. I sent Josh this picture of Millie Mackintosh the night before my appointment. [Yes, I used to be quite devoted to Made in Chelsea. Yes, I've reformed.]

SPOILER ALERT: I LOVE MY HAIRCUT, and I love the Wearhouse. THERE ARE “AFTER” PICTURES, BUT FIRST IMA TAKE YOU ON A TOUR OF THE SALON. It’s a beautiful completely Pinterest-worthy space, cooly sophisticated with deep grays, exposed brick, and rustic accents. 

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ONWARD!

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Seoul Was Amazing, Pt. 2 – Korean Skincare

As you all know, I spent ten days in Seoul this summer with my friend Sejin. It was easily the most special trip abroad I have taken, due in large part to the fact that I stayed with her family at their home in Myeongdong. I’ve done my fair share of traveling, but this was the first time I had a real native guiding me through the intricacies of the urban landscape, culture, and politics of the new country. I’d done a ton of research before actually leaving for Korea–everything from getting familiar with Korean politics to pop culture [HELLO K-DRAMAS AND LEE MIN HO!] to learning some basic words/phrases–but I never would have guessed I’d find myself climbing a near vertical trail through the staggering scroll-art beauty of Seoul’s national parks, wandering restored traditional homes tucked in the Buamdong hills (and devouring chimek), or seeing an award-winning independent film and getting my questions translated to the director and cast. I even got to celebrate Chuseok, the “Korean Thanksgiving,” with Sej’s extended fam. Seriously! It was the coolest!

But, let’s just say I have a slight preoccupation with Korean skincare. As in I will pinch pennies in all other aspects of my life to get the good stuff, to support a full regimen that, so far, has proven my best hope against sometimes-dreadful adult acne. I MAY have arrived in Seoul with a list of cosmetics/skincare twelve items deep.

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So, why am I so obsessed with Korean skincare?

(1) Korean products are higher quality than US counterparts of the same price. You can get some kickass products containing powerful ingredients for $15 a bottle (Mizon, Innisfree, etc.)–sometimes even less–that easily compete with luxury brands in the US like Estee Lauder and Lancome.

(2) Korean skincare is all about keeping skin healthy and hydrated, not drying it out or covering it up. The goal is to repair damage and fortify against future aggravations. 

(3) The competition is fierce. Korean consumers are demanding when it comes to skincare, whether it be quality ingredients or presentation. There is also a whole separate online planet of beauty bloggers who spend a great deal of time thoroughly reviewing and testing Korean products; it’s easy to find out what’s good and what’s not [like skincare goddess the Beauty Wolf, and Skin & Tonics].

SOME FAVS:

(1) Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick – 28,000 KW/$26.80 USD – I’ve heard some nasty rumors that this product has been discontinued, which means it’s a good thing I stocked up in Soko! I never saw cleanser as a particularly important part of a skincare routine–as long as they, you know, did no harm and cleaned things up–but this Rose stick makes my skin so soft and calm. You should be able to find a marked-up product on Amazon!

rose cleanser

(2) Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder – Awesomely, both the Innisfree mineral powder and primer appear to be available on Amazon for around the same price I paid in Korea, aka 10,000/12,000 KW, respectively, or around $11. Yet, they perform better than high-end products I’ve tried. I know girls with expensive mineral primer that cakes when they perspire, but this stuff stays put and keeps shine down. I would recommend, however, using a high-end powder brush rather than the weird application pad that comes with the compact.

innisfree powder(3) Innisfree No Sebum Primer – a game-changer. Guess whose makeup stays on ALL DAY?! Mine. Mine does, finally. This product won’t break you out, has great staying power, and won’t sink it’s teeth too deep into your wallet.

innisfree primer

(4) Peripera Ice Jelly Sun SPF 30++ – 10,000 KW/$9.57 USD – Ok, you don’t know how long I’ve been searching for a sunscreen I can wear under makeup, ON THE REG, that won’t make me oily or pasty white. OR a pizza-face. This product is perfect for those purposes. It wears like a gel lotion, leaving zero residue and sinking in to the extent that makeup doesn’t cake. And, just look at that price tag. I’ve paid four times that much for gross “sheer” sunscreen that broke me out.

peripera ice jelly sun

I also want to give a shoutout to my Amore Pacific Air Cusion Compact (which I bought from Sephora in the states before the trip, but air cushion compacts are de rigueur in Korea) and all the kickass lipstick/pencils/tints I picked up from Banila Co. and Innisfree!

If you’re looking for a helping hand/introduction to Korean skincare, I’d encourage you to check out Soko Glam. It’s an amazing and well-curated Korean skincare and makeup site that ships from the US, so no long wait time for your stuff! The founder, Charlotte, tests all the products on the site herself.

ONE CAVEAT: Benton brand products. AVOID THEM. They’ve been linked to a smattering of massive scary contamination-related problems. I’m pretty confident they temporarily ruined my skin–it’s still recovering–and I wouldn’t wish their products on anyone.

That’s all for now! Would love to hear about your own forays into Korean skincare, or even some recommendations for US brands I shouldn’t abandon! Stay gold, people.

Liz

Seoul Was Awesome, Pt. 1 – Food!

I’ve never had bad Korean food. Maybe I’m just lucky in terms of selection or maybe, by some cosmic sleight of hand, one culinary tradition developed into a veritable BASTION OF DELICIOUSNESS and GIFT TO HUMANITY. After eating a ton of Korean food–from home-cooking to fast food to the best hanoo bbq–I think the latter explanation is far more likely.

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That’s why I’m dedicating an entire post to Seoul eats. While this trip was rich in discussions about Korean politics, history, and society, food was a big part of my trip and a great help in relating to Korean culture as a whole. I can’t wait to share these pictures and start talking about Korean food. To start us off on the right foot, I have featured the picture above from this delicious and allegedly famous mandu restaurant we pillaged in Buamdong.

ONWARD TO THE EATS!

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