A New Year

sf-newyear01

Happy New Year!!

I hope you all have an amazing, inspiring, and uplifting year. I’m usually not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I do year-round resolving whenever I see fit), but I think this year I could use a list. Here are a few of mine:

-Read more books
-Get back into yoga (after I moved, I’ve become terribly out of practice)
-Get out of the house more and explore!
-Spend more time with friends and family
-Go to bed earlier
-Figure out what I want out of my professional life
-Take more photos, and blog more!!

What about you, do you have any resolutions you’d like to share? Is there anything you’d like to see more of here on my blog? Feel free to let me know!

Advertisements

Chicago Favorites: Christkindlmarket

Every year during the holidays, when you’re walking in downtown Chicago and approaching Daley Plaza, the smell of hot pretzels, spices, and cinnamon wafts in the air– it’s Christkindlmarket time!

One of the greatest things about Chicago is its celebration of the many, many cultures that are present here. From Greektown to Chinatown, to Little Italy to the Polish Triangle and everything (and every country) in between, there is a wealth of ethnic neighborhoods to explore. Every holiday season, the Christkindlmarket, a traditional German holiday market, sets up shop right in the heart of the city. Here you’ll find hand-blown ornaments, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and other gifts galore. And, most importantly of course, you will find food. Check out the vendors selling marzipan, strudel, nuts, and chocolate, sink your teeth into wienerschnitzel piled with onions and tangy mustard, hot potato pancakes topped with sour cream and applesauce, and finish it all off with some hot chocolate or gluehwein (German hot spiced wine) to keep you warm. Frohe Weihnachten!!

sf-christkindl01sf-christkindl02 sf-christkindl03 sf-christkindl04 sf-christkindl05

Thanksgiving Morning

Happy Thanksgiving to all!! I wanted to share a quick photo of some gorgeous Thanksgiving morning light, unedited, straight out of the camera… just one of the many, many things I’m thankful for. 🙂

The recipe for these moist and soft cakey pumpkin cookies can be found here. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Sunday Supper: Sweet Potato Hash (and a new look!)

As you may have noticed, Sweet Falcon has undergone a bit of a makeover. I’ve been wanting to change things up for a while now and figured I might as well dive in and see what happens. It’s still a work in progress, but hopefully you like it and find it a little more user-friendly! (And fellow bloggers, check out this post to find some beautifully designed social media icons.)

And now for the good stuff– a long-awaited Sunday Supper post! It’s obvious I have a bit of a love affair with the fall season, and the vegetables that come with it are a big part of my infatuation. Okay, and I also have an affinity for eating breakfast for dinner, but I think this dish works beautifully for any meal. Sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, sausage, eggs, AND plenty of garlic and fresh rosemary make for one wonderfully hearty and satisfying supper. Or breakfast. Or lunch.

Find the recipe here, courtesy of The Kitchn. Enjoy!

Autumn is Here

Thought I’d share a few photos from a little stroll I took the other day with J and a new lens! Now that I have seasons again, I definitely think fall will be my favorite… can’t wait for scarves, boots, chai lattes and comfort food… what is your favorite thing about this time of year?

P.S. Don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page for more food and inspiration!

Hello Again

Okay, okay, so I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus… but with good reason! A lot of big changes have been happening, namely… J and I have moved to Chicago!! Yes, after ten years of living in California, I’ve taken a big leap and decided to move back to my hometown to be closer to my nearest and dearest. And with this move comes lots of new and exciting opportunities and projects– personally, professionally, and everything in between.

So I just want to take a moment and say THANK YOU California…. from San Diego and Orange County to San Francisco and Los Angeles, thank you for being my home for the past decade. Thank you for your blue skies and your beautiful ocean, your mountain views and your diverse cities. Thank you for your plethora of farmers’ markets, the way you sparked my love of food, thank you for the wonders of milk tea boba and In-N-Out. But most of all, thank you for the crazy wonderful people I met, thank you for the best experiences a Midwestern girl could ask for.

…..we shall meet again!!

Images taken with my trusty Holga
Clockwise from top left: Hollywood palm trees, Palm Springs, Marina del Rey, El Matador State Beach

Crispy, Crunchy… Kale Chips!

Whenever I have a recipe that uses kale, I always make sure to save a couple of large leaves to make kale chips. Simple to make, super good for you (especially compared to potato chips!), and not to mention delicious, they’re the perfect light summer snack. Also, they’re extremely addictive; J and I always end up eating all of them within an hour of taking them out of the oven… that is, if I don’t devour them all myself!

Kale Chips
(Slightly adapted from Giada at Home)
Makes 1-2 servings

3 large kale leaves
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the thick stem from the kale and discard. Cut or tear the leaves into 2 to 3-inch pieces. Place them in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss well. Arrange the kale in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until crispy and slightly dark on the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!

LA Favorites: Café Brasil

Welcome to one of my mostest favoritest restaurants in Los Angeles, Café Brasil. One of the things I love most about my neighborhood is the variety of restaurants in the area, and this is a prime example. I had never had Brazilian food before this place, hopefully one day I’ll make it to Brazil (World Cup 2014, anyone??), but in the meantime, I will gladly come here over and over again. The location I frequent is actually the second of two (the first is on Venice Boulevard), which I prefer as A. It’s thisclose to my place and B. I may be mistaken, but I think the Venice Blvd location doesn’t serve alcohol. (You’ll see why this is important below!) Also it’s unpretentious (a bonus in LA) and never crowded (another bonus in LA), where you can sit and enjoy your meal and chat for a couple hours, or if you’re like J, have your eyes glued to the flat-screen TVs playing soccer games and not pay any attention to your dinner companion. Ahem.

Café Brasil is actually part of the Villa Brasil Motel, which is right next door and is ridiculously cute.

I highly, highly recommend the caipirinha. Theirs is actually not made with the traditional cachaça (sugar cane rum), but sake. And if you’re a bit of a lightweight like me, one of these and you’re good to go. Also a must is a side of fried yucca!

I always order the same thing– grilled dark meat chicken, which comes with grilled onions and the most succulent plantains ever, and a choice of salad, black bean soup (deliciously spicy and thick) or lentil soup (just as delicious but a lighter option.) Even the rice is spectacular. Then to finish it all off, traditional Brazilian candies, a beijinho de coco (left, made with sweetened condensed milk and coconut), and a brigadeiro, (right, made with sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder.) Don’t get me started on sweetened condensed milk, which is the way to a Filipino girl’s heart. Just give me a can of the stuff and a spoon and call it a day.

Sunday Supper: Gyeran Jjim

Eggs, is there anything you can’t do? Can I tell you how much I love you and can’t live without you? I love you fried, I love you poached, I love you scrambled, and yes, I love you boiled. I love you in frittatas, in my meringues, I love you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and everything in between.

…and I love you in custard, yes I do. And in a velvety smooth, silky, savory custard? Yes. I. Do.

Gyeran Jjim— Korean-style eggs, steamed, and like many egg dishes, extremely versatile. On my first try, I made it with water and salt, and topped it with sesame seeds, green onions, and a dash of sesame oil. However, I would recommend using broth instead of water, and maybe fish sauce or salted shrimp sauce instead of salt for more flavor. Oh, and in this past season’s Top Chef finale, the adorably humble Paul Qui made a similar Japanese chawanmushi for the first course of his final meal. Eggs fit for a winner!


Gyeran Jjim
(Courtesy of The Kitchn)
Makes 1-2 servings

2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt, fish sauce, or salted shrimp sauce
1/2 cup water or broth, plus more water for filling pot
1/2 scallion, chopped
1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Dash sesame oil, optional

*Note: For the recipe pictured above, I doubled the ingredient amounts, used these ramekins, and used one egg per dish– but this all depends on how many you’re feeding and the size of your dishes!

Combine the eggs, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a heat-safe ceramic bowl, such as a ramekin. Whisk until well combined and foamy.

Place the bowl in a pot. Fill the pot with hot (not boiling) water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover the pot, preferably with a clear glass lid so you can easily watch the water and eggs. Cook over low-medium heat for 12 minutes, making sure the water stays at a gentle simmer.

Sprinkle the scallions, sesame seeds, and sesame oil on top of the eggs and continue to cook for about 3 minutes or until the eggs are set. They should be firm but jiggly.

Carefully lift the bowl from the pot and serve. Enjoy!

 

Happy Birthday to Me

As you may know, I’ve already confessed my profound and undying love for macarons in this post. So imagine how giddy I was when J bought me a box of these perfect little confections for my birthday last week! (Okay, there’s a chance I may have insisted on him taking me to the bakery since it has been way too long since I had a really good macaron.) Anyway, I had to share just how beautiful these are. The colors themselves excite me! Not to mention how incredibly perfect the texture is– crisp, chewy, and creamy all at the same time… pardon me while I try to eat my computer screen. Thank you Bottega Louie for making me a very happy birthday girl!