Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Happy Holidays!

{I'm dreaming of a tropical Christmas}
I'll be signing off and spending next week with family, but wishing you a Happy Happy Holiday and New Year's! May yours be filled with peace and wonderful moments among loved ones!

Take good care and can't wait to see you again in the new year!
{Santa and Mrs. Clause - tan and barefoot in Hawaii :)}
{Photos taken in Honolulu, Hawaii.}

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Mangoes - a juicy, tropical staple from my childhood....

The rainbowed goodness of a refreshing Hawaiian shave ice (kind of like Italian ice)...

The sight of big waves pounding Hawaiian shores in winter! (Can't you tell I want a tropical vacation? :))

(Top photo of mango taken in Honolulu, Hawaii. Middle and bottom images via Just Hungry and Panoramio.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A moment of calm in recent days. (Sorry! As you can see, I have no idea how to take lowlight photos - but I couldn't resist the moon through hazy clouds.:))

Monday, December 20, 2010

Warming up for a new week: Cauliflower soup

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend & I must apologize for my unintended weeklong hiatus - sudden work travel & deadlines kept me from going online much. But I'm so looking forward to visiting!
Meantime, what could be better for fortifying ourselves against a new week than warming soup? My significant other greeted my return with this soothing recipe - perfect for body and soul!
~ Wishing you a perfectly soothing week ahead! ~
Adapted very slightly (skim milk, not whole) from a Cook's Illustrated recipe I jotted down ages ago. This soup can be pureed in one batch in most 5-7 cup blenders. 
  • 2 tablespoons (~30g) butter, olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, 3 medium shallots, or 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (~30ml) white wine
  • 1 medium head (about 2 pounds, or 32 ounces) cauliflower, stems discarded and florets cut into bite size pieces to yield 5 cups
  • 2 cups (~500ml) chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon (~5g) ground coriander
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups (~125-155ml) skim (fat-free) milk
  • Optional: minced fresh chives or parsley
Heat butter or oil in a large (easily-pourable) saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Add wine & cauliflower; stir until wine evaporates, about 30 seconds.

Add stock, salt and pepper to taste, and ground coriander to saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover & cook cauliflower until tender, about 12 minutes.

Pour or ladle cauliflower mixture into blender. Add 1/2 cup milk; blend until very smooth. Return soup to saucepan; cook over low heat until warmed through. If soup is too thick, stir in more milk. Adjust seasonings.

Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish with minced chives or parsley and chow! (Preferrably with crusty bread :)).

Little notes:
If you don't have a standard blender for pureeing, the next best thing is a handheld immersion blender, but don't use a food processor because it tends to leak hot liquid. (I think I mentioned this tip in the past, but since I keep making this silly mistake myself, I thought it was worth repeating!)

(Images via  Mixed Greens Blog and Parade.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Thanks so much for your lovely comments about our new place, made me feel better about our chaotic move!
You may also "visit" my new world at lovely Ren at Lady of the Arts and her amazing Around the World series, if you like. Meet bloggers worldwide as they interpret inside, outside, creative space, and wild card through photos.

Hope you're having a sweet weekend! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Find simplicity

{A moment of sweet sun in our new place}
Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein

Although it's been a too-long workweek and I'm still finding new rhythms in a new town, we're sloowly creating order from chaos, forging new chapters. I wouldn't want it any other way.
~ Have a wonderful weekend, full of simple harmony! ~

P.S. Just for fun, has anyone seen Black Swan? I'm so intrigued!

(Black Swan image via FanPop.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sunrise in Florence, Italy

The Arno River, Florence
Digital cameras keep getting better, but there's something I find romantic about film. This fuzzy shot was from a disposable camera I toted through Italy and multiple Italian rainstorms (yet lasted!).

P.S. For the full effect, try this Puccini aria (used in A Room with a View), about throwing oneself into Florence's Arno River over tormented love. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's voice makes me weepy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Things I learned at the dinner party

{Gifts from the New World}
#1. If you say you're from Hawaii, people get very curious.
#2. No matter how smart you think you are, you'll feel dumb in a room full of famous Ivy League professors.
#3. About 60% of the world's crops originated in the "New World" - the Americas: tomatoes, peanuts, potatoes, avocados, zucchinis (courgettes), eggplants (aubergines), vanilla, chocolate...

Of course, #3 got me thinking (and taking a page from writer Bill Bryson) - not only did New World food get incorporated into foreign cuisines, it became the foreign cuisine...
Can you imagine Italian food without tomatoes?

Or Thai food without peanut sauce?

Or English fish and chips without chips? (Terrible thought!)

P.S. The Tea Maker - a short, sweet tribute to John Lennon.

And before I sign off, a big thank you to lovely Marilou at Twenty York Street for passing on a blog award! More soon!

(Images via Edible Portland, The Stir, iFood and Virgin Media. Some thoughts on food history are from writer-journalist Bill Bryson's At Home, chapter on "The Dining Room.")
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