Sunday Salon: Thoughts

sunday salonIt’s been over three months since I last wrote a post. Three brutal months that have left my family and I changed–but for the better. There have been many times that I found myself composing a blog post in my head. Many times that I didn’t bother to write down those thoughts. There was just so much going on and I couldn’t find the energy or desire to be online. Sorry to be so vague, but what happened isn’t just my story but my family’s.

During those hard months, my reading mojo came and left. There were books like The Dresden Files series that helped coax my mojo back for a short while, but overall, I didn’t read much. Now that things are much better, I can concentrate on more than just surviving.

Cooking is one of the things I’m looking forward to doing more of this year. There’s something about preparing a meal with and for your loved ones that is comforting to the soul. It’s also a good way to create memories.

food
My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl follows her life after Gourmet magazine was shut down. I’ve just started the book, but I already love her conversational tone. The editors of Food52 compiled 60 of their favorite recipes in Food52: Baking. I’ve already gone through the book and picked more than a dozen treats to bake including their cardamom currant snickerdoodles. A girl can’t live on sugar (and coffee) alone, so Besh Big Easy: 100 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes by John Besh is another cookbook that’s on my nightstand. After only a glance through the book, Besh’s Cajun Stuffed Pork Chops are going to be cooked this week.

Forgive me, but I’m going to keep this post short. It’s hard to ease back into writing a post when you’ve been away from blogging so long. Though I haven’t been online much, that doesn’t mean you guys weren’t on my mind. I’ve missed you all so much and look forward to seeing what you all have been up to.

Advertisements

Review: L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi

9780062202635L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food

Roy Choi with Tien Nguyen and Natasha Phan

320 pages

Published in November 2013 by Anthony Bourdain Books, an imprint of Ecco Books

Source: Public Library

 

Up until that moment, I just didn’t see it. I didn’t realize how much food was a part of my family, a part of me. I was almost too close to it all, too close to the screen to really see the big picture. But the moment Emeril waves those herbs at me, my whole world clicked into place and I saw what had been in front of my face this whole time. Food. Flavors. Sohn-maash. I saw myself in the kitchen. I saw myself at home.

Roy Choi takes readers on a ride through L.A. and beyond with his debut, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food. Born in Korea before immigrating to the United States at the age of two, Choi went through a chaotic childhood as his family moved from place to place. Years later as a teenager with his family settled into Orange County, California, the chaos was really just starting.

Choi is famously known for breathing new life into street food. He’s the owner of Kogi BBQ, which started back in 2008 and has since baptize people with its Korean tacos. Seriously. Food trucks are a huge deal in SoCal and Kogi BBQ has been known to have crowds waiting for its food.

Now back to the book.

L.A. Son is a raw and honest account of Choi’s life from his childhood to right before he started his business. He described his entry into the world as,

a baby with a big Frankenstein head, drenched in his own blood, with more spewing out through his upper cleft like lava erupting from a volcano. Wailing, crying. . . One hell of a hectic entry into this world, huh?

Love.

Once in the United States, Choi’s parents tried their hand at a number of businesses from owning a liquor store to running a restaurant. It wasn’t until they started their own jewelry business that they found success. But while his parents were chasing their American dream, Choi was a lost kid who was trying to find where he fit in. Wherever he went he found friends, other misfits, but not his purpose. It wasn’t until years later after hitting bottom that he realized his purpose, cooking, was right there all along.

The recipes in L.A. Son coincide with various events in Choi’s life. The dumpling recipe reminds readers of family time every day in Silver Garden, the Choi family restaurant. The comfort of buttermilk pancakes is featured in the same chapter that the author experiences heartbreak. I love that there’s a story behind every recipe.

The diversity of the recipes is also another thing to enjoy. Readers get recipes for horchata right along with recipes for pork fried rice and French onion soup. There’s also a few surprises like ketchup fried rice and windowpane smoothies. You want a homemade recipe, it’s in the book. You want something that’s not strictly homemade? You get that too.

L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food is a fantastic foodie memoir. If Roy Choi writes another book, I’m buying it with no hesitation. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

 —–

Cardamom Milk Shaved Ice

Serves 6

  • One 14-ounce can condensed milk, plus a little more for garnish
  • 3 ½ cups of water
  • One 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons cold brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon roasted and crushed sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Grated zest of 1 lime

Garnish

  • Fresh or canned lychee
  • Fresh mint leaves

Combine the condensed milk, water, coconut milk, cardamom, coffee, sesame seeds, lime juice, and zest in a big bowl and give it a good whisk. Run the mixture through a sorbet machine or freeze it in a pan, running a fork through it every 30 minutes until frozen.

Scoop and serve the shaved ice in a bowl with the lychees, the mint, and a little more condensed milk drizzled over the top.