everything i ate and drank on maui

(or, most of it!)

the freshest poke bowls i will probably ever have, from the back of a liquor store, gobbled up on the beach under the dreamy influence of westbound jetlag. it was our very first stop and it was the perfect stop. 

spam musubi. tons of it, and not nearly enough.

a spring break-style fishbowl cocktail with four straws at a restaurant called --wait for it-- humuhumunukunukuapua'a. (now say it out loud! you can do it.)

a man made out of fondant who starred in the fanciest turn down service on earth. lily and i named him don. i miss don. 

millions of garlic and onion macadamia nuts. i kept them in the glove compartment, right next to my map, just in case anyone got hangry. 

a very coconutty squash soup that is making me wish i had a squash right this very moment. we all wore flower crowns while we ate it and it was part of a beautiful supper club called feast, which was so whimsical and great. 

saigon fries: peanuts, cilantro, hoisin, aioli, and sriracha on crinkly fries, slayyyyyyyy meeeeeee.

perfectly crispy pork belly from the magic mind of jimmy bannos, jr., who was on the island at the same time we were. it was so fun running into a part of chicago so far from home!

a mountain of croissants after an early morning spent watching the sun rise from above the clouds, on the mars-like dormant volcano, haleakala. we groggily ate our croissants in lily's childhood yard, which felt right out of willy wonka, if willy wonka was a tropical fruit factory. 

wedding cake flavored shave ice on a bed of mochi and macadamia ice cream, under a blanket of condensed milk. it was the best afternoon pick-me-up. i wonder what it would take to get someone from maui to come and open up a shave ice place in grand forks. we have so much snow, i can make the mochi, and whatever wedding cake flavored syrup is, i'm sure we can make it happen, right?

the new object of my obsession: japanese breakfast. my rice cooker has gotten a workout in the days since i've been back! sushi rice, miso, pickles, furikake. and i've been adding an egg and an avocado. so tasty. 

taro leaf pesto, goat cheese tempura, gnocchi mac and cheese, and many other delights at cane and canoe

a deliciously doughy rhubarb empanada from the cutest little place in the cutest little town.

shakshuka! it wasn't on many menus on maui, but obviously when i spotted it i went for it. and it was filled with chickpeas! i'm into this. gonna add chickpeas to my next shakshuka. 

one of the thousands of taro breeds in existence (did you know so many existed?!) at this beautiful taro farm.

a new-to-me fruit, the longan! chewy, lychee-like, totally cute.

a big juicy pineapple freshly yanked from the ground, chopped with a machete, and enjoyed near the presence of a one-legged rooster. and then washed down with macadamia nut rum

...and when we weren't eating, we were singing and laughing and telling secrets in hot tubs. and listening to the bird calls from the hammock grove and attempting to dance hula. we strolled through lavender fields and swam in the ocean and even made new whale friends and goat friends! believe what everyone says, maui is a dream. i loved it so much and i can't wait to be back.


thank you, maui visitors and convection bureau, for a magnificent week in maui. and further thank yous to: incase, paia inn, feast hawaii, trilogy, and of course to the wonderful bbs of #slamsquad2016! check out alana's, steph's, and lily's recaps! 

almond and orange passover cake

Happy almost Passover! I am getting ready to zip on over to Chicago for my family seder but before I go I must show you this year's Passover cake! It's not chocolatey, like last year's, rather it's inspired by the flourless tangerine apricot cake from olives, lemons, and za'atar and an almond cake recipe that my friend marshy gave me, which calls for an entire orange (the peel and all!) to be chopped up and tossed in the batter. both of them were quite similar to my valentine's day almond cake but I loved the addition of the citrus. Eggboy, on the other hand, did not. So rather than adding a whole entire orange into the mix, I took a cue from yossy's grapefruit tarts, threw a supreme party, and then sprinkled in just a wee bit of zest to brighten the whole situation.

this is not a super model cake! it looks great when it comes out of the oven, but after a few minutes of cooling, it collapses just slightly to turn into a very rustic, yet lovable dessert. it's almost like a sweet crustless quiche that's packed with ground almonds (thanks to king arthur's almond flour, which is suuuper finely ground) and balanced out by a little zing of orange. it's great with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream) or both!

Orange and Almond Passover Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake


6 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c sugar
2 oranges, plus more for garnish
2 c king arthur almond flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Powdered sugar, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9” springform pan and set it aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon salt and beat to soft peaks. Gradually mix in 1/4 cup sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Set aside.

Zest one of the oranges, and supreme both of them. Place the zest, segments, and juices in the clean bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, almond flour, almond extract, and vanilla and beat on medium high until pale, about 3 minutes.

Use a rubber spatula to fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then pour the batter into the pan. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, remove to the rack and cool completely. It’s completely normal for this cake to cave slightly as it cools, its rustic-ness is part of the charm. To serve, dust with powdered sugar and decorate with orange slices.


i used the following king arthur flour products in this recipe: almond flour, vanilla extract, and almond extract. thank you so much, king arthur, for sponsoring this post!

chocolate sesame tart with grapefruit

i joined the town gym yesterday. i returned from my post-hawaii weekend in winnipeg (eggboy played a trombone concert!), applied a layer of activewear, and then acquired access to the best indoor waterpark in grand forks, along with some other stuff, like free weights and possibly a steam room. i haven't done enough exploring in the locker room yet to confirm that there is actually a steam room, and tbh i don't really want to *explore the locker room* and all of its bare body parts, i just want someone to give me a direct route to the steam room, if there is one. but i have a good hunch. i may also even start going to yoga classes again because these days i can't even do 30 seconds of yoga in my living room without looking at the twitter, it's atrocious. the only downside about the gym is that it takes 23 minutes by car to get there, 24 if there's traffic, but (!) i'm knee deep in research about how to make the most of my car time by way of audio hebrew lessons and i'm extremely excited about it. (do you have an recs? is rosetta stone the way to go?)

in other words, i'm moving into a post-book-deadline world and beginning some things i've been wanting to do for the past year but put aside in an effort to make my deadlines. i have a list on my phone, i'm rereading it now. "learn hebrew" and "have a bat mitzvah" are at the top, "watch every mary-kate and ashley movie ever made" and "eat no food" were all likely added during the most stressful times, and "go blonde" is something i probably won't stop thinking about until i try it. 

and then of course there is the assumed "make other people's recipes that have me foaming at the mouth." so many beautiful cookbooks were birthed this spring and i'm basically floored that all of the people behind these books went through the cookbook writing process that i'm going through right now and that they're all still alive, breathing, considering doing it again, etc. it's reassuring. it makes me appreciate cookbooks even more. and today, right now, as my rhubarb patch is beginning to poke its little nose out of the ground, i'm cuddling up with yossy arefi's sweeter off the vine, a stunning ode to fruit dessertshave you ever met yossy? i think she is the calmest human on the face of the planet. her voice is exactly the one that i need in my head while i try new things (like supremeing a grapefruit or baking a gooseberry into a buckle) or attempt things that typically cause me lots of frustration (anything involving a tart shell or pie crust). it's trustworthy and encouraging, and it all shows through so well in this book, well enough to make me question my staunch preference for nutty desserts over fruity ones. and of course today we are starting with the token tahini recipe, this chocolate tart. it's sour, salty, chocolatey, and nutty, and my favorite part about making it was learning this new thing called supremeinggood luck! don't chop your fingers off, for a tasty tart awaits you at the end. 

chocolate sesame tart with grapefruit

from yossy arefi's sweeter off the vine

makes one 13 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangular tart (or four small tarts, pictured)


1 chocolate tart shell, recipe below

2 medium grapefruit, scrubbed and dried

3/4 c sugar

6 oz chopped semisweet chocolate

1/2 c heavy cream

1/4 c tahini

1 tsp smoked flaky sea salt


grate the zest of one of the grapefruit and measure 1 teaspoon of zest. supreme the grapefruit: cut off the tops and bottoms of the fruits, then with a very sharp knife, cut the white pith away from the outside of the fruit. over a medium saucepan, carefully cut the wedges of fruit away from the membrane, letting the fruit and juices fall into the pan. remove any seeds that have fallen in. add the sugar and zest to the pan and stir to combine. bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grapefruit segments break down and the mixture thickens and reduces by about half, 7 to 12 minutes. pour the mixture into a heat-safe container and let cool to room temperature. it will seem syrupy right out of the pan, but should be the consistency of a thick, sticky jam or marmalade when cool.

add the chopped chocolate to a heat-safe bowl. bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. whisk in the tahini.

spread a thin (1/8"-1/4"), even layer of the grapefruit marmalade (you may not use it all) onto the baked and cooled tart shell. pour the warm ganache over the top and smooth with an offset spatula. chill the tart until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight, before serving. 

sprinkle with the smoked salt and cut the tart into thin slices. store leftovers in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days. the jam will soften the tart shell over time. 

chocolate tart shell


1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/3 c cocoa powder

1/3 c firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

1/2 tsp salt

10 tb unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 tb cold water, as needed


whisk the whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla together in a small bowl. in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a bowl using a pastry blender, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. pulse to combine. add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. add the egg mixture and pulse until it is evenly distributed and the dough starts to hold together. it may appear to be a bit crumbly but should hold together easily when pressed. if the dough does not hold together when pressed, pulse in the water 1 teaspoon at a time.

lightly butter a tart pan and press the dough into the pan, making sure to evenly coat the bottom and sides with 1/8"-1/4" of dough. save a bit of dough just in case you have to repair any cracks after baking the shell. freeze the shell for 30 minutes. 

preheat the oven to 375ºf and line the frozen shell with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side down. bake the tart shell (no need for pie weights) until it is beginning to brown, about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake until the shell is completely cooked through. if the shell puffs up while baking, carefully use an offset spatula to gently press it back into the pan. repair any cracks that may have formed with the reserved dough. baked shells or unbaked dough will keep in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to three months. thaw in the refrigerator before filling baked shells or using unbaked dough.