drunken zucchini noodles

greetings from fort worth! i have already lost count of my taco intake and i'm slowly adjusting to/falling in love with the extremely friendly stranger people here. they are so delightful, i even got an unsolicited rhubarb jam recipe from a lady at the market. (it has cherry jell-o in it!) 

a majority of my texas existence has been spent in a dark corner of the stage, wiggling my toe off in the name of vibraphone sustenance, and flipping through genius recipes during my breaks (you are a silly goose if you don't have that book yet). i can't see any of the singers unfortunately, but boy do they sound great.

there's one line in the opera that i could listen to over and over and over, it's towards the end when michael's character, who is starving and cold and searching for food, sings the most beautiful melody with the words:

...maybe there are worms in the backyard... 

the end of the world is near and, oh goodness, the way that michael sings this line gets at my deepest shivers. it's one of the most haunting moments in the piece and i love it with the same intensity that worms gross me out. am i doing a good job of convincing you to come? worms, blood, apocalypse? truly, this opera is a crazy delicious gem and day-long rehearsals do not feel so day-long. 

when i'm not in rehearsal, i'm working with a lot of lovely restrictions that aren't as bad as the apocalypse but still, errm, adjustments. a kitchenette with two hot burners, no oven, and a camera lens that has lost his ability to focus. so! eggboy said it will be like learning to write with my left hand, and so far it's been really quite exciting, in a cutthroat kitchen type of way. i had a morning of steamed stove-top cake research, i bought ingredients for a rhubarb curd crepe cake which i am going to attempt without a whisk, and, ok, i'm going to learn how to take a disposable camera photo. 


my kitchenette does not have a spiralizer, but my home does, and i miss it very much! it arrived in the mail right before i left, so i quick made all of the noodles that i could and pretended to be ali maffucci. you all have her book, right??? i am so into it, it makes me want to eat so many vegetables, i don't even know myself anymore. these drunken zucchini noodles were one of the first recipes i made out of it, because i miss the drunken noodles at sripraphai and also because "zucchini" was the first large word that i ever learned how to spell and for all of first grade spelling it out loud was my go-to party trick. 

it kind of goes without saying, but these noodles present an excellent solution to the conundrum of wanting to sit on the couch, watch veep, and mindlessly shovel thai takeout into your mouth, but not wanting to feel like poop afterwards. they're delicious!!! 

drunken zucchini noodles 

from ali maffucci's inspiralized


1 tb hoisin sauce

1 tb low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 tb oyster sauce

1 tb thai chili oil

1 tb thai or vietnamese fish sauce

1 tb virgin coconut oil

8 oz ground pork

2 small shallots, minced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips

2 thinly sliced scallions

2 medium zucchini, spiralized with blade a

3 tb chopped fresh thai basil leaves


heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. add the hoisin, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili oil, and fish sauce and heat for about 2 minutes. transfer to a bowl.

add the coconut oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or so, until cooked through and browned. add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

return the sauce mixture to the skillet and add the bell pepper and scallions. cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. add the zucchini noodles and cook 2-3 more minutes or until the zucchini noodles soften. fold in the basil leaves, taste and adjust sauces if desired.



pictured: bowls // pan // cutting board // spurtle


matcha cake with black sesame buttercream

greetings from the alps!! today we left salzburg and arrived in the tiny town of mittersill, austria, which is surrounded by the biggest and handsomest mountains i ever did see. we are so full on cake and knödel and rye bread and i have forgotten what vegetables taste like. we are having the most wonderful time! 

i believe there is a sauna at our hotel so we're off to do some research on that! but more on our honeymoon soon :) 

for now, cake!

may we all give a round of applause to the power couple that is matcha and black sesame? they go so swimmingly well together in sweet green tea and nutty sesame glory, and they even look good together, in that dark but whimsical way. to the designer that creates a matcha and black sesame inspired dress, can i be your friend?

let's take a look at some of matcha and black sesame's recent appearances:

buttermilk matcha rolls with black sesame filling aka the star of my next brunch party!

black sesame vertical cake roll with matcha mochi completely mind blowing.

matcha + black sesame mousse cake it almost looks too perfect to eat.

black sesame cake with matcha frosting as if these mini cakes just swapped their outfits.

matcha panna cotta with sesame brittle such daintiness!

matcha cake with black sesame frosting and brittle beautiful!!! 

sesame nougat with matcha chocolate and black sesame yes.

do you see what i mean? look out, blake lively and ryan reynolds. 

here we have mini cakes and medium cakes. the mini cakes were made in their typical mini cake way, with 2 1/2-inch circles stacked with a blob of frosting piped in the middle. and the medium cakes were made using a newer-to-me technique that's based on momofuku milk bar's cake decorating technique, with of course further inspiration from graham and his cake to end all cakes. with this technique, you are supposed to use a cake ring and some acetate to create sort of a tube that you fill with layers of cake and frosting before freezing and then removing from the ring. (specific steps are here.) but i spent about 20 minutes too many searching for the perfect cake ring online before deciding to just make my own by way of a 28-ounce tomato can. so i removed both ends of the can, (made tomato soup), and then used the can to cut out a few cake circles. instead of using acetate i lined the inside of the can with parchment, and then set it on a plate before pressing some cake down into it and piping in some frosting between the layers. i froze my can of cake for a few hours before removing the can and the parchment. it was so much fun! i highly recommend it.

of course, if you'd like a magnum sized cake, this recipe will also work to make one 2-layer 8-inch cake. 

matcha cake with black sesame buttercream

makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake, three to four 4-inch cakes, or about twelve 2 1/2-inch cakes



1 3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

2 tb aiya cooking grade matcha 

1 1/2 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 1/2 tb vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 c boiling water


2 c unsalted butter, softened

4 2/3 c powdered sugar

6 tb toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground in a spice grinder

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

a pinch of kosher salt



preheat oven to 350.

for an 8-inch cake, grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. for medium or mini cakes, grease a half sheet pan (18" x 13") and line the bottom with parchment.

in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients except for the boiling water. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then stir in the boiling water. it will be a very thin batter. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes for a sheet pan and 28 minutes for round cakes.

if you're making a round cake, let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack. make your frosting (below) and decorate as desired.

if you're making medium or mini cakes, it is easiest to let the large sheet cake cool fully in the pan. once it's cool, wrap it in plastic wrap and then freeze it for a few hours or overnight, until firm. cut out your circles and then decorate as desired.


use an electric mixer to beat all ingredients together until smooth. 



this post is sponsored by aiya matcha! all opinions are my own.

chinese hotdish

a few months ago, i was flipping through a few of eggmum's old church cookbooks when i found my stripper name in the casserole chapter of the 1984 our savior's lutheran book: chinese hotdish. it was nestled between beef pie and oriental hotdish, and i took it as a sign for my true calling. not to be a stripper, but to finally become a true woman of the north by making a hotdish. 

ok, what is a hotdish.

if you're not from the northern midwest, you probably know it as a casserole. from what i understand, all hotdishes can be considered casseroles, but not all casseroles are hotdishes because a true hotdish has three main components--meat, vegetables, and creamed soup--which are dumped into a casserole dish, and then, in the words of sam sifton, you cover the bitch in tater tots and bake it. some hotdishes use wild rice or mashed potatoes or another type of grain or starch instead of tater tots, although covering the bitch in tater tots is really fun to say.

so, like, technically you can make a mac and cheese casserole, but without meat and a vegetable, it wouldn't totally be a hotdish. 

all of this is obviously up for debate and i am in no way an authority, i'm just going by church cookbook research, wikipedia, and the delicious hotdishes that eggmama makes. (and whether it's hot dish or hotdish is still something i do not know.)

hotdishes are as comforting as a new fleece blanket on a cold winter day and they make excellent leftovers. here are some examples of things that you can put into a casserole dish in order to make a hotdish:

hamburger meat + peas + cream of mushroom soup + tater tots

pulled chicken + wild rice + celery + cream of chicken soup

chopped spam + macaroni noodles + cream of mushroom soup + velveeta cheese + onions

i have never tried that spam one, but if you were to place the other ones on an x/y chart where x = how much it looks like barf, and y = how delicious it is, they would be maxed out on both accounts. that's the charm of a hotdish. 

for my first hotdish, i've made a variation on the chinese hotdish in the our savior's lutheran book. as much as i loved the sort of imaginary camaraderie of standing in the creamed soup section, piling cans upon cans into my basket, and then coming home and placing them on the shelf marked with a handwritten label for "cream of mush" that egggrandma must have made decades ago, i couldn't actually bring myself to use it without first trying some less processed options.

i know, coconut milk isn't technically a creamed soup, but it is creamy, and slightly sweet, and the results even got the eggboy seal of approvali used brown rice to up the healthy ante, and scallions to add flavor and greenery. a little ginger here and some ground pork or chicken there, and this guy might even be ready for the annual hotdish competition.

chinese hotdish

makes 3-4 servings


1 pound ground chicken or pork

2 tb soy sauce

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger

black pepper

3/4 c brown rice (short or medium grain)

1 c chicken broth

1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk (regular or light)

4 stalks scallions, minced

crispy noodles or crispy fried shallots, for topping



preheat oven to 375.

in a small* dutch oven or other stove-safe/oven-safe dish, brown your meat with the soy sauce, ginger, and a few turns of black pepper.

*the dutch oven that's pictured has a 2 quart capacity. also, if you don't have a stove-safe/oven-safe dish, you can certainly brown the meat separately and then add it to a casserole dish.

add the brown rice, chicken broth, coconut milk, and scallions, and give it a little swirl.

bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until the rice is tender. it will still be slightly liquidy. let it cool for about 10 minutes, top with noodles or shallots, and enjoy!


pictured: dutch oven // knife // measuring cups

taiwanese meat sauce + a giveaway

i had a startling realization two days ago when eggboy made an observation that some friends of ours are well read. it occurred to me that, as someone who spends her days playing with sprinkles and spent her college years playing the xylophone at an institution where some teachers nearly pat you on the back if you almost fail your one non-music academic class in the name of more practice time, i am extremely far from being well read. extremely far.

but that wasn't my startling realization.  

my startling realization came when i told myself that after the wedding, by gum, i will read more with the intention of becoming better read, maybe even well read. and so i envisioned myself after the wedding, reading books and... suddenly having one million less things to stress out about, and a much much much shorter to-do list. and. ok. that was startling. 

what will i do when i don't have 1,000 feet of bunting to make? a seating chart to puzzle together? zillions of pies to bake??? where will i go on my monday nights that's not to my dress seamstress's house??

what do people do after they get married?1?!?!!!! 

i'll read things that aren't benedict cumberbatch gossip blogs, i'll go on a honeymoon, i'll write thank you cards, i'll sweep up all the sprinkles that people throw at us after we smooch. but then what? is getting married like getting into college, when you receive your acceptance letter and then only do dance dance revolution for the next four months until orientation? 

you guys, help!

should i join a curling league?

i guess i could start thinking about dinner more. i love making dinner, i just get into these ruts sometimes when i get carried away decorating a cake and then get so hungry for salty food that dinner becomes whatever i can make the quickest. (it's usually a vegetable and a starch covered in sesame sauce.) so when i'm a married woman, yes, i'd like to plan ahead for meals like this taiwanese meat sauce that requires over an hour and a few more utensils but is worth it in every way.

the first time i made it, i was such an impatient patty that i didn't even wait to get the proper ingredients. breakfast sausage was subbed for ground pork, onions for shallots, and rice noodles for egg noodles. it was great, but then when i finally got to the store and made it with all of the right ingredients, its secrets were revealed to me: the gloriousness that is chinese five spice, super soft egg noodles, all of those shallots... consider me in love.

this recipe is slightly adapted from short stack's brown sugar edition. if you don't know short stack editions, you must check them out! they're adorable little cookbooks centered around one main ingredient, and a new one comes out every other month. i imagine they'd make great holiday gifts :) 

taiwanese meat sauce

slightly adapted from short stack, vol 12: brown sugar

makes 4 servings


2 tsp vegetable oil

1 lb ground pork

1/3 c fried shallots (fry your own or purchase them at an asian grocery)

1/4 c soy sauce

3 tb dark brown sugar

1 tsp chinese five spice powder

1 tb rice wine vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

2 c pork stock or water

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

6 c steamed rice or 1 lb cooked egg noodles

thinly sliced scallions, for garnish


heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and cook the pork, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. add the shallots, soy sauce, brown sugar, five spice, vinegar, black pepper, and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

add the stock or water and bring it to a boil. pierce the eggs with a fork in four places and add them. 

cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour. the sauce will still be very thin.

pour over egg noodles, garnish with scallion, and serve.



if you'd like to win a copy of short stack, vol 12: brown sugar, leave a comment here with your favorite use for brown sugar! open to u.s. residents.