DIY, Fashion, Sewing

Red Hots

Last night I finished making another dress with some of the fabric I bought from LA, and I’d say it turned out pretty successful!

I attempted to make it look like this Sessun dress from Urban Outfitters:

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BUT since the fabric is a semi-sheer (and luxuriously soft!) cotton blend, I also decided to kind of close the back a little because there is no way on earth that I would wear that stuff without a bra (sorry, boys!)

So, with a little inspiration from this dress:

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I knew what I wanted to do 🙂

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Red isn’t a color that I typically wear (too flashy!), but I thought it would be nice to have one dress that’s an attention grabber, without being too revealing.

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Another view of the front

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View of the back. As it turns out, sitting in the car too long makes for a wrinkly dress. Well now I know! I really enjoyed making this dress; the only problems that I had were making the buttonholes. Apparently the fabric was too thin for my machine to make proper buttonholes with, so I ended up having to hand stitch them. NOT something I would recommend as my hand stitching is painfully ugly. Thankfully the buttons cover that!

Soo, let’s review:

Sessun Dress: $282 USD

Fabric ($2) + buttons ($9): $11 USD

Hopefully this post will inspire any amateur sewers out there to make (and wear!) their own stuff, and I hope you guys enjoyed!

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Cake, Recipes, Vegan

[Vegan] Coconut Lemon Poppy Cake

As someone who makes pastries for a living, I feel almost obligated to make my own wedding cake. Don’t get me wrong, I really REALLY want to. It’s ridiculously tempting. The only thought holding me back is figuring out how to get it to the wedding safely and where I would keep it until we need it.

So maybe I won’t make it myself, we’ll see. That thought is still on the table. As for what flavor we want, Robert and I really like coconut, and since the wedding will be in Spring, I knew I wanted to incorporate some lemon in there somehow.

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Today I made a mini vegan coconut and lemon poppy cake, with a creamy, fluffy coconut frosting. While our wedding cake probably won’t be vegan, I thought this would be a good (and delicious) challenge for myself.

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What was left of the scraps. Neither of us could resist snacking on them (yay baker’s treat!).

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This cake came out surprisingly moist, soft, and not over-the-top sweet, which I definitely enjoyed. I was tempted to soak it in a Limoncello simple syrup, but after tasting it I knew it didn’t need any help in the moisture department. The frosting I used contains coconut oil, making it fluffy but also gave it a smooth and melt-in-your-mouth sort of feeling.

Long story short, this cake definitely did not disappoint, and I won’t hesitate to make it again. The fact that is dairy-free and eggless is just an added bonus to how good it is (and how easy it was to make)!

Coconut Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Makes 2 (4 inch) cakes

100 g sugar

3 Tablespoons lemon zest

110 g oil

200 g cake flour

1 g salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

200 g coconut milk

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, mix your sugar, lemon zest, and oil together until combined. In another bowl, whisk together cake flour, salt, and baking powder. With mixer running, slowly add in flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl. With mixer running again, stream in coconut milk and then add in poppy seeds. Scrape sides of bowl again and let mixture mix until everything is fully incorporated.

Lightly oil 2 (4 inch) cake pans and divide batter between pans. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When cakes are done, let them cool completely before removing from their pans.

Vegan Coconut Frosting

Makes about 4 cups

250 g Butter-Flavored Shortening, room temp.

175 g coconut oil, room temp.

175 g powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, cream together shortening and coconut oil. Slowly add in powdered sugar, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape bowl. You can add more powdered sugar if you like, according to your tastes. Add vanilla extract and mix until your frosting is light and fluffy, making sure that all ingredients are fully incorporated.

*I would strongly advise refrigerating any cakes that use this frosting as the coconut oil does have a tendency to melt at any temperature higher than room temp.

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Cookies, Recipes, Vegan

[Vegan] Hibiscus Macadamia Tea Biscuits

Another experiment in vegan baking! Last night I made some hibiscus and mac tea biscuits, and the results were surprisingly better than what I expected.

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First off, I was definitely not expecting them to turn this creamy violet color, but I’m not complaining!

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The hibiscus gave it a very fruity, almost tart taste and the macadamia gave it a nice crunch in each bite. The recipe is also ridiculously easy and fast.

Hibiscus Macadamia Tea Biscuits

Makes 1 dozen (2″) cookies

*all measurements are by weight except for salt and baking powder

1 oz dried hibiscus flowers

4 oz almond milk

2 oz macadamia nuts, chopped finely

3 oz sugar

5 oz All Purpose flour

1 oz oil

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, combine almond milk and dried hibiscus, bring to a simmer over low heat, then let flowers steep until milk is a deep reddish violet color and mixture is completely cool. Strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve, making sure to squeeze out any extra liquid from flowers. Discard flowers and set milk mixture aside.

In a medium mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix together chopped macadamia, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add oil, mix until combined. Add milk/hibiscus mixture, let mix until dough is crumbly.

On a lightly floured surface, remove dough from bowl and bring crumbles together, forming it into a ball. Roll dough to 1/4″ thick, and cut into 2″ cookies. Place 1″ apart on a lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 7-8 minutes, or until biscuits are dry and firm. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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DIY, Fashion, Sewing

Quick Dress in a Day

This week I decided it was time to take a short break from all the wedding planning. I’m beginning to think that too much excitement gets overwhelming sometimes! Since Robert and I happened to both have Monday off work, we decided it was time to make another visit to Downtown LA, and this time I wanted to go to Fashion District.

One of my favorite stores in Fashion District happens to sell fabric by the pound, so expect a few more sewing posts in the coming weeks (I bought 8 lbs of fabric! yayy!).

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A few days ago I saw Moschino’s Cheap & Chic Belted Crepe Tunic Dress, and I knew it was what I wanted to make. Plus, £355? Really?? I think we can bring that number down!

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Seeing as how I already have 3 pink dresses, I opted for a pale sage green instead. I’d say my attempt was pretty successful! The fabric feels amazingly soft and light, and I feel good about keeping this dress in my everyday wardrobe.

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I didn’t use a pattern for this dress and basically just winged it, but I’d say it looks pretty amazing for something that only took 2 hours to make. And to be honest, it probably would have taken less time if I didn’t have so much trouble figuring out all the right side/wrong side nonsense!

Sooo, let’s see:

Moschino dress: £355.00 or about $467.43USD

Faux crepe fabric: about $3.00USD (I paid $2.50/lb)

I’d say I saved a pretty penny, wouldn’t you?

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Breakfast, Dinner, lunch, Recipes

Japchae, Another Korean Post

Why another post about Korean food, you ask? Because it’s awesome, that’s why. And when I need my fix for Asian food, Korean is right on the top there (although not surpassing Dim Sum, because that stuff is like crack).

Today Robert and I made Japchae (or our version of it). Japchae is Korean glass noodles tossed with stir-fried vegetables and meat, seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil.

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Preparing some of the ingredients

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After boiling the noodles and blanching the spinach. Once the noodles were cooked I found out we bought the wrong noodles! I bought rice noodles, although it should have been potato starch noodles. BUT, since we’re not the type to waste, we happily used what we had!

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Stir-frying the veggies. Traditionally Japchae is made by stir-frying each individual vegetable separately, one after the other, but a hungry tummy means finding a short cut!

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Tossing it all together. It got a little messy…

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The finished dish. We decided to top it off with some seasoned wakame (not really Korean, but delicious nonetheless).

Japchae

adapted from Maangchi

Makes 6 servings

1 (14oz) pkg. starch noodles

8 oz beef, sliced thin

1 bunch of spinach, washed & stems removed

1 medium carrot, julienned

1/4 yellow onion, sliced thin

1 cup mushrooms (I used oyster, but it’s your choice)

4 cloves garlic, minced

5 green onions, cut into 1″ pieces

4-6 Tablespoons soy sauce (depending on your taste)

4 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

Korean BBQ sauce (optional)

sesame oil

salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, let beef marinate with Korean BBQ sauce, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Set aside.

In a large pot with boiling water, boil noodles as per instructions on package. Remove noodles from water when cooked and place into a large bowl. Use the same boiling water to quickly blanch your spinach, then drain spinach and add to noodles.

In a wok or large saute pan, heat up 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat and coat pan. Add marinated beef to pan and saute until cooked through, then drain the pan of liquid and add your beef to the bowl with the noodles.

Heat up pan again and heat up 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. When pan is hot, add carrots and onions, and saute until almost translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic to the pan, saute until soft. Add green onions to pan, saute until wilted, then add all vegetables to noodles.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, red chili flakes, and 3 tablespoons sesame oil. Pour sauce over noodles and toss everything to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with wakame seaweed, if desired.

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Candy, Chocolate, Petit Four, Recipes

Dark Chocolate Bon Bons & Thai Iced Tea Cremeux

One of my favorite drinks is milk tea, and Thai Iced Tea is no exception; it’s rich, creamy, smooth without being overly sweet, basically all the characteristics I look for in a dessert, but in the form of a drink! When I saw boxes of this stuff on sale, I knew I had to use it for something!

As it turns out, World Market also had blocks of Callebaut Coverture on sale (1/2 off!!), and so began my dream of combining the two flavors for a match made in heaven.

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Scaling out some chocolate. Make sure you chop it finely!

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Ingredients for the cremeux.

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Just before tempering the eggs in.

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After mixing it with the chocolate. The word “cremeux” is just the french word for “creamy.” It is basically a rich, silky custard that is somewhere between pudding and a mousse. So basically, heaven!

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Filling the truffle molds. I made a mistake of filling them a little too high.

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Popping them out of the molds. I won’t lie, I was ecstatic when I saw how glossy the shells got 🙂

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The finished product. This is quite possibly one of my best attempts at truffle making, and I’m definitely glad I tried! After taking a bite into these babies, the silky custard bursts into your mouth, and the Thai Iced Tea flavor adds a nice bittersweet touch. When I first learned how to temper chocolate, it was just a big pain in the butt (tabling, ugh!), so I avoided anything that required it for a long time. After learning some new, cleaner methods (seeding, yay!) I decided it was time to put it to the test, and I’d say it was a success!

Thai Iced Tea Chocolate Creameux

1 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 bags single-serve thai iced tea

3 egg yolks

3 + 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

6 oz (good!) dark chocolate, chopped finely

In a small saucepot, combine milk, cream, tea bags, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Whisk together and bring to a simmer over low heat, then remove from heat and let tea steep 10 minutes, until cream is a deep orange. Remove and discard tea bags, squeezing out any excess liquid. Bring liquid to a light simmer. In a small bowl, whisk well egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar, until there are no visible lumps. While whisking, pour 1/3 of hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisk until combined. Add egg mixture to saucepot and whisk to combine. With a rubber spatula, gently stir and scrape sides and bottom of pot until custard becomes thick and coats the back of the spatula well. Pour custard over chopped dark chocolate, and whisk well to combine, until all chocolate is melted. The finished product should look smooth and glossy.

Keep refrigerated until ready to use, and serve cold. Cremeux should thicken as it cools. OR, you could be a little naughty like I was and use them as a bon bon filling!

Temper about 1 pound of dark coverture and pour into clean and dry polycarbonate or silicon molds*, filling up every mold. Vigorously tap out excess chocolate back into bowl and out of molds. The more you tap out, the thinner the shell will be, and the more delicate the truffle will be (which is what you want!). With an offset spatula, scrape off any excess chocolate from the top of the mold, making sure surface is completely smooth. After shell has set (I put it in the fridge for a few minutes because I was a tad impatient), pipe cremeux into center of each mold, leaving a 1/8″ lip around the edges for the bottoms of the bon bons. Let filling set in fridge for a few minutes. When filling is set, pour the rest of the tempered chocolate over the molds, and use an offset spatula to scrape off (well!) any excess chocolate and smooth the bottoms. If chocolate is tempered properly, the bottoms should set up within a few minutes. Now pop out your bon bons and enjoy!

*I used a silicon mold for these, polycarbonate molds probably would have been better in terms of scraping off extra chocolate smoothly, but it’s your decision!

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Breakfast, Dinner, Recipes

Epic (Korean) Breakfast of the Week

Recently (yesterday, actually) I discovered the local Korean supermarket near my house and I knew I had to check it out myself. One thing I don’t really like about living in Little Saigon is that everything (and i mean EVERYTHING) has some kind of Vietnamese influence in it; now there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but it gets kind of boring after a while. Every restaurant and business has some sort of Vietnamese fusion, which is nice once in a while, but not so much every day. When I saw that there is a supermarket nearby that I recognized as purely Korean, naturally I jumped for joy! It didn’t really help that I had been craving Korean food for a while either…

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Today Robert and I made Kimchi Scallion and Potato Pancakes with Kalbi Beef Lettuce Wraps. Talk about your epic breakfast!

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Marinating the meat.

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Pancake batter and scallion kimchi.

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Makin’ pancakes 🙂 These came out really soft and eggy on the inside, and crispy crunchy around the outer edges.

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Our epic breakfast set up!

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Makes a delicious meal enough for two hungry tummies.

Kimchi Scallion and Potato Pancakes

makes 6 medium-sized pancakes

1 medium russet potato

1 cup kimchi scallions, cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup kimchi broth (pickling juice)

1 1/4 cup flour

2 large eggs

3/4 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

soy sauce, for dipping

Grate potato and soak grated potato in cold salted water (to keep from browning). In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg, water, salt, kimchi broth, and flour. Mix until smooth. Drain grated potato, squeezing out any excess water. Toss potato and scallions into batter, mixing until combined.

In a large skillet or griddle, coat surface with oil and heat over medium high heat. Ladle out and flatten batter to make a 4-5″ sized pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, and then until center is completely cooked. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Kalbi Beef Lettuce Wraps

Makes 6 wraps

1 Tablespoon canola oil

10 oz beef rib eye, sliced thin

1/4 medium onion, sliced thin

3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 cup (store-bought) Kalbi beef marinade

2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil (you can add more to taste)

1/2 head green leaf lettuce, washed and patted dry

In a large bowl combine beef, onion, garlic, sesame oil, and marinade sauce, then let mixture marinate for 20-30 minutes. In a large skillet, bring canola oil to medium high heat, then (carefully!) add meat/marinade mixture to pan, with all its juices. Liquid will have a tendency to sputter, so be cautious and don’t do this wearing your favorite shirt! Cook meat until beef and onions are carmelized and fully cooked.

For assembly, take one leaf of lettuce and fill halfway with a few pieces of meat and onion. We also topped our lettuce cups with some more kimchi, cause that stuff just makes for some good eats!

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