August 21, 2014

My Mei

I am watching Jessica & Krystal on Hulu right now and it's making me miss my baby sister.


The way the Jung sisters laugh and eat and goof off reminds me so much of me and my sister.

It's making me nostalgic for the days when we used to laugh hysterically together, go on eating adventures, lay in bed to girl talk, and just be silly doofuses together.

Now we live in different cities and it's harder to do that.

Why do you live so far away, 妹?

Come back to NYC!

You know you want to. What can I bribe you with?

My little sister, my 妹, Tiffany, lives in San Francisco.

Isn't she beautiful?

Tiffany is sixteen months younger than I am.

But most people think she's older than me.

I have no idea why.

Do you?

Here's my sister at the Getty Villa in L.A.

My friend was getting married in Santa Barbara and it was the perfect excuse for me to fly out to S.F.

Tiffany and I roadtripped down to L.A. together and spent a day seeing the sights around town before heading to the wedding.

We went to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, stalked the Kogi Truck - where we ordered almost the entire menu (BEST food truck ever!) - and of course, went to the Getty Villa. It was beautiful there. I'd highly recommend this museum to people visiting L.A.

And if you happen to find a statue in the museum, why not pose next to it?

When Tiffany graduated college, my mom sent the two of us on a trip to China together.

I'll never forget this trip as long as I live. It was our first time visiting China and I'm glad I got to do it with my Mei.

We went to the Great Wall.

Where someone wanted me to catch her.

We went to Xi'an to see the Terracotta Warriors.

Where someone did some kissing.

In December 2011, my sister and I went to Vietnam to vacation with our aunt.

We landed in Hanoi.

Where someone asked the fruit lady on the side of the road if she could borrow her hat and fruit.

The fruit lady was puzzled.

We went to visit a temple, then traveled to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was easily one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

After spending a few days on a boat, travelling the bay, we went to see the Thanh Chuong Viet Palace.

Where someone rode a horse.

That someone later found her spirit animal.

Sisters are the best!

I hope we get to travel together more, Tiff! And, soon! I miss you.

August 18, 2014

Avocado Tomato Salad 3-Ways

I love tomato season.

Currently, tomatoes are so juicy and sweet and full of flavor, they don't need any other adornments to make them divinely delicious.

I love it!

The other day at the grocery store, I saw some mini heirloom tomatoes and knew I had to make something with them.

Enter the avocado.

I cut up a small, ripe avocado.

Halved and quartered some mini heirloom tomatoes.

Mixed everything together...

And promptly shoveled spoonfuls into my mouth.

It looked so good, I couldn't help myself.

The juices from the tomatoes were sweet and citrusy, acting like a dressing all by themselves.

So good!

If the plain rendition doesn't appeal to you, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, toss, and inhale.

I did.

And it was good.

If you're feeling adventurous, instead of salt and pepper, pour a little bit of good soy sauce onto the tomatoes and avocados, and revel in the complex flavors. My grandmother loves avocado with soy sauce so that's where I got my inspiration from.

And there you go! Three different ways to make an easy salad for a quick snack or as an appetizer.

I feel a little silly putting a recipe down here but if you want to know the quantities, this is what I used:

Avocado Tomato Salad 3-Ways
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 pint mini heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small avocado

  • Optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or more, to taste
  1. Quarter or halve the tomatoes. Reserve the juices, if any.
  2. Peel and cube the avocado.
  3. Mix tomatoes, avocado, and juices.
  4. Option A: Serve plain.
  5. Option B: Sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste, on tomatoes and avocados.
  6. Option C: Instead of salt and pepper, pour soy sauce onto tomatoes and avocados. Lightly toss. Add more soy sauce if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

August 13, 2014

How My Mom Exercises

Mom: I'm going to try that exercise video your aunt told me about.

Janice: Okay.

Two minutes later.

Mom: Exercising is too tiring. I'm going to stop.

I think I know who I got my lazy genes from.

July 19, 2014

Grandma + Naked Janice

Some people are great at learning their lessons.

I am not one of those people.

Remember when I posted about walking around my house naked?

Guess what I was doing a few days after writing that?

Walking around my house naked.

I was in dire circumstances: I had no clean clothes left to wear because I'd procrastinated on doing laundry a little too much.

No pants, no underwear, and definitely no tops.

Since I was pretty sure going to work the next day naked would be in violation of company policy, I went downstairs to do my laundry.

I even took off the clothes I was wearing, 'cause, you know, if you're going to wash your clothes, you might as well do ALL your clothes, right?

So there I was, stuffing my clothes into the washer in my birthday suit, when I hear footsteps padding out of the next room. My grandmother's room is right next to the laundry room.




No such luck.

My grandma sees me and the first words out of her mouth are:


And, I was like: Sure, Grandma, er, let me put on some clothes first.

Gma: No, that's okay, just write this down for me.

And I obliged.

Now I triple-check before walking around naked.

July 7, 2014

Green Tea Cookies

I have a little story to tell you guys.

About a month ago, I was really excited to share a new recipe with you all.

So excited that I posted a photo on Instagram:

The recipe was done. Its yumminess was ready to be shared. I just needed some pretty photos to go along with the post.

But, for the life of me, I could not get these cookies to look green in my photos. They all ended up looking brown and lame. Not enticing at all.

I knew my photography skills weren't great, and I had a lot to learn, but still, it was getting absurd. I took hundreds of photos and deleted them all. Made batches and batches of these cookies because I kept eating them in my stressed out state.

In a determined attempt to get at least one useable photo, I spent hours on the internet, reading up on whatever I could about food photography, looking at other food blogs, and trying a bunch of different things.

Using a background color that will make the green pop:

Changing the white balance on my camera to get the yellowish-brown hues out of my photos:

Getting up close and personal with the greeness:

And then, before I knew it, four weeks had passed and I was still getting nowhere. I panicked, wondering how I let that happen.

Then I groaned at myself with frustration. Because: I was letting the pursuit of perfection defeat me again.

Anyone else familiar with this self-sabatoging enemy?

Sanity came back and I realized: Janice, people don't eat pictures. It doesn't matter how perfect the photos are. Just put the recipe up already!

So, here I am, in all my imperfect glory, sharing with you, a recipe for green tea cookies that I love.

I've made it for my family and I've made it for my friends, all of them love it too.

A note about this Green Tea Cookie recipe: it works best with a specific type of butter, European-style butter.

European-style butters have a butterfat content of at least 82% and it makes a marked difference in the taste. I've tested this recipe with regular American sweet cream butter and my testers (ahem, family) weren't fond of it at all.

You'll need butter, sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, matcha, vanilla extract, and an egg.

Also, lemon juice.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.

It's always at this point in the cookie-making process that I wonder if I really need to make cookies. 'Cause I sure would love to eat that sugar-butter by the spoonful.

But, so far, I've been able to convince myself that scarfing down a whole bowl of butter and sugar would be bad for my health.

If you've also convinced yourself of that, continue and add an egg.

Beat until smooth and pretty. As opposed to smooth and ugly.

Add vanilla, salt, and baking soda, and mix well. Then stir in lemon juice (which is not pictured because I forgot to add it until the end).

Add flour + matcha.

Combine until just crumbly, you don't want to overmix.

Scoop batter onto a lined cookie sheet using a 1-inch scoop.

Or, on a whim, use a mini-muffin pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

If your cookies are puffy when you take them out of the oven (picture left) and you want to deflate them, slam your cookie sheet down on your counter (picture right) before letting them cool.

Green Tea Cookies
Makes 36

  • 1 stick unsalted butter = ½ cup = 8 tablespoons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons matcha
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Or alternately, line a mini-muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Try not to eat this mixture with a spoon.
  5. Add in egg and beat until well-combined.
  6. Admire the pretty yellow color.
  7. Add vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Incorporate well. Stir in lemon juice.
  8. Mix in the flour + matcha until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, dough should be a little crumbly.
  9. Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet or mini-muffin pan with a 1-inch scoop.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Butter should be at least 82% butterfat. European-style butters work best.