Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo recipe

UPDATE: It’s now been 5 full years since I first had adobo. A friend and I were on our way to a magical place called Las Vegas and made a pit stop at his parents house who refueled us with homemade chicken adobo. I was sold (still am). Below is some adobo-thoughts from my younger self.

It’s my two year Chicken Adobo anniversary! Two years ago, I first mixed garlic, soy sauce, white vinegar, some peppercorns and some bay leaves into a pot, turned on the broiler and made the most glorious chicken I had ever tasted. In between the past two years, I’ve experimented with a dozen or so other recipes and found a few winners and losers. The key to perfect Filipino adobo is using high-quality chicken, the perfect ratio of soy sauce and vinegar, and patience.

Chicken Adobo 
Ingredients 

Serves 3-4
50 minutes

4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 birds eye Thai chilis, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised with the backside of your knife
2 dried bay leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper

1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, bring all of your ingredients but the chicken to a boil. Once you’ve reached a rolling boil, add in your chicken thighs making sure to not layer them on top of each other.

2. Bring your adobo down to a simmer and set your timer for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes hit, flip all of your chicken thighs over so the other side gets in on that adobo marinade.

3. Let them simmer for 15 more minutes (basically, 15 minutes on each side in a simmer), but bring your oven to the broil setting.

4. Finally, once your chicken has cooked through, place them on a rack over a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and broil for 5-8 minutes.

5. While your chicken is braising, bring your adobo marinade to a boil in an attempt to reduce down to a sauce.

6. Once your chicken is broiled, place them on top of freshly cooked white rice, spoon plenty of adobo sauce over and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Latkes

*Dates Jewish guy once* but learns how to make latkes from the internet. I guess when you hang out with someone for one minute, it doesn’t mean that you get the secret family recipe. I don’t remember the first time that I had latkes, but I do know that the thought of these fried bites makes my mouth water, especially when I fantasized about a dollop of sour cream on top. To all of my Jewish friends and one foe, happy Hanukkah to you! Also, if anything is sacrilege in this post text me ASAP!!!!

sweet potato latkes

Sweet Potato Latkes 
Ingredients

2-3 chives or green onion stalks, thinly sliced
1 large sweet potato, shredded
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 large egg
1/3 cup neutral oil for frying (I like grapeseed oil)
Cheesecloth or paper towel

1. Grate your sweet potato with a cheese grater. Set the grated potato aside in a bowl that’s lined with cheesecloth or paper towels, then gather into a pouch and squeeze out any excess liquid. Transfer into a dry bowl and set aside.

2. Next, crack your egg in a bowl and mix in your chives or green onions. In the bowl with your shredded potato, mix in your flour, kosher salt and black pepper. Then, add in your egg mixture and stir. Don’t worry if it looks a little on the dry side, your latke will still fry up nicely!

3. Finally, heat up your oil in a frying pan on medium heat. To test if your oil is ready, drop in a morsel of your latke mix and if it sizzles once it hits the pan, your oil is ready. Using an ice cream scooper or a soup spoon, drop your latkes into the frying pan, flattening down your mound with the backside of a spatula. Fry for a minute and a half on each side, or until it’s a crispy golden brown.

4. Once your latkes are ready to come out of the pan, set them aside on a bed of paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Top with a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Kimchi Fried Rice with Turkey

Being Korean means that I * always * need have to have a jar of kimchi in the fridge and a bag of white rice (big or small) in the cupboard. To all the roomies I’ve had before (and currently), I’m so sorry. With many, I mean many bags of leftover turkey in my fridge too, it was only natural to combine my two Korean kitchen staples with those remnants from Thanksgiving.

Kimchi fried rice recipe

Kimchi Fried Rice with Turkey
Ingredients

Serves 2

1 cup cooked rice (the key here is to pre-cook the rice the day before and let it chill in the fridge, or have some frozen rice at your disposal)
½ cup cabbage kimchi, diced
1 tbsp. kimchi juice
½ cup leftover turkey, diced
2 tbsp. sesame oil (highly recommend using Kadoya)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1. Add in 1 tbsp. of your sesame oil into a non-stick pan on medium heat and sauté your kimchi and ginger until the cabbage is soft and the mixture is even more fragrant.

2. Once your kimchi is ready, add in your rice, kimchi juice and turkey and cook until warmed. Once it’s ready, plate your kimchi fried turkey rice and get ready for the best part.

3. Okay, you’ve made it to the best part! In the same pan that you’ve just cooked your rice, add the rest of your sesame oil to coat the bottom of your pan and then crack two eggs in and cook sunny side up. Place them on top of your plates of kimchi rice, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, then enjoy!

Curried Turkey Salad Sandwiches

Picture this: it’s the day after Thanksgiving, you’ve just rolled out of bed in your pajamas, plodded into your kitchen, opened the fridge and laid eyes on 5 Ziploc bags full of leftover turkey. You, as a normal person whose synapses lead you to appropriate memories, probably thought: “Oh yeah, let’s have a turkey sandwich later.” My monkey mind instantly went to my childhood BFF Elizabeth’s (hey girl, how’s it going?!) 7th birthday party that was held at her parent’s bookstore aka where I spent approximately 13% of my childhood. A castle/princess/medieval/choose-your-own princess mural was painted on the wall, but all I can remember from that party are the life-changing tea sandwiches that were stacked on a cake platter. First of all, the crusts. were. already. cut. off. Second of all, I could pop like 4 different types of sandwiches onto my plate for my own personal buffet of tea sandwiches. Third of all, I have not been able to get said tea sandwiches out of my head for 20 years. So to answer the question of “what should I do with these Thanksgiving leftovers?” here’s what I’ll be doing.

Curried turkey salad recipe

Curried Turkey Salad Tea Sandwiches 
Ingredients

Makes 4 normal-sized sandwiches
Makes 16 tea sandwiches fit for small hands

1 cup leftover turkey, diced (I went with light meat)
2 tbsp. curry powder
¾ cup tart apple, diced (I am a Fuji apple girl for life)
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ red onion, diced
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
8 slices of bread
Olive oil

This recipe is way too simple to make but is super flavorful with the peppery red onions, savory leftover turkey and if you’re using good bread—golden, flaky toast.

Curried turkey salad recipe

1. Mix all of your dry and wet ingredients into a bowl and stir together, tasting as you go. If you want more acidity, add the juice of half a lemon, more sweetness, just add a teaspoon of quality honey.

2. Take your bread and brush it with olive oil on one side and toast your bread on both sides until slightly golden and just barely crispy.

3. Add in a heaping spoonful (like ice cream scooper amount) to a slice of bread, then cut the crusts off (tea sandwiches need no crusts!) and then the sandwich into quarters. Enjoy!

The Piece: Madewell Denim Skirt

Yes, I am aware it is November, which means that we are one month away from winter officially arriving and just weeks from chowing down on a turkey leg. But just let me wear a denim skirt gosh dammit! Maybe it’s because I’m gearing up for a two- week sun-soaked vacation in Hawaii or maybe it’s because I choose to live my life in blissful ignorance towards things like weather. This month, I’ve been trying to jump at opportunities to wear my frayed hem denim skirt by Madewell (which is sold out, but similar ones linked below!).

For Weekend

Weekends in San Francisco are getting chillier and therefore I’m more inclined to stay curled up on the couch instead of hanging at a park. But on the rare instances that I choose to venture outside, I’ll be pairing my denim skirt with chunky sweaters and city-appropriate ankle booties.

For Vacation

T-minus a few weeks until I am sunburnt! My favorite piece to wear while on any warm weather vacation is a skirt. They’re easy to slip in and out of and to wear with goes a goes-with-anything white button-up, which I will definitely be layering over my pale, not swimsuit-ready body.

For Date Night

 

The key to dressing for date night? Wearing a very complicated outfit that looks like you don’t know what a “weather app” or really what “temperature” means. But there’s a strategy behind pairing teddy coat with a denim skirt! Have a conversation piece so that you have something to talk about which makes it seem like I am complex and mysterious woman. But, once that layer is shed, I’m just a very simple girl who just wants to wear a white tee with everything and have dinner paid for every once in a while.

For a Night Out

In my old age, my nights out mean that I am following the rule of two: I walk two blocks to my favorite brewery, drink two beers, then walk the two blocks back home. I like to keep it simple now with everything, so I’ll spring for my other favorite two pieces: a moto jacket and a cami to wear with my jean skirt.

Winter Beauty Essentials

If you’re reading this and enjoyed a hot, humid summer—it must have been nice. This summer, I invested in a leather jacket that I hope to have for years to come. And wore it frequently. In the summer. Remind me why I live in San Francisco again, anyone? Since winter is going to make its way here sooner rather than later, I’m getting a head start on wrapping up my favorite winter skincare and beauty essentials that I will be finishing till the last drop until spring hits.

Puffy Under-Eye Patches by Peace Out

Even with a full 8 hours of sleep, a camel’s worth of water during the day and healing crystals by my side, I still wake up with dark circles. Enter these patches by Peace Out. I’ll be honest, they don’t magically lighten my under eyes but they do make them feel super hydrated and refreshed after a 20-minute soak. Bonus points for storing them in the fridge for an extra cooling sensation.

Would I purchase again? Eh, maybe. If I’m feeling luxe.

Ouai Hair Oil

I feel like oils are (were?) having a moment—from face oils, to cleansing oils, to hair oils, to olive oils, everyone is just loving oil. My favorite oil du jour is the kind makes your hair silky, soft and smell like fields of jasmine. I’ve been running this hair oil by the Ouai through my damp strands before bedtime and then again in the morning before I style with hot tools, then just a little bit once I’m done. The result? Very soft hair that I just want to be all up in during the day.

Would I purchase again? Yes. Everything by the Ouai is my favorite scent.

Supergoop! Setting Powder with SPF 45

Growing up, I swear my mom would slather a half a bottle of Coppertone onto my body before I hit the pool after school. Just 10 straight minutes of hovering my arms away from my swimsuit. I may not be swimming as much these days, but wearing sunscreen is a daily habit of mine (no thank you sun spots!). Since the SF fog has a tendency to hide the sun until you’re at least 45 minutes away from home, I’ve started carrying around this powder sunscreen from Supergoop! in my bag for quick SPF touch-ups. Plus, it pulls double duty as a mattifier (which I always need).

Would I purchase again? Yes. Can never have too much sunscreen.

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

I’m still on my natural skincare kick and finding products to swap in for old favorites. My latest facewash favorite is Indie Lee’s cleanser, which does make my skin look a little brighter. Or it really could be a very good placebo effect, but it very well could be the vitamin C and strawberry seed oil (both known for their brightening properties). My face feels refreshed, cleansed and ready to face the day every morning.

Would I purchase again? Yes.

Gloss Bomb by Fenty

Ugh, RiRi. The woman knows how to make fun make-up. I strongly consider myself a no-makeup makeup kind of girl, but I’ve never been soclose to buying hot pink eyeshadow until I saw Fenty Beauty. As an incremental step into the world of more makeup, I picked up Gloss Bomb and boy, I’ve never looked back. Need coffee? Swipe on some Gloss Bomb. Bad day? Swipe on Gloss Bomb. Feel like your outfit needs a little something else? Gloss Bomb.

Would I purchase again? Yasssssssss RiRi!

Non-Toxic Skincare Favorites

Have you ever flipped a bottle of shampoo around to read the ingredients? How about a tube of sunscreen? Whenever I read the labels, all I see is xyxyzyzzzyyyyzzyyxx. Totally normal ingredients that I want to be slathering into my skin, all over my body and willfully subjecting to this stuff absorbing into my pores. That’s why I’ve been transitioning my skincare picks from ingredients with zyyyyyxxxyyy to thinks like jojoba oil, lapis lazuli, and squalene. Now—these are all ingredients I can pronounce.

non-toxic skincare

Here are my favorite non-toxic skincare picks.

Volition Helix AM/PM Eye Gel 

Have you ever heard of a company that asks their customers about what their next product should be? Meet Volition Beauty—the company that asks you to submit an idea, then for everyone to vote on which product they should make next and then, boom—it’s on the shelves at Sephora. Plus, all of their products are non-toxic and never tested on furry friends. This eye gel is the bomb too for depuffing and moisturizing that sensitive, around-the-eye area.

Would I purchase again? Yes, for sure.

Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm

If you haven’t washed your face with a balm, you’re missing out on a very fulfilling skincare experience. This cleansing balm by Farmacy really does melt everything off—including waterproof mascara. Farmacy partners with two farms (like actual farms!) to gather the honey and echinacea that are key ingredients in most of their products. Plus, their very chic packaging is recyclable and printed on paper from well-managed forests.

Would I purchase again? Yes, for sure.

Herbivore Botanicals Facial Oils

The first swap that I made was switching my nighttime moisturizer to face oils by Herbivore Botanicals—a brand that I was itching to try out. Founded by a Seattle-based couple (quite literally in their kitchen), their focus is on creating high-concentrate products with food-grade ingredients with no fillers (aka non-active ingredients).

Would I purchase again? Big yes. I particularly liked the Phoenix and Lapis oil, the first for everyday moisture and the second for balancing my skin.

Farmacy Honey Drop Moisturizer

What’s up, honey? Yup, pure honey goes into this lightweight moisturizer that lasts all day. I’ve been a fan of mixing in the Herbivore facial oils with Honey Drop for added moisture throughout the day. Something new and fun too? Cupuaçu butter beads that go from full-on beads to melting into the skin after taking it out of the jar.

Would I purchase again? Probably not—it’s a little pricey for my bones at $45 for a jar, and doesn’t pull the weight that I need to feel like my skin is moisturized.

What are your favorite non-toxic skincare products? Give me the scoop!

The Oh Wonderful Guide to New Orleans

Guess who has two thumbs and finally made their way to New Orleans? This girl! Back in the day, my aunt would take me to Disneyland every weekend where we would head to their version of the French Quarter, visit the Haunted Mansion and Tom Sawyer island. Little did I know that the real New Orleans would be just like Disneyland—just with way more beignets and cocktails involved. Here’s my take on where to eat, drink and see in New Orleans, all from yours truly.

Where to Eat in New Orleans

Willie Mae’s Scotch House – Treme 

Are you also on the hunt to eat the best fried chicken, all the time always? Just me? Cool. Do yourself a favor, call a car the minute you land and hightail it to Willie Mae’s Scotch House (not to be confused with any other Willie’s located throughout the city). You’ll be driven ~10 minutes outside of the French Quarter (FQ), dropped off in the Treme neighborhood and in front of a house that’s been Willie Mae’s since 1957. Their chicken is perfectly crispy on the outside and so, so juicy on the inside. Get messy, order the housemade lemonade and sit back and enjoy.

Willa Jean’s Warehouse District 

I couldn’t quite shake the San Francisco off of me, so we made our way to Willa Jean’s for a very chic brunch in this James Beard award-winning bakery, café and restaurant all-in-one. Head here for breakfast or brunch (maybe before a visit to the Garden District), and look out for The Biscuit Situation on the menu, their BBQ shrimp toast, crawfish and grits, freshly baked bread, new takes on lattes and, are you hungry yet?

CochonCentral Business District

You’d be crazy to not eat some Cajun food in Louisiana. Even if it’s a little steamy outside, order the rabbit stew with dumplings, their take on charbroiled oysters (with chili-garlic butter) and drinks mixed with moonshine and crawfish boil (but not together).

Auction House Market – Warehouse District

You know I love a converted warehouse. Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, now you do. With no less than 5 different food stalls, a stunning marble bar in the center and waiters yelling out your name to come pick up your order, Auction House Market is worth a visit just for the change of pace from your normal sit-down restaurant experience.

Where to Drink in New Orleans

Arnaud’s French 75French Quarter

Lately, I’ve been a big fan of cocktails and outstanding experiences at bars. Nowadays, this does not consist of talking to QT’s but really chatting it up with bartenders who know their stuff and having some unforgettable drinks throughout the night. I ended up spending 3 consecutive nights at French 75, headed up by Chris Hannah, the award-winning head bartender at this spot right off of Bourbon (and literally the star of every publication that has written about NOLA). He’s mixing up newer takes on old, old classics, while somehow keeping once well-loved drinks, well, still loved. The best souvenir I brought home? A list of NOLA favorites hand-written from Hannah himself.

The Roost Bar at Brennan’s – French Quarter 

Famous for its flamingo pink exterior and flamingo-decked mirrors, it’s obvious to see how I was convinced to head inside. Otherwise known for their Creole fare, Brennan’s is also notably famous for their Caribbean Milk Punch mixed with rum, bourbon, cream and plenty of vanilla. So sit back, relax and order one as a quick escape from the heat of the South.

Compère LapinWarehouse District 

Compère Lapin (or brother rabbit) was another recommendation from our friend Chris (who is probably besties with the head bartendress, Abigail Gullo). We only stayed for one drink slushie each, and they were good. Think refreshing, not tropical and perfectly Southern—someway, somehow. Order one, sit at the bar and chat it up with Abigail (which we didn’t get to do), but I bet she’s really cool.

NOLA Brewing Company – Irish Channel 

To be honest, we didn’t get to stop by the brewery, but rest assured, I did have their beers. Their pale ale might just be the best I’ve ever had and word on the street is that this brewery rocks. Apparently, it comes complete with an outside patio, string lights and if you’re lucky, live music just alongside the river. Sounds so #dreamy.

What to Do in New Orleans

Preservation Hall

Do yourself a huge favor and go check out some live music at Preservation Hall. It’s $20 at the door, cash-only and the best part is that there are no phones or cameras allowed during the show. It’s just you, all the other guests and a very good band at the front of the house. Be sure to get there on the earlier side of the next show time (they’re every hour, on the hour from 5-10 p.m., except for 7 p.m.), I would say 30 minutes beforehand is your safest bet.

Garden District

Even if you’re not into “touring,” the Garden District is worth the trolley ride out from Canal Street. Visit the above-ground cemetery that inspired Anne Rice, see her old house, Sandra Bullock’s mansion, the spot that Nicolas Cage bought and even the Manning family house. Now that I think about it, it was more a celebrity real estate tour with many beautiful mansions along the way. Still worth it.

Swamp Tour

Maybe when I’m older and grayer, I will move myself out to a swamp and feed marshmallows to alligators. Visiting Honey Island swamp was definitely a highlight of the trip. It wasn’t an airboat tour, but the flatboat was able to get us into narrow bayous, up and down the river at what felt like, high speeds and a lot of animal spottings like swamp raccoons, egrets, herons, gators, turtles and even a wild bachelorette party.

Frenchman Street

Are you a woo girl? If not, skip Bourbon Street entirely and head out to the locals-favorite Frenchman Street instead. We stopped by The Spotted Cat (yes, the exact place where CNN does NYE!) and listened to a bluegrass band and had a whiskey shot. We were totally fine that night (we were not).

Mardi Gras World

Want to see some Mardi Gras floats without actually experiencing the crowds? Head to Mardi Gras World (there’s even a free shuttle from major hotels!) where you can see how the props are built from giant pieces of styrofoam, paper-mâchéd over, then painted over every year by the same family that started making them in the 19th century.

French Quarter

Just like Disneyland! Every street in the FQ is like walking back in time, with old French-style houses in pastel colors, porches that are just made for perching and a live band that might dot a street corner. Rent a bike at dusk to see the neighborhood, try a ghost tour or an architecture tour if you’re more refined and just soak up the sights. Royal Street is known for all of it’s shops (mostly antique), Bourbon just might be the Vegas of the South and all the other sidestreets have something up their sleeves too.

Still have questions about New Orleans? Just ask!

The Piece: Levi’s Wedgie Fit Jeans

Never thought I’d say it, but I’m a big fan of wedgies. Wedgie fit jeans, that is. A distinct memory of my childhood was yelling, “NOOOOO, don’t give me a wedgie!” while my friends chased me around. Now that I think about it, my friends were jerks. No, these jeans don’t give you a wedgie, they just lend a special lift to your rear and somehow mold perfectly to your shape over time. These high rise, button fly, and no-stretch jeans are just too easy to wear with everything—this is how I’m wearing my Levi’s Wedgie Fit jeans.

For Date Night

Levi's Wedgie Fit Jean Outfits

Okay fine, we all know that no straight man in this city wants to date me, but if they ever change their mind this is what I would wear—my Tom Petty tee (to show them how good my taste in music is), my favorite hoop earrings (they are my confidence-boosting jewels), block heels (if I need to run away) and my Wedgie fits (because apparently butts are trending?).

For Work

Levi's Wedgie Fit Jean Outfits

It’s business time. Gotta layer up with a blazer, a turtleneck and my favorite mom jeans Wedgie fit jeans. The frayed hem makes it easy (and fun) to pair them with ankle boots that are a color just a little bit out of the ordinary—like grey! Or leopard (I own both).

For A Night Out

Levi's Wedgie Fit Jean Outfits

These older bones do not go to the club anymore unless said bones have had too much wine and think they are invincible. Anyways, I’m going denim on denim with an oversized denim jacket and a cheeky graphic tee. The trick to wearing denim on denim? Go for two different shades of blue (or black), to avoid looking like you’re wearing a denim suit from head to toe.

 For the Weekend

Levi's Wedgie Fit Jean Outfits

My favorite 48 hours of the week calls for my favorite staples in my closet at the moment: a hoodie, white sneakers, and my mini tassel bag from Cuyana. An easy, four-piece outfit that can never go wrong.

Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp and Coconut Milk

_MG_2874

I’m deeply in love with Thai food. So much, that the other day I expressed to my friends that I wished I was Thai, just on the basis of how much I love their food. It didn’t go over well. The way Thai food combines tangy with spicy with Tom Kha, turns sweetness savory with Mango Sticky Rice, and turns salty into earthy with fish sauce makes for some of the most memorable dishes that I’ve ever had. The trick to Thai cuisine is to have your cabinets stocked with the main ingredients: fish sauce, sambal oelek (garlic + chili paste), keffir lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut milk, thai basil, thai chilies. Once you’re freezer is stocked, you’ll have easy access to most Thai dishes.

For this variation on Tom Yum, I cheated. I’ll admit it. Instead of compiling the galangal, chilies, and lemongrass and combining them with a mortar and pestle, I instead found a Tom Yum paste complete with MSG. Side note: MSG isn’t bad — it’s like candy, don’t gorge! This cuts down significantly on prep time, but adds just as much flavor.

Tom Yum Soup with Coconut Milk and Shrimp
Ingredients

1 tsp. fish oil
3 tbsp. Tom Yum soup paste
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 block of tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup small shrimp, deveined
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. sambal oelek
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 keffir lime leaves

1. In a large pot, bring fish oil, soup paste, broth, coconut milk, sambal oelek, bell pepper, jalapeno, and keffir lime leaves to a boil.

2. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and toss in tofu. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the bell peppers begin to soften.

3. 5 minutes from serving, toss in shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink. To serve, take out keffir lime leaves and set aside.