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Strawberry Fields Forever

I have a tendency to like a song and play it ovvver and ovvvver again.  My friends like to groan and throw things at me =D The song by the Beatles was one of them.  After the 50th time, I can understand how it can get annyoing, lol.  Facing endless fields of Strawberries to go a’pickin’ was definitely not an annoyance.  I had a blast.  Nigella was quoted in saying “I’d rather eat than wear fashionable clothes.”  Ah, how true this rings for me as well.  Presented with empty pails to fill with ripe Ruby Berries to my hearts content was like the equivalent of a shopping spree in any Couture shop.

How goooorgeous are these?!

I found myself sitting in the muck of squashed Berries that people had carelessly strewn all over the ground, not caring that my newly washed jeans began to bleed with Berry stains and taking my glorious time with hand plucking these plump, fragrant babies.  Sun shining with an endless supply of Strawberry perfume, I could have made a home for myself, nestled between the beautiful red and green streaked field.  I laugh as I imagine my fat, happy self, rolling around in the Strawberry field, turning pinker by the day, LOL.

Needless to say, I rushed home, excited and breathless, as if  I’d run the entire way to make use of Berries that I would try to restrain myself from greedily gobbling up with Honey (though, these were so sweet that they didn’t even need it)!

Cue Strawberry Ice Cream.  For the longest time, I’ve flirted with the idea of investing in an Ice Cream Machine but somehow always talked myself out of it.  Boy am I glad I did!  Between the Semi Freddo’s, Creamy Granitas, and no-churn Ice Creams of the World, it’s just one less bulky piece of machinery you don’t have to wash!

Easy, Peasy Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
(No Machine, Mess, or Churning)

  • 2 c cold Heavy Cream
  • 1 c Powdered Sugar
  • 2/3 c fresh Strawberry Puree
    • (you can used canned Fruit if you don’t have fresh, and while we’re on the subject, go crazy and use whatever Nectars, Juices, or Purees you can get your hands on)!
  1. Whisk everything until you reach soft peaks (not looking for Whipped Cream here)
  2. Freeze for at least 5 hours

    Let me take you down
    ‘Cause I’m going to…

    eat all the Ice Cream by myself!!! =D

    XOXO
    Your Squishy Monster

    The Silver Lining

    I’ve only been absent for a few days now, and I’ve received messages about when a new video will be available.  It’s not that I’ve stopped.  Quite the contrary.  I’ve still been here, crafting together new recipes, polishing old ones to a new shine, editing videos and trying my best to perfect my craft altogether.  It’s a work in process but one that I thoroughly enjoy.  No matter how much my feet hurt or how pruned my fingers are, at the end of the day, I experience a strange mix of utter fatigue and happiness.  It’s what I love to do, what I’m passionate about.  I cannot even begin to convey the joy and pleasure I extract from a sugary Facial of Classic Syrup for a Cake or Lavender Lemonade or the incredible thrill I absorb from watching simple Groceries morph into something delicious.  It is the entire journey + reward of yummies that fuel my itch to get into that Kitchen each and every day and roll into a downy bed of Flour or immerse myself entirely in the bath of an intoxicating fermented Soup. 

    So I am particularly sad to share the news that I’ve recently been click-bombed several times on my channel.  This typically means that someone purposely and repeatedly clicked on ads with the full intent to disable an account.  I was reinstated for a short while only to fall victim to it, yet again.  I’m fairly certain I know what caused it but this does nothing to impact the decision that falls beyond my control.  Needless to say, the decision stands …indefinitely.  I struggled with it all week and reached the decision that I will continue making videos.  With or without outside help.  This is via encouragement of both my Friends and Family.  I won’t allow something as trivial as this to discourage me from the path that I know that I was meant to be on.  I’ve never been so sure about anything else.  It’s my dream and I know that if it’s meant to be, that it will be realized.  I won’t ever give up.

    So today, I bring to you smiles, energy, encouragement, and a new video!!

    Spicy Crab Soup

    • Broth = 8 c Water + 2 pieces of Kelp + handful of large Anchovies
    •  6-8 prepared Crab (Cut into Chunks)
    • 3 tb Fish Sauce
    • 2 tb Sesame Oil
    • 3 tb Red Pepper Flakes
    • 1/4 c Korean Radish (Mu)
    • 1 ts Ginger
    • 1 Onion
    • 2 Jalapeno Peppers
    • 3 Garlic Cloves
    • 2-3 Green Onions
    1. Bring your Broth to a boil for about 20 min.  A Tea Strainer helps here.  (Discard the Kelp as it tends to get a bit bitter but you can reintroduce your Anchovies to the Soup if you’d like).
    2. In a large Pot (the same one you’ll be cooking your Soup in), toss together all of your ingredients, save the Broth and Green Onions.  Allow it to sit and mingle (or at least until your Broth is ready).
    3. Pour in your prepared Broth, bring your Soup to a fierce bubble (for an additional 15-20 min or so), then sprinkle with your Green Onions.

    Remember, don’t allow negativity to rent space in your head for free and don’t let anyone stand in the way of your dreams.  If they love you, they’ll provide support and encouragement.  Sometimes, (like this past week for me) things can seem awful, but all bad and dark things eventually come to the light.  I tend to lean on the Melancholy side as it stands so it’s an effort to be mindful of such things, but just keep doing you.  “You only miss the shots you don’t take,” I was told by someone I love who loves me very much.

    Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive, lending me positive energy and allowing me to wallow because eventually, I always get up =D

    Love always,
    Your Squishy Monster =D

    Duck, Duck, Goose

    I know you’re not suppose to, but I like to feed them my sandwich crumbs anyways.  Technically, you’re not suppose to do a lot of things and why not indulge in a bit of weekday rebellion?  lol–there are signs posted everywhere and I doubt these fat Birds need any extra nosh anyways, but I’ve been in a particularly jolly mood all day and wanted to share what I could =D

    This little guy wasn’t even scared.  I think I could have bundled him up on my lap if I’d wanted to, lol.

    The early breaths of Spring are glorious.  It’s pre blistering, suffocating heat where just stepping outside steals your breath away and when you come in and you’re not entirely blotched with angry hills of Mosquito bites.  For me, this is what perfect days are made of.  Basking in the glinting Sun, absorbing both Vitamin D and Happiness, surrounded on a Blanket Island amassed with a stockpile of food (enough to feed a small army or a very hungry Squishy Monster). 

    The view from my Blanket.  A Weeping Willow Tree, much like the one that guarded over Pocahontas (in the Disney version) =D

    This little guy ;)

    This made me laugh so hard!  Baby in tow, Tattoos, Beer, Goldfish Crackers, and a Snake that some other persons Kid is petting.  I must’ve gotten “Picnic Priorities” wrong ;) I ran into him when I was walking to the Restroom.  He jumps up and tells me to “watch out!”  I pause and he has this grin on his face and proceeds to tell me that his “snake is hanging out.”  He told me that he likes to come to the Park and “walk his Snake.”

    Eh, that’s his prerogative, I suppose.  Mine is to live life the best way I know how which somehow gets deranged into mashing as much as possible into a single moment (which will drive.you.crazy).  The Park was a sight for sore eyes.  It allowed me to shed the things that inevitably get wound up as you’re pressed day in and day out of what all is expected from you–like a Winter Coat.  One of the things that were so astounding for me in Hawaii were the many shades of Green there were.  I feel like I spend so much of my time indoors because of Work or time spent in the Kitchen that being softly nestled on Green Grass, gazing at the Blue Sky, lit by the Golden light of the Sun, and feeling such gentle warmth envelope me with breeze tickling my face was all something I feel as if I’d momentarily forgotten about.  So I hope that everyone is able to go out and “smell the Roses” as they say.  Even if only for a moment =D

    Spreading Sunshine & Smiles
    Love,
    Your Squishy Monster

    Pick Me Up!

    is what ‘Tiramisu’ literally means.  Why shouldn’t it?  There’s such a bountiful supply of all things creamy, moist, silky, and decadent in it.  Plus, the spiked Espresso can’t hurt.  With Spring so pungent in the air, it’s time like this that I love to dust off my Trifle dish and douse a variety of Sponges with dark dribbles of Liqueurs, dolloping generous spoonfuls of pale Creams or Puddings.  Tiramisu reanimates such ordinary ingredients to Spring new life into a dish that encourages people to smile when brought out just for them.  That’s what Spring is all about now, isn’t it?

    Mom and Pops were all smiles when I brought this out for Dinner last night.  Here’s how I make smiles:

    Video Recipe (with Eggs)

    • 6 Yolks
    • 3 tb Sugar
    • Zest of one Orange/Lemon
    • 2 c strong, cooled Espresso + 2 tb Rum (or Madeira, Vin Santo, Amaretto, Brandy, Kahlua, Frangelico, Marsala, etc).
    • 1 lb softened, room temperature Marscarpone Cheese + 3 tb Sugar
    • 6 Egg Whites + 1/2 ts Cream of Tarter (beaten to stiff Peaks)
    • 35-40 Savoiardi (crisp Lady Fingers)
    • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
    1.  Whisk your Yolks, Sugar, and Zest in a heat proof bowl over a double boiler (few inches of simmering water, not touching your bowl, fitted on top).  You want to achieve a pale Blonde color.  It’s ready when it’s nice and thick, think the consistency of loose pudding.  This essentially makes a Zabaglione.  Allow this to cool.
    2. In a separate bowl, dribble in your Espresso and Liquor, set aside (this will be for your Cookie bath)
    3. In another bowl, cream together your Marscarpone Cheese, Sugar, and Zabaglione: don’t over beat the Cheese or it will get stiff on you.
    4. In another bowl (yes, there are a lot of bowls involved, but be forgiving as this Tiramisu comes bearing the gift of deliciousness)! beat your Egg Whites/Cream of Tarter until they reach stiff peaks and stand up on their own.
    5. Fold your Meringue (beaten Egg Whites) into your Marscarpone
    6. To assemble: 
    • dip your Lady Finger’s into your Espresso/Liquor, arrange onto the bottom of a Trifle Bowl, Baking Dish, etc
    • Generously nudge in your Custard
    • Dust with lots of Cocoa
    • Repeat

    Recipe (with no Eggs)

    • Keep everything the same except, omit the Zabaglione and Meringue mixture.  Instead, sub with 2 c Heavy Cream.  Whip it just as you would the Meringue with 3 tb Sugar and fold into your Marscarpone mixture.  From there, dunk your Cookies into your Espresso/Liquor bath, dollop over your Marscarpone/Cream mixture, dust with lots of Cocoa and repeat. 
      • I find the Eggs lend a richer, more full bodied Tiramisu experience but I understand that lots of people are worried about eating raw Eggs so if you’re concerned about your quality of Eggs, def. go with the option you’re most comfortable with.

    Allow your Tiramisu to chill in the fridge as long as you can resist.  The longer it sits, the better.  (Overnight is fantastic).

    There are so many possibilities when it comes to (well, anything really) but this Tiramisu really shines with an introduction of new and exciting flavors.  Try Lemon, or Chocolate (using a Chocolate Zabaglione), Hazelnut, Strawberry…a Lemon Blueberry Tiramisu sounds divine!  Pink Lemonade Tiramisu?  Pumpkin, Cinnamon Dolce…my gosh the possibilities are endless!

    I hope that you make this and smile–or better yet, inspire everyone that you make it for to smile too!

    Smiles & Tiramisu,
    Your Squishy Monster :)

    Mama’s Meal

    If you’re anything like me, according to (yourself), Mom is the best.cook.ever.  I think it has something to do with the eternal connection you feel to your Mother as her Child.  It’s food she cooked with her hands to feed you.  There’s something in Korean called ‘손맛’ which literally means ‘hand taste,’ meaning, whoever prepares the food melts deliciousness into it with their hands.  I think it has something to do with the fact that with Korean Food, effectually everything is mixed by hand.  For me, there’s something almost internal and intimate that blooms each time I sit before a gigantic bowl of wilted Napa Cabbage to smash together into those familiar ruby leaves, snugly pressed together.  It’s by doing it that I realize that my Korean Ancestors have all done the same before me.  It’s something that just cannot be achieved via mechanical methods.  It’s something that requires ‘손맛!’  Mama rarely has leisurely, unfilled time to step into the Kitchen and work her magic so when she does, it’s well, it’s MAGICAL!

    Somehow she must have sensed my terrible dining experience from the night before (she did not), and called to tell me that she had prepared dinner.  Dinner is one of those daily events in life that I most look forward to.  It’s like my reward for the days work, lol.

    She made

    Korean Seaweed (Sea Mustard Soup) with Mussels aka Korean Birthday Soup (it’s popular for Birthdays and Women dealing with Postpartum–it’s in my Notebook to do a video)

    I think this is Mullet

    Roasted Seaweed and Spicy Squid Jerky

    Re-hydrated and stir-fried Korean Eggplant

    and sweet Bell Peppers and English Cucumbers to dip into Red Pepper Paste

    These are the types of meals that I can remember eating when Mama had the time to cook when we were little.  At home (and most Korean households), there is always Rice, Fish, Veggies, a Hot Soup, and Kimchi.  (We also had Rice and Kimchi, both not pictured).

    They’re special to me because of Mama’s ‘Hand Taste,’ LOL

    Warm & Happy with Mama’s Meal

    XOXO
    Your Squishy Monster

    Damn Sea Monkey’s

    When I was about 9 or so, I remember secretly creeping away to read “Seventeen.”  I always felt like I was doing something I wasn’t suppose to do.  Masturbation and Makeup probably weren’t Mom’s two favorite “M” words but that is not the point of this story.  If you flipped all the way back, there was a page of advertisements toting the benefits of the newest Magical Face Cream or Miss Cleo who claimed she could tell you your future (would she have been able to tell me the fate of my poor Sea Monkeys) :(
    What captured my attention was the 2 x 2 box that screamed “Real Live Sea Monkeys!!!”  Crazy haired Alien Squiggles that looked like they’d be your best friend and provide you with hours of entertainment.  9 year old me fell for it.  I’ve since never purchased anything else from a Catalog or Infomercial, lol.

    This weekend, it wasn’t Sea Monkey’s that disappointed.

    Nowadays, I feel like new hot spots are sprouting up all over town.  Facebooker’s seem to sing the praises of this one or that or friends will positively insist that you just must go to a particular one.  Recently, I went to such a place where the it factor bled from the local Art work draped on the walls and super shiny Retro Booths.  Beyond that, I got my entire meal served to me on Styrofoam Plates, where the French Fries cost $8.  What I got were limp, sagging Fries delivered in a Styrofoam Cup, over salted and so greasy that the entire outside of my cup was slippery.

    Last night, I had Chinese at this place that everyone has been raving about.  “Best General Tso’s Chicken!” said the local publication that surveys all things new and cool.  Oh General Tso…I feel like to most people, that’s what they identify as Chinese Cuisine.

    I got the Spicy Crispy Shrimp for Dinner.

    I almost regret not taking the “before” picture, because I promise you, it wasn’t much better than this:
    Eeek, I almost feel like this is inappropriate to share because it’s just that offensive :/

    Bland Fried Rice with mushy Veggies that implied it had been sitting in a steamer all day, just waiting to be scooped up, losing patience.  Fried Baby Shrimp (that tasted strangely of Bacon) sitting in a sauce, so severely oily that it made the Shrimp soggy, not “Crispy” as it had promised.  The yellow bits above are all pools of oil–deep enough for stupid Sea Monkey’s to swim in.

    Now, I take responsibility.  I had the choice not to go but I’m a firm believer that nothing good ever happens on an empty Stomach.  Also, your Mama is always right.  Never judge a book by it’s cover.  The facade of it all was so plush and elegant but the food derails you to a dirty place.  I had been so busy that day that it was a “stupid Granola bar has to suffice right now” kind of day that I scarfed the whole thing down before I even noticed.  This was neither Spicy, Crispy, Shrimp (more like firm, deep fried Bacon bits), or Chinese.  This was an off brand T.V. Dinner, badly impersonating an actual Meal served at a nice sit down Restaurant.

    I suppose I’m odd in the fact that I get impacted by my food experiences.  The rest of the night left me with an awful taste in my mouth.  You know how when you’ve eaten something terribly yucky, a fuzzy film of Nausea sticks to you and won’t loosen it’s grip and travels down to the pit of your Stomach and makes you feel queasy and uneasy? 

    Needless to say, my main goal for the weekend now is to find something yummy for Dinner.

    That was my soap box moment, lol.  I just had to tell somebody!! :)

    I hope that everyone else has had a delicious weekend so far!

    XOXO
    Your Squishy Monster

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