Thursday, June 30, 2011

punchy

i'm running on a few hours of sleep and quite a bit of caffeine over the past couple of days. lots to get done before my "vacation". i have a feeling that there will still be a couple of things that i'll need to do for the team this weekend but that is what it means when one works for a company that isn't headquartered in the states. holidays, aren't exactly aligned around the world. yet, a definite benefit of my current gig is that i'm able to seek out different works spots throughout the city. as the sfmoma is open later on thursdays, the rooftop garden is quickly becoming a "go to" place for me.


i'm able to get an amazing amount done while noshing on a blue bottle coffee + humphry slocombe secret breakfast affogato.


i think i may seriously be addicted to these things.

my weaknesses in a cup.

yet, a weakness that allows me to be amazingly productive and pound away at my computer keyboard at a lightening pace.

my life, however, is not always work. well, perhaps different sorts of work. some "work" doesn't feel like "work"....like writing and taking pictures for the blog....or how some work-like activity feels more like helping out a friend and not work. at this moment, i'm feeling like i'm leading separate lives. or it could be that i'm feeling punchy from the extensive amounts of caffeine i've been putting in my body recently and the lack of sleep.

yet, as i wind down for the night, i'm laughing to myself as i'm reminded of an inside joke i shared with someone today.

i guess i'm really good at packing up a tent.


he is probably good at it as well....or well, he should be.

this is one of the moments when i am going to exercise my right to write whatever i want on this blog.

because it is my blog.

nite all.

xxxoooo

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

quick break from late night at work

taking a break from work at the moment. last night and today/tonight have been work evenings as there are things i need to get taken care of before tomorrow afternoon. i actually haven't left my apartment today. now that feels a bit odd....but i'll make up for it tomorrow.


one of the snacks i made for myself was a wee bit of further experimentation with yuba. nothing supremely complicated but still very yummy. the ingredients were simple......hodo soy yuba sliced into ribbons tossed with roasted sesame oil, broad bean soy sauce (which you can get at nijiya btw...i did), fish sauce, and chili garlic paste...



yup. pretty simple. i'm really liking hodo soy yuba quite a bit. i have a feeling that i'll be at the ferry building tomorrow and will pick some more up.

well, quick break over for now.

must get back to work.

until later.....


xxxoooo

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

reflections post ambush


frankly, i'm surprised that i held off as long as i did to make a cocktail.

i saw ms.tablehopper retweet via twitter a vermouth cocktail recipe including carpano antica, rocks + muddled orange. this kind of stuck in my head and was the starter inspiration for the cocktail i made this evening....which included some spicy strawberry compote i made a couple of days ago (dirty girl strawberries, maple syrup, and dried ancho peppers from tierra vegetables)......




carpano antica, yuzu peel, fee brothers old fashioned bitters, and a bit of sparkling water.


i didn't know all of the ingredients when is started to make this cocktail....thinking about the day. i just kind of added things here and there....tasting along the way.....until i had a mixture of flavors that i was good with. if i had to do it again, i'd probably add some yuzu juice....or if i had it on hand...fresh citrus juice and not include the bitters....since there is actually a wee bit of bitterness from the ancho peppers that i didn't realize would be further emphasized with the vermouth and bitters. not in a bad way....just in a...that is definitely a slightly bitter pepper flavor finish.








so, here i am. sipping on my vermouth cocktail...thinking about the day. the presentation/ambush happened this morning. moves were put forth and countered. the chump firmly in his place....for now. i'm going to have to keep an eye on that one.


yes, i'm already planning strategies on how to thwart the chump's future moves and efforts. yes, this is how my brain works.

sometimes i think this is a good thing. sometimes i think this is a not so good thing.

right now, i'm in the i don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

while i am glad that i stood up against the maneuvering and who essentially, tried to bully and intimidate me....and must admit that i was more than a wee bit gleeful as i watched his backing amongst his team wither and die once they realized what was going on.....before he did. i don't exactly feel good about having played the game....where everyone comes with cheshire grins, sharpened knives, and ill intentions.

once it was over, i was able to meet up with the heart sister for a quick bite at il cane rosso before she got on the ferry. i was also able to say a quick "hey" to some of the hapa ramen folks ......like.... susanna before she heads over to do this rather cool event about local hawaii cusine in socal for a few days (which i look forward to hearing more about when she gets back), begin poking victor about how his stage in chicago went (which i wasn't able to finish my interrogation about that btw.....so he will be getting more nosiness from me in the very near future), checking in with mrs hapa ramen about the next gal's night, and sharing snickers with richie et al over the latest thing on his iphone.

during this time, i didn't mention the ambush to anyone.

i don't know why.

actually, perhaps that is a lie....i do know why. i think it was because i didn't want to taint positive aspects of my life. it was good to have a reminder that there are people in this world that i actually care for, like, and respect.

it helped me return to work and get through the rest of my work day. yet, now that the work day is over, i'm sitting here...decompressing with my cocktail and dealing with the implications of what it means to do things that carry taint. i think i'll take my cocktail and go have a hot bath. while it won't remove the taint, no amount of hot water and booze is going to do that.....it may make accepting responsibility a wee bit easier.

Monday, June 27, 2011

reflections before an ambush

well.

this morning has been interesting thus far.

there are moments when things get tough and challenging....and it makes an incredible amount of difference when you are standing beside a colleague ... one that you've been through the fire with....one that where both of you know that you've got each other's back....one that you know that no matter the outcome.....win/lose/limbo/whatever......that after it is over, there is someone that knows exactly what you've been through and sees you without judgement. where you don't have to describe what it was about. they just know...because they were there.

then there are those moments when you know that you are alone. there isn't a colleague. there isn't anyone that has your back. it is just you.

after this "work day" was over, i went into my kitchen to process. i decided to gather some ingredients together to make a baked or shirred egg. i had some leftover roasted patron peppers + bacon so i thought that would be a nice addition. this is why i don't throw away leftovers....even if there 3-4 peppers....i can use them for something...like baked eggs....










i'm good at thinking ahead and possible contingency plans.



speaking of thinking ahead, tomorrow morning, i'll be going into an ambush.

i know it.

they know it.

it will be one against....i don't know....perhaps 25-30? sigh.

it was all orchestrated by someone who is over their head, isn't qualified to do their job, and is hoping that through intimidation and the ambush, that they'll get me to agree for my team to do their job for them. this is one of those situations where it really truly and utterly sucks to be the manager of a team.

on the surface, it is basically their entire team against me.

those aren't exactly the most fair of odds aren't they?

as i put together the ingredients, i was thinking about how the person that orchestrated the whole thing has no idea what he's done. i think he should have done a bit of reconnaissance before trying this maneuver with me. as DH almost gleefully said in between his chortles and snickers "he has no idea who he is dealing with".

the thing is with manipulative maneuvers like this one...the chump thinks...maybe...two steps ahead perhaps?....and that they are often way overconfident in their abilities and are sloppy about reconnaissance.

i get that most people will cave under conflict and avoid it.

i'm not most people though.

oh no. i'm a total robotic analytical logical shit.

my natural inclination is to think 5-10 steps ahead and if you piss me off, well....then the uber logical robotic analytical unfeeling foodie hunter comes out and have no problems throwing down.

what this chump doesn't realize is that i'm well aware of certain characteristics on this team. for better or worse, i see people for what and how they are. i've done my proper research....reconnaissance....and once the other members of his team realize that i'm not going to bend under the pressure ....and that i have a few things in my back pocket that i've set up and will be pulling out....they are going to turn on him....like sharks that sense blood in the water.

so much unpleasantness.

which is why i'm seeking a bit of comfort as i eat my shirred egg and toast.



it isn't comfort from the chump and the ambush tomorrow.

it is comfort from me.

because you see....ummm.....i kinda knew the chump was going to be a problem as soon as he started. i could see it so clearly. so when the chump started....i began my own maneuverings and set up then.....months ago....for the possibility that he was going to pull something like this.

so my need for comfort is from knowing that i actually know how to do this...and from what i have done thus far and what i am about to do. it is comfort from knowing that i am rather good at something that perhaps, isn't exactly positive to be good at.

how is it a good thing to be good at identifying manipulative people, their potential actions, and planning/setting up for contingencies? for to do this....there must be an understanding of what makes them tick. this is what makes me sad. i don't want to understand manipulative people that seek to do stupid mean things to cover up their incompetence, insecurities, and lack of professionalism. i don't want to understand them at all. i only want to understand passionate + driven people that use their smarts for good. gawd dammit!

i get no joy out of my defensive and offensive maneuvering....because it means i'm playing the game. a very distasteful game. one that i have to take responsibility for my actions....and for being good at it.

just because i'm good at something doesn't mean i like it.

it doesn't mean that i like knowing that i'm good at it.

it doesn't mean that i want to do it.

but i will.

the fact that i will....is why i needed to find comfort in my kitchen and my little spicy egg today.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

why not?


most of you that have been with me since the beginning of the blog realize that most of the time when i'm making myself meals or snacks in between working, i come up with the most random things to try based on what i have on hand. this was the case with a couple of berry and tofu experiments recently.

pretty much every year it is about this time where i have homemade compotes and conserves on hand all of the time. with the strawberries, cherries, blueberries, plucots, plums, peaches, etc. not only do i enjoy these fresh....but i also ensure that i use every bit with making compotes and/or conserves as well. one of the compotes i made earlier consisted of cherries, maple syrup, and dried paper lantern chilies (tierra vegetables)...




and since i had purchased silken tofu and yuba from hodo soy....i thought why not? why not try it?



these sort of things usually arise because i'm looking in at what is my fridge at that moment.


now, silken tofu and a fruit topping doesn't seem like that much of a stretch to me.

it was about a day later when i looked at the yuba and thought...i wonder how that would go with something sweet....like a compote? typically, when i have an ingredient that i've never worked with before, i like to try doing random things with it....because for me...it is why not? why not try it?




so i did. i actually liked it. i did think something was missing though. i'm not sure what it was...but something was. perhaps something with a green flavor....like a mint chiffonade....or perhaps it may have been cool to do a homemade silken sweet tofu custard...sitting on top of sweet marinaded yuba (with berries or citrus)....then have the compote on top of the custard....a three layered approach with multiple textures/flavors. sigh. dear reader, i think you know what i mean when you get a feeling that something may work...if you added something else to round it out...or complement it more. i liked the different textures. i liked the sweet and almost savory aspect to it. i liked the novelty of eating it with my chopsticks. i think this is something i may play with and think about for a while. i have a feeling that yuba has a potential to be a standard staple in my kitchen anyway, so it won't be the only chance for me to experiment.

as i'm looking back on that random experiment and the pics....i hope that i will always have that openness or curiosity to try to make something random like that. while it may not turn out perfect.....it may spark inspiration or an idea for something else.

raspberry sugar bun from tell tale preserve co


one of my favorite sweets (admittedly there are quite a lot of sweets that are in my fave category) is tell tale preserve's maple bourbon bun. oftentimes when i stop by their stand at the ferry building on tuesdays or saturdays, i peer into their clear case to see if the bun is available and if not, i'll end up picking up some pate de fruit, a macarron, or one of their preserves. i don't consider these to be "consolation prizes"...it is more that i'm rather obsessed with that particular bun. this past saturday, i was much later to the market than i normally am. i hit up my usual spots while trying to dodge the large hordes of people. tell tale is usually my last stop of my market visit, as i'll be chilling out in front of the market with my blue bottle coffee and a sweet....observing and appreciating the flow of the market without actually having to be in it...being able to appreciate the market on a different level once i'm done with my shopping and not having to side step folks who aren't there to buy but are there to purely gawk.

you, me, and they know exactly who they are.

alas, tell tale didn't have the maple bourbon bun when i visited their stand but they did have a valrhona bun and a raspberry sugar bun.

i suppose that i must confess that when i go for sweets, i usually don't go for chocolate confections. please understand...i love chocolate....as in hot chocolate (ummm. quite obvious to those that read my blog)...a piece of good quality dark chocolate...or a chocolate bon bon. yet, when it comes to chocolate-oriented sweets like pastries, ice cream, fudge, etc. etc. it isn't the first thing that i'll go for. it isn't that i don't like it....it just isn't my preference. my preferance for desserts are often fruit or cream (i.e., ice cream or custard) based. there are many loved ones that think this quirk of mine is truly and utterly odd.

now that i think back on that moment of choice...i probably would have liked the valrhona bun...because i really enjoy what tell tale puts out. yet, as i was at the market during a chaotic time and wanted to make a split second decision, i'm going to go for the non-chocolate option. so i went for raspberry sugar bun....



which i enjoyed quite a bit. i loved the intense raspberry flavor paired with the sweet sugar glaze and the roll-bread-like bun (i.e., not overly sweet). the top was smushed slightly and that was totally my fault. i wasn't able to be as careful with my bag of goodness while dodging people to get to the front of the ferry building and trying to balance my load with cherries, strawberries (dirty girl), carrots (star route), mixed mint fruit syrup (june taylor), acme bread, and stuff from hodo soy. just wanted to point that out as tell tale preserve's desserts are quite lovely to look at in addition to being tasty.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

sf moma rooftop: becoming a work spot


i used to only go to the sf moma rooftop to sketch or chill out away from work. yet recently, i've also been bringing my laptop and doing some work while noshing on my latest favorite thing....which....of course....is an affogatto with blue bottle espresso and humprhy slocombe ice cream.


my membership comes up for renewal soon and i foresee myself renewing it. i currently have a dual membership for myself and the heart sister. i love how i can just pop into the museum and see a few pieces of art a time, visit the koret education center (which is also a good place to do research and/or take kids...it is on the 2nd floor), and go to the blue bottle cafe on the rooftop anytime the museum is open.


hmmm. i have a feeling that this is going to be come a regular work spot for me now rather than just a chill spot. i suppose i have mixed feelings about this. on the one hand, it is nice to have a spot that is completely separate from work....but on the other hand, it is nice to be able to work remotely from such a lovely space with access to blue bottle coffee, excellent baristas, and affogato's with humphry slocombe's secret breakfast ice cream.

memories 'n transitions

after my early morning meetings were done, i caught muni down to the ferry building as i wanted to have a chance to say good bye to a member of the hapa ramen crew before she leaves SF. i haven't written about her before....well...because i am very sensitive about folks' privacy. i like her quite a bit. she reminds me of a pagan goddess in many ways.....she has this earthy womanly sensuality within a very calm demeanor and sometimes she'll have this mona lisa like smile while watching everyone. there is a lot going on behind that smile. a lot. so i wanted to have a chance to say good bye and give a "going away" present....


as she seemed to like some of the accessories that i have worn and mentioned that she was experimenting with a more feminine look. so i went to the most feminine boutique in sf that i could think of to buy the earrings. this is why i was in the haight yesterday and why i had a chance to try the wing wings chicken salad on a biscuit....as both are in the haight. ambiance = uber feminine in all possible incantations....from boho, girly, modern, etc. etc. . i think the earrings are appropriate as they are feminine and there is more than beats the eye (i.e., the bird engraving is something that only the wearer knows is there as the roses face front).


it was nice also to have a chance to say good bye to the goddess as she transitions to her next fabulous adventure and chat with some of the hapa ramen folks before things got really busy at the market. i also resisted the temptation to dive into a pot of the delicious smelling porky broth...or to sneakily nab a hunk of freshly fried chicken that is an add option to the ramen. the reason why i resisted the strong temptations is because i wanted to stop into hodo soy beanery to pick up some silken tofu and yuba.

ever since the night out with loved ones at commonwealth last week when i had that lovely spring pea and yuba dish...i've been feeling this internal craving to try to make something with it. it was like the yuba was putting out this siren call and i was a hapless sailor. i often feel this way about certain ingredients. they call.....and i step up to answer.

i was so excited when i got home as it meant i could play with the yuba.

i'm such a nerd.


the texture is very thin yet surprising resilient. i cut off a bit to try "as is". hmmmm. very good...just "as is". i love how it just unravels....like when one is cutting fresh pasta.


i just love how it looks...period. isn't it beautiful?


i pretty much knew that i wanted to make a sort of salad with the strips.....so i dug around in my fridge to see what else i could make a salad with.

i pulled out some arrowhead cabbage (dirty girl produce...one of my favorite things from them) and some radishes from marin roots (another staple and ongoing snack treat i like to have).

as i was cutting up the slices of cabbage, again i was thinking about how beautiful the cabbage is...with the color and all of the nooks, crannies, and crevices.


as i was taking the pics, i was thinking about how sometimes how difficult it is to relay why i love to cook so much....and communicating to others just how thinking about making and eating this random dish of contrasting textures was making me hum with happiness.

also, in a random moment, the combination of the color of the radishes and the cabbage reminded me of a dish that i had at one of the hapa ramen pop ups...where they did a dish with cabbage and pickled radishes (they do their own of course) which was truly lovely. i really do encourage folks to try the hapa ramen pop ups....because it allows folks to see some of range of food that they offer which isn't available from other folks that have entered the ramen space recently. isn't food memory funny that way? how my creating a new experience....experimenting with yuba....and randomly adding cabbage and radishes reminds me of other lovely tastes and moments in time.

after i finished prepping the yuba and cabbage....i created a dressing of seasoned rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ground chilies, and japanese mayo....


whisked it around a bit...tasted it....added a bit of salt and black pepper.....and then placed the yuba strips in first to toss.....




then the cabbage.....


then plated it with some of the radishes from marin roots farms.



i enjoyed this dish quite a bit. it was relatively simple and not at the same time. it was a spicy dish filled with all sort of textures.


it think it was appropriate to what's on my mind....thinking about memories...and taking those memories forward during transitions....and creating new experiences....new experiences that may be different....but still just as lovely.