There are some songs that just make introspection that much easier. Well, this is one of those. Played on repeat today while I productively cranked out my work/activities section for my application.

However, having said that, there are also times when silence is necessary for the most perfect thoughts to really come together. Like the last touches on my personal statement. God it is pretty beautiful and as perfect as it’s ever going to get. I’m very happy with it and proud of myself for those torturous 25+ drafts. Some comments I’ve received on the writing so far express that it’s composed well, best some of my friends have ever read, blah blah.. Karen’s garbled gchat, “i think ou addressed mom very sincerely,” truly touched me. I’m a happy camper and I think I wrote to the best of my abilities, conveyed what I set out originally to, &c.

Besides, I’ll have a lot more time to agonize and split hairs over words in my secondaries. Now just to finish off my work/activities and finalize my school choices…

P.S. I’ll have a really great post on what I’ve been up to between Thanksgiving and now. 🙂


Thanksgiving Planning

On Friday, I decided I would host Thanksgiving. Out went the invitations to my housemate and my coworker. The menu is set.


Cranberry sauce & gravy

Balsamic braised brussel sprouts with pancetta

Homemade green bean casserole

Cornbread-oyster stuffing

Chili-fennel dungeness crab

Chocolate bourbon pecan pie

Booze (wine, champagne, and beer)

I’m making the turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, brussel sprouts, and pie. I might make some mashed potatoes too. I’ve already gotten the cranberry sauce out of the way. My game plan for today: make the pie crust, toast the pecans, clean the kitchen (it is a disaster zone, thanks to housemates who are extremely messy), do some veggie prep work, and set out the turkey for air-chilling.

Thursday: make the pie, set out turkey (230), roast the turkey + rest (330), braise brussel sprouts and make mashed potatoes while the turkey’s in the oven, pull out the turkey around 6ish and make gravy while the turkey rests.

What’s your game plan for Thanksgiving?

peach and crème fraîche pie

This was mostly written 9/4/12, when peaches were still bountiful. 

There are many things in this world I find scary. Pie crusts and bread making are among them. (Heights are up there too, but it isn’t a fear I’ll denounce because I think there’s legitimacy to it!!)

Some fears are just so silly. I always dread, dread, dread making pie crusts, but aside from the sheer strength and energy, they’re really not so bad. Okay, and the rolling out part too, all deriving from my very low-tech kitchen. C’mon, I use freakin’ forks to get those butter pieces into tiny pea sizes. You’d be a bit sore too, I think. And my fake “rolling pin” doesn’t help much either. I dread it so much, when it’s actually pretty easy! And while I might be searching for The Perfect Pie Crust (I’m not sure if such a thing really exists, for me), none of the crusts I’ve made have failed me so far. It’s the sogginess of the pie filling that has done me in several times, if anything.

So here’s to conquering fears. The biggest reason I’ve avoided peach pies is the pie crust, followed by the blanching of peaches and skinning them (just sounds like way too much work for lazy old me). But I found a way around that in this peach and crème fraîche pie. And that was enough to push me to make this.

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cherry clafouti

Some college friends came to town two weekends ago. I accompanied them on their adventures and experienced some firsts, like taking the F train all the way from Pier 39. We went to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, which was beautiful as always, and had an early lunch at Roli Roti, of Porchetta sandwiches. They were truly delicious: tasty, juicy, crispy, fatty. I think it was the most flavorful sandwich I’d had in a while (and the good sandwiches continued later in the week when my work went out to Slow, where I had their braised beef sandwich).

hard at work

seriously delicious

For dinner, I caught up with Karen, another friend who came up for the weekend. We went to Dosa on Fillmore, where we both got dosas. The dosa came with two dipping sauces and a soup. Must say that everything was a little too salty, and their water cups tiny. I was craving something sweet afterwards, so K gave me the leftover half of her morning bun she’d been lugging around all day. It was good: sweet, flaky, soft, with the floral hint of citrus oranges melting into my mouth. It was definitely a unique experience since K differed in that she could only taste cinnamon.

The next day we headed to Napa. We stopped at Boon Fly Café, where I bumped into a coworker who lives three or four blocks away from me, for brunch. I split a benedict with K, and got two donuts for myself. All the food was tasty, but nothing spectacular: there was a little too much ham in my benedict and there was no yolk to my egg and the dough of the donut itself could have used a little extra kick of nutmeg or cinnamon. We ventured to Mumm Napa for their tour, and rounded out with an afternoon tasting at Sterling Vineyards.

the hash browns were really good!

so cute!

But this post is really all about cherries.

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chocolate cherry mochi cake

For each of the past four years, I resolved that that year would be when I finally got around to starting a food blog. Alas, it never really happened. I got as far as creating a WordPress account and naming my blog, “The Perfect Cookie,” in my second or third year of working towards this resolution. That isn’t what my blog is named, as you can see, because somewhere down the line I stopped my pursuit of the perfect chocolate chip cookie (I kinda found it in my adaptation of the popular NYTimes perfect chocolate chip cookie. Recipe may come one day!). Also, my initial aversion to cooking has made quite the turn around, and now that I’m “all grown up,” I do much more cooking than baking and so I sought a new name to reflect that.

When I finally settled on “What’s Eating Rebecca” this past January, I started out easy by just posting food I made for myself for lunch, without committing to any real writing or reflection on recipes. And then I accidentally deleted all of my posts and thus took an unintended hiatus.

Until now.

Because I cannot believe it’s mid-August already.

First off, what happened to 2012? May 21st marked my one-year anniversary of graduating from college and I couldn’t believe that a year had already passed. In May, I told myself I really needed to register as a voter in SF, and it really feels just like a few days ago when I made that ultimatum. I’ll blink, and in a few days, it will be election day. Time really does fly.

Second, what happened to my summer? It only just began, with bountiful summer fruits adorning the produce section at Berkeley Bowl and the stalls of the Farmers’ Market, yet the selection is dwindling quickly. California cherries are long gone, hello imported Washington cherries! Peaches aren’t as juicy or cheap as they were a couple weeks ago. Thank god my favorite Dapple Dandy pluots will still linger far into September.

Last summer was amazing: corn salsa, tomato salsa, avocado salsa, corn and tomato salads, berries and stone fruit, gorging on summer’s best every day. But I feel like I missed that this summer. Where’s the peach pie I was supposed to make? I didn’t eat any spectacular strawberries or raspberries. And corn and tomatoes were sadly absent from my diet. Working next to the farmers’ market certainly encouraged my feasting, I suppose, yet summer of 2012 has been passing by too quickly.

So I’m making a list of things I must do in the last days of summer.

Summer 2012

  • Cherry preserves
  • Cherry clafouti
  • Peach pie
  • Tomato and corn pie
  • Raspberry preserves

So I’ll be off to do these things within these last weeks of summer. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts on things I’ve made recently. No pictures because I’m a serious gooseball when it comes to things like taking pictures, but good recommendations and recipes.

I rekindled my love for corn with Esquites. It is super easy and delicious, perfect as it is, though I added another ear of corn since I had an extra lounging around and, if you’re cilantro-averse like me, skipped the cilantro. It’s my newest favorite Mexican-style corn salad. Another old favorite is this Elote corn salad.

I made these “baked” beans, adding one green pepper, diced, and one medium yellow onion, diced, to up the nutritional value. I baked these on my stovetop, since none of my pots can go into the oven, on medium heat for approximately four and a half hours. The last half hour, I cooked without the top. These turned out well, but I’m not a baked-beans kind of gal and I’m usually making food for one so I probably won’t make these again in a very long time, if ever. It gave me enough leftovers for over a week, and even then I was eating it twice a day!! Freezing them would have been smart, but I always forget to use my freezer adequately to its potential.

Now, the chocolate cherry mochi cake. I think this takes the cake (pun wasn’t intended originally but as soon as I realized it, I also didn’t go for the delete button). My coworkers really raved about this one, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out since I adapted the recipe quite a bit. I was inspired by this recipe, since chocolate and cherries together sounded so good, but sprung off use real butter’s chocolate mochi cake recipe since I wanted to make it gluten-free (two of my coworkers are allergic to gluten).

This cake was so good. It’s chocolatey, but not dessert-sweet. It’s dark, a little sweet, brownie-like, but a snack my coworkers and I kept returning to throughout the day for just a little more. We nearly successfully ate the whole thing in a day, and that’s pretty amazing considering there were around a dozen mouths in the office then.  Continue reading

What Niche?

When I accidentally deleted all of my photo posts from this blog, it might have been a blessing in disguise. I have since been seriously re-considering what I want this to be and what niche I want it to fall into. Easiest to delineate are the things I do not want from this blog. 

1) Poor writing. I’ve followed many blogs and a lot have seriously shitty writing, mostly because the subject chosen to write about is so mundane, predictable, and the writing style itself drab and grammar erroneous. Life is mundane, predictable, and drab, but that’s not the kind of writing I’d like to exhibit. I hope that my word choice is a little quirky, my sentence structures varying, and my chosen subject exciting or, at least, interesting. I’m not trying to brag that my writing will be good, but it should be not bad. 

2) Money. This should be purely for my personal satisfaction. Enough said? 

3) Original recipesThis is not the goal of my blog, but original recipes might be an occasional byproduct. Call me lazy, but I prefer to not be bothered by rules of what constitutes an original recipe. Moreover, I am a classic eyeballing cook and baker, especially since I moved to SF and live with five other people with one little kitchen… (Measuring cups, specifically teaspoons and tablespoons, tend to be dirty or missing in action, so I simply do without. My baked goods still seem to be okay, I think?) Especially when I cook, I can’t fathom measuring how much more spices or herbs I put in. I just taste as I go. 

4) No bitching and bemoaning. Well…. not too much. I’d rather not bore you with the trivial trials and tribulations of my life. As well, I’d rather not my life be privy to the general readership. Problems crop up with this, though, because what else is there to write about in relation to my main subject of food? Life and food are inextricably related, and all other subjects I might be inclined to write about would be completely separate issues. Also, I would have no degree of expertise in those; it would be me simply expressing my opinion based on what I do know. 

That begs the question, though, of what will I be writing about? 

… I have no idea. Still. Sigh. Clearly my ruminations do me a whole lot of good. 

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