Tag Archive | dessert

What I’ve Been Up To

Baking, apparently.


Apple crisp


Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (next batch needs more oatmeal)

Also, I turned in my master’s thesis a week and a half ago! I’ll probably make a few tweaks, and I may or may not be adding in one more statistical analysis, but… it’s more or less done. Which means I can rededicate myself to the revision of Book 2! I’d abandoned it for a bit, but now I’m back into it and wishing I could spend every minute on it. (Alas, I can’t quite. I still have an experiment to propose on perceptual compensation for intrinsic pitch in English and Yoruba vowels…)

Independence Day

First, a quick reminder that you can still enter to win an advance copy of Sparkers. I’m closing entries tonight at midnight, Pacific time.

Last Friday was the first 4th of July I celebrated away from home in a long time. At home, my Independence Day traditions (parade in the morning, multi-family picnic at midday, fireworks in the evening) are so set in stone that each year the photos I take are practically identical to the ones I took the previous year. I wanted to observe as many of my traditions as I could in California this year, as well as introduce my Singaporean roommate to the trappings of the American national holiday. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to any fireworks, but otherwise I think we did pretty well.

First thing in the morning, we headed out to watch the Santa Monica 4th of July parade, which was inexplicably Star Wars-themed. There were antique cars and local politicians and the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra playing–what else?–the music from Star Wars on a flatbed truck. But it didn’t measure up to my hometown parade; there were no bagpipers or Morris dancers.

After the parade, we went grocery shopping because we finally had a functional fridge in our new apartment. It would’ve been very sad if that fridge hadn’t arrived in time for the 4th because then I wouldn’t have been able to make most of my planned dishes. Luckily, it did, but it meant we did all our shopping on the holiday itself. As it turns out, the 4th of July isn’t the best day to try to buy hotdog buns.

The crowning culinary achievement of the day was this flag cake. It was surprisingly tasty. I made a simple yellow cake using a recipe I’d never tried before, and I didn’t have particularly high expectations since I’m not much of a sheet cake person, but it was quite a good cake.

Flag Cake

American flag cake

Before eating cake, we had a dinner of bratwurst, potato salad, watermelon, and corn on the cob. Since it was very hot in our apartment, we picnicked on our little balcony overlooking the alley. We laid out sheets of the Opelika Observer, a local Alabama newspaper the previous tenant subscribed to, to sit on. If you look closely at the text under the bratwurst in the picture below, you can read a rather amusing paragraph from someone’s column: “Lard. I grew up with lard. My grandmother bought in in buckets and fried everything fryable in it–from chicken to peach pies.” Well, then.

4th of July Meal

4th of July dinner

ARCs, Crêpes, and a Giveaway!

I received a package this weekend, and this is what was inside:

IMG_1355ARCs of Sparkers! These are not quite finished books, as you can tell by the notice on the cover, but they pretty much feel like real paperbacks. It was amazing to hold one for the first time!

IMG_1354In honor of this milestone in the life of Sparkers, I’m giving away one ARC. This is your chance to read the book months before it actually comes out! To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post (and, if you like, tell me about a great book you read recently!). I will accept entries until midnight Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014. Once the entry period has ended, I will randomly select one winner. If you win, I will contact you by e-mail in order to arrange for delivery. This giveaway is open internationally; if I can mail a book to you via the U.S. Postal Service, you can enter.

Please feel free to spread the word! I’m looking forward to sending one of these ARCs to whoever the lucky winner is. And remember that you can add Sparkers on Goodreads.

P.S. Yesterday, in celebration of Mardi Gras, I made crêpes. Here is one filled with blood orange marmalade:


Culinary Pursuits

Chinese New Year was last Friday, and since I wasn’t home with family, I cooked my own miniature feast for myself:


This was the first Chinese New Year I can remember that I did not mark with some communal celebration (that is, of Chinese New Year; I did go to Kartvelian Chorus and go out to eat with my fellow singers after rehearsal). Before college, and last year, I was always at my family’s gathering. At Swarthmore, the Chinese Department would host a party at the Friends Meetinghouse that involved intensive dumpling making and slightly embarrassing performances by those of us in the various Chinese classes. The year I was in Grenoble, I went to a Korean New Year celebration.

Anyway, it’s the Year of the Horse! I was born in the Year of the Horse, so as it turns out, my first book will come out in my year, which is pleasing, in a way.

In addition to Chinese New Year noodles, I also recently made far breton, a simple, delicious dessert from Brittany:


Custardy goodness!

Far slice