Sunday, January 1, 2023

The appropriate question is "WHEN the hell are they?": Throwback to an Eat Along to The Back to the Future Trilogy

 Full disclosure.  I set the date and time of this blog post to be January 1, 2023 even though it is definitely March 26, 2024.  Is it because the series is about going back or forward in time and I'm trying to be clever? Is it because we did technically do this eat-along New Years of 2023 but I just didn't get my act together for over a year?  


In any case, because it's been awhile since that winter day and I took insufficient notes because of cooking and eating and watching all day and I think somehow my body does not process Pepsi well so I might have to reach a bit for certain details.  But I was always going to be here. Or then. Writing this blog post for you.  I am your density. I mean your destiny. 

Back to the Future

Recipes 1 &2: Quiche "Lorraine" and bruleed grapefruit

Back to the Future II

Recipe #3 (non) Dehydrated Pizza 

Back to the Future III

Recipes #4 and #5 Cowboy Chili and Marty's Boozy Milkshake

Choice of Libations:
Back to the Future: Miller High Life and Coffee
Back to the Future II: Rum and Pepsi
Back to the Future III: Marty's Boozy Milkshake

Choice of Music

Remember the fun cultural appropriation moment of the first movie when Marty joins the band at prom in 1954 and pretends he wrote Johnny B Goode and then "Marvin Berry" calls his cousin Chuck and holds the phone up to the raucous tune, thereby insinuating that a white kid named Calvin was in fact the "Father of Rock and Roll"?  I giggled the first time I watched the movie, but re-watching years later, that (and a few other moments that I could get into on another blog) made me cringe. 
Anyways, the original is a romp or a bop or whatever the little ones are calling it now.  

M'yeah. Definitely did not make my own pie crust. Also That is definitely parmesan and mozzarella, which is not the traditional recipe. But there was a long road ahead of us, and where we were going we don't need Gruyere.  BUT.  I was drinking Miller High Life, just like Lorraine's Dad.  So.

While there were no quiches consumed in any of the scenes that I saw, we had to pay tribute to Lea Thompson's incredible turn as the many iterations of Marty's Mom.  
Also. Look much protein and calcium we had for breakfast.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Fortune and Glory, Kid. Fortune and Glory and Potstickers: An Eat-Along to the Indiana Jones Trilogy

In honor of Everything Everywhere All at Once opening in Chicago this weekend, I thought it fitting to remember the day Chad and I rewatched the Indiana Jones Trilogy (sorry Cate Blanchett and aliens, I cannot in good conscience count that other one, no matter how adorable Karen Allen is).  Some might wonder what the correlation is between these two events.  But those who truly know me, understand.  My first crush that wasn't a cartoon was the one and only Ke Huy Quan, aka Jonathan Quan aka Data in The Goonies, aka Jasper in Head of the Class, aka........Short Round in The Temple of Doom.  

As a first-gen Asian kid growing up in the 80s and 90s, I didn't get to see myself on screen very much.  So when I see someone like Ke, matching Harrison Ford step for step, kick for kick, out-acting Kate Capshaw (not too difficult (sorry not sorry)), I had a new hero and I looked for him in everything I could find him in.  With every viewing, I crushed harder - he was funny, he was smart, he was scrappy - the ideal 80s underdog. I watched Temple of Doom until I wore out the tape, screaming along lines like:

I was a little kid.  I was so starved for representation, I accepted scraps (see also Samantha on California Dreams, Tina on Ghostwriter, Min on Barney) and didn't realize until much later how blatantly racist and culturally insensitive the plot was - white savior trope, savage brown people trope - how Spielberg's portrayal of Asian people perpetuated stereotypes and made a whole generation of Americans scared of "Indian food."  

I could do an entire blog entry on the ways in which the film was offensive.  In that same entry, though, I would talk about how despite all those things, Short Round was still the heart of the movie, the actual hero and a forreals badass who nailed every bit of dialogue and punchline like a pro.  And how deprived we've ALL been of the multitude of roles that Ke should have had.  The number of action movies and epic romances we could have seen, with Ke as a leading man. But how happy we are that he's back and that directors like The Daniels know how valuable he is. 
And that we get to see him on screen with the incandescent Michelle Yeoh.
But this isn't about that.  It is about revisiting Indiana Jones with new eyes. 
And with food.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Recipes #1 and 2
Peruvian Ceviche
Stuffed Dates

Temple of Doom

Recipes #3, 4, and 5
Tandoori chicken wings
Sichuan zucchini salad
Chicken potstickers

The Last Crusade

Recipes #6, 7 and 8
Italian Wedding Cookies
Coconut Affogato
Arugula Prosciutto Salad

Choice of libations

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Pisco Sours
Temple of Doom: Tamarind Lime Coolers
The Last Crusade: Lambrusco Spritz

Note that there is only a picture of one cocktail, the pisco sour, which we began drinking at 10am. While it paired nicely with our first meal and movie, it also made me loopy enough to forget to take pictures of the other drinks. But believe me.  They were drunken. 

Choice of Music

The whole soundtrack to Everything Everywhere All at Once is composed and produced by Son Lux and is as wonderful as I would hoped it would be.  While I actually like the song Fence by Son Lux and Moses Sumney more, it would have been a missed opportunity to not use a song also in the movie called "Now We're Cookin" featuring Randy Newman.  And now I've sneaked both into the blog entry, so I win two times.  

In Raiders, a one eyed man sneaks into the home of Sallah's friend to kill Dr. Jones, under the orders of Nazis (I hate those guys).  He does this by poisoning a bowl of dates.  In this instance, I poisoned the dates with whipped blue cheese and candied pecans.  We survived, but just barely.                     Remember the pisco sours.

I had actually forgotten that the first scene in Raiders takes place in Peru. I had ALSO forgotten that a baby Alfred Molina was even in this franchise. I have no idea why I haven't attempted to make ceviche before this day but I have made it three times since and it is AMAZING.  The market near my place had tilapia on sale, and if you've read this blog or met me you know I can't pass up a good sale.  That said, this would probably be amazing with mahi mahi or anything else that looks good that day.  Also.  Today I learned that there exists a place called Peru, Indiana and that it is the circus capital of the world.


Whether I like it or not, Kate Capshaw singing "Anything Goes" in Mandarin lives rent free in my mind due to the countless times I watched the movie patiently waiting for Short Round to appear.  All glittery and shiny red, she descends the staircase from a puff of pink smoke, flanked by dancers carrying fans.  They are observed by Indiana Jones who is at Club Obi Wan (Yes. Really.) to trade ashes for a diamond. Or something.  In any case, we had zucchinis in the fridge AND a concoction (of chili oil, garlic, sesame, cardamom, cinnamon, anise, shallots salt, pepper) gifted to me by the incredible Kurt Kwan and his family. It was as delicious as it sounds and we put it on the zucchini and everything, everywhere almost all at once.

Did you know that Temple of Doom was technically a prequel?  I guess they didn't want to make Nazis the bad guys again (instead they demonized many people on another continent in myriad ways) and so it takes place the year before Raiders of the Lost Ark. One of the worst sins the movie committed was that AWFUL dinner featuring eyeballs and snakes and monkey brains which as Padma Lakshmi has said in interviews, was "so antithetical to Indian culture -" and that she got bullied growing up in The States.  The writing of the Indian characters, of the meal scene and later on the scenes with the human robs so many of their humanity.  While it was convenient to just...make things was wholly unnecessary.  In any case, I made tandoori chicken.  I will make them again.  Spicy and smoky just like my rage.

I mean, one can't drink things all day, starting at 10am and pass up the chance to make potstickers, amiright?  Chad made these with vegetables (basically a salad) and they were perfect.  We used our airfryer because we are those people now.

  As you recall, The Last Crusade mostly takes place in Italy.  So it was slightly easier to cobble together things to eat and drink than the other two movies.....Okay now, listen, it was a long day. And the tab for groceries was already so extensive. And we already had prosciutto and mozzarella and arugula in our fridge.  So we literally just chopped everything up and tossed it with balsamic and called it a day.  There are no pictures of the affogato but I think we all know what espresso poured over store-bought gelato looks like.

Wrong movie, but still applicable.

At its heart The Last Crusade is a parent/child redemption story, which I am a sucker for. It also features a game-for-anything River Phoenix perfectly cast as young Indy and Sean Connery at his funniest.   His clowning is magnificent here.  In the end it is probably my favourite of the trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark was Chad's favorite and Andie was only awake for Temple of Doom.   In Andie's defense, there are parts of Temple that are incredibly entertaining and it did introduce us to the amazing  Amrish Puri (though I wish it had been under better circumstances) and of course, the real heartthrob of the film, Ke Huy Quan. 

Rumour has it, there is yet another Indiana Jones sequel on the way. If producers were wise, they would use it as an opportunity for Harrison Ford to pass the torch onto Ke who has proved he is more than capable. And who would give an entirely new generation of folx like me some much needed inspiration.  Come on, Speilberg. You know what to do...  

Recipes coming soon. I promise.....

Sunday, January 3, 2021

An Eat-Along to Lord of the Rings? That's what I'm Tolkein about....

Truth be told I do enjoy The Lord of the Rings, but am not a huge Tolkein aficionado compared to my husband or many of my friends who have read the books and watched the films multiple times. I read The Hobbit in junior high and The Fellowship of the Ring in high school and watched each of the movies when they originally opened in theaters. I thought they were beautiful but as they did not technically fall into the category of rom-com or regency era fiction, the stories weren't ones I turned to for comfort.  However, when Hulu recently made the three films available in their extended forms, I realized I had never watched them in one day.  And when I read about people eating corresponding meals for this all day affair, of puns and pies, of second breakfasts and elevenses, I knew what we had to do.

The true question was "If not now, Arwen?" 

There and back again, but this time with soft pants.

As someone whose coping mechanism is making plans, crafting a menu was a beautiful, time consuming blessing. Drawing inspiration from UK writer Nate Crowley, the hashtag #ThereAndSnackAgain, and multiple articles and podcasts, highlighting important "food moments" and guessing what times would correspond to Hobbit meals, here's where we landed:

Fellowship of the Ring

First Breakfast, Second Breakfast and Elevenses

Recipes #1, 2 and 3:

Bilbo Baggins' Birthday Cake Pie

Merry and Pippin's Stolen Produce: Maple-Roasted Cardamom-Spiced Apples and Carrots 

Weathertop Fry Up: Bacon, Tomato, Mushroom Frittatas

(Mirror of Galadriel sparkling water)

The Two Towers

Luncheon, Afternoon Tea and Dinner

Recipes #4, 5, 6 and 7:

Savory Lembas Bread

Orc's Blood and Snow cocktail

"Meat's Back on the Menu Boys" Pork Pie

Sam's Poh-tay-Tos (and parsnips)

(and a Cheese Plate for Gimli)

Return of the King

Supper and Dessert

Recipes #8 and 9

Denethor Chicken and Grape Salad

Eye of Sauron shot

(Swedish fish for Gollum

Isengard Charcuterie and Preserved Vegetables

Mt. Doom Strawberries and Cream)

I highly recommend doing some meal prep the night before and starting The Fellowship of the Ring early, especially if you want to eat Elevenses around 11.  We ended up having about 2 hours in between each movie to stretch our legs and prep for the next meal/movie which worked out quite nicely.  There are other things we could have added like rabbit stew or a giant chicken roasted with tomatoes, but maybe next time.  I did want to live another day to at least blog about this...

Heartburn vs Individuals in their 30s

Choices of Libation: Like a hobbit, I am the size of a child but I have not escaped the perils aging, so we started off with coffee and tea and sparkling water for The Fellowship of the Ring.  That said, hobbits love their ale so eventually we do get into some booze, starting at meal prep for The Two Towers.  There is a fantastic craft brewery in Minneapolis called Dangerous Man, and for the occasion I picked up a crowler of their Pecan Brown Ale, because Tolkien is just so nutty, amiright?  It was perfect paired with the saltiness of the dishes we were about to eat, slightly sweet, with a nice warm roasted malt.  From there we moved onto our Blood and Snow cocktail* which is one of those dangerous drinks that you can accidentally finish in a few gulps because of its sweetness and because you get easily stressed out by violence. At last, it didn't feel right to end the day without some sort of ode to the scary giant marble of a bowling ball, also known as The Great Eye and I needed some energy, so why not make it a shot?  Therefore, I present to you a bunch of crap I had in our bar, poured quickly into a tiny glass, "The Eye of Sauron."*

*recipes below

Choice of Music: Listen.  I know Howard Shore did a great job, despite accidentally copying some of the Back to the Future score.  But can we just focus on this classic from Leonard Nimoy for a moment?

You're very welcome. And. I'm sorry. Good luck getting that chorus out of your head.
For your food prep, I also recommend Annie Lennox's album Peace which doesn't have Into the West, the song she sang for the LOTR soundtrack, but is oddly appropriate for Frodo and Sam's journey.  

You can certainly cook everything the day of your marathon, but I wanted to be as loungey and lazy as possible while watching, so I started on a few things early...

  There was a study at the University of Leicester which calculated how many pieces of Lembas bread would have been required for the characters' survival. They concluded that they would have had to carry a total of 673 pieces for the whole party, factoring in each species' metabolism.  I love that there was time and money dedicated to this. I am not being sarcastic. I love it. Carbs are very important. 
  Anyways, Lembas bread is supposed to be "rustic" i.e. "ugly." So. Authenticity is key.  I wanted a kind of a savory shortbread situation and also to use up the rest of the parmesan cheese we had in our fridge.

 No one understands more than Merry how delicious a meal can be when it is free, nor how heartbreaking it is when one ruins the meal (or in my case, accidentally leaves it under my seat on the red line).  In any case, these carrots and apples are an ode to stolen produce and the hobbits who love it so...

I have the utmost respect for the hobbits who, after being cruelly denied their second breakfast, risked their lives for fried pork.  As a Filipina I fully understand this action, though also was stressed by the consequences.

Bred by Saruman for the sole purpose of becoming soldiers, the Uruk Hai are equal parts man and Orc, and their hunger cannot always be controlled.  Very much like me after an afternoon at Mariano's.

Sorry, Samwise.  We didn't feel like stew today. So we boiled 'em, mashed 'em, fried 'em and put 'em on a plate after tossing in blue cheese, bacon and parsnips. No regrets.


A crude demonstration of a man gone mad, mercilessly turning from his son? One of the most effective A.S.M.R. videos of all time? Probably what I looked like stress eating during election week?  Yes to all.  But hey at least it culminated in a refreshing chicken and grape salad.

I do have to say, a bowl of strawberries and cream was the perfect way to end this epic feast and day. Not just because of all the heavy fare on our plates and screen but because Sam and Frodo's beautiful words that just hit me differently today:

"It'll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they'll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields... and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?"

"No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food... nor the sound of water... nor the touch of grass. I'm... naked in the dark, with nothing, no veil... between me... and the wheel of fire! I can see him... with my waking eyes!"

"Then let us be rid of it... once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you!"

Friends if you managed to read this whole blog entry, I thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope that our words and meals and music and ideas can carry each other this year and every year.  I am grateful for your fellowship and the opportunity to share as much as I have the capacity to.  Happy New Year to you. I think we're quite ready for another adventure.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
If you're in the market to support a local bakery or are lucky enough to have been gifted a gorgeous pie like we were this Christmas, I highly highly recommend perusing Justice of the Pies, established by Chicagoan Maya Camille Broussard.  Truthfully I'm not a pecan pie person, but holy wow if this one didn't make me a convert. I mean. It had bourbon in it.

If you'd rather make one at home, consider Chad's family's recipe of Chocolate Pecan Pie.  
1 cup light corn syrup
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 6oz pack semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 9" unbaked pie shell
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine cornsyrup, eggs, sugar, butter and salt; beat until blended.  Gradually beat in melted chocolate; stir in pecans.
Pour into unbaked pie shell.  Bake on lowest oven rack until filling is completely puffed across the top and
crusted over (55-60 mins).  Let cool.

Pour 1/4 cup chocolate chips into a ziplock bag.  Submerge bag in hot water until chips are melted.  Drizzle melted chocolate over pie.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Cardamom Spiced Carrots and Apples
stolen and adapted from
14 oz Carrots cut to similar thickness*,
1 lb Apples your favorite variety, cut into thick wedges
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Cardamom ground
1/4 tsp Ginger ground
1/4 tsp Cinnamon ground
2 tsp Fresh Mixed Herbs finely chopped, like thyme and rosemary, or sage and parsley
Sea Salt to taste
1/4 Lemon juiced

Preheat oven to 425F and place rack in upper third of oven. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Place walnuts in a pan and toast while the oven is preheating for about 15 minutes or until toasty and fragrant. Set aside to cool, then chop fine. Set aside.
Toss carrots and apples with olive oil and maple syrup. Sprinkle with spices. Toss again to evenly distribute the spices. Spread the carrots and apples in an even layer, on each prepared sheet pan making sure not to crowd the carrots and apples. Roast for 20 minutes, gently flip the carrots and apples 1/2 way through roasting.Test to see if the carrots and apples need more time by checking for fork tenderness. If more time is needed, give them another five or more minutes. Thicker carrots will need more time. Right out of the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice, toss with fresh herbs, toasted walnuts and season with sea salt.
Serve immediately or chill and serve later.

Mini Frittatas
stolen and adapted from
2 eggs
4 egg whites or 3 additional whole eggs, if you prefer
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 slices bacon or 1/2 cup chopped pancetta
1/8 cup small diced green onion
1/4 cup small diced tomato seeds removed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, beat together egg and egg whites/whole eggs. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Coat 6 cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
In a frying pan set to medium high heat, cook bacon for 4 minutes per side. Place strips on a paper towel lined cutting board. Let bacon cool then chop into small pieces.
Divide chopped bacon, onion, tomato between the muffin tins. Top each muffin cup with the beaten eggs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove pan from oven. Let cool for about 5 minutes before running a small knife alongside each frittata to release it from the pan. Serve warm.

Savory Lembas Bread
Stolen and adapted from Bon Appetit 
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of oregano
pinch of thyme
pinch of black pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix flour, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic, and herbs in processor. Add butter and, using on/off turns, process until dough begins to come together. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into 12-inch log, and cut each log into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece into ball. Arrange dough balls on prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Press each ball into 2-inch squares. I made little x's on them for funsies. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over.

Bake until tops are dry and bottoms are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer breads to rack and cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store squares in airtight container at room temperature, or freeze up to 1 month.

Chad's Ham and Cheese Pie
1/4 lb ham, cut into small cubes
1/4 lb provolone or swiss cheese, cut into similar cubes
1 egg
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
ground mustard to taste (we used a lot) or horseradish sauce
1 package crescent roles
1pre-made pie crust
1/2 cup broccolli flowerets
Preheat the oven to 450.
Beat an egg with a fork and add to bowl of cubed ham and cheese. Add onion and broccoli and season with  salt, pepper and mustard or horseradish.  
Open the crescent rolls.  Cut the rolls into strips with a pizza cuter. Make a "lattice' weaving crust over pie.  You can make long strips by moistening dough and pinching together.
Set pie on top of a sheet pan and put into oven for fifteen minutes at 450.
Set oven to 350 then bake for 15 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and crust is nice and brown.  Cut into wedges to serve.

Boiled/Smashed/Fried Potatoes and Parsnips with bacon
Stolen and heavily adapted from

3 or 4 Yukon gold potatoes
2 parsnips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
6 strips bacon, fried and diced
1 cup blue cheese or cheddar shredded

Peel and cut the potatoes and parsnips into even sized pieces. Put them into a large pot, cover them with cold water, and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small pot gently heat the cream and butter over low heat. When the vegetables are done drain them well. Put the vegetables back into the pot over medium heat. Gently stir them to remove any excess moisture; be careful not to burn them. While the potatoes and parsnips are still warm, press them through a potato ricer or food mill into a bowl. Add the warm cream a little at a time and beat with a wooden spoon until the potatoes are fluffy. Season with salt and pepper and chives. 
Add to the bacon bits to mashed mixture and blend well with a spoon.
Wash and dry your frying pan, then melt 1 tbsp of butter or margarine in it over medium heat.
Scoop up about 1/4 of a cup of the potato mixture and form it into a ball. Place it in the hot pan, flattening it out until it’s about 1/2 – 3/4″ thick.
Fry for about 3 minutes on each side, until they are lightly golden brown.

Chicken and Grape Salad
fully stolen from

1/4 cup raw sliced almonds or raw walnut halves
2 cups 1/2-inch-diced cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes halved
3 medium stalks celery diced (scant 1 1/2 cups)
1 large green onion thinly sliced (about 3 tablespoons), or 2 small/medium green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus additional to taste
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder plus additional to taste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons hot water

Toast the nuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (for almonds) or 8 to 10 minutes (for walnuts) until crisp, fragrant, and toasted. Set a timer and do not walk away from the oven during the last few minutes, as nuts can burn the moment you stop watching. If using almonds, transfer to a small bowl; if using walnuts, transfer to a cutting board, then let cool a few minutes and roughly chop.
Place the diced chicken, grapes, celery, green onions, dill, and toasted nuts in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, add tahini, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar, then the hot water, and stir until smooth. Add additional hot water 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a smooth, pourable sauce that seems like a thick dressing.
Pour the tahini mixture over the chicken mixture and toss to coat. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. If time allows, refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve piled inside lettuce cups and enjoy!

(Orc) Blood and Snow
stolen and adapted from cooking to entertain

1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz bitter orange liqueur
1 dash of ginger bitters
1 oz Blood Orange Juice
1 Egg White (if you only have big eggs then use half the white)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with 2-3 ice cubes and shake hard until the egg white foams up, or the ice cubes have melted. You don't have to add ice if you don't want to dilute it.
Pour into a cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with a blood orange slice if you feel like it.

Eye of Sauron shot
equal parts: St. Germaine, Mezcal, Cranberry gin liqueur 
Dash of ginger bitters
An orange slice with a cherry that's been soaked in bourbon

Put stuff in the shot glass. Yep.


Friday, November 13, 2020

Kalimotxo for Ate Coco

There was - at one point - at least four Emma Gavino's in the state of Washington.  I was one of them but I was far from the most coordinated (that was Ate Miemme) or the most outgoing (that was Ate Chillette).  Though she was six years older than I was, Ate Coco was the newest Emma, since her family moved to Seattle from the Philippines and I couldn't have been more thrilled.  I was still a very lonely only child and she and Kuya Joel would be forced to be my friends (i.e. their parents made them babysit me).  

Even as a 12 year old, Emma Victoria Gavino was wise beyond her years - smart, graceful, kind, responsible and ridiculously too patient with my tiresome 6 year old self. I'd always wanted an older sister, and having her roll her eyes and laugh at me all summer, it felt like I finally had one. 

I honestly don't know if she was given her nick name in The Philippines or once she got to The States, but I do know it had something to do with Coca Cola.  

So I made a Coca Cola Cocoa Red Wine cake in memory of this incredible woman, wife, daughter, mother, friend, cousin, sister, superhuman who meant so much to so many of us and who was taken from us far too soon.  


Recipe #19: Kalimotxo Chocolate Cake

Choice of Libation:  She liked mezcal and I had been looking forward to enjoying some with her after this hellish year.  So proper a toast to her was important today.

Puntagave Rustico Mezcal.  Smooth and smoky with a little bit of pepper and cedar.  I usually do a twist of orange, but honestly this one just needs a little air and some ice.  

Choice of Music: Repeat Offender by Richard Marx, I know, I KNOW but hear me out....

It was my birthday and Ate Coco said as a present, she would help me call into the local radio station to ask them to play any song I wanted to hear. The idea of having that amount of control, to be able to curate a moment and share it with the entire Pacific Northwest (as a 7 year old I assumed everyone listened to the same radio station at all times) and to maybe even hear my own voice broadcasted on the airwaves was thrilling.   I took this decision very seriously, weighing all the suggestions that Ate Coco and Kuya Joel recommended, Bobby Brown, Prince, De La Soul, all great choices.  To this day I have no idea why I knew who Richard Marx was or where on earth I would have heard this song (at home I was still only allowed to listen to Christian music and some musicals), I enthusiastically proclaimed, "I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR RIGHT HERE WAITING!!!!" Like that one box that popped up back when people still bought songs on iTunes, Ate Coco cocked her head to the side and said "Are you sure you want to listen to Richard Marx?"  

I ran around the house, turning all the radios up to full volume to KUBE 93FM while Ate Coco held the phone to her ear, on hold forever.  Finally Kuya Joel called "We're on!" and I ran down the stairs squealing until I was hushed by my older sibling-cousins.  With the regality of a royal, Ate Coco declared, "We would like to hear Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx," then turned to me and said, "They're gonna play it now! Happy birthday!" I rushed to the radio and eagerly waited to hear the rest of their conversation and the beginning of the song on air...but it was just a really long R.E.M song.  Then The Cure.  Then Dino.  But never Ate Coco and never Richard Marx.  


I was crushed.  But I'm pretty sure Ate Coco let me have cake. So.  Win win.

With the exception of the Mexican Coca Cola (definitely better in a kalimotxo than normal Coke) and  buttermilk, this is definitely a pantry staple cake.  

Obligatory caffeine and booze pour photo

Grandma Emjoy doesn't know how to make this photo right size up. 
Also.  What does one do with extra buttermilk? Asking for a Me.

For some reason, this recipe made one ugly cake and exactly 9 ugly cupcakes.

The best part was the sponge bath with the coca cola/red wine/chocolate/butter glaze,
she typed unironically.

When Coco is part of your life, you can't beat the feeling.

Stolen and heavily adapted from

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup Mexican Coca Cola (or whatever cola you can find)
1/4 cup red wine (I used Carmenere)
1 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup baking cocoa
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used more cola)

1/4 cup cola
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup baking cocoa
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13x9-in. baking pan. (I used a cake pan and muffin tin)
In a large bowl, whisk the first 5 ingredients. In a small saucepan, combine cola, wine, butter and cocoa; bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk and vanilla until blended; add to flour mixture, whisking constantly.
Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
About 15 minutes before cake is done, prepare glaze. In a small saucepan, bring cola to a boil; cook 12-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in butter and cocoa until butter is melted; remove from heat. Add confectioners' sugar; stir until smooth. Pour immediately over hot cake.