Coconut Nut Granola Clusters

Hey! Happy Sunday! I'm currently typing away on our brand-new-to-us IMac that Reuben got for FREE from work. It's so big, my eyes are still adjusting. I feel like this has definitely up-ed my game (whatever my "game" is"). I can edit photos, work on photoshop, and binge watch Criminal Minds all on the same screen! Thanks, Bohlin Cynwinski Jackson for gifting us a 6 year old, perfectly fine computer and letting me indulge in my crime show obsession.

Other than the addition of some new technology into our household, nothing exciting has been going around here. I'm perfectly fine with that. I've been enjoying the peace and calm of our apartment. I have been feeling sort of guilty lately because I haven't been as active on my Hey K. Cho Illustrations. But I think I need to take a little break from it... just like a short 2 week break. Last month I think I bite off more than I could chew with some wedding orders. One project was particulary draining and it didn't feel very fun. I felt like I wasn't painting for my own happiness and I was not a fan of that. So I'm taking things a little slow to re-energize myself and get back into the stationary game! I have my very first craft fair in September, which seems like a long time away, but I want it to be the best booth in Hayes Valley!

One perk of slowing down on the painting is that I could give more of energy into cooking and EatChoFood. Which makes me wonder if I have to give one of these up one day to give my full attention to the other. I'm not ready to make that decision and the thought of having to choose makes me sad. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it though! Even if you're like, "stop painting. your food looks better." There's just not many precedents of lady illustrators/food bloggers... or is there?! Tell me if you know! A friend did tell me that Jacques Pepin is also an artist! Aspiring to be like Jacques Pepin doesn't sound bad to me.

Shall we talk about Granola now? You might have noticed that I'm not great at segues (or riding segways - I can hear Reuben rolling his eyes right now). If you've ever witnessed a conversation between my girlfriends (I'm talking about you, Marissa) and I, our conversations are more like a continuous flow of consciousness and we jump around from topic to topic constantly. I'll work on my segue skills though...

Granola! There are very few things that I can eat every day and not get tired of. Yogurt with granola for breakfast is one of them. Dim Sum, specifically Har Gow is also on that list. Every morning at work, I scoop some plain full fat greek yogurt or Noosa into a bowl, dump a ton of granola, add some sweet fruit, and lightly drizzle a bit of honey to finish it off. I ideally like to have a 1:1 yogurt and granola ratio... but the concept of health looms over me and I restrain myself form adding too much granola.

I've been paying around with granola flavor combos and trying to achieve my perfect granola texture, which is crunchy and chunky. So the Coconut Nut Granola Clusters recipe was born! Make it and let me know if you can come up with a better name. Reuben and I put our heads together and this is the best we could come up with. It sounds funny, but I sort of like it. I keep snacking on this granola by it self, it's that good. The clusters are toasty, crunchy, crisp, and not too sweet. You can add some sugar or more honey if you like it sweeter. You can also add whatever nuts or seeds you have in your pantry to make it your own. I always have random half full bags of nuts leftover from other recipes, so this is a great way to utilize those nuts! Keep it in a big jar or a ziplock bag and use it all week to make your daily yogurt bowls extra special! Ooooooooh, you can add it to some ice cream! That sounds so good!


Coconut Nut Granola Clusters

Materials:

1 1/2 C rolled oats

1/2 C pistachios

1/4 C slivered almonds

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

1/2 C coconut flakes

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C honey

1 egg white

2 Tbsp sugar

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Combine rolled oats, pistachios, almonds, sesame seeds, and coconut flakes in a medium bowl. Add coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and honey. Mix until combined. 

3. In a small bowl, beat egg white with sugar and mix into the oat mixture.

4. Dump the oat mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press down with a rubber spatula to form a 1/4" thick rectangle.

5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until deeply golden and crisp. Allow to fully cool and break up into chunks. Serve with yogurt or ice cream if you're feeling wild.

 

Peach Oolong Tea Popsicles

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Happy first day of Summer! Happy Birthday to Momma Cho! I've always loved how those two days are the same, double the reason to celebrate! I spent about 75% of my waking hours outside in the sun this weekend, which is what everyone should be doing in preparation for summer. My shoulders were the color of tomatoes, but it was so worth it. It has been HOT in San Francisco this past week. Hot in SF = +70 degrees. My mom says it has been +90 in Ohio... we are wimps. This heat reminds me of summers in Ohio. When my brother and I were growing up at our family's restaurant we would keep cool by eat popsicles and running into our giant walk-in refrigerators. I remember walking in there and snacking on little bits of carrots and cooked roast pork. *Making a note to incorporate a walk-in fridge/freezer into the design of our future home.

On Saturday, we walked on over to Mountain Lake Park to check out the new playground. Reuben's coworker redesigned the new playground and it is so fun and colorful! I haven't been surrounded by that many kids in a very long time. I feel like I was being super creepy and staring at all the cute toddlers stumbling around and hoping they would walk over to me to play. I saw essentially my mini me and I wanted to be her friend so bad. Once we got our fill of kids and watching them wipe out on the big concrete slide, we headed down south for some rare time at the beach. It has been a while since we drove along the coast and saw the ocean. I often forget that I live in California when all I see most days is the stretch between Inner Richmond and Downtown. So it was a beautiful reminder that I live in a cool place : )

Sunday was picnic day. A great group of ladies and I get together for a Babes brunch every month or so and this month was a picnic edition! I look forward to these brunches so much. I love catching up with my girls and meeting the new babes that we invite each time. We found an amazing shady spot in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens to spend our afternoon. Did you know you can go in for free if your driver's license has an SF address?? Some how I did not, but now I want to go every weekend. It's gorgeous when the sun is out and it's not super crowded like Dolores Park. It's much more "civilized" than Dolores Park as well and less smells. Reuben was a little jealous of my sunny girl time so we went out for a Babes Picnic part 2 during the remaining hours of light. We drank beer and played soccer... I never play soccer.

I'm feeling great from maxing out on vitamin D and my shoulders are gradually settling into a nice tan. The heat is supposed to last until this weekend and then it will go back to a cool 65. To help cool down all week I made these refreshing Peach Oolong Tea Popsicles. Yes, a second stone fruit recipe. Yes, another tea based recipe. Peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots are really delicious right now. So eat as many as you can! If you are food nerdy and want to learn more about oolong tea, read this. I've been really interested in experimenting with tea flavors (see Mango Green Tea Popsicles and Oolong Tea Sugar Cookies). I have dreams of making a Jasmine tea cake very soon.  I personally, love oolong because of it's strong and slightly caramel-y flavor. It's a pretty great replacement for coffee too if you want a rich and dark tea in the morning. It pairs beautifully with the sweetness of peaches. This makes a gorgeous peachy colored simple syrup that would be delicious in so many other recipes! I had a pop during my commute to work the other day and it was great. Breakfast popsicles should be a thing.

I hope you all are keeping cool wherever you are! I need a friend with a pool.


Peach Oolong Tea Popsicles

makes 10 popsicles

Steps:

1. Remove the pit from 2 peaches and thinly slice. Bring peaches, sugar, and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes and gently crush the peaches with back of a wooden spoon to bring out that peach flavor. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Let the peaches steep in the sugar water for 20-30 minutes. Strain the peach infused simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer and dispose of leftover peach flesh or eat it with dessert.

2. Brew your oolong tea by steeping the tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Dispose of tea bags. In a large pitcher or measuring cup, combine tea with 3/4 c of peach simple syrup. You can add more or less depending on sweetness preference.

3. Remove the pit and thinly slice your remaining peach. Add 2-3 slices of peach to each popsicle mold. Fill each mold with peach oolong tea. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. Add wooden popsicle sticks and place back in the freezer to fulling freeze for atleast 5 hours .

Materials:

3 ripe peaches

1 C water (for simple syrup)

1 C sugar

3 oolong teabags 

3 C water (for tea)

Stone Fruit Rose Tart

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Alright, alright, alright. Before I really get started with this post, I'll say it. The Cavs lost. It's very hard to be a Clevelander in San Francisco these days. I did not cry this year though! In 2015, the Warriors won. I cried and had to immediately leave the watch party I was at because it was very hard for me to process my emotions. Everyone was so happy and popping champagne and I was a sad dumpling (a soup dumpling as Reuben likes to refer to me in my sad state). Then in 2016, The Cavaliers broke the curse!!! I cried because I was so happy and full of feelings for my home state. I was yet again the only Cavs fan in the house, but it didn't matter. I was filled with so much joy! This year... I was disappointed, but mostly just "meh". I'm just ready for everyone to stop gloating. 

Despite the unfortunate events of Monday evening, this week has been pretty bright and sunny! For me at least, poor Reuben is working a deadline and I feel like I've barely seen him 😔 .  On Tuesday I got to go to the grand opening party for the project I spent like 3 years working on at my last job. It is 2 mix-used residential buildings in San Mateo. People live in it now! And it's so so so crazy to see real people walking around the building and introducing themselves to their neighbors. It's like real live Sims!!! I was soaking up the experience and also stuffing my face with cheeseburger sliders, tuna poke, ceviche, and Tin Pot Creamery ice cream. I also stuffed my purse with some Blue Bottle iced coffee cartons. The inner old Chinese woman in me can't pass up free things. I also got to see some of my old coworkers, engineers, and contractors! Solid night.

It's hard to not be in a good mood when the weather is as beautiful as it's been. I'm a Leo, and I'm probably making this up, but I feel like I am powered by the sun. My mood and energy levels are so up! Give me all the vitamin D and 70+ temperatures! This weekend Reuben and I are heading out for a long hike and some sweet time out in nature. My Babes Brunch group is also meeting up this Sunday for a picnic edition in Golden Gate Park! I'm making the soba noodles from my last post and I can't wait to laugh until my cheeks hurt with some babes. On a supportive girlfriend note: I'm hearing such great life updates from my girlfriends all around the world that it makes my heart burst! So it's been hard not to feel sunny this week.

Should we talk about this sunny little fruit tart now? For the last couple weeks I've been seeing all the food bloggers that I envy making incredible buttercream flowers, flower cakes, flower cookies, so many flower sweets. To be honest, it intimidates me. I have very distant goals of being able to pipe buttercream roses and write "Happy Birthday Mom!" in frosting. Last weekend I had made it my goal to make a floral something. I can paint flowers with my eyes closed, so that should count for something right? I went to the Clement Street Farmers Market, as I do every week, and picked some sweet plums and peaches for a tart. I brought them home and took a deep breath. Am I being dramatic? Turns out, this floral tart is really not that hard. If you have a sharp knife and a peaceful mind, making these fruit roses was actually quite relaxing. This fruit tart is such a pretty and delicious dessert. It's sweet and brightly acidic. I won't tell anyone if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream too.

It sort of looks like a pepperoni pizza though in the post oven pictures, doesn't it? I noticed while I was editing the photos and now I can't un-see it lol. Eh, I ain't mad about that. 


Stone Fruit Rose Tart

1 - 11" tart

Materials:

1 1/2 C + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 C + 1 tsp sugar

1/4 C vegetable oil

1/4 C olive oil

2 tsp milk

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

5-6 small ripe stone fruits (peaches, plums, pluots, etc)

Steps:

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and almond extract. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just until it starts to come together. Then, transfer the dough to an 11-inch tart pan. Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up the sides to meet the edge.

2. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter. Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, with a mixture of fine granules and tiny pebbles. Set aside.

3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

4. Cut and pit your stone fruit of choice. Make sure to maintain either quarter or half segments of your fruit. Cut into thin slices, about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. You don't want them paper thin because they need structure to maintain the rose shape. Keep your slices in segments, this will make forming the roses easier. You can get about 2 small roses out of a 1/4 segment. Take a few adjacent slices and gently pinch them into a long segment, make sure the slices are still touching. Then slowly curl on end of the slices and form a rose. Place in your tart dough and gently push down to keep it in place. Repeat until the tart is full. Alternatively, you could also lay out the slices into whatever pattern your heart desires!

5. Once the tart is full of fruit, sprinkle your sugar mixture over the fruit. Take in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is slightly brown and the fruit is juicy. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!