Easy & Delicious Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

After a long Sunday afternoon at Lake Temescal, I wanted to prepare something really comforting and tasty for our Sunday supper, but I didn’t want it to take too long or require too many ingredients. Drumroll… so since I had some chicken broth & thighs waiting already at home, I decided that I’d try a new recipe for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup.  And if B’s jumping in for seconds counts as anything, I think it was a success for my first attempt!  Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Huckleberry’s Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste (one of those small cans)
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with liquid (one regular sized can)
  • 4 teaspoons of chili powder (I used this one from Frontier Co-Op – purchased at Berkeley Bowl.)
  • 32 oz. concentrated chicken broth (I used this one from Roli Roti – purchased at Berkeley Bowl.)
  • 1 lb. skinless chicken thighs
  • Sea salt & ground pepper to taste
  • Ghost pepper powder to taste (optional, I’m obsessed with this one from Trader Joe’s – thanks Korey!)
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup of sweet corn (I used some frozen corn, you can use whatever works for you)
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Key lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Slice tortillas into strips and toss with 2 teaspoons of oil. (I also added a few turns of the ghost pepper powder for some extra kick.) Bake them until crisp and golden (about 5 minutes – tossing them halfway through). *Note: the tortilla strips will crisp up quickly, so keep an eye on them!
  3. In a large pot, heat 1-2 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add garlic & ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. (To make my life easier and to save time, I threw the garlic & ginger into my mini food-processor to mince). Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes and liquid, corn, black beans, and chili powder and cook until most of liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil; season with salt, pepper, and optional ghost peppers.

  5. Add chicken thighs and cook for at least 20 minutes.

  6. Remove chicken thighs and let cool.  Once cool, shred the chicken using two forks in a separate bowl. Return bones to the broth.
  7. To prepare: Scoop a generous helping of soup into a bowl, add chicken, avocado, cotija, and cilantro.  Top with some more broth and tortilla strips, and serve with key limes (cut in half).

Bon appétit!

Huckleberry Kim

…savor every moment slowly…

B’s first Huckleberry Haircut

Ever since I was a teenager,

I often gave my friends life-changing haircuts.

At University, most of them compensated me with a bottle of cheap wine that we’d share while I was cutting his/her hair (talk about trust…or more likely, we were just university students at Berkeley with little money & zero f*cks? lol) I haven’t done a short men’s cut in a while, so I was really excited when B suggest I give him a haircut for his first day of school (aka first day at his new job.) Though I’m a bit rusty, B said I did pretty well for my first time cutting hair in a while; and we’re both looking forward to me brushing up my fading skills next time he needs a trim 🙂

Best quote from our ~4-5 date:

“I’m pretty much, kind of good at everything I do.”

Haha.

Love you, mean it.

Checkout the time-lapse of our haircut below for Before & After shots!

 

 

 

 

Donating Hair For a Good Cause

I have a big family, and we all love to get together to catch up, laugh, and eat —

Great memories are always made.

Today, we met up for a barbecue, where the kids could run around and play; and the adults could stroll around the beautiful lake and catch up on all the latests.  One of my aunties was telling everyone about how she’d been growing her (gorgeous) hair out with the intention of donating it to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients who’ve lost their hair.  I’ve donated my hair to Locks of Love before (so has my older brother), so I was really excited about the idea.  Jokingly, I told her,

“I can cut your hair. I have scissors in my car!”

She was game, so I ended up giving her a great lob right in the park (haha – talk about a great memory!)

My aunt is a brilliant engineer with three sons ranging from ~8 to 17 years of age, and she doesn’t have much time for herself.  So she needed something that ideally would still be able to be pulled back into a ponytail.  I decided to go with a shoulder-length lob because I think it was the perfect balance of easy and stylish for an on-the-go working mother like her.  Check out the before and after photos below and let me know what you think!

Also, here are some resources for organizations that accept hair donations from 8 inches to 12 inches:

Pantene Beautiful Lengths (at least 8″)

Locks of Love (at least 10″)

Wigs for Kids (at least 12″)

xo,

Huck

BEFORE

AFTER

Dream Denim: RE/DONE

If you’ve been following Huckleberry Kim (Hi, Mom!), you’ll know that I have this weird thing about pants.  And you know what,

I was right all along.

When the right pants come along y’all…

Last week, I stumbled into Curve on Fillmore with no intentions of meeting anyone, but there they were…these great patchwork RE/DONE jeans that happened to be in my size (FWIW, that so seldom happens for me).  I went right for them; it was nothing short of love at first sight.

We got together in the fitting room.  They fit like they were tailored for me – not too snug, just the perfect heavy drape of vintage denim and killer construction.  They were just unique and weird enough to accept my own unique weirdnesses while still nestling my bum in a way that actually made me walk with a little extra bounce, ha.  I didn’t take them home with me; I was “being good.”

Everyday for the next week,  I thought of them and how our life would be together.  And this last Saturday, after hiking and basketball, I just had to know if they still felt the same way about me.  Sure enough, they hadn’t left the shop with some other harlot, and here we are.

Meet my ride or dies, babes.

xx, Huck

“…you’re the one that I wanted to fiiiiiind…”

Blackberry Cheesecake Puffs

This Thanksgiving, I decided to be the pâtissier for our family gathering.  One of the quick and delicious dessert ideas I came up with was the following Blackberry Cheesecake Puffs.

You only need a few simple ingredients:

Puff pastry (I just used the packaged sheets available in the freezer section at most grocers), cream cheese, granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla extract, and blackberries (or another fruit to top).

Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 package of blackberries (or equivalent fruit to top)
  • 1/2 package of puff pastry

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Roll out puff pastry and place into greased pan
  • Bake for ~5 minutes or until slightly golden (you should put pie weights on the pastry while pre-baking without filling. Since I used a tray with mini’s, I used shot glasses to keep the center from puffing out.)
  • Start making filling
  • Start mixing the cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add the eggs, lemon juice, & zest, and beat until well combined.
  • Remove pie weights from pre-baked pastry.
  • Add cream cheese filling and bake for ~20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • In the last 5 minutes of baking, top with fruit.  Obviously we used blackberries here, but you could use any fruit you have on hand that your heart desires!

blackberry cheesecake puffs

I served mine with a cranberry compote and some fresh whipped cream, which were great pairings – but they’re great just on their own too.

xo,

Huckleberry Kim

johnny depp doppleganger – ‘fear and loathing in las vegas’

fearandloathing

meandmama


throwback song of the moment:

xo,

Huckleberry Kim

We Put On (Real) Pants Today

Once upon a time,

I was sixteen and wrote my college application essays about how I wanted to study economic development at UC Berkeley so I could start a minimalist apparel line with priorities of social consciousness and ecological consciousness in production.  Then, I could share my love for fashion & design with the world, while providing new jobs, under fair working conditions, to people around the world.

LOL.

Let’s not get in to that right now.

In any case, after I graduated from university, I thought further schooling at a fashion design institution would be the next logically progressive step…until I really thought about the practicality, economics, and rationale behind it all.

So instead, I went to Vietnam for a few months, where I worked in a small garment shop making mens clothing.  I wanted to learn how to tailor the perfect suit – since it’s one of the most technically challenging endeavors as far as garment-making is concerned.  But I had a special fascination with the pants.

Pants are so weird.

  Pants all seem to be really similar, but pants aren’t much without the people who adorn them.  And they morph into completely different Somethings depending on the wearer. So in that sense, pants are as unique as the people who wear them.  They fit waists, and legs, and butts differently – especially if you’re a woman.

The pants pictured here were one of the first pairs I ever designed, pattern-made, constructed, and tailored to myself.

 

They’re just simple, plain black skinny trousers (which I often like to wear cuffed up to reveal a little more ankle, #hashtagScandalous), but they hold a special place in my heart …and my closet.

My

just-for-me,

meticulously crafted,

perfectly tailored,

ride-or-die pants.

And sure, I’ve purchased trendy pants – sparkly culottes, drop-crotch-everything, fringed denim, boyfriend jeans, you name it – and they’ve had their places & uses in my life.

We’ve all been there: You see them, a million sparks fly, you have to take them home, you become immediately enamored, and then a few weeks later those sparks fade into obscurity… because honestly do you want sparkly culottes everyday long-term?  Or do you want the perfect pair of versatile, no-bullshit, ride-or-die trousers that go with everything.

omgamistilltalkingaboutpants?

Clearly we went really casual today to get through work; but I’m thinking we’ll go strappy high heels and a slinky silk blouse for our next night out. #everything


Life’s challenging, and complicated, and confusing a lot of the time – and it’s not going to stop being those things.  I’ve been trying to remind myself lately to be really grateful for the existence of these ride-or-die pants.

Sometimes you’ve just got to take a step back to see and appreciate what’s right there in front of you.

xx,

Huckleberry Kim

P.S. Sorry, no song today. I’ve been listening to Beyoncé for a few weeks straight.  Yep.

P.P.S. Love Queen Bey but this needs to stop.  Someone send a tempranillo & some new acoustic lullabies. I’ll make you a custom-tailored pair of ride-or-die pants as a trade. email: hellohuckleberrykim@gmail.com

 

Huckleberry Travel Guide: Magical Santorini

This is a very overdue post! But my darlin’ friend Carlina & I have decided to buckle down on our content posting schedules, so I’m making it a priority.

We took a very spontaneous trip to Greece

last month (August 2016) and one of the wildest things I learned was that Greece has over 6,000 islands – 227 of which are inhabited. Talk about a lot of choices!

Obviously there are some main islands that are very popular holiday destinations, but I’m the type of traveller that believes that you can find interesting things to explore anywhere!  We were traveling for about two weeks, and we decided to first dip our toes in gorgeous Greek waters by way of Mykonos and Santorini. Let’s get into Santorini first – because it was amazing – also, I can’t find any of my photos from Mykonos today!

1. Atlantis Books in Oia: 

Of course, I packed really last minute & forgot my books – silly Huckleberry; so after finishing Noah’s extra book while we were in Mykonos, I was in need of some new reading material to accompany all of the intense beach bumming and lounging around drinking cappuccinos that we were doing.  Luckily, we happened across Atlantis Books – just down the street from our hotel in Oia – that had a great little selection of novels in English, French, Spanish, Greek – you name it

 

2. Amoudi Bay

Take a stroll down to Amoudi Bay for dinner and enjoy the breathtaking sunset at Sunset Ammoudi Taverna.  It was impossible not to take countless photos here before we got settled in for a lovely dinner.  The friendly servers will take you over to select your fish (which was brought in by the fisherman earlier in the day) and it’s perfectly grilled, no frills, with some simple accoutrements.  We tried a fish that was new to the both of us – a white croaker – which was absolutely lovely (sort of similar to a sea bass). Go there. Enjoy.  Make reservations ahead of time if you want a better table next to the water.

3. Kamari Beach

For some very chill beach vibes, head over to Kamari Beach – on the eastern side of the island.  Since Santorini was formed from a volcano, the beaches aren’t as sandy as Mykonos, but Kamari’s coarse black sand beach was definitely still a lovely place to spend an afternoon laying out.  With a number of small beach clubs, restaurants, and hotels around, it’s easy to grab a bottle of wine to enjoy.  We rode there from our place in Oia by way of ATV and it only took about 30 minutes to get there.

4. Every Sunset From Everywhere
Sunset from literally everywhere and anywhere on the island is pure magic.  At first when we arrived, we’d enquired with our concierge what the best places were to go for sunset; they gave us some great dinner-with-a-view suggestions or go out on a boat suggestions, which all sounded great. Though to be honest, my favorite sunset was on our last evening there when we just picked up a great bottle of wine and climbed up to this cliffside to watch the no-bullshit-sun fall into the sea. 

5. Dinner at Andronis

Dinner at the Andronis boutique hotel’s Lycabettus was one of the most incredible gastronomic experiences I’ve ever had – which given my self-proclaimed foodie status is saying a lot.  We got a reservation for an evening during which they had a special fusion menu by Chef Alex Tsiotinis – a chef, native of Greece, with experiences at world-class restaurants all over the world.  The cuisine and wine were amazing, there were musicians playing live music, the view is indescribably gorgeous, and of course, the company even better.  
andronis_santorini

6. Make time for Fira

Though we stayed in Oia for most of our time on Santorini, a day trip to Fira was one of my favorites!  Because the island is so elevated and volcanic, seeing it from Fira was a lovely new perspective.  Also, there are some great restaurants and sites to see in Fira; I’m glad we didn’t miss it!

7. Hasapiko in Oia (aka Mary Kay)

“Mary Kay” is a local bar that was recommended to us by a server at Lycabettus.  TBQH, Santorini is full of honeymooners – which is lovely – but Noah and I were also just looking to have one night of super casual chill.  Glad we found Mary Kay.  Beware of all of the cigarette smoke inside the bar. 

8. Get Lost

The pristine white caves dwellings stacked along the slopes of Santorini, cut by the perfect sky and sea blues, makes it so easy to get lost in the picturesque streets and alleys – both in Oia and Fira.  You’ll notice a lot of dogs lounging around – enjoying the lovely island lifestyle.  Grab a gelato.  Stumble into a cute restaurant with a view – sit and enjoy.

  santorini summer

xx,

Huckleberry Kim

Song of the moment:

I found a new love and it is this song <3

Prawn Saganaki

Post-vacation depression is: 

The. Worst.

Mostly because, Sweetheart, everyday life is so far from sunshine, beaches and rosé all day – especially if you live in the SF Bay Area. But, more on that later.

I recently returned from two weeks in Greece where I adventured to different parts of the islands of Mykonos and Santorini on the back of an ATV, slept in a lot, read novels on the beach, and frolicked in the glorious sunshine and Agean Sea.  Despite the fact that Greek cuisine is absolutely delicious, my travel partner and I actually skipped a lot of meals to happily prioritize the aforementioned.  But on one of the few days we totally over-ate, we tried this traditional Greek dish that we saw everyone ordering at the restaurant – Argo – we’d been recommended to try during our exploration of Fira.

 It was Prawn Saganaki.

The name totally sounds like a Japanese cartoon that features a ninja shrimp as the main protagonist, amiright?  In any case, we became pretty obsessed.  And after the first bite, as expected, my Huckleberry mind was already picking apart how I could create this Greek magic wizardry.  Like, was it only good because we were deluded from drunk-on-vacation vibes with no expectations?

Prawn Saganaki

Spoiler:

It’s completely brilliant in real, non-vacation, life too!

Prawns with Heads

Huckleberry Kim’s Prawn Saganaki

Serves 3ish.

Ingredients:

Please note: I’m one of those people who cooks by feelies and to taste (and doesn’t usually measure things much); so most of the following measurements are estimates based upon how much I think I used.  Next time I make this dish, I might update this – but the following should be close! 

  • 6 large full-bodied prawns, and by that I mean with heads intact to their tails!

↑ The heads/bodies are super important for a truly prawny base – learnt from my time in Barcelona learning how to make paella ↑ ).

  • 6 medium-large shrimps

↑ Honestly, I think the supplemental shrimp can be of any size you’d like. I like to play with the juxtaposition of textures and things in meals because I’m a mad scientist, but you do you, Babe.  )

  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced
  • Half of an onion – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 4 tomatoes – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 cup of Greek feta
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • A dash of cayenne pepper (optional, but do it like Guy Fieri would)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley – chopped (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Heat up a skillet on medium-heat with your EVOO and add the chopped onions – cook until softened
  2. Add coconut oil and garlic – cook all until nicely browned
  3. *IMPORTANT: Peel the tails of the large prawns and squeeze their heads over the pan (some weird prawn brains will ooze into the pan) – reserve the prawns – still intact – for later
  4. Add tomatoes and optional tomato paste
  5. Cook down for 10-15 minutes – or until the garlic, onions, and tomatoes embrace each other like best friends
  6.  Add the large prawns and cook until less translucent – maybe 3 minutes
  7. Add the other shrimps
  8. Add in the honey, sugar, and cayenne – stir well
  9. Very gradually add in the feta while keeping the Saganaki moving around the pan – it will slowly melt to combine with the other ingredients #bffs
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste
  11. Optionally, garnish with chopped parsley 🙂

Served with some toasted brioche for mopping up all the goodness; though this would pair well with anything! I might try doing a pasta next time. Let me know what you think!

*But, TK, why is Step #3 so important? 

Because, Sweetheart, prawns keep all of their deepest secrets in their heads just like we do. 💔  That’s where the magic is.  That’s where the truth is. And that’s the only way to get to the truth. Smoosh. Ask Paul Pierce.

Have you ever made a dish you tried for the first time on a trip?  How did it work out?!

xo,

Huckleberry Kim

S O N G  O F  T H E  M O M E N T

. . . Parked in your lot, can I get some validation? . . .

Minimalist Packing for the Fashion Girl

Alright, for context,

currently, I am sipping a cup of coffee while wearing embossed-leather platform booties – with track soles, leather leggings – high-waisted, a cashmere poncho – fringed, a faux fur stole, translucent large-framed glasses and a matte lip colour – “Spice”.  It’s Thursday.  When I got dressed this morning, I was feeling very real Jon Snow meets Jenna Lyons meets Huckleberry Kim vibes, and this is what I came up with.

Fashion is one of my favorite art forms; I think of it, all at once, from a fine art, an applied art, and a very technical design perspective – fashion is the triple threat.  I work in the fashion-tech space where it is not uncommon for me to have to “test” our new product enhancements by shopping #iHaveToitsMyJob.  So, one might think that when traveling, I’d be that girl with the extra large suitcase just for shoes and two more valises for everything else.  I’m simply not that girl.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that if you are!)  I do love to get all dressed up but when traveling my priorities shift exponentially over to my love of new and strange experiences.

I was born this way.

Our minds and bodies work in a certain way, and over the years, I have become very familiar with how this Huckleberry operates (which probably guides a lot of why I’m good a traveling with little).

→ I usually travel alone.

→ I usually leave little time for planning, as I thrive off of spontaneity and swoon for the romanticism of a nomadic life.

→ I don’t have the much upper-body strength; so, if I pick up the bag(s) I intend to travel with and cannot envision carrying them by myself…on at least a mile walk, with the possibility of getting lost, I will go back and edit things out.

everlane_weekender

On my last lengthier trip away, I spent 3 weeks traveling through Europe across a handful of different countries; I brought my Everlane weekender bag and my guitar. Whether it’s a 3-day trip to New York for Fashion Week or a 3-week vacation abroad, I use the same few criteria when deciding what to pack.  Trust & believe: a little bit of thought about these things goes a long way!

Tips for Minimalist Packing.

  • Realize you don’t really need 3 outfit changes for every single day.  Certainly, a few extra outfits don’t hurt,  but c’mon, go enjoy, explore and adventure!  Happiness is the best look you can ever wear anyway!
  • Pack apparel items that can be dressed up or down or day to night.  This is an important one for me since I like to travel more spontaneously with fewer plans. I feel like really great adventures and things happen when you just let them in the moment!  A neutral dress paired with different shoes or accessories can be worn for a casual day out to dinner or a night out partying with all the babes.
  • Even if you’re like me and don’t plan every detail of your trips, you should still have a sense for the proportion of time you’ll spend with different themes of activities.  For example, if you’re going on a backpacking trip in South America for 2 weeks during which you intend to do more active adventuring and a smaller proportion of chilling at the beach, you should probably prioritize items for those activities – maybe rather than adding another cute pair of sandals for a walk on the beach, opt for the extra pair of shoes you can walk a long distance in if your hiking shoes are drying out from the three days you’ll spend chasing waterfalls.  Some themes I like to bucket senses of time into: active-adventure, water-adventures, namaste-active, chill-party, rage-party, fancy-party, sightsee-tourism, lurk-chill, beach-chill…you get the idea.
  • This is so nerdy and a total over-share, but sometimes I’ll make a spreadsheet. I’ll create columns with categories – like Apparel, Footwear, Personal/Beauty, Miscellaneous – to force myself to reasonably visualize what I really want/need to bring.  Believe me, when you’re planning a 4 day trip to New York for work and you see yourself listing out 7 pairs of shoes, you’ll probably think twice!  Be real.  Even if you bring 3, you’ll spend most of your time in 1 or 2.
  • It helps to think about things in the sense of a whole outfit as well. Rather than thinking, I need 5 shirts for this  trip, think: I need 5 outfits for this trip. Five outfits doesn’t necessarily mean 5 of a specific garment type.
  • Remember things happen, you might lose your luggage or spill a bottle of wine on all the things; but you can almost always pick up things at your destinations.  An oversized “I heart Belarus” tee-shirt tucked into your go-to jeans might be super comfortable and cute for an impromptu lurk-chill day.

url.png

I’m heading to Greece in a few days for an almost 2 week stint – Athens and probably Mykonos and Santorini.  Will be traveling with my boyfriend – who, I’m so glad, has similar sensibilities as I do of spontaneous adventuring, partying, and chilling. I’ll probably pack a few hours before I have to head to the airport, but given that it’s summertime, I’ll probably go into packing with the following things bubbling around in my mind:

  • It’s going to be hot → deprioritization of pants.
  • A little bit of all the things → 3 shoe pairs.
  • I want to bring a hat and my guitar.
  • Need to find my passport.

Adventure on, babes.

xx,

Huckleberry Kim

jam of the day: