The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Did you know that coffee beans are green? (And turn shades of brown once they’re roasted.)

I learned that this weekend while playing at-home barista.  The following is a little anecdote about my inspiration…

xx

Generally, I don’t like to use over-used quotes, but I’ve been pondering a lot about work-life balances, purpose, and roots of happiness of late, so I’m going to make this exception for that one Confucius jammie: 

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

I’m a very fortunate person in that I have found a job that I really do love. Though since my early years in college, I’ve always asked myself, “But maybe I’d be really happy if I was a barista…” I love coffee (caffeine is probably my greatest vice), although, I have never worked in the industry. There is something that has always drawn me to the idea of being a person who provides a carefully crafted, artisanal dose of enjoyment and daily ritual to a local ecosystem of regular patrons.  Really though, how many people ever make it into being a part of your daily ritual?  To me it seems so simple and powerful, and I’m into that.

In the last three years, there have been three men who’ve made an effect on my simple, mundane daily ritual with the products they’ve crafted: Mike Kreiger & Kevin Systrom (who created this little mobile application called Instagram), and of course my rat-tail barista.  I never knew his name, but he always remembered my order – it was our ritual, “TK USA” in Sharpie on paper cup.

———————————————————

Since my rat-tailed barista long ago moved on to a new daily ritual, I thought of him this past weekend and wanted to make the perfect cup of coffee. Here are a few things I learned:

i. LEARN SOME ROAST BASICS (mostly will depend on how long and at what temperature you roast your beans at; the following is from Sweet Maria‘s – an Oakland, CA based home green coffee bean purveyor):

For this cup, I chose a Zimbabwe Chipinge.

ii. DON’T OVERFILL YOUR ROASTER; your beans will become aerated and increase in volume when roasting (see before and after below):

Fresh Roast SR500 Home Coffee Roaster

iii. LEARN HOW TO GRIND FOR YOUR BREW METHOD; I like this guide with photos from I Need Coffee:

Porlex Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder

iv. TAKE TIME TO ENJOY your creation! You don’t even need cream or sweetener for a perfect cup of joe like this (though I’ll admit, on indulgent days, I will add a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk to my coffee…#sorrynotsorry)

Nighttime Americano

throwback to yolanda be cool

It was one of those Tuesdays, you know. So I decided to make a special dinner: a hybrid negroni x americano.  Easy peezy orange-squeezy, try it.

5 ingredients you will need:

  1. a lovely gin of your choosing; I used Hendrick’s, a Scottish gin that is infused with rose & cucumber
  2. Campari
  3. a sweet vermouth; I used Martini’s
  4. oranges
  5. club soda

In wee old fashioned glass with a big cube of ice, add 1 oz of gin:

Then add 1 oz of vermouth:

Add 1 oz of of Campari

Add a generous slice and squeeze of orange

Top it off with club soda and enjoy!

May this recipe help prepare you for many solid tomorrows to come.

xx, Huckleberry Kim

#huckleberryeats #huckleberrydrinks

xiao long bao (小籠包) at home

I spent a lot of my day listening to Ginuwine hits from the early 2000s, doing a little vacation-daydreaming, and getting nostalgic about being in Asia on this dreary Sunday; so, I decided to make some soup dumplings (aka 小籠包).  This is my first time making XLBs, and it won’t be the last…

Gotta be compatibleeeeee

The following is my v1 recipe for XLB; overall I thought the filling was perfect, though I’ll be iterating on the dumpling skins and “meat jelly”  sounds gross, right? but that’s the yum that turns in to soup inside the dumplings when you steam them. If this is too crucial for you, I guess: I DON’T THINK YOU’RE READY FOR THIS JELLY.)

HERE IT GOES:

  • In a pot of about 4 cups of boiling water, add a pound of skin-on pork belly for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pork rind, rinse in cool water and cut into small strips.
  • Add back to a clean pot of 4 cups of water, 5 smashed ginger medallions and several green onion ends. Cook for 2 hours on low heat.
  • Using a food processor or emersion blender, pulse the soup for a few seconds and put into a container and refrigerate for at least 5 hours (preferably over night).
  • In another bowl, add about 6 tablespoons of finely minced ginger, 3 tablespoons of minced green onion, 1 pound of ground pork, 2 tablespoons of Maggi seasoning, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce. Mix well.
  • Pulse this mixture with your blender/food processor until it becomes like a paste.  Add in the meat jelly.
  • In another bowl, add 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of cold water into a large bowl and knead well until the dough is smooth and stretchy.  Let it rest in a covered bowl for 25 minutes before rolling it out.
  • Roll out your dough and cut into even pieces
  • Roll dough pieces into little balls about 4cm in diameter
  • Roll out the little dough balls into circles a few millimeters thick
  • be firm but delicate when making your dumplings!
  • Add about 1.5 teaspoons of your filling in the center of a dough circle and pleat and pinch around until the dumpling is closed.
  • I steamed my XLBs on porcelain spoons lined with thinly sliced carrots
  • Steam each batch for about 8 minutes
  • Enjoy with some black vinegar and grated ginger!

And of course because I CAN; I made myself a few pork belly buns too. HA!

goodbye.

Elephant Grey

We were joking calling me a “chic monk” in my flowy greyscale outfit while we were shooting some sunrises ago – what can I say, I like to drift around comfortably. Though while looking through some digi & film selects from M, I started listening to Elephant and realized that in everything I do and with everything I wear, I try to be like baby elephants.  No, not just in lovely greys…

Mostly in a dichotomous way of being at once strong yet gentle; I think I’ll add this to my list for 2015.  Similarly, I’d like to meet a baby elephant someday.

| hat @ rag + bone | silk blouse @ everlane | culottes @ zara (tailored; similar) | platforms @ miu miu (others) |

strollin

edgeofthecitybackview  swirls

This is one of my favorite shots of this old Volvo that M captured while I was of course standing in the middle of the street!IMG_0054

tkflare

hydrantmonk   deetsgoozebumps

superhaze

  hatdrop

lightpeeps

and the rap video shot… lol rapvideo

photography: Mitch Blummer

xo, Huckleberry Kim

Easy Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Meatballs

There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal after a long day at work; and to be honest, sometimes, nothing will do the trick like a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with your favorite glass of wine.  I didn’t grow up with an Italian nonna teaching me how to make this meatball-magic happen, so I decided to experiment with my own recipe.  Please note, the following recipe is an attempt to optimize for:

| 1. prep time | 2. cook time | 3. taste satisfaction/time spent |

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Approx. prep to eat time 45 minutes)

STEP ONE: PREP YOUR INGREDIENTS
| grass fed ground beef | onions | baby crimini mushrooms | breadcrumbs | bay leaves | garlic | crushed tomatoes |
INGREDIENTS

STEP TWO: MAKE SOME MEATBALLS

| Combine the ground beef (~ 2 lbs), breadcrumbs (~ 2 cups), about half a bunch of parsley (chopped), shredded parmesan (~ 0.5 cup), some salt and pepper |  Form into balls |
RAWMEATBALLS

STEP THREE: COOK THOSE MEATBALLS

| In a large pot, start cooking your meatballs until they’re browned all around; this will help them keep their shape in your sauce |
COOKINGMEATBALLS

STEP FOUR: START THE SAUCE

| Add your onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the pot with your meatballs and let those aromatics soften up |
COOKINGONIONS

STEP FIVE: ADD CRUSHED TOMATOES

| Add ~56 oz. of crushed tomatoes |
CRUSHEDTOMATOES

STEP SIX: COMBINE EVERYTHING AND LET THAT SIMMER FOR A WHILE

| Throw in about 5 – 6 bay leaves and let that simmer (make your pasta in the meantime) |
BAYLEAVES

ENJOY!
| Cook some of your favorite pasta, I used a corn & rice based gluten free spaghetti here; top with some chopped parsley and grated parmesan. Eat. |
SPAGHETTIANDMEATBALLS

After having released this spaghetti and meatball iteration to about 4 users (total), it has been deemed a statistically significant success. [i need to go on vacation].

xo, Huckleberry Kim

(New) Tradition: Non-traditional Holiday Dinner, Part 1 – Momofuku Inspired Pork Belly Buns

For as long as I can remember, I have spent December holiday time with my entire (extended) family, which includes 7 aunts/uncles, all of their children, and the grandparents – it’s a lot of people.   The holidays have always been a secular occasion for us – a nice time of year to spend time together, share love, laughter, food, stories, and gifts – though because of this, I had not been as exposed to many of the religious traditions that are the pinnacles of big December holidays (e.g. of Christmas or Hanukkah) around the world. 

The only “tradition” my family has kept in the last years has been: hilarious.  Each of the grandchildren (which ranges from me and my older brother – both in our mid-twenties- down through just under 20 cousins total, ranging from age 1 to 17) – having to display some sort of talent/entertaining performance for our grandparents (all aunts/uncles watching, naturally) before gifts are opened.  Will share more on this later… I digress.

Anyhow, this year, having the holidays with just our nuclear family – my parents, my brother and me – I wanted to start a new tradition.  And as my epically contrarian self, I determined that our holiday dinner “tradition” should be to always have a super non-traditional holiday dinner! Ha! Eat that, Santa.  So having spent most of my 2014 eating super dank food between the east and west coasts, I was feeling confident, and I decided to take on the task of preparing our first non-traditional holiday dinner tradition.  

The first course was inspired by David Chang @ Momofuku – I’m so predictable, right?  Between eating way too much ramen and too many pork buns at Momofuku and having my passion for cooking reignited by watching The Mind of a Chef on PBS, it was inevitable, and I was determined to make David Chang’s infamous pork buns for my family.  

I think they turned out okay: 

Roasted Pork Belly on Steamed Buns  (Inspired by Momofuku)

> Prep the pork belly!

>> Take about 3 pounds of pork belly (remove the skin), mix a bowl of about half of a cup of kosher salt and sugar and coat your pork belly

> Cover it and let that hang out for 6 – 10 hours

IMG_1024 IMG_1026  

> Meanwhile…start your steamed bun dough!

>> Mix a packet of active dry yeast, 1.5 cups of water, 4.25 cups of bread flour (my mom suggests that next time I should try self-rising flour as that’s what she usually uses to make traditional Vietnamese steamed “bánh bao”), 6 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/3 cup of bacon/pork fat (i made some scrumptious bacon for breakfast and reserved the fat to use in my dough!) 

>> Mix that until it’s all combined for about 10 minutes then gather into a ball.

> Let that sit and rise in an oiled bowl for 1-2 hours!

IMG_1027 IMG_1034

> After about 6-10 hours, there should be some liquid that has accumulated in your roasting pan with your pork belly – pour all of that out.  Preheat your oven to about 450F and cook for about 45 minutes; flipping it over once in between.  Then turn your oven down to about 250F and cook until the pork belly is well browned and tender.

> Finish up your bread!  Cut up your dough ball into about 20 even pieces and roll them into balls.

>> Roll each mini ball out into small ovals (I usually just use a wine bottle to roll out my dough – works well if you can’t find your rolling pin!)

>> Place your rolled dough on small pieces of cut parchment paper

>> Brush each piece of rolled dough with a bit of vegetable oil, lay a chopstick across the center and fold the dough over onto itself making a wee little bun!

>> Steam your buns for about 10 minutes per batch.

IMG_1050 IMG_1052 IMG_1055 IMG_1057IMG_1058 IMG_1061IMG_1066IMG_1035

> Start your flash pickled cucumbers!

>> Take 5 persian cucumbers and run them over a mandolin or slice super thin (if you’re good at that).

>> Add about 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, and some coarse ground pepper.

>> Toss well and let that sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble your buns!

IMG_1038 IMG_1044

> When everything’s ready to go – assemble your buns!

>> Cut your pork belly into 1/4 inch thick slices, open a bun, spread about 1.5 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, about 1 tablespoon of Sriracha sauce, throw on some of your flash pickled cucumbers and some curled scallions and ENJOY!!

IMG_1077 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_1083  

Happy Holidays!

xo, Huckleberry Kim