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manger seul

 

i’ve spent a lot of time putting together complex recipes & extravagant menus for others – from perfecting a chocolate chip cookie for a boy i fell in love with (down to number of granules of volcanic sea salt i sprinkle on top) to going to barcelona for one day to learn how to make paella for a family feast.

my mother calls me a word in vietnamese that i cannot actually spell, but all that’s relevant is that it effectively translates to “being v extra”. it’s just who i am – i’m an all-in kind of girl.

i truly love cooking for others. to feed the ones i love is an innate instinct for me – a demonstration of care & love that i undoubtedly inherited from the endless matriarchs who raised me. i was pretty much born to become an overbearing grandma

conversely, i rarely cook for myself. if i actually have dinner, it’s most often a glass of some red varietal paired with a handful of something produced by Haribo.

we’re going to change that.

my last lengthy personal challenge was to practice playing guitar until i had enough confidence to play in front of another human (shout-out to that housekeeper in mykonos for helping me succeed). this time i want to practice some over-effing-due #selflove. i can’t recall the last time anyone cooked for me (except my homegirl mckittrick who makes me easy mac at the office with so much love). so now, i’m going to take a day at least once a month to make myself a balls-out incredible meal, and no one else is invited. keeping accountable: one fancy meal at a time @mangerseul

what should I make next?

 

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