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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

any fun plans for the holiday weekend?

For us, memorial day is not only a day when we remember all the people who have come and gone touching our lives and leaving beloved memories; it's also a kick-off to summer. Most schools (around here) have finished, and the weather resembles the warmest season of the year (except this week, snow on monday?!). People go camping, have barbeques, and spend time with family and friends.

If you're in need of an easy dessert that serves a lot of people, never fear, I've got your back. today's zupas post is a recipe I got from my friend chelsea mahuika. our husband's served in the same mission and although that meant we became acquaintances by force, she's amazing and so sweet, so naturally i consider her a friend. I've seldom been afraid to ask for a dish I have enjoyed as a guest, I wonder if that's bad guest manners? This is one of those recipes I was unashamed to beg ask for. Thanks again chelsea, we use it all summer long.

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I have had wonderful and very dear friends in my quarter century lifetime, including a handful of best friends; but my college roommate was my Diana. From the day we met we were inseparable, and I eventually moved in with her the next semester. We had countless adventures together, and shared a lot of recipes. A few months before I married the love of my life, she invited me to spend a week with her in her hometown. I immediately felt like a part of her family and fell in love with the midwest.

Since then we've continued to stay close. We took a number of road trips together, watched a number of television series together, she was married to the love of her life, we discovered we were pregnant with our first born children in the same week, they were born eleven days apart, and good food continues to be a part of it all. I will call to get a recipe, but then after talking for a while discover I had it all along. I often wonder if I am subconsciously misplacing them just to have another excuse to call and chat, other than no excuse at all.

Last year she sent me a copy of her family's cookbook in electronic form and not long after, brought me a spiral bound copy. It was the ultimate gesture of friendship and love. Husband and I were even on the front cover photo with her family, how cute is that?

This sweet bread is a recipe from that cookbook. I made a few alterations from the original recipe, adding in some orange dust my dearest foodie friend lan sent me a while back. She is so thoughtful and talented, check out what she sent the babes. The orange dust was a perfect addition, it was my best neighbor's favorite part of the bread, f'real.

i love good friends, even more than this bread.

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my father makes a ginger chicken dish with five spice powder marinade, it is one of our favorites. I have meant to share it with you time and time again, but haven't as there's just no way for a raw chicken to look appetizing. I've been figuring out how to make it from scratch instead of relying on lee kum kee. So far I've got the five spice powder down, and whad'ya know, it's today's zupas post.

I especially like the fact that this powder has alleged healing properties. How are you feeling? out of sorts? like all your elements are in discord? make some five spice powder and add it to your morning bev or meal, it may bring a bit of balance, if not simply comfort.

have a rejuvenating weekend.

A couple weekends ago my baba came down to spend the afternoon in my home so we could bake together. I am positive sweet baby j had something to do with it as well. Since retiring from the restaurant business about six months ago he has spent his free weekends practicing and perfecting his bread making skills. Almost every week he attempts a batch of chinese bao, and although sometimes he is the only one eating them due to mealy or densly bricklike texture, he is improving. I didn't know how much I would be able to teach him, but it was a wonderful sharing experience. The amount of information I accumulated was much more than the amount I shared as I am always learning something when I watch my father.

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just a note on this beautiful monday to let you know that my first contributing post is up at crazibeautiful. I mentioned it before, but here it is in the flesh, or should I say crumb? It's a no-knead golden raisin pumpernickel bread, my own take on Jim Lahey's no-knead method (I'm a bit obsessed. seriosuly.) And yes, I baked at least four five different loaves to perfect the recipe and get the best images I could (apparently one slipped my mind). You'd think we'd have given a few loaves away, but with the exception of a couple slices, we were very greedy.

check it out here.

i'm back.

can you believe it has been two weeks? I know I have shared a couple notes the past two fridays, but it seems as though I have been gone for quite a while. I must confess we have had internet for the past couple days, but I did very little else than catch up. I've only scratched the surface too.

Today I have written a little tutorial on how to steam rice over at the cafe zupas blog. Rice is eaten quite often in our home, and in my parents home I thinks it's safe to say that it is always available. This tutorial shows you how to do it on the stovetop, something anyone can do if you have rice, water, a pot, and some heat. It's a great way to add whole grains into your diet, and just as easy as those throw together boxes of parboiled and heavily salted rice mixes. Not that we've never used them before. Let's be honest, i'm a foodie, not a food snob.

A few exciting things will be going on in the next little while. Not only will I be providing my continual jabbers here, and here, but I am adding to my repertoire as a monthly contributor here. I will be sharing my limited knowledge in the (surprise) cooking section so be excited for some tasty stuff.

In other news, we are finally off the waiting list for our CSA - now I can't wait for June, we transplanted our seedlings to the great outdoors, my herbs are thriving, our farmer's market started today, and I planted two lilac trees and 4 bushes at my parents' yesterday. I love spring.

I kind of can't believe that the computer hasn't been on at all for the last week. We've been spending our days outside (when it's not stormy), visiting friends and family, actually reading the books I've borrowed from the library, finally watching the recorded episodes of Martha and Oprah (even if I only made it to the end of one of them), and making a lot of awesome food. I almost don't know how I was doing it all while blogging at the same time. I think everyone should take a break every once in a while, it's most refreshing.

Did you see Alice Waters on Martha this week? Isn't she elegant?  I usually delete episodes right away but this one I kept, and watched it twice. I loved when she showed how to make a vinaigrette, and that he used her fingers. We use a lemon juice vinaigrette-ish sauce on our pasta salads. Thanks to a friend of mine who shared the lemon parmesan dressing with me, it is now our permanent pasta salad dressing. I have a feeling we will be eating this pasta dish, (with its countless variations) man times in the coming months. It's a perfect warmer weather meal, easy to prepare, and delicious with any seasonal vegetable. Check out today's zupas post for the recipe.

p.s. did I mention I started eating dairy again? just parmesan, goat and sheep cheese. jane hasn't shown any sign of reaction to it. happy happy joy joy. (In case you don't know what I'm talking about, read this to catch up.)

happy weekend.