A Summer Soiree

Posted on: July 2, 2014

a summer soiree | jessica's dinner party

Another summer season has kicked off with my mom’s annual backyard barbecue.  Every year the guest list seems to get a little bigger and along with that an even better menu.  My mom outdid herself again with plenty of classic as well as inventive appetizers: cocktail shrimp, perilla salad, fried chicken..my only regret is that I didn’t take enough pictures of all her beautiful dishes! Oh, and did I mention that there was 13+ kilos worth of T-bone steaks??!  Amahz!  To end, I put together a little ice cream bar with fruit and a few cakes to match!  It was such a lovely evening and because almost all my desserts could be made in advance I was able to enjoy the night without any fuss! I’ll share a few ice cream recipes in coming weeks, but for now here a few photos from the night!

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Cocotella: Homemade Coconut Nutella

Posted on: May 29, 2014

homemade coconut nutella | jessica's dinner party

I love getting gifts for people, but am not very good at it.  Someone told me a long time ago that the key to finding a great gift was to get something that you would want for yourself.  Not the best advise for me as I literally like anything that comes tied with ribbon.  I love those teeny tiny notebooks that no one ever knows what to write in, lip gloss in every shape and color (no matter if it doesn’t match my skin tone), trinkets and souvenirs that have no use or function, even books I know I’ll never read! I just love stuff, a trait I get from my grandpa who rarely ever leaves a store empty handed. There have been, of course, gifts that stand out in my memory, ones that were useful, personal, and more meaningful.  Ample thought was put into those gifts concerning who I am and what I would really like. Those are the gifts I want to give but fail miserably at when I go to a store. The solution that I’ve come up with is to make something in the kitchen. Within that space, I’m more focused and better at concocting gifts that are not only thoughtful and individualized, but a little more personalized.  Plus, who doesn’t love a homemade treat!

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Patatas Bravas

Posted on: May 22, 2014

patatas bravas | jessica's dinner party

I don’t really consider myself a wild and adventurous person.  If anything, people would describe me as the exact opposite: quiet and the biggest homebody.  I’m the first one to slip away from a party, and for as long as I can remember I like to be in bed by 11. But despite my natural inclinations towards being such a square, there’s a fiery side to me that absolutely can’t stand the routine way in which I choose to live my daily life.  That side of me pushes against my rigid shell and sporadically makes me do (crazy) things like go to Oktoberfest semi-alone, and jump off a cliff somewhere off the Dalmatian coast (it was a mini cliff). I’m always extremely grateful for these experiences in hindsight, and I admit the most significant decisions of my life have been masterminded by the “other” me (ie. moving to Paris and pursuing a career in food).  I’ve come to think of this side not so much as an alter-ego, but just my gut telling me to take on a daunting but equally exciting challenge. One I know will make me a better person (whatever that means!).

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The Stray Financier

Posted on: May 11, 2014

chocolate speckled jasmine financiers | jessica's dinner party

In the past few months my family has formed a fragile relationship with three stray cats.  Despite our better reasoning, we’ve been feeding them meals now and then when they come sit at our back door. For the most part they visit individually, but on the rare occasions that two of them cross paths icy tension ensues.  Out of the three, an orange and white tabby reigns fire over the two smaller grey and white cats. They fall powerless while in her presence and reluctantly bow away from their precious meal. I’m not particularly fond of cats, to be honest they intimidate and scare me (dogs on the other hand are a different story), but my heart goes out to these underlings and I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if they had proper homes and owners. They may have been a close knit family, or feline frenemies, but a lot more comfortable and pampered, the life all cats deserve in my mind. I guess that’s what pulls at me the most, but perhaps I’m naive in thinking that their lives would be better living trapped within four walls…

In any case, I feel this give and take can’t last forever.  This “relationship” walks on eggshells and at some point someone will forget, to set out a plate or wait, and the fragile symbiosis will lose its rhythm and break. I hope, when that happens, they’ll find another backdoor to go sit at and another family will take notice or invite them in.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf for a Birthday

Posted on: March 23, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf | Jessica's Dinner Party

It was my sister’s 30th birthday a few weeks ago and per tradition I baked something for her. Ideally, I would’ve liked to make a rich, creamy cheesecake or something more unconventional with hints of lemongrass and tropical fruit, but delicacies of that sort don’t fair too well during transpacific journeys. You see, my sister lives in New York and me Seoul. It’s been years since we’ve lived in the same city, but we’ve managed to stay close and be involved in each other’s lives (including this site!).  We’re actually closer today than when we were living under the same roof, haha. It’s a bit disappointing to be so far on away, especially on such a milestone of a birthday like 30, but I know my brother-in-law did something very special for her (the after maths of it which I am subject to ie. lots of YouTube videos of Phantom of the Opera…good thing I like musicals too!).

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