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Knife Skills, Or My Lack Thereof


I want to make the most of my time in New York City, but being a full-time student with a heavy workload makes that pretty much impossible, especially when the subway rarely functions properly and it seems like everyone is running on their own clock. I’m struggling to even set aside time for myself to sit, breathe, and read at the end of each day, which—besides getting my day started slowly and making my morning coffee—is perhaps my favourite part of the day.

It’s been a month since I started culinary school, and every single day has been exhausting and intensive. There seems to be a never-ending list of French culinary terminology and techniques, all of which I am excitedly learning and working to master. The pace of the class is fast and some days, all of it is a blur. I was so tired the other afternoon I nearly took a tumble into the compost bin, which gave my instructor and the rest of my class something to chuckle at. My peers are, for the most part, fun to be around. I never thought I would seriously use that line from Forrest Gump about life being like a box of chocolates and never knowing what you’ll find, but that’s kind of how getting to know everyone in my class feels like. When you’re stuck in the same room with the same people for eight hours every single day, over and over again, those people start to feel like family.

So far, we’ve made a lot of stocks and sauces, potatoes, and vegetable dishes. Some of them have been quite meat-heavy. I don’t eat meat or dairy and attending culinary school with these limitations is challenging, but not impossible. The biggest hurdle I’ve come across is not meat’s ubiquitous presence, but perfecting the many basic cuts of vegetables referred to as taillage in French. No matter how many carrots and bags of potatoes I go through, I just can’t seem to cut the perfectly straight ½ cm by ½ cm squares required for macedoine, or the cocotte, which truly is a culinary student’s nightmare. I’m not one to give up, but the frustration is real. At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that while making the perfect cut is important, it’s not the only thing that matters. I’m going to culinary school to learn and become a better cook.


Tomorrow, I hop on a long flight to Hong Kong to spend time with my family.

Stay posted, because there will definitely be food, people, and places worth writing about…

Keep On Keeping On… With Oatmeal Jammies

Vegan Oatmeal Jammies #recipe #vegan #glutenfree #baking

Has it really been two weeks since the election?

The week after, I was not a functioning human being: I lived off take-out and breakfast cereal, and keeping my apartment clean became less of a priority. I was angry and sad. I donated to Planned Parenthood. I protested. And then I decided to take a break and headed home to Toronto for the weekend to clear my head. I did a little reading and spent time with loved ones, whose company made me feel better about the world. By the end of the weekend, I was ready to come back and get involved. I decided to keep on keeping on.

This week, my guy and I celebrate five years. It feels like it’s been longer, and I mean that in the best way possible. If you want to ask someone out on a date but don’t think you have the guts: DO IT. Because they might be wonderful and change your life. I asked him for his number purely because he gave me “good vibes” (whatever that means), and we went for coffee. He very quickly became my favourite human being ever. For five years, he has supported me through the toughest shit and has loved me unendingly, even though I am a pain in the ass and make him get the lights every night before bed. He’s never stopped believing in my ability to keep going. If I believed in soul mates, he would definitely be mine.

To celebrate, I made a batch of cookies. They weren’t fancy cookies, just humble oatmeal thumbprint cookies that we like to call oatmeal jammies. The recipe for these cookies comes from from Serious Eats and Kim Ima’s The Treats Truck Baking BookI veganized the cookies by using vegan butter and two flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax + 6 tablespoons water) in place of the butter and eggs. They’re simple and quick to make, especially if you have a stand mixer to whip the butter and sugar together. The resulting cookie is hearty and not too sweet, which is the way I like my cookies. Maybe it’s the dash of cinnamon and the oats, but I think this cookie is healthy enough to pass as a “breakfast cookie”. What do you think?

Don’t lose track of time like I did, otherwise half your cookies will have slightly burned bottoms.

Vegan Oatmeal Jammies #recipe #vegan #glutenfree #baking

Vegan Oatmeal Jammies #recipe #vegan #glutenfree #baking


Hong Kong Style Crushed Watermelon Ice

Hong Kong Style Crushed Watermelon Ice 西瓜冰 | #vegan #vegetarian #hongkong #chinesedessert #food #recipe

I spent the first fourteen years of my life in Hong Kong, where summers were hot and humid. From March or April onwards, temperatures remained above 30ºC and stayed that way until late October, when it would cool down just enough to be comfortable. I spent most of my days in air-conditioned spaces like the mall or cinema—spaces so cold you’d have to carry a sweater with you—and was baffled whenever I came back to Toronto to find that plenty of homes here didn’t have air conditioning, and if they did, it wasn’t particularly strong.

While Canadian summers meant ice-cold lemonade, Hong Kong summers meant Hong Kong style iced tea or crushed watermelon ice. To cool off, my friends and I would go out and get Chinese dessert. The beauty of Chinese dessert is that you can have it hot in the winter, and cold in the summer. I’d order a cold tofu pudding and a crushed watermelon ice, my go-to drink in the summer. It was cool and refreshing, and the texture was almost like a crushed popsicle.

When I got the email from Sherrie about #DRINKTHESUMMER, I wanted to make a blackberry and red basil lemonade. But then I thought of all the summers I spent in Hong Kong drinking crushed watermelon ice with my friends in Chinese dessert parlours, each of us perched on our stools attempting to cool down, and I knew that I had to share a recipe for it. So, here it is: an extremely easy Chinese watermelon slushy.

Hong Kong Style Crushed Watermelon Ice 西瓜冰 | #vegan #vegetarian #hongkong #chinesedessert #food #recipe

Please check out all the other wonderful #DRINKTHESUMMER recipes! They all sound incredible, and while I’m excited for fall to roll around, I want summer to last long enough so that I can enjoy every one of these drinks on a patio. Thank you Sherrie for having me #drinkthesummer with you <3


With Food + Love | Basil Fig Vodka Smash
A Little Saffron | Beach Bum’s Rum
A Thought For Food | Tarragon Tequlia Swizzle
Heart of a Baker | Green Tea Mint Cooler
Hungry Girl por Vida | Whisky Peach Alexander
Beard and Bonnet | Melon Mojito
Appeasing a Food Geek | Basil and Black Pepper Gin Sour
Vegetarian Ventures | Garden Tonic Punch
The Foodie Nurse | Husk Cherry Margarita
Wicked Spatula | Coconut Gin and Tonic
Nutritionist in the Kitch | Healthy Muddled Blackberry Pina Coladas
Chocolate + Marrow | Pequito Verdecito
The Solstice Table | Jalapeno Watermelon Cooler
Seasonal Cravings | Strawberry Lime Gin Rickey
Dessert for Two | Salty Melon Slush
Heartbeet Kitchen | Salty Watermelon Shrub Elixir
My Heart Beets | Spiced Pistachio Shake
rooting the sun | Strawberry Fennel Soda
The Modern Proper | Vanilla Bean Plum Shrub
Gourmande in the Kitchen | Stone Fruit Thyme Shrub Soda
I am a Food Blog | Cherry Vanilla Sodas
Well and Full | Peach Bubble Tea

Hong Kong Style Crushed Watermelon Ice 西瓜冰 | #vegan #vegetarian #hongkong #chinesedessert #food #recipe

Yields 2 servings.

NOTES: Traditionally, crushed watermelon ice is made simply by blending watermelon and ice together. Rather than use water-based ice cubes, I decided to make “watermelon ice cubes” by freezing watermelon juice, which I then blended with fresh watermelon.


For the watermelon ice cubes:

  • 1 cup (143g) watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) water

For the crushed watermelon ice:

  • 2 heaping cups (306g) watermelon
  • 2 cups watermelon ice


  1. Prepare the watermelon ice by blending 1 cup (143g) watermelon and 1 1/2 cups (375ml) water in a blender. Pour the mixture into ice trays and freeze overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  2. Once the ice cubes are frozen, remove them from the tray. In a blender, blend 2 heaping cups (306g) of watermelon with 2 cups of the watermelon ice. The key to making a killer crushed ice is by blending equal parts ice and watermelon!

Hong Kong Style Crushed Watermelon Ice 西瓜冰 | #vegan #vegetarian #hongkong #chinesedessert #food #recipe

Happy sipping!
Your edible plant enthusiast,

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