Hipsternation

My Korean grandmother is a hipster.  
(Hi Grandma!)
A few weeks months ago, while she was visiting, a conversation about hipsters was sparked by God knows what.
In a feeble attempt to explain this large sector of the populous, I explained, 
hipsters live in Brooklyn and make their own pickles.
 
My grandma just stared at me.  I was probably eating some of her kimchi at that very moment.
Then: a revelation from my irreverent always wise father- 
Grandma is the ultimate hipster.
 
Lives in Brooklyn? Check.
Makes her own pickles?  Oh good Lord you betcha.
Best kimchi I’ve ever tasted.  Not to mention the tens of other types of pickles she makes, stuffed in her fridge at home and here in both of our fridges.
 
(Find something floating in a brown liquid in my fridge?  Keep your paws off and certainly don’t throw it out.  It’s probably some pickles.  
My favorite are chayote pickles.
Funny story about these pickles: none of my family knew what exactly the pickle even was; we couldn’t figure it out, even after poking around in the murky container for a few days.  Unfortunately, my grandma wasn’t quite so helpful, because her pronunciation of chayote left us all puzzled.  It sounded like she was sneezing.  
Ach aye OH tay.  What?!  
Eventually, I realized what she was saying- but none of the rest of my family knew what chayote was, even when pronounced correctly.  Whatever.  More for me.)
We all found this hilarious, including my grandma.
Still not sure if she understands what a hipster is, although we expanded the definition to “also really liking food trucks.”
 
Hipsters also like these rice krispie treats.
They’re the snobbiest krispie treats in the history of rice krispie treats.
First of all, everything is homemade, save for the rice krispies themselves (although, to be completely honest, I did quite a bit of googling for “homemade rice krispies”).
Secondly, the flavors are very different from your regular ole run of the mill krispie treats:
the marshmallows are made with maple syrup and an entire vanilla bean,
the caramel is heavily salted with miso,
and the whole shebang is tied together with brown butter.
(Remember when I made snobby krispies?  Yeah, these up the ante even further.)

I made these a while back, and they’ve waited quite some time in the “draft” stage of my posts, but nevertheless, they’re a chic little bar, definitely worth mentioning.  
My friend, le français, said they tasted like croissants.
I’ll take it.

P.S. Luv u gramz.

Hipster Krispiez
marshmallow adapted from smittenkitchen, inspired/adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
ingredients:
for the marshmallow:
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons gelatin
1/2 cup water, divided
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
scrapings of a vanilla bean
big pinch salt
for the caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons shiro miso
to assemble:
3 tablespoons of butter, browned
6+ cups of rice krispies
melted chocolate for drizzling, if desired
directions:
First, make the caramel.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil, allowing them to cook until the mixture turns deep amber, about 7 minutes.

Immediately remove from heat and whisk in butter; mixture will foam.
Stir in the cream; mixture will bubble violently- keep whisking.
Stir in the miso, whisking until everything is smooth.
Set aside; if it sets while you are making the marshmallow, just reheat it gently in the microwave or over a low flame.
Next, make the marshmallow.
Place 1/4 cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Sprinkle the gelatin on top to allow it to soften and bloom.

Mix the maple syrup, sugar, salt, and second 1/4 cup water in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
Bring the syrup mixture up to 240 degrees F, about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Pour the hot syrup over the bloomed gelatin and whip until mixture has tripled in volume and is very fluffy and white.
Sometime while the mixture is whipping, add in the vanilla bean scrapings.
Meanwhile, prepare your pan; grease a 13×9 pan with a little butter and set it aside.
Once your marshmallow is ready, transfer it to a large pot with the browned butter; heat gently to mix the butter into the marshmallow, then stir in miso caramel until everything is homogeneous.
Stir in the rice krispies, adding more only if the mixture is very wet still; you won’t need much more than 8 cups, maximum.
Scrape the mixture into your prepared pan and press firmly all over to even out the tops.
Refrigerate about 30 minutes to set, or leave it at room temperature for a bit longer.
Cut into bars or squares, and drizzle with chocolate if desired.

I Know Not

알 수 없는
(unknowable)
miso caramel
matcha black sesame shortbread
lychee sorbet
black sesame brittle
create an animated gif
This past week, I’ve been hemming and hawing over my WISE project.
We were assigned old journals to read and review, and I received a very strange journal which is not really relatable to my project.
I felt confused as I flipped through the pages; its author and I not only have very different projects, but very different writing styles and ideas of what a WISE journal should consist of.
 
Cue panicked tailspin.
The first thoughts through my head: Am I doing it wrong?!
What happens if I am?!
Why isn’t mine like that?!
I went and talked to my mentor, Mr. B.
He shut those ideas right down; relax, you’re doing fine, everyone’s different and all projects are different, I’ve seen lots of others, etc.  Relax.
Breathe.
So here’s the thing, then: I know my journal is doing fine, and my weekly blog posts are alright, too.
I just can’t get this nagging voice out of my head when I sit down to write:
Are you doing it right?
Do you sound educated?
People will be reading this and judging you, you know.
Are you sure you want to say that?
No, no, no!  Start again.  Start over.  Rewrite that sentence; rewrite that post.
I’m sorry that this post is so long overdue.  
By now the dessert has run into the recesses of my mind; it has hidden in the depths.
I don’t know if my WISE project is right or good or whatever.
I can’t know; it is such a part of me that my own critical judgment falls by the wayside.
It is a part unto my whole, and it is thus that I am blinded.
 
“Freeing oneself from words is liberation.”
-Bodhidharma
I put the other journal away.  I’ll read it sometime next week, perhaps next weekend.
For now, I will write.
알 수 없는:

for the miso caramel:
adapted from food52
ingredients:
25 g sugar
10 g water
20 g heavy cream, room temperature or slightly warmer
1 teaspoon shiro miso
directions:
Put the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.  
Allow to cook until the caramel is deep amber; remove from heat and immediately stir in heavy cream, whisking all the while.
Mixture will splatter and bubble and steam; beware.
Once all the cream is incorporated, stir in the miso.
If you want a slightly thinner sauce, you can stir in up to 2 tablespoons more heavy cream.

for the matcha shortbread:
ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
pinch sea salt
5 drops vanilla extract
5 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon milk
black sesame seeds for mixing in, if desired
directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugar together until very fluffy and pale.  
Add the matcha, vanilla, and sea salt and mix to combine.  
Add in the flour and milk and mix just until homogeneous.
Stir in up to 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds.
Roll out to 1/8- 1/4 of an inch thickness.  
Cut small rounds using the back of a pastry tip.
Bake for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant and firm to the touch.
(Larger cookies will take longer; perhaps 7 or so minutes per batch.)

for the lychee sorbet:
ingredients:
1 can lychees in light syrup
directions:
Drain half the syrup, discard.
Purée the fruits and the rest of the syrup, then press through a sieve.
Freeze the resulting juice in an ice cream maker.

for the black sesame brittle:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
directions:
Place the sugar in a small, heavy bottomed pan.  
Line a sheet pan with a silpat (cannot use parchment).
Caramelize the sugar until it is amber colored; working quickly, stir in the sesame seeds and spread as thinly and evenly as possible on the silpat.
Take caution, as the caramel is extremely hot.
Allow to cool completely, then break up into organic shapes.

to assemble:
Schmear the miso caramel.  
Add a few matcha shortbread cookies, then a few scoops of sorbet.  
Finish with the brittle.  
Serve immediately.