Alone Time

I came to law school in the fall of 2009. I was thrilled to be in a new city and starting law school. I met Jason the first day of law school, and we dated until the following August. Then in September, I serendipitously met Chris, which then turned into the raging catastrophe of my law school career. We parted ways at the beginning of 2011, and I felt as if I was suddenly free. I felt wonderfully alone. I reveled in the silence and the complete lack of commitment to a single needy individual. Instead, I was suddenly free to do whatever I wanted. I thoroughly enjoyed my spring semester free of any romantic attachments and threw myself into my studies.

Then, a couple days ago, I met with some law school friends who were recounting hysterical stories about how these parties they had attended, or a dinner party someone had hosted. At first, I was indignant that I hadn’t been invited… but then I remembered all of the times that the men in my life demanded more of my time. And as the obliging girlfriend, I would put my friends second. I was usurped by the boyfriends, and whatever they wanted. I didn’t understand or know how to say no. I just followed. I’ve since learned better. I have learned to tell people to leave me be. I need my alone time.

The other day, I commented that I felt lonely to a friend and he was so shocked he dropped his phone. He wanted to know how I managed to feel anything… between the running, the baking/cooking, the social events, work, and painting – how did I feel anything? And you know what? He’s right… there is no time for pity or loneliness. We only live once, and we should live it fully.

I truly believe that in life, we make mistakes and then we move on and learn from them. So, despite feeling bereft because I missed out on all of these things because I stupidly over-prioritized my boyfriends, I decided never to let moments pass me by. I know that in this life, I am not a follower. I am a force to be reckoned with… I just forgot for a small blip because I was enthralled by relationships and the “we” instead of the “me.”

However, even though we should all strive to be a force to be reckoned with, a tidal wave of greatness… we do need to eat. As my training for the SF Marathon intensifies (before I start to taper in July), I need meals that are quick and delicious. Carbs, vegetables, and protein are important in replenishing my body when I fleet footedly run 30+miles a week.

This pasta is something that takes 30 minutes from start to finishing the bowl. This time I didn’t add protein, but occasionally I’ll throw some clams, chicken, or strip steak in to make it stick to my ribs a bit more. The pasta is simple, and probably can be made from whatever is in your kitchen right now. I used whole wheat pasta and salted butter.

Pasta for the Runner In You (Kaprise Kitchen style)

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup of frozen corn, spinach, or other vegetable you want to include
  • 4 tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • parsley, chopped
  • 2 servings of pasta
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook to al dente
  2. Since my pasta only took 9 minutes to cook, I started my sauce a couple minutes before I added the pasta to the water
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan until foamy
  4. Stir in garlic and saute until translucent
  5. Add white wine and stir in tomatoes
  6. Simmer gently, adding the vegetables you desire to the sauce
  7. Salt and pepper sauce as needed
  8. Once the pasta has been drained, toss the pasta with the sauce and parsley.
  9. Sprinkle a bit of cheese over the top and enjoy!!

Easy right??



Things That Fade

I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that I love most, the things that never fail to delight, amuse and enchant me. The things that always put a smile on my face… what are they?

As a notoriously picky eater as a child, I was completely disinterested in food. I never understood the concept of “hungry” or “crave” because I simply was not interested in eating anything. But, as I got older and out-grew my finickiness, I found that summer corn on the cob always tastes good. My mother’s Korean pancakes are always good. I always love peeling and eating pomegranate. And, every time I taste fresh cilantro, I love it.

Food, unlike anything else, never fails to enchant me. I never tire of the new flavors and the smell of produce. Food isn’t something that fades. The only two things that I will change my schedule for are good meals and running… everything else can wait.

My sister once told me that as a baby my mother would put me in my baby chair and hand me half an avocado. Apparently, I would take handfuls of the avocado and stuff them into my chubby baby cheeks. I’d be covered in creamy green avocado, but I would relish the creamy avocado. I don’t remember smearing myself with avocado, but I do still love avocado. It’s one of those things that never fades, even when I get those disappointing avocados that are brown inside but look just delicious outside!!!

Since it is summer, and I am training for a marathon (trying to keep my spirits high!) I am eating healthier. I was pressed for time this morning, but I didn’t want to buy another (ANOTHER) sandwich for lunch – I quickly sliced some avocado and tossed it with tomatoes and cucumbers. A dash of balsamic vinegar and I was running out the door for work. It’s not complicated, and you could add some peppers or chicken to make this more hearty. I often use avocado instead of mayo in chicken salad, and the result is delicious!

Avocado Lunch (Kaprise Kitchen, summer lunch!)

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 3 ripe Campari tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon of fruity balsamic vinegar
  1. In a bowl, toss the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to eat

The end product isn’t attractive, but the flavor of the creamy avocado, tart tomatoes, and cool cucumber is phenomenal on a hot summer day!

Easy Peasy Zucchini and Feta Squares

This is a tart of sorts… it’s a pie? I don’t know what I should call it, but I needed something to help me procrastinate my little heart out. I’m having the worst time focusing on finals this year. I’m good at waking up, but the only thing getting me out of bed is dehydration this semester. This is the first semester I have been single since starting law school, so I have been getting more work done (no pesky boys clamoring for my time), but I’ve also been distracted. I’m thinking about running and getting back into top running form. I’m thinking about where to jet off too… I just want to be on the move.

This morning, my neighbor invited me to run with her running group. I went along and it was phenomenal. I ran 10 miles with the group, paced at about 9:30/mile. It was wonderful. I was back in my apartment by 9:00am. But, the only thing I have been having problems with is splitting headaches after my long runs. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem… but about an hour after finishing a longer (more than 7 miles) run, I’m sitting with my head in my hands with a horrible headache. So instead of hitting the library as planned, I was zoinked out on my bed sleeping off my headache. Maybe it’s the water. Or maybe, like my neighbor suggested, it’s because I run without water and without any nutrition. I just go. Hmm.

This tart is super easy. Five ingredients, thirty minutes, and delicious. You can use any variation of vegetables. I imagine it’s delicious with some squash, maybe thin eggplant slices? Or even tomatoes. Or potatoes… the possibilities are endless.

Easy Peasy Zucchini and Feta Squares (the result of Kaprise Kitchen procrastination)

  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced. If you have a mandoline (I do not) this would be supremely easy
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 8-10 sheets of phyllo dough (I used 8 out of a package, but feel free to use whatever thickness or variation)
  • 4 oz of feta cheese, crumbled finely
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  1. Place the phyllo dough on a cookie sheet, brushing the bottom of the first sheet with butter, and brushing alternating layers lightly with butter.
  2. Spread crumbled feta cheese once inch from the sides of the phyllo dough.
  3. Arrange the zucchini and onion slices on top of the feta cheese
  4. Fold the sides of the dough up to cover a little bit of the zucchini and onion.
  5. Brush with butter
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown


In law school, I think a lot about guilt. We learn and analyze guilt on so many different levels, and think about proving guilt, disproving guilt, and the nature of guilt. Law school has changed the way I think of people, maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I see things in terms of lawsuits, guilt, and how solid my arguments to nail you to the proverbial wall. I judge things based on the gravity of the information I have in my possession… and I research to further analyze whether my judgment is sound. I judge. I judge a lot.

The other day, someone asked me, “What are your guilty pleasures?” And I thought… how could something that is pleasurable be guilty? Is it wrong? Are you doing something morally questionable? Why does something that make you happy a guilty thing?  Because in my mind – pleasure is good. Feeling good is good. So… what is guilty about it? A lot of people talk about food like that… chocolate is their guilty pleasure… or cupcakes. Or ribs. But to me? Food is never guilty or bad or regrettable. I believe in eating all of the wonderful things in the world and enjoying every single bite… and then if you are worried about the calories? You go run it off… I don’t believe in low calorie. I don’t believe in fat-free. I don’t believe in sugar free. I don’t believe in skipping meals. I don’t believe in dieting to lose weight. I believe in loading up on all of the good things in life. Food, exercise, and laughs.

Anyway, a few years back, my sister and I saw some stellar reviews for an arepas bar in NYC. I was working in the Financial District at the time, so my sister collected by father and me from work and we went to the arepas bar. It was delicious. Granted, my dignified father, sister, and I were squished in a little hole in the wall restaurant table nailed against the wall… but the food was delicious. And I was instantly infatuated with the idea of making my own arepas. After doing my research, I bought a bag of masarepa flour and fixings. My family and I ate arepas for months afterward… it was one of those treats we would gather around the table to eat. It was fun. We’d hollow out the pillows of arepas and load them up with cheese, beans, and meat. It was messy, and inevitably the munchkin would stick her head through our arms and try to lick the table. It was so much fun, and so delicious.

So, now that I live alone and in a little apartment, arepas are few and far between. The frying oil permeates my apartment, and I dislike sitting eating what I consider family food by myself. The arepas we ate at the arepas bar were thick, and hollowed out to make room for fillings, but I make mine thin and crisp. It eliminates the hollowing out step, and then I top the arepas with toppings like canapes. I think this would be an amazing appetizer for a dinner party, the crisp little arepas are just phenomenal with melted cheese and beans. I think any topping would be phenomenal. Maybe some pulled pork, or chicken to make them heartier.

Arepas (Kaprise Kitchen Style)

  • 1 cup of masarepa flour (this is different than masa harina!)
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/2 cup of salsa (or homemade pico de gallo)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (any kind! I used a pre-shredded mix from the grocery)
  • hot sauce (Tabasco, Cholula, whatever floats your boat)
  • 1/2 -1 cup of canola oil
  1. In a bowl, stir together masarepa and water until the water is absorbed. Cover the mixture for 10 minutes
  2. After the dough has rested a bit, wet your hands and form the dough into 2 tablespoon patties. Flatten them to about 1/4 inch thick. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons per circle to make smaller and cuter arepas.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a skillet
  4. Fry the arepas in the oil until golden, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Allow the arepas to drain on paper towels, continue to fry the remaining arepas.
  6. Arrange the arepas on a cookie sheet
  7. Top with black beans and cheese
  8. Broil (on high) arepas until the cheese has melted
  9. Top with salsa and serve.
  10. The arepas keep well in the refrigerator (without salsa) for up to 3 days. You can simply reheat in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Crispy Falafel

This morning, I had planned on running at 7:00am and then getting to the library just as it was opening. My plans were shot when I woke up this morning to thunderclaps and my poor little munchkin huddled on the covers shuddering. The poor thing is terrified of thunder and shakes like a little leaf. So I slept in and went for my run at noon when the thunder had passed and my munchkin was no longer trembling.

I normally don’t run when it’s rainy outside or water is on the ground because I don’t want to fall. I’ve broken and sprained more than my fair share of bones and joints, and I know the waiting for everything to knit back up will drive me insane. Everyone wants me to run, because I get crazy without it! Anyway, this was my first training run since April 3 (when I ran the Cherry Blossom 10mi), and as I was hitting mile 6, the rain started again. It was glorious. I used to love running in the rain, because everything seems to wash away and the world just seems cleaner. I loved the smell of the cold rain hitting the hot pavement and the precipitation-disliking people scuttling inside. My run was like that today… no one else except me and my feet.

I felt so good, I registered for another half marathon in 21 days! Because I can use the extra race and motivation to get prepared. I’m running my first WHOLE 26.2 miles in July, and the mileage scares me just a bit. I need every minute I can get to get ready. I just want to finish it, but I also want to have a solid time too!

Anyway, since it is finals, I haven’t really been eating anything but the quickest cheese and black bean wraps. I’m craving good vegetables, so on a study break day, I’ll run over to a good grocery and load up.  I read a while back that chickpeas are good for you, so I made falafel. Because, no matter what it is… it always tastes better crispy!!

Crispy Falafel (Kaprise Kitchen Style)

  • 15 oz of chickpeas, drained (or reconstituted chickpeas, about a cup and a half) and then crushed
  • 1 onion, minced finely
  • 2 carrots, minced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil, chiffonade
  •  1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 egg,whisked
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  1. In a large bowl, crush chickpeas with a fork. I like mine just a bit chunky, so I don’t go crazy. If you like a smoother texture, feel free to use a food processor.
  2. Stir in onion, carrots, garlic, basil and lemon juice.
  3. Stir in egg, and depending on the texture of the mixture, add 2-3 tablespoons of flour.
  4. The batter should resemble a loose cookie dough – firm enough to be shaped into patties, but loose enough to flatten in a pan.
  5. In a pan, heat the oil.
  6. Form the dough into 2 tablespoon patties. Fry gently, about 4-5 minutes per side until firm.
  7. Serve over greens with a bit of tahini.

Note: I think the next time I make this, I’ll add more vegetables. Maybe a bit of kale or spinach to pack more nutrient rich vegetables into the patties. 🙂

Peanut Sesame Noodles

I remember I loved those Chinese takeout noodles that were just sticky with peanut butter. There was something just so good about those noodles…

Since becoming a pseudo adult (I mean really, I just feel like adult sounds so… blah! and I’m not blah!), I’ve been cooking more and more. Plus, now I have healthy neurosis about germs and dirty hands, and then my weird love affair with bleaching things… but besides the point. And, I live in Baltimore. KFC and McDonald’s takes 20 minutes, and it’s already made!! So I cook for myself. A lot of people say that cooking for one is sad… is it? I would rather make my food the way I want it and not have to consider anyone else. (I had a boyfriend who used to liberally salt and pepper anything I made before even taking a single bite… and that pissed me off.)

This recipe is just enough for one serving of noodles, with just a bit of sauce to spare for dipping veggies in or to refrigerate until the next time you need some quick noodles. These noodles take me 20 minutes from when I put the water up to when I’m done eating. Super quick!

Peanut Sesame Noodles (liberally adapted from New York Times, April 2007)

  • 1 serving of noodles (I normally use buckwheat soba noodles, but angel hair, egg noodles, or whatever fits your fancy would be fine too)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (I have used white vinegar and it tastes just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame paste (I used tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon of chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 pinch of ginger (if you have fresh ginger, just a quick swipe on a microplane should do it)
  • 1 teaspoon of chili paste (I have the Korea kind – go-chu-jjang. But you can omit this, or substitute red pepper flakes for the spice)
  • Sliced vegetables and a bit of salad (I use cucumber, tomato and a bit of arugula)
  1. Boil a pot of water and add the noodles. In the mean time – make the sauce
  2. In a small, microwave-proof bowl stir all of the ingredients (minus the veggies) together.
  3. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth
  4. Once the noodles are cooked – drain immediately and toss with 3 tablespoons of the sauce (or you get the amount of sauce you want on the noodles).
  5. Add veggies and eat!

(Note: These noodles do not taste good cold, so you are best making just enough for your meal. Save the sauce in the fridge for next time, just microwave for 30 seconds before tossing with the fresh noodles)

Zucchini Fritters

When I was a kid, my mother kept a garden. We grew cherry tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, and a bunch of other vegetables. And even though I was a picky kid, I would run out the door and stand amongst all of the plants and pick the vegetables off the stems to my hearts content. (I’ve always had a thing for picking vegetables and fruit… I like it!). I would eat the cherry tomatoes by the handful, smelling their wonderful green smell. I loved the green beans raw, and would often eat them all before I even got to the kitchen. The zucchini was something I couldn’t just munch on standing in the garden, but I loved it all the same. My mother would slice the zucchini into thin strips and fry them ever so lightly so that you could have these amazing and crunchy fritters. She made zucchini bread and this amazing Korean side dish (I have to ask her about that…), and all sorts of things with zucchini.

Anyway, in a fit of nostalgia, I made these zucchini fritters with a friend and devoured them for dinner. I serve them with just a bit of soy sauce and vinegar. A small caveat – these are not nearly as delicious as the ones my mother made for me as a kid… I just don’t know what she did to make them so yummy!

Zucchini Fritters (Kaprise Kitchen style… Mom – I need you to teach me how to make them like yours!)

  • 2 medium sized zucchini, julienne
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1/2 cup of sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup of corn (thawed, if you use frozen like me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  1. In a large bowl, mix the egg and flour until a batter forms.
  2. Toss the remaining ingredients in the batter until lightly coated.  (Or, you can just do what I did, and stir it all together)
  3. In a skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of canola oil until it shimmers (I promise, once I get one of those thermometers I’ll give you more accurate temperatures!)
  4. Drop tablespoons of batter into the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes per side, until the center of the patties are cooked through.
  5. I squish mine down just a bit so they are more like pancakes, and obviously fry them just a teensie bit longer so they are crunchy!

Seared Mushrooms

I was always a picky eater. Finicky too. Even if I liked something, if I wasn’t in the mood, I refused to eat it. My aunt tells me that the only thing she remembers me consistently consuming was orange juice. Anyway, despite my finicky eating, I did like vegetables. I like spinach and green beans, and I loved picking tomatoes out of the garden and eating them during the summer. I liked broccoli with cheese. I don’t remember if I liked mushrooms… but I love them now. I put them in my soup, on my pizza, and sometimes? I just eat them!

A friend told me he dislikes mushrooms because the texture and squish they make in his mouth. Understandable! But, I wonder if I made him mushrooms if he would eat them. I steam them with some wine, and then with a little pat of butter I sear the mushrooms until they develop a delicious golden brown sear. They are a little crisp, chewy and juicy on the inside. Maybe it’s just because I inherently like mushrooms, but they are delicious!

Seared Mushroom (the Kaprise Kitchen way)

  • 12 white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  1. In a non-stick pan, add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt to release the moisture in the mushrooms.
  2. Once the pan is hot, add the wine and stir, letting the mushrooms bubble in the wine
  3. Cook over high head until the liquid has been evaporated
  4. Stir in the butter, and let the mushroom sear for 3 or 4 minutes per side.
  5. Serve hot! You can sprinkle chives or a little bit of pepper if you’d like.

Butternut Squash and Onion Gratin

The first time I made gratin, it was a potato gratin. It was layered with gruyere, potatoes and heavy cream. Needless to say, as a measly 8th grader, I was horrified by the smell of the gruyere baking for 3 hours. The entire house smelled pungently of cheese, and I refused to taste the finished dish because to my unsophisticated nose the gratin smelled… ugh! My mother assured me that it was delicious, but I was certain my mom would think anything I made was delicious so I didn’t believe her.

Since, I tried a variety of different gratins, using more or less cream and different types of cheese. I’ve grown to like the delicate layers of vegetables baked until meltingly tender and delicious with a golden crust of cheese. However, my rapidly increasing sized bottom multiplied by the long hours I spend in the library have lead me to believe that a decrease in cheese and cream is necessary. So I developed a lighter and slightly sweeter gratin that uses just enough cream to keep it together and just enough cheese to get a golden crust.

Butternut Squash and Onion Gratin

  • 1 small butternut squash; halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet  onion; halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch of fresh parsley; fined chopped (you may use basil, tarragon, or any other blend of herbs)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup of finely shredded Parmesan cheese (or any dry, hard cheese that you like)
  1. Butter baking dish. I used two nested Le Creuset stoneware, one that is 4 by 9 and the other is probably 3 by6.
  2. Whisk cream, salt, mustard, and parsley together
  3. Lay discs of butternut squash flat on the bottom of the dish
  4. Then alternate butternut squash and slices of onion
  5. Using a small spoon, spoon the cream and parsley over the layers and top with cheese
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and delicious

(My final product, obviously, is over baked. I got wrapped up in cleaning my apartment and forgot to check on my gratin. It was still delicious, but I recommend baking with a timer to avoid my mishap)

Simple and beautiful

I know I promised to share by project last week, but after making two dozen spanikopita triangles and a huge crowd of stuffed cabbage in spicy red sauce, I was pooped. Not to mention the week I spent stressing about school and staying up all night…. so the minute I roasted my last ribeye stuffed cabbage, I was out like a light on the floor…. My puppy woke me up when she came over with her prickly little whiskers to sniff my face and check for doneness.

Clearly, in such an incapacitated mental state of frenzied studying and frenzied cooking for stress relief…. I took 1 picture. 1. Out of 4 hours of cooking… 1 single picture. So it works wonderfully, that I didn’t love either recipes I concocted. So, until they are perfect? I will withhold!

I do have tons of new recipes that I’m playing with…. port reduced portabellas, perfect ribeye steaks, pilaf, wheatberry salads, and RICOTTA GNOCCI! but, until I get my law school brain sorted out and my pictures uploaded and edited, you’re stuck with….. broccoli.

Now, this is not rocket science, nor is it the most brilliant recipe. However, this is a wonderful way to get a full serving of greens and have a healthy lunch that uses up some leftovers!

Butter Braised Broccoli

  • 1 bunch of fresh green broccoli, washed and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly in half moons
  • 1 left over boiled potato
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (or if you are like my boyfriend and think butter will kill you, that fake stuff in the tub or olive oil with a sprinkle of salt is fine)
  • 1/4 cup of wheatberries, bulgar, or any other whole grain that you have easily on hand *
  • options: any other left over vegetables, or a poached egg
  1. Heat a fry pan, toss the broccoli in with a few tablespoons of water and cover until the broccoli is bright and tender.
  2. Once the water has evaporated, add the butter over high heat until the broccoli is toasted
  3. Lower the heat and add onions and other vegetables and whole grains (as you use) and stir until hot
  4. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, cracked black pepper and salt to taste
  5. Enjoy!

My last version – I omitted the wheatberries and used a small potato I had knocking around in my fridge with the onion. I ate this with a little wedge of toasted bread.