Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake

by Irvin on June 27, 2016 · 3 comments

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An easy infusion of tea in scalded milk, makes this Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake incredibly delicious and a snap to make.

Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake. A recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

I have a new obsession and its name is Snapchat. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and hide under a rock when I admit that. I want to call it “a guilty pleasure” but the reality is, I feel no guilt in using it. In fact, it’s reinvigorated my love of social media because it’s so refreshing to not have to deal with the insanity of the highly curated life and social media “pressure” of trying to get comments and likes on pretty much every other social media channel everywhere. Snapchat doesn’t allow for public “likes” or comments so anytime I share things on Snapchat, no one else knows if I get 10 views or 10,000 views! I love that. No societal pressure to perform, instead I get to just share whatever I want. And yes it’s infuriating to use because it’s basically designed for 13 year-olds. And I am 40-something-year-old that is feeling very geriatric lately (I’m totally doing that thing with the phone where I pull it back and forth from my eyes to try to get it into focus). But it’s exactly because of Snapchat that I ended up making this Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake. And I have absolutely no guilt or regrets about this coffee cake.(Jump directly to the recipe.)

Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake. A recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

It started out when I admitted to my Snapchat pals that my partner AJ was out of town and all my bad habits that I usually repress to keep from annoying him come flaring back up. This includes things like letting the dishes pile up in the sink, leaving the apartment a hot mess without picking anything up, and eating like a college student. Yes, as a food blogger, this is probably the worse admission. I order ton of cheap Chinese carryout and then gorge on it. It’s not pretty but I can’t help myself.

Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake. A recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. [click to continue…]

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In times of crisis and grief, the only thing I could do was go into the kitchen and bake. This Plum and Rhubarb Cobbler is the result.

Plum and Rhubarb Cobbler, with step-by-step photos and instructions. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

This past week has been pretty devastating. I picked up my partner AJ in L.A. on Saturday, after the AIDS Lifecycle only to wake up the next morning to a text from my friend Liz who lives in D.C. She wanted to let me know I was in her thoughts because of Orlando. I didn’t have a clue what she was talking until I clumsily typed “Orlando news” in the iPhone Safari search engine. I wasn’t expecting to read news of a gunman massacring 49 people and injuring 53 more in a gay bar. I couldn’t comprehend the horror of it all and I just laid in bed for another hour just trying to figure out how to deal with this tragedy.

We all deal with grief differently. Some people take to social media and rant and rave about the horrors of guns and violence. Others express their grief by #praying and sending #TheirThoughts and virtual #hugs into the ether we call the internet. Many of my friends took this as the time to discuss homophobia and how society was blame for creating someone who hated himself so much that he took a semi-automatic weapon to a club to kill as many people as he could. And all of those reactions are perfectly valid. I, of course, did the exact opposite and retreated away from the computer, crawling into a personal protective shell. AJ and I were in LA, on a brief break from normal life (whatever that is), and after a week of intense personal stuff and a week of AJ cycling from San Francisco to L.A. to raise money for HIV/AIDS, we were hoping for a little relaxation. It obviously wasn’t meant to be.

AJ's cycling group

AJ’s Cycling group “The Gutterbunnies” on the last day of the AIDS Lifecycle.

All this, of course, didn’t mean that exactly I stayed away from social media. I just checked in less. I turned on my computer exactly once while I was down in L.A. but after browsing Facebook for 10 minutes, had to shut it down. I ended up writing a list about my thoughts on the largest mass shooting in the U.S. history on the social channel li.st via my iPhone. The stories I shared there weren’t necessarily mine to share and I can only hope that the people who I talked about forgive me for writing about them. But otherwise, I was in denial, trying to process how this could have happened. How one human being could do this. I am still struggling with it.

Once I got back to San Francisco, life seem to go on, even though at random turns I was still being reminded of what happened. I couldn’t go online at all without seeing an article or a friend arguing or ranting. Close friends of mine choose to take a stance on gun control, either for or against, which just drove me into a pit of depression. And finally I posted on Facebook my own story of being verbally attacked a few weeks before Orlando happened. I hadn’t thought much of that specific incident (which, in retrospect, probably says something in and of itself that I have become so numb to being verbally attacked for being gay), but I felt like it was a story that needed to be shared. The response and love I received from my friends were overwhelming but it’s a small bandage to cover up what has become such a terribly huge wound that is still healing.

The memorial in the Castro for the victims of Orlando Pulse massacre. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. [click to continue…]

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This post was sponsored by Frito-Lay. I’m teaming up with Frito-Lay this summer to bring you recipes using LAY’S potato chips. I was compensated for this post and for developing the recipe. However all opinions below are completely my own and not endorsed by Frito-Lay.

These easy & tasty Potato Chip Zucchini Sticks are perfect for entertaining. The trick is using LAY’S Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Potato Chips!

Potato Chip Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce. Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

It seems like all my friends are having a love affair with zucchini at the moment. I occasionally flirt with the green squash. But all of a sudden this vegetable, one that I never really gave much thought to, is all over the place. Zucchini pasta. Zucchini tots. Zucchini noodles. Zucchini casseroles, fries, and bread. This little summer vegetable really gets around and I for one decided it was time for me to give it another look at it. So when LAY’S potato chips asked me to come up with one more perfect for summer recipe, I figured I’d take another look at zucchini. Turns out zucchini sticks with marinara sauce was an easy appetizer that made me re-exam that summer squash everyone loves so much. And low and behold, I found that I too was smitten. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Potato Chip Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce. Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

I have fond memories of the first time I had a zucchini stick. I was in high school and the appetizer was breaded, deep fried and served with red marinara sauce on a cheap red and white checkerboard vinyl tablecloth at one of those chain Italian-American restaurants that we all know and love. My tablemates were surprised that I had never had this ubiquitous starter but my parent’s rarely frequented this sort of place. In fact, whenever we ate out, it was mostly at Chinese-American restaurants (my parents were never the adventurous type). So my friends were highly amused when I went to town on the deep fried vegetable, finishing the basket of them and ordering a second basket.

Potato Chip Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce. Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. [click to continue…]

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A Cook N Scribble Evening with Molly O’Neill in Los Angeles

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

In a different life, years ago, I was a bookseller. From mall bookstores to independent shops I was a dedicated bookseller for years before I started doing graphic design, which later morphed into photography and writing. There’s a lot of romanticism in selling books, but don’t believe the hype. It’s mostly retail, shelving books and trying to keep up with whatever book was recently featured on whatever popular TV talk show is out there (during my bookselling days it was Oprah, now it’s probably Ellen). It was back in St. Louis, at the independent bookstore Left Bank Books where I discovered storyteller Molly O’Neill and her cookbook the New York Cookbook. It was a revelation to me, as one of the first cookbooks that I bought where I learned the stories and backgrounds of where the recipes came from. Previous to that discovery, cookbooks just seemed like a random collection of recipes, that came seemingly from nowhere, with no reference point to ground them. But the New York Cookbook, with the sidebars and interviews from chefs and home cooks, as well as history each recipe, gave weight to the making of food and to each person contributed a recipe. Suddenly, to me, food has history and that history was found in the kitchen.

Molly O'Neill

I was lucky to meet Molly years later, first through the wonders of social media, then in person. She’s a lovely person with a warmth that makes you want to spill your secrets to her. It’s no wonder she was able to finagle close guarded recipes and stories from New Yorkers (and later from people across US in her book One Big Table) that most wouldn’t be willing to give up. So when she asked me to help lead the mobile photography part of the Cook N Scribble workshop scheduled before the big IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference a couple of months ago, I immediately said yes. The evening was a bright mix of writers and bloggers all gathered to watching Kian Lam Kho first do a cooking demo from his award-winning cookbook Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees, then to explore various storytelling techniques, from writing to still photography to video. I ran around and took pictures and helped other bloggers and writers style food all in a gorgeous house generously donated to us for the evening. As the sun set in the California sky and the night wrapped up, I realized there’s nothing better than being surrounded by storytellers all trying to tell their own version of what happened. That’s what life is, a series of stories, some told in public and some only told in private. No one gets that more than Molly.

All photos taken with my iPhone 6S.

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016 [click to continue…]

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Irvin on May 31, 2016 · 7 comments

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These chewy mint chocolate chip cookies are reminiscent of a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream, only in cookie form!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies that taste like the best scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! Recipe and photo by Irvin of Eat the Love

I moved to San Francisco 18 years ago and when I moved here, an acquaintance warned me within the first couple of months of my arrival that this wasn’t a city most people stick around. “Your friends will come and go and you’ll cycle through them pretty fast so don’t get too attached….” I scoffed but that held true as all my closest friends, my adopted San Francisco family, drifted away within two or three years of my arrival. And though I still keep in casual contact with most of them (thank you social media), there are others that I am just as close or even closer to than when we both lived in San Francisco. My friend Rita is the perfect example of this. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that taste like the best scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! Recipe and photo by Irvin of Eat the Love

Rita and her best friend both had a running joke that their respective significant others could never remember what their favorite ice cream was. One loved mint chocolate chip and the other regular chocolate chip. And inevitably, when one of their birthdays came around, their boyfriends/husbands would buy the wrong one. Turns out my friend Rita loved chocolate chip but not mint. Which made it all the more surprising that years later I was down in LA visiting and she told me how much she love Sweet Rose’s Creamery’s mint chip ice cream! The secret to the outstanding flavor was making it with fresh mint. The fresh mint lends a bright green flavor that doesn’t quite have the harsh sharpness of mint extract. I completely understand, as fresh mint ice cream is world’s different than the mint oil version. I loved it so much that have a recipe for my version of fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream here on my blog, as well as a version of it in my cookbook.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies that taste like the best scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! Recipe and photo by Irvin of Eat the Love

All that said, I’ve long wanted to make a mint chocolate chip cookie that simulated mint chocolate chip ice cream. Though I love the idea of using fresh mint in cookies, practically speaking, it’s kind of pain. The amount of fresh mint that you need to flavor a chocolate chip is larger than you think, not to mention how the fresh herbaceous flavor gets muddled and dulled when you bake it in a harsh oven heat. But somehow the sharp angular flavor of mint extract mellows quite nicely in a cookie. As long as you don’t add too much extract, the strong flavor blends well with butter, sugar and flour. This is a cookie that even my partner AJ who doesn’t really care for mint chocolate desserts tells me he would eat.

The absolute BEST Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (it taste like a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!) Recipe and photo by Irvin of Eat the Love [click to continue…]

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Photo Essay: Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016 (part 2)

May 23, 2016

The second of two photo essays for the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala fundraiser of 2016. The chefs and cooks moved in a silent rhythm to a beat only they could really hear and feel as AJ and I watched. They were plating food for the annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs […]

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Sponsored Post: Potato Chip Chicken Tenders

May 15, 2016

This post was sponsored by Frito-Lay. I’m teaming up with Frito-Lay this summer to bring you recipes using Lay’s potato chips. I was compensated for this post and for developing the recipe. However all opinions below are completely my own and not endorsed by Frito-Lay. These Potato Chip Chicken Tenders are as easy to make […]

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Cookies and Cream Cookies

May 2, 2016

Looking for Oreo Recipes? These cookies and cream cookies are crispy on the edges and chewy in the center cookies with Oreos baked right into them! “It’s the Inception of cookies.” I explained to my friends when they asked me at the picnic what sort of cookies these were. They just looked at me confused […]

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Photo Essay: Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016 (part 1)

April 25, 2016

The first of two photo essays for the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala fundraiser of 2016. As usual, AJ and I were stuffed before we even got halfway through the room. We were at the annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintner’s Gala event and we were trying our best to […]

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies & Pinterest’s KnitCon Conference.

April 18, 2016

This super easy crispy chocolate chip cookies recipe is the perfect cookie for those who love their treats snappy and crisp! Butter and sugar was flying left and right and groups of people were crouching down on the floor working as hard as they can with the hand mixers that had just arrived the day […]

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Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Blackberries and Big Crumb Topping

April 11, 2016

This not-too-sweet rhubarb coffee cake has blackberries and a big crumb topping for a perfect spring breakfast treat! “Do you ever get burned out of baking?” asked a friend of mine at brunch. We were huddling together in the patio deck, trying to keep dry as it was raining outside. The overhead awning was huge […]

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A Special April 1st Post: Bye Bye Raspberry Pie and the (NSFW) story of How I Ended Up Dressed Up as a 7-Foot Tall Cartoon Penis

April 1, 2016

This special April 1st post features a recipe for Butterscotch Raspberry Pie and a not safe for work story about a giant cartoon penis. (Jump directly to the recipe.) I peered through the black mesh screen in my costume and felt slightly warm and vaguely claustrophobic. The giant felt and plaster form that enclosed my […]

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Rye Brownies with Caramel and Sea Salt

March 14, 2016

These Rye Brownies have caramel and sea salt sprinkled on top, giving them a salty crunchy bite. Easy to make and seriously addictive! “Here it is…” said my friend Felisa as she gave everyone else around her suspicious looks and slyly pulled out a foil wrapper hidden from who knows where. She handed it to […]

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Panisse aka Chickpea Fries

February 29, 2016

Panisse are chickpea fries made from chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour. They’re incredibly easy to make and a super tasty alternative to regular fries! “Wait, the hashtag is #LovePulses? That sounds kind of…dirty.” Said my friend Annie as she took a bite of my panisse fries that I had just brought over to her house. Then […]

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Brookies (Brownies + Cookies) Caramel Bars

February 22, 2016

This upscale version of the brookies bar recipe sandwiches pistachio brownies and chocolate chip cookie bars with a layer of chewy caramel! There’s something slightly disingenuous about writing about food. You probably don’t notice it as a reader. But if you think about it, it’s tough to constantly be creating food for events and holidays […]

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Brookie Recipe with Salty Sweet Snack Treats

February 8, 2016

This made-from-scratch brookie recipe (a layered brownie and cookie bar) has potato chips, pretzels and two types of chocolate chips that my friends loved. “Well, if you can bring a bar or cookie or something, that would be great. You know, anything you might have around the house or in the freezer.” said my friend […]

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50 Chicken Wings Recipes (A Roundup!)

February 1, 2016

Looking for a chicken wings recipe? Here’s a roundup of 50 chicken wings recipes from around the web! I’m going to be dead honest. I have little to no interest in football. Which makes living in San Francisco right now a bit crazy. Because the 50th Super Bowl is happening here in San Francisco! Well, […]

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