My mom is the best.
Coming back to my parent’s house one Sunday morning, she had a familiar pink box on the counter. Many families on a Sunday morning see a pink box on the counter and think one thing: donuts.
“Kristine. You have to try one. It tastes like butter. I drove all the way to San Francisco to get them,” she said.
I opened up the pink box and there were layers and layers of buttery, flaky hopia pieces, sitting primly in white cupcake liners. On the top, scattered over these perfectly lined confections: five bulging meat empanadas, looking homemade and awesome. Usually, empanadas look so perfect they look unreal, the dough braids that close these pastries are absolutely seamless. These empanadas looked like they were put together by real hands.
“Put one in a ziplock before you go,” my mom motioned. “They are so good.”
And yes, Mom — if you’re reading this, they were.
I woke up the next morning to the familiar darkness of all my mornings. I put one on a miniature plate and poured myself a pot of dark coffee and was in heaven. I know that with many people, they have trouble acquiring the taste for bean-based desserts. But there’s something so calming about an Asian bean dessert. The mixture of textures: flaky to creamy, the gritty but surprisingly sweet bean that you discover on the inside. Even the little mess that you make while eating it is like the mess you get from eating a croissant. You don’t care if little fragments go everywhere — you are reveling in rich, buttery heaven. The dryness of the pastry and the togetherness and moist quality of the beans is an exciting contrast.
I hope everyone is lovely, I am sending positive energy to you all. The school year has started so I’m in a whirlwind again but still finding times during my day to fit in food writing and reading. I don’t know how I’m doing it…every single second in my day counts, and has value. But I’m happy and feel like I’m slowly picking at something much grander…hoping to catch up with you all soon.