Spicy Shakshuka Simon Said | bettysliu-8 copyThe first time I had shakshuka was at a lovely cafe, Tatte, in Boston. I saw a couple next to me being served a wonderful, still-bubbling pot of tomato sauce, and what looked like eggs scattered throughout. I immediately ordered the same thing, and I had my own bubbling pot, and since then, I’ve made shakshuka a staple at home. Read more »

  • This dish looks so yummy. The crusty bread to soak all that good tomato juice and the soft egg yolk. Delicious!ReplyCancel

  • This looks so good, Betty! I love shakshuka! Really want to try your version now! Maybe this weekend:)ReplyCancel

  • I grew up eating shakshuka. It was what my mother made when she didn’t feel like cooking up a big dinner. To me, the smell of simmering tomato mixed in with delicious eggs is the best thing in the world.
    Plus, having been to Tatte and seen how they serve it, yours is just as yummy looking.

  • I love how warm this feels Betty! From the dish itself, to the tones and overall vibe. Feels so sunny and happy. Hope you are feeling healthy and full of joy this week friend, 2 months till the workshop! Eeee! xoReplyCancel

  • Maureen Sutherland Weiser

    OMG, I need this in my mouth asap!! I love, love, love shakshuka and can’t wait to try this!

    Oh, and can you please tell me where you got that gorgeous blue blouse?? I love it!


  • I loveeee shakshuka and can’t wait to try this recipe. Adam loves spicy đŸŒ¶ReplyCancel

  • Mouth numbing spice is my ultimate favorite flavor in the world!!! And masochistic habit, I guess you could say. 😉 Can you believe I’ve never had shakshuka before? I keep thinking I need to find myself a good restaurant that serves the dish but with your recipe, I might not have to fret so much anymore. You really made it easy for some of us and it looks like my kind of flavor combo. Can’t wait to try it!!!!ReplyCancel

New England Food Photography Styling Workshop Recap

One of the magical moments of hosting workshops is waking up early, so that I can make breakfast and coffee before attendees begin to stir. I throw on some clothes and tip toe through to the kitchen, and usually my team is up and about too, with the same intentions. I quietly maneuver through the Paradise Farmhouse, a beautiful mid-century style house located right on a bird sanctuary. Before I reach the kitchen, Krissy of Cottage Farm, my co-host and partner, beckons me over to a sitting room facing the back, overlooking the ocean on a clear day. It wasn’t a clear day. There was mist settling comfortably over the trees, and the sun was just begin to let its rays through, so that the mist looked like it was glowing. Yards from the house, a family of deer grazed, looking at us from time to time, but content to do their thing. I’m very much a city girl, so sights of deer and the such enchant me. The deer brought on a sense of calm, and from then on I was filled with a calm and optimism about this New England food photography workshop (because no matter how many workshops I host, I always get a bout of nerves prior :)).

New England Food Photography Styling Workshop Recap

A huge thanks to the amazing team that brought this together: my co-host Krissy of Cottage Farm, our genius chef Sarah of My Summer St Kitchen, who also has a book coming out you won’t want to miss, and our seriously amazing assistant Jenn of Jenn Bakos Photography, who anticipated our every need and was basically a ninja. You can check out Krissy’s recap post here, as well as the recipe for her delicious shakshuka!

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Savory Miso Oatmeal | bettysliu.comHello friends. It’s been a heavy week for a lot of us, but I’ve found strength in community, in the actions of strong women and men, in hope and unity that leads me to cautiously believe in a brighter future. This week I’ll be retreating to the depths of Big Sur with a group of lovely ladies and talk about what we can do while healing with food and camaraderie. Next week, a rather amazing group of bloggers and me will share our thoughts and how much we cherish the immigration values that America has always stood for.
I’ve found healing in creating food, and as always, food has, more than ever, become an outlet where I can express all my feelings. This past weekend I chose not to use my stand mixer to make bread, and instead just kneaded into it, the old fashioned way. My arms screamed afterward but I felt satisfied.

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  • I’ve never actually tried savory oats, but this recipe has seriously piqued my interest! I’ve always been a sweet oatmeal kind of girl, but I’ll have to give this a try.

    And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the previous year, the year to come, and the current state of things. I also find it so helpful to look back at the previous year, see what was successful and what was not so, and look forward with intention. Not necessarily setting resolutions, but setting your sights on where you want to go.

    I’m totally blown away that you could maintain a photography business, school, and blogging. Sometimes I find that when I push myself to do a lot, the hardest thing about cutting back is giving myself permission to — like, now that I’ve shown I *can* do the impossible, that’s where the bar is set. In case you feel that way too, I just want to say, you *totally have permission* to relax and give yourself the space you need. And I don’t mean *I* give you permission, because that’s weird… I just mean, you deserve to take all the me-time you need. :)

    Here’s to a happy, successful, fulfilling, and relaxed 2017!ReplyCancel

  • I love so much savory porridge that I even add one recipe for it in my cookbook – cooked with miso and topped with mushrooms. A few months ago savory oats were my everyday lunch!
    I totally agree with your “I’m going make recipes that revolve around my life”. It’s the same thing I’m thinking for when my new blog will be ready. No more “I have to cook this for the blog”.

  • i’m excited to see what you guys have to say. i wish you didn’t have to, but i commend you regardless.

    cheers to more creativity, more balance. self-care is important, but especially now.ReplyCancel

  • This post is beautiful and so heartfelt, Betty. I can’t believe how much you have going on! I think it’s 100 percent fantastic for you to downshift and refocus your creative energies in the coming year. I know the results will be stunning.ReplyCancel

  • I just read your post to my hubby & he said emphatically “PERFECT” and that he was very happy for you that you have found this & I wholeheartedly agree with him. Thank you for candidly sharing your heart, we greatly appreciate it, it was very beautiful. 2017 will be the best year yet <3ReplyCancel

  • Miso, oatmeal, poached eggs…. – lots of my favorite ingredients. I’ll try this soon, thank you!

    My husband and I just went to Big Sur last weekend. You probably already know about it, but the restaurant Nepenthe is worth going to – not necessarily for the food, but for breathing in the healing view and fresh air.ReplyCancel

  • Yes, you ABSOLUTELY need to slow down! I don’t know how you did it all!!! I’ve been working on this “slowing down” thing ever since starting my blog, but especially at the beginning of last year after getting hit with a terrible virus for 9 weeks at the end of 2015. Blogging is so rewarding but it’s easy to let it take over your life. Good luck finding the balance, and we’ll be happy to see your new posts and recipes whenever you can find the time. xoxoReplyCancel

  • keren

    i just want to say you are a huge inspiration for me and i’m glad you are going to take care of yourself better this year!!ReplyCancel

  • Seriously still so impressed with all your commitments Betty! I am always blown away by the quality and creativity behind your recipes and photography, and could not tell you were burning out at all. But taking care of yourself first is a must, hope 2017 gives you more time to breathe.

    P.S. As a reader I really enjoy blogs that don’t post weekly or frequently at all, when it pops up on your feed it’s like a fun surprise :)ReplyCancel

  • Really feel you on this one – I still don’t know how you juggle your wedding photography on top of incredible and inspiring blogging and medical school. It’s very impressive! You do need time for yourself, and time to actually have space and enjoy life though – work is only going to get more hectic once you’ve graduated. I’m likely to be doing the same this year – ditching my once a week posts – I’ve been looking at the 8-6pm, 5 days a week timetables for my hospital rotations plus studying for exams and realising it’s just not going to happen, as much as I might want it to. So thank you as well for the reminder that it is okay to slow down a bit.Here’s to 2017 being better than ever! X

    P.S. on another note, I’ve been looking curiously at your miso oatmeal on instagram for a while so will definitely give it a go sometime! I’m an bircher muesli fan usually but miso is pretty tempting haReplyCancel

  • Thank you, Betty, for such an honest and insightful post. I have no doubt that your work will continue to inspire. I always enjoy your original and creative posts. Also, thank you for introducing me to savoury oatmeal- I am indeed a convert!ReplyCancel

  • Oh my goodness Betty, you wrote me thoughts exactly on 2017… I’ll be pairing back to and fully encourage you in doing this! It’s so important to take care of ourselves and be present in real life. I think it will honestly make what we bring to the table here on our platforms that much more rich and passionate. Cannot wait to see you so soon! xxReplyCancel

  • I so so feel you on this! I”ve been trying to balance blogging and full time work, and sometimes it feels like I’m downright losing my mind over all the ‘to-dos’. I’m so happy for you in all the opportunities you’ve had, how exciting! I’m still crossing my fingers that I can make it to one of your workshops this year! xoReplyCancel

  • Oh Betty, I’m so glad to hear that you’ve decided to slow down this year. Taking care of yourself is by far the most important thing you can do. It will be a gift to you, but also to your readers and clients, because everything you’ll bring to the table will be so much more meaningful. I’m so grateful to have met you this past year, and I hope to see you again very soon. Biggest of hugs. xxReplyCancel

  • These words and this dish.. They are all so beautiful. And I have to say, my hat is off to you. I do not know another person to manage a food blog the way you do it while attending medical school. Truly amazing.
    Though I am glad this year you are going to be more intentional in taking care of yourself. Much love my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Count me in as one of those people who are like “what the effff? how do you juggle med school + wedding photography + blogging + workshops?????” You some sort of superstar. I can barely handle having a 10-6 job and posting once a month x_x <– that's a face with x's as eyes, haha. But seriously Betty, you are a force to be reckoned with and though I'll miss seeing your posts so often I'm glad you're putting your health and happiness first.

    Also that poached egg on top of the oatmeal: A++++, looks amazing.ReplyCancel

  • What an incredible savory breakfast bowl! Here’s to 2017…ReplyCancel

  • Can you come over and make this for me? It is like a big hug in a bowl. I am so glad that you are taking a step back to rediscover the creativity and fun that blogging should be.ReplyCancel

MomEven though I now live in the beautiful New England and am fully appreciative of New England’s local cuisine, a part of me will always love crab over lobster. I grew up in California eating Dungeness crab, and to this day, I love the slightly sweet, distinctive flavor of crab over lobster. I will enjoy lobster of course, but my heart beats faster when I see fresh crab. I’ve blogged about some more traditional foods my mom has made for us (such as Shanghai shaomai, zongzi, chive boxes), but more recently my mom came up with this delightful concoction, inspired by a dish she had at dim sum previously. It’s literally the simplest dish ever – just crab cooked with sticky rice, so that the flavor of crab is really all you need for the dish. It’s not a healthy dish – sticky rice, crab, no vegetables? But it’s delicious and perfect to serve a crowd with something unique but easy to prepare. Read more »

  • This looks so yummy, Betty! Look at you using the antique pie pan. I will need to make this if I can find some fresh crabsReplyCancel

  • my family likes to eat crab with ginger/garlic/scallion oil, so this sounds so comforting and home-y and perfect! plus, i’m convinced sticky rice and can do no wrong (no mai fan, joong, thai coconut sticky rice with mango, etc etc).ReplyCancel

  • I love the stunning images of these crabs! I also have a soft spot for recipes that are passed down through the years, so this is my kind of dish :)ReplyCancel

  • This sounds wonderful! Since I too live in Boston, I think it would be easier to get lobster than crabs. Do you think it would work well with lobster instead of crabs?ReplyCancel

  • Happy Chinese New Year! Urgh I’m so bad at even getting the meat out of roast chicken I cannot imagine how unhandy I would be with crab. This sounds lovely though!!ReplyCancel

  • These photos are absolutely stunning, Betty! So beautiful. I just love the simplicity and flavors of this dish!ReplyCancel

  • Loving these pics! Is this the Leica btw?ReplyCancel

  • Stunning photography! And the food doesn’t look bad either.ReplyCancel

  • Love this, Betty! I remember eating the first (and only, lol) lobster of my life in Cape Cod, just boiled and served with simple butter, and it was stunning. But I never had much crab. Here we have European spider crabs, which are also a pain to clean and way too expensive to be worth it! Asian crabs are the best :)ReplyCancel

  • Happy Chinese new year! Very beautiful post as always. All the best to you this year! XoReplyCancel

  • Happy Chinese New Year Betty..
    Now, I do not much about cooking crabs or Chinese cuisine for that matter, but looking at these photos and reading through your beautiful words, I want to go to our local fishmonger and buy a few crabs. Or better yet, I will buy it when I move up to New England in a few weeks. :)
    Beautiful photography, as always.

  • I have to agree with you – crab over lobster any day! Fried soft-shell crab dishes are the most common here in Australia – no shelling required haha. Love how simple this dish is to highlight the crab too. Happy Chinese New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful photos. I Also, love the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • I always manage to cut myself when trying to eat hardshell crab mostly because I am useless at most things and hand me a sharp implement and I will cut myself on it (soup spoons included) – I agree with you though I would take crab over lobster most days. Like Claudia says we have soft shell crabs here which means I don;t get hurt! I love the colours in your photos here :) Happy Year of the Rooster!ReplyCancel

  • I can see myself seriously enjoying this dishReplyCancel

  • Lee

    I think that in New England you can easily get Jonah Crabs, which are closer to Dungeness in flavor and appearance than the Blue Claws, and easier to get the meat out.
    I look forward to trying this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • I’m someone who thinks that opening crabs properly requires talent (as I still have never managed to do it myself), so double well done on this amazing dish. It looks delicious! xxReplyCancel

Matcha Portuguese Egg Tarts | bettysliu.comHi friends! Did you have a lovely holiday? I unplugged a bit during the holidays and spent some quality time with my parents in California, and it was a pretty nice way to rest and recuperate after the holiday craze. This is my first post of 2017, and part of me still cannot believe it’s already mid-late January, and I’ll be heading to my first workshop of 2017 this weekend! Where did time go?! All my not-so-carefully laid plans of travel posts (I owe this blog Scotland + Iceland.. eek!), 2016 reflection post will still come, but maybe not so chronologically.

Matcha Portuguese Egg Tarts | bettysliu.com

Alright, who has had one of these beauties before? Not this matcha version – the delightful egg custard tart with specks of black on the shiny surface surrounded by a super flaky crust? I’ve eaten these pretty much non-stop since I was a child. The Portuguese egg tart is another Asian bakery treat I absolutely could not resist, and this extends to current adult-life, too. Read that statement again – yup, Portuguese tart, Asian bakery. Portuguese egg tarts are indeed found in its namesake country, although I’d never had the treat myself, but apparently it is speckled with cinnamon and is encased in this beautiful puff pastry crust. The type of egg tart I’m talking about somehow made its way to Macao, which formed its own adaptation of Portuguese-style egg tart, and then it migrated to Hong Kong and became wildly popular, to the point that even the Asian bakeries in the US have these egg tarts as a standard offering (something I am grateful for). Read more »

  • These are just gorgeous! I’ve been using my Vitamix like crazy lately, but have always steered away from using it to make delicate custards or aioli. BUT! You’ve given me courage. Here’s to a great 2017 filled with more travel and great things ahead for you, Betty.ReplyCancel

  • I’ve never had portuguese egg tarts, but they sound amazing! I love everything matcha, and the sweet custard filling sounds like the perfect place for it. Also, my mind is blown by that new Vitamix! I’ve wanted a vitmaix for years (keep putting it off because I tell myself I can wait until my current blender dies), and now I think I need one of these with the clear lid (so smart!).

    Also also, what a genius way to make puff pastry! Rolling it up seems so much easier and more foolproof than folding it again and again. Will have to give this method a try!ReplyCancel

  • What a set of gorgeous photos! Wanna try those tarts noooow!ReplyCancel

  • i’ve made hk style dan tats, and they came out so delicious, even on try 1. portuguese dan tats on the other hand, not so much. i’ve been too insistent on trying to use storebought, but no matter what i do (prick it with a fork, cook the custard longer on the stovetop, etc), the puff pastry poofs and the custard goes flying everywhere all over the oven. sigh. all that to say, will be trying this puff pastry recipe asap!!ReplyCancel

  • I’m so glad you had some time to unplug Betty! You are such a wizard, teaching me with every post you make about things I’ve never heard of before – like these tarts! They are so pretty and sound creative + mega delicious too. Plus, those colors <3 <3 <3.ReplyCancel

  • confession: i have never made laminated dough from scratch. i’m too scared!!! these egg tarts look BOMB though. i’m going to portugal in may and i already have about a dozen pastel de nata bakeries on my list! xoReplyCancel

  • Betty, these matcha egg tarts are GORGEOUS. I have a weak spot for egg tarts, especially when they’re still slightly warm! I’ve tried making egg tarts at home before, but the flaky crust was definitely the trickiest part. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am definitely going to try this soon!ReplyCancel

  • Pastel de nata are incredible (especially when they are still a bit warm from the oven) so I was a little skeptical when I saw the photo of the tarts. But, I loved reading your personal history with the tarts and how they are widely familiar in Asian bakeries. Plus, the recipe sounds delightful and you’ve offered such a subtle spin on a classic. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Lani

    Hi! These look fabulous! I don’t think I read what the oven temperature is to bake them?ReplyCancel

  • Seeing these brings me right back to my honeymoon, when we spent about a week in Lisbon. Every cafe that we popped into had such a beautiful display of the Portuguese egg tarts, and every single time I prompted my husband to eat one for me and tell me how good it was. This is the sad part of not eating gluten! Your matcha version, with that perfectly crisp layered crust, is just beyond beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Can I just say that you have the best recipes, Betty!! I never cease to be amazed when I swing by your site. This is so so SO impressive. I mean…really!! <3ReplyCancel

  • So glad you got some time to unplug! I’m looking forward to your photos from your travels to Scotland and Iceland. :) I love how delicate, bright, and happy these little egg tarts are – and the matcha is such a wonderful touch!ReplyCancel

  • Can’t wait for your posts on Iceland! I love these – egg tarts are one of my favourite treats and pairing with match makes them even more amazingReplyCancel

  • Sonia

    What a beautiful blog! Thanks to a vitamix email I might not have come across your site. Already added to my “favorites”!ReplyCancel

  • can i cry pls, these tarts are AMAZING. i have so many childhood memories of eating these guys – and i LOVE the matcha version. totally cute and i love the lamination betty! XxReplyCancel

  • Thank you for sharing this super quick way of making tarts! It’s so talented!ReplyCancel

Five Spice Pomegranate Mulled Wine | bettysliu.comHello, friends! As we round up 2016, I thought I’d share a warm, delicious drink to ring in the New Year. It’s been a crazy year of ups and downs, and I promise, a sort-of-reflection post will be coming soon as I muse about the past, present, and future of this blog. I never had mulled wine until this October at the Montreal workshop, where we finished our last evening together with rounds of mulled wine. The warm, spiced drink captivated me and I knew this was something that I would make for the holidays. I was gifted two giant (grapefruit-sized) pomegranates, and slowly this combination of spices and pomegranate came to mind. To combat the tart-sweet of the pomegranate and obligatory citrus, I infused a classic combination of spices – Chinese five spice: fennel seeds, cloves, sichuan peppercorn, star anise, and Chinese cinnamon (cassia bark). OK. I admit, I was out of cassia bark, so I just used cinnamon sticks, and I liked the warmth that brought, but feel free to use whichever you have on hand.

Five Spice Pomegranate Mulled Wine | bettysliu.com

Are you sick of the giveaways yet? I think I went a little overboard, but all of these giveaways I truly love, use, and wholeheartedly recommend. If I could, I would give everyone a set of these. Anyway, with the last post of 2016 I have a last giveaway from Staub, a cast iron company I have used since the early days of this blog. On my stovetop I always have a Staub piece, whether it be a skillet, rice cooker, dutch oven, or this essential french oven I’m giving away.

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  • I am feeling this mulled wine. Love that it’s naturally sweetened. Way easier to make than individual cocktails. Also, I’ll be dreaming of that cast iron all week long.ReplyCancel

  • Aaah, your photos are so beautiful Betty, it always feels so comfortable :) And I love the sugar free version of mulled vine, definitely trying it out, thank you for sharing.

    All the best in 2017!

  • Safe journey home, Betty. Your work is so moving and inspires me to experiment and push the edges with my own work. Cheers and Happy New Year! Yvonne :)ReplyCancel

  • What a stunning photography! Profound and moody colors. The Mulled wine looks so inviting.ReplyCancel

  • Yay! Those mugs worked perfectly for this recipe! So prettyReplyCancel

  • This mulled wine with its exotic flavors sounds delicious… I love the Staub French Oven too! :)ReplyCancel

  • I love Mulled Wine and this one looks amazing – it’s great to use honey here rather than sugar, and I’m sure those flavours are amazing.ReplyCancel