I’ve always loved surprises, though I don’t think I’ve ever told this to anyone. It’s a little secret I’ve held between my ribcage and my lungs and my heart. The idea of someone going to considerable effort to surprise me with something that will (hopefully) bring me great joy is thrilling. I haven’t had many surprises in my lifetime (yet!), but this birthday week (the day itself was last Thursday) came replete with a singular and literally very large surprise.

Many of you will remember the saga of my downstairs neighbor Alice, who was nearing the end of her life over the past few months. And some of you may also remember my last post about her, about our final visit, and the discovery of her piano. I sat and played for her that day, and for the first time in months, she seemed to come alive. The music elicited all kinds of images—she told me she saw horses, and neighborhoods, and people having block parties. Her last words to me, as I walked out the door into the LA heat that day, were, “Little by little, I want you to get that piano into your apartment.”

Read more and get the recipe here.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Red Grapefruit Buttercream Filling  

These cookies combine the sweet and tangy flavors of red grapefruit and buttery shortbread with a savory touch of fresh rosemary. They are filled with a smooth red grapefruit buttercream for a creamy and crumbly combination in each bite.


30 minutes prep, 20 minutes baking.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon Paramount Citrus red grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons Paramount Citrus red grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon Paramount Citrus red grapefruit zest
Pinch of salt


1. Add the 1 cup of butter and ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until combined and then increase the speed to medium-high. Cream for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

2. Mix in the tablespoon of grapefruit zest, rosemary, salt and vanilla.

3. With the mixer on medium, mix in the flour, about ½ cup at a time, until all ingredients are combined.

4. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough on a floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Cut the cookies in 2-inch circles. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cookies are firm. Let cool for one minute and then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

7. To make the filling, add the 1 ½ cups of confectioner’s sugar and ½ cup of butter to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to low and mix for 1 minute. Turn to high and beat for 3 minutes until light and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

8. Turn the mixer to medium and add the grapefruit juice and milk. Turn to high and beat until combined. Mix in the grapefruit zest and salt.

9. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag. Flip 14 of the cooled cookies upside down on a flat surface. Pipe an equal about of filling (about 1 tablespoon) over each of the cookies. Top each with a second cookie to create a cookie sandwich and serve.

Copycat Cosmic Brownie Recipe


For the brownies:

  • ¾ cup Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ flour

For the topping:

  • 1 ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini m&ms

How to make them:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil. Spray with non stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, melt butter in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
3. Whisk in sugars, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Then whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.
4. Add flour gradually, until combined.
5. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
6. Heat heavy cream in a medium sauce pan. Add chocolate chips. Stir occasionally until smooth.
7. Pour ganache over brownies. Smooth with an offset spatula.
8. Sprinkle with M&Ms. Refrigerate until the ganache has set.

Recipe credit:

Sugar Cookie Cheesecake

Ingredients for the crust:

  • Sugar Cookies (Crush up store bought or you can bake your own)
  • 5 tbsp Melted Butter
  • 2 tbsp Sugar

Instructions for the crust:

  • Melt butter and set aside.
  • Crush up cookies into find crumbs for two cups of crumbs.
  • In a bowl - mix together crumbs, butter, and sugar until well blended.
  • Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch round pan.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until done.
  • Set aside and let cool.

Ingredients for the batter:

  • 2 lbs Cream Cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup sprinkles

Instructions for the batter:

  • Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat until creamy.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, and sugar - mix well.
  • Mix in the sprinkles now.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared crush.
  • Sprinkle some of the sprinkles on top.
  • Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees for one hour until done.
  • The cheesecake with be slightly golden and set, but will jiggle in the middle a bit.
  • Let cool completely and remove from pan or leave in the pan.
  • Enjoy!
4th of July Double Berry Cream Pie!

Though I could never blindly declare that all our nation’s woes were suddenly absolved, I will say this: It’s been an ok week to be an American. Last Friday’s gay marriage ruling was a massive victory for so many I love. Though I’m not affected by it directly, I feel one step closer to a nation that truly acts on its supposed belief in equality.

Growing up in Hawaii, I’ve long been awake to the weight of privilege. I was a foreigner in a land that white people once attacked and colonized, a land that still caters to white privilege as much as it disdains it. I grew up feeling, for lack of a better word, other. With my red-hair and white skin, I didn’t stand a chance at fitting in. I was mocked for my appearance, and learned that being made to feel different felt, well, awful.

At the same time, though, I also learned a humility and understanding of my place in the world much different than if I had grown up on the mainland. Even still, my experience as a minority is nothing like that of people of color around the world, or those who experience minority status in other ways. 

Read more and get the recipe here.