I’ve been a little homesick lately. Now don’t get me wrong–I LOVE my new city. I first publicly declared it here. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my old home. Oakland was my residence for over 4 years. Perhaps not a long time for some, but for me, (the type of person who can’t sit still in one place for too long) Oakland was the closest thing I had to a permanent home in my adult years.

When I decided to move out of the Bay Area, I left behind a group of friends I like to call my second family. The faces I met at the various jobs I worked, the classmates I met in culinary school, and the friends I was lucky to reconnect with from high school. Those people are my family. I hold them so dearly to heart, I miss them every day.

Another big part of Oakland that I miss is the food. The Bay Area has a plethora of amazing restaurants. I was lucky enough to work in a few of them, as well as befriend some folks who did as well. One of the best restaurants in Oakland (in my humble opinion) is Ramen Shop. The restaurant hosts some of the best ramen I’ve had in the States. But one of the menu items I still can’t get out of my head is their dessert. Particularly, their Black Sesame Ice Cream Sandwich (with brown sugar cookies).

It’s a delicious pairing–like a vanilla-hued, silk-blend Stella McCartney pantsuit with nude strappy leather Céline heels. It’s a delicate match of toasted and creamy.


I’ve made a few attempts at recreating this recipe, and the one I’m sharing with you tastes as close to the original that I could construct. If you ever find yourself in the East Bay, you’ve got to try out Ramen Shop. And for those of you (us) that aren’t, test out my recipe below to hold you over until then.


Black Sesame Ice Cream Sandwiches
Yields 6 sandwiches

Black Sesame Seed Ice Cream
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Turn 12 cookies face up onto the countertop. Using an ice cream scoop, take 1/2 cup of ice cream and place each scoop onto 6 of the cookies. Using an offset spatula, spread evenly to the edges. Top the ice cream with a second cookie and press down to adhere. Freeze until solid, about an hour.

Blue Gene, Baby


Avoid those harmful chemicals with store-bought food dyes and make your own!


Once upon a time, I used to buy store-bought food coloring. SMH. Not the proudest moment in my life. But I really had no idea what harmful chemicals were used in these dyes. After educating myself, I did a little research and found that you could make your own food dye. At home. And it’s super simple. Here’s how:


Homemade (and all-natural!) Blue Food Coloring
Recipe adapted from Whole New Mom
Yields about 1 cup

Half head of red cabbage
Water to cover
1 tablespoon baking soda

Rinse the cabbage and cut out the core.

Chop into large dice. (Chopping them into relatively the same sizes will cook them evenly.)

Place the chopped cabbage into a small- to medium-sized pot and add water just to cover the cabbage.

Turn heat to medium-high and simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat after fully cooked down and then let sit for another 5 minutes.

Once slightly cooled, drain cabbage “juice” into a bowl. The resulting juice will be deep purple in color–that’s what you want!

Once drained, your drained red cabbage juice will look like this.

Once drained, your red cabbage juice will look like this.

In the bowl, add the baking soda and stir. Your purple “juice” is now blue!

After adding the baking soda, it'll now look like this!

After adding the baking soda, it’ll now look like this!

(Cook’s note: If you’re using this food coloring into something that you’ll be eating, be cautious of how much baking soda you’re adding, as it is the alkaline agent that actually changes the color of the liquid to blue.)

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