Ma Vie en Rose: Fairbanks Visitors (Part 2)

Wild Iris that returns every year during the summer–similar to our visitors. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.


While we dined out two nights in a row with the niece and nephew, Kylena and Ethan—when it comes to the BFF (who I’ve dubbed the Romy to my Michelle), we prefer to just be downright at home and eating what I concoct in the kitchen. It’s because we don’t have to be bogged down with having to get ready: putting on make-up, doing the hair, then having to sit in a public setting being socially cognizant of our conversation. We all know how it goes when it comes to spending time with girlfriends: we’d prefer to kick in the comforts of our home wearing leggings and not giving a f@ck about the fact that we’re bloated and had too many glasses of moscato. Our daughters also have the opportunity to spend time being teenage girls: enclosed in the bedroom talking about angsty teenage girl things (basically putting on make-up, and singing).

For me, who grew up an Army brat and having to make new friends every three years, those friendships that span over two decades provides that solidified understanding that you have a person who has watched you evolve through the years. As I’ve gained what I think may be wisdom, I have understood that the quality of friendships has far greater meaning than the quantity. Someone once told me that friendships are similar to circles within circles. You have these circles that represent all the people you know, a circle that represents all your acquaintances, a circle that represents the “drive-throughs”—people who have entered your life and made an impact that lasts with you till the end of times.

Then the smaller inner circle contains your people who have been there through the ugly, the horrible, the happy, the beauty–and what I mean by beauty is surviving the blue eyeshadow, and Aquanet in the 90s.

My inner circle is quite small.

They contain people who understands that life sometimes gets a bit whacky, and whenever we text, it’s as if we picked up from the last time we texted—which could be weeks, or months. There’s a genuine understanding of no tolerance for drama—however, whenever one of us need each other—we never hesitate to have all hands on deck. We have an understanding of who we are, and yet we continue to go on a journey to find out who we are evolving into.

Hence, whenever my person and her daughter visits her home—I always go all out in the kitchen.

Because what better way to celebrate such lifelong friendships than through the beauty and exquisiteness of food?

And, the most important element? Taking the opportunity to teach our daughters about life, and ignoring how they are very similar to us in their eye-rolling method.


A Korean Theme Dinner – sort of.

I had planned for us to go see “Crazy Rich Asians”—because I read the book a few years ago. I’ve been on a Korean food theme kick lately, and I must admit it’s because I became a bit obsessed with that (friggin’) Korean drama “Let’s Eat”—my gosh, I think I’m becoming an “Auntie”—I’m still too young for that.

Regardless, Korean food dinner it was. All the recipes came from the Maangchi


Bolgogi (a recipe I learned from my Dad that he learned while he was stationed in Korea–recipe below)

Oi-Muchim (Cucumber Kimchee)

Gamjajorim (potato side dish)

Alaska Wild Salmon with fennel and lemons (recipe on “Salmon Snob”)

What made the menu “sort of Korean”: Raspberry and chocolate Pavlova (totally Australian). The raspberries were fresh from the Farmers Market.

White Rice—of course.

One of the best parts about this feast? We are all about spending as much time together as possible, and we didn’t care that we ate on paper plates and that rice is still in its pot. Because why spend time doing dishes–when we can sit on the couch and gab non-stop?


Bolgogi, before. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Bolgogi after. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Gamjorim-Korean potato side dish, before. Fresh mini-potatoes from the Fairbanks Farmers Market. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Gamjorim, after. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Cucumber kimchee aka Oi-Muchim, before. Fresh cucumbers from the garden. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Korean Kimchee, oi-muchim–after. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Naked Alaska Salmon. Caught by the Husband on his dip netting trip. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Dressed Alaska Salmon. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
Cooked AF Salmon. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
The Pavlova shell, before. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
The Glorious Pavlova, after. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
I can’t get over her beauty. Darling Pavlova. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
The Korean Food Feast. No one wanted to do dishes–so paper plate it is! August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.
The mini us: the Primadonna and the Belle. August 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.

My Dad’s Bolgogi Recipe

Top sirloin beef sliced into strips: 2-3 pounds

Dark Soy Sauce: 1/2 cup

Sesame Oil: 1/2 cup

Sesame sees: 1/2 cup

Sugar: 1 cup

Salt and pepper: eye ball it!

Green onions: one bunch chopped (set some aside for garnish)

Sweet Onion: 1 large

4-5 tablespoons of oil

Equipment: Wok, and a wooden spoon

  1. Mix the dark soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, salt and pepper until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the green onions, and sweet onions. Mix
  3. Add the beef, and mix until all the marinade is fully incorporated with the beef.
  4. Put the oil in the heated wok.
  5. Pour the meat mixture into a hot wok, and stir until the meat is tender.
  6. Once the meat is cook, pour in a bowl and garnish with the green onions you set aside earlier, and some sesame seeds.



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