Sunday, May 31, 2009

Suppenkuche, Paulette, and Rive Gauche

To celebrate a good friends birthday, today we met up at Suppenkuche, where hardly an item on the menu was pronounceable. Though its hearty German fare, if I were a server, I'd surely get a kick out of people trying to order. Or maybe it would get old after a while?

A couple lighter items on the menu..Musli with yogurt and berries, and some brandied raisin pancakes.

A stop by Paulette was a must. I ordered two dozen macarons! :) For my mom's birthday dinner, we dined at Left Bank. Dinner was a bit disappointing, but that's what french macarons are for! We were only able to polish off a little more than half of them. And of course they're arranged in a rainbow... all OCD like.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cheesecake double vision

I decided to bake not one, but two cheesecakes. The first is my tried and true recipe I've been using that incorporates condensed milk. Who doesn't love some ooey gooey rich and creamy sweet artery clogging condensed milk? I like my cheesecakes dense, and the condensed milk definitely lends itself to that cause. You won't find any ricotta or sour cream here! I mixed a bit of Nutella in with some reserved batter to make a pretty design.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back from the Big Apple

The Internet finally decided to cooperate. And by cooperate, I mean I had to troubleshoot my connection, which ended up being a reset router, which my computer refused to connect to wirelessly until I re-ran a wizard. 2 hours and a headache later...

Though NYC was hot and at times muggy and humid, it reassured me of one thing. I heart my friend Janers who loves food just as much as I do. Who else will force-feed you Food Network's best rated pizza at 3am, when you're sick to your stomach and know it will all just come up again anyways? Now that's love.

There were lots of sights and bites to be had... and though I've put myself on a budget, we were able to take a decent bite out of the Big Apple.

Lemon Yummy cupcake at Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery

NYC Hiatus

I'm back from NYC, Internet at home has gone kaput, and yesterday after being awake since 5AM EST (2AM PST), I wasn't about to call AT&T to give them a piece of my frazzled mind.

I'll update with posts from NYC soon! It was good friends, good food, good fun (in 85 degree heat w/ humidity... blech).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Banana crumb muffins

Tonight I made some banana crumb muffins for the knitting group. I had a few bananas that were too ripe for my liking, and got rid of my loaf pan, so I figured these muffins with their crunchy streusel topping would be perfect.

Banana crumb muffin recipe

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sugary sweet palmiers

Wendy mentioned on Sunday that she really liked palmiers (aka elephant ears) and didn't believe me when I told her how ridiculously easy they are. So I came over for dinner and for dessert we rolled out some sugary palmiers.

Palmier [pahlm-YAY] is french for palm tree; aptly named because these cookies resemble palm fronds. Since I absolutely refuse to make pâte feuilletée aka laminate dough aka puff pastry without a pastry sheeter, we used an easy alternative: Trader Joe's frozen puff pastry. Now this stuff is a whole lot better than the Pepperidge Farm stuff; if you look at the ingredients its just butter, sugar, and flour. When it comes to pastries, what else do you need in the world?

More sugar! Or at least that's what we used. Rolled in sugar and then rolled onto itself, the palmiers were a snap to whip up. We baked them at 400 degrees for 7.5 minutes on one side, flipped them over and baked for another 7.5 minutes. They came out of the oven sweet, crunchy, and perfect.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mu shu for one

I feel a bit bad about not posting pictures of my weekend mishaps. Bloggers remorse? Though this post doesn't quite fit under the sweet treat category, I hope it makes up for it.

So I have portion control problems. No, I don't mean I heap copious amounts of food on my plate and proceed to shovel it into my mouth heathen-style. I can't seem to cook for one. I can only cook for a family of six. Perhaps its the genealogy? Asians do have a tendency to host events revolving around food. I have childhood memories of family get-togethers where, even if you're stuffed to full capacity, there's always an auntie shoveling more food on your plate.

When it comes to feeding myself, I don't care to cook. I live to feed. I'm sure it can be psychoanalyzed as acceptance issues tracing back to my mother (isn't everything?) for whatever reason. I'm content with a quesadilla, a quick sandwich, a salad thrown together on a whim. I only put in the effort when I have company.

Or at least I used to. I've slowly learned to cook for one. Well okay, I lie. I still have portion issues, but that's what freezers are for right?

Tonight I developed a new strategy after pacing the kitchen staring down a pound package of chicken tenders. Well, a pound of chicken and one dish, and I'd be eating the same leftovers for six days. Tempting... really. I decided to use half of it to make some mu shu chicken with some homemade pancakes, and used the rest in a chicken tortilla soup (without the tortilla). It wasn't that much extra work since I used some of the same veggies. At least both dishes satiate my food attention deficit disorder.

Mu Shu Chicken:

Chicken Tortilla Soup:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The sharper your knife...

For mothers day I baked a cheesecake and a pound cake drizzled with chocolate. I think I've just been mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted lately, and its taking its toll. While baking the cheesecake, I fell asleep and it overcooked. The pound cake ended up having a muffin-like consistency. Perhaps it was the new cake flour I'm using? Not sure. Nevertheless, I was 0 for 2 this mother's day weekend, so no pictures I'm proud enough to share.

I'm reading "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry" loaned to me by a coworker. Its the tale of a corporate exec who loses her job and pursues the culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu. Seems so familiar. ;)

Anyways, the author recounts how a chef there told her that people are like bread. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and its true. Bread comes in different flavors, shapes, and sizes. Like bread, often times we need to be punched down. We need to be kneaded/needed. Some of us harbor a thick crusty exterior protecting the soft interior. Sometimes we need to be coaxed along, and other times we need to be left alone. However, like bread we all need warmth to rise.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chocolate velvet cupcakes part deux

Tonight I whipped up some more "chocolate velvet" cupcakes. This time I decided to dip them in a runny chocolate ganache and decorate them with buttercream roses.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit out of practice w/ roses and the buttercream was melting too quickly for my liking. I decided to make some mini-cupcakes too; everything its cuter in miniature form.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Scones and smoking honey goose

Its Friday night, and I have a couple of hours to kill before going out. What to do? Bake! I decided to make some chocolate chip scones. Tea and a scone sounded like a wonderful treat for a cozy night in. Or rather, in my case, something to nosh on before heading out for a night on the town. Luckily they freeze well, so after a long night, I was able to throw a couple in the oven for a nice late breakfast.

The recipe is called Lily's Scones, another tried and true recipe from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.

After a grueling 50 mile bike ride in Napa for Tour de Cure on Sunday, I stopped by Ranch 99 to pick up some groceries and ran into this:

I'm Asian, and quite frankly... sometimes I really don't get whats going on in Asian super markets when it comes to the person ranting over the PA system, or odd signs that don't really help you figure out what exactly they're selling. Well at least the honey goose sounds happy.