December 29, 2010

Blog 1st year anniversary

Last year on this day, Dec. 29, I started this blog after watching the movie Julie & Julia. I was ambitious, and I wanted to update everyday with my bakings. While that didn't happen, and despite taking several long breaks, I am very proud of what I have done with this blog. One year and over 100 posts on foods, life, and football. I can see from my postings how far I've grown in terms of my culinary ability. Brava!

For now, stay tuned for the recipe for the photo above.

December 27, 2010

Christmas Dinner: Coastal Cheddar Mac & Cheese and Spring Rolls


Belated Merry Christmas to everyone! This year I had a very low key Christmas without a big feast. Quite a contrast to Thanksgiving! I didn't have anything planned, and only decided on what to cook around 6pm the night of! I figure after such a huge Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted to keep it simple and quick. Simple it was, but it certainly wasn't quick! We didn't start eating until almost 9pm!

December 22, 2010

Pan Fried Ravioli


I'm usually not a fan of "semi-homemade" things. I much prefer to start everything from scratch, like using fresh tomatoes as opposed to canned tomatoes. However, sometimes when you are pressed for time, a quick elaboration on an already made food is not a bad idea either. I present you our dinner last night, a little twist from the usual water boiled ravioli.

I really need a lesson on food photographing. I don't like my photos at all.


Recipes I want to try

There are just way too many wonderful recipes out there and I can't possibly try them all. I'm going to make a list of recipes I like and hopefully will get to them all eventually!

December 21, 2010

Earl Grey Sponge Cake


At mom's work Christmas dinner last week, her boss, riding on her buzz, wanted me to bake them a cake. I asked her what she liked, she said, not too sweet and no cream. That about eliminated 90% of all cakes no? Well, I decided to turn to my trusted sponge cake recipe from my aunt. This time around, I modified it a little to reduce the sweetness. And as I slowly transform this blog to gain more popularity with online readers, I will post a step by step instruction.

Today's my grandma's birthday, so this one will serve as her birthday cake as well. In fact, the very last time I did this cake, I made it for her birthday too. How fast did this year pass by!

December 19, 2010

Swiss meringue buttercream


These cupcakes were made in November in celebration of Yulee's birthday which I never got around to make a post. I have only made cupcakes a handful of times before and they were all before my great culinary breakthrough. I'm not a fan of the traditional buttercream which is literally butter and frightening amount of powdered sugar. I like whipped cream frosting, but it is difficult to keep outside the fridge for too long. I've used nutella before and just sprinkled some chopped almond. It was quite good, but is limited in flavor creativity. So I'm very happy to have found a new alternative that actually doesn't taste like sugar! Be warned though, it is still extremely high in butter, which makes it tastes oh silky smooth.

December 17, 2010

Christollen

Ich liebe deutsche Weihnachten!!! Do the Germans know Christmas or what?? Well, they certainly know what food to eat during the holiday. Pfeffernüsse and Vanillekipferl can't hold a candle to stollen, or at least this stollen recipe. Remember my Christmas in July post? Well, that doesn't even hold half a candle to this stollen. This not-cake-nor-bread texture tastes just like the store bought version, except it has significantly more flavor than the store bought ones. In fact, this recipe is said to come from Dresden, Germany, the motherland of Stollen.

December 16, 2010

Handmade Soaps


This is my first handmade soap post, and I do hope to post more on this subject in the future. I started to get into soap making back in May when I purchased my first handmade soap from 維爾康天然小舖. It was horribly expensive, $5 for a tiny little soap, but I couldn't resist trying it because the lady was such a good saleswoman. She told me about how her miracle soaps have cured many skin problems. I have a slight obsession with skin products and am always on the hunt for products that will help with my skin issues...mild acne to put it mildly. She said that handmade soaps are without preservatives and other added harmful chemicals. I was completely sold. In all honesty, I really did like the soap I purchased from her, and that one little bar of breast-milk soap lasted more than a few months when I used it as a face wash. Then while I was reading my detox book, the author also warned about the same preservatives and chemicals in everyday beauty products, so I decided that I definitely want to start making soaps myself. I finally made the first batch in October. And since handmade soaps take more than 1 month to mature, I only started using these soaps in late November. I'm very satisfied with the products, at the very least, they work as well as store bought soaps but less the harmful ingredients. I made a few more batches after the first, and my mom gave them out as holiday gifts to her colleagues.

December 15, 2010

Chap Chae (Korean Transparent Noodle)


One of the very few things that I like about being in the US is that you get an abundance of international foods easily accessible. Chap Chae has quickly become a family favorite in the past month after I got this wonderful recipe from Yonza. I love the hard texture of the transparent noodle and the sesame dressing is just fantastic. This is a step-by-step instruction for Nick.

Christmas in a basket Teil II


I'm here to reveal the final two treats in my treat basket for the gift exchange: truffles! While some cookies are dubbed with the names Christmas cookies, it is the truffles that usually flood your supermarkets during this season. Last Christmas it took us a whole month to gobble down 3 delicious boxes of fine Belgium chocolates.

December 13, 2010

December 12, 2010

Christmas in a basket Teil I



Last Tuesday I had a gift exchange at work, and I took the opportunity to try out several new recipes. Since it's a holiday gift exchange, I want everything to be Christmas specials. I've done a lot of Italian recipes in the past, and Spain doesn't offer much Christmas sweets, so I turned to my third love, Germany, for some delicious inspirations.