Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Trick-or-Sweet

I threw a small Halloween food party this past weekend with my roommate. We had green tea cupcakes, pumpkin butter shortbread, cheesecake brownies, caramel apples, and lychee (pictures below).

My mom was awesome and knitted me the sweater from Coraline (the movie) using the pattern from the official website. Then I sewed on the stars and made a dragonfly barrette to complete the outfit. Then on Wednesday we carved pumpkins, and I made the cat from the movie to go along with my outfit:

Here's what I made for the party.

Frankenstein Green Tea Cupcakes

with chocolate buttercream hair and white chocolate chip eyes

Cheesecake Brownies

Red Wine Caramel Apples

Pumpkin Butter Shortbread Sandwiches

Lychee and Blueberry/Raspberry Eyeballs

Sorry for the poor photo quality; I was in a rush.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


My awesome cousin Kimi made a mention of my blog in her entry here! It's got a recipe for No Knead Bread, which is about the easiest time you'll ever have making anything if you read the recipe and then watch the video. She also included some other tips about the details (from me) and variations on it (all her).

My roommate sent me a link the other week to a website called the Black Cab Sessions. It's got a bunch of videos of indie artists who have come to England and are then filmed singing a song while sitting in the back of a moving cab. The idea is extremely cool, and very well executed. I would highly recommend watching My Morning Jacket. The lead singer, Jim James, has an absolutely incredible voice. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Carrot Mac and Cheese

When I was younger, I never liked cheese by itself- something about the smell and the texture just weirded me out. But nowadays, I can never get enough- especially if it's mac and cheese! When I saw this recipe in Food and Wine, it intrigued me because it was such a different take on "healthy" mac and cheese.
I do have to say, my first attempt at the recipe — minus tarragon, and with more cheese — was way too bland and carroty/orange-y (yes, it called for juice and zest from an orange). This time, I nixed the orange, added half an onion with the carrots, and made sure to put in plenty of salt. The result? Not bad at all!
I'm also including a song in this post, because a few weeks ago I remembered Epitonic, this website that I used to visit regularly in high school. They posted all this awesome indie music for you to listen to and download, along with an in-depth description of the band and suggestions of similar artists. This was the place where I first discovered Spoon, who is now one of my favorite bands. The website is pretty much defunct and very difficult to navigate properly (it died shortly after they redesigned it), but the music is still up there. I browsed through and got a whole bunch of new music, but this one in particular jumped out at me.
Etienne de Rocher - Out to Sea. (Artist page here.)

Carrot Macaroni and Cheese

(adapted from Food and Wine)
  • 3 medium or large carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced
  • zest (in large strips) and juice of one small navel orange (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups penne rigate or other short pasta
  • 6 to 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (optional)

- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- In a medium saucepan, combine carrots, onion, orange zest/juice, and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the carrots are soft. Discard the zest, then puree the rest of the mixture in a blender until smooth.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 to 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Return the pasta to the pot, along with the carrot puree and water, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the pasta is coated with a thickened sauce, about five minutes.
- Stir in 3/4 of your cheese and cook, stirring, until creamy, about two to three minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and tarragon.
- Transfer the pasta to a medium baking dish and top off with the rest of the cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let stand for five minutes before serving.

Enjoy! I will probably be making a post for zucchini bread some time soon, after I make it this weekend.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chocolate-Haupia Pies

Here's the recipe for the Chocolate Haupia mini pies I made on Valentine's Day.

Perfect Pie Crust

(adapted from The New Best Recipe)
makes 7-8 mini pie crusts, or one 9-inch pie crust
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice water

- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt, and sugar together.  Add the butter in pieces, either pulsing in a food processor or mixing in with fingertips, until the mixture is a pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with the butter bits no larger than small peas.
- Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture.  With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix.  Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if the dough will not come together.  Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic , and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if it's been more than 1 hour, let it sit until it's malleable).  Flour your work surface and slowly roll the dough with a pin by rolling a quarter turn of the disk with your right hand, then turning the dough on the surface and repeating the motion.  Continue to turn your dough and flatten it in quarters until it is 8 to 9 inches in diameter, then lift it up onto your rolling pin and place it upside down.
- If you're making mini pies, roll your dough out in length another few inches, then cut out circles with about a 4" diameter.  Remove the circles and press them into muffin tins by draping them over the top and lifting the edges to ease the dough into the lower creases of the tin.  Trim the excess edges and crimp with a fork if desired.  Re-roll the rest of the dough and cut out more 4" circles.
- If you're making one 9" pie crust, roll your flattened circle out another 3-4" wider than your pie plate.  Roll the dough into your pin again and unroll it evenly over your pie place.  Life the edges of the dough and ease it down into the lower creases of the pan.  Trim the overhanging dough and crimp the edgeswith your finger or a fork.
- Refrigerate your dough-lined plate or muffin tin until firm, about 40 minutes, then transfer to the freezer for an additional 20 minutes.  (This sounds ridiculous, but Best Recipe gives a good reason for it.  Refrigerating the dough relaxes the gluten so the crust doesn't shrink during the baking, and freezing it helps make the dough flaky.)
- Preheat your oven to 375*F.  Remove your pie crust from the freezer and line the crust(s) with heavy-duty foil both inside and over the shell, folding the edges of the foil to shield the edge of the crust.  Distribute pie weights, pennies, rice, or beans along the bottom (fill the entire inside of the shell if you are using rice or beans, since they are lighter).
- Bake the crusts until the dough looks dry and light in color, 25-30 minutes.  Carefully remove the foil and weights by gathering the corners of the foil and pulling up and out.  For a partially baked crust (if you're using a filling that you are baking again later), continue baking until light golden brown, another 5-6 minutes.  For a fully baked crust (which is what I used for this refrigerated-filling pie), continue baking until deep golden brown, another 12 minutes.  Transfer the crust(s) to a wire rack.

As for the pie filling, I just used instant Jello Chocolate Pudding mix, Coconut Gelatin mix from the Asian grocery store, and Cool Whip.  However, to make a truly authentic and homemade version, follow the recipe posted here Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's day sweets

Even though Valentine's day is supposed to be a day for lovers, I like to indulge in the cheesiness and spread the cheer around. So this year I had a party and made a LOT of sweets. Here's what I made:

Chocolate Haupia (coconut pudding) Mini Pies

Strawberry Shortcakes

Shortbread Hearts

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Guava Buttercream Frosting

Recipes to follow in subsequent entries. If you're dying for a particular one right now, let me know; I'll be happy to post it.