food Archives

January 30, 2007


In honor of this weekend's superbowl, here is a recipe for one of my favorite cocktails - one I always associate with Miami, the Mojito!

I've tried many variations, but the Cucumber Lavender Mojito is currently my fave. If you can get past the initial "perfumey" taste, this is really a refreshing drink.

Cucumber Lavender Mojito
1 1/2 oz. Rum
8 Mint Leaves and Sprig
½ Lime
2 tbs. Simple Syrup
Club Soda
½ Cucumber
dried Lavender
Lavender Flower

Muddle mint leaves and lime in a tall glass.
Cover with simple syrup and fill glass with ice.
Add rum and club soda.
Top with cucumber slices and lavender.
Stir well or shake.
Garnish with spiraled cucumber or lavender flower.

March 10, 2007

Peer, Pera, Poire...

Mmm, I love pears. I don't know if pears are in season right now, but recently it keeps popping up in my life...

•Was invited to dinner at my sister's for my bro-in-law's birthday. Whacked my brain trying to think of a present or something appropriate to bring to dinner, running late and in a panic, I picked up the first thing I saw in the cooler at the liquor store, a case of beer...only later found out I did not buy beer, but a variety pack of Woodchuck Draft Cider. One of the flavors was Pear. It kicks ass. Woodchuck Draft Pear Cider is now a staple in my fridge.

•Made a trip to Costco for bottled water and toilet paper, ended up with a 5lb bag of D'anjou pears instead

•Flipped thru my March 2007 issue of Food & Wine and came across an ad for the new Grey Goose Le Poire (Pear + Vodka = Mighty Fine Martini!!!)

Grey Goose Peartini
2 parts Grey Goose La Poire Flavored Vodka
1/4 part Disaronno Originale
1/4 part simple syrup
1/2 part lemon juice
Pear slice

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass and present with a pear slice.

•Cleaning out the liquor cabinet, I noticed a forgotten bottle of Poire William, pear brandy . Got it over a year ago, it’s a lovely bottle with an actual pear inside.
It smells heavenly, only thing is it doesn’t really mix well in a mixed drink and we could never think of anything else to do with it. Well quelle surprise, this morning on Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa, Ina prepared a Pear Clafouti and one of the main ingredients is pear brandy – Poire William to be exact!

May 28, 2007

Get Thee to a Creperie

My fondest memories of of Paris are not of my Bateaux Mouches cruise down La Seine, my visits to Le Louvre, Le Musee d'Orsay or ascending to the top of La Tour Eiffelle. Nope, my fondest Paris memories are of our many visits to creperies, which literally could be found on every street corner.

For me, nothing says Paris like une crepe au chocolat avec banane, tres yummy!

Here is one of my favorite pictures from the 400+ I took on the trip - it speaks for itself.


They're fairly easy to make. Its basically Nutella and sliced banannas slathered on a thin pancake and folded into fourths, garnished with a generous topping of powdered sugar and served in waxed paper - the ultimate street food.

Preparing the actual crepe pancakes however, require a little bit of work:

4 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.

Bon Apetit!

June 7, 2007

How do the French say YUMMY?

Favorite French memory #2: getting lost leaving Le Louvre... completely famished. Then happening upon the cutest cafe, Cafe de La Comedie Francais on Rue George V. With tiny, sidewalk tables facing the street - honestly one of the best places to people watch in Paris, we lucked out with a back row, corner table. Only a glass partition to my left separated me from the front entrance of the Four Seasons George V (talk about beautiful, shiny, people!).

The waiter greeted us in French, but then I asked him for "La menu, s'il vous plait", and without hesitating he immediately started to speak to us in English.

Although the weather was beautiful, it was still slightly chilly so I ordered a "chocolat chaud", while my sweety ordered une "bier" (we never did figure out how to say "on tap" in French).

I also ordered une Croque Polaine [basically an open-faced croque monsier, on Polaine (sourdough bread) with a fried egg on top], he ordered a simple Baguette avec jambon et fromage.

Looks tres yummy, non?


June 12, 2007

Straight Up! in how I like my Martinis. I've been eyeing a supersleek set of stainless steel martini glasses.

If I ever get a set, I know exactly what I'll serve in them:

From Bon Appetit magazine (June 2007)

Ginger Lime Cosmopolitan
2 servings

1 lime, quartered
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup citrus-flavored vodka
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated peeled ginger
1 cup ice
2 lime slices

Run 1 lime quarter around rims of 2 Martini glasses. Place 3 tablespoons sugar on small plate. Dip rims into sugar. Place all lime quarters, 1 tablespoon sugar, vodka, lime juice, and ginger in cocktail shaker. Mash with muddler or end of wooden spoon until lime weges are crushed. Add ice; shake well. Strain mixture between prepared glasses, garnish with lime slices, and serve.


June 26, 2007

Hey There Babycakes...

Nothing says "I heart you" like cupcakes. And this past Sunday I said "I heart you" to my dear friend and former co-worker Lee and his beautiful (hate her), sweet-as-a-peach fiancee, Kathy with two dozen yummy cupcakes!

I volunteered to bring a dessert dish for a farewell party for the happy couple before their move to Greenville, SC. As usual, I waited till the very last minute before I could think of what to bring and I decided on my trusty old, Tiramisu Toffee Torte recipe!


Tiramisu Toffee Torte**
from the Pillsbury: Best of the Bake-off Cookbook
(**this recipe is for a torte, but I adjusted accordingly to turn this into cupcakes). I've received tons of compliments with this recipe.

1 (1lb. 2.5oz) pkg. Pudding-included white cake mix
1 cup strong coffee, room temperature
4 egg whites
4 (1.4 oz) toffee candy bars, very finely chopped (for convenience I use “Heath Bits” found in the chocolate chip section)

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
1/2 (8oz) pkg. (4oz) cream cheese, softened
2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup strong coffee, room temperature (I use 1/2 cup coffee, 1/2 cup Kahlua instead to give it that oomph!)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-8 inch round cake pans. In large bowl, combine cake mix, 1 cup coffee and egg whites at low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Fold in chopped toffee bars. Spread batter in greased and floured pans.

Bake at 350°F. Bake 9-inch pans 20 to 30 minutes, bake 8-inch pans 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

In medium bowl, combine sugar, chocolate syrup (use less sugar if desired, because it can become too sweet w/ the addition of the chocolate syrup) and cream cheese; beat until smooth. Add whipping cream and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy (peaks will form). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To assemble cake, slice each layer in half horizontally to make 4 layers. Drizzle each cut side with 1/4 cup coffee (or coffee/Kahlua mix). Place 1 layer coffee side up on serving plate; spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with second and third cake layers. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with chopped toffee. Store in refrigerator.

Buono Appetito.

July 6, 2007

Red, White, & Blueberry...

Browsing for kitchen gadgets one day at and came across this mini cheesecake pan. Crazy for anything "mini", I immediately ordered one.... and then it sat.... for over a year...untouched... in my pantry.

Decided to make a cheesecake for a family gathering the other day, and while reaching for my springform pan, I found my mini cheesecake pan. I had forgotten that I had it.

I've been on a mini cheesecake baking binge ever since.....


Super Easy Mini Cheesecake Recipe
(a combination of different recipes found online)
1 C. graham cracker crumbs
2 T. brown sugar
1/3 stick melted

Combine well - fill the twelve cups of the mini pan with 1 1/2 tablespoons of crumb mixture, press bottoms and come halfway up the sides

1 eight oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/4 C. sugar
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon zest

Using an electric mixer, blend softened cream cheese, egg, vanilla, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a medium bowl. Spoon cream cheese mixture evenly into the twelve cups of the pan (only 1/2 full).

Bake 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and place on rack to let cool for 15 minutes. Use sharp knife to loosen sides. Remove cheesecakes from pan and cool completely.

Top with favorite toppings (I used cherry and blueberry pie filling). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bon Apetit!

August 19, 2007

Let's Chaat

Indian food is probably my second favorite ethnic cuisine after Persian. Since I've fallen off of the low-carb wagon, I've been seriously indulging in chaat samosas.... can you blame me?

(image belongs to Seattle Bon Vivant)

Chaat samosa is a heavenly concoction of one or two veggie samosas, topped with yogurt, chutney, onions, cilantro, mint sauce and tomtato!

It's something about the crispy samosa and it's mushy filling and the crunchiness of the onions and the sweetness from the chutney, the heat of the curry and the cooling yogurt... bliss!

The farmers market down the street sells really good prepared samosas in their buffet bar so, technically, I could easily make this at home - but I also happen to live in an area with authentic Indian restaurants (where Indians actually eat there) on every corner... I'll leave it to the experts.

September 11, 2007


Chocolate Chip Cheesecake... 'nuff said.

Promised a coworker I'd bake him a batch of my mini-cheesecakes. I've grown tired of the fruit topped variety I've been making all summer, so I thought I'd try something new.

Hit the grocery store for supplies and inspiration and then I saw it... what better addition to my mini-cheesecakes than mini chocolate chips! Nestle's Tollhouse Mini Morsels, to be exact. Oh so cute!

So using my Superr Easy Cheesecake recipe (linked above), I substituted chocolate grahams for regular, and omitted the lemon zest and juice and added a 1/4 cup of mini chips. Furthermore, before adding the mini chips, I tossed them in a little bit of flour to prevent the chips from falling to the bottom when baking - a tip I picked up from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Gartner (love, love her!).


Of course, I may have royally ruined the recipe with the addition of the flour, but it looks good, non?

December 24, 2007

Perfeter...profitiri....uhh... Cream Puff.

I've mastered another favorite dessert! Have you heard of profiteroles - those yummy little puff pastry concoctions you get at french restaurants, filled with ice cream and topped with fudge sauce? Well I know how to make them now! I served these for Thanksgiving....


And who knew it would be so easy to prepare?!?!?

Basic Cream Puff pastry (Pate a Choux) recipe
Vanilla Ice Cream (recommend Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean)
Hot fudge sauce recipe

Bake pastry puffs, cut in center (don't go all the way through) and fill with ice cream. Top with hot fudge sauce. Enjoy.

These are to die for.... Trust!

May 23, 2008

Dang Tarts!

What's your favorite dim sum dish? Ask any self respecting dim-summer and 9 times out of 10 they'll tell you daan taats. Darn what? You ask. Daan taats - those yummy, sunny yellow, egg custardy concoctions with the flaky crust, pure bliss I tell you! They're usually served alongside other sweets and pastries on the dessert cart during dim sum, but I don't know anybody that saves them for dessert.

I thought I'd give a try at baking these at home. The custard part tastes close to the real thing, unfortch I can't seem to get the pastry crust right. Twice, I've made these in mini muffin pans and although the crust isn't flaky, these little pastries still go fast:


For these daan taats I used the simplest recipe I could find online

Continue reading "Dang Tarts!" »

February 14, 2009

Q: What's almond and yummy all over?

I was asked to bring dessert for my family's Chinese New Year celebration dinner. More specifically, my oldest sister requested I make an almond dessert - to go with the 'chinesey" theme. As actual Chinese desserts choices are very limited, only almond cookies and almond jelly (jello) came to mind.

Since I've always considered cookies as treats more than a dessert, I settled on making almond jello. Although I think its tasty, I've never cared for the almost rubbery consistency of almond jello (at least the kind we get at our local dim-sum place). My sister suggested I try making an almond panna cotta.

Continue reading "Q: What's almond and yummy all over?" »

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