Friday, December 12, 2008

Cake Girl

Look how cute these cupcakes are. Very fun for kids birthday party or even adult's.
Click here to see more of Hyeyoung Kim's creations.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Strawberry Chicken Salad

I order this salad for lunch quite a few times at Nordstrom Cafe and every time I always wonder how to make them because it tastes soooooooooo good for lunch. Not only during summer time. I can eat this all year long. I found this recipe at I'm sure at least it will tasted quite close to Nordstrom's. The only difference is that instead of nuts, they sprinkle it with candied walnut instead which compliments the salad. Also they grilled their chicken instead of pan-fried.

1/3 c. raspberry vinegar
3/4 c. safflower oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 inch ginger root sliced
1/2 tsp. salt1 tbsp. sugar
*Mince garlic and ginger. Add remaining ingredients and shake to blend.

Mixed greens (bib, romaine, spinach)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (strips)
1/2 red onion (sliced thin)
1 pt. strawberries
1/4 c. walnuts (or sunflower seeds)

Brown chicken strips in a little oil and butter. With chicken still in pan de-glaze with a few tablespoon of dressing. Set aside.
On individual salad plates arrange greens. Divide chicken and strawberries among plates. Add a few rings of red onion. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of dressing over and sprinkle with nuts. Great luncheon dish!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alinea Book by Chef Grant Achatz

Grant Achatz, Chicago's renown avant garde chef just released a cooking book based on his fancy eatery "Alinea" this past Fall. The book contains beautiful photographies of what he serves at his restaurant and recipes with clean graphic layout. I love how he also veryopen minded about showing his space lab-like kitchen in the book. You can enter it's complimentary nifty website with the purchase of this book. Order the book here. This is a good Christmas gift for your foodie friends.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nigella Lawson's Alcoholic Hot Chocolate

I recently had this super yummy "spiked" hot chocolate at Chicago's Park Grill restaurant. It is the best drink if you need to warm-up fast, especially after long hours of ice skating at an outdoor rink. This adult version hot coco is a great alternate if you don't like eggnog for the holiday. I found this recipe from food network website and it tasted close enough with the one I had at Park Grill. Also you can spike it with Bayley's to make it even more creamier or grand marnier???.....hmmmm...

2 cups milk
3 1/2 ounces best-quality chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon brown sugar, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum, or to taste

Put the milk into a saucepan and break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk along with a cinnamon stick, honey, and sugar.
Heat gently until the chocolate is melted.
Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk; still whisking, add a spoonful of the rum first and taste to see if you want more (no point pouring in all at once as it's too late to do anything about it if it's too strong for you) and add more sugar if you want it sweeter.
Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into 2 cappuccino or latte cups.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fried Coke?

Weird eh? I'm tempted to try the recipe, sounds pretty easy. Just have to be careful with oil splatering.

Number of Servings: 6
Prep Time: 45 mins
Skill Level: Easy

2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 eggs, lightly beaten, 1 1/2 cups Coca ColaOil for deep frying
1 cup Coca Cola syrup, whipped cream, maraschino cherries.

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.

2. Mix in eggs and Coca Cola and stir until a smooth batter forms.

3. Preheat oil in a skillet or deep fryer.

4. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into a funnel or turkey baster and in a circular motion pour batter into the hot oil.

5. Fry up for about a minute on each side and drain on paper towels.

6. Serve while still warm and top with Coca Cola syrup, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
Recipe Via Chiff.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Indonesian Coconut Rice with Chicken Zucchini Recipe

I'm going to give it a shout to my Indonesian root this time. This recipe is very yummy, fragrant, quick and easy. Coconut rice and chicken is the kind of home-cook comfort food we love to eat on daily basis. Usually I don't add the Zucchini if it is not in season. You can also substitute it with carrot or squash ot whatever vegetable that is available that time. But most of the time we I just do it plain rice and chicken only. As you read along the recipe, you might find it that the spices we use are almost the same spices they use in Indian food cooking. That is because Indonesia used to be a Hindu Kingdom with strong influences from India way....way.....long time ago before the Muslims from Gujarat, the Portuguese and the Dutch came to our land. In a way we are a trully melting pot as a country. I got this recipe via Food and Wine magazine. It is my other go-to source for recipe and beautiful food photographies.
Photo by © Melanie Acevedo

2 tablespoons cooking oil
8 chicken thighs
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 2/3 cups unsweetened coconut milk (one 13-ounce can)
1 3/4 cups water
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large deep frying pan or Dutch oven, heat the cooking oil over moderately high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Put the chicken in the pan and brown well on both sides, about 8 minutes in all. Remove. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Reduce the heat to moderately low.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the coriander, cumin, rice, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk and the water. Add the chicken and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring the rice two or three times, until the rice and chicken are almost done, about 20 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, cover, and cook until done, about 7 minutes longer. Stir the lemon juice and cilantro into the rice.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

laduree chocolate macarons a follow-up of those mouth-watering Macaron pictures, I feel oblicated to post the recipe as well. Just in case IF anyone would try to make it. For me, I will seriously considered using the oven this time, just because I have a sweet spot for macarons. I promise I will take picture of it when i make this recipe one day. Really. Cross my heart! Again epicurious recipe collection never fails me. Following is the original Laduree macaron recipe.

Makes 10 large or 50 small macaronsPrep time 30 minutesCook time 9 minutes
Servings: small macarons
serving size unit 50

275 grams powdered sugar
140 grams powdered almonds
4 egg whites
25 grams cocoa powder
325 grams bitter chocolate
300 grams heavy creme
75 grams butter (unsalted)


1. Mix almonds sugar and cocoa powder in food processor until you have a smooth fine powder-
2. Place the eggwhites in the powder. Beat rapidly and delicately (you can tell this is french, right?)with a wooden spoon to obtain a homogenous mixture-With a wooden spatula, stir downward toward the middle of the mixture and back up the sides of the again, constantly turning the bowl, until the mixture is even, light and fluid.
3. Using a parchment bag with about a 1cm tip (as you would for icing), squeeze the small macarons on wax paper.-cook for 11-12 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees on a baking sheet, leaving the door slightly ajar. (I'm not sure what they are called but you should use a sheet that is insulated with an inner air layer)
4. Remove from the oven and with the aide of a glass, slip some water between the wax paper and the baking sheet while gently lifting off the macarons. The water vapor will allow them to release from the paper when they cool.
5. Pour the creme over the finely chopped bitter chocolate. Add butter at a temp of at least 60 degrees C (104F). Let sit and cool to ambient temperature. The original doesn't say to mix, but I'm assuming you need to blend to make the ganache.
6. Garnish the macaron shells with a layer of ganache about 3/4 millimeters thick and sandwich the two halves together.

Advice: Let the macarons chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours before eating (if you have the will, it is REALLY worth it!)This recipe is really delicate, but incredibly delicious!

Recipe credit Ph. Andrieu (Laduree) translated by Gerri Davis.
Photo crecit by

LOOK Pretty Photos Macarons From Laduree!!

All photos By Cachemire&Soie
OOOooooooooooo.............look sooooo scandalously delicious!!!
Click here to see more of this talented French girl blog.
All of her pictures are so tasteful, cute and heart warming.
I guess that's naturally what you are born with when you are French. A...Oui?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Easy Oreo Truffles

We have this Christmas Cookie Exchage tradition at work each year. I'm not really a baker because it is soooooooo involved. Sometimes it feels like a 10th grade Chemistry class once all over again. I will bake once in a while if I really really in the mood. So, every year I've been making this delicious super easy NO BAKE Oreo Truffle. Again, with my own twist. I don't know what is my problem, I just can't follow the recipe only, I just have to add my own signature. The first year, instead of sprinkles of the Oreo cookie crumbs as the garnish, I rolled the truffle on toasted shaved almonds and added dark chocolate, butter and whipping cream to the semi-sweet chocolate dipping so it has more of that that gooey consistency like chocolate ganache. The second year I spiked it with BAYLEY'S and Mint. You can also spiked it with rum instead of BAYLEY'S and ditched the mint. Basically you can do whatever you want and be creative to create your own "gourmet" truffle. Original Recipe and Photo Via Kraft.

Prep Time:30 min
Total Time:1 hr 30 min
Makes:3-1/2 doz. or 42 servings, one truffle each

What You Need
1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Make It
MIX 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls.
DIP balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover melted chocolate can be stored in tightly covered container at room temperature and saved for another use.) Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cream Puffs yum.....

I LOOVEEE CREAM PUFFS!!!!!!! It is my most fave. dessert since I was a kid. Mom used to bribe me with food to do things she wanted me to do. Usually she is using cream puffs as her last reserved weapon. She will start with Friend Chicken drumstick, going to Swensen's Ice Cream Parlour for Banana Split, Warm Portuguesse Egg Custard and then finally CREAM PUFFS!!!!!! It depends how stubborn I was that day. Anyhooooo....I came across this cute Patiesserie in San Fransisco website called Recchiuti Confections, own by Pastry Chef Michael Recchiuti. I was browsing and browsing and then there it is my beautiful CREAM PUFFS recipe!!! So, here is the recipe which I hope one day I will try to make. Enjoy. Let me know how it goes if anyone ever try this recipe. Click here to see more. Photo via Recchiuti.

Makes:10-12 Cream Puffs

3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (plus one egg for glazing, whisked)
whipped cream or ice cream for filling
cocoa powder for finishing

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the bottom of two 12-by-18 inch sheet pans with parchment paper.
Put the water, salt and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the flour gradually, stirring continuously until a ball forms and comes away from the sides of the saucepan. Remove from heat.
Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. NOTE: do not use the whisk attachment; you do not want to incorporate air. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute to allow the steam to evaporate from the mixture.
Reduce the speed to low. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. The mixture should appear smooth and shiny.
Using a lightly oiled tablespoon to scoop, place the cream puff batter on the prepared sheet pans, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the additional whisked egg to glaze.
Bake on the middle shelves of the oven for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans 180 degrees and reduce heat to 325°F. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the cream puffs are a deep, golden brown. Let cool completely on the pans on wire racks.
When cooled completely, horizontally slice the cream puffs and fill with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Dust with cocoa powder to finish.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Amy Atlas High End Dessert Bar

Photos via Amy Atlas

Pretty Dessert Bar idea for special occasions.

No Bake "Bling Bling" Chocolate Cake

I came across this recipe when browsing blogs for food. I have to try this one day. I like any dessert that has "no bake" in it's name, because I'm too lazy to bake. Thanks to A Foodie Froggy blog.

For a large rectangular birthday cake (serves 12)
(2 biscuits width, 5 biscuits lenghth, 5 biscuits height)
To be made one day ahead of time78 square tea biscuits
2 cups expresso coffee (tepid)
120g (4.2 oz) granulated sugar
120g (4.2 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, until “soft”
4 eggs, at room temperature
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate (mine is baking chocolate from Lindt)
25cl (1 cup) liquid whipping cream1 tbsp grand marnier (optional)

In a mixing bowl, mix egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.
Then add "soft” butter. Mix well, using a whisk (or an electric mixer if you find it easier).
Whip the egg whites until stiff. Combine them carefully with the “buttery” mixture until smooth.
Line a loaf cake mold with film paper.
Pour the coffee in a soup plate (1 cup first, and when empty, the second cup).
Add grand marnier in the coffee plate if desired.
Soak 10 teabiscuits in the coffee,one by one, and place them side by side, in a single layer, making a rectangular shape (2 biscuits * 5 biscuits).
Beware, if the coffee is hot, the biscuits will collapse.
Cover with a fourth of the cream mixture.
Repeat with the other biscuits 4 times (4 more layers of 10 bicuits each, each covered with a 1/4 of the mixture, but the 5th layer (the top layer) must not be covered with cream.
Refrigerate overnight.
The day after (at least 3 hours in advance), remove from the fridge and unmold the cake by inverting the mold on a pastry sheet lined with parchment paper.
Heat liquid cream in a sauce pan. When simmering, add chopped chocolate.
Mix (out of the heat), until smooth.
Cover the cake (top and sides) with the melted chocolate cream.
Do not worry if the chocolate spreads everywhere in the plate : after a few hours in the fridge, the chocolate will be more "solid" and you will be able to cut the sides properly.
Let stand one hour at room temperature then in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Decorate with golden edible powder, using a pastry brush.
Add golden edible glitters if you like.
To serve, cut into slices just like a loaf cake. VOILA!

Wild Mushroom Potato Gratin

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner with my friends the Helms, and it was a hit. It was kinda of scary at first because I never made a potato gratin recipe before. I got this recipe from Debie Rose, a multi-line sales representative I work with. She is such a sweetheart and also a foodie addict. Debie collected more than 3000 recipe, and this is from one of her collections she found at

For this recipe I used 3/4 lbs baby bella and 1/2 lbs shitake mushroom instead. Added mushroom buillon while the cream/milk was boiling and sprinkle some dried thyme over the guyere cheese. Also, use more cheese than it is called in the recipe.

yield: Makes 8 servings
active time: 45 min
total time: 2 hr
For a more elegant presentation, we cut out rounds from the gratin with a 4-inch cookie cutter.
Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 2 hr

1/2 lb fresh wild or exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles or shiitakes (discard shiitake stems), trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 lb russet (baking) potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz finely grated Gruyère (1 cup)
Special equipment: a 15- by 10- by 2-inch oval gratin dish or other 3-qt shallow baking dish

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 400°F.
Cook chanterelles or shiitakes with salt and pepper to taste in 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Cook cremini in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in skillet, stirring, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to bowl with wild mushrooms. Toss mushrooms with 1 teaspoon garlic.
Peel potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices (preferably with an adjustable-blade slicer). Bring potatoes, cream, milk, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic to a boil in a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot, stirring once or twice, then remove from heat.
Transfer half of potatoes to buttered gratin dish with a slotted spoon, spreading evenly. Spread mushrooms evenly over potatoes, then top with remaining potatoes. Pour cooking liquid over potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake gratin until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Cooks' note: •Instead of using 1/2 lb of 1 type of wild or exotic mushroom, you could use 1/4 lb each of 2 types.