Summer 2011.

cookie in a cookie.

there was a recipe that i had been wanting to try for a while that my friend and i finally had the chance of making a few days ago. oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies (inspired by picky palate) a cookie inside of another cookie? YES PLEASE. the chocolate chip cookie batter for these types of cookies are a bit different than usual cookie batter because it includes more flour and thus comes out a bit thicker. this helps so that the oreo actually has cookie surrounding it after they finish baking.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 oz. bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 package of oreo cookies (although you most likely won’t use all of them!)

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. cream the butter and sugars until well combined. gradually add in the eggs and the vanilla. mix well.

in another bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda. slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition. stir in the chocolate chip cookies.

to make the cookies themselves, place one scoop of cookie dough on top of the oreo and another scoop under. press the edges together so that the oreo is complete encased with chocolate chip cookie dough. place onto parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake about 15-20 minutes.

these cookies come out HUGE. but so good! chocolate chip cookies and oreos are an awesome combination. and they’re really surprising for people who don’t know there is an oreo inside. yum. and they taste even better with a little bit of peanut butter spread on top!

cupcake taste test.

cupcakes are by far one of my favorite snacks slash desserts. i wish boston had better cupcake shops but i know new york city is a place to go for good cupcakes. instead of going to the more famous and bigger chains like magnolia or crumbs, we found the sugar sweet sunshine bakery in lower east side. 

not only did they have amazing cupcakes, they also had these delicious looking trifles! we didn’t have time to try the trifles but i got a sexy red velvet cupcake to eat there and we got four cupcakes for the ride home! i thought it was cool that instead of the usual cream cheese that is used with red velvet cupcakes, they had a really light and fluffy mousse, which they call “The Moose.” so good!

for the ride home, we wanted to try four different cupcakes and we ended up doing a taste test! there were four of us in the car so we cup each cupcake into four pieces and got to try each one so we could determine which one we liked best. 

the contenders:

ooey gooey: chocolate cake with chocolate almond buttercream

pistachio: pistachio cake with “The Moose”

strawberry cake with peanut butter buttercream

chocolate peppermint cake with cream cheese frosting

the winner! pistachio. the pistachio flavor was really strong and the light fluffy mousse frosting on top was the perfect touch. 

the chocolate peppermint cake was a close second. the peppermint flavor was very obvious but since i’m not a big fan of cream cheese frosting, i thought it was a bit too much. 

the strawberry and peanut butter cupcake was okay. the cupcake was not so much a strawberry cupcake but more like a vanilla cupcake with a few strawberry chunks. my fourth of the cupcake didn’t have much strawberry so the cake part was pretty bland to me but the frosting was really really good!! i love peanut butter so peanut butter buttercream is amazing. 

we had high hopes for the ooey gooey chocolate cupcake but the cake part was sadly really dry. the frosting was very rich and had a good chocolate-y flavor to it which we liked. 

the sugar sweet sunshine is definitely a bakery that i’d love to go to again. they had even more cupcake flavors that i want to try! and next time, hopefully i’ll get to try the trifle too!

a cultural experience in the city.

after this weekend, i really only have five words to say: I LOVE NEW YORK CITY! this definitely wasn’t my first time there, but every time i go, there’s still so much stuff to discover! i went down to new york with one of my best friends from elementary school and we basically ate and walked around. although, on friday, we went to coney island and rode on the infamously old cyclone TWICE. the second time in the front row which was SO scary yet SO MUCH FUN. and of course, no trip to coney island is really complete without a trip to nathan’s famous to eat their hot dogs. that’s where the have the annual july 4th hot dog eating contest where the record is 68 hot dogs.

i don’t usually like hot dogs and haven’t had one for a long time but i guess these were pretty good. known as the “best hot dog in the world” how could i say it was bad anyways? it was a pretty standard hot dog but i think the more important thing is the experience of eating a nathan’s famous hot dog at coney island.

we started off the next day with brunch at cafe mogador in the east village. they serve moroccan food but also typical brunch-y food on the weekends. i got the eggs benedict which came with a cappuccino and freshly squeezed orange juice. it was SO delicious and the restaurant itself was very cute with good service. we also ordered babaganoush, which is an eggplant dip to eat with pita bread. YUM.

the rest of the afternoon, we walked to chelsea market, across the high line and shopped around herald square. along the way, i had a fresh blueberry peppermint popsicle from a people’s pops stall and we stumbled upon a food truck gathering where we saw the korilla bbq truck that is currently on this season’s great food truck race. so cool!

after walking through the city, we finally made our way to koreatown for dinner. my friend had never had korean food before so we ended up at kunjip. the restaurant was really crowded even though it was already 9pm. new york, truly a city that never sleeps. we each ordered a bibimbab dish, which is basically rice, vegetables in a hot stone pot, and had some soon doo boo, tofu in a seafood stew, on the side. i got the kimchi bibimbab which surprisingly wasn’t too spicy for me. the food was all SO DELICIOUS and we were SO FULL afterwards.

the next day was our last day in the city and had some time in the morning to wander around the lower east side. after stopping in some cupcake shops, we continued our cultural food escapades and ate some knishes for lunch at the yonah schimmel knishery. a knish is a traditionally Jewish snack that is basically like a flaky dough with different fillings inside. my friend and i shared a potato knish and a sweet potato knish. i also ordered a strawberry ricky on the side.

i’ve never had a knish before but it was really good! but also really heavy. it was literally like a pound of mashed potato goodness with a flaky crust. yum.

all in all, an amazing two and a half days spent in new york city! i can’t wait to go back! and what a great place to spend my last weekend before school starts up again.

a hodge podge.

as another week of summer comes to an end, i’ve realized that baking in the summer is a lot easier than baking in the winter. sure, the hot oven helps to fill the kitchen with a lot of heat during the winter but the coldness also means the ingredients rarely get to right softened-ness. for example, most recipes call for “softened unsalted butter” which requires you to let the butter sit in the kitchen before using it. in the winter, it takes FOREVER to soften so you either have to wait like an hour or be impatient and just start baking with partly softened butter (i usually end up doing the latter…). but in the summer, the butter becomes soft enough for baking like ten minutes after taking it out of the fridge! it’s awesome and saves a lot of boring waiting time. 🙂

today, i decided to make what i want to call hodge podge cookies because one, i like that phrase and two, it’s like three different types of cookies in one! but really, they should actually be called chocolate coconut walnut cookies. (adapted from Voila!)

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. beat the butter and two sugars until smooth and well blended. add in the eggs one at a time making sure to beat well after each addition. add the vanilla. mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the butter mixture until everything is well combined.

stir in the chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts. with a spoon, drop the batter onto ungreased baking sheets about two inches apart. bake for 10-12 minutes.

a blend of chocolate chip cookies and walnut cookies with a hint of coconut. cookies are definitely the easiest baked good to experiment with because you can basically add anything into them! and (for the most part) they’ll taste really good!

i’m sad that summer is slowly coming to an end but i’m off to nyc in the morning for my last week! excited to spend the weekend there enjoying all the amazing food that new york has to offer. 

one more week until SOPHOMORE year of college! eek!

a day on the cape, random baking and vegetables on steroids.

this past saturday, i went down (or is it “up”? i’ve never really understood the difference between the two…) to the cape with my parents! they let me drive which was fun although there ended up being some traffic so we didn’t have time to go to the beach. four years and counting of me not properly going to a beach…i suck. anyways, we walked on main street for a bit, looked at some houses, and then decided to stop for dinner at Kian n’ Rylee’s. they had outer seating which was awesome because the weather was absolutely gorgeous and they had almost 20 varieties of burgers which just made them more awesome.

i ordered the bistro burger which included melted cheddar cheese, bacon, slices of granny smith apple and honey mustard dressing. i’m not usually a big fan of dressings that include mustard but the honey mustard flavor wasn’t too strong. the bacon and apple slices added the perfect crunch and made the burger DELICIOUS. i love a good burger. 🙂 my mom ordered their steak tip sandwich which i would also totally recommend. steak, caramelized onions and melted provolone. yummm.

and when i got home…i was kind of bored so made some classic chocolate chip cookies (so many c’s!) on a whim. super easy and super good! i had some extra chocolate so i dunked some of the cookies in chocolate and added sprinkles for a bit of flair. 

and in other news, my mom’s garden has grown out of control. here’s a picture of how many cucumbers (plus there are even MORE still growing) she’s already harvested. there’s also a zucchini in the mix somewhere.

it’s actually RIDICULOUS how crazy her garden has gotten. needless to say, i have been eating lots and lots of cucumbers these past few weeks. yay for homegrown organic vegetables!

BLUEBERRIES!

the other night, my parents were going to a party (with all their other “empty nester” friends) and wanted me to bake something for them. i decided to make blueberry poundcake with a lime glaze. (adapted from the meaning of pie) the original recipe used lemon but since i still had a couple of extra limes, i changed it up a bit!

 

blueberry pound cake

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 softened unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 3 whole eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces key lime flavored yogurt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

preheat the oven to 350 degrees and thoroughly grease a 9 inch bundt cake pan with either cooking spray or butter. beat the sugar, butter and cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. crack the three eggs into a small bowl and add in the fourth egg white. a good trick separating egg yolk and egg white is to poke a small hole into the egg shell with a fork and slowly pour out the egg whites. slowly add the eggs into the butter mixture. add the vanilla to the mixture.

in another bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

 

add the yogurt and the flour into the butter mixture alternating between the two. start with a little bit of yogurt then add in a bit of flour then a little bit of yogurt and so forth. fold in blueberries.

pour the batter into the pan and bake it for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. let it cool for at least ten minutes before taking the cake out of the pan and letting it cool for another twenty minutes.

lime glaze

  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest

mix together the sugar, lime juice and lime zest until smooth. drizzle over the cake.

i might not have sprayed the pan enough but i had a bit of trouble getting the cake out of the pan. but other than that, the cake was delicious and perfectly moist. and i am finally done using all my limes so hopefully my next recipe won’t involve limes.

limes and raspberries!

being back in the comforts of home means it’s time to start baking again! 🙂 it’s also time to go back to a bit of food blogging. yay!

a friend who i’ve known since i was basically in kindergarten and i got to hang out today! we’ve been friends for SO long now that everything just kind of flows when we hang out. it doesn’t matter what we do (although some how we always end up baking something haha) but it’s always a good time. we’ve always baked the normal stuff like chocolate chip cookies or apple crisp so we decided to try something different and more summery today so we made lime cupcakes with raspberry frosting. perfect for a sunny summer day 🙂

[adapted from adventures in cooking]- the recipe called for “sweet limes” but we weren’t exactly sure what those were so just ended up picking up regular limes from the grocery store. they still came out delicious!

lime cupcakes

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest from one large lime
  • 5 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. in a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt- set aside for later. cream together the sugar and the butter until it becomes well blended. add in the eggs one at a time, making sure the batter is mixed well after each addition. add the vegetable oil, vanilla, lime zest and lime juice and mix until well combined.

alternating with the milk and buttermilk, gradually blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture. fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way and bake for about 15-18 minutes. make sure a toothpick comes out clean when you stick it into the center of the cupcake! cool for about half an hour before frosting them.

raspberry frosting

  • 1 and 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1/2 cup defrosted frozen raspberries

using either a fork or a spoon (we used a spoon), crush the raspberries so they become like jelly and then whisk them with the butter. slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar making sure to blend well to get a good consistency. 

stick the frosting in the fridge for about 15 minutes before frosting the cupcakes!

for some reason, our frosting turned out a lot more gloopy than we had hoped. it was more like a jelly/jam than frosting. i think we might have used too many raspberries or maybe not enough butter but either way, some ratio of the ingredients didn’t really work out for us. we decided to stick them in the fridge which helps the raspberry “frosting” to harden a little. these cupcakes are AWESOME straight from the fridge! they have just a hint of lime. not too tart and not too sweet either. the raspberries were a nice flavor to complement the lime as well.

we had bought a mango at the grocery store too so decided to add a little cube of mango on top. yum!

i also still have some leftover limes and a bit of lime juice leftover that i’m not sure what to do with. perhaps i’ll make some fresh limeade in the next couple of days! 🙂

boston.

it feels so good to be back at home in boston 🙂 

i went back to school the other day and decided to walk over to flour bakery with my friend. i have been wanting to go there for SO long and was happy to finally have the chance! it was a bit of a trek from harvard in the boston summer heat but totally worth it.

 

we ordered the triple chocolate mousse cake with a side glass of milk to share. i don’t think there are any other ways to describe it except for A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. i’m honestly not a fan of milk but it went really well with this cake, considering how chocolate-y and heavy it was. but omg, so good.

just look at the inside! so many layers of deliciousness! 

home sweet home…and oh how very sweet is. teehee 🙂

leaving san francisco!…but actually stuck at SFO.

eleven weeks away from home and i am finally ready to go back! only thing stopping me? a shortage of workers for united airlines…i’m supposed to be on an airplane right now heading home to boston. instead, here i am, sitting at my gate waiting for my flight that is delayed TWO hours because there aren’t enough crew workers for my flight to take off. apparently united airlines has had to lay off a bunch of workers and have been missing a lot of people this summer. great…

but regardless, this has been an AWESOME week spent in california. it’s my first time coming to san francisco in the summer time, although i’m not sure whether this weather can be considered “summer.” it only reaches about low 70s here in the summer….in comparison to china’s 90s+ and boston’s 80s+, this doesn’t feel so summery. but it was still nice to go to a place with such beautiful weather for the whole week!

i spent my first three days here visiting Yosemite National Park with my parents. this place is HUGE. my dad says the park itself (which is all within california) is the size of rhode island. that is just ridiculous although not hard to believe. driving from SF to the park took three hours and to get anywhere within the park, it took at least one hour. 

in the three days we were there, we visited most of the big touristy sites including tuolumne (pronounced two-all-o-me, as told to us by a park ranger) meadows, glacier point and the valley. the picture above is from glacier point which gives us the best view of Half Dome

if anybody is ever in the mood for some gorgeous site-seeing or camping, i would totally recommend yosemite! 🙂

for the rest of my time here, visting the Google office and going around to farmer’s markets and flea markets! first off, the google office is AH-MAZING. it’s HUGEEEEE. basically like a college campus…but for adults. there are these google bikes lying around for people to use so they can get around. the best part? all employees get free meals and snacks whenever! and the mountain view office has a ton of cafeterias. it’s awesome. there are also bowling alleys, dance studios and massages at the office too. plus, the day i went to visit, there was an impromptu beach party for all the employees. so.awesome. also, the san francisco google office where my sister works also has a tunnel slide going from the third floor to the second floor. more.awesomeness. there is also a photobooth studio. fun  fun fun and also SOOO FREAKIN’ COOL.

the farmer’s market was also really awesome. it’s peach season in california so there were so many peaches at the different stalls! and they also all had free samples! i can’t really tell the difference (but maybe i just didn’t try enough?) but they were all really sweet and delicious! i thought white peaches were a little better than the yellow peaches. there were also a ton of food stalls and food trucks around so for lunch, we got the famous porchetta sandwich from roli roti. the line was pretty long but the sandwich was worth it! the pork was really good and there were these little crunchy bits, which i think was fried pork skin?, that made it even yummier. yay for deliciousness. although, i’m not sure my picture does this awesome sandwich justice. oh well.

i also got some kettle corn from there. so yummy.

after wandering around Japan town for a bit on our last day, we ended up at Katana-Ya for some ramen for dinner. they’re pretty famous for their ramen and for good reason. it was soooo good. and the little restaurant was pretty packed! my family of four people had to squeeze at a table which i’m pretty sure probably can only seat about two people comfortable. 

my dad ordered the Katana-Ya ramen which basically includes everything you could ever want with a bowl of ramen (aka potstickers, pork, fried chicken, corn, vegetables and an egg). Y-U-M. what a great last dinner in san francisco 🙂

i can’t wait to come here again! although i’m not sure when that will be. i guess technically i am still here since they still haven’t called my flight to board… i was pretty stressed earlier that i might miss my flight since i got a bit lost on my subway ride over to the airport (the T beats the san francisco bart system any day…) but now, i’m still sitting here, an hour after my flight was supposed take off and an hour to go until we take off. lame. united airlines sucks but san francisco is still pretty darn awesome! 🙂 

free lunch, ice cream, and now snacks at the google office with my sister! seriously the best place on earth to work. life is good in california 🙂