Friday, June 4, 2010

It's June Already?

Why hello there. Uhm, okay. It's definitely been a lot longer than I thought it was going to be since my last post. But, but, but, I have good excuses! The month of May has been ridiculous. I'm not sure if April or May has been more ridiculous. April was full of dance performances.

"The Croton Flower Blooms," ethnic Wa Chinese dance.
Photograph courtesy of Mike Ross.

"Wind Flow," ethnic Han Chinese dance.
Photograph courtesy of Mike Ross.

Okay, I'm only kind of sorry for these dance photos. I've been going through some serious dance withdrawal the past month, and so I've been reliving performances through all my photos! Part of me really wants to find a job in San Francisco, so I can just head over to a dance studio after work. :) (Speaking of which, I really really wish people would get back to me in the two weeks they say they will after an interview... no response is worse than a rejection!! In other news, the job that I had an interview for would've been amazing--working with and outreaching to homeless and at-risk youth in San Francisco. But, alas, they refuse to get back to me.)

Anyhow, aside from dance in April, May has actually been pretty full of baking! Mainly because there has been lots of birthdays and graduations and whatnot.

There was Ryan's birthday and a yellow butter cake with chocolate buttercream frosting (he likes very sweet cakes with no fruit, hehehe.)

There was a random carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting for sh$ts and giggles.

There was Mike's birthday! Lots of roomie love xoxoxo :)

That was a raspberry passion fruit white chocolate cheesecake (with an Oreo cookie crust). It was devoured, and it was delicious. It was also extremely lethal. Personally, I prefer a plain cheesecake (I despise white chocolate, haha!), but yes, it was still devoured.

And there was Alice's graduation cupcakes!

They were chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting decorated, of course, with Cal colors. :)

And finally, there was another graduation party (Eric graduated from the Monterey College of Law!) in Santa Cruz to bake for.

This was a decadent chocolate cake with mixed berry filling and cream cheese frosting. The cake itself was very rich chocolate cake that was soft with a lovely crumb... the only thing is that it also makes it a b!tch to work with (I seem to be more colorful with my language today than usual--my apologies) as it kept on falling apart, even when it was cooled, and even after it was frozen!

So life's been a little hectic and a little stressful. At least May was at least spotted with random days of sunshine and times for new haircuts (I cut my bangs!) and pretty dresses. :)

Photograph courtesy of Scott Milliken.

There have also been random things like blueberry buttermilk pancakes.

Oh yeah, and a surprise birthday party that my friends threw for me. :)

It was delicious sushi. I love sushi. I love Asian food, especially Japanese food and simple Chinese food. I ate so much sashimi that day. Yum.

And finally, on Memorial Day, there was a lovely BBQ at my apartment! Mike was having lots of fun with his new toy. :P We had grilled Hawaiian BBQ tofu, chicken, and pineapple.

Of course, there were also appetizers. There was roasted garlic garlic hummus (yes, it's that garlic-y), hummus, guacamole, deviled eggs, Italian pasta salad, and a mango Southern sweet tea.

And S'MORES! S'MORES! (and Banana Boats, but I totally forgot to take photos of them! Banana boats = banana split in half stuffed with chocolate chips and/or other things, wrapped in foil, and roasted for 5-10 minutes until warm and delicious. It's good for camping as a dessert!)


And finally, there has been some hiking here and there. I leave you with a triptych of the beautiful Pt. Reyes. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Citrus Ricotta Cookies

Hello hello again. So my posts have been less frequent than usual... it's been a busy busy April and especially May. But I've been making these citrus/lemon ricotta cookies with a delicious glaze, and everybody has loved them, so I just needed to share. :)

They're based off of Giada De Laurentis' (from the Food Network!) recipe. I'll be honest, I don't usually go to the Food Network recipes for my choice of recipes, but I had found a few food blogs that had made these cookies, and it sounded pretty exciting. I had a package of ricotta cheese for some reason--honestly, I can't remember why, but I decided that I needed to use it up. That, and I'm still working on that constant supply of lemons, haha. Also... it's turning to the spring/summer... who doesn't love the light burst of sunlight in their mouths? :)

These cookies aren't so much crunchy or even soft and chewy... they have a more cake-like texture, which is very interesting. It's still very nommy, though! The batter's pretty easy to work with, and uses up both lemon zest and lemon juice, yay!

Click for more ricotta cookie deliciousness. :D

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More breakfast: French Toast!

Hey all,

So it's been a while! But I'm back with more breakfast foods... this time, French Toast. :) More specifically, Nutella-stuffed Brioche French Toast with Sauteed Cinnamon Apples.

I've been wanting to make french toast for a while, so I even specifically made Peter Reinhart's Brioche (from the Bread Baker's Apprentice)... it's a lot nicer than a previous brioche recipe that I've used before. But, like any brioche recipe, the dough is kind of sticky and annoying to work with, and definitely requires refrigeration. There are various versions--the Rich Man's Brioche, the Middle Man's Brioche, and the Poor Man's Brioche. The difference is mainly in the amount of butter used... I think that the Middle Man's Brioche was a good choice--not too high in fat, but still buttery, rich, and delicious.

Little brioche à têtes! :D I made one giant 9"x5" loaf, and then another 4 brioche à têtes. :) The little brioche à tête were delicious to eat on their own... I am such a sucker for carbs. They weren't the prettiest things... I tried using the knotting technique instead of making separate balls to make the shape... but I'm sure they'll be prettier next time. :)

Anyhow, so I decided to make french toast the next morning! :) Okay, so yes, they all say that french toast is best made with stale bread, that was it can soak up the "custard" mixture while still holding its shape. I really really wanted to make french toast and to use my brioche, so what I did was cut thick 1/2" slices and toast them on the lowest setting just to dry them out a little. I think stale bread would've been the best... but you work with what you've got!

Click below for more nutella-stuffed brioche french toast with sauteed cinnamon apples.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Good morning... Meyer Lemon Berry Pancakes!

Why hello there. So I apologize for being so MIA this month--it's been a long month with new friends and so many more dance performances. It's vaguely slowing down, but GREs and other things such as peoples' graduations and backpacking trips are right around the corner, so AAAH! Ridiculousness. So even though there has been a decent amount of baking and cooking, but not much photographing, and even less time around the computer. ...I think it's a good thing for me, though, hehehe.

So after another dance performance a week or two ago, I had two friends stay over since they're not from the area. They were able to stick around in the morning, so I figured... why not pancakes?? I don't really make fancy breakfast foods... boiled eggs, cereal, and oatmeal are just fine in my book. But I know everyone likes the occasional breakfast treat, so after browsing through a billion breakfast recipes... and also realizing that my refrigerator was actually pretty empty except lemons (I have a continuous supply of lemons!) left over from an order for lemon tarts and I actually had some leftover buttermilk from making the tiramisu cake (I NEVER have buttermilk!), so I decided on Meyer Lemon Raspberry Pancakes with Raspberry Maple Compote.

Admit it. It looks delicious. M... now you want pancakes. Click below for more pancakes and recipe! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tiramisu Birthday Cake (and dancing!)

Hi all. So although there has been lots of baking and cooking the past couple of weeks, there has also been lots of dancing and ridiculousness... my Chinese dance team held a showcase, and I was in 5 of the dances, organizing 4 of them, and whatnot, so I haven't been around the computer that much, and if I was, I was probably doing something related to dance, hehe. But it was amazing and awesome, and it was, in my opinion, a huge success. :)

Photograph courtesy of Eric Eakin.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Eakin.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Eakin.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Eakin.

So last weekend was also my good friend's (and dance buddy!) birthday. (That's her below!)

Photograph courtesy of Eric Eakin.

I was trying to figure out what to make. She likes chocolate and coffee-flavored things. I didn't feel like making a basic layered chocolate cake or just a bunch of cupcakes... it felt too boring for such an awesome occasion. So... what to do? Chocolate... coffee... tiramisu, of course! But with tiramisu, usually you don't just carry it around in a cake box, and it kind of stays in its baking dish until served, and I didn't feel like walking around the streets of San Francisco with a heavy Pyrex glass baking dish. That, and I didn't feel like making ladyfingers from scratch nor going out on a hunt for them (apparently they're annoying to try and find around here... and TJ's only has them seasonally? anyway.). I know, my life is so hard, right?

So, of course. Why not make a tiramisu but in cake format?

I think it turned out fairly wel. It had two cake layers soaked in an espresso syrup. In between, there was a layer of Kahlua-mascarpone-whipped cream with a nice layer of finely chopped dark chocolate, topped with an espresso-Kahlua-mascarpone-whipped cream frosting all over the cake. Ooh, and then I lined the sides with chocolate covered espresso beans.

Aside from the colossal mess of cocoa powder in the kitchen, I'd say it was a pretty big success. Cocoa powder was seriously everywhere. Lesson of the day? Sure, cocoa power levels out a little when you blow on it, but unfortunately, the cocoa powder goes elsewhere, i.e. on top of counter tops, toaster, sink, floor...

Yeah, everywhere.

Either way, the birthday girl had a bottomless mimosas brunch at Lime in San Francisco (it's a crazy place... it's like you're clubbing with food at 11:30 in the morning).

I'd say she was fairly happy with the cake. :)

Thanks for indulging me in my vomit of dance and photographs, and I promise to have some recipes up soon. :)