Friday, July 24, 2009
What's the perfect tea-time snack or breakfast goodie? Well, that would be a scone! They're so simple to make and delicious to eat =) And scones can be really fun to make when you let your creative side work through. I've made simple ones with raisins or dried currants, sometimes adding almonds or pecans. One of my favorite creations has been chocolate-hazelnut scones. Can you say yum? I lightly toasted some hazelnuts and rubbed most of the skins off by rolling them in a towel. Then I chopped them up, threw them in the scone dough along with some semi-sweet chocolate chips, and voila! The pictures featured are from when I made a batch of half chocolate-hazelnut and half raisin pecan scones.
And today I was feeling a little more adventurous and made apricot ginger scones. I chopped up some dried apricots and candied ginger, and I tossed in some ground ginger and a dash of nutmeg. So delish! Really I just use whatever is in the pantry at the time. Dried cranberries and almonds? Sounds good to me! Dried mixed berries and walnuts? Why not?! Be creative! You can also add a little somethin' somethin' on the top like chunky sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) or some brown sugar.
And what's great about scones is that even for a person who doesn't bake much, it's super easy. I have a recipe my aunt gave me, so I'm not ready to give it away just yet. But I'm sure you can find a simple recipe pretty much anywhere online. My recipe includes flour and some kind of levening agent, butter, milk, and sugar, and then of course whatever fruits and/or nuts your want. Just sift, mix, roll, cut, and bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, and there you have it! You could adjust the ratios of flour and levening agent depending if you prefer denser or lighter scones.
Another thing I love about scones is that they're not too sweet. You can keep it that way or you can feel free to be a little naughty and add some goodies on top. Of course you can do it the traditional English way and put devonshire cream -- so rich, but nice to enjoy once in a while. Or you can put some margarine or jam or even plain or flavored cream cheese. A dollop of honey would also work nicely. The possibilities are near limitless! So if you have a little time and want a nice little treat to have with your morning coffee or afternoon tea or even with your after-dinner sherry, then be kind to yourself and make some delicious scones!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
"Authentic English Fare" by Maureen Leong-Kee
June 18, 2009 - Really likes it -
The only place I know of in the S. Florida area that has authentic English food. The pub itself was brought over from England! There's lots of yummy English treats on the menu, including Bangers & Mash, Cornish Pastie, Yorkshire Pudding, Toad in t' hole, Shepherd's Pie, Mushy Peas, a variety of meat pies, and of course, the Full English Breakfast! There's also traditional deserts like blueberry or apple crumble and English sherry trifle, but honestly, I'm always so happily stuffed with my entree that I never have room for desert!
They also have a great selection of beers. Amongst all of the pretentious places in Delray, this one stands out as a laid back eatery with good, hearty food. If you're looking for a full belly and a relaxed atmosphere, then go here. Some nights they have entertainment, and they have a Jazz band on Sundays from 3-6pm.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wish was a nice restaurant with great ambiance. Some things were over-priced, which is going to be typical for a restaurant South Beach. The food overall was pretty tasty, but not outstanding. We had the beef carpaccio, the branzino over fruti de mar, the black truffle mac and cheese, and the edamame and sweet potato hash. We also had two of their special cocktails and we took some carrot cake home for dessert.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
My tale of squid ink pasta is somewhat disappointing. I was at my local indoor farmer's market when I spotted a long plastic bag filled with long, thin, black strands. On closer inspection, I saw that it was dried squid ink pasta! "What a treat!" I thought to myself. Being the curious foodie that I am, I decided to buy it and cook it up.
There weren't really any clear instructions on the package b/c it was mostly in Italian (a good sign, I thought). It said to cook for 12 to 15 minutes. So I boiled the noodles, but then came out a grey, wormy-looking pot of pasta. I overlooked the very drab color and gave it a taste... Hmmm, it lacked any distinct flavor. I had heard that squid ink pasta was supposed to be salty and a little sweet, but really, I couldn't tell to much of a difference between this grey mess and regular pasta.
But, with my culinary skills, I was able to turn this aesthetically displeasing pasta into a tasty dinner by adding sundried tomato basil sausage, grilled eggplant, yellow squash, onions, garlic, and fresh parsley and olive oil. And then with a couple of drops of white truffle oil, it was magnificent! So, I won't try THIS brand of squid ink pasta, but I would try another one if I was assured that it wouldn't turn grey and that it had a distinct flavor. I would welcome any suggestions.
Warning: The picture looks pretty gross, but if you had just closed your eyes and took a bite, you would forget all about the greyness =)
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
My lovely boyfriend found this cool article:
I've bolded and italicized what I've eaten... Check out how well-versed I am ;-) I've eaten at least 52 of these items. I may have eaten more, but I can't remember for sure if I've actually had a taste a snake, prickly pear, or hare. I've had dishes with truffle in it (so that would bump me up to 53). I want to try frog legs and sweetbreads (or thymus glands), but I can't and WON'T eat anything goat -- that's another story for another day. And I can't get over the smell of durian, so you can forget about that, too. Oh, and I'm guessing Vodka Jell-O means Jell-O shots, which I've definitely had. But I'll try almost anything else on this list. Count how many of these items you've eaten and let me know!
Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The slimcados are just pretty gross, to be honest with you. They are larger than your typical avocado, and they have a shiny, smooth, bright green skin. I've seen a sign that says you should eat them when they turn a reddish-purplish color, but I bought one the other day and it didn't get that color. It was perfectly ripe when it was still bright green, it just had small dark spots all over. The slimcado just tastes like a watery avocado. It doesn't have that rich yummy texture and flavor that you expect and WANT from an avocado. I was just curious about the slimcado, so that's why I bought it... Now I know and I don't ever have to buy one again. But if you're curious, too, or you have really convinced yourself that these are much better for you, then I recommend putting a lot of lime juice and salt to help out the flavor. But really, just stay away from them. The slimcado does not taste good, plain and simple.
Here's more info on the real, delicious, and healthy avocado (from http://www.avocado.org/):
Avocado Nutrition Structure/Function Statements:
- Avocados contain 81 micrograms of the carotenoid lutein, which some studies suggest may help maintain healthy eyes.
- Avocados are included in Fruits & Veggies-More Matters™ consumer educational program to promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables for good health.
- Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can contribute to the nutrient quality of your diet.
- Avocados, due to their mono and polyunsaturated fat content, are a healthy substitution for foods rich in saturated fat.
- One-fifth of a medium avocado (1 oz) has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals making it a good nutrient choice.
- Avocados contain 76 milligrams beta-sitosterol in a 3-oz serving of avocado. Beta-sitosterol is a natural plant sterol which may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I had been inspired to try all of these treats due to 2 of my favorite foodie tv shows -- Anthony Bordain's No Reservations and Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey. Bordain LOVES marrow, and eats it any time he can. He says it's his favorite thing to eat, so of course I had to try it out for myself. And on an episode of Hell's Kitchen, Gordon Ramsey took the winners of one of his challenges to a restaurant in California where they had Kobe burgers and duck fat fries... I assume that it was one of the restaurants owned by Michael Mina, owner of Bourbon Steak.
So, last night, on a whim desire, my boyfriend and I decide to go to Bourbon Steak and splurge on $22 burgers and $15 marrow bones at Bourbon Steak. We roll up to the very posh country club and mozy on over to Bourbon Steak, a beautiful restaurant filled with huge vases of sunflowers, warm colors, and smooth textures. The tables, made of smooth chocolate brown leather, were fitted with cozy chairs and soft couches. To our delight, for starters, the waiter brings out a trio of duck fat fries and potato focaccia bread. There are three types of fries, paprika, truffle, and herb, and they are each accompanied with 3 homemade sauces -- barbecue, truffle aioli and herb tomato ketchup. I was actually a little disappointed by the fries. As you may know from my previous blog entry, I know what duck fat should taste like from all of the Chinese roasted duck I've eaten over the years, and these fries, my friends, did not have that rich fatty flavor I was looking for. They kinda just tasted like... fries... The ones dusted in paprika were different, and the herb ones were tasty, but overall, they were lackluster for me (and my boyfriend, too). The best part about the fries, I must say, was the truffle aioli -- that I could eat with a spoon. But I'm glad I at least got to try them. And the potato focaccia was very yummy -- super buttery with just the right amount of herbs.
Then came out the Kobe beef burgers and roasted marrow. I was pretty excited to try the marrow since so many great chefs love to eat it and it is such a delicacy. I tried it, liked it, but not enough to want more of it. I expected the marrow to be richer. Its flavor and gelatinous texture simply tasted like the run off fat after you've roasted lamb. So it was good, but nothing really special for me. And as for the burgers, we originally ordered them to be medium, but when they came back, they were well done -- a no no for Kobe beef! We sent them back, feeling super horrible we were sending back Kobe burgers, but we knew we were paying a lot of money for these, so we wanted them to be right. And when we got our fresh new ones, they were perfect.
They were rare, which I usually can't do with regular burgers, with just a little bit of seared brown around the edges and a perfectly pink center. The patty lay between a perfectly golden bun and had 2 slices of perfectly ripe, richly red, slightly roasted tomoto slices, fennel slaw, and watercress greens. On the side was more duck fat fries and not-your-ordinary pickled onion slices, shitake mushrooms, and cucumber slice. The meat was so juicy and tender; my first few bites I had a mix of juices from the meat and the slaw running down my hand. I had to keep a "dirty" hand and keep myself from compulsively wiping my hands after each bite like I usually do. The meat was heavenly and so flavorful just on its own. The pickled items were a nice refreshment after every few decadent bites. By the end of the meal, I struggled to finish my burger, but gosh darnit, I finished it. I couldn't live with myself if I left a bite of Kobe on my plate. That burger was the highlight of the meal, and it was worth every penny. I couldn't even imagine what a Kobe steak tastes like (which Bourbon Steak offers in the range of $64 to $175). One day, I hope I can afford to try it ;-) But for now, I can have a Kobe burger and be completely content.
Monday, June 23, 2008
But I digress. I'm here to talk about duck cooked medium rare. At first this seems quite intimidating as we all know we should cook poultry, especially chicken, well done as to avoid salmonella poisoning, which I can tell you first hand is EXCRUCIATING gastronomic torture! But I suppose that duck is different. Its meat is quite dark for a bird, so it's a bit like game, really.
I first had medium rare-cooked duck at the famous Talula restaurant in Miami. Talula has received rave reviews all around, so I finally decided to go there and check it out for myself. I was extremely pleased with Talula. The food was fantastic, and our waiter was a trip (he'd come over often and ask "Delicious for you?"). I actually had the lamb, but my significant other ordered the duck, and it was a nice surprise. The duck had lots of flavor, and the meat was fleshy; the consistency was almost like a cross between fresh tuna and a very tender piece of rare steak. Being so used to duck cooked well done, I was a little put off at first, but then I came to appreciate its more delicate texture.
The duck dish @ Talula
The next time I had rare duck was at Brosia -- a hip Miami eatery in the Wynwood art district. Even though I had experienced medium rare duck and came out alive, I still like my duck a bit more cooked, so I had it prepared medium. I think I liked this a little better. You still get the tender fleshy center in the duck breast meat, but the outside is a little more browned, which I think enhances the flavor of the duck.
So overall, my experience with medium-rare cooked duck is a good one. I would have it again, but I may not enjoy it completely the whole meal through. But then again, I'm a medium to medium well kind of girl when it comes to meat. I like a little heat with my meat =)
More on Brosia: www.brosiamiami.com
163 NE 39th Street, Miami, FL 33137
The duck dish at Brosia is AmAzInG! I would definitely recommend it. Although the breast meat is tender and delicious, it's actually the leg portion that is, for lack of better words, the BOMB! The skin was so crisp and the meat was moist and juicy. I would drive an hour out of my way just to go there again for the duck. Brosia also has a great cocktail menu and other tasty fare on the dining menu. They also serve hummus and pita chips as their complementary starter, which is a nice change from your standard chips and salsa. If you're looking for a trendy but tasty place for late-night dining in the Miami art district, this is definitely the place to go.
More on Talula: www.talulaonline.com
210 23rd Street, Miami, FL 33139
An upscale yet laid back restaurant, Talula offers flavorful dishes with a flair. The complementary white bean dip is so smooth and tasty and the scallop appetizer is lightly seared, sweet and succulent with that fresh ocean (but not fishy) taste. My only complaint, I wish the scallop appetizer was bigger! (It only came with 2 large scallops). Talula has almost a homey feel along with a quaint back patio. It's a great place for special occasions or a romantic evening with great food.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Being the curious and adventurous foodie that I am, I decided to check it out one day. The roti shop was a hole in the wall, but the owners, a father and son, are super friendly. We walk in and there is a list of different types of roti you can get, including beef, chicken, goat, shrimp, fish, and maybe a few others. There was also a few other Jamaican treats there like doubles, aloo pie, and peas and rice. Also, the drink cooler had some fun and exotic drinks like coconut water, ginger beer, and banana soda.
So I found out that roti is basically some stewed curry, which includes potatoes, peas, (maybe carrots), and your choice of meat wrapped in a large, thin, flat bread made of chickpeas, I believe. So it's kind of like a large tortilla. You could also get your roti another way in which you have a plate of curry and you use your roti bread to pick up the curry -- similar to how you eat Ethiopean food. Doubles are common street food you can find in Jamaica, and it consist of two round pieces of flat fry bread with a slightly sweet stewed mixture of chickpeas and other spices slathered in between. The aloo pie is also a type of fried bread stuffed with cooked potatoes and a drizzle of a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce.
All I know is that it was all SUPER delicious and full of flavor, especially the roti! My boyfriend had the beef roti and I had the shrimp roti, and both were EXCELLENT! The beef was tender, and the shrimp was cooked well. It was also very filling. I barely had room for the order of doubles and aloo pie that we also had, but somehow I managed ;-)
So if you're in South Florida and want a little taste of Jamaica, go to Commercial and Hwy 441 and then go south for about 1/2 a mile on 441. There's a little shopping center which appears to be a "little Jamaica" - it includes the roti shop, a Jamaican bakery, an herb shop, and a meat and fish market where you will find fresh cuts of meat and exotic spices, sauces, and other groceries and veggies.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
And for those of you who can't make it out to Magnolia Bakery on a regular, or even semi-regular, basis, I have just the solution for you. I have the recipe! It's actually pretty easy to find nowadays on the internet. But when I first found this recipe a few years back, I was elated. I have only made them three times, most recently a few days back for a friend's going away party, but that isn't to say I don't crave them more often. They're such a special treat (and loaded with butter and sugar) that I only reserve having them when I go to NYC or if I have a special occasion to make them. By the way, when I made these cupcakes for that party, they were ALL the rage! Why shouldn't they be?! Everyone had extremely positive exclamaitons of joy when eating them, including "These are THE best cupcakes ever! Hands down! HANDS DOWN!" and "This makes me happy." =)
So, without further ado, here is the recipe for these magnificent cupcakes. I KNOW you will enjoy them as much as I do!
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes (depending on the size of your cupcake papers and muffin tins)
· 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
· 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
· 2 cups sugar
· 4 large eggs, at room temperature
· 1 cup milk
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ICING: Vanilla Buttercream (Recipe Follows)
· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
· 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
· 1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
*Note: If you would like to make a layer cake instead of cupcakes, divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake the layers for 30-40 minutes.
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
This recipe can be found in "The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old Fashioned Recipes from New York's Sweetest Bakery" by Jennifer Appelt and Allysa Torey
Thursday, April 17, 2008
This KitchenAid mixer handles it all with ease.
Pros: High quality, Good construction, Feels Smoth, Easy to clean, Intuitive controls
Best Uses: Everything, Elaborate Meals, Simple Meals, Large Kitchens, Small Kitchens
Describe Yourself: Avid Cook
I LOVE this mixer! I've only owned cheap hand-mixers before, but you can really tell the quality of this product. I love the electronic buttons for speed control. I also love that the speed starts out slow so that you don't have to deal with splashing/splattering. (My old mixer started out at warp speed and I always had to run for cover when it would start up!) This is a great mixer to have when you don't want to use a big stand-up mixer or if you live in an apartment (like I do). The mixer is NOT noisy and it feels really smooth and easy to handle - quite a noticeable difference from my old one. The color (apple green) looks fantastic, and the mixer is really light-weight and easy to store. I HIGHLY recommend this product!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Like many people who love to cook, my love began in the kitchen alongside my mother. She is one of the greatest cooks I know and has taught me so much. She was born in China and then moved with her family to the Seychelles Islands, where she met and married my father. There, they had 3 beautiful daughters -- my two older sisters and myself. One could see how my mom got her influences in the kitchen -- the rich and flavorful tastes of Cantonese cooking mixed with the fresh, tropical flavors of the Seychelles Islands. These are the roots of her cooking, which bore the roots of my cooking style.