Sunday, August 16, 2015
This was one of those situations where I was pretty adamant that I did not want a bridal shower or bachelorette party. I was serious and stayed strong. But then finally gave in after they asked me for the fiftieth time. Fine! Do it, whatever you want! No one listens to the bride anyways!
I caved and agreed to a small bridal shower (still a big no to the bachelorette party) and to my maid of honour's delight, she got to plan a tea party for me.
Also, we had yellow watermelon. And coconut lime sparkling beverages. And I ate sugar snap peas (I absolutely hate peas, especially those in the frozen medley with carrots).
Why the heck am I even having my wedding at a restaurant? My bridal party could totally cater.
I think everyone left smiling and I couldn't thank my friends more. They did so much to make the afternoon special for me. Hugs and thank you to Megan, Diana, and Laura!!! I am so excited for the big day because they'll be there to support me. =)
Sunday, May 31, 2015
i am a food blog, with her Vietnamese Braised Beef Taco post. If you know me, you know that I love tacos. Any given night if you ask me what I want to eat, it'll most likely be tacos (or sushi). So I went out and bought the 2 1/2 pounds of boneless chuck roast. Do you ever feel grown up going to the butcher? I do. I feel so much more like a cook when I get to unwrap the butcher paper and cut off the tied string. Or maybe I just like unwrapping presents.
Total aside and speaking of feeling like a grown up, I finally bought a new work bag. I've been alternating between my high school backpack and my weekend camera bag for my commute. But Howard finally said, enough is enough, and forced me to look professional. Thanks for looking out for me? Hahaha, it's a colour-blocked tote bag in light and dark camel. The best part is, the base is wide enough to fit my lunch box, which was my main criteria.
round cocotte, how I adore thee! I think I might like it more than my cast iron skillet, less oil splatter as I brown the meat.
So where are the tacos? Well, I did buy the tortillas, but at the last minute, I boiled some noodles to go with the Vietnamese braised beef. This way, I didn't waste any of that delicious juicy stew, the noodles soaked it all up and then it went in my belly. I hope you get a chance to try the recipe. It was quick and easy, just make sure you start in the afternoon and then let it braise until dinner time. You brown the meat, cook the onion, shallots, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes. Add the beef stock and then throw in more aromatics like star anise, cinnamon, five spice, bay leaves, and fish sauce. Then pop it in the oven for the flavour magic to happen.
Even though I took all the ingredients out, I forgot the brown sugar. It was sitting on the counter top and I was too lazy to take the cocotte out of the oven. But guess what? It came out tasty so I won't know what I'm really missing.
Lady and Pups who posted Ice Cream-Spring Rolls with Ground Peanut Brittle. I've had this twice this weekend. Mainly because I have so much ground peanut brittle left over (am I not sprinkling enough on my ice cream?!?) and because it's freaking delicious. The crepes are so easy to make, it's only three ingredients! We have an assortment of green tea, mango, and red bean ice cream in the freezer - aren't those everyone's staples? Then we bought an assortment of mochi - green tea, strawberry, vanilla, and red bean.
The photo above is red bean everything - ice cream and mochi. Did you know that peanut brittle can be used for anything? Put it on fruit or try sprinkling it on savoury food. It should be the new condiment, sold with ketchup and mustard.
You know that scene in Chef where he makes ground brittle and splashes it over the dessert? I now appreciate the beauty of that scene even more.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
And I did, they were both for glazed Japanese/Asian eggplants. Oops. But you know what? These recipes work for your standard eggplant as well. The great thing about the two recipes was that they both called for a preheated oven at 400°F (205°C).
My New Roots. I thought it would be the glaze that would be different, but so was the baking technique! After halving and scoring the eggplant, I brushed it with olive oil (Sarah calls for coconut oil or melted ghee, which I sadly do not have). Then, place the eggplant with the cut side up on the sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Seven Spoons. Tara instructs us to score the eggplant, brush the entire thing with sesame oil, place it face down on the sheet, and also bake it for 25 minutes. As a result, the eggplant doesn't have the expanded ridges, but there's more browning on the flesh portion.
To make this one, you need 1 tablespoon of mirin, 1/2 tablespoon of fruit juice, 1 tablespoon of white miso, 1/2 tablespoon of honey, and 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. There's an extra step, you place this all in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil for 2 minutes. Again, I halved the original recipe and substituted ingredients I didn't have on hand, so check the cookbook.
Then you flip the eggplant over, brush it with the glaze, and top it with sesame seeds. Again, under the broiler for 3 minutes. I also roasted some shallots alongside this one, it's the glazed eggplant with roasted shallots and greens from page 81.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
I'm honoured to be hosting today's blog tour stop for The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman. You might remember this middle-grade series which started with All Four Stars when I participated in my first book blog tour last year (and made osmanthus crème brûlée). In the first book, we're introduced to eleven-year-old foodie Gladys Gatsby who has to convince her takeout-loving parents that cooking is fun as well as plan her first restaurant review and remain an anonymous critic for the city's largest paper. All while fitting in to do "regular" activities that kids her age do (you know, make a few supportive friends and get invited to the most exclusive birthday party).
In the sequel, we follow twelve-year-old Gladys Gatsby on her summer plans. I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to summer and reading about Gladys adventures brought me back to fond camp memories and a longing to visit New York City again.
Written by Tara Dairman
Hardcover | 366 pages | Ages 8–12
Gladys is looking forward to a quiet summer at home, learn a few new dishes and cooking techniques, and hopefully get assigned another restaurant review. But first, a birthday!
To celebrate turning twelve, Gladys' parents take her to a Spanish restaurant in Manhattan for tapas, joining her are her friends Parm Singh, Charissa Bentley, and Sandy Anderson. Personalities clash, but once they plan their food orders (to try as many dishes as they can on the menu), and the food arrives, the chaos begins! The worst part is . . . the gifts! Charissa gives Gladys a whole summer of joining her at Camp Bentley. Yup, the one Charissa's parents run.
Camp life isn't easy. There's an annoying "celebrity" camper (spoiler: the celebrity is an author. I love that authors are considered celebrities here), she has to learn how to swim, and she's not exactly loved and praised for her lunch-making skills. On top of that, she's been assigned to find the best hot dog in New York City.
I thought it would be fun to plan a hot dog taste test in my own city. So if I were ever assigned to look for the best hot dog in Toronto, here are three spots I would visit:
But, like Gladys, I find that it's the people you're with and the experiences you're sharing that make the hot dog meal memorable. For instance, I have fond memories of eating hot dogs with my family at Ikea or Costco. Simply because it's a treat to get something to munch on when your parents are shopping. As a kid, you're given a few dollars to exchange it for a hot dog and drink. There's something fun about getting that foiled wrapped hot dog or packaged in identical paper holders. Or the meals you have on the sidewalks when you're downtown and the sizzling hot dog is the most delicious thing you've eaten all day. Everyone's standing around with their own customized toppings, while the ketchup is dripping down your shirt and pants (no? just me?). Or the times when you're on holiday or visiting a tourist attraction and it's hot dogs for everyone at the zoo, amusement park, or museum. Those are the moments when you have the best hot dog. Years later, I don't think it would be one at a sit-down restaurant that I'll remember.
Unless it's a boy who likes you and takes you to a restaurant where there's a sandwich named after you. But, let me get back on track here. Gladys learns to survive camp and even enjoy it. She bonds with her parents through private swimming lessons and city shenanigans. And she learns how to deal with tricky people in sticky situations. If you're looking for a heartwarming, funny, and food-filled read, this is it. You can't help but crack a smile when you start, chuckle quietly as you're a few chapters in, then laugh out loud and shake your head at the same time. The ending makes you want to applaud and cheer for the good guys. Gladys will remind you of yourself as a kid and for children reading it, they'll want to be in Gladys' group of friends. I hear there's a third book in the works and I can't wait to read it!
Thanks for stopping by, please visit the other bloggers on the tour:
Monday, April 27: Katie/Bookish Illuminations
Tuesday, April 28: Aeicha/Word Spelunking and Emma/Awkwordly Emma
Wednesday, April 29: Sylvia/A Baked Creation (that's me!)
Thursday, April 30: Bonnie /For the Love of Words
Friday, May 1: Lisa/Fic Talk
Monday, May 4: Lucy/The Reading Date
Tuesday, May 5: LAUNCH DAY!
Wednesday, May 6: Dahlia/Daily Dahlia
Thursday, May 7: Karen/For What it’s Worth
Friday, May 8: Jen/Pop! Goes the Reader
Monday, May 11: Stephanie/Kitchen Frolic
Tuesday, May 12: Brenda/Log Cabin Library
Wednesday, May 13: Michael/Project Mayhem and Wendy/The Midnight Garden
Tara Dairman is the author of All Four Stars, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.
Credits: Blog tour button / Kristin Rae; Book cover / Kelly Murphy
Disclaimer: An ARC of The Stars of Summer was sent to me from Putnam/Penguin for the blog tour.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
What I had in mine were the Smitten Kitchen cheddar swirl breakfast buns. I remember having them at the blogger brunch years before and have been waiting for a good time to make them. I guess this was as good as any other time. I also want to make that apple pie from the brunch one day!
Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
(Makes 12 buns)
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 cup of milk
4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup of grated white onion
1 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons of minced fresh dill (I omitted this)
1/4 teaspoons of salt
- Whisk the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
- In your stand mixer, whisk the yeast with the milk until it dissolves. Add in the dry ingredients and melted butter.
- Using the dough hook, mix on low for about 6 minutes.
- Place the dough in a covered bowl and let it rest for 2 hours.
- Make the filling by mixing the onion, cheese, (dill if using), salt, and pepper together.
- Scoop the dough out and roll out into a 12-by-16 rectangle on a floured surface (or baking pan in my case).
- Spread the filling over the rectangle dough and roll into a log.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the log into twelve 1-inch bun.
- Line the bottom of a baking pan and arrange the twelve buns, with some space in between them. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for another two hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F, bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the tops are golden and the cheese is bubbling. Serve right away!