Tuesday, December 30, 2008


We already knew that ice cream is good w/ mochi...

But I just discovered that it is also really good with jello (this one's blueberry with chunks of blueberries and other fruits; I know this jello's kinda ugly, but it was SO GOOD):

It's also good with water or milk splashed on it
... or peanut butter
... or cocoa powder
... or condensed milk (like on halo halo)
... or shaved ice/snow cones
... or pumpkin puree
... or Amaretto
... or any wine (maybe...at least the dessert wines)
... or pancakes

Monday, December 29, 2008

Visão (Quady), Raspberry Passport (Ficklin), & Purple (Quady)

I've posted about Purple before, but here are a couple of others from Madera (two are from Quady Winery, and the middle one's from Ficklin Vineyards):

The first one is a 2006 13.5% alc/vol. California red wine called Visão (Portuguese for "dreams" according to the back of the bottle) from Quady Winery.

The second is Raspberry Passport, an 18.0% alc/vol. "grape wine with natural flavors added" from Ficklin Vineyards.

My mom and I tried the Raspberry Passport (from Ficklin) on top of vanilla ice cream. I'm not a huge raspberry fan in general, but this was pretty good with ice cream! Purple is also awesome with ice cream.
Purple is a 15.0% alc/vol dessert wine that tastes like a purple popsicle (for adults).

I also REALLY love Quady's Electra wines. Like I said, I'm not a huge wine person, so when I tried the white Electra, which is halfway between grape juice and wine, I was very impressed and wanted to eat the frozen version all myself and then drink another bottle of it unfrozen. Seriously...that good. Everyone who's tried it that I've talked with said it was really good, including a few who were very enthusiastic about them.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Favorite *Corn Flake* Chocolate Chip Cookies

Many who have tried these absolutely LOVES these (I highly recommend you try this recipe). My mom got the recipe from my great-aunt (Auntie Kei). They're crispy (partly from the Corn Flakes) and light (just not light in a healthy way). And this recipe makes A LOT of cookies if you make them the size of a teaspoon, which is what you're supposed to do.

This is just part of the total amount of cookies we made with this recipe (and we made them kinda big):


Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:

3 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cubes butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup quick Quaker Oats
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Corn Flakes

1. Small bowl: Sift flour, baking soda, & salt
2. Large bowl: Beat together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, milk, & vanilla
3. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with oil until mixed
4. Stir in crushed Corn Flakes, oats & chocolate chips
5. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet; press down a bit (They keep their shape and size overall during baking)
6. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown

*Not sure exactly how many this makes, but the cookies we made were bigger than they're supposed to be. I'd say at least three dozen if you make them as big as we did.

My Neighbors' Xmas Treats

My neighbors' kids are SO CUTE!! They made these together on Christmas and gave them to us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gigi's is DELICIOUS!

Gigi's Cucina Italiano
9447 N Fort Washington Rd
The 'No

Tuesday, 12.23.08

*Warning: DARK pictures below.

Cheese sampler appetizer (dunno the actual name):

Isn't that pretty? John's filet mignon was AMAZING. Melted like butter when you touched it. haha

Their lasagna was yummy too:

And then there was dessert. :drool:

Flourless chocolate cake (even better than Crixa Cakes's flourless choc cake!!!)

My tiramisu (mmmm!!):

Holy cow. Holy cow.

Gem of Thailand

66 E. Herndon
Fresyes 93710

Tuesday, 12.23.08

My really good pad siew (how come different websites call it "pad si-ew," "pad siew," "pad-see-ew," etc.? Which one's correct?)

Patrick's...something with...chili jam? Looks like squid.

Surprisingly Good Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I made these for my auntie (Auntie J--not Jo) yesterday because she chopped off my hair yesterday. I say these were "surprisingly" good because I normally hate carrot cake, although maybe my tastes have changed. Got this recipe here (see my version below). It required a lot of time and effort, but I'd still consider it easy. Once you prep everything (shred the carrots, soak the raisins, drain the pineapple and carrots, chop the walnuts, etc.), it's pretty simple.

Dang stupid shadow. Need to work on my lack of photography skills. Here's what 3 cups of grated carrots looks like (wayy good arm workout!). For some reason I kept thinking about how much carrot this recipe requires, and then I remembered I was making carrot cake. Smart.

I forgot to add in the raisins so I added those last (I don't think that matters).



One of the best things about these is that they have great texture with their pineapple, raisins, and walnuts. Oh! And tons of carrots, of course, although you can't really feel the carrots.

I opened that one on purpose to get a picture of the inside.

So moist and tasty. I'd lower the sugar even more next time though.

HERE is the original recipe. I fixed it so that I could make 16 cupcakes instead of full cakes (cut everything in half, prepped the night before, and excluded the cream cheese frosting). Here's what I did:
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins (soaked in water overnight)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cups white sugar *actually, a little less
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (because I didn't have vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained (I measured & drained this the night before and then drained it again the day of)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots & brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes and then stir in raisins.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Grease and flour muffin/cupcake tins (I used one 12-cup tin and a 6-cup tin).
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light.
  5. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla.
  6. Stir in the pineapple.
  7. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed.
  8. Stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into pans.
  9. Bake for 30-ish minutes in the preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Outrageous [Peanut Butter] Chocolate Chip Cookies

The "Peanut Butter" is in brackets because the original recipe is just called "Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies," which I think is too misleading. These are wayyy good. I've been having good luck with new recipes lately. Probably has something to do with the fact that I mostly use highly-rated recipes on Allrecipes.com, which is where I found this recipe, and other places. So the first picture is sideways. Oh well. Let's pretend that was intentional.

They didn't spread out that much! Perfect!

Such great texture! Chocolate chips, oatmeal, and peanuts together = YUM!

RECIPE (original one here; I used a tiny bit less white sugar and then I messed up on the brown sugar by adding 1/2 cup instead of 1/4...and then to compensate I cut the chocolate chips in half):

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar *I used less than 1/2 cup*
1/3 cup packed brown sugar *I accidentally used a little less than 1/2 cup*
1/2 cup peanut butter *I used chunky*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips *I used a little bit more than 1/2 cup*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth.
3. Stir in peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well blended.
4. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter just until moistened.
5. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
6. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges start to brown.
8. Cool on cookie sheets for ~5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

I'm making these again!! Giving these to two people tomorrow (oh--and to my parents).

Delicious Apple Muffins + One Burn Incident

I made these again recently in 2012 & finally took pictures with natural lighting (the post below comes from 2008)

I'd actually prefer even more apple chunks, but I love these muffins so much.

I've made these muffins soo many times I can't even keep track anymore. I've made them for myself, my mom, my co-workers, my housemates, my friends, etc. I have only heard enthusiastically positive feedback from people. My mom, Catherine, Mia, my former co-worker, and I absolutely love these.

These muffins below came out a little browner than I had wanted, but they are TO DIE FOR (even after cutting the sugar in half). Or at least my mom and I think so. Dad said they were good too. I decided to make these after seeing a picture of them on Pete's blog (I found his site while looking for food bloggers to interview for my Anthropology of Food class), and he got the recipe from the King Arthur Flour recipe site. Recipe below.

So many apple chunks! PERFECT!

Here's the burning incident story: I forgot to take out the trays and stuff in the oven before turning the oven on to 450 degrees--BAD! But at least the plastic cutting board wasn't in there. This is a good learning experience. This is what happens when you put a brownie pan directly on the oven's heat source (luckily there aren't any holes).

APPLE MUFFINS RECIPE (original recipe here from King Arthur Flour; I changed the amounts of sugar):
*Makes 12*

1 cup King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour (or any brand)
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (or any brand)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar (sometimes I use less)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, divided (sometimes I use less)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 large apples - peeled, cored, & coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F
(2) Grease & flour a 12-cup muffin tin (or line w/ papers & grease the insides of the papers)
(3) Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon, and set aside
(4) In a separate bowl, cream the butter & add the granulated sugar & 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.
(5) Add egg & mix well. Stop once to scrape the sides & bottom of the bowl
(6) Mix in buttermilk gently (if you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle). Stir in the dry ingredients & fold in the apple chunks.
(7) Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar on top
(8) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
(9) Remove from the oven, cool them for 5 minutes in the tin, & then turn cool them on a rack

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making Mochi!

I hadn't made mochi in several years (we used to every Xmas), so doing so this past Saturday (12.20.08) made me really happy. This was my first time making it at this house too. I arrived later than most of the people helping, but we made a total of 155 pounds, which is actually not a record...last year they made like 210). Thought I'd share the mochi-making process with you because this is something I love and because recently mochi has become a popular snack at frozen yogurt places as a topping, at restaurants in ice cream mochi, etc. and I thought people might want to know about what those little chewy balls are (they're not boba though!!!)

*Note: mochi alone does not include ice cream; only ice cream mochi has ice cream. So mochi is pretty much a ball of smooshed rice.

You start by making rice (people bring their own rice and distribute the resulting mochi to friends and family):

A bunch of people to help (usually all women...the men usually talk, eat, and take care of the rice...hmmm). You also need a long table, sweet rice flour (we use this mochiko stuff), trays, and more tables on which to cool the mochi.

Someone puts rice into the machine(s), the white poo-like goop comes out (see pic below), which someone cuts off into globs and puts back into the machine (to make it smoother), and then when it comes back out, someone pinches off small balls (I have no idea how though...it's freaking hot!) and throws them down the table.

People grab the mochi that comes to them and quickly "momo" (hm...Japanese term meaning like handling gently or like massaging or something; no one's ever actually explained what it means to me) it until it's a smooth round ball.

Sometimes you add little balls of an (red bean paste--sometimes smooth, sometimes with chunks of beans) into the center, which requires quick momo-ing (lol) and pinching so that the rice doesn't dry into ugly wrinkles, but most are just plain. Here are some an balls:

Then the mochi cools off on a separate table like this:

Here's the inside of an an-filled mochi:

My favorite thing to do with mochi though is eat it with sugar and shoyu (soy sauce). SO GOOD.

Some observations I hadn't had (or thought much about) before at previous mochi-making events:
* Gender roles: Men make the rice and women turn it into mochi (although I've seen women make the rice before too)
* This event is simultaneously a potluck (of course I've noticed this before, but I had never thought about how mochi making involves two different kinds of food production and consumption (my Anthropology of Food class makes me think about food-related patterns and details now)
* People get angry if you bring too many pounds of rice (someone complained that someone's girlfriend brought 50 pounds of rice one year, which she said was really rude)
* We usually make mochi out in the boonies (ag land...yay Central Cal!)

**Also: Some people pound mochi (they did that in Hanford one time), but we don't.

Fat Witch Bakery's Pumpkin Brownie Recipe

Found this recipe a couple of hours before the party I attended. Freaked out because I didn't have time to pick up brownie mix (the original plan was to bake brownie mix + pumpkin puree like this), and I had a hard time finding a recipe requiring only ingredients that I had. I was trying to find choc pumpkin brownies, but these ended up being just pumpkin brownies w/ choc chips. Also freaked out because the batter barely reached the edges of this jelly roll pan (thought I had surely done something wrong at this point) and because I had accidentally doubled the amount of chocolate chips. Turned out fine though...people liked these a lot. To me...I don't know--I'm biased against the things I make; I usually think they're not that great (even if it's not my recipe--I just know I can easily screw things up). Anyway, apparently Fat Witch Bakery sells these in New York. I'd describe them as cookies trying to be muffins. Or cakey scones. Or muffin tops. Or heavy/dense cake. They're not chewy like chewy brownies at all though...so if you want that, try another recipe (scroll down for this recipe).

RECIPE (Original recipe here; I only changed the choc chips amount):

12/3 cup flour
1⁄4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tbs cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup butter (room temperature) *It wasn't quite room temp, but I recommend following instructions so you don't have lumpy & hard-to-mix butter*
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla
1⁄2 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg & set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, mix butter, sugar, and vanilla.
4. Beat in eggs.
5. Stir in pumpkin.
6. Fold in dry ingredients.
7. Add chocolate chips.
8. Pour into 10×15 jelly roll pan and bake 25-35 minutes.**
9. Let cool 45 minutes and cut into two-inch pieces.

**I ended up baking mine for 25-ish minutes. I'd make these again!

Chocolatier Blue's Pumpkin Truffle

Chocolatier Blue's website here.
More of their chocolates here.

Tasted pumpkin-y. Definitely good. Notice how it looks like a pumpkin. By the way, Blue (that's the owner's last name) roasts the pumpkins himself. HERE are descriptions of his current collection.

Yet Another Cheeseboard Post

Friday, 12.19.08

I've probably been to Cheeseboard way too much (see other posts about this place). For the second time, I went there to get pastries for my family and Peter (lab/data manager). Got three Pecan Rolls, an Apple Apricot Muffin, a brioche, a cranberry brioche, and a Chocolate Thing. I didn't try the muffin, but the rest I've had the rest before.

Apple Apricot Muffin:

Chocolate Thing (the choc is sooo good):

Holiday Brioche (with cranberries...they usually just have plain brioche, which is one of my favorites):