Ok, so this isn’t a frappucino, because who needs the brain freeze in this weather? But, maybe Derek, Brint, and the rest of the ridicously good-looking male models were on to something. If you’re pondering a big decision or are conflicted about something, don’t you think having an orange mocha treat would help you think more clearly? Well, I think this Orange Mocha Mousse definitely would. Not only because of the yummy combination of flavors, but did I tell you there’s also booze in here? Well, just a couple of tablespoons of orange liqueur, but you’re making it, so nobody will know if your hand slips while pouring the booze in and you “accidentally” put more in than the recipe calls for.
Anyway….on to the ridiculously delicious-tasting mousse!
While re-organizing the huge mess in the cabinet which houses all of my muffin tins, pie, tart, and assorted sheet pans, I came across a mini-popover pan, wrapped in plastic with the receipt taped on it, from the year 2000. I must have meant to return it, but obviously, I never did. Instead, I packed it and moved it from our condo in Orange County, CA to our apartment in downtown Seattle, to our house in Bellevue, WA, and back to Southern California, first to an apartment and then to our current house, still wrapped in its original packaging. Continue reading →
We normally have my family over for a big Easter Sunday celebration, complete with an egg hunt, but not this year. Since I’m getting too old to be crawling around the bushes hiding eggs, and my nephews are way too old to be hunting around for them, our family plans never materialized. My husband and I ended up having a quiet holiday weekend alone, with plenty of chores, and our taxes, to keep us occupied.
Sumo Citrus. Have you heard of it? I hadn’t until I walked into Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago and was greeted with a beautiful display of these uniquely-shaped and brightly-colored fruit with a thick, dimpled peel and distinctive “top knot”. These large mandarin oranges are seedless, easy to peel, and very sweet. They’re juicy, but not so much that the juice drips down your arm when you peel them like some oranges can do.
Over the last couple of posts, I’ve taken you to Hawaii for salmon poke and to Tahiti for poisson cru. Today, I’m taking you halfway around the world to Italy for pesce crudo, which literally translates to “raw fish.” It is similar to the Japanese sashimi, but instead of wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger, Italians traditionally dress the fish with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, and sea salt. As with the other raw fish dishes I’ve shared with you, the key to crudo is to use the freshest quality ingredients and let their flavors shine.
Growing up, part of our weekend routine included my mom’s pancakes. My brothers and I loved the way she made them, stacked up high with a pat of butter on top and clear syrup dripping down to the plate. We would watch her cook them, eagerly awaiting the bubbles to form on top, signaling that it was time to flip. We would tease my brother, and laugh about how the dimple on one side of his cheek resembled a bubble on the pancake. Then, we would eat our breakfast, all together as a family, before we were all off in different directions – my parents shuttling my brothers to their Little League games and me to my organ lesson or to the library. Continue reading →
Persimmons have always looked rather unappealing to me – bruised, overly ripe, and way too soft, as if they would burst and ooze at the slightest touch. Sometimes, their skins had black streaks which made them appear almost rotten. I could never understand why my Mom liked them so much. As a teenager, I vividly remember countless times when she would lovingly offer me some of its dark orange, almost gelatinous flesh cradled in her hands, and how I would rebuff her each time. Being the bratty teen that I was, I would crinkle my nose, make that “face” that signifies utter disgust and total disinterest, and walk away with my hands folded across my chest, without ever tasting it. She seemed almost disappointed that she couldn’t share her enjoyment of this “weird” fruit with me, yet, somehow, she also had a look of relief that I now assume meant, “Yippee, I get to eat all of this luscious fruit by myself.” She would always cut the persimmon in half and expertly take spoonfuls of fruit, leaving the peel almost completely intact, her hands sticky and dripping with orange-colored juice.
The holidays are over and I’m back from my self-imposed hiatus from blogging. I knew that with all of the holiday preparations and spending time with family and friends, I wouldn’t have enough to blog, so rather than feeling guilty about it, I decided to just take the time off. I was feeling burnt out anyway, and the time away from the blog has really helped. I’m excited to be back and I have lots of simple, easy-to-make recipes to share this coming year, including this Chocolate Almond Upside-Down Cake I adapted from pastry chef Gale Gand.
If you’re looking for buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a nutty crunch, look no further than these cream cheese shortbread cookies flavored with toasted walnuts and orange. The addition of cream cheese transforms these from the traditional sandy and crumbly shortbread to lighter, softer cookies. For an even more cake-like texture, roll the dough into balls instead of using a cookie cutter. Continue reading →
I made my first galette a couple of weeks ago, and it has quickly become one of my favorite desserts. I love its simplicity and rustic quality, along with its versatility. Short on time this past Labor Day, I opted to make this quick “semi-homemade” Blackberry Galette. Instead of pastry dough, I used a sheet of ready-to-bake puff pastry. The light and flaky puff pastry encased a trio of ingredients – blackberries, mascarpone cheese, and orange marmalade. The tart blackberries made a nice contrast to the slightly sweet orange marmalade and rich mascarpone cheese. It was a simple dessert, yet very pretty and full of flavor. Served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this galette was a perfect end to a nice holiday dinner.
A month ago, I would have passed on making this cake. It wasn’t because this recipe, from Aran Goyoaga of the breathtakingly beautiful blog Canelle et Vanille, didn’t sound delicious. On the contrary, her recipe have always been so tempting, but I’ve never attempted any of them. Why, you ask? Well, I’m a little embarrassed to say! Continue reading →
I don’t often make regular-sized cakes. It is well-documented here that I prefer to make cupcakes, muffins, or other miniature-sized desserts. I find them to be more portable and, as a result, easier to serve at social gatherings. Also, I love how cute they look and that they come out of the oven in individually-sized portions. However, I decided to make a “proper” cake when I ran across this recipe since I had featured olive oil muffins not that long ago. So why did I post a picture of muffins at the top of this post, you ask? Where’s the cake? Well, read on…
These muffins, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, sounded so good and unique that I just had to make them. The recipe called for both olive oil and balsamic vinegar, ingredients not commonly found in muffins. Don’t worry, these two flavors are subtle, not overpowering at all. The balsamic vinegar complements the sweetness of the muffins, and the olive oil imparts a fruity flavor. While vegetable or canola oil are not unusual in baking, olive oil is not often used because of its distinct flavor, but in this recipe, however, the olive oil is a great addition. Continue reading →
After resisting for so long, I’ve finally succumbed to making microwave “cup” cakes after watching Iron Chef Michael Symon prepare them on his new Cooking Channel show, Symon’s Suppers. Over the years, I’ve seen various recipes from food bloggers, many of them with mixed reviews. The chief complaint I’ve read about microwaved cup cakes is that they can be too dense and dry. Well not these! They turned out surprisingly well, considering it only took about 5 minutes and minimal effort on my part. To top it off, clean up was easy with only one bowl to wash. Continue reading →
Today, I bring you another dish that includes a vegetable I’ve harvested from my edible garden. I pulled the first bunch of lovely “Round Romeo” carrots this week, which I planted back in October. At the time I sowed the seeds, their uncommon round shape intrigued me and looking back, I think I planted them primarily for their novelty. However, upon tasting them, I was pleasantly surprised by these smooth-skinned carrots and their sweet flavor and crunchy texture; they are delicious! I used a couple of them for these cupcakes, along with some regular carrots I already had on hand. I am going to steam the rest and toss them with a little butter and chives to fully enjoy their uniqueness and flavor.