Saturday, October 30, 2010
Aren’t they the cutest monsters out there? My kids love Elmo. They love these Elmo Cake Pops even more! What can I say. They are super cute, and super yummy. I think my neighbors’ kids are going to love me, if I have enough Elmo Cake Pops to give out as Halloween Treats!
These cake pops are quite fun to make and it’s really a treat to see Elmo comes alive in front of my eyes! I’ll have a full list of ingredients and props needed to make these Elmo Cake Pops at the end of this post. First, we need to crumbled some cake that is already baked up and cooled.
Heat up the cream to a simmer, pour onto the bittersweet chocolate chip and instant coffee, stir until melted and smooth. Then, mixed the ganache to the cake crumb until they became wet sands texture, like the picture below.
Roll the cake mixtures into quarter size balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (should make 45-50) Place in Freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
Below, the white decorating dots are for Elmo’s eyes, orange jelly beans for his nose, and round sprinkles colored in black for Elmo’s mouth. If you can find small and thin circles of chocolate chip, you can use that for Elmo’s mouth instead.
Melt the red candy melts in microwave according to package instructions. Insert a lollipop stick into the cake balls (about half way). Carefully dipped the cake balls into the melted candy melts coating. While coating is still wet, decorate with eyes, nose and mouth. Use a toothpick and dipped the candy coating to create the furry look all around.
Tah-dah….Elmo is ready for Halloween!
Are you scared yet?! Happy Halloween!
Monday, October 25, 2010
You bet! My dear readers, here comes another bread recipes with TangZhong Method (湯種法). As I mentioned before, this TangZhong Method is one of the best method I’ve discovered for bread making. TangZhong method really keeps the bread soft and fluffy for days! That is if they last that long around your house. They usually gone pretty quickly in my home.
As some of you requested, I included a video showing some steps when I made these crescents. I suggest you to read the recipe once before watching the video. I know, I know, the recipe might seems complicated, but it’s really quite simple and easy. That’s why I include a video on the instructions. Once you watched the video, you’ll say, “ah-ha, that’s easy!” :) I hope you’ll enjoy watching the video and be inspired to try this recipe out. You and your family will be really happy that you did.
The picture above is how the crescent looks inside, isn’t it lovely? Hm…with the swirl of prosciutto and melted cheese, every single bite is a winner. It’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. These are the best pick-me-up in the afternoon. Alright, enough said, let’s roll the film, shall we? “In 3-2-1, actions!” Oh wait, before we start, I want to thank my hubby for being the director and producer of this video. Special lighting effect from Amy’s kitchen, hair and make up…okay, okay I’m just teasing, let’s watch the video! Oh…one last thing before we roll (I promise), the first part of the video shows how to shape and fill the dough. The second part shows how to apply egg wash before putting them into the oven. Enjoy!
Note: If your computer and internet connection are fast enough, you may want to watch the video with HD quality. Simply change the setting from 360p to 720p from the lower right hand corner of the video screen.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Last week was our 6th Wedding Anniversary (yeah, 6 years already!) and we went to Maison Riz for dinner to celebrate. Maison Riz is a French & Japanese-fusion restaurant. It was our first time trying this restaurant and we were happy that we did. The food was amazing and services was great. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as good as we would like so we missed the beautiful view from the restaurant. The lighting was quite dim inside the restaurant. Therefore, please excuse the poor quality of the pictures.
We started our evening with some drinks. I got this Lychee Maitai and it was delicious. However, I couldn’t really taste the lychee flavor. But it’s certainly a good Maitai.
Cruzan Rum, Soho Lychee Liqueur, Triple Sec, Orange Juice,
Pineapple Juice, Myer’s Dark Rum Float
My hubby had this dry Sake, I didn’t try it so couldn’t tell you how it tasted.
Sake by the Glass
Kome Kome Kamoizumi
We ordered from the Tasting Menus, the Experience (5 courses) and the Voyage (6 courses, seafood only). You can check out their menu here if you’re interested to see what else they offer. We both started with the creamy sweet corn soup. It was creamy, sweet and delicious as it claims. The only negative was the portion. It was a bit too small. I know, tasting menu items are usually smaller. But come ‘on, my 1 year old daughter finished most of the soup except the toast on top. I bet she could drink 10 of these easily without blinking her eyes.
Creamy Sweet Corn Soup (don’t see this on the Menu)
Up next was the Dungeness Crab Salad for the Experience Menu. The crab was fresh, juicy, sweet and flavorful. The vinaigrette was refreshing and citrusy. I love this salad.
DUNGENESS CRAB SALAD
Jumbo Lump Crab, Mixed Greens, Yuzu Vinaigrette, Julienne Kabocha Squash
With the Voyage menu, it came with the Seared Tuna Salad. The Tuna was fresh and melt-in-your-mouth. What a great salad to start a meal.
Mixed Greens with Chef’s Selection of Sashimi (we got Tuna) served with Wasabi-Pesto Dressing
The Voyage tasting menu came with another starter, “Tokyo-Rockefeller” fried oyster. Batter was light and crunchy. The oyster weren’t as big as I like them to be, but they were really fresh. The dipping sauce was creamy and flavorful. Compliment the fried oyster really well. GEORGE & MARGO’S OYSTERS “TOKYO-ROCKEFELLER”
Parmesan, Spinach, Butter, Shallots, Panko Crust
Next up was the Baked Chilean Sea Bass. The fish was buttery and cooked perfectly. The rice cracker crust gave it a nice crunch in contrast of texture. It was good, but not excellent though. Didn’t really care for the broth.
BAKED CHILEAN SEA BASS in DASHI-SOY BROTH
Rice Cracker Crust, Shiitake-Edamame-Tofu Pillow, Dashi-Soy Broth
This Tamari Black Cod was wonderful! Really great flavor and perfectly cooked cod. The sauce could be a bit to the salty side for me. I know it’s perfect for most people as I usually don’t use too much salt in my home cooking. The Japanese Salsa stuffed in the asparagus spear was brilliant and added a nice kick to the dish. The food was artistically plated! I felt like I was enjoying a dish prepared by the Iron Chef!
TAMARI SOY MARINATED BLACK COD
Asparagus Spears, Sweet Japanese Salsa
The Kobe Filet Mignon came with the Experience Menu. The beef wasn’t especially tender but it has great flavor. Love the sauce and the tuber chips. The Pomme Puree was so flavorful, so creamy and silky! It’s the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted. Can you see the steak was cut into a heart shape? It’s lovely.
3 oz KOBE FILET MIGNON
Pomme Puree, Baby Vegetables, Tuber Chips, Port Wine-Veal Reduction Sauce
The Umami Bouillabaisse with Risotto came with the Voyage tasting menu. We were surprised of the generous portion of the half lobster. However, the clams and so-called Tiger Prawns were rather tiny though. Risotto was flavorful but it was a bit too el dente/under cook.
Half Lobster, Bay Scallop, Mussels, Clams, Squid, & White Tiger Prawns served with Risotto
Last but not least, we both got the same dessert trio at the end. The Apple Crisps was filled with Fuji apples. The crust was really crispy and the sweet and juicy apple came with a bit of cinnamon. They were delicious. The Green Tea Tiramisu was to die for. It was so good that I had to ask for the recipe. Unfortunately, I was told they would consider giving it to me if we go back another time (aka, NO, you wish!) Oh well, I know they usually don’t give out recipes, but no harm to ask, I guess. Last thing on the plate was the Orange Jewel Wedges. It’s refreshing and unique. Very yummy as well. Oh well, too bad I didn’t get the recipes otherwise I would have share that with you after making them at home.
From let to right:
Asian Apple Crisps, Green Tea Tiramisu, Orange Jewel Wedges
Overall, it was a wonderful and delicious dinner. We got a complimentary mixed fruit deco in a vase filled with ice and colorful lighting for our Anniversary. It was a pleasant surprise, much better than the traditional piece of cake or ice cream over a plate with hand written chocolate syrup. At least, my daughter enjoyed the berries a lot. Thank you for my mother-in-law for baby-sitting my son so we had a somewhat quiet and peaceful dinner. Happy Anniversary again, Honey!
Almost forgot I have this amazing video from inside of the restaurant! Please enjoy!
Monday, October 18, 2010
It’s been super busy for us since my hubby and I started to house hunt, again! We’ve been looking on and off for a long while. Luckily, we are not in a rush to move since we can still buy some time before the kids start grade school. Yes, better school district and neighborhood are the main reasons we want to move. Not too sure if these factors would make a significant difference on my kids academic achievement in the future. That just seems like the right thing to do at the moment. I guess this is what parents do, try to provide the best for the kids within our abilities. Plus, the new location would be a shorter commute for my hubby. Over the weekend, we’ve found something we really like. Hopefully, it’s the end of our house hunt! The house shopping process is quite time consuming and exhausting (especially when you can’t find what you like, or worse, you found something that you really like but can’t afford it)! We’ll keep our fingers crossed!
When life gives you Meyer lemons, life is sweet. I can’t get enough of these Candied Meyer Lemons! They’re tangy and sweet. A little bit sticky and chewy, in a good way. They are super addictive! These little goodies not only taste great, they are also beautiful to look at. When they’re done, each one looks so different and yet, they taste just as wonderful as the previous one. Don’t they look like a stained glass window? Almost too beautiful to eat, almost! hahaha…You can eat them as is, put on top of cakes and pastries, dip in dark chocolate, or whatever ways you preferred. Love love love these lemony beauties.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Want to add lots of flavor to your food without adding too much sodium in your diet? Use fresh herbs! Tons of fresh herbs. That’s one of the reasons why I love using fresh herbs in my cooking. They are refreshing and always bring out the natural flavor and sweetness of the ingredients. If you pair the herbs with the right ingredients, that would elevate and enhance the flavor of the whole dish tremendously.
I don’t have a back yard at my place, so, I got this little herb plant and it’s been thriving on my kitchen window ever since (it’s probably better for the plant because I know I would forget to water it daily if it’s in the back yard). This plant is considered very low maintenance, which is a big plus! Just water it once every morning and give it lots of sunshine is all it needs. In this pot, from the top moving clockwise, there are rosemary, thyme and oregano. I use them quite often and they always grow faster than I use them. Unlike another herb plant I have, which is sweet basil. The leaves are almost all gone now and that poor thing look so “naked” I don’t even want to pose its picture up here…sniff..sniff…
In this Beef Bourguignon, I used all 3 kinds of herbs from my plant. It’s so flavorful that I didn’t even need to put any salt and pepper at the end to season it. The rosemary adds an aromatic and woodsy flavor to the beef that matches perfectly with the red wine. The thyme is refreshing and is lemony which is pairing nicely with the lemon zest to brightens up the whole dish. The oregano is fragrant and sweet, it brings out the natural sweetness from the carrots. The beef is so tender that the meat is literally falling apart when it’s done. The mushrooms adds an earthy flavor and the pearl onions add another level of sweetness. It is such a comforting meal and would certainly warms up your belly after 1 bowl. Perfect for the fall and winter season.
You can serve the Beef Bourguignon with garlic toasts for dipping, over a bed of creamy mash potatoes, pour over a plate of pasta, or with a bowl of white/brown rice. We paired it with a bowl of brown rice today. It’s delicious, easy to make. Best of all, it’s a 1 pot meal, which means less clean up to do and you can enjoy your evening longer! ;)
**Giveaway**Canadian Beef is sponsoring a wonderful giveaway at Kitchen Play. Simply recreate any one recipe from this month’s Progressive Party, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen Play to enter. All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win $100 (6 prizes total). This contest is open through February 28, 2011. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!
This beef Bourguignon over Brown Rice is the French version of the Asian Style Chili with Garlic Fried Rice. We are taking you around the world without hopping onto a plane! :)
Sunday, October 10, 2010
There are signs everywhere that autumn is going to be here soon. Some tree leaves are turning orange and yellow, along with the temperature getting a bit cooler. I long for something warmer for dinner, yet, I’m not ready to give up my salads option (as I noted on my previous post, I still have quite a bit of sugar intake I need to offset) . Such a dilemma that I have to deal with!
Then, I thought of this Warm Seafood Salad I had before. I used to work and live in the city of Santa Monica. There’s an Italian restaurant near the 3nd Street Promenade, called Lacanda Del Lago, that my husband and I loved to go for dinner when we were still dating. They served this scrumptious warm seafood salad that’s perfect for this season. We haven’t been back to restaurant Lago or Santa Monica for a long time because these day, we rather dine at home (this is especially true when you have the 2 young kids). So, I’m trying to replicate the warm seafood salad we both loved. Let me tell you, my version was just as delicious as Lago’s, if not better.
The diver’s scallops are to die for. They are sweet and taste like the ocean. I didn’t put a lot of seasonings on them because they don’t really need much. Just a little salt and pepper will do, and you can really enjoy their sweetness and flavor this way. I purchased the super lump crabmeat (in containers) from Costco. They are cooked and ready to use/eat. Of course, you can purchase them from your trusted fishmonger. I wouldn’t recommended you to crack your own from scratch though, unless you have
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Recently, some of my girlfriends (who are also moms) shared with me that they are struggling to put veggies into their kids’ diet. Let’s just say, I’m very fortunate that both of my kids love vegetables (and seafood, isn’t that weird?) In this post, I just want to share this delicious recipe with you all that you can “trick” your kids into eating more veggies. This Salmon and Garden Vegetable Farfalle not only tastes good, it's also healthy. For example, salmon provides your body with a great sauce of omega 3 fatty acid, which is essential for kid’s brain development. (Read more Omega 3 health benefits from here)
Kids are very simple, they like to eat delicious food (who doesn’t?). So, besides making a dish delicious (and nutritious), make it fun, and make it colorful. Also, get your kids involved in the cooking process. That would certainly makes a difference. This dish is so simple to prepare that your kids can definitely help out in some of the steps. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Congratulations, Honey! This post is dedicated to my hubby for a special celebration. Yes, it’s quite special because it’s “unexpected”. Before any one of you continue to read this post, I just want to reassure my hubby that “NO, I’m NOT pregnant, Honey!”! LOL I’m just afraid he would faint if I don’t clarify this early enough. Not that we don’t like kids. We already have 2 lovely angels and they keep our hands full. Anyway, I want to congratulate my hubby on getting the score that he is satisfied with in the GMAT exam. He’s been locking himself in the home office for many weekends, days and nights, even on weekdays after long hours of work to study for this exam. He deserves it. I’m just so proud of him.
The good score was a bit unexpected, not because I don’t have confidence in him on achieving a good score. It’s simply because he’s been studying the GMAT for a fairly short period of time. Plus, I’ve been flipping over his studying materials so I know how hard the questions are. After graduating from college so many year ago, these formulas ; look like foreign language to me!
Luckily, I made these Meyer Lemon and Strawberry Mousse Verrines the night before so we had something to raise a toast with. Although strawberries are not quite my hubby’s favorite fruit. In fact, he hardly eats them. So, I was afraid he wouldn’t like these mousses. So, when my hubby tried a spoonful, I asked if he likes the treat. He didn’t tell me but took another spoonful, then another, until the cup was empty! Then he decided that he liked it. Whew…..I’m glad that he did. He must be in good mood that day. :P
These are my son’s favorite treats now. Well, he loves anything with strawberries in it! :) The sweetness from the strawberries balanced perfectly with the tartness from the Meyer lemons. The mousse is smooth, creamy and flavorful. These are great late summer treats.