Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles and a Giveaway


Tell me I’m not the only one who’s crazy about the cookie dough clinking on the beater….well, or even better, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles like these (hey, they are egg free too!)  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone out there because Lindsay Landis created over 50 recipes in her new book “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook”, featuring homemade raw cookie dough! 


I love Lindsay’s recipes from this book, they are very easy to follow and super creative.  You’ll also find colorful and gorgeous pictures on each recipe on the finished product as well.  A big plus for a visual person like me.


These recipes are also perfect for the Summer because most recipes do not require to switch on your oven.  Hooray!  I also love Lindsay’s thoughtfulness to include a “cheat sheet on the inside of her cover with measurements and temperature conversions (as shown in the picture below). 


There are six categories in “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook” featuring:

1) Candy: Such as these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles on this post.


2) Cookies and Brownies:  Can you imagine chocolate chip cookie dough sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies?  Why didn’t I think of that before?


3) Cakes, Custards, and Pies: Cookies dough stuffed in cupcakes and top with buttercream = heavenly!


4) Frozen Treats: Cookie dough ice cream is classic, but cookie dough ice pops?  Genius!  That’s the most awesome invention!


5) Indulgent Breakfasts: Yup, you heard me right, breakfast.  I would love to wake up into these Belgian Cookie Dough Waffles with Chocolate whipped cream (as shown in the picture below). 


6) Fun Snacks & Party Fare: Such as these Cookie Dough Mousse Shooters (see picture below) and so much more. 


Hm…sorry if I drool a little.  I can’t wait to try them all.  Want Need a copy of your own?  I bet you do.  Here’s how to win one. 

This Giveaway is now closed.  The winner will be announced shortly.  Thank you.

Giveaway Details:
One lucky (with an U.S. mailing address) reader will win a copy of “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook”, courtesy of Quirk BooksTo enter, simply leave a comment on this post by June 10th, 2012 telling me why you would love to win a copy, that’s it.  Winner will be selected by random drawing.

Want extra chances to win?  Simply do any or all of the following.  Just leave a separate comment of each action that you do. 

1) Add to your Google+ circle.  (See sidebar to the right)
2) “Like”’s Facebook page.  Here’s the link.
3) Follow on Twitter.  Here’s the link.
4) Follow on Pinterest.  Here’s the link.
5) Subscribe via email or RSS feed. (See sidebar to the right)
Good luck everyone!  Winner will be notified by email and announced shortly after the giveaway is closed.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook free of charge for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions are 100% my own and always will be.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Honey Roasted Carrot Salad


Years ago, I’ve tried some honey roasted carrots at a restaurant.  I believe it was from a buffet restaurant when my Hubby and I visited Las Vegas.  Those honey roasted carrots were amazing.  Perfectly sweet and got a hint of the caramelized aroma from the honey along with the freshness from the carrot.  They were tender and succulent.  I’m surprised that those carrots didn’t help on my cognitive wellness for better memories!


Anyhow, I’m just glad that I was able to recreate those honey roasted carrots right at home. Maybe that was the reason why I forgot which restaurant I first had them.  Because nowadays, I can enjoy them at home any time I want without the long drive to L.V.  Of course, I still enjoy a trip to L.V. every once in a while, but not just for the purpose of consuming carrots.

Carrot Double

The Honey Roasted Carrots are perfect as is if you serve them as a side dish. But since I was roasting them for lunch, I included other root vegetables such as parsnips and radishes.  The salad was dressed in Meyer Lemon and Herb Vinaigrette, so refreshing!


Now that we’re done talking about the salad, it’s time for a confession.  I used to dislike radishes.  I guess it’s the strong peppery aroma that I dislike the most.  It’s only recently that I started to appreciate them, especially so when I serve them in salad.  Now, I adore radishes.  Ironically, it’s also that peppery aroma and flavor that makes me fall in love with the radish.  I can’t resist their lovely crunchy and crispy texture either.  I guess our palates and taste do change as we grow.  Boy, that makes me feel old.  Let’s just say, my palates gets more sophisticated as time goes by, like a bottle of fine wine.  Okay, that sounds more elegant, but I still feel O.L.D.!  Nevermind.

Radish Double

Is there a vegetable, or any type of food that you dislike at first but love them now?  I have quite a long list.  What are some of yours, if any?  I would love to know. 


By the way, this salad is perfect if you serve them in individual glasses for gatherings as a healthy appetizer or side dish (such as your upcoming Memorial Day Grilling).  All you need to do is to chop the root vegetables in smaller pieces to fit into the serving glasses.  For a pretty presentation, simply layer each ingredients on top of each other and drizzle the vinaigrette on top.  But for me, the big bowl such as the one in the picture below is more of my type... for a substantial lunch.  Wish you all a Happy Memorial Weekend.  Happy roasting and grilling!   


Thursday, May 24, 2012


“Ice cream cone”

Do you use Instagram? I only started recently! I know, where have I been, right? I’m so glad that I did because I am loving it! All the images from this post were edited with Instagram’s easy to use photo edit functions and then shared onto my Twitter and Facebook (personal) accounts. No, this is NOT a sponsored post, in case if you wonder. Smile I just love this program so much and can’t resist but to share with you, that’s all.

“Today's lunch--Roasted shrimps, asparagus and parsnips salad with Meyer lemon vinaigrette.”

If you’re interested in following me on Instagram, my user name is AmyTong_
Yes, my name with an underscore “_” at the back since my name was already taken when I registered.  What’s the benefit of following me there?  You got a sneak peak on recipes that I haven’t post on this blog yet. Such as the very first picture on this post, the dark chocolate ice cream!

And some recipes that might never make it to this blog, such as my Hubby’s afternoon tea (picture right below). 

“Hubby's afternoon tea. Mango iced tea & Salami on Brie and wheat cracker.”

You also get to see what I consume everyday!  hahaha…guess no one is really interested in that, I’m just throwing that in as a bonus.  Smile So, join me for some fun on Instsgram.  Add me and I’ll definitely follow you back as I’m always up to see what inspires you and what’s up in your neck of the woods.

“Home made extra dark chocolate ice cream.....yum...”

For now, please enjoy the rest of my pictures….they are listed as the most recent from top to bottom.  Smile  Take care, until my next recipe post on this gorgeous Roasted Root Vegetables Salad below!

Today's lunch....roasted root vegetables salad.“Today's lunch....roasted root vegetables salad.”

“Today's breakfast ...Meyer lemon curd on bread. So good!”

“Delicious Peking duck....”

“Hubby's afternoon tea....pb-stuffed French toast and iced milk tea.”

“Turns out, I need a Sunday cocktail too....between baskets of laundry. :)”

Best way to enjoy a watermelon....just cut it in half and dig in!“Best way to enjoy a watermelon....just cut it in half and dig in!”'

“Preping tonight's dinner....romaine hearts, grape tomatoes, havarti cheese, cranberries, kalamata olives, avocados, caschews, serve with Meyer lemon herb vinaigrette.”

“Friday cocktail...Meyer lemon juice+limoncello+ice+sprite=refreshing and delicious.”

“Hubby's afternoon tea set of the day. French pressed iced coffee, roast beef with spicy marmalade & Brie on wheat crackers, Meyer lemon macarons and hazelnut meringue sandwich cookies.”

“Teacher appreciation day gift part 2.”

“Made these sweetheart macarons for my son's teacher as teacher appreciation day gift. Part 1.”

“Another batch of Ham and cheese buns. Yum.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Orange Marmalade with Meyer Lemon


I guess many of you already knew, I always get Meyer lemons from my In-Law’s garden.  You might not know, I also get the super sweet oranges when it’s the right season.  Finally, the oranges were ready to be picked.  It’s so nice that I have a little helper whenever I pick fruit.  See this picture below?  That’s my handsome little helper at work, picking Meyer lemons for his Mama.  Yes, he does get rewards for helping, in case if you wonder.  The picture below was taken when he was just 16 months old.  See, you got to start training them young.  Winking smile

Little Helper Picking Meyer Lemons

With the super sweet and juicy oranges, I made Orange Marmalade with Meyer Lemon (low sugar version) for my little helper’s Teacher Appreciation Day at school (last week).  Also, some for my In-Laws.


And I reserved a jar for our neighbor who always help out planting beautiful flowers in the front entrance area. See the picture below?  Aren’t they gorgeous?  That is my favorite color too.  I definitely don’t have a green thumb like my neighbor does.  So, I’m really grateful that she helps keeping the entrance beautiful with gorgeous flowers.  Cooking and baking, I’m always up for the challenge; gardening, not so much.  So, a little homemade treat is the best way to say thank you to my generous neighbor.       


This recipe is super simple, you’re going to love it.  Instead of using a mandolin to slice the oranges, I prefer using a really sharp knife to cut thin slices.  I’ve tried with the mandolin before and it was a mess!  Here’s how I do it, cut the orange in half, place it flat side down; the trick is to use a really sharp knife and pick oranges that are firm and slice them into 1/8-inch thick slices.  Trust me, it’s much easier this way than using a mandolin.  


The Meyer lemons are sliced the same way.  Simply cook them down with some water, sugar and pectin and it’s all done.  I use a little pectin to help the gelling because I cut back on a lot of sugar.  If you use the full sugar recipe below, you can skip the pectin.


I have another great tip for you today.  Why? Because I love you.  Smile  When your marmalade is ready, ladle it into a large heat proof measuring cup with a beaker for a no-mess transfer.  I lined a clean kitchen towel on the bottom because the marmalade is still super hot, so be careful when doing the transfer.  The purpose of the towel is to avoid the jelly jars from sitting directly on the cold counter top surface as it might crack. 


Once the jars are all filled up, close the lid and boil them in a large pot of water for ten minutes to create the vacuum seal. That way, you can store the unopened marmalade in your pantry for up to six months. When the marmalade has cooled, simply press the top of the lid in the middle and you shouldn’t hear the “clicking” sound, which means it’s properly sealed.


The possibilities to serve the marmalade are endless. This time, I have a few wheat crackers, top with a slice of brie cheese, thin slices of salami, drizzle the marmalade on top and sprinkle with some fresh thyme leaves.  I also love to spread the marmalade on toasts and breads.  And it’s great as a meat marinate as well.  I’ll share a sweet and savory chicken drumstick recipe (using this marmalade as a marinade) with you in the future. So stay tuned. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Triple Berry Mini Pavlova


I love the berry seasons!  I mean, who doesn’t?  Well, probably my hubby is the only one around here who doesn’t really care about berries.  But then I couldn’t help it but to grab a few basketful of berries home when the vibrant and juicy berries are weaving at me at the farm stands.


If you are not familiar with Pavlova, it’s a meringue based dessert, filled with a whipped cream filling and top with some fruit or fruit sauce. Pavloca is named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavloca. This dessert was created in honor of the dancer during her tours to Australia and New Zealand back in the 1920s.  So, thank you Anna and whoever created this dessert.


How good are these?  Well, my tiny little girl ate two of these in one sitting (a batch I made without the liquor).  Alright, these Triple Berry Pavlova are not that big (I made them in 3-inch diameter).  But still, I didn’t expect my little girl to finish two of these all by herself!  Plate licked clean!  Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated.  But she really did finished the very last crumb on her plate.  Smile


In this Triple Berry Pavlova, I used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. The ripe and juicy berries are beautiful and the hint of tartness is perfect. Let me tell you, you need to make this Triple Berry Pavlova real SOON. More like, go grab your berries now and run to the kitchen and make this Triple Berry Pavloca, kind of SOON!  You’ll be glad you did.  Winking smile And yes, you’re very welcome!


When I was piping the meringue shells, I got a tiny little bit of batter left, but wasn’t quite enough for another shell.  So, I piped dollops of meringue drops and use them as garnish on top of the pavlova, as shown in the picture above.  Nothing goes to waste in this house.  Winking smile

Piping Instruction

Piping the meringue shells is super simple (refer to the picture above).  I used a piping bag with a Wilton 1M star tip.  See the purple line in the above picture?  Simply start piping from the middle moving outward to make a 3-inch round.  Pipe an additional round of meringue on the edges to create the “shell” so you can put fillings into the shell after it’s baked. 
Berry Sauce Trio

For the meringue shells, I added freeze dried blueberries to add more flavor.  I didn’t use any food coloring so the color of these shells are not as purple as I want them to be.  These are all natural colors from the blueberries.  If you’re serving the pavlova for parties and want them to look their best, feel free to add a few drops of food coloring. 

While the meringue shells are baking, you can go ahead and prepare the orange cream and berry sauce. Both of them are decadent on it’s own. Imagine what they can do when put together in a mouthful…along with the meringue shells! It was totally a flavor and texture explosion in my mouth.  This time, I’m NOT exaggerating!  Winking smile 

Make sure you get a little bit of everything in each bite.  You’ll taste the sweet and tart berry sauce on top, and a few juicy berries bursting in your mouth, along with fragrant and creamy orange cream, then the crunch from the light, airy and crispy meringue shell.  Tell me that’s not a flavor and texture explosion in my mouth, I don’t know what is.  It was totally a party for my taste buds.

Are you convinced to run to the kitchen to make these Triple Berry Mini Pavlovas yet?  Don’t wait any longer.  I think I’m going to make some more….now!