Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy Snow Day??

Yes!!! Let it snow, let it snow! Outside is looking pretty ugly right now with all the snow and freezing rain. I do not know if I will be at work but by the time I post this, it wouldn't matter. Which ever it is, it's going to be a beautiful day and no matter what happens I am glad.

I had such a wonderful weekend, I need to share this joy and positive energy with you. I had a little retreat with some buddies of mine and we ventured to Blue Mountain Ski Resort. We had such a blast boarding down the great hills and spending some quality time over fast food. Yuck, I know.

We did manage to share some favourite desserts we like and that inspired me to bake a batch of these babies. The original recipe is from the one and only Jamie Oliver. And of course, these are safe and I tweaked them a bit.

Here's how it goes:
1 cup unsalted butter 
7 oz Cadbury's Dark Chocolate (broken up)
1/2 cup nuts of your choice 
3/4 up cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1/4 Baileys Irish Cream
1 3/4 cup sugar

Pre heat at 350F

Using the double boiler technique, melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. Add the nuts. Set a side to cool and add the Bailey's.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar.

Then add the dry mixture to the chocolate. Using the paddle attachment, stir together well. Beat in eggs one at a time and mix until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your batter onto a 12 inch lined baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. You want to aim for a bit of a hard crust but still gooey on the inside.

Allow it to cool in the pan and transfer for it to a chopping board. Cut into chunky squares and enjoy.

I shared these goods with my coworkers and they all loved it except one. She said she wanted to puke. Probably because of the alcohol or maybe she hates me or hates brownies. The possibilities are endless but the most important thing is, I got my chocolate craving satisfied.

For the rest of this post, enjoy some pictures from my trip to Blue Mountain.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hello, hello!

Finally the long weekend is over and that only means one thing. Work. That sucks! But the good news is, we have a shorter week! Haha. Anyways, Happy Belated Valentines Day! I made these hard to resist cupcakes for the holiday. Is it a holiday? I am not sure. I don't think so.

I thought about celebrating but then again who celebrates that day anyways. It always seem to be like a contest of who gets the most flowers or attention on that day. Not a big fan. But I was feeling extra happy and nice, so I decided to bake these babies for my love ones.

This recipe was inspired by Food Network's Cupcake Wars 2010. I love how this recipe never ceases to fail me in any way. It is so straight forward and easy. Give it a try! =D

3 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (recommended: Valrhona)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 7/8 cups sugar
3 eggs
60 ml Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the vegetable oil, milk, Bailey's Irish Cream, sugar, eggs, food coloring, applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla on medium speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Turn the mixer to medium-low speed, and add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Mix until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.

Generously frost the top of each cupcake with the Almond Cream Cheese Frosting.

Almond Cream Cheese Frosting: 
11 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Turn the mixer on medium-low, and slowly add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Once the ingredients are all incorporated, turn the mixer to high, and beat for 1 additional minute.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year friends!

I wish you all happiness, continual success in your career and may all your wishes come true! That's the best I can do in terms of translating from chinese to english.

It's been such a chaotic week here in Toronto. Besides all the Chinese New Year festive stuff, there was a huge snowstorm that lasted for two days. We were snowed in and traffic was such a pain. But that didn't stop me from preparing for the new year with food.

Today I am going to share with you some symbolic dishes that a Chinese New Year dinner must have.

Some common dishes served:

Serving a whole chicken during dinner time symbolizes togetherness and good marriage.

Steamed lobster is one of my favourite dishes Chinese New Year. This popular dish symbolizes happiness. In Cantonese it is pronounced "Long Ha." The "Ha" translates to "ha, ha" which is expressed when one is happy.

Noodles are served as long as possible and should not be cut. Why? Because noodles symbolize longevity.

Duck symbolizes fidelity in Chinese culture, so don't be surprised when you see a delicious duck at a wedding.

A common fruit that Chinese families give to one another is tangerine and orange. How you pronounce orange and tangerine in Chinese sounds like luck and wealth.

Red, red and more red. The colour red plays a big part during Chinese New Year. It symbolizes luck and happiness.

Of course, I am going to share my favourite dish with you guys. I'm always a big fan of lobster and whenever we have big dinners, I always suggest lobster as a dish.

To prepare the "Funny Longevity" Lobster dish,

Heres what you need:
5lb lobster (roughly chopped)
pepper for seasoning
garlic finely diced
A gulp of olive oil
green onions for garnish
Vermicelli soaked in water until soft

Arrange the vermicelli on a plate in a nest like fashion.

Place the roughly chopped lobster on top of the vermicelli.

Season the lobster with pepper, garlic pieces and olive oil.

Steam the lobster on high for 15 minutes until it turns red. The lobster should have natural juices overflowing. This will cook the vermicelli and add flavour to it.

Serve right away!

Of course, Chinese New Year doesn't stop there. I still need to visit my other relives and wish them a good year. This is just a small taste of what Chinese New Year feels like but I will try my best to update as much as possible and educate you. 

Keep in touch! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello Friends!

Its been a while since I have posted but a great food blogger once told me that "you should always live life first, then blog second." So, that is exactly what I have been doing. I spent some time recovery from a nasty fall that happened during a basketball game. Banged up my shoulder pretty good and I ended up not going to the gym or playing basketball. I was pretty down. =(

But as Chinese New Year draws near, it is a good reminder that we all have a second reset in life. I have been constantly running errands for my grandma. It is always such a big thing in my home to have big feasts and family over. Are you guys going celebrating Chinese New Year?

Anyways, finally I found some time to invite some friends over to experience my cooking side. It always makes me feel happy to see them look forward or talk about the dinner parties that I host. I hope one day I can open up a restaurant with my sister or something and have my parents do the accounting part while I cook.

Now for the exciting part. I decided to try something new and do a blueberry soup. Crazy huh? I wanted something light and sweet but also stunning. Everyone thought it was a beets soup that was hot and spicy but when they tried it, everyone fell in love. Except my friend John, he doesn't like anything sour. This recipe was inspired by Soup. 

Here is how you make it:

2lb of blueberries
1.25 L of water
70 mL sugar
1 mL salt
7 ml fresh rosemary chopped.

Dumped all the ingredients in a pot. Throw in the berries, chopped rosemary, water and sugar. Bring it to a boil and then turn down the temperature. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender and puree the contents. Strain the soup, making sure you catch the rosemary and blueberry skins.

Chill the soup for at least 4 hours. Upon serving, spoon in 5mL of sour cream or yogurt to top it off.

The soup itself was very mint like but no mint leaves were used at all. At first sip, it seemed very weird and no one really like the taste but they got use to it and started to taste the flavours. As I topped off their bowls with seconds, they asked how it was made and if it was possible to drink it hot.

Definitely, you guy would see me talking about this soup again. Since I got so many positive comments about it. I will also share with you later on this week the other dishes that I made. They were all winners in my opinion.

After dinner we just finished the evening with boards games. Can't wait till I host more of these parties. Let me know if you have any questions. =)

Thanks for reading!