Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to lately in the realm of home cooking, baking, and general creation of delicious things.
I made chocolate whoopie pies with vodka caramel cream cheese filling (tinted green) for a co-worker’s going away celebration in March around St. Patricks Day. The cookies in a bag are from my boyfriend’s mom and are molasses spice cookies (I think the recipe is on the side of the Grandma’s Molasses jar). She also made the delicious chocolate cake in the bottom left. My boyfriend and I made the oatmeal raisin cookies in the bottom right (recipe from the Quaker Oat’s container).
For a work potluck, I made a simple blueberry and quince tart by layering blueberries and poached quinces on top of a pie crust and topping it with a simple crumble. Some parts of the quince were a bit tough since I didn’t remove the parts near the seed pods all the way, but it was a great way to use up fading fruit!
Around Christmas last year I made gingerbread houses with my family and spent two days during December making homemade truffles (Oreo, Fleur de Sel, and Hibiscus Tea) and peppermint bark for family, friends, and co-workers with my bestie Stephanie. We packaged them up with twine, artist tape, and stickers for the season. If I get around to it, I’ll post our truffle adventures, including a truffle class and recipes. I also made gingerbread cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and milk chocolate espresso cookies since exchanging cookies during the winter is a family tradition.
At a local chocolate shop, my mom picked up these Star Wars chocolate molds. My dad loves Star Wars so I made him some chocolate pops. Some of them have malt powder or pop rocks in them to give them texture.
These are also creations for work potlucks. In the top left corner is a red velvet cupcake with cream de cacao caramel cream cheese frosting and red and white decoration. Next to that are cinnamon rolls with strawberry/peach preserves, almonds/walnuts, white chocolate chips, raisins and a candied ginger cream cheese glaze. The bottom row are pictures of s’more cupcakes with marshmallow fluff topping, hershey chocolate, and a teddy graham. I didn’t have a kitchen hand torch, so I popped these under the oven broiler. They turned from “not-charred-enough” to “burnt!” very quickly. Oh well, I’m the type of person that always lights my marshmallows on fire anyways.
Like I said, my dad loves Star Wars, especially Yoda. For Father’s Day this year I made Star Wars sugar cookies using the cookie molds sold at Williams-Sonoma
. Of course my cookies don’t look as good as the display ones, but it took a ridiculous amount of time to decorate and bake them! I was quite proud of myself when I viewed the final product.
In the winter I fell in love with ratatouille and made an adaptation of the original recipe
by opting to use Rasika Goan Curry
instead of tomato paste/sauce. As I predicted, it was delicious
. I had cooked the curry with shrimp in it for dinner the night before and used the left over sauce as the base so I wouldn’t waste the expensive sauce.
A yummy drink enjoyed on New Year’s eve (Chairman’s Rum & Domaine de Canton, if I remember correctly), spiced with a chunk of crystallized ginger.
I also participated in an iced tea competition at Zen Tara Tea
. We were given 2 oz of tea and could add whatever we wanted to to make our iced tea concoction. I brewed hibiscus tea and crystallized ginger together (left) and was an honorable mention. Stephanie had something crazy with almond milk and ice cream (and cookies) and got second place! I love visiting this small tea shop and trying new teas or getting new accessories. They have great educational tasting events too.
I recently picked up a spice blend
from the Spice & Tea Exhange
and used it to create backwoods hickory rubbed potatoes and chicken
. The other photos are delicious homemade sai min
and roast pork soup
that I had while eating at my parents’ house. I don’t remember eating this good when I lived there!
This past October I made “Happy Birthday” linzer cookies
for my dad since he’s been requesting them ever since Christmas 2009! I think they turned out pretty awesome after I used my alphabet cutters from Japan to cut-out a special message for him in each cookie. I also made linzer cookies for Christmas 2010, though they didn’t turn out as well.
Another of my dad’s favorite things to eat are macaroons
. These are ridiculously easy to make and reminded me of the days back when I worked at Godiva and would dip these every morning. They’re crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside — just the right amount of sweetness!
Last but not least, here are some awesome pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting that my boyfriend’s mom made. We have a running joke with this pink container that it’s never sent back empty, always returned with delicious treats inside!
This is a big chunk of what I’ve been making in the past months, but I have some special posts coming up, including totoro cookies, blueberry coffee cake, carrot cake cupcakes, and peach cobbler bars, peach jam, and peach cinnamon rolls.