Archive for May, 2009

Chipster-Topped Brownies

Got Milk?

Got Milk?

This week for TWD, Beth of Supplicious selected Chipster-Topped Brownies for us to try. Visit her blog to find out read about her experience picking this recipe for the group and how it turned out for her!

Holy cow, this recipe contains A LOT of chocolate! (Not to mention the amount of butter – almost a full pound!) My buddy P at work celebrates his birthday today so I thought I’d bring it to work in honor of his birthday… unfortunately I got to work and looked around my car for the container of brownies and realized I forgot it on the kitchen counter! Sheesh. Happy Birthday P! (It’s the thought that counts right? I’ll bring it in tomorrow!)

Back to the Chipster-Topped Brownies. I LOVE chocolate but I have to say, this was almost too much for me! Melting chocolate and butter over simmering water usually turns out disastrous for me, I tend to overmelt and the result is not very pretty. This time I took the chocolate away before it had all melted and stirred the chocolate and butter until it looked exactly like it was suppose to – melted, shiny, and smooth! The brownie batter turned out really well and tasted soo good! I try not to taste the batter too much – especially when raw eggs are involved but I couldn’t help myself! It was like chocolate frosting or chocolate truffles, either way, my tummy really appreciated it. =)

Note to Self: Do not use hand towels straight from the dryer when baking. (I found out that the hand towels happened to have lint on them – how did I find out? I noticed the lint in the melting chocolate/butter mixture.) O, well, my co-workers may find they have a little bit of lint/fiber with their brownies tomorrow…

The cookie batter was a breeze. It was soft enough so that I didn’t have any trouble spreading it over the brownie batter. The smell coming out of the oven was soo delicious! Brownie and chocolate chip cookie smells at the same time, it just doesn’t smell better than that I tell you!

I did have a bit of trouble trying to figure out just when it was done. I went well over the 55 minutes. The middle of the brownie had quite a few slits in it because I kept testing different parts of the brownie with my knife for doneness. I finally got what I thought was a clean knife except for a swipe of brownie goodness.

Chocolate Chip Cookie smothering Brownie layer

Chocolate Chip Cookie smothering Brownie layer

It was a little bit of trouble cutting the brownie into pieces. The cookie was crumbling, the brownie was falling apart in pieces in places. But it looked good. I sampled the cookie crumbles and the brownie pieces and they were quite tasty. I haven’t tried them together so I’m not sure about the taste. It seems like it would be really rich together and it would definitely need a tall glass of cold milk alongside it.

Care to dive right in?

Care to dive right in?

Amazingly, I’m not sure if I would bake this again. It was soo much chocolate and butter! I might bake it again if I had to bring a dessert or perhaps make a half recipe. It’s a bit much, and you know, bikini season is upon us!

Please visit the other TWD bakers and see how their brownies turned out! Or better yet, buy Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking From My Home to Yours and try it yourself!

Next Week: Cinnamon Squares
Last Week: Fresh Mango Bread

Fresh Mango Bread

Fresh Mini-Mango Bread!

Fresh Mini-Mango Bread!

I love banana bread and zucchini bread so I was anticipating that I’d love mango bread too! It never occurred to me to add mango to bread. Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits. My family is from Hawaii and whenever I’m in Hawaii I make the most of it by eating as much of the local food as possible. Papaya for breakfast everyday is the best!

I only have a glass bread loaf pan so I wanted to get a metal pan. Actually I wanted to make mini-loaves! Sur La Table is close to the beau’s house so I stopped by there to pick up my pans. I found a nice metal pan plus 4 mini-pans.

I bought my mangoes from Tom’s Farm in Corona. I’m the type of shopper who invariably asks the produce person to pick out a ripe watermelon/melon for me but since there wasn’t anyone around I tried to remember the hints from the TWD P&Qs. I selected 4 mangoes because I wanted to make sure I got 2 cups of diced mango, plus if there were any extra – YAY for me!

It took 2 of the mangoes to make 2 cups. This is another really easy recipe to put together. I was surprised that the sugar was added to the dry ingredients since it’s usually integrated with the wet ingredients. I love the spices cinnamon and ginger so I went with the amounts the recipe called for. I also added fresh grated nutmeg because that’s my favorite spice right now – mostly because it’s the first time I bought nutmeg as a nut and I live to use the microplane to grate it. The smell of the spices reminded me of Thanksgiving – pumpkin pie spices!

The smell of the canola oil was not as nice. I don’t use oil that often so I was a little worried if my oil was too old. The smell wasn’t pungent or anything like that but it did have a smell to it. After whisking the eggs with the oil, it looked, um, weird. Not the most descriptive cooking term but it looked weird to me.

O, well, I added it to the dry ingredients and boy, Dorie was right! It was a little rough getting the dough to come together! When I added the diced mango, raisins, and lime zest I wondered it I’d be able to blend all the ingredients well of if someone would end up with a slice of mango bread with a lump of raisins and lime zest. But the diced mango did soften the dough up and it was easier to blend it all in. I ended up using the regular size loaf pan but also used one of the mini-loaf pans too!

Mango and Mini-me Mango

Mango and Mini-me Mango

I took the mini-loaf out after about 45 minutes and left the regular one in for the full 1 ½ hours. Mistake. When I sliced the mango bread that night I could see/feel that the outer layer was a bit crusty. The bottom was a little burnt and you could see burnt raisins too! Which was totally okay with me because I’m not a fan of raisins and burnt raisins taste better to me than nice, juicy, plump raisins (bleah). But other than that, the bread was mighty tasty! We liked it so much that I decided to make it again the following day with the rest of the mangoes!

The second time was better because I kept a closer eye on it and this time, no burnt edges! YAY! And boy, was the second one moist! I love this recipe, you should definitely try it for yourself! I’d like to try it again without raisins and maybe add some nuts to it instead.

One slice is definitely not enough!  =)

One slice is definitely not enough! =)

Special thanks goes to Kelly of Baking with the Boys for selecting this week’s TWD recipe, Fresh Mango Bread. Please visit her website for the recipe and to see her other fabulous creations! And don’t forget to visit TWD and click on the other bloggers to see how they did with their versions of Fresh Mango Bread!

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Grilled Chicken Thighs


I’ve made Grilled Chicken Thighs quite a few times now. I was browsing epicurious.com and found this for something simple to make for dinner. On Mother’s Day is the first time it was made on the grill though. The other times I’ve made it, it was broiled. I made it for Easter and my mom liked it so much she wanted it for Mother’s Day too!

There are only 4 ingredients. I asked my nephew (D) if he could guess what the ingredients were and he came up with 3 of the 4. He’s a really good cook and I always collaborate with him for family get together meals. My niece (C) was able to guess all 4 ingredients! If it was me, I’d probably get 2 or 3 of them. The best part of this recipe is that the chicken only needs to marinate for 15 minutes!

Try this one at home – you’ll end up adding it to your go-to list!

Tartest Lemon Tart

Powdered Sugar covers part of the burnt crust...

Powdered Sugar covers part of the burnt crust...

Saturday night I made TWD assignment Tartest Lemon Tart. I bought my lemons from the strawberry stand near my home. They have a little patch of land where they grow strawberries and some vegetables. I noticed a little basket of lemons and bought a few because they were ripe and ready to be used. I didn’t ask what kind of lemons they were, maybe I should have because the tart did not seem to taste too tart at all and I used everything except the lemon seeds. They contained A LOT of juice too, I was really pleased. I was thinking of just zesting the lemon rind but had a feeling the lemon skins were thin on these and I guessed right, take a look:

Juicy Lemons!

Juicy Lemons!

I just love Dorie’s recipes when they call for the food processor or the blender because they cut down on time and it was getting late.

Crust already brown before baking the tart...

Crust already brown before baking the tart...

My poor crust got a little brown after I baked it. I mixed in some toasted chopped pecans. When I filled it with the tart I had too much and filled a little cup with the remainder. Since my crust started off with some browness, it got a bit more brown by the time the tart was done. It reminded me of a lemon bar. I tried the leftover tart and it was very tasty, not too tart though. I had to practice self control because I knew the tart would taste soo much better with the crust!

In addition to Dorie’s Tartest Lemon Tart, we had a store bought chocolate cake from a local Ralph’s in the Encino area. I’ve never seen that cake at my local Ralph’s and we were all surprised how good it was! So we had a few slices left over from the Lemon Tart and half the cake left over from Ralph’s. My sister washed out my tart pan and gave me the pan to take home. Boo. But she was a very gracious host and deserved the lemony goodness of the Tartest Lemon Tart (not to mention the leftover hummus!)!

I’ll post the after shot when I get the pictures from my sister!

Thanks to Babette of Babette Feasts for choosing this recipe – loved it! Please visit Babette at Babette Feasts for the recipe and try it out for yourself! Then head on over to the TWD blog and check out all of the other variations available from the TWD bloglist!

Hmm, I visited Babette’s website and now know why my crust came out soo brown! I fully baked it instead of partially baking it prior to adding the lemon tart filling. I’m a goober. Babette’s Tartest Lemon Tart looks really delicious and it’s what my lemon tart wants to be when it grows up…

Next week: Fresh Mango Bread

Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp

Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp - Colorful and Tasty!

Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp - Colorful and Tasty!

After completing the Hummus bi Tahini appetizer, I set to work on the Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp recipe that I found on epicurious.com. I had made this dish for a light dinner with the beau and we both loved it! I had my reservations as I was making it though as I realized that it actually was a salad – I should pay more attention to the names of the recipes I use I guess. As I was slicing the veggies I realized that everything was raw except for the noodles and the shrimp, and would be served cold.

It was the first time I boiled the Maifun noodles rather than frying them for Chinese Chicken Salad. And the noodles came out great! I love the texture of them and amazingly they don’t stick together like pasta noodles do sometimes (unless it’s just the way I do my pasta noodles…).

All you do is add some of the Maifun noodles into your salad bowl and top it with the sliced veggies (cucumbers – should have been Japanese but didn’t since the closest asian market is not that close, red bell pepper, and sugar snap peas) and the chopped herbs (cilantro and mint). Mix it with the shrimp and dressing which was made with fish sauce and chili-garlic sauce. For Mother’s Day, I swapped the sugar snap peas with snow peas. I’m not sure how sugar snap peas got their name because they’re not very sweet at all, in fact they’re a little bitter. I liked the salad a lot better with the snow peas.

This was such a delicious meal! I’m sure I’ll be making this again and again during the summer because it is really refreshing served cold.

I’ll post a picture when I get it from my sister. The beau’s camera kind of died on Mother’s Day – which leads me to believe that I might have jinxed it because the camera always had problems whenever I needed to have pictures taken of my food… oops. He’s the best beau though, takes pictures of my food for me and posts them for me too. XOXO for him!

Hummus bi Tahine

Hummus bi Tahini with flat bread

Hummus bi Tahini with flat bread

Sunday morning I woke up and after taking Marshall out for his morning walk, started work on the Hummus bi Tahine recipe I found on the Desert Candy website. Please visit Mercedes at Desert Candy for the recipe and other variations that she provided! I could not find any dry chickpeas so had to make do with canned chickpeas. I love Hummus and so does the beau, we always order it as our appetizer when we eat at Rosine’s. I made this as an appetizer for our Mother’s Day dinner.

The recipe is very easy to follow, the only problem I had was finding tahini. They didn’t have it at Stater Brothers or at the Von’s Pavilion although Von’s said they had it on order which still didn’t help me any. I finally found Tahini Sauce at Trader Joe’s. I knew I’d have a little trouble adjusting the recipe with the Tahini Sauce since it already contained garlic and lemon juice.

After boiling the chickpeas, you should skim off any of the skins that may have come off the chickpeas. Well, I’m such a goober, I wanted to make sure all the skins were off in case the addition of the skins would affect the taste of the hummus. HAH! After half an hour I gave up, there’s a lot of chickpeas which means a lot of skins to peel off if they hadn’t come off already.

I topped the Hummus bi Tahini with some great olive oil made at Fresno State college! The beau’s sister gave it to him for a gift and I really wanted to use it on the hummus since it adds a nice flavor addition along with the parsley and paprika.

I’d like to try this recipe again with tahini instead of tahini sauce. I kept having to adjust the amount of lemon juice, salt, and garlic to end up with the final product. Plus I forgot the leftovers at my sister’s house on Sunday!! Of course I remembered to bring home the leftover pita and flat breads. They’re sitting on my kitchen counter, very lonely, looking for some hummus to mingle with!

Up close...

Up close...

One Pot Spareribs

All done in one pot (a smaller pot would have been better!)

All done in one pot (a smaller pot would have been better!)

Saturday was a busy day… kind of. I got off to a late start and then decided to give myself a facial. I use Sonya Dakar for my at home facials. I’d use her products more often except for the price in addition to the shipping charges. I love her products though.

I wanted to cook dinner that night but wanted something easy since I wanted to prep for Sunday’s Mother’s Day dinner at my sister’s house in Encino.

I went with the Otoki Senshin Buddhist Temple Cook Book for their One Pot Spareribs recipe. I had made it before and it turned out delicious – the beau especially liked it. Last time I rushed through it because I don’t remember adding the flour paste at the end to thicken the sauce. The recipe name says it all, just put all the ingredients into the pot and let it cook at low heat for 1 ½ hours! We shared a baked potato and poured some of the sauce over it – oishi!

Saturday dinner...

Saturday dinner...