Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lemon & Blueberry

The winning combo

Nothing screams summer more than a tangy, bright yellow Meyer lemon cake with splotches of bursted blueberries scattered within it. Even something as simple as a few mixed berries sprinkled with some vanilla sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice would be a simple summer treat. Here are some recipes featuring the truly dynamic duo (or some other related combination) in action!

1. This lemon blueberry muffin bread is perfection.
2. A refreshingly light and fluffy lemon blueberry layer cake.
3. Blueberry yogurt multigrain pancakes for a delicious, nutritious breakfast!
4. This protein coffee cake packs in an extra punch that takes away some of the guilt.
5. Another dense lemon blueberry cake, this time with yogurt.
6. Another breakfast item I'd easily wake up to: Lemon, cranberry scones.
7. Peach blueberry cobbler that would be perfect under a generous dollop of Chantilly cream.
8. It's a huge must for my favorite muffins to have crumb toppings like this blueberry muffin.
9. Iced zesty blueberry lemon cake loaf.
10. Coffee cake is a must for when I'm having my black coffees.
11. Another take on the lemon blueberry coffee cake, sans icing.
12. The higher the crumb, the better.
13. A hearty and fresh salad with berries, grilled lemon chicken, feta, and poppy seed dressing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

For My Food Funds

Size is overrated. Considering to convert to a minimalist card holder / coin pouch after retiring my gigantic studded continental.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream!

What better way to cool off from the summer heat (hello tropical sun!) than these cold treats?

1. The speckles of spice in this chai coconut ice cream is mesmerizing.
2. I would have ice cream for breakfast or breakfast for ice cream any day, with this blueberry muffin ice cream.
3. A nutritious and fresh blackberry-acai sorbet to keep that beach body looking hot!
4. Super delicious and super guilt-free banana peanut butter soft-serve.
5. This isn't exactly ice cream, but here's another cheat: Avocado chocolate mousse.
6. A super decadent butter pecan ice cream.
7. William Sonoma's sweet and luscious dulce de leche ice cream.
8. A classic vanilla bean ice cream, perfect to top off a pie, cake, cobbler -anything, really.
9. This blueberry graham frozen yogurt is the epitome of a cold summer treat.
10. Tart and creamy rhubarb ice cream.
11. Take a trip to Japan with this matcha ice cream.
12. But a stop at Italy first with my all-time favorite gelato flavor: nutty pistachio!
13. And my dad's favorite: Coconut ice cream.
14. Lastly, top it all off with some of these goodies.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Turkuaz - Jakarta

Char grilled prawn & beef, mixed bread & gavurdagi  salatasi

We started off with a few different wood-oven baked breads accompanied with various dips: babaganuc (a luscious mixture of char grilled aubergines, tomato, chili peppers with garlic and olive oil), gavurdagi salatasi (a fresh cucumber, tomato, walnut mixture tossed in pomegranate sauce), and, my favorite, zeytinyangli hummus (a creamy, garlicy hummus topped with pine nuts). We also had some ispankli penyirli borek, a bite-sized crispy triangle pastry filled with spinach and cheese.

For our mains, we ordered a variety of meat dishes to eat with our three different styles of rice: a buttery one sautéed with vermicelli a fragrant one cooked with pine nuts, spices, almonds and raisins; and a hearty village-style one of bourgul wheat with onions and spices. We ate this with char-grilled marinated king prawns and meat cubes, as well as some pan-grilled fillets of marinated fish topped with sliced almonds and paprika.

To finish off the flavorful and hearty meal, we had a creamy, chilled rice pudding and some baklava. The baklava was very sweet and nutty, with layers of filo pastry drizzled with honey on top of crushed pistachios.
Dessert: Rice pudding, baklava, turkish coffee & a turkish delight

Jalan Gunawarman No. 32,
Kebayoran baru, Jakarta

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chicken + Mushroom Quesadillas

Excuse my nails! In desperate need of some nail polish remover!

  • Chicken breast
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Taco seasoning (see Annie's Eats' version here)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla wraps
  1. Sauté the onions and mushrooms with olive oil in a pan. 
  2. Cut up the chicken breast into chunks and add them to the pan once the onions and mushrooms have softened.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, add the taco seasoning and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Move this to a bowl for the quesadilla filling.
  4. Spread a bit less than half a cup of the filling onto one side of the tortilla wrap, sprinkle with some shredded cheese. You can add anything in this step, depending on what best suits your filling: corn, salsa, guacamole...
  5. Fold the other half of the tortilla over into a quesadilla and grill for 2-3 minutes until the tortilla is slightly warm and crispy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One Pot Wonder: Sausage + Mixed Veg Pasta

Pasta with 2 types of sausage + mixed veg

  • 4 sausages of your choice (I did 2 veal, 2 smoked brats) 
  • 2 bell peppers (I did 1 red, 1 green)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 button mushrooms
  • 250g pasta (I did half a box of kamut pasta -high in protein!)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
Recipe: (Serves 4)
  1. Fill up your pan with water, add a generous amount of salt and bring it up to a boil. Whenever you cook pasta, the water should be as salty as the sea.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, slice up all the vegetables and sausages, and mince the garlic.
  3. Put the pasta into the boiling water and cook it al dente (I cooked mine for just about 8-9 minutes, but keep checking for its firmness every 30 seconds or so after the 7 minute mark).
  4. Drain the pasta and save a small cup of the starchy, salty water for later in case the pasta is too dry.
  5. Empty the pan and, in the same pan, pour a bit of olive oil in and sauté the minced garlic.
  6. Add the onions, peppers and mushrooms and keep mixing it around until it wilts and lets out some moisture.
  7. Add the sausages and keep mixing around until everything is cooked through.
  8. Add a pinch of salt, some freshly cracked black pepper and a few spoons of paprika. I also like to add a lot of chili flakes for some heat. Mix through.
  9. Put the pasta back into the pot and mix until everything is evenly combined.
  10. Serve it up!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Easiest Breakfast You'll Ever Make: Scrambled Eggs

Spinach scrambled egg with freshly cracked black pepper and garlic rubbed toast encrusted with sea salt

Scrambled eggs make a simple and nutritious breakfast that only takes seconds to whip up! The recipe itself is super obvious, but I attached a few tips below to get them perfect every time -not too dry, not too runny, just the right fluffiness and everything in between.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 slice of toast
  • Olive oil
  • A few pinches of salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  1. Coat a pan with some olive oil and put it on low heat.
  2. Once the pan is hot, cut the spinach (and any other vegetables of your liking) up into chunks and toss it in. 
  3. Crack the two eggs into a bowl and add a tablespoon of water (to make the eggs fluffier) and whisk together.
  4. When the spinach has wilted, pour in the egg mixture and lightly scramble. The key is to go low and slow. Use the spatula to slowly and continuously keep pulling the eggs from the sides of the pan into the center of the pan so that it gradually scrambles.
  5. Once the eggs have just cooked (no longer runny, not yet dry), add a pinch of sea salt and plate it up. Crack some black pepper on top.
  6. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and rub the toast in it so that it's evenly coated.
  7. Let the toast heat up on both sides until slightly golden. 
  8. Cut a garlic clove in the middle and rub the cut side over one side of the toast and sprinkle with some sea salt.

Modified version for Michael: 3 eggs with milk & cheese, 2 toasts and a glass of OJ!

Tips for the perfect scrambled eggs every time:
  • Go low and slow so that you get a nicely soft curd.
  • Stir often for smaller curds, or less often for larger curds.
  • DO NOT use high heat -your eggs will quickly overcook and get hard. Pull the pan off the heat if the eggs start cooking too quickly.
  • Be careful about overcooking! Take the eggs off the heat just a bit before they're complete set because they keep cooking through with the residual heat.
  • Use a silicone spatula/wooden spoon (or better yet, chopsticks) to curdle the eggs.
  • Add a tiny splash of water to make them fluffier, or milk/cream to make them creamier.
  • When whisking the eggs, whisk hard to incorporate more air, making the lighter.
  • Don't add the salt until the eggs are almost done cooking so that it doesn't make the eggs watery.
  • Use more eggs and spinach than you'd expect because they all shrink up when scrambling.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who Stole The Cookie From The Cookie Jar?

...I did.
Need I say more?

1. This cookie gallery. I have no words.
2. A take on my favorite cookie (the snickerdoodle!!) with brown butter salted caramel.
3. Not a cookie, but speaking of salted caramel: Salted caramel skillet brownie.
4. There's no such thing as too much sugar. Especially with these chocolate chip cookie peanut butter s'mores!
5. Speaking of s'mores, you can't say no to these s'mores macarons.
6. And while we're on the topic of macarons, Beth gives a lot of tips for a foolproof macaron.
7. Last macaron recipe (I know, I'm obsessed!): Sea salt caramel macarons (my personal favorite).
8. These Momofuku blueberries and cream cookies make me want to go to New York...
9. Sweetly refreshing lemon crinkle cookies for summer.
10. This Australian treat brings me back to my childhood: Anzacs.
11. A bit of sweet and salty in this peanut butter chocolate cookie.
12. And lastly, this super soft and chewy peanut butter cookie.
13. My favorite sandwich spreads in a cookie sandwich.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Brownie Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Brownie Oreo Ice Cream Cake

This morning I finished putting together a brownie Oreo ice cream cake for Michael's birthday. Wanting to feature his favorite and requested ingredient, I chose to do Oreo again (last year I made him Oreo cupcakes).
It was super simple to make and I prepared most of it the night before -I didn't want to wake up way too early to get it done. I baked the brownie base layer the night before using Martha Stewart’s trusty double-chocolate brownie recipe and kept it out on the counter overnight ready for assembly. I also mixed together the Oreo ice cream (just two pints of vanilla ice cream and almost a full three packets of Oreos that I crushed in a ziploc bag) and popped it back into the freezer for the following morning. I also saved a handful of the crushed oreos so that I could use it to top the cake! I didn’t want to pile on and freeze the ice cream layer overnight because I was concerned that the brownies would harden and become rock solid the morning after.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Monolog - Jakarta

Smoked salmon tartine with avocado, poached egg, cottage cheese, toast and honey vinaigrette salad

Egg Benedict with beef ham and capsicum hallandaise


Lemon pistachio meringue pie

Monolog Quality Coffee Co.
Plaza Senayan Level 1 CP 101B
Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8,
Jakarta 10270, Indonesia
(+6221) 572-5144

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Early Birthday Brunch at Russet - Philadelphia

CAFFEINE for finals week

I was so bummed that I couldn't be here for my big's actual birthday, but big, gbig and I decided to have an early celebration over Saturday brunch today! We had a great meal, and the place was small and adorable. There were clusters of random trinkets on shelves and along the window sill, and the atmosphere was very russet-y indeed... We started off with orders of black coffee for each one of us -we wanted to pair it up with our scone. The wait for the scone was very much worth it, cause we got it toasty warm, fresh straight out of the oven. Scones + coffee = match made in heaven. They have different scones every week (their brunch menu changes weekly, as do their daily dinner menus), ranging from lemon-blueberry to cranberry, and today's one was blueberry with a side of butter and preserves.
Blueberry scone

We also ordered three entrees to share (as always). We tried out the sformato, choosing it over the omelette because we wanted to explore and try something different. In my opinion, the sformato, a souffle-like Italian dish, was comparable to the inside of a quiche -very custardy and creamy. The richness was complemented well by the sweet, aged balsamic that was drizzled on the plate. Next, we also ordered the salami panini with a sunny side egg on top -a dish highly recommended by our waiter. This was probably my favorite out of all the dishes, because I love anything with runny yolk. The bread was nicely buttered and grilled and sandwiched the restaurant's salty, house cured salami. The fresh bed of arugula and runny egg definitely offset the salty, dry meat. The last dish we got was the rhubarb crepe. The filling was very fruity, the crepe was topped with quite a bit of maple cream. The dish allowed for quite a smooth transition to our surprise dessert!
Green garlic sformato with puntarella stretta, radish and aged balsamic
House cured salami panini with sunny side up egg, asparagus and salsa verde

Rhubarb crepe with strawberries and maple cream

Gbig had called earlier to ask the restaurant to bring out a rhubarb tart for big at the end of our meal to surprise her for her early birthday. I loved the shell -which was very buttery and sweet- and the cream on top of the tart -which had a noticeably hint of sweet honey.
Always cutting into 3 ^_^

Rhubarb brown butter tart with almond florentine, honey cream, lavender syrup 

My gbig is so talented ahh... 
So gorgeoussss 
The birthday girl/princess !
SO lucky to have them :) Thank you for making my freshman year so amazing <3

1521 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 546-1521