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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Gifts Galore!

Well, I promised I would share with you guys the Christmas presents I got! It was definitely alot of fun opening them, but it was alot more fun using them!!!!!!

The first picture are of the gifts from Brandons family. 2 sweaters from white house black market (only my most favorite store in the whole world), and also a bracelet from white house black market also. Holly got me a zester (which I have always wanted and which I used to make the lemon loaf), a set of mini cookie cutter and a small cutting board!

The next picture is of what Brandon got me. Definitely spent wayyyyy too much money on me. A mechanical pastry bag and cookie and wire rack from williams and sonoma, a pair of prada sunglasses which we had been in search of for wayyyy too long and a white gold necklace! OH! Also a hair straightener but it's not on here since I had just used it and it was too hot to bring downstairs, and cause I was just too lazy!

And here are the gifts my mom, UJ and Tiff got me. A very very cute and warm down jacket from Nordstroms (ps..ohio sucks cause we don't have one here), a 'first christmas together,' tree ornament, a hand knitted scarf by my talented sister, a set of bottle grip openers, some chocolate goodies!!!! and japanese candie...emmm...delicious!
The agenda for tonights dinner:
Use left over curry chicken and wrap them in pastry dough and bake them, served with salad or something else...can't quite think right now.
Got my babys oil changed today. Midas you rock! except for the expensiveness of my filter, other than that you do quite rock.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

PROFITEROLES - working for your food

If ever you don't have time to go to the gym but need a good arm workout, you should consider making Profiteroles aka Cream Puffs.

Choux pastry:
1 3/4 oz unsalted butter
3/4 C flour
3 eggs, light beaten
1 1/2 C milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 C caster sugar
1/4 C flour
1 ts vanilla
1/4 bag of chocolate chips
2 ts oil
Preheat oven to 415 degrees F & grease 2 baking sheets.
Melt butter with 3/4 C water, stirring till mixture boils. Remove from heat and quickly beat in flour with wooden spoon. Return to heat and keep beating till mixtures comes together, forming a ball and leaves sides of the pan. Allow to cool slightly.
Transfer to a bowl and beat to release remaining heat. Gradually add beaten egg SLOWLY till thick and glossy with a wooden spoon. If eggs are added too quickly and mixture becomes too runny, just beat for a few more minutes till it becomes thick.
Sprinkle baking trays with water to provide steam. Spoon heaped ts of mixture oto trays allowing room for spreading. Bake 20-30 minutes. Remove and make a small hole on bottom of each puff and return to oven for additonal 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
For Filling: Put milk in saucepan and bring to a boil, set aside and quickly whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl till combined. Whish flour into egg mixture and pour hot milk slowly onto egg mixture, whisking constantly. Wash out pan, retun milk mixture and bring to boil, stirring with wooden spoon till mixtur comes to a boil and thickens. Transfer to heatproof bowl and stir in vanilla. Place saran wrap directly ontop of filling and refridgerate till cold.
Pipe filling into profiteroles through holes in the base.
Melt chocolate chip with oil and dip top of profiteroles into melted chocolate.

rolly goodness

I think I could be considered an obcessive bread eater, hence the reason I love to bake bread, though time does not permit it weekly, at least for yeast doughs.

So here is a yeast roll recipe that I got off .

I substituted 1 C of the 3 1/2 C of white flour they asked for with whole wheat flour. So, here goes:

2 1/4 ts yeast
1 C warm water
2 tbs shortening
1 tbs sugar
1ts salt
2 1/2 C all purpose flour & 1 C whole wheat flour
2 egg whites
Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixer bowl and add shortening, sugar and salt and the 1 C of whole wheat flour into mixture and beat till smooth.
Add egg whites and mix well. Add enough flour to form soft dough. You may have to add an additional 1/2 C of flour, but add slowly as it can turn a sticky dough into a rock hard dough that falls apart with just a little too much flour.
Turn onto floured surface and knead 6-8 minutes till stiff. Place in a greased bowl, cover and rise for 1 1/2 hours till doubled in size.
Punch down and divide into 24 pieces and shape into balls. Sprinkle greased tray with cornmeal and place rolls 2 in apart, cover for 30 minutes.
Fill a pan with boiling water and put on lowest oven rack. Bake rolls at 425 degrees F for 10-11 minutes!


Ever had this itch to just hover in the kitchen and be one with your kitchen appliances? Well, having been working so much during the holiday season, I was literally itching to bake something and well, Renee leaving for Myrtle beach gave me that reason to relieve my anxiousness. I decided to bake monkey bars for her so that she wouldn't get too hungry on her 12 hour drive!

Basically monkey bars require little ingredients, and little effort but came out so aromatic. Leaving me to wonder how powerful 1 mashed up banana can truly be.

1/2 C chocolate chips

1 1/2 tbs apple juice

1 C flour
1/2 ts baking power
1/2 ts baking soda
1/4 ts salt

Beat together:
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C butter

Add to sugar & butter mixture:
1/2 C or 1 mashed banana
3 tbs buttermilk
1 ts vamilla
2 large egg whites

When banana, sugar and butter mixutre has been combined, add it to flour mixture and stir in chocolate chips and put into greased 8 inch square pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack.


I have always wanted a zester, and for christmas I got one, from Holly, Brandons sister. YES! So I just HAD to put it to the zest! (I am SO corny). I had also been craving lemon loaf ever since Thanksgiving when Neals mom made some. So I decided it was high time, even though Brandon doesn't like lemony things, i just HAD to use up those lemons I had purchased, otherwise they would go to waste. HEHEHEHEHEHE. This recipe is from 'The essential baking cookbook,' again. It has been so good to me. What is distinctively amazing about this recipe is the topping on it. It really helps to counteract the natural sourness of the lemon. It's a sugar crusted topping. It seriously is the BEST lemon loaf I have ever had (not pushing my mad baking skills, just the amazing recipe - oh you english sure know what good baking is).


8 oz unsalted butter, sofened (or butter flavored crisco works really well)
6 1/2 oz caster sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind (zester you rock)
4 eggs lightly beaten
2 C all-purpose flour
1 ts baking powder
2 tbs lemon juice (fresh)


1/2 C sugar
1/4 C lemon juice

Preheat oven 325 degress F. Lightly grease loaf pan.

Cream butter & sugar in small bowl with beaters till light and fluffy. Beat in lemon rind, then add egg gradually, beating well after each addition. Transfer this to a large bowl.

Use large metal spoon fold in flour mixture (flour, baking powder, 1/4 ts salt, and lemon juice) Stir till combined and almost smooth.

Spoon mixture into tin and smooth surface. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or till skewer comes out clean when inserted. (My loaf took less than time alloted so watch carefully).

Remove from tin and turn out on wire rack.

For topping, mix sugar and lemon juice but don't dissolve the sugar. Quickly brush over top of warm cake and let cool so topping has time to harden.



Our trip to Chicago was so much fun. I have never loved a city so easy before. It took me 5 or more years before I was able to fully enjoy the beauty of San Francisco, perhaps I am just more developed now to see what a city has to offer dispite the crowds, constant honking and the cost of things. Perhaps. lol

Brandon and I standing out infront of the John Hancock Tower, where we went later that night to share some martinis and dessert with Neal and Renee in the Signature Lounge...oh how VERY posh! besides the fact that our waitress was 60 years old, had memory loss and lost our credit card on the floor. Tip - $ 2.00. Alas the view was beautiful.

Ahhh.....our friends Neal and Renee. Sadly Renee moved to Myrtle beach for an acting job - there goes the ONE girl friend I had.

New Years Eve before heading out to Catch 35 for a delicious seafood meal!

Neal and Renee at Catch 35.

Neals sister and her boyfriend

Brandon and I

Brandons dinner: 2 lobster tails topped with crab meat, mashed garlic potatos and veges!

My delicious sword fish seared with a chipotle sauce, fried rice and veges. BEST swordfish ever!

Before we left, we stopped by the Navy Pier for brunch with Neal and Renee and here is a picture of the skyscrapers.

And it is bye to Chicago and....hello....Dayton.


So I have to apologize for not updating for over a month, but the holiday season just leaves you so tired that logging on to blog seems like such a chore! Laziness...ahhh. I have not been lazy though and you will see why. This is officially the overload blog entry. Feast your eyes. :-D


I just brought a book 'the essential baking cookbook,' and it's more of a british cookbook which is what I was looking for since they have alot of recipes I missed from when I grew up in NZ. Anyways, I got the gingerbread men recipe outta there and it turned out amazing. Not overly powered by the taste of molasses but still distintively there and SO incredibly easily to make.

4 oz unsalted butter, softened

1/3 C soft brown sugar

1/4 C golden syrup

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 1/4 C all purpose flour

1 tbs ground ginger

1 ts baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking trays with parchment.

Cream butter, sugar & syrup in bowl with mixer till light and fluffy. Add egg gradually, beating well after each addition. Transfer to large bowl.

Sift dry ingredients into butter mixture and mix with knife till combined. Then use floured hands to combine further. Turn onto well-floured surgace and kneed 1-2 minutes until smooth. Roll out dough to 1/4 in thick between 2 pieces of parchment and chill for 15 minutes.

Cut dough with gingerbread cookie cutter, reroll scraps and cut also. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before icing.

*I just used squeezable fondont from Micheals Craft store to decorate*


Christmas came by like a flash - literally and with it being just Brandon and I, it was only appropriate not to cook alot. We got up early that day and opened up our pressies and to my surprise I recieved wayyyyy more than I expected or even deserved to say the least. Pictures will follow on Wednesday (fingers crossed if my day off is not filled with other monotamous errands). Just from Brandon alone, I got a pair of prada sunglasses, a cookie wire rack with a cookie pan, a pastry bag and accessories from williams and sonoma that is reuseable, a hair straightener. To the dismay of others and to me personally, Brandon talked me out of not going on a run, which was different and made me quite anxious for some time since it was the official day of food consumption, but I let it go and just tried to not complain. hahahahaha.

I had made mini cinnamon rolls the night before and let them rise overnight in the fridge.

This recipe is definitely a no-fail recipe as I have made it many times and it turns out beautiful no matter what, even if the weather is wayyyyyy too cold to give a good rise to the yeast, since it is given all night to rise. This recipe is from I seriously believe people need to visit this website. Their recipes are so foolproof, it's ridiculous.

4 1/2 - 5 cups (630 - 700 grams) all-purpose flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) (7 grams) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup light raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon half-and-half (light cream)
Powdered (Confectioners or Icing) Sugar Glaze:
In a medium-sized bowl stir together:
1/2 cup (58 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 tablespoons half-and-half (light cream)
Make the glaze thin enough to drizzle over cinnamon rolls.

Using the paddle attachment on mixer, combine 2/14 C flour & the yeast.

Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt in saucepan till butter is almost all melted.

Gradually pour milk mixture into flour mixture on low speed adding eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Beat for 3 minutes, then using the dough hook knead in between 2 1/4 C - 2 3/4 C flour till a soft dough forms and is smooth and elastic 3-5 minutes. Dough should not be sticky at this point.

Shape into a ball and place in greased bowl, turning dough once and cover and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.

When dough has doubled in size, punch down and place on floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Combine filling ingredients, stir to combine. Cut in cold butter with with 2 knives till crumbly.

Roll dough into 12 inch square and sprinkle evenly with filling. Roll up dough into log (I cut the square into two since I wanted to make mini cinn. rolls) and pinch to seal edges. Slice logs into desired size and arrange in greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan.

Cover loosely with saran wrap and refrigerate between 2-24 hours. If overnight, let rolls sit in room temp for 30 minutes prior to baking. Brush with milk lightly and baking in 375 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes or till lightly browned.

We ate that baby up at around 10am or so then by 1pm, we settled down to watch a movie while we snacked on these:

Simply put, we went to Dorothy Lane market, snagged some salami ( emmmm...), herb mixed cheese log, a slab of brie cheese, and a wedge of blue cheese - to die for. For the crackers, I basically put smoked gouda cheese onto of whole wheat ritz crackers and topped it off with sour cream mixed with diced tomatos and cucumbers. The other is just a cheese platter accompanied with sliced pears and these amazing crackers that are light and are especially made for eating with cheese since it doesn't have any strong tastes, it really allows you to taste the cheese you're eating. I also had a platter with sweet pickles, mixed nuts, caramel and apples to dip them in. So it was by no means, a small snack. Tasty, but not small. hahahaha. I'd say we put a dent in our food.

After that I put the ham in the oven and started to heat that, glazing with a honey, brown sugar glaze for around about 3 hours. I tried making "stuffing" but let's just say that did not turn out remotely to even make it on my camera. I also made a green bean casserole.

We finally finished off the Christmas celebration with my new york cheesecake recipe which I also got from Http:// That too, is one of the simplest recipes I have even made. It came out beautiful the first time I made it and even better the second time. It could not be simpler and the aroma of cheesecake baking in the oven, is SOOOOO wonderful. Just remember to make it a day ahead since it needs to chill for it to set.