Friday, July 18, 2008


Hello Everyone!

I'm currently in Hong Kong.  It's very late right now and I just got off the phone with D (I think he just woke up actually).  I apologize in advance for the missing pictures and for any babbling I might do.  

I've spent an entire day eating all kinds of wonderful foods.  I've had 5 full meals today (hee hee) and ate pretty much from 9:30 am till 10 pm tonight.  I'm so not looking forward to standing on a scale especially since I already need to shed some pounds.  I'm hoping all this sweating I've been doing will counter all the eating.  :-P

So far I've visited Thailand which I wrote about before, Singapore which the 1 1/2 days there wasn't enough, and Malaysia which had awesome food and durian which I will share in a future post.  And tomorrow will be another day full of eating.  I can't wait!  I will write more in the near future.  In the meantime, happy eating, everyone!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Greetings from Thailand

Sawadikah! Hello everyone,

I am currently in Bangkok,and this is my last night here. Tomorrow I will be heading to Singapore before visiting Maylasia. I'm so excited since I haven't been to Singapore or Malaysia. I've had a wonderful time eating and sightseeing so far. I took tons of photos, but silly me, I didn't bring the camera adaptor to download my pics, so at this moment I have only words to share.

The first night I met up with my nieces and nephew. They have grown so much since I've last seen them. It was so much fun listening to their experiences that has happened in the last year. Of course they miss D a lot too. Mimi is closest with her uncle, and she was heart broken to not see him here. She wanted to fly to Canada that night to see him. Instead I promised her we will bring D next time, and he will take her out. :-) I'm already planning the next trip.

After that we explored the temples and road a boat to the floating market in Bangkok. Unfortunately it was a rainy day, so there wasn't much to buy. But the photos are beautiful. I can' t wait to share. Then we headed to Pataya. There we got Thai massages, saw the famous Tiffany Show, went to Coral Island, road elephants, visited beautiful gardens and snake farms, watched traditional Thai dancing, and ate and ate and ate. The best eatings were at the street vendors and markets. There was so much interesting fruits that I've never seen before, and everything was so yummy.

I will update everyone soon with more details and hopefully with photos। In the meantime I will keep eating and taking pictures! Take care, everyone and see you soon!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MImi, Neo, and Nisha's Cookies

I'm heading to Asia for 3 weeks with my parents and youngest sister Jess.  Poor D has to stay behind and work.  I will miss him so much, but I know he will miss me more.  

My favorite- Doggy Cookies

I am writing this post as we are waiting for the plane.  It's late, so I might ramble on or not write intelligently, so please forgive me.  Our flight is delayed until 4am.  It's a good thing we are still in Vancouver, so we have the amenities of home, but we are all staying up just in case we hit the snooze one too many times.  

Heart Cookies

Our first stop will be Thailand where I will get to spend a day with my nieces and nephew.  I miss them so much.  It's been over a year since I last saw them.  We always had so much fun baking and cooking together.  

Butterfly Cookies

As a treat for them, I made them special sugar cookies.  I hope they will like them.  A few are kind of kookie.  You can tell when I ran out of ideas and just started sprinkling.  But hey, I know those will probably be the most well received since they have extra sugar on top.

Star Cookies

I hope I will find internet connection while I'm traveling, so I can share my experiences.  If not, I will update everyone once I get back.  I wish you all a wonderful July!

Flower Cookies

Bathing Suit Cookies

People Cookies

Round Cookies (decorated with left over icing)

Linda and Barbara's Birthday Cake

This is a cake I made for my two sisters, Linda and Barbara.  Their birthdays are exactly a week from each others, and since Linda came to visit us from San Fran, it was wonderful to celebrate their special days together.

I took the design idea from Leda's Bake Shop in Sherman Oaks, California.  Of course theirs is much prettier, but I did hand make every since fondant rose petal by petal rather than rolling a strip of fondant.  I think it's more delicate looking.

The cake is a vanilla sponge cake layered with mocha pastry cream covered with chocolate meringue buttercream and marshmallow fondant decorations.  The cake recipe is from the William Sonoma's Mastering Cake book, the pastry cream is from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, and the buttercream is from Taste Goblet.

Surprisingly it turned out quite tasty and not too sweet, well with the exception of the fondant which my 12 year old sugar addict nephew couldn't get enough of.  I wonder if this recipe will work as cupcakes?  I guess I'll have to find out and share in the near future.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Crying Tiger (Suer Roong Hai)

It's been extremely hot these past few days in Vancouver to the point where I only want to each cold/ raw dishes.  D and I have had our fair share of sushi and cold noodles (unfortunately, nothing worth noting, so no write ups).  I actually wanted to eat in after so many meals of eating out.  

I looked through the freezer and fridge to check out my ingredients; I had the makings for an awesome salad, but D's not much of a salad man.  So I then skimmed through a few cookbooks for inspiration and came across "Crying Tiger - Suer Roong Hai" in Lemongrass and Sweet Basil Traditional Thai Cuisine by Khamtane Signavong.  I've made it before, and it's pretty good, but I had other plans for it that night.

The following is an excerpt from the book about this dish:

This is a very special dish from Isan.  Legend has it that it owes its name to a time when the many tigers that roamed the thick forests there would come to the villages in search of food, especially cattle.  The first tiger would take the best part of the meat, then the second tiger would discover this and cry loudly because it had missed out.  Some people also say that the grilling meat makes a noise like a crying tiger - whichever version you favor, the dish is irresistible.

I decided to turn this steak dish into a salad wrap like I've had at Vietnamese restaurants back in Texas.  I wished I thought to take pictures before we started to eat because everything looked as good as it smelled and tasted.  It was very refreshing.  D actually ate the leftovers with rice the next day, and it was just as good.  I hope you'll try the recipe and enjoy it as much as D and I did. 

I tweaked the recipe a little bit to accommodate my available ingredients and time shortage.  The following is what I made that night:

1 pound flank steak

4 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 finely diced Thai chili pepper or 1 teaspoon chili powder (can adjust for more or less heat)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 teaspoon sugar
4 cloves finely chopped garlic

Wrap/ Salad Ingredients:
Lettuce leaves
Cucumber slices
Mushroom slices
Tomato slices
Pineapple pieces (can or fresh)
Fresh Garlic
Rice Paper (which I didn't have, but wished I did)

3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 Thai chili pepper
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar

1. First marinade the steak at least 30 minutes.
2. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Taste to see if any adjustments are needed (some brands of fish sauce are very salty - may need to add more sugar and/ or a little bit of water).
3. Prepare all the veggies for the wraps/ salad.
4. Remove steak from marinade and place on heated grill or pan.  Cook until desired temperature.  I cooked mine for about 10 minutes on each side for a medium.  The steak will shrink, this is normal.
5. Let steak rest for a few minutes, then slice thinly against the grain and place on platter.
6. Serve over veggies with the sauce for a Thai/ Vietnamese style salad, or wrap in lettuce and/ or soften rice paper with desired veggies.
7. Enjoy and if eating it wrap style, have lots of napkins on hand.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Auntie J's Mini Cupcakes

This weekend D and I were invited to dinner with Auntie J and a few of his old buddies.  Auntie J is like a second mom to D, and she always has a feast prepared for us whenever we can make it out to her place.  In the past I'd bring a simple salad, but I wanted to bring something really yummy to share with everyone, and since Acme's cupcakes were a hit, I decided to make mini versions.

Unfortunately, after work and running all my errands I didn't have much time; I was left with only 1 1/2 hours to make the cupcakes and 2 batches of meringue buttercream!  I cheated and used a box mix for the cupcakes.  While they were cooling, I made my first batch of buttercream, but I think with the heat and humidity of that day, the buttercream never quite fluffed up.  I was so disappointed since the previous attempts came out so wonderfully.  I was starting to get stressed.  

After whipping the cream for more than 30 minutes, I felt that my Kitchen Aid mixer was about to die, so I threw the whole bowl of buttercream into the fridge.  I decided to skip the chocolate buttercream and only make the lemon.  I made the candied lemons but burnt them while I was dealing with the buttercream.  This was not my day.  I knew I should have stuck with a salad.  I was tempted to just chuck the whole thing, but I still had maybe 15 minutes and about 60 mini cupcakes begging me for frosting (and smelling oh so good - I realized I hadn't eaten anything the entire day).

I pulled out the buttercream from the fridge and whipped it a little bit more.  It helped, but I didn't have time to beat it for another 15 minutes.  It had to do as is, so I spooned some into a piping bag, and tested it on one of the "ugly" cupcakes and tasted it.  WOW, it was SO GOOD!!  I ate about 5 more after that.  :-)  Okay, back to the cupcakes, I spooned a little bit of lemon curd on each cupcake then swirled on the buttercream.  

I searched in my baking cupboard and in the fridge for something to decorate the cupcakes with...  Should I use sprinkles... no... fresh lemon slices... nah... oh, there is a basket of strawberries and a basket of raspberries.  It was an easy choice, the combination of raspberries and lemon is like peanut butter and jelly.   

I took 24 mini cupcakes to Auntie J's.  Dinner was awesome, the company was great, and the cupcakes were all gone at the end of the night.