Monday, September 27, 2010

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Okay, now I've heard many people say, "Chocolate covered bacon! EWE, gross." But I say unless you've tried it, don't diss it. :P Actually I was one of those people not too long ago. A few years ago, while I was watching Breakfast Television, the host back then, Simi Sara had mentioned while on vacation she had eaten the most decadent chocolates with bacon bits inside. I thought EWE but then my hubby said it sounded pretty yummy, salty, sweet, creamy, and chewy. Hmmm, I hate to admit it, but he was right, it didn't seems so bad.

So I purchased some thick slab maple bacon. I panned fried half a batch and baked the other half. Made myself a batch of dark chocolate ganache. And dipped the bacon strips in the ganache.

Just thinking about them now makes me all giddy. They were YUMMY! The panned fried ones were definitely crispier but were a bit messy to deal with since the strips were not nice and flat like the baked one.

I shared them with my sister L and my nephew M who were visiting from San Fran. Unfortunately, L had to leave early for work and had forgotten her stash, so M ate all of them and said they were one of the best things he ever ate.

Flash forward to 2010 (that was in 2008), my other sister B was heading down to San Fran for a wedding, and L said "Bring me some chocolate covered bacon," since she's been thinking about them for the past 2 years! So I hastily made her some. I wasn't impressed with the recent batch since I didn't get a chance to get the thick cut maple, just plain old bacon from the grocery store, but L loved them anyway. Said they were pretty tasty and satisfied all her craving... salty, sweet, creamy, and chewy. :D

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cupcake Experiment

I haven't made cupcakes in a while and have been itching to make some for quite some time. I unfortunately have parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews who all happen to be born around the winter holidays, so around this time I'm desparately begging people for a celebration just so I can make the dessert.

It just so happens that a very close family friend invited us to a farewell dinner for her daughter T who would be returning to Taiwan for work. She's never had my desserts, so yeah me.

I've been wanting to find a new go to white/ vanilla cake recipe. So I searched all recipes for the highest and most rated recipe. I think I have made this one before but don't remember the end results so thought it was worth another try. It was okay, but I don't think I will stop searching since I think even boxed cake mix taste moister (is that grammatically correct? - moister, more moist...) Anyway, I still had some over riped bananas (didn't get to use all of them during the cookie recipe), so I split the cake batter in half and added a mashed banana into it. Not half bad, I actually think it tasted better as a banana cake than a vanilla cake.

Well, to make a long story short. For the vanilla cuppies, I made strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream (with too much fresh strawberry puree, that's why it's a bit splotchy - oops, but oh so tasty) and turned the banana ones into banana split cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, chocolate ganche, chopped toasted walnuts, colored jimmies, and a cherry to top things off.
T thought they were heavenly. Yeah me again! :D

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently picked up a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies book at Winner's (on sale for $16.99). I love cookbooks like this one. There are photos for every recipe! I do have many cookbooks with little to no pictures, but when that beautiful photograph shows you what you can make with that particular recipe, it's a giant incentive to tackle it.

Anyway, I'm so excited about this book. I want to try each and every recipe. But will have to spread out the recipe testing since hubby and I are on a diet to look fantastic for our trip to Hawaii next year!

But I have to at least try one. So as I'm perusing through the photos, I come across the banana walnut chocolate chunk cookies. I have super ripe bananas that I know I will just toss in the trash since it's too ripe for regular comsumption. Well, why not save those bananas (I paid good money for them), and try this recipe out. :D Wow, it's a banana nut bread and a chocolate chip cookie in one! It's so good.
I did share with my nephews who devoured half a batch in one day, and I hired a personal trainer last week, can you guess who ate the other half? :D
Take care, my friends. I hope you will give this recipe a try.

Recipe for Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
makes about 3 dozen
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar (if bananas are super ripe, can cut a little on the sugar, I used 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks (I used chips)
1/2 cup coarsely shopped toasted walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together both flours (Sifting will not work since you will end up straining the whole wheat - ask me how I know that), salt, and baking soda in a bowl.
2. Put butter and both sugars into a bowl and with mixer on medium speed, beat until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate, and walnuts.
3. Using a spoon, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks. Let completely cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cake, Cake, Cake

Hi, everyone! I know I've been bad with this blog. I have no excuse except I got busy and yes, lazy. I'm sorry. I don't know how often I will blog, but I will try to post when I come have something interesting and lovely to share. :D

I have made quite a few baked goods during this hiatus of mine, and here are some of my faves. Hope you like them too.

I made this duckie cake for my good friend, Aurore. It was her first baby shower. She didn't know if she was having a boy or a girl, but she knew she wanted ducks. As soon as she saw this in the Wilton yearbook, she couldn't be persuaded to look at anything else. :P I've never made a pillar cake or used the Wilton globes, but it was a fun experience.

The cake was a vanilla sponge cake filled with my homemade strawberry jam and a white chocolate ganche frosting. Everyone at the shower couldn't believe we were going to serve the cake. It's a cake! It's suppose to be eaten. (LOL) But we did save the top tier for the father-to-be since he was sad boys weren't invited to the party.

This was a farm animal cake I made for my cousin's friend's baby's first birthday. (That's a lot of 's...) It was to be Baby Kaitlin's first taste of cake. Oh, the pressure was on. My goal: to turn the innocent and sweet Kaitlin into a cake-aholic. (hahaha)

Her mother chose a vanilla sponge cake with fresh strawberries and a fresh mango Swiss meringue buttercream. I was worried the combo would be weird, but it tasted lovely and fresh and very summer-y. Kaitlin's mom left me a message afterwards, saying that Kaitlin loved the animals (her faves were duckies and piggies) and both kids and adults pretty much went gaga for the cake. Yeah for me! Baby cake-aholics are born! :P

Finally, I made this 9 layer (it would have been 10 except I ran out of filling) Boston Cream Pie cake for my sister's birthday. We had both separately seen this creation on Chefs vs. City the Boston episode. Boston Cream Pie was invented at the Parker House Hotel, and they serve it as a 10 layer ginormous cake. When I saw it, I wanted to make one. When my sister saw it, she said she wanted to eat one. (LOL- we are so related)... So that was set, she was getting a GIANT Boston Cream Pie for her birthday.

I used vanilla sponge cake, pastry cream for filling, chocolate ganache as frosting, and toasted, hand chopped almonds. My husband asked me why I didn't use the food processor which would have been faster and cleaner, well, I was too lazy to take out my FP and then having to clean it afterwards, so I spent 30 minutes hand chopping almonds. It made sense at that time... :P
The cake/ pie was delicious! I loved it and would have it as often as my wasitline would allow it. It's so good. Maybe you will bake one too.
Happy eating, everyone!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pajo's The Wharf at Steveston

Summer has finally arrived in Vancouver! It's this summer weather that made me fall in love with this city. The days last forever; it's not too hot with just a light breeze. The trees and flowers around town are in full bloom. Work days seem to end after lunch, so we Vancouverites can head to the waters, mountains, streets, patios, balconies, and parks to get our daily dose of sunshine. It's the perfect place! It's the Okay, I'm going to quit while I'm ahead because once you get me started, I can't stop. :P

Once the sun starts to shine I get the itch to head to me favorite outdoor eatery, Pajo's. I've had many fish and chips in my lifetime, but Pajo's (especially the one on The Wharf) is one of the best. They only open during sunny days which makes eating outsie so much more special.

Their menu selection is consists of fish (cod, salmon, and halibut), burgers (which are some of the yummiest burgers in town), hot dogs, sides (which I never seem to make room for), and of course chips or better known on this side of the pond, fries. The fish and chips are served in paper cones which are too cute. And all their tables have holes in them to put your cones in for easy handling. They supply you with an abundant of condiments including tartar sauce, malt vinegar, ketchup, lemon,...

D and I went late in the afternoon, and they were packed (as always), but the food was just as I remembered it, delicious! There would have been more pics except for the fact D ate all his cod and managed to grab 2 pieces of my halibut before I even finish taking pics of the building. :( But I don't really mind since I have an entire summer to eat at Pajo's.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Korean Spicy Tofu in Japan

A couple of months ago my husband and I took a vacation in Asia. We visited Hong Kong, Macau, China, and Tokyo. We had a splendid time eating our way around Asia. We are already planning our next trip!

This was our first meal in Tokyo. We headed towards the new Muji in Shinjuku (there are 2), and we found a nice little Korean tofu restaurant across the street. The waiter was very friendly and tried very hard to communicate with us in our non-existing Japanese and his almost non-existing English. We all had a good laugh, but we managed to order with a lot of finger poking and head shaking.

We had a choice of soup base, either miso, soy, or pork broth (we both chose miso). We then had to choose the level of spice (I went for 2 chilis and D went for 4). Then we picked our main ingredient. D had the chicken, and I had the beef.

Afterwards the waiter brought us each a bib which he demonstrated how to tie around our necks. We looked around, and every single patron had one on. We love messy eating, but D is one of those men who would rather wear his food over a bib. But when in Japan, we did as the Japanese do.

A few minutes later our bubbling hot pots arrived on trays with veggie condiments, a bowl of steamed rice, and a light dessert. I've eaten many pots of Spicy Korean tofu, but WOW! The tofu was so smooth and so tasty. The beef had a little bit of fat on it just like bacon. It just melted in my mouth. Plus the miso soup really added some richness. I had a taste of D's. It too was delicious. The hot pot was definitely lighter in taste and much spicier. We both ate greedily and finished every drop of soup. We were so satisfied, but not overly stuffed that we were able to walk out of there and did a full day of exploring! YEAH!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chris and Carly's Engagement Cupcakes

My good friends Chris and Carly asked me to make cupcakes for their engagement party. They gave me full range to do whatever I wanted. I was so honored and excited. This gave me the perfect opportunity to make a cupcake tower.

I've been craving to make one since I saw Sharon Wee's first cupcake tower (Sharon got her instructions from CakeJournal). It's so elegant and yet so simple to make.

They were expecting 60 guests and preferred a variety of flavors. I decided on making a combination of minis and regular size cupcakes, so everyone could have one of each flavor. I ended up making cupcakes in four flavors - vanilla, chocolate, chocolate peanut butter cup (Carly's favorite), and raspberry cheesecake.

The wedding colors are brown and blue. As it turns out Carly told me the wrapping paper I chose for the tower is the exact same print as their invitations! I also made tiny Italian flags for Chris and his family. They are proud Italians!

Everyone at the party was so impressed with the cupcakes and the tower. I was quite touched by their comments. Plus there wasn't a single cupcake left. Now that's the best compliment ever.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cupcake Fundraiser for Haiti

Dear Family and Friends,

As you all know Haiti is in a crisis right now and needs our help. I want to do more than just donate a few bucks, so I am fundraising on my own. I am selling cupcakes and will donate 100% of the proceeds to the Canadian Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Cupcakes are sold in an order of 6 for $12. You can have any combo of cake flavor and frosting (but please one combo per 6 cupcakes). I hope to send orders out once every 2 weeks for the next little while (first orders sent out the last week of January - however I did take an order for Super Bowl weekend, so drop me a line if you need a special date).

Please consider this for the next party, get together, or rainy day treat. If you and anyone you know is interested, please drop me a line ( or email me at I am not a professional baker, just a home baker, but all my goodies are made from scratch with alot of love and care.


Cake flavors:

Frosting Flavors:
Cream Cheese
Peanut Butter
Cayenne Dark Chocolate (my Iron Cupcake Entry)
Chocolate Mint

P.S. I apologize to those living outside of Vancouver, but at this time I can only accommodate those in the Metro Van area.