Monday, September 13, 2010

Tomato Season

Summer is coming to a close and tomato season has finally arrived. We planted cherries, green zebras and early birds. Like many pleasures in life, they are best enjoyed unaltered. Slice tomatoes, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt is perfect. Once in a while a little help from a friend isn't so bad either. Meet toast, mayo, tomato.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Great Family Visit

Not too long ago my family made the trip out for a visit. It was before my brother headed to Basic Combat Training since joining the Army. We took advantage of the Portland City Pass and entry into the Japanese and Chinese Gardens were nearly free. Per my sister's request, here are some if not all the photos from their trip.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring's Here!

It was nice to see the cherry blossoms out, again. Finally, spring's here!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anderson Cooper and Crack Pie

The winter weather was getting me down. How many chilly, rainy days were there left to count until summer? For several weeks, I had read about Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar's Crack Pie. Even the most mainstream Martha Stewart had visited David Chang for some of that infamous pie and filmed it on her show. Anderson Cooper got his mom hooked on this pie. He tells Kelly Ripa that her diet is wack. Here is my Anderson Cooper tangent: he loves Battlestar Galactica, lives in a renovated firehouse, eats Crack Pie and has silver hair. My list is longer, but listing it would make me look like a crazy. Back to the pie, the pie is primarily made of milk, butter and sugar; very common ingredients on my grocery list. It was sweet, crunchy and caramely. I first made the cookie crust.

I crumbled the cookie and placed it into a pie crust, similar to what you would do to make a graham cracker crust.

Mixed the Crack filling together.

And out came the pie.

Momofuku Crack Pie

Cookie for crust
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 egg
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Beat the butter and the sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Beat in the egg. Slowly beat in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the oats.
Spread the batter about 1/2″ thick on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. The cookie will be slightly puffed.

Crumbled cookie for crust
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Process the cooled cookie until crumbs in a food processor or crumble in plastic bag. Mix in the melted butter, sugar, and salt. Use half of the mixture and press the mixture into a 9″ pie plate to form an even crust along the bottom and sides. This recipe is intended to make two pie crusts. For a thicker crust, use more of the mixture and eat the rest of the buttered crumbs.
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk all the ingredients together and pour into the pie crust.
Bake the pie for 25 minutes, then turn off the oven. Let the pie rest and firm up slightly in the residual heat for an additional 10-15 minutes. Jiggle the pie slightly–the outer edge should be set, but the middle should be slightly wobbly. Let it cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.

February Cookies

Bbbacklog! I didn't catch Valentine's Day in time, so these cookies are from post-Valentine's Day. I used a simple sugar cookie recipe that called for almond and vanilla extract. I echoed the almond extract in the frosting too. I received a heart cookie cutter from a friend. I was stumped on decorating ideas. I ran out of things to say and could only think of embarrassing sayings if someone were to see you eat the cookie.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thomas Keller's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

There is another man in my life. Thomas Keller's recipes have taken over my kitchen. Last night, I tried his Pineapple Upside-Down Cake from "Ad Hoc At Home." It was different than other Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes. Keller went without the cherry and used fresh pineapple; he called the dessert "elegant." He's right, I would serve this at a my candlelit dinner.

Thomas Keller's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Ingredients for pan schmear
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dark rum (Captain Morgan)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Kosher salt
1 Gold (extra-sweet) pineapple

Ingredients for cake
1 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of  a stand mixer with the paddle, combine the butter, honey, rum, sugar, and vanilla, and beat until smooth and well blended. Spread 1/3 cup of the schmear over the bottom of a 9-inch silicone cake pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The remaining schmear can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before using.)
Cut top and bottom from pineapple, and cut away peel. Cut pineapple lengthwise into quarters, and cut off core from each section. Cut each piece crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Beginning at the perimeter of the pan, make an overlapping ring of pineapple slices with the curved side facing out. Make a second ring inside the first one, overlapping the slices in the opposite direction, working toward the center of the pan. Reserve any pineapple for another use.
Sift flour and baking powder together; set aside.
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding second and scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in milk. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating just until combined.
Pour batter into pan and spread over pineapple. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan for even browning and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake, invert onto a serving platter, and serve warm. (Leftover cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.) 

source: "Ad Hoc At Home"

Thursday, February 18, 2010


From this viewpoint, Brunswick has a lazy eye.

He's coming in for a head-butt.

Droopy Bars

Most Oregonians are Granola. It's okay, I don't think they'll be offended. Most seem to embrace that lifestyle. In my attempts to sample this lifestyle, I tried Alton Brown's Granola Bar recipe. It's delicious, but the ingredients did not hold up for me and I was left with Droopy Bars. I couldn't cope with the Droopy Bars and sticky mess so roasted them a bit longer to turn them into a crunch cereal. 

Mixing the dry ingredients.

Mixing in the wet ingredients.

Looking beautiful, until I cut them into bars.

Alton Brown's Granola Bars

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cus
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
source: Food Network