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beet curry


September 8, 2019

There's a really good veggie curry at work that inspired me. I stir-fried tofu, boiled green beans, roasted carrots, potatoes, and beets. I mixed Mae Ploy red curry paste and coconut milk over the stovetop (as instructed by Mae Ploy), and added the cooked tofu and veggies. The cool thing is as leftovers, the beet bled over time and created this deep rich red!

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carrot cardamom cake


August 24, 2019

I heard about milk & cardamom and got this craving for a cardamom cake. I also wanted carrot cake. So I searched and found this carrot cardamom cake. I didn't have self-rising flour (why more stuff to store?), but found I can use flour + baking powder + salt. I added cardamom and brown sugar to the cream cheese frosting. I actually felt I should have doubled the frosting, because it was delicious! And, next time, I'd omit or add less orange zest; my orange was giant.

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pear apple galette


October 14, 2018

Fall fruits have come, and with three different types of pears and three different types of apples, I decided to use the variety in an easy galette. I rolled out the pie dough, placed the sliced fruits inside, sprinkled with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and brown sugar, rolled up the edges, and baked!

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September 7, 2018

Though I'm not as inclined to make breads (or more specifically, things that involve a rise and/or preparing well ahead of time), this is a bread that I would make again. The focaccia recipe was part of the Bakealong challenge I did with my friend Jenny. I substituted green onions for the topping. The freshly baked bread was crispy outside and soft inside, delicious dipped in some extra virgin olive oil with salt!

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meyer lemon ice cream and meyer lemons


March 25, 2018

When asked what to make with all our meyer lemons, Brendan said he wanted lemon ice cream, and specifically, lemon ice cream that was creamy, not sorbet. So I found this recipe that was basically frozen lemon custard. It is a little bit on the sweet side, even after I cut down the sugar to about 1/2 cup. But it was yum!

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gnocchi with acorn squash and sage brown butter, on top of sauteed kale


January 13, 2018

First post of the year...and in a few months! I'm still loving the fall fruits and vegetables that are hanging on. I roasted acorn squash to pair with this gnocchi and sage brown butter sauce. I added sautéed kale to add a bit of freshness.

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apple pecan cinnamon twist bread


September 10, 2017

I just got a bunch of apples from my neighbor's tree, so this month's bakealong challenge was perfect: cinnamon apple twist bread. I used brown sugar instead of white for the filling and mixed in chopped pecans, and then I added cinnamon to the glaze for extra flavor. This came out like cakey bread with layers of delicious cinnamon pecan and apple bits.

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baked lotus root chips


August 27, 2017

I made these simple and beautiful lotus root chips from this fun dumpling book. You just slice the lotus root, soak in water, dry, coat in sesame and olive oil, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and chili powder before baking.

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berry hand pies with blueberries and raspberries


August 14, 2017

I was a little late to this July recipe for hand pies, but it was better than never! For the filling, I added raspberries to blueberries, used brown sugar instead, and substituted sweet potato starch for corn starch (because that's what I had). For the crust, I did 1 cup wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour and added cinnamon. The crust turned out delicious...I may start making crust from scratch!

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hakka salted egg tofu with garlic chives


August 7, 2017

Some of the best food in Taiwan can be found in Hakka restaurants. One amazing dish is this fried salted egg tofu. It took some hunting to find a recipe, and none really existed in English, so I found this recipe (use Google translate if you can't read Chinese). Instead of using just the yolk of the salted eggs (can be found at Asian grocery stores), I used the whole eggs and added a little water so that the batter wasn't too thick.

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shrimp scampi with cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions


August 6, 2017

Every once in a while, I have a craving for shrimp scampi. Well, I had a bag of the frozen mini shrimp from Costco, so I made this modified version of shrimp scampi. I used caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes for the veggies.

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plain, oregano, and chive baguette with bruschetta, hummus, cheese, avocado


June 11, 2017

I don't make bread because it's too much work—all the waiting and kneading. But my friend Jenny has motivated me to bake this baguette with a recipe for the group of us to try every month. I liked Jenny's idea to add herbs, so I added oregano in one and chives in another of the three baguettes. For others making this, it would be good to add the herbs during the kneading process, as I added it in later and only folded it in, so the distribution wasn't very even.

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oatmeal chocolate chip ice cream


June 5, 2017

There's this amazing Ben & Jerry's oatmeal cookie chunk ice cream... but I've only seen it sold in a grocery store once, and I nearly always check every time I go grocery shopping. So, with a handy ice cream maker now, I made an ice cream inspired by theirs. I used this vanilla ice cream recipe, substituting brown sugar for white sugar, and just adding cinnamon, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. The best.

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zoodles and tofu with peanut sesame ginger sauce


April 30, 2017

I'm totally in love with peanut sauces. And this one is amazing. It's very similar to the tahini sauce for cold noodles, but there's an extra kick with ginger, garlic, and chili paste. I was pleasantly surprised at the crispy browned bits when I added the sauce to the tofu. Unlike in the recipe, I did briefly stir fry the zoodles to soften a bit. Next time, I would marinate the tofu in soy sauce while frying, before adding the peanut sauce in, for more added flavor.

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bowl of green garlic beet stem scallion rice


April 24, 2017

As soon as we moved, I re-signed up for the CSA box so that I could get fresh, in-season ingredients and inspire my creativity with produce I don't usually get. And that comes with surprise ingredients that I have to look up (green garlic) as well as finding ways to use up as much of the vegetable as possible (beet stems). I actually thought the green garlic was scallions until I read the list, took a guess by smelling, and that immediately confirmed my guess. The green garlic added a nice savory, umami flavor and the beet stems added a beautiful red color to the simple stir fry: beet stems, green garlic, scallions, and rice with sesame oil and salt.

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chocolate pumpkin almond butter cups


April 20, 2017

I love dishes with such wholesome ingredients. This is a wonderful recipe that brings out some fall (yes, it's spring, but pumpkin is welcome year-round), with no added sugar.

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white bean hummus and cucumber


April 17, 2017

With so many types of beans, it's easy to do variations on hummus (thanks to Trader Joe's introducing that idea to me). I made a white bean hummus by food processing white beans (I bought them dry and soaked and cooked in a slow cooker) with tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon to taste. I served with olive oil and paprika drizzled over it. It's a great dip for veggies, chips, or crackers.

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zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

zucchini and zucchini


April 10, 2017

This is what Brendan's mom makes him for his birthday every year. For the cake: ~1 cup sugar, 1 cup oil, 3 eggs, 2 cups flour, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 2 cups shredded zucchini, 1 tbsp vanilla. Beat oil, sugar, and eggs, and fold in zucchini. Mix dry ingredients separately, then fold in the wet mix with vanilla. Bake at 350 until golden. Beat 6 oz softened cream cheese with 5 tbsp butter and 1 tsp lemon extract, adding in powdered sugar to taste (~2 cups). Dee-lish-us! And for fun, I've included Zucchini with her namesake.

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strawberry ice cream with lemon shortbread


March 27, 2017

Despite swearing that I would first make black sesame ice cream when I got an ice cream maker, I ended up making strawberry ice cream for Brendan (black sesame seeds require a trip to a specialty store). And I did not regret it! Fresh strawberry ice cream is amazing! I used this recipe included with the ice cream maker.

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lemon poppy seed waffles


March 5, 2017

I love poppy seeds (and poppies are one of my favorite flowers). So I always take advantage of opportunities to squeeze in poppy seeds. I also like to make a big batch of waffles and freeze to eat later by popping them in the toaster. I used the batter in this recipe, adding almond extract, and made it into waffles in my handy waffle maker.

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pumpkin ball soup


February 21, 2017

This is another Chinese New Year-ish dish (it's round). Originally I wanted to make soup balls, but I had pumpkin I needed to use up and thought I could try making something similar to the famous Taiwanese Jiufen taro balls. I roughly based on this recipe, ultimately using 500 g of pumpkin, 333 g of sweet potato flour, and 6 tbsp brown sugar. The dough was sticky and I didn't have cornflour, so I used sweet potato flour to roll out and slice. I boiled them in brown sugar water for a nice dessert soup and was impressed out how QQ the balls were!

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daikon cake with oyster sauce


February 20, 2017

For Chinese New Year, I went a little crazy buying Chinese foods at 99 Ranch (I rarely make it out there). I had gone through a list of Chinese New Year foods, and decided one thing I wanted to try was luo buo gao, or daikon cake. I added Chinese chives to the mixture befores steaming. Our white friends actually liked these savory fried slices dipped in oyster sauce!

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cream of broccoli with cheddar cheese chips and bacon


February 15, 2017

Simple soup is the best! I made a cream of broccoli soup using this "best" recipe, and topped with cheddar cheese chips and bacon.

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honey vanilla almond chia seed pudding and chocolate avocado mousse


January 26, 2017

This dessert highlights the vitality of fresh and whole ingredients. I made a chia seed pudding mixing honey, almond milk, and chia seeds and letting soak for a few hours. I used this recipe for chocolate avocado mousse, mixing honey, avocado, and cocoa powder. I layered these two for a sweet and simple dessert.

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shortbread cinnamon ninjabread cookies


December 24, 2016

Last year for Secret Santa, I got ninjabread cookie cutters. I finally put them to use this year making these shortbread cookies topped with cinnamon sugar that my childhood best friend Dana and I used to make: mix 1 c softened butter, 1 c confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 1/2 c all purpose flour, and 1/4 tsp salt. Roll and cut, and then top with cinnamon sugar, baking at 350F for 8-10 minutes. I love that our neighbor thought the cookies were doing the mannequin challenge.

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pecan pie rock cakes and cookies


November 27, 2016

This was an impromptu dessert that came about because my dad and I impulsively bought a pecan pie from Costco, since I was not planning on making one for Thanksgiving. However, the pie was way too sweet for us. With nearly an entire Costco-sized pecan pie that no one would eat, I attempted to make pecan pie cookies by mashing up the pie and mixing with 5 cups of flour (half wheat, half white), 4 eggs, and 2 teaspoons baking soda. That first batched turned out as rock cakes (American scones). I mixed in 1 stick of butter into the second batch, which, after shaped, turned a little more cookie-like — I'd probably use less flour and more butter next time. They had a nice buttery, caramelized, candied tone.

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crab sriracha macaroni and cheese with green onions


September 26, 2016

We are in the middle of moving, but I couldn't wait to share this bomb-ass meal. I originally wanted to make this macaroni and brie with crab, but I didn't have enough brie. So, I substituted with all the cheese/dairy in my fridge (whole milk, cream cheese, Pecorino Romano, cheddar) and dumped it in the caramelized onion, flour, salt, and pepper sauce mixture. I felt it needed a bit of kick from the flavor grid, so I added Sriracha to taste. I topped with panko (lighter and crispier than normal breadcrumbs) and parmesan, baked, then sprinkled green onions on top to serve.

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chocolate cookies with peppermint chunks and chocolate peppermint ice cream sandwich


September 23, 2016

I dug up these photos just in time for the holidays! Every year, holiday stuff goes up earlier and earlier, and given my knack for being behind, I figured I'd get ahead this time. I made these flourless chocolate cookies, and I actually made some substitutes that didn't work so well so I won't mention them here. But I replaced the almonds with peppermint chunks from extra candy canes, then made ice cream sandwiches with chocolate peppermint ice cream.

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September 22, 2016

Here is a simple dessert! I made these brownies without the frosting to help satiate a chocolate craving.

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strawberry rhubarb pie with oatmeal crumble


September 21, 2016

Strawberry and rhubarb make the most killer combination. This was inspired by a crumble at work. I used this recipe for the pie and replaced the top with the oatmeal crumble topping from the blueberry muffin recipe.

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cauliflower crust pizza with brussels sprouts


September 20, 2016

My friend Shannon had shared with me this healthy alternative for making pizza crust with cauliflower. It is nice to have these creative alternatives, though the ease and deliciousness of Trader Joe's pizza dough is hard to beat.

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chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies


September 17, 2016

Ever since eating peanut butter made only from peanuts and salt, it's impossible to go back. So when we got 'normal' peanut butter, we just couldn't eat it and I decided to make cookies with it. I used coconut oil in place of butter in this recipe.

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pumpkin strudel


September 13, 2016

This was an easy bake for another pumpkin variation. I mixed pumpkin, sour cream, cream cheese, egg, and pumpkin spices for the filling, then wrapped in puff pastry.

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grapefruit, grapefruit juice, candied grapefruit peels, and grapefruit gelatin


September 12, 2016

On our drive back up from Southern California, we stopped at a farm produce stand in Gilroy and I stocked up on fruits and vegetables, including 8/$1 grapefruits (how could I not?). So I had a little fun making grapefruit juice, candied grapefruit peels, and grapefruit gelatin. And of course, I also ate delicious pure grapefruit. For the gelatin, I used the leftover sugar water from boiling the peels (which had to be boiled with fresh water three times then boiled in sugar water, dried, and coated in sugar), mixing with gelatin powder. No part of the grapefruit went to waste!

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garlic fried tilapia and parmesan grilled potatoes


September 11, 2016

This dish was inspired by our trip to Iceland and a wonderful restaurant called Tjoruhusid (a must if you're in the area, where we had quite an experience as one of two parties on its season opening and letting the chef cook way too much food for the two of us). We had what I guessed to be these amazing garlic butter fried cod cheeks, so I tried to replicate. I think they were lightly floured, so next time I will try that! And I recently got into making grilled potatoes, coated in bacon grease and parmesan.

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parmesan eggplant fries


September 10, 2016

It's been a while, and I've finally gotten my website back up! I'll be alternating between some past foods and more current foods I've made. Today is a flashback to these parmesan eggplant fries, which are light and crispy. I don't like ketchup, so I just dipped in the delicious spicy dill sauce.

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blueberry raspberry lemon muffins


July 6, 2015

And finally, I made some classic muffins. I used this recipe, which can easily be modified for various fruits. Blueberries, raspberries, and lemons make one delicious combination.

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lemon cream cheese bars


July 6, 2015

The second lemon dessert is a lemon spin on one of our greatest hits, sopapilla. I added red and green sprinkles over the top for patriotism on the lemon cream cheese bars.

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blueberry raspberry lemon ricotta cookies


July 6, 2015

This will be a triple post for 4th of July desserts. We have a ton of lemons, and what's more refreshing than summer lemon desserts? One of our favorite lemon desserts are lemon ricotta cookies — I decided to add blueberries and raspberries to make them more festive (and tasty).

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bocadillo sandwich with spanish tortilla


July 3, 2015

Time flies! I did not realize I had not posted in three months. But I do have lots to come. This sandwich is very nostalgic to me as I ate many while I was in Spain (they were cheap!). I used a tasty Acme baguette and made a Spanish tortilla with egg, potatoes, bell peppers, and onions. Simple, easy, delicious.

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lemon glaze cookies


April 13, 2015

I love lemon desserts, and you can never have too many lemon recipes, including these lemon glaze cookies. Buttery shortbread, refreshing cream cheese glaze, and nutty grain from my substitution with half wheat flour.

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308 Brewery Bitter Late Than Never IPA

Homebrew IPA

February 8, 2015

Brendan and I brewed our first beer together! He's been brewing since college with his friend Martin, but I have now replaced Martin as brewer's assistant. We made a Stone IPA clone, which smelled and tasted freshly floral from the hops.

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persimmon tarts


February 7, 2015

Brendan rarely buys fruit, but actually bought some at Berkeley Bowl when persimmons were super abundant a few weeks ago. I used one chopped fuyu persimmon and 1/3 of the butter sugar filling from this apple pie recipe, perfectly filling four little ramekins of Trader Joe's pie crust.

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brussels sprouts bacon cheddar apple gratin


February 3, 2015

Brussels sprouts and bacon go well together. Bacon and apples go well together. So why not combine all of them? I cooked up some bacon in the cast iron, used the bacon grease to cook brussels sprouts, then tossed in sliced apples towards the end. I added the bacon back in, tossed with some milk and cheddar cheese and put in the oven to roast a bit more.

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lemon ricotta cookies


January 6, 2015

Summer lemons call for delightful lemon desserts. It's not summer yet, but it was when I made these lemon ricotta cookies! This recipe only uses one lemon, so our California winters allow for enough lemons from our trees for a few batches of these cookies and a peek of summer.

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moroccan chickpea stew


December 21, 2014

This is a great go-to recipe, as the ingredients are simple and the stew is filling. The only change I made to the recipe was not mashing the chickpeas; I kept them whole for a chunky-style stew.

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broccoli and bacon quiche


December 20, 2014

Quiche is simple and hearty, and you can throw in pretty much any vegetable. I used broccoli and bacon instead of the recipe's spinach and mushrooms with Trader Joe's delicious pie crust.

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pumpkin whoopie pies


November 23, 2014

We used up the last of our pumpkin reserve for these whoopie pies with cream cheese spice frosting. (Don't worry, last weekend, we also just barely managed to get another pumpkin from the farms for more pumpkin goodies.) This recipe was easy, and we substituted 1 c of the flour with whole wheat and reduced the sugar. We used ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon for the pumpkin pie spice. We made these bite-sized, so now I can go eat one!

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pumpkin snickerdoodles


November 22, 2014

I'm fast forwarding a bit to some more timely posts for the fall season. Brendan had voraciously devoured some snickerdoodles I brought home, so that gave me the idea to make a pumpkin twist. I used this snickerdoodles recipe, replacing one of the two eggs with 3/4 c pumpkin, reducing the sugar to 1 c, and adding some cinnamon to the cookie dough mix. These made for some good travel snacks.

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green tea mochi cake


November 16, 2014

Ok, yes, this is a very postponed post. I made this cake for my friend Sarah's birthday, way back in March. It's gluten-free, because she is, and it's green, because her birthday is almost St. Patrick's Day. The recipe adds nice touches of green tea matcha powder and coconut milk, with the chewy texture of mochi in a lighter cake form.

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spicy chicken cheese balls


October 12, 2014

If it's called chicken cheese balls, it's gotta be good. This recipe is a great way to use up rotisserie chicken or just overcooked, dry chicken. I didn't make the dip from the recipe, but instead opted to dip with either Sriracha mayonnaise, aïoli, or dill sauce.

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chicken cranberry couscous


August 3, 2014

I remixed this recipe, using a rotisserie chicken and omitting the rice vinegar. I actually made this a hot dish rather than a cold salad by stir frying everything. The key to this dish is the curry spice, which gives a flavorful kick in contrast to the sweet cranberries and earthy celery. Each bite is a diverse mouthful of soft couscous balls, tender chicken, chewy cranberries, crispy celery, and crunchy almonds.

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beef stroganoff with noodles


July 24, 2014

For some reason, I had been craving beef stroganoff even though I'd never had it before. I think it was something about it being a classic American dish and me not having grown up with many classic American dishes (though beef stroganoff is not at all American in origin). I used this highly rated recipe, omitting the mustard, replacing condensed with regular beef broth, and using fresh mushrooms. The dish was very tasty! I would follow the reviews to marinate the meat in wine and garlic next time.

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root vegetable soup with meatballs


July 22, 2014

This is a great recipe for a filling, yet light soup. The soup was great hot off the stove, but it also makes a refreshing soup when served chilled for a hot day. The only change I would make next time is to double or triple the meat, since the amount in the recipe doesn't make very many meatballs.

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gingerbread lemon curd blackberry trifle


June 13, 2014

This trifle is another one of my favorite desserts I've ever made. What an innovative combination of ginger, lemon, and blackberry flavors and an amazing medley of textures. The original recipe was meant for the holidays, but I think the lemon and blackberries make the trifle even better for summer. I did my usual of using whole wheat instead of white flour and cutting down the sugar for the gingerbread, and I only added sugar to taste for the blackberry sauce. Rather than mixing all of the lemon curd into the whipped cream, I left out some of the lemon curd to layer in the trifle just to show the lemon color.

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french dip sandwich


June 10, 2014

Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives gives me all sorts of food cravings. This was one of those cravings. In this really amazingly easy slow cooker recipe, you just throw in the meat and a few other simple ingredients in the morning, and it's ready by dinner! I used this recipe to make the bread, substituting whole wheat flour. We ended up with a ton of delicious meat and rolls.

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german meatballs


May 13, 2014

Inspired by our German friend Martin, I decided to make German meatballs with potatoes. We used this recipe with 2 lb ground beef and 1 lb ground pork (replacing the suggested ground meat). The extra juicy lemons added a nice refreshing tang to contrast the sardines. Yum. We froze the leftovers for a quick future meal!

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oatmeal chocolate chip chocolate banana bread


May 8, 2014

With a bunch of ripe bananas, I had to make banana bread. I wanted to do something a little different than my usual banana bread, so I replaced the flour with 1 cup of oatmeal and 1 cup of flour and added 1/4 cup cocoa powder to my usual (with chocolate chips, of course). I love the extra texture of the oatmeal!

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chicken and bok choy quesadilla


April 25, 2014

For a quick lunch one day, Brendan and I made a quesadilla with Asian stir fry chicken (with soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, and sesame oil), stir fried baby bok choy, green onions, and cheddar cheese. It was delicious with a little Sriracha!

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oxtail stew with potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes


March 18, 2014

I remember the first time I ate oxtail; it was in Spain. I was surprised at how flavorful and tender the meat was! Inspired by that experience, the oxtail dish at Coconuts, and a beef stew at Justin's company party, I made my own beef stew with the oxtail. I caramelized onions, browned the oxtail, then stewed the onions, oxtail, chopped carrots, chopped tomatoes, whole potatoes, and chicken stock all on low for 6-7 hours. And the best part of stews is that it tastes even better the second day!

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coconut muffins with mango cream cheese frosting


March 15, 2014

I had a sudden tropical craving for coconut and mango, and so decided to make a coconut muffin topped with mango frosting. I used this recipe for the muffins, adding 1 tsp coconut emulsion (extract is probably better), substituting 1 cup of flour for wheat, halving the sugar, and using vanilla almond milk instead of milk. It didn't turn out quite as fluffy as I would've liked, so I would probably go for all white flour next time. I blended frozen mangoes (let it come to room temperature; I blended with milk so it turned out too liquidy, but I would omit milk next time) and then mixed with cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract for the mango cream cheese frosting.

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pumpkin alfajores


February 16, 2014

This is probably one of the best pumpkin goodies I've ever made. It was time consuming, but worth the effort. I was inspired by Senor Sisig's ube alfajores that are absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I used this recipe for alfajores, adding cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to the dough and omitting vanilla rum, lemon extract and zest, and coconut. After making the dulce de leche (I like method 1, which takes 3-4 hours so it would be smart to make this ahead of time), I mixed in about 1/2 cup of pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. And while rolling the dough, it came out really crumbly, so I just kneaded in sprinkles of water as I was rolling to keep it from falling apart. These were melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin spice delights.

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pumpkin roulade


February 6, 2014

Not only did I make my pumpkin goodies a little late in the season, I also fell behind on my food posts here. So, this is the first pumpkin goody of the (fall) season. Besides, pumpkin is so yummy that it should be a goody all year round. This pumpkin roulade looks really challenging to make, but it's actually very easy. I used one of the tips from a reviewer and baked the cake on a piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet. Changes I made were adding extra spices to the cake batter and mixing in about 1/4 c pumpkin to the cream cheese filling. So delicious and easy — I'm definitely making this again!

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spaghetti squash alfredo topped with mushrooms and crispy broiled kale


January 31, 2014

I thought Brendan had suggested this as something his mom would make, and it was such a great idea! But it turned out he was just suggesting the spaghetti squash. I had sour cream that I wanted to use up, so I looked up a few Alfredo sauce recipes for ideas and whipped up a sauce by cooking minced garlic in butter, then mixing in sour cream, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder over the heat. I then added milk until I got my desired consistency. I mixed in the cooked spaghetti squash and served with stir-fried mushrooms and crispy broiled kale.

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potato squash gratin


January 22, 2014

This was a simple side dish that Brendan made. I found the recipe on the Kitchn, and decided that it would be a great way to use our asiago cheese (replacing the goat cheese in the recipe). It was full of flavor and really, really delicious!

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smoked salmon chowder and biscuit


January 12, 2014

When I went to Seattle a few years ago, I had the most delicious smoked salmon chowder. I still think about that soup to this day. So, I recreated it with the smoked salmon I had bought. I used this clam chowder recipe, substituting the smoked salmon for the clams, and I omitted the red wine vinegar because I didn't have it. I also browned the onions separately. We ate the soup with the crumbly biscuits; the chowder was extremely tasty and hearty!

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smoked salmon and caper pizza with alfredo sauce, caramelized onions, arugula, parmesan


January 8, 2014

I love smoked salmon. But when I bought smoked salmon, I didn't realize that there were different kinds of smoking. Apparently cold smoked salmon is not what I was thinking of. And the salmon was also really salty. So I rehashed the salmon for a pizza. I topped the pizza dough (from Trader Joe's) with homemade Alfredo sauce (used up extra sour cream and cooked in a pot with butter, minced garlic, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and enough milk for my desired consistency), mozzarella, caramelized onions, capers, arugula, and the salmon bits, sprinkling with parmesan after baking. The pizza was bursting with a lot of good flavors.

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breakfast biscuit sandwich with egg, cheddar cheese, and avocado


December 31, 2013

We haven't been on a long road trip in a while, so I actually craved the breakfast McMuffin sandwiches that Brendan likes to get after hitting the road bright (dark) and early at sunrise. I made my own by baking these biscuits, using all whole wheat flour. And since I don't usually have buttermilk, I mixed almond milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar to sit before I prepped the rest of the ingredients. I sandwiched an egg, cheddar cheese, and avocado between the hearty, fluffy biscuits.

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mexican pizza with barbacoa beef, refried black beans, caramelized onions, zucchini, kale, and salsa


December 27, 2013

This is a delicious twist on the pizza. I often like to make Mexican pizza by using salsa instead of marinara sauce and adding things like refried black beans and onions, and I use Trader Joe's fresh pizza dough. This time, I made the ultimate delicious Mexican pizza by further adding barbacoa beef, zucchini, and kale in addition to the usual salsa, (home) refried black beans, and caramelized onions. I could eat this pizza for days!

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lamb chops with mint cilantro sauce


November 28, 2013

Here's a simple quick dish that can easily be prepped ahead of time. The only changes I made to the recipe were to omit the ginger and use regular vinegar; and without a grill, I instead seared in a cast iron on the stove. I paired the lamb chops with cranberry parmesan arugula salad for a refreshing Mediterranean tang.

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red velvet rolls

red velvet rolls


November 17, 2013

This is another wonderful recipe from Yammie (she's such fun to read and her food is so yum!). I thought it would be a lovely breakfast for our anniversary weekend, especially with the cream cheese frosting. I did decide not to use Nutella and instead put cinnamon, sugar, and butter as filling. I think I put way too little cinnamon and sugar since I couldn't really taste it, which worked out because then the more bitter chocolatey dough came through to pair with the sweet cream cheese frosting. Also, beware the red food coloring! I put probably a quarter to half the amount she suggested, and it was still bright red, even temporarily staining the counter after a yeast explosion.

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bloomin' onion and spicy white dill sauce


November 13, 2013

This recipe from Yammie's wonderful food blog has been on my to-make list for quite a while. I finally got around to baking it as an easy side. I omitted the yellow mustard from the recipe and used tortilla chips instead of cornflakes. Then I paired it with the versatile spicy white dill sauce for awesome flavor.

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peanut butter pie cups

peanut butter pie cup slice


October 29, 2013

I was craving peanut butter and chocolate, and of course, after watching the Good Eats episode Peanut Gallery, I had to make that delicious looking peanut butter pie. Since I was making this for a baking club and needed to bike it to campus, I made cup versions of the pie. I modified the recipe a bit by using Trader Joe's chocolate Cat Cookies instead of chocolate wafers, and I experimented and found that adding whipped heavy cream to the peanut butter mixture made the filling light and fluffy so that each bite just melts into sweet peanut butter chocolatey goodness contrasting the crunch of the chocolate cookie crust. I also just used Trader Joe's smooth peanut butter rather than making my own.

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miso soup


October 18, 2013

Miso paste adds easy flavor to many things. I used the sweet vegetable broth from boiling napa cabbage to make miso soup. I put in miso paste to taste (restaurant miso soup is usually too salty for me) and added tofu and green onions. Super easy and quick for a flavorful and light dish.

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pizza cups, version 2


October 9, 2013

Searching for something to eat when you think you have nothing to eat often leads to creative meals. With not much left in the fridge, we scrounged together baked pizza cups using frozen Trader Joe's pie crust, marinara sauce, capers, zucchini, and tomatoes, topping with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. But of course, you can be creative with what you have! This is version 2, as we've made this long ago.

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fish tacos with spicy dill sauce, red cabbage cole slaw, and avocado


September 13, 2013

Brendan went deep sea fishing and caught some cod, so that definitely meant some beer battered fish. When I said fish and chips, he instead heard fish tacos, and so he bought ingredients for fish tacos. We used this recipe for fish tacos with beer battered fish and the most amazing white sauce ever (goes really well with a lot of other things too), additionally topping with avocado and red cabbage cole slaw Bakesale Betty style with cilantro and vinegar, all on a deep fried tortilla.

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meatball sliders


August 6, 2013

These meatball sliders make for a quick and very satisfying meal. Brendan used his family recipe to make the meatballs, mixing ground beef (instead of turkey), garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and egg together to form giant meatballs. He pan-cooked then placed them on quarter slices of toasted bread, topping with marinara sauce and four cheeses — slices of parmesan, monterey, asiago, and cheddar — for melty sloppy goodness.

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berry cheesecake


July 10, 2013

I find any excuse to make cheesecake. So for the 4th of July, I made a berry patriotic cheesecake with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. I mashed up each set of berries and mixed with layers of this cheesecake batter, then baked. Creamy delight with a refreshing kick of berry for a very (unusually) hot 4th of July!

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almond poppy seed muffins


July 7, 2013

I looove the almond poppy seed muffins from Costco. I made my own with this recipe. I halved the sugar, substituted almond milk for milk, increased the almond extract a bit, used wheat flour, and omitted the glaze (last 5 ingredients). The almond extract made the batter so 香 (xiāng)! I use xiāng because any English translation takes away the real meaning of xiāng; xiāng is a combination of smelling fragrant, rejuvenating, fresh, ripe, pleasing, ... And the muffins were very 香.

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spicy shrimp sandwich with chipotle avocado mayonnaise


June 30, 2013

A while ago, I had a huge craving for shrimp, and I had to make this shrimp sandwich when I saw the recipe. I used some good Acme bread to make myself a gourmet sandwich. No Brendan allowed (he said he didn't want shrimp, anyway).

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banana wrap with peanut butter, granola, honey


June 16, 2013

Back in college, my friend Divya introduced me to these delicious wraps filled with banana, peanut butter, granola, and honey. Only one of the campus cafés made these, and they usually sold out by around 11am. The wraps are so simple, but always hit the spot. I made one for myself the other day, and it hit the spot.

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lemon ricotta pancakes with strawberries


April 20, 2013

These were inspired by my favorite local breakfast eatery, Café Aquarius. These thin, light pancakes practically melted in my mouth. I had to recreate them. I found this decent recipe, but it wasn't lemon and it was low-fat/low-sugar. Luckily, one of the comments had the real substitutes. For the batter, I mixed together 3 tbsp whole wheat flour, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp baking powder, then added zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 eggs, and 1/2 c ricotta cheese.

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kimchi stir fry noodles with eggs, potatoes, and green onions


April 7, 2013

My craving for Korean food while grocery shopping turned into this meal. I ended up buying kimchi, noodles, and bean sprouts. I stir-fried the bean sprouts, then added the cooked noodles and kimchi. I flavored with soy sauce and chili garlic sauce. I served with an egg and potatoes, topped with green onions. This meal hit the spot!

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mexican casserole


April 2, 2013

I tried to remake this amazing casserole dish I made with my friends many years ago at our Mexican friend Keith's place. I don't think it turned out quite the same without Keith's magic touch, but I recreated the dish by cooking ground beef with cumin, garlic powder, and salt and layering with noodles, beans, and cheese. I then baked until the cheese was nice and bubbly.

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chicken tikka masala with garlic naan


March 25, 2013

This is another great rotisserie chicken leftover meal. I doubled this recipe with a 15-oz can of tomato sauce and a 1-pint carton of heavy cream. I omitted the ginger, jalapeño pepper, and cilantro. It was a tasty many meals.

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heart-shaped snickers cheesecake


March 1, 2013

I melt for cheesecakes. And when Brendan mentioned Snickers cheesecake for Valentine's dessert, I jumped at the challenge. And with a belated Valentine's, I was able to buy clearance Valentine's Snickers. I made a chocolatey Snickers crust by mixing one pack of graham crackers, 5 mini Snickers bars, and 1/4 cup peanuts in the food processor. I then melted 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butter and mixed with the dry ingredients. For the filling, I added 6 chopped fun-sized Snickers to this cheesecake (strawberries omitted) and substituted 3/4 cup sugar for the condensed milk. I found the secret to a smooth cheesecake: let the eggs sit out for a while so they aren't too cold. After the cake was baked and chilled, I topped with this dulce de leche. The cheesecakes were silky smooth and creamy, with just enough added crunch from the chocolate covered nougat and peanuts.

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steak, egg, and potato burrito


February 28, 2013

I love being creative with leftovers. I made a burrito out of our Valentine's steak dinner leftovers by wrapping up steak, egg, mashed potato, and cheese and grilling it. I ate it with chimichurri salsa for one tasty lunch.

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chocolate chip banana muffin tops


February 20, 2013

I wanted to make something a little different than my usual banana bread. So I turned the banana bread into muffin tops by spooning the batter on a cookie sheet. I brought some to a meeting, and they were rapidly devoured. Brendan was upset that there weren't any left for him.

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chocolate dipped macaroons


February 18, 2013

These were our dessert for the Super Bowl. All you need are (sweetened) shredded coconut, an egg white, and vanilla (modified from this recipe). I added enough coconut to the egg white and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla until the liquid was absorbed. I scooped spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Once cooled, I dipped in melted chocolate chips.

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deviled eggs


February 16, 2013

For the Super Bowl, I prepared some easy deviled eggs. I removed the yolk from hard-boiled eggs, mixed with mayonnaise, chopped onions, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper (all to taste). After placing back into the egg white halves, I garnished with paprika, dill, and green onions.

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stuffed avocado


February 9, 2013

In Peru, I had a delicious appetizer called palta rellena, or stuffed avocado. I used one of my many avocados to make palta rellena stuffed with chicken salad and tomatoes.

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homemade funfetti cake


January 23, 2013

For Brendan's birthday, I made a homemade version of his favorite cake, the Funfetti cake. I used this recipe for the cake and this recipe for a buttercream frosting. I used almond milk instead of regular milk in the cake and egg yolks for the frosting, which was probably why it was a little yellow. But it was still delicious.

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grilled cheese and tomato soup


January 18, 2013

Brendan had been wanting to make this supposedly "best cheese/bread combo for a grilled cheese" from reddit, so I took the opportunity of Brendan's birthday (back in November) to make the sandwich. I slapped muenster and mozzarella cheese between two slices of the Tomato Basil bread from Panera and grilled. I heated up some tomato soup for some awesome grilled cheese dipping and sipping. Scrumptious!

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spicy baked fries


January 11, 2013

I am back from my winter hibernation. I still haven't had time to cook anything special, but luckily I have a backlog of foods not yet posted. These are some yummy fries I baked that had just the right amount of kick. I sliced up potato, mixed with olive oil, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and salt. I lined them on a baking sheet and stirred every 10 minutes until done.

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stack of pumpkin pancakes


December 8, 2012

I got up on a cool autumn morning and was determined to make a warming breakfast. I served up hot pumpkin pancakes with the letter B for Brendan, just like his dad would do. To make the letter, first pour the batter into the desired shape on the heated pan (remember that it'll be inverted!), then pour the batter normally over the shape. I substituted the buttermilk with almond milk and vinegar and added chocolate chips to the cooking pancake.

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beer battered kale leaves


December 7, 2012

I used some leftover beer batter to make beer battered kale. I figured kale chips (baked kale) was good, so why not? These were delicious! I dipped the kale in the beer batter and fried until the batter was golden, and I sprinkled with some parmesan cheese.

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cutting the jarrahdale pumpkin

jarrahdale pumpkin halves

pumpkin for storage


November 20, 2012

We finally made it out to the Half Moon Bay pumpkin patches to get our pumpkin for this year. A few years ago, this nice farmer lady at the pumpkin patch told us the best pumpkin for cooking was the Jarrahdale pumpkin. Since then, we've been getting the Jarrahdale pumpkin, and one gives A LOT of beautiful orange meat, probably at least 10 cans worth ... a pretty good deal for only $5. We halve and bake until the meat is soft, then scoop and puree, and store for the season!

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pumpkin ginger muffins


November 18, 2012

I've been holding off on making anything pumpkin until we got a real pumpkin, but I wanted to make a pumpkin goodie for my friend Diane's qualifying exam. So I went to my emergency canned pumpkin reserve. I used this recipe to make delicious muffins (i.e. cupcakes without frosting) with candied ginger from Trader Joe's (substituting the crystallized ginger) and vanilla pudding (couldn't find butterscotch pudding at TJ's). I also substituted about half the white flour with wheat and roughly halved the sugar.

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peanut butter, banana, chocolate crepe


November 13, 2012

My idea of a good weekend breakfast includes some homemade goodies. A few weekends ago, I made crepes. I used this crepe recipe, substituting the white flour with wheat flour. My love for the peanut butter, banana, and chocolate combo (see my PBBC sandwich) produced a PBBC crepe with melty chocolate, creamy chunky peanut butter, and sweet cool banana wrapped up in a delicate and just-enough-crispy crepe.

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eggplant lasagna


November 11, 2012

When I first made eggplant parmesan, I thought that it was a good no-carb substitute for lasagna. So this time I made my mom's lasagna using eggplant slices as the lasagna noodles, layering the raw slices with cheese, tomato sauce, grilled onions, and stir-fried ground beef. I baked until the cheese was melted and slightly browned on top.

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tiramisu cheesecake tarts

tiramisu cheesecake tarts


October 15, 2012

My simultaneous craving for tiramisu and cheesecake meant I was making tiramisu cheesecake. I was thinking of just making tiramisu and topping with cheesecake filling, but other people have had this same craving so I easily found a highly reviewed recipe that was similar to my idea. I increased the coffee liqueur as suggested to 4 tbsp for the crust and 5 tbsp for the filling. I also used half chocolate ladyfingers for the crust (I saw them at the store and had to get them!). The tarts were baked for about 20 minutes, and I sprinkled with cocoa powder, coffee grounds, and chocolate shavings after refrigeration. Decadent bliss.

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chili stuffed potato halves


October 12, 2012

Cooking for one means I'm going to be lazy. So, I used the microwave to cook a potato, then fried the halves on the stove. I carved out some of the potato meat, filled with chili, and sprinkled with cheddar cheese and green onions. Yum! I was stuffed.

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bulgogi beef with egg, zucchini, brown rice


October 5, 2012

Brendan really likes meat. It's one of the few things he'll really take ownership of in the kitchen. He made this awesome Korean beef with just a few ingredients and grilled it on our little Foreman Grill. We ate it with rice, stir-fried zucchini, and a fried egg. The beef was tender and bursting with flavor.

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chimichurri on pasta with sausage and sun-dried tomatoes


September 25, 2012

The Brazil Cafe in Berkeley has this amazing green sauce on their delicious tri-tip sandwiches. I never knew what it was called, but I knew it consisted of cilantro and garlic. I actually meant to make pesto the other night, but for some reason couldn't find basil at either Berkeley Bowl or Trader Joe's, so I made this Brazilian green sauce. I threw in parsley, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper into the food processor, processed it, and it was done. I tossed it over pasta, sausage, and sun-dried tomatoes, and have since then topped it on sandwiches and rice bowls. So amazing.

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fried chow mein pancakes


September 16, 2012

I bought fresh Taiwanese noodles from 99 Ranch, but accidentally (or lazily) overstuffed the pot and overcooked the noodles. I was making chow mein with the same veggies from the spring rolls, but decided to turn the mistake into a twist. I mixed batches of the chow mein with egg to cohere for a batter, and fried them in pancake form. The noodles are similar to potsticker wrappers, so frying gave it the nice potsticker crunch.

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spring rolls



August 22, 2012

On our boat expedition with Tao Philippines, our cook Ann made these lovely spring rolls. They were light and crispy, and dipped in a tangy vinegar sauce, they absolutely satisfied our aching stomachs after a day of swimming and snorkeling. I tried to recreate the spring rolls, but they weren't quite the same (but still pretty good). I tasted cabbage, carrots, vinegar, and pepper as the main ingredients in Ann's rolls, so I used these as my filling, also adding green onions, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and egg. I skimped on the vinegar because I couldn't taste them in my rolls. Next time, I won't hold back.

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broccoli gorgonzola pie


August 17, 2012

Here is a great recipe from Brendan's dad. The veggies in this pie can be easily varied. To make, cut and boil one head of broccoli. Fry 3-4 finely chopped leeks in butter, then add 2/3 c heavy cream, 1/3 c water, 1/3 c chopped chives, 1/3 c chopped taragon, 3 tbsp grainy mustard, salt, and pepper. I used pie crust instead of the called-for pastry puff; place the bottom shell in the pie pan. Then layer in the leek mixture, broccoli, and 7 oz of chopped gorgonzola. Finally, cover with the top crust and bake at 400 F until browned (about 30 minutes).

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hummingbird cupcakes


August 5, 2012

Right before vacation, I had leftover pineapple and banana to consume. I also coincidentally came across this recipe for hummingbird cake. Perfect! I had never heard of it before, but pineapple and banana in a cake sounded amazing and cream cheese frosting is just awesome. I made cupcake versions, and as they came out of the oven, Brendan said it smelled like a mixed drink. The tart and sweet of the pineapple and banana came through for a nutty, tropical, and moist cake.

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carrot cake cookies


July 29, 2012

I made this for dessert when we invited our friends Evan, Kay, and their baby Kenta for dinner. Little Kenta couldn't keep his hands off the cookies and stole a few before dinner. Here's the recipe. For the frosting, I just added the sugar to taste, and for the cookies, I used walnuts instead of raisins, slightly less sugar, half wheat flour, and more carrots than the recipe called for (just to use up carrots). Super hearty and totally decadent with the cream cheese frosting.

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moroccan chicken


July 28, 2012

This Moroccan chicken recipe is courtesy of my good friend, Kristina. For the chicken, coat 1 1/2 lb of 1-inch pieces in 1 cup flour and 1 tbsp Moroccan rub (paprika, curry powder, cumin, ground ginger, sugar, chili powder). Cook in a skillet, remove, and set aside. Then cook sliced onion, red bell pepper, 1 tbsp rub, 6 oz tomato paste, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper in the skillet. Add 14.5 oz chicken broth and simmer until broth is halved. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup sour cream, then add the chicken and 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and cook until heated through. Serve over rice and sprinkle with parsley!

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chicken salad, apple, and pepper jack sandwich


July 27, 2012

Time to catch up on my food after vacationing for three weeks... I didn't finish updating before I left, so here come some posts on foods from over a month ago. This sandwich was the result of the remaining apples from the bargain bin. It combines the savoriness, tartness, and spiciness of the chicken salad, green apple slices, and pepper jack cheese through crunch, coolness, and warmth. Yum!

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apple pie and slice


June 22, 2012

I bought a bag of apples from the bargain produce at Berkeley Bowl and couldn't eat it all, so I had to make something with apples. This is the apple pie recipe I use, which is extremely highly rated. Its ingredients are simple; only two are non-pantry staples: apples and pie crust (unless you make your own). Alton Brown shows how to make a lattice pie crust on Good Eats, but this was the only video I could find. Alton just makes the lattice directly on the pie with the same method.

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cinnamon messy bread


June 21, 2012

My messy bread didn't turn out quite as pretty as the original recipe. It was messy! My loaf fell apart when I tried to take it out of the pan, probably because I didn't wait for it to cool since I was running late to a potluck. For the dough, I used two bags of Trader Joe's pizza dough. Next time, I would halve the butter because you don't need quite that much, and I actually had to increase the cinnamon sugar mixture because I ran out. Regardless, it still turned out delicious because you can't go wrong with cinnamon and sugar; the broken pieces turned out like mini fried cinnamon sugar doughnuts. Easy and simple.

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mexican spring rolls


June 20, 2012

This is another spin on the spring roll. Instead of Italian style, I made Mexican style rolls by filling with cheese and my special bean dip: black beans, salsa, and cheese heated up in a sauce pan. I topped off the rolls with some cheddar cheese, salsa, avocado, and cilantro.

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strawberry cookies


June 8, 2012

I love feeding the people around me, and Brendan's around me most of the time. He loves sugar cookies and strawberries, so I adapted this simple recipe for sugar cookies by adding chopped strawberries. What turned out were some soft strawberry cookies. I also made a strawberry frosting by mixing together chopped strawberries, cream cheese, and sugar. Nom nom delightful.

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June 5, 2012

Jambalaya is full of flavor and fills you up, plus it's an awesome dish for lots of leftovers. After my qualifying exam, we had no food because of my hiatus from everyday life. So when I finished my exam, I craved a dish that would make me so full it hurt and that would give us leftovers to hold us over while I figured out other goodies to make. Here's the recipe. I use brown rice instead of white, and just use the amount of vegetables and meat that I have.

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avocado tuna tartare


May 28, 2012

This dish was inspired by a tuna tartare I had at Yoshi's Japanese restaurant. I ate it and thought, I can make this! I minced raw tuna and mixed it with avocado, minced onions and green onions, and some chili garlic sauce. It's very much like the spicy tuna roll filling, but with avocado instead of mayonnaise. Refreshing!

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lemon bars


May 14, 2012

Here's another yummy lemon dessert inspired by both Brendan's mom (the sweetly tart lemon filling) and my friend Sarah (the buttery, crumbly crust). Sarah shared with me her blood orange curd shortbread bars, and the crust just melted into my mouth. Here are Sarah's shortbread bars and the crust I used. I first made the crust, and while it was baking, I made Brendan's mom's lemon filling by combining 1 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 1/2 tsp lemon rind, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 egg whites, and 1 egg. I then stirred in 7 Tbsp lemon juice and poured the mixture onto the crust and baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. After cooling, I sifted 2 Tbsp powdered sugar over the bars. I'll definitely be making these again!

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beef stew


May 13, 2012

This classic dish makes for hearty leftovers that get better with time. To make, I coated 2 lb cubed beef with flour, salt, and pepper, then cooked it in a pot with garlic until browned. I added chicken stock (I used what I had, though I think beef broth may be better) and rosemary to the beef, bringing to a boil and then simmering for about an hour. Finally, I stirred in chopped tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, celery, and onions, adding water as needed, and simmered for another hour. After an hour, I added in cornstarch to thicken and seasoned with salt and pepper.

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macaroni and cheese


May 4, 2012

This is another great recipe from Mama Till's kitchen. It totally satisfied my cheesy cheese craving and Brendan said it tasted just like what his mom makes (always a compliment)! To make the cheese sauce, melt 1 stick butter in a saucepan and stir in 1/2 cup flour. Then add 2 cups milk and bring to simmer, stirring often. Add 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cayenne, and 1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard (I omitted this since we didn't have it). Mix in 1/2 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack, and 1/2 cup Asiago cheese until melted. Finally, add in chopped bacon. Toss the sauce with cooked pasta (13-16 oz), pour it into a casserole dish, sprinkle with chili powder and seasoned breadcrumbs, and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

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caramelized pork with eggs and daikon


April 24, 2012

This meal was inspired by a dish at UC Berkeley's dining commons. Who knew they would have something delicious enough that I would try to recreate? I decided to slow cook it and tossed in pork, daikon, hard-boiled eggs, and bean sprouts with chicken stock, water, soy sauce, star anise, diced green onions, minced onions, and garlic.

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potato and cauliflower curry with naan and green beans


April 15, 2012

This curry is a very hearty dish that satisfied my Indian food craving. The recipe made a lot, so we had plenty of leftovers! The curry would also be good for freezing and saving for an easy no-cook weeknight dinner.

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celery and tofu stir fry


April 14, 2012

This is a quick and light dish inspired by my mom. I sliced the celery into thin strips and stir fried with tofu, seasoning with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil. The celery gives a lovely crunch and freshness to the dish.

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grasshopper magic cookie bars


April 5, 2012

Because St. Patrick's Day (yes, I'm far behind on my posts) is all about being green, I "greened" the easy-to-make magic cookie bars by adding in mint chips for a St. Patty's potluck. I love the beautiful green glow from the mint chips!

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vanilla chai and chocolate peppermint ice cream


March 28, 2012

My friend Diane got an ice cream maker as a gift, and we made the first batches of ice cream in it! For the vanilla chai ice cream, we modified the ice cream maker's recipe for vanilla. We heated up 1 cup of whole milk with chai spices, then strained the mixture to remove the spices. We then mixed it with 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt until dissolved, and added 2 cups heavy cream and 1 Tbsp vanilla extract. After refrigerating for at least a few hours (compensating for the heated milk), the mixture was ready for churning. The chocolate peppermint ice cream was modified from this chocolate ice cream recipe; we added 2 tsp peppermint extract to the mixture, though I think the peppermint flavor was on the lighter side so next time I'll add more peppermint. The vanilla chai was a little too sweet for me, but delicious, and the chocolate peppermint was delightful. Plus, with the chopped chocolate chips, the chocolate peppermint turned out like malted chocolate peppermint!

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buttermilk fried chicken and coleslaw sandwich


March 26, 2012

I had buttermilk left over, so what do I make? Buttermilk fried chicken! The recipe is from Pioneer Woman. However, instead of using fryer chicken, I used boneless chicken thighs cut into strips. I also accidentally used up all the buttermilk in the soaking mixture without reserving some for the breading, but I just used soy milk that I had on hand — I think any liquid will really do for the breading lumps. We ate the chicken with Bakesale Betty inspired coleslaw, this time adding cilantro to the slaw as Betty does.

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barbacoa beef with avocado, onions, tomatoes in tortilla


March 22, 2012

This is an awesome recipe providing lots of yummy Chipotle-inspired barbacoa beef for days to come. Pairing the beef with fresh avocado, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro adds lovely creaminess, crunch, juiciness, and coolness to balance the spicy, tender meat. The leftovers stay savory and taste just as good with the refreshing sides. We made a few changes: we halved the amount of meat (5-7 pounds is a lot!), used a yellow onion instead of red, substituted vinegar for cider vinegar, and added the whole 4 oz can of chipotle peppers (so we wouldn't have to deal with leftover peppers).

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spaghetti squash with avocado and parmesan


March 20, 2012

This is another easy and simple dish: spaghetti squash + garlic + olive oil + salt + pepper + avocado + parmesan cheese. I got my inspiration from this recipe. What a great and refreshing idea to add avocado!

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sopapilla cheesecake slice


March 19, 2012

A couple weeks ago, my friend Stephen held one of his many taco nights. At the last taco night, I made this sopapilla and people devoured it. They were mostly a bunch of cyclists, so they do eat a lot. But this time, I doubled the recipe and made two batches of it. And they still ate it all. What is sopapilla? We (the sopapilla lovers) describe it as Mexican Pop-Tarts, since it's pretty much churro on the outside and sweetened cream cheese filling on the inside. The recipe uses simple ingredients and is easy to make, so it's great for feeding a crowd. The only change I make is halving the butter for the topping because there's just too much of it.

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zucchini patties


March 18, 2012

For part of a quick weeknight dinner, I made zucchini patties by mixing together shredded zucchini, eggs, salt, and pepper. I spooned the patties onto a frying pan and fried them like pancakes! It came out a little eggier than I would've liked, so next time I'll use 1-2 eggs for about 3 medium-sized zucchinis.

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flourless chocolate cake and ganache with strawberries


March 9, 2012

It was my old roommate Krysia's birthday last last weekend. Because she has a wheat allergy, this was my perfect chance to try out a delicious flourless chocolate cake! I used this recipe for the chocolate cake and this ganache on top. There was a lot of ganache for the cake, so next time I'll halve the amount of ganache. The cake is extremely rich and chocolatey; it's pretty much a velvety slice of pure chocolate truffle. Mmmmm. Chocolate lovers, indulge!

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avocado breakfast pudding with granola


March 8, 2012

I made this easy avocado breakfast pudding from almond milk, avocado, and honey. I just poured in the milk and honey in the blending mixture until I got the consistency and taste I wanted! This is a lovely and refreshing yogurt substitute.

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lemon blackberry swirl pound cake

lemon blackberry swirl pound cake with blackberry sauce


February 27, 2012

This recipe had been on my to-make list since before I got all those lemons. The pound cake is my childhood favorite. I finally got to make the cake last weekend and it is divine!! The blackberry sauce puts it over the top. I substituted half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and halved the sugar. I was also lazy and didn't core the blackberries; I personally like the crunch and homemade touch it gives.

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peanut butter and coffee truffle blossoms


February 21, 2012

I loooove blossom cookies, and I'd never actually made them before. So when this recipe appeared on my radar, I had to try them out. I did make a few substitutions based on what I had — fresh coffee grounds instead of espresso powder and buttermilk with butter instead of heavy cream. The chocolate came out a little funky looking, possibly because of the heavy cream substitution (not recommended) and also probably because I didn't temper the chocolate properly. But the chocolate still tasted delicious! The coffee grounds actually turned out well as it gave a nice crunch to the chocolate and I could distinctly taste the coffee, almost like chocolate covered coffee beans. And I used my fancy kitchen tool to create the chocolates: a Ziploc bag with a small hole cut out of the corner. As for the cookies, I substituted half the flour with whole wheat flour and halved the sugar as usual. The whole wheat flour actually gave the cookies a more crumbly and buttery texture. I've made myself hungry and will now go and grab a cookie!

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artichoke biscuit

steak, mashed potatoes, artichoke, and artichoke bread


February 20, 2012

For our belated Valentine's dinner (no time to buy food and cook dinner on a Tuesday), Brendan and I made artichoke biscuits with asiago cheese, artichoke, mashed potatoes, and steak. I used this recipe for the artichoke biscuits, omitting the olives and using asiago cheese with rosemary — I couldn't pass up this delicious cheese sample at Berkeley Bowl. Meanwhile, Brendan used this recipe for cooking steak in the oven, searing on a pan and transferring to a heated cookie sheet. Who needs fancy skillets or grills? Soooo savory.

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lemon turnovers


February 19, 2012

This was an easy snack I made last week with the leftover lemon curd. I defrosted and cut Trader Joe's frozen pastry puff into small squares, brushing each piece with egg. I spooned lemon curd into each square, folded in half, and egg-washed the outside. These turnovers were baked in a 400 degree preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.

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strawberry muffins with lemon cream cheese swirl

strawberry muffin with lemon cream cheese swirl


February 11, 2012

For today's breakfast, I decided to experiment and create a new muffin. I wanted to make strawberry muffins and decided to add a cream cheese swirl. And because we have lots of lemons, I made the cream cheese filling lemon-flavored to contrast with the strawberries. I used my normal recipe for the strawberry muffins. For my experiment, half of my batch (6 muffins) were swirled with lemon cream cheese. To make the lemon cream cheese, I beat together 4 ounces of cream cheese with about 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of lemon rind, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. I spooned the cream cheese mix on top of the strawberry muffin batter in the muffin pan and swirled it with the back of a spoon. I baked for about 25 minutes. They turned out surprisingly good!

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lemon tart with macaroon shell


February 6, 2012

I had several lemons from my parents' lemon tree and was given even more lemons from a friend whose family tree was also overflowing with lemons, so I needed to make a lemon something! I remembered a great trick from Oprah for juicing citrus fruits: bite them! (her demonstration begins at 1:20 in the video). And, Brendan's mom sent us several recipes, as she was also looking for things to make with her lemons. I was now well-equipped and chose to start with her recipe for macaroon shells filled with lemon curd. I first made the shells by combining 2 cups of sweetened flaked coconut, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 egg whites. I scooped the mixture into muffin cups, pressing into shells, and baked for about 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. While baking, I made the curd. I first combined 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp salt in a saucepan. I then whisked in 1 cup of lemon juice and 3 eggs and brought the mixture to a boil, constantly stirring. I let the mixture simmer while continuing to stir for about a minute. I removed the mixture from the heat and mixed in 2 Tbsp butter and 1 tsp lemon rind. After cooling, I spooned the curd into the macaroon shells. Yum!

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korean soft tofu stew, or Soon Dubu Chigae


February 2, 2012

Ever since my friend Diane introduced me to this Korean soft tofu dish, Soon Dubu Chigae, I have not been able to stop thinking about how delicious it is. I decided to look up a recipe and saw that it's pretty easy to make. There are many recipes out there, so I looked at several and made my own with what I had and what I wanted. I first cooked ground pork in a pot with some oil, then added freshly minced garlic. I then separately caramelized chopped onion and shiitake mushrooms. I combined the pork and vegetables, then added chicken stock to make the soup. For flavor, I added miso paste, Sriracha, and chili powder. Once boiling, I added the soft tofu and let it cook some more to heat the tofu. Finally, right before I was ready to serve, I cracked the traditional egg in the stew (it's usually cracked in the bowl as it's served, but that's when the stew is cooked and served in a special earthenware pot). I garnished with green onions and sesame seeds. Spicy and "heart"-warming.

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pumpkin mochi pancakes


February 1, 2012

I saw this recipe for using pumpkin leftovers from Thanksgiving, but I think it's appropriate for the Chinese New Year (don't worry — my Thanksgiving pumpkin was frozen)! All you need are mochi (glutinous rice) flour, sugar, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, and you can easily make these in 10 minutes. You could even substitute other flavors for pumpkin and omit sesame seeds. I love the aroma and crunch of sesame seeds, so I would never leave them out.

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chili cheese fries


January 30, 2012

Another great American childhood classic: chili cheese fries. These are also a perfect snack for the coming Super Bowl! Brendan hand-cut the potatoes and we sprayed them with olive oil and baked until done. We heated up the leftover chili on the stove and poured it over the fries, adding cheddar cheese and green onions. We baked the whole concoction for a few more minutes. Yummy!!

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peanut butter banana chocolate sandwich


January 26, 2012

I created this sandwich for my after-school snack today. And I'll never be too old for it. One of my favorite sandwiches is the peanut butter and banana sandwich, but this takes it to another level: PBBC (inspired by Cafe Fernando) stands for ... peanut butter, banana, and chocolate! Slather on some peanut butter, slice up some bananas, sprinkle on some chocolate chips, and grill.

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January 25, 2012

A big pot of chili has been sitting on my to-make list. I finally got around to this when my friends Shannon and Ivan stayed over, with help from Shannon (a future cook!). I figured it would be a great way to feed lots of people and still have leftovers. Well, Ivan actually just ended up eating dinner with the computer science club at some fancy schmancy restaurant in Berkeley. But, Brendan, Shannon, and I still enjoyed the chili. I used this recipe to get an idea of the spices to use. We caramelized onions and a bell pepper with garlic, stir-fried ground beef, and diced tomato, chili peppers, and celery, adding these to our new big slow cooker. We then added kidney beans, tomato sauce, chicken stock, Tapatío hot sauce, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, basil, onion powder, and garlic powder. We filled our bellies with big bowls of chili, topped with cheddar cheese and green onions.

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egg mcmuffin casserole and potatoes


January 14, 2012

I've been seeing breakfast casseroles in food blogs and got the brilliant idea to take the Egg McMuffin and turn it into a casserole! I placed torn up pieces of bread in the bottom of a greased casserole dish, cracked two eggs on top, sprinkled on bacon bits, and baked in a 400 degree oven for around 30 minutes (though I think that was too long for me — I like my eggs a little runny). I then topped it off with some cheese right out of the oven. We paired it with some potatoes stir fried with caramelized onions. A deliciously hearty breakfast.

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tortilla soup


January 14, 2012

I love getting rotisserie chickens because I can make so many meals out of them (in addition to just eating them alone fresh and hot), and they're so flavorful and juicy. We've already had two meals of fajitas and chicken pot pies. I decided to use most of the rest of the meat for a big pot of tortilla soup. I heated the shredded chicken in a pot of water, added chopped celery, and cooked for a bit. Then I added a large can of diced tomatoes (undrained) and a can of black beans (drained). I caramelized onions with garlic and tossed it in with the rest of the soup. For seasoning, I spiced it up with cayenne pepper, paprika, pepper, and cumin. I had the chicken stock and salt prepared, but didn't need it since the chicken really boosted the flavor in the soup. Add some fresh cilantro, lime juice, cheese, and tortilla chips before eating. Absolutely savory.

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slice of pumpkin cheesecake


January 8, 2012

I had gotten so much pumpkin back in October that I'm still making my way through it. So, I made pumpkin cheesecake! I used this recipe, though the sour cream topping was a little excessive for me (it adds a tang) and the filling was a little bland in terms of pumpkin spice flavor (but still deliciously creamy). I remember heeding the changes in the second review of the recipe last time I made this, halving the sour cream topping and adding more cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger to the filling, so I'll do that again next time to make it even yummier. I also added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the crust. I made this two days ago, and the cheesecake is almost gone!

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chicken pot pie topped with sweet potato biscuit


January 7, 2012

I usually make pot pie using Trader Joe's delicious pie crust, but when I saw this recipe topped with sweet potato biscuit, I had to try it out. I just got these super cute personal casserole dishes from Brendan's mom, so it was perfect for the pot pies! I used my usual recipe for the pot pie filling, varying the veggies with what I had. I put some biscuit on top of each and baked. The biscuits were very tender and fluffy and went so well with the pot pie filling! I was able to share this wonderful meal with Brendan and my friends Sarah and Lucas. It was perfect to warm us up on a chilly winter night.

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mediterranean lamb with cauliflower


January 6, 2012

Our refrigerator decided to malfunction on Sunday, and things started melting in our freezer before we realized there was something wrong. We had frozen lamb loin chops that were mostly defrosted, so we had lamb for dinner! We made a Mediterranean style tomato sauce with tomato paste, mini heirloom tomatoes, sautéed onions and garlic, and with oregano, mint, thyme, basil, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper. I browned the lamb in the pan, then put it in a Pyrex pan and covered it with the sauce. I also broiled cauliflower and added it to the lamb. I then covered and baked until the lamb was done.

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pesto stuffed bell peppers


January 6, 2012

A couple weeks ago, I wanted to make an easy and healthy meal, so I decided to make stuffed bell peppers. I threw together what I had in the refrigerator since I had just come back from vacation and only made a quick stop at the store. I sautéed some onions, tossed in sautéed zucchini and mushrooms from the night before, added bits of falafel for filling, and mixed in pesto I had frozen earlier. I stuffed the peppers with the mix and baked in the oven at 400 until soft. Very flavorful!

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dried mangoes


December 14, 2011

I've been busy with school, but here is a quick update with some food I've made! Brendan and I are in Hawaii right now, and in trying to eat up all our food before we left, I decided to convert our mangoes into dried mangoes for a travel snack. I baked in our oven at the lowest temperature (which was 170 degrees) for about 5 hours, leaving the oven door cracked open. I didn't add anything, and they still turned out yummy!

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dark chocolate pumpkin truffles

a bitten dark chocolate pumpkin truffle


November 19, 2011

I have a weak spot for dark chocolate and for pumpkin, so together they are lethal. I saw this recipe on Gojee and had to make them. Truffles are very easy to make. You just mix the filling, refrigerate, roll into balls, refrigerate, coat in chocolate, and refrigerate. What took the most time was the refrigeration. For the chocolate coating, I melted 1 cup chocolate liquor (unsweetened baking chocolate) and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. I was also lazy with the cookie crumbs and just crushed them in my hands, but that didn't make a difference with the filling as the bigger pieces softened in the mixture. When the truffles were done the next morning, I took a bite of one, and it was so heavenly I almost ate it all before taking photos of it. These dark chocolate pumpkin truffles are absolutely delectable.

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pumpkin tarts


November 19, 2011

I made these bite-sized versions of pumpkin pie using the same Libby's recipe as the pumpkin pie that Brendan makes. I created the tarts in muffin pans and baked them for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees. It turned out a little crusty, so next time I would thin the crust a little. Mmm, they were still delicious little bites of pumpkin creaminess.

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lentil soup


November 18, 2011

Earlier this week, I made a big stock of lentil soup, inspired by our local Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurant, Wally's Cafe (their food is absolutely delicious — any order comes with lentil soup and baklava). Here's what I did: I boiled the lentils in some chicken broth, then added more water, shredded carrots, spinach, onions sautéed with garlic, chopped tomatoes, shredded chicken (optional, we had leftover chicken), cumin, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, salt, and fresh cilantro. I didn't add lime initially, but I'll squeeze some in for the leftovers.

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pumpkin muffins with oatmeal crumble


November 10, 2011

Still working my way through the pumpkin, my next creation was these pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread. I used the suggested portions from the first comment in this recipe, substituting about half of the white flour with wheat flour and cutting the sugar in half. Brendan has been begging for those blueberry muffins with crumble, so I appeased him by making the crumble from the muffins, adding ginger, nutmeg, and cloves for more pumpkin spice flavor!

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egg pancake with pumpkin skin


November 10, 2011

I created this spin on the traditional Chinese green onion egg pancake — dan bing — by adding pumpkin skin. I stir fried pieces of pumpkin skin (from the pumpkin baked for the flesh) with soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, vinegar, and Sriracha sauce. The pumpkin skin with a little bit of starchy flesh worked really well with the savory sauces. I then made a quick and dirty version of the green onion pancake by briefly frying a tortilla and adding egg. I rolled up the pumpkin skin stir fry inside the pancake. Mmm... easy and quick.

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pumpkin pie


November 5, 2011

Brendan, the Pumpkin King, made this delicious pie. He's been making the pumpkin pie for his family's Thanksgivings since he was a kid. For this pie, we used the tried and true Libby's famous pumpkin pie recipe with fresh pumpkin and Trader Joe's deliciously buttery unbaked pie crust.

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beer battered salmon


November 4, 2011

I had made beer battered tilapia a couple weeks ago, and it turned out great! I decided to use the same recipe to try out beer battered salmon. I heeded one of the comments to cover the mixture (sans egg — I kept the spices in the mixture) and leave for 3 hours for the flour and beer to react. Since I didn't have a deep fryer and pan fried these, I double-battered the fish. Yum!

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pumpkin chip cookies


October 31, 2011

Soft, chewy, pumpkiny, spicy, and chocolaty. I made a huge batch and froze the leftover dough for cookie nights. Here's the recipe from my friend Jenny (I added chocolate chips and used butter instead of shortening): Cream 1 cup butter and 1 cup granulated sugar. Add 1 ½ cups pumpkin and 1 egg. Combine 2 cups flour (1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat), 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 ½ tsp. salt. Mix butter mixture and flour mixture together. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

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pumpkin rolls


October 22, 2011

It's pumpkin season!! My favorite food season! We've already gotten two large pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, and when I saw this recipe for pumpkin rolls, I knew it was the first thing those pumpkins were becoming. I halved the sugar in the dough and filling recipe, and used about 1 1/2 cups of wheat flour for the white flour in the dough. I also only made half the glaze, since we had some cream cheese frosting leftover. I prepped the rolls yesterday and refrigerated them overnight. Then, this morning, I let them rise at room temperature for an hour before baking them. Delicious! I would even suggest adding more spice to the dough and filling to boost the pumpkin spice flavor. Now I can go finish eating my second roll.

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blueberry muffins


October 15, 2011

I wanted to make a nice (but quick) breakfast for our anniversary. I love making muffins because they're easy and don't usually require any extra odd ingredients. I had blueberries, so that meant blueberry muffins! I searched All Recipes and found this recipe, which I can confirm is aptly named "To Die For Blueberry Muffins." I substituted the white sugar in the crumble with brown sugar, as suggested in a comment, and I decided to use oatmeal instead of flour for the crumble. I also substituted 1/2 cup of the white flour in the batter with whole wheat flour. Wow. They were still amazingly light and fluffy! Brendan claims these are the best muffins I've made. I think they might be better than Costco muffins! I'll definitely be making these for future overnight guests.

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chicken meatball stuffed mushrooms


October 11, 2011

Brendan's gone for the night, which means I can make food with mushrooms! As I was washing the mushrooms, I noticed their large size and decided to stuff them with some meat. I found the overly salted chicken meatballs in the freezer (that I'm never buying again) to complement the milder mushroom. I took the stem out of the mushrooms and placed a small piece of pepper jack cheese and half a meatball into each. I baked for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Yum!

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October 5, 2011

It's about time I put potstickers on here. I almost always have a frozen stock of dumplings from a dumpling making party (with myself, usually). My mom taught me this yummy recipe. All you need to do to make the filling is mix up some ground pork, egg, green onions (chopped), boiled cabbage (diced), soy sauce, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. I just use pre-made dumpling skin from 99 Ranch and wrap the filling up in those. Then, boil, fry, or steam them for your craving. I usually make a few hundred and then freeze them for easy future meals. My next task is to make my own dumpling skin!

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gingerbread cookies


September 23, 2011

Gingerbread cookies for Oktoberfest! I used this recipe but used butter instead of margarine. My cookies came out more cake-like and lighter than what I expected from the picture on the recipe.

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mediterranean chicken stew and couscous


September 21, 2011

I wanted to remake some leftover rotisserie chicken, and saw this recipe on the Kitchn. A quick weeknight meal! Perfect! It was easy, though I had to make some modifications with what I had. I didn't have crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, olives, lemon juice, raisins, or orange juice. I used fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, and water instead, omitting the other ingredients. Delicious!

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bread pudding


September 20, 2011

Leftover bread? Time for bread pudding. I never realized that it was just baked french toast. I mixed 2 eggs, almond milk, cinnamon, and some sugar and poured it over torn pieces of the bread. I let it soak for a while, then sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top and baked for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven. Drizzle some maple syrup over for an added earthy sweetness.

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peach cobbler


September 18, 2011

Brendan has been bugging me to make peach cobbler. Apparently it's one of his favorite dishes. We made this dish together with Brendan doing most of the mixing and while I sliced up the peaches (which were so ripe and delicious I wanted to eat them alone!). Here's the simple recipe.

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chickpea burger


September 17, 2011

One of my all-time favorite muffins are chocolate chip muffins. Not chocolate chocolate chip muffins, but white muffins with chocolate chips, which are surprisingly hard to find! But, they're always better when they're homemade, so I make my own. I use this recipe, and do my usual of substituting half of the all-purpose flour with wheat flour and also halving the sugar. I don't use pecans and only use the chocolate chips. This time, I didn't have quick oats, so I substituted oatmeal I cooked with almond milk in a rice cooker, and the muffins turned out moist and flavorful! Almond milk is a great substitute for milk in baked goods, as it adds the subtle but sweet almond aroma.

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chickpea burger


September 8, 2011

These chickpea burgers are an easy vegetarian dish that was surprisingly tasty and quick to make! I adapted the patties in this recipe from Martha Stewart, substituting the white bread with sprouted wheat bread and omitting the ginger. We ate these open face with a slice of pepper jack cheese.

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banana bread


September 5, 2011

I made strawberry scones (loosely based on this recipe) for a warm Labor day breakfast. Yes, it's already cold here in the mornings/nights. I didn't have strawberry yogurt, and only had fresh strawberries, so I mixed the strawberries with brown sugar and honey. I also added sour cream with plain greek yogurt instead of the strawberry yogurt. And, as I usually do, I used 3/4 wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose white flour instead of 1 3/4 cup white flour. This made 6 gigantic scones... perfect for a lazy morning.

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banana bread


September 3, 2011

In the East Bay, Bakesale Betty creates the most delicious fried chicken sandwich with an amazingly awesome coleslaw. There's a kick to this special coleslaw, and the secret is jalapeños! I made some myself using coleslaw mix, jarred jalapeños, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar (all to taste). Brendan then made yummy fried chicken nuggets using Panko breadcrumbs, and we paired the two together bowl-style. Mmmmm, so good that my brother said it was the best meal I've made.

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banana bread


August 30, 2011

It's been a while since I made the classic banana bread. I took a recipe from my old roommate Krysia's mom, which we used to make all the time, and modified it a bit. I use 4 mashed bananas, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar (reduced), 1 cup all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup wheat flour, and then I usually add chocolate chips. This time I added walnuts for some extra crunch.

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spicy tuna roll


August 29, 2011

I craved some spicy tuna roll, since I had recently had some delicious spicy tuna roll my aunt made with fresh tuna. And, because we had fresh tuna that Brendan's dad caught, that's all I could think about all day before I got home. So I immediately made some spicy tuna roll when I got home. I mixed a sauce of mayonnaise, Sriracha hot chili sauce, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce, all mixed to taste. I then added the diced raw tuna. We didn't have the nice large sheets of roasted seaweed, so I improvised by laying together the smaller sheets. I laid some brown rice (doesn't work too well compared to white sticky rice, but it's healthier) on the seaweed and then put the tuna mixture on top. I topped off with some roasted sesame seeds. Super easy and quick to make. This definitely satisfied my craving.

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seared tuna and mandarin salad


August 28, 2011

We had a second chance to make seared tuna with some fresh tuna caught by Brendan's dad. This time, Brendan did a great job and didn't overcook it, searing the tuna steaks for about a minute and a half on each side. He pre-seasoned with cayenne, salt, and pepper. I made a quick salad with mandarin orange slices, raspberries, and tomatoes topped with a soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seed dressing.

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salad with beef, chicken, egg, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, avocado, edamame


August 26, 2011

Still trying to use up that beef, my brother and I made a delicious salad (as we always do). We just threw in tri-tip beef, canned chicken, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, avocado, and edamame into a spring salad mix. We added no dressing because the juices from the cooked tri-tip and from the canned chicken were already super flavorful.

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stuffed bell peppers


August 21, 2011

I've been wanting to make stuffed bell peppers, and we had a bunch of beef that needed to be used, so I decided to make it Mexican style, adding beef, tomatoes, onions, salsa, couscous (for some texture) and sprinkling with some cheese. I baked until the cheese was golden brown.

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beef noodles


August 20, 2011

Brendan and I made a quick dinner: some beef noodles with onions and bell peppers. We seasoned it with soy sauce and garlic hot sauce.

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rhubarb crumble

raspberry rhubarb pie

raspberry rhubarb pie slice


August 13, 2011

Jenny and I had long planned to make a rhubarb dessert when she returned from Taiwan. We not only made a rhubarb dessert, we made TWO rhubarb desserts: rhubarb crumble and rhubarb raspberry pie. Mmmm, double the tart, double the deliciousness. The crumble was loosely based off of this recipe. We omitted the ginger and substituted apple cinnamon instant oatmeal for the oats. We made the pie in honor of Jenny's Oma, who used to make rhubarb raspberry pie with fresh rhubarb and raspberries from her yard. We used this recipe and used 2 cups raspberries instead of 1 cup blackberries and 1 cup raspberries. TOO GOOD!!

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italian spring roll


August 13, 2011

These are my specialty that I invented when I was ... 13? My mom used to make spring rolls, and one day, I decided it would be delicious to make it Italian style with chicken, marinara sauce, and cheese. And they are AWESOME! Jenny reminded me how awesome they are so we made them for dinner. There are some easy variations on those ingredients, too.

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calzone unbaked

calzone slice


July 29, 2011

We wanted to make an easy, fun meal since Brendan's sister was visiting, so we made some yummy XXXL calzones. We used one whole pack of dough (from Berkeley Bowl) for each of our calzones, and I ate only about 1/4 of my calzone because it was so large (it filled a 9"x9" pan). It's easy to make: just roll out the dough until it's thin (about 1/8"), add your ingredients (we used pre-cooked cauliflower, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers; raw tomatoes and spinach; marinara sauce; and cheese), fold over, seal, and bake.

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lime ice


July 28, 2011

I had about 2 cups of lime juice leftover from those watermelon JELL-O shots and I had about 1 cup of coconut milk leftover from the chickpea curry, so I decided to make an ice slush dessert with it. I mixed the lime juice with water and sugar to taste, whisked in the coconut milk, then froze it (easier when frozen in parts, like ice cubes). I then used my amazing food processor to blend it all up! Very refreshing and tart for a sweet summer pool day.

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chickpea curry


July 25, 2011

An easy slow-cooker recipe I found on the Kitchn, this chickpea curry makes for an easy weeknight meal. I was at work for more than 4 hours, so I just put my slow-cooker on LOW for the whole day. The coconut milk adds a subtle sweetness.

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black-eyed peas and eggplant


July 24, 2011

This recipe has been on my to-make list for a quite a while, and I've finally gotten around to it! The original recipe is actually with lentils instead of black-eyed peas, but when I started prepping the eggplant, I realized I didn't have lentils so I substituted for black-eyed peas. Turned out to be delicious and extremely hearty! I loooooove eggplant, and it is absolutely amazing broiled! I could've just eaten the broiled eggplant whole.

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watermelon jello shots


July 23, 2011

I saw these cute shots on the Kitchn from Erica and had to find a reason to make them. My friend's birthday was today so I made them for her and friends! Everyone loved them!! Be warned though that the limes are REALLY hard to core and I spent a good hour and a half taking out the innards. It definitely helps to use a paring knife to get around the edges first.

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magic cookie bars


July 23, 2011

This magical dessert wins my heart over every time. The recipe comes from my boyfriend's mom and sister, who would always make these delicious bars for him. It's super easy: press a graham cracker crust (1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs mixed with 1/2 cup melted butter) into a 13x9 pan. Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk over the crust, then top evenly with flaked coconut, chocolate chips, and chopped nuts (I use pecans), and press firmly into the pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned in a 350 degree preheated oven.

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July 23, 2011

For a barbecue, I made this easy summer dish, which originates from Córdoba, Spain, where I studied abroad a few years ago. My host mom taught me lots of Spanish dishes, and this is one of my favorites. It's a garlic tomato dip typically eaten with bread or as a dish with hard-boiled eggs, jamón, tomatoes, and anything else you want to add. Salmorejo tastes even better when it's been cooled in the fridge. And it's super simple to make: blend together garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and bread (not too stale that the processor won't blend) in a food processor or blender and you're done!

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arugula pluot salad


July 11, 2011

A few weeks ago, I had some arugula I needed to eat before my trip. Arugula is delicious, but when eaten alone, it can be overwhelmingly bitter. When you pair arugula with something savory or sweet, the arugula really brings out the taste of the savory or sweet thing. So I added a pluot that also needed to be eaten, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste. A very refreshing summer salad with some juicy pluot!

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red velvet cupcake


July 8, 2011

Red velvet cupcakes have become popular with this new trend of southern food in the area. And just because they're red, those red chocolate cupcakes topped by delicious cream cheese frosting taste so much better than chocolate cupcakes (though I found out you have to add A LOT of red food coloring to get them red, so mine are brown). I used this recipe for the cake part, substituted 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with wheat flour and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk with 1/2 cup of almond milk and 2 tsp vinegar (since I didn't have milk or buttermilk). I also only used about 1 cup of sugar (I always halve the sugar and it tastes better because it's still sweet, but not too sweet!). The cream cheese frosting comes from my boyfriend's mom: mix about 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1-2 cups powdered sugar, 5 Tbsp butter, and 1 tsp lemon extract.

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June 22, 2011

Cheesecake!!! I made this for a potluck so I couldn't get a nice photo of a slice, but here it is in the springform pan! I used this highly reviewed recipe, but omitted the strawberry sauce.

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cold noodles


June 19, 2011

Cold noodles, or liang mian, are perfect for a hot day (temperatures finally broke 75 degrees!). My mom taught me this extremely refreshing and tasty dish from Taiwan. All you need are some cooked Chinese noodles (you can buy them cooked or cook them yourself), shredded cucumber, shredded chicken, and sauce. The sauce is made from 2 oz sesame sauce, 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vinegar, and 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Add hot water to the sauce as necessary to thin. Then, just mix the noodles, cucumber, chicken, and sauce, and you have the perfect summer dish! If you like it cold cold, then you can refrigerate before serving.

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ricotta dumplings


May 12, 2011

Simple recipe for dumplings I made for a quick meal. No need for a food processor to knead the dough. I substituted parmesan cheese for the goat cheese.

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fish tacos with aioli and arugula


May 11, 2011

Leftover aïoli and leftover tilapia? I make delicious fish tacos with arugula. The best combination of taste and texture: fish, arugula, and garlic aïoli.

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breakfast sandwich


May 6, 2011

Last weekend, I went camping in beautiful Big Sur (a must-see if you haven't been there!). However, I still made sure we ate well with only a campfire and a small stove. For breakfast, we ate delicious egg sandwiches with breakfast chicken sausages and pepper jack cheese!

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jalapenos just stuffed

jalapeno poppers out of the oven


April 27, 2011

Yes, still on my spicy craving, I saw this delicious and simple jalapeño poppers recipe. Super easy to make. I made sure to make it extra spicy with extra Tapatio. I also modified by baking them instead of frying and they still came out great, though the breading was a little delicate as it didn't stick too well to the poppers. Next time I'll be sure to dry the jalapeños thoroughly before breading.

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ma po tofu


April 26, 2011

For some reason, I just kept craving spicy. I remembered this delicious spicy ground pork tofu dish my aunt made, and I was determined to find it. And I did after some Google searching and chose this AllRecipes recipe. Really yummy with some chewy brown rice.

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dan dan noodles


April 18, 2011

Browsing The Kitchn on my Google Reader, I came across this delicious and nostalgic meal. Craving some spicy food, this was perfect. So I went to the recipe, saw how simple it was, and made my own. Satisfied my spicy food craving. And, I had lots of leftover chili garlic oil to stir fry vegetables and other goodies.

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crispy salmon skin fried rice


April 12, 2011

I had some leftover salmon skin that I didn't want to throw out, so I decided to fry it up for some crispy salmon skin. Then, scrounging in my fridge, I gathered some leftover brown rice and green beans to eat with it. Suddenly remembering this delicious eel kamameshi I had at Kappo Hana in Laguna Hills, I decided to make a fried rice similar to the kamameshi. So after frying up the salmon skin, I fried up some eggs, added the rice, skin, the need-to-be-eaten green beans and bean sprouts, and tossed in soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, siracha, and chili garlic sauce. YUM.

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oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies


April 1, 2011

These oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies are exactly what they sound like.

Easy, simple, delicious.

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pizza cups


March 31, 2011

Pizza cups? Marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese = always good. And they taste even better in little bite-sized cups. The 5-ingredient pizza cups are so easy to make and rival the Bagel Bites that you secretly eat even though you know you shouldn't. But you don't have to feel as guilty eating these pizza cups.

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very berry smoothies


March 31, 2011

Long, long ago, I had much too many fruits and berries to finish eating before they went bad, so I decided to throw them in the freezer to use later for a smoothie. Several months after an entire summer of cold weather, it was finally hot enough in the Bay Area for a smoothie! Frozen strawberries + frozen blueberries + frozen raspberries + vanilla yogurt + soymilk + a blender. A little taste test told me it was delicious, and I added half a Thin Mint (yay Girl Scout Cookies) to each for garnish.

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birthday muffins


March 23, 2011

Finally, I begin documenting my food cooking adventures. I've always loved cooking and learned all my skills from my mom, who's a wonderful cook. I begin with my specialty: muffins. This recipe has been saved in my "to make" list, so I decided to try it out since it was my brother's birthday, we had bananas and lots of strawberries, and I wanted to avoid white flour and dairy. Mimi's giant whole-wheat banana-strawberry muffins were a hit, but always remember to use RIPE bananas! I topped off the muffins with oatmeal before sticking them in the oven.

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